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Occupied – Chapter Nine

Kiana, Contributor

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A million things were flying through Josh’s mind. He had a way to reach his brother. He could have Tommy help him find Lana’s killer. He could get his family back. Josh, his smile growing wider each moment, could feel himself opening up like a flower after a long winter. The seed of hope, planted by Samantha, now blooming into a radiant flower, restoring a burning energy into Josh’s body.

Josh whirled around to Samantha, eyes wild with excitement. “Can I trust you?”

Samantha looked at him, startled. “Well, to be honest, it depends. If you tell me that you just murdered someone, I’m not sure if I could keep that one a secret,” she joked.

Josh felt like he was punched in the stomach. “That’s the problem – someone was murdered, and I’m trying to figure out who killed her. Please, you need to help me,” Josh pleaded, his eyes drained of hope and full of urgency.

“What? Someone was murdered? Was it a family member? Are you alright?” Samantha sighed, trying to slow down. “Why don’t you just tell me what happened?”

Josh told the whole story, from the red water in his kitchen sink up until the point where Samantha found him on the street earlier that day. Samantha’s eyes widened so much that Josh was sure they would pop out, especially when Josh was describing the way Lana looked when he found her. He didn’t want to leave out a single detail, not knowing what would be important and what wouldn’t, so the whole story took about half an hour to tell. When he finished, Samantha stood motionless, her as eyes wide and round as the moon. Josh gave her about a minute to take in the information, but he quickly became impatient with waiting.

“So?” Josh asked irritably. “Can you help me?”

Samantha, a dazed look on her face, slowly drifted to a nearby chair and sank into it. All the furniture in her apartment looked very comfortable, so Josh took the chair next to Samantha and studied her carefully, waiting for a response.

“Samantha?” Josh said, raising his voice slightly. “Samantha!” He yelled, violently waving his hands in front of her face. “Please,” Josh begged, taking her shoulders and shaking her gently. “I need you to help me. My grandmother was killed, my mom is still in shock, and the rest of my family is missing. You’re the only one I’ve trusted enough to tell this to. You can’t leave me to figure this out by myself. Please.”

Josh could see Samantha envisioning what Josh had gone through, the pain and fear plain in her eyes – the same pain and fear Josh had been living with the past few days. He could see her struggling, trying to push herself out of her thoughts. She broke away, her eyes reluctantly raising to meet Josh’s, and brightening suddenly.

“I think I know how to help you,” Samantha said, a ghost of a smile playing on her lips, and excitement in her eyes.

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Occupied – Chapter Nine