Blood blossomed from his chest as he dropped lifelessly to the ground. A policeman; the uniform was undeniably official. Their features were cloaked by the overwhelming darkness of night, but that did nothing to detract from my guilt. Agonizing anxiety reverberated in my body as the thought lingered unshaken from my mind – I had absolutely no idea what had happened last night except that one event and the constant pounding in my head crippled my thought process. Jesus, I shouldn’t have drunk so much – Anymore and I might even forget my name is Michael…
Regardless of my bubbling stomach, I forced myself out of bed – If I wanted to clear my mind, then I’d have to fully awaken myself anyway. However, unease seeped into me as I moved to open my draw, but I shook it off as weariness and my jittering hand swiftly pulled it open. Inside lay clothes, as expected, and something else. It wasn’t there yesterday, right? A brown envelope stained at fold was nestled in between torn shirts which had a flap suffering from sellotaped rips and a bulge at the bottom; it didn’t look like a regular overdue bill letter. My hands were almost uncontrollably allured towards it, and I released a gasp when I felt the powder inside. My heart rate spiked and panic quickly surpassed my fatigue as I fumbled around searching for any similar objects.
The search was to no avail, which I’m grateful for. I didn’t discover anything albeit a lack of something – My phone was missing. It was quite outdated, anyway but I couldn’t justify a new one when there were more crucial things to purchase. Unfortunately, instead of the typical sense of disappointment upon losing a phone I instead felt fear; praying it wasn’t shattered next to a corpse was the only solution. Plus, without it how would they contact me? I needed them to, so I needed to find it – How else would I sustain myself?
Dressing was nearly impossible with the constant beating my head was subjected to, but I hurried. I had to find out who the victim was and distance myself from the crime, and the only way I could do that was to gain information from my brother. Normally, I’d call him but that obviously wasn’t an option, so I decided to journey to my mum’s; he frequently visited her. The floorboards of the hallway creaked as I left my apartment and I dashed down the stairs – In this neighbourhood, it was better to minimize the time spent in the proximity.
As I reached the ground floor, a small unpleasant smile leaked from my lips replacing heavy pants – I’d noticed the elevator, although to call it that was a stretch. Had it ever been anything except a broken hunk of metal? I doubted it, but it wasn’t particularly important. I sprinted across the road and winding pathways toward my mum’s house. As I approached the street I knew so well, I saw a familiar figure by her door. Damn, at least one island of luck in a sea of misfortune.
The outfit would be recognizable to anyone, but with a policeman for a brother and that devastating scene replaying repeatedly in my mind, I knew what it was in milliseconds. As I strolled closer, a grin formulated upon my face. He could easily access police databases and having him here right now was a glad surprise since it meant an earlier discovery. I just hoped he would have my back – He was always so uptight about laws after all. Only time would tell, so I moved to the doorway. The policeman hadn’t turned, and up close he seemed taller and thinner than when I’d last seen him. I nearly spoke before I heard him utter seven crushing words…
“I’m sorry, your son Benjamin was found dead.”
Familiar Event was written in one day in numerous segments in the hopes that by physically writing the story in pieces it would provide a more convincing portrayal of how the protagonist gradually pieces together the truth of the events of New Year’s Eve. Familiar Event was also a different type of piece for me to write because I attempted to focus on a “show not tell” approach in response to my prior failures in these contests and thus this was a fun competition to participate in.
-By Lucas Valladares for “The New Year’s Ablutions Award”