By Fungai Chigumbura, Zimbabwe:
Last night, I slept. No; last night I slept wonderfully. That may seem trivial, but for me sleep had become no refuge. I had lacked rest and the turmoil in my life had followed me even when I had laid my head down at the end of each day. Not last night, though. Last night's slumber was glorious. My mind is clear for the first time in what seems like a century and I have a renewed sense of being.
I go into the office, riding a wave of incredible high. Nothing can stop me. My freedom is absolute and nothing can ruin my day. Whatever may come from this point on, I shall take into my stride. Heck, even when news broke halfway through the day that my boss was wanted by the police for questioning with regards to the financial practices of the company, I just thought of it as the universe re-arranging itself to get me a new boss. I think I even flirted with a girl at the photocopier too…
Happy as I am, there is still one thing left looming like a shadow on the horizon. I browse all my familiar news outlets, scouring for a slice of coverage about the night before. Its not until later in the day that the first slivers of news finally trickle in. The reports tell of a young man and woman found dead in a suburban house, the victims of an apparent suicide-homicide. Police reports are still sketchy at that point, but from all appearances, it resembles a lover's argument gone wrong. Nothing yet suggests foul play.
“And nothing will,” I think to myself. Even so I mentally re-play everything that happened last night. I recollect every detail as best I can, summoning up each step I took in setting up my elaborate scene of escape. First the siren, then my assistant, then setting it all up to create a plausible sequence that says everything I want it to say, then cleaning up, then the boy… My mind stops when I come back to the young child who bore witness to all that I did. I push through this mental block and carry on with my train of thought, re-living every detail. And yet, much as I try to ignore it, there is the feeling that I overlooked something important. I cannot quite place my finger on what it is, but I know its there. I dismiss this as my own nit-picking. I did everything possible, and if twenty-two crime scenes have not been enough to get me caught, nothing aside from paranoia should suggest that this one will be any different.
I finish my work and go home, confident, but still with the gnawing bit in my mind that there is a detail I overlooked. Could it be the boy? No, I dealt with that sufficiently. There is something else there. Something that refuses to allow my hard earned peace to be whole. I try to set it aside, but it persists. Finally, I switch on the evening news in hopes that something the reporter or news anchor says will help me place just what it is that is chewing me up.
The headlines make mention of the murder, but nothing there sticks out and I have to wait for the main story to flesh out what the police may have found. Their first attempt to switch to their reporter on the scene of the crime fails, and they state that they are experiencing technical difficulties involving their camera. Instantly, it hits me like a sucker punch to my gut. The camera! My assistant's girlfriend had been recording their perversion and when I took her life, the camera had carried on rolling. In constructing my scene for the police, I had completely forgotten to retrieve the most damning thing in that entire room. I curse myself, but will my mind to think rationally. What are the odds that the camera had recorded everything I had done? Try as I might, I cannot place where the camera ended up facing and for all I know it might have filmed the whole act.
Almost on cue, the reporter's face comes onto the screen as she is standing outside the house. She mentions many of the details that I read about earlier, but this time adds in the fact that they have confirmed the identity of the two dead people. I listen intently; hoping against hope that what I am dreading doesn't come to be. Then she drops the bomb: police found a digital camera that apparently recorded footage that almost conclusively reveals that this was a double homicide rather than a suicide-homicide as had originally been thought. Police are apparently working to try and identify the murderer in the video. She reports that the authorities are going to release the footage soon in an attempt to have the general public assist with identifying the individual as well as what appears to be a young child also present in the scene .
A wave of nausea hits me and a solid wall of dizziness almost floors me. They have me. There is no escaping from this. How could I have been so stupid? How could I have allowed myself to be so careless? My head starts aching faintly and I try my best to steady myself in a room that seems to be mimicking my world by spinning out of control. Of all the details to overlook, I had to forget the only thing that led directly to me. Maybe they won't be able to identify me…maybe the footage isn't clear after all. My attempts to assuage the situation are futile. I know I'm damned. The only question is what do I do between now and the inevitability of the knock at my door? Its simple, really. There is only one thing to do.
I grab my coat and car keys and head out. I drive with one direction in mind. In this time of turbulence, I need to find my calm before the world breaking storm that is coming. I need to find peace, and there is only one means of finding peace for me.
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