I was having a late night coffee date over skype with my awesome sister, Mandi, when she gave me her topic. She then carried the laptop in to see Sean, who was still in bed, and prompted him to give me a topic also. We ended up with the word ‘fan‘. It may not seem like the fan has much to do with this piece, but the police were not even involved with with Emmeline’s tale until the word ‘fan‘ came along…
(If you are joining our tale today, welcome! Feel free to start the journey here.)
Faceless. J R Manawa.
“Miss Kharon, what we are really trying to understand here, is what you are thinking right now,” the policewoman said.
Emmeline pulled her eyes off the ceiling and met her gaze warily. She had never been delinquent as a teenager, except for trying a cigarette once, drinking a certain amount of under age alcohol, and skipping her classes a handful of times. In short, she’d been just like everybody else.
But now she was twenty-one. It was still her birthday actually, and according to the clock on the wall it still would be for five more hours. The day had almost passed without her even taking a moment to celebrate it.
“What I’m thinking, quite honestly,” Emmeline lied, and looked back up at the ceiling very briefly, “is how ridiculous it is that your fan is on right now, considering it is the middle of winter.”
The policewoman pursed her lips. “Right now, Miss Kharon, we are extremely concerned about your grandfather. And I personally would like to know what you are thinking because I don’t see that same concern from you,”
Emmeline levelled her eyes at the woman, “You don’t know me,” she said, in a voice that was unforgiving. “You question whether I’d like to know what happened to my own grandfather? Of course I bloody would! I’d like to know what happened to my parents too, but that doesn’t make them reappear after eleven years now, does it?”
“Miss Kharon, there is a window of time, about forty-eight hours after a person goes missing, in which there is every chance of finding them. After that window closes, the statistics of finding your grandfather drop below thirty percent.”
Emmeline didn’t want to feel anger, she felt so much hurt and confusion already, the last thing she needed was more anger. But it was there, bubbling and boiling beneath the thin layer of her outer composure, “Look, miss-”
“Miss Sommerset. I have lived my life within that thirty percent.” She placed her hands on the table and pushed herself up, she’d had enough of the chair. “If you are really going to go all NCIS on me, you need to tell me why. Because as I see it, this forty-eight hour window you claim, could almost be halfway over. The last time I saw my grandfather was well over twenty-four hours ago. And what are you doing? I don’t even know what you’re doing.” She let out a long breath.
“Sit down miss Kharon. We are not out to get you.”
Emmeline sat. After the episode with the gunman only a couple of hours ago, and the stress of waiting in what she assumed was an interrogation room, all her mental and emotional strength was gone.
“You ran away from us in the hospital this afternoon. What was that about?” the policewoman asked, her voice quieter now.
“I didn’t want to talk to you. I only ran after you decided to chase me.”
“Why didn’t you want to talk to us, Emmeline?” the policewoman used her name for the first time.
“I still don’t,” Emmeline knew the attitude wasn’t getting her anywhere, but she really didn’t want to talk to anyone. It was why she had finally sent Thomas and Gulliver home to sleep in the first place, and why she had tried to avoid the police when she was discharged at the hospital. There were so many things happening that shouldn’t be happening. All she wanted was for a moment to think and breathe alone. Ideally, she wanted to be the Emmeline of eighteen hours ago again. The Emmeline for whom the world was right and the sun was rising over pink fluffy clouds. Unfortunately, that Emmeline had ceased to exist.
“Why is that?” the question interrupted her thoughts.
“Because I don’t have anything to tell you,” Emmeline begged, dropping her head into her hands. Her pink hair fell down over her face like a curtain to shield her.
“Let me tell you the way I see it, Emmeline. I see an excellent alibi of you out drinking with your friends over midnight-”
“Which the alcohol level in my blood at seven this morning when we first met probably already verified for you,” Emmeline looked up briefly and glared at her, before dropping her head back down under the curtain of her hair and into her hands.
“-and I see every room in your grandfather’s house destroyed down to the last photo, the last piece of paper, the last shred of personal belonging. Every room except your room.”
Emmeline kept her head down, she was physically trembling with anger at the accusation.
“This in itself makes no sense it me. But then at the hospital, you sneak out of your room and try to escape down a fire exit without being see- Hey! What are you doing in here?! Wha-”
Emmeline jumped with fright at the sudden shouting and looked up.
He was slightly better dressed, in a black hoodie and jeans, with the hood down over his face so she could no longer see the storm in his eyes, but it was definitely him. He was standing beside the policewoman, and he appeared to have given her a hand held mirror.
The mirror was held up to where the policewoman’s face should have been. But there was no face. No eyes, no nose, no mouth to speak.
Emmeline screamed and fell back over the chair she had been seated on. She ran to the far wall and pushed herself up against it.
“Stop it!” she screamed at him.
“That talk we were going to have,” he said, “it’s going to happen now.”
“N, n, no-no!” she begged, as he took a step closer to her, leaving the faceless policewoman in her chair with his mirror.
“Oh yes. Yes, we are,” he smiled coldly.