Kya gasped for breath as her emotions overtook her. She had always assumed that she and Sam were equals, that they were both struggling to get by in a world set against them and that he was anti-Supers because he knew how out of reach they were. Reading those headlines, Kya had realized that so much of what she knew of Sam had been simple assumptions and so far from the truth.
Her room was dark, chilled and quiet. Her body ached as she sat pressed against the solid door, her legs pulled in as tight to her chest as they could go causing it to ache slightly.
There was a deeper hurt in her chest, an emotional one. She felt exposed. Sam had searched her out, and he had learned about her online. He’d read a blog she had intended only for family and that she had given up on when she realized that her family didn’t care enough to read it. Sam had snuck into her past without her knowledge and she had been kept out of his past without her even realizing it.
A thought tore through her mind, and what is someone but a sum of their past experiences? How much do I really know about Sam?
A sob escaped Kya’s mouth and she raised her hand to her face to find her cheeks covered in tears. She had spent so much of her time since she moved into this apartment stressing that if she couldn’t give Sam her seven hundred dollars in rent by the first of the month that she or they would be out on the street. She had said as much to him many times and he had never said a word. Why did he wait so long before letting her know the truth? Why couldn’t he have told her on his own? Why make her read it off a screen?
If Sam had all this money, why didn’t he get Supers? She thought, her mind slowly calming.
Kya wiped her face and stood up. She felt like she couldn’t stay still any longer. She walked over to her bed and then back to the door. She took a deep breath and let her mind wander. She wondered what she would have to do to get Sam to agree to help her get Supers. She touched the handle of the door, thinking that she would go out and talk to him again, but she was hit with a fresh wave of rage.
As she turned the handle, Kya was stopped suddenly by her phone buzzing in her pocket. She took it out and answered the call without even checking to see who it was.
“What?” She yelled into the phone.
“Kya?” Mattie asked in a small voice. “You okay?”
“No!” Kya’s heart was pounding in her ears. She didn’t want to take her feelings out on Mattie, but she couldn’t find a way to control them either.
“So, you’ve been watching the news then?”
“What?” Kya rolled her eyes. “Listen, Mattie. I’m not in the mood for guessing games.”
“Your friend from work. Was his name Elliot Shepherd?”
“Yes.” Kya said, and a wave of icy fear washed away the fire of her rage. “Why?”
“I’m going to send you something that you have to see.”
Kya dropped her phone on her bed and grabbed her laptop. Opening it up, it sprang to life instantly. A notification appeared at the top right corner of the screen. A new message had been received and it contained a link to a local news broadcaster website. She clicked the link, her web browser opened, and a video started to play.
A middle aged news reporter appeared, with a bright blue background behind him. His sandy brown hair perfectly swept across his forehead to cover a receding hairline, and his eyes gleaming in the studio lights.
Kya thought she noticed a tear forming and felt her own face follow suit. Nervously, she waited for the report to begin.
“This evening, Elliot Shepherd’s body was found just outside Drayton Park. It was found by a young couple at three this afternoon at the bottom of the cliffs at the south end.”
Her ears began to ring with a deafening tone. Kya tapped repeatedly and paused the video. She wanted to throw up. Picking up her phone, she felt weak, dizzy, and stiff.
Stuttering, she forced words from her shaky lips, “I don’t think I can watch this right now.”
“I know it is hard, but I really think you should listen to the whole thing. Did you want me to come over?”
Without responding, Kya took a deep breath, and resumed the video. Pictures of the cliffs and police vehicles appeared to the right of the news anchor, and a photo of Elliot appeared to the left.
“Initial police reports say that Elliot Shepherd committed suicide. Many of his bones were broken in the fall, and his body was found covered in alcohol. A bottle of prescription antidepressants prescribed to the deceased were also found at the scene. The police retrieved a message, stored on his phone, relating to his frustration at not being able to afford Supers. Elliot Shepherd was sixty three years old, and was, until recently, an employee of Starlife Technologies. More on this as we receive it.”
Kya took a deep breath and stared at the now still image on the screen.
She held the phone to her ear but said nothing.
“Kya, I’m so sorry.” Mattie spoke slowly and softly. “Are you okay?”
“How can I be okay?” Kya blurted, maniacally, almost laughing.
“Kya.” Mattie tried to soothe her.
“Elliot’s dead. Like, really dead! Don Georgetown killed him!”
“They said it looked like a suicide.”
“It’s a coverup.” Kya stood up and started pacing. “I saw the videos from work. I know Don killed him. Don even left a convenient message on his phone as a motive for suicide.”
“Listen, I’ll come by.”
“No. Don’t. I’m fine.”
It was Mattie’s turn to almost laugh. “You are not fine. We both know that.”
Kya looked around her room for her jacket, purse and a pair of shoes. “The cops don’t believe me. but I know I’m right, Mattie.”
“Okay, Kya. Maybe I can try and help you talk to the cops.”
“I don’t have any evidence except what I saw with my own eyes. That’s not good enough for the cops.”
“So what are you going to do?”
Kya put her jacket on, and set her purse on the bed, sifting through it to find her wallet, keys and phone. The phone was in her hand, and she rolled her eyes at how long it took her to realize that. She shook her purse, and didn’t hear the telltale rattle of her keys.
“Kya?” Mattie said.
“Hmm?” Kya scanned her room, ready to destroy it in search for her keys, before she remembered that they were in the bowl by the door of the apartment.
“What are you going to do?”
“People don’t take Normals seriously.”
“Kya.” Mattie’s voice took on a parental tone.
“I’m going to find Amelia’s Black Market contact.”
Kya put on her left shoe, but was still looking for the right. It was the shoe she had picked up as a weapon only a few short hours earlier.
“No.” Mattie whispered. “There are a million other ways to handle this.”
“No.” Kya replied, annoyed at her friend’s motherly way of speaking. “There’s not. I have tried, Mattie. I have tried to play by the rules. It doesn’t work. I’m going to make the rules now.”
“This is a bad idea! You don’t know what you’re doing.”
“I am thirty-two years old. I’m a big girl and I can handle this.” She found her right shoe and slipped her foot inside.
“Where’s Amelia?” Mattie asked, and Kya could hear the desperation in her voice.
“Wrong question.” Kya said, and she could feel the coldness in her words. “I’m going to get off the phone now.”
“Take care of you!” Kya heard Mattie say before she hit End.