Note: I actually like the concept of this story, and this will probably be the last entry for the micro fiction. I’d like to play with it as a longer short story. I’ll keep you posted.
Running late for a dinner with family, so remember: I wrote this in 20 minutes and didn’t edit or spellcheck.
Two years earlier, it had been the day after Halloween. Elizabeth and her best friend since childhood, Emily Morgan, had scoured the local store’s candy fire sale, brought it back to Elizabeth’s apartment and prepared for their annual post-Halloween scary movie marathon.
The tradition had gone back to the first time they had gone trick or treating by themselves (all brave at the age of twelve) and had fallen asleep through the third Halloween movie, woken up the next day to finish the rest of the series. To them, it had seemed like the perfect solution — trick or treat on Halloween and eat the candy the next day so they could watch all the movies and not worry about falling asleep or being sent to bed by one of their parents. And the fact that it was Elizabeth’s birthday? Beyond perfect. Elizabeth hated birthday parties and this was the perfect way to get out of them.
For fifteen years, they had kept the tradition. Through high school, through college, through law school and med school. Even the year that Elizabeth had been pissed because Emily had gone out with the guy from the newspaper Elizabeth had had her eye on. They’d fought bitterly the week before, but then Emily had shown up at her door, on November 1, with a bag of jellybeans and a battered copy of the IT miniseries. The guy was forgotten, and they’d moved forward.
Until two years ago.
“Escaped,” Elizabeth said flatly. Of course he had. “Do you have leads? Sighting? How the hell did he get out?”
Jason rubbed his hands over his face. “They won’t tell me much. It’s not our case and I’m too emotionally involved.” He bit out those last words with a lot of heat.
Elizabeth said nothing. Legal protocol, of course, would prevent the brother of the victim from getting anywhere near the case, even if he had been the original investigating officer.
She’d been the prosecuting assistant district attorney trying to put Diego Alcazar in jail for a string of serial rapes, and Jason had been the one to slap the cuffs on him a week before that day. And the target of his rage.
Absently, she rubbed her shoulder. Every once in a while, she could still feel the sharp slice of pain as that knife had slashed towards her. And the residual horror when she’d watched from her fallen position as Alcazar had gone after Emily.
“Listen,” Jason said after a moment. “You told me not to bother you last year—”
“I said that two years ago,” she muttered. “You just…listened.”
“You changed your number. You moved. And then you quit your job.”
She shrugged, returning to her desk and the paperwork. “So?”
“So, what I said that day—” Irritation flashed across his chiseled features. “I didn’t mean it.”
“Yeah.” Elizabeth met his eyes. “You did. And it’s okay. It was my fault. I Zknew he’d made threats—”
“I wanted to take it back,” he interrupted. “But you were in recovery and I felt like enough shit. I just—I hoped you wouldn’t remember it. My family was shattered. The job put me on administrative leave. And by the time I could—” He shook his head. “You disappeared, Elizabeth.”
“Bullshit.” But it was said without heat. “You’re a fucking cop, Jason. You wanted to find me, you could have. I didn’t change my name. I still practice law. Hell, your old partner arrested my current client. You knew where to find me.” She shrugged. “You didn’t.”
He exhaled slowly. “Fair enough. I didn’t. I tried to tell the state troopers Alcazar might come for you, but they ignored me. They think he’s on his way to Canada, but you and I both know why he came for you.”
“Yeah,” she murmured. “I guess we do.” She sat down, looking back at the Quartermaine notes. “Look, thanks for telling me. I’ll check into a hotel or something—”
Her office phone rang before he could protest further. “Zacchara and Webber,” she answered, turning away from him.
“Ms. Webber? This is Officer Falconieri from the PCPD. We responded to a report of a break in at your apartment.”
Her blood chilled. “My apartment?”
“Ma’am, you should…we need you to meet us at your home.”
“I’ll be there in ten minutes.” Slowly, she placed the phone back on the hook and turned to Jason. “The PCPD…someone broke into my apartment.”
His expression hardened like granite. “You’re not going alone.”
And though she was relieved that she wasn’t alone, this wasn’t quite the birthday wish she’d wanted. She looked one last time at the gaudy remains of Johnny’s goddamn cupcake. Fucking birthdays.