Yes, as destiny had it, the girl in Zaz's dream was the one to save his life. So it would seem but as quickly she had appeared in his life she just as quickly disappeared...
It had been a few weeks since the incident and despite his asking around Zaz found no sign of the cute blonde girl. He gazed at the waves crashing down on the beach as the sun came up. The breeze was just right and you could feel the rhythm of the ocean dancing within you.
Zaz looked to his right and there sat the cute blonde girl. Her blonde curls dangled down, gently caressed by the wind. She showed glittering white smile.
He smiled back. "You know it totally sucks only seeing you in my dreams." She laughed. "It'd help if you'd at least give me a name."
"But where's the fun in that?" She twirled her fingers in her curls, gazing at the sunrise. "Where is this?"
Zaz looked around and found the familiar buildings behind him. "It's Rehoboth Beach. My parents used to take me here every year." Zaz could feel the corners of his eyes get wet and he tried to force down a cry. "Of course that was before..."
"Before your father died."
"Before he was murdered by that monster!" Zaz spat. Then more quietly he said, "Before my family fell apart."
Zaz felt her rubbing his back. He looked to her and she looked concerned. Then he started laughing.
She laughed too. "What?"
"It's just that this is closest thing that I've had to a relationship in a long time and it's not even real! I mean how much of a loser do I have to be to dream up an entire relationship with someone I've never met?!"
She turned my chin toward her. "Hey! You are not a loser!"
Zaz put his hand to hers. "Thanks but this is the same as me telling myself I'm not lame."
Zaz opened his eyes.
Syler waved over to Zaz to get his ass over here. He was already late and his excuse of still recovering from the accident was starting to wear out. Syler drummed his fingers on the table, while he glanced around the diner. Waitresses bustled about and kids were playing hide and go seek nearby.
Syler sighed. His life was never supposed to have gone this way. He never dreamed of being sales rep at a Paper Company. Even if he did, he wasn't any good at it. He's lucky he hasn't been fired yet.
Zaz sat down across from him at the booth.
"Hey , Bro. How's it going? How's life?"
Syler grimaced internally. Why couldn't he have asked me something else?
They sat in silence for a moment then their waitress came to their table. She was young, maybe 2 years shy of Syler's age. She had long, straight, brown hair and sparkling blue eyes. She had an hourglass figure. Syler concentrated for a moment and then established that her bra size is in fact 34C. Nice.
"Hi. I'm Missy and I'll be serving you today." She said with a smile. "Can I get y'all something to drink?"
Zaz smiled at her. "I'll just have some water."
Missy looked to Syler expectantly.
"Uh, I'll have the same."
"Alright. I'll be right back with your drinks. Just give me a sec."
Zaz replied coyly. "Alright but just a second now. I need that water."
She giggled, her blue eyes twinkling and then walked away.
Syler looked over to him. "I thought you were no good with girls."
"I'm not." He started to flip through the menu.
"Then what was that?" Syler started to do the same. Ooh, the bacon cheeseburger sounds good.
Zaz met Syler's eyes. "I was just being friendly." He then went back to looking at the menu.
Syler sighed. I might as well drop it.
The waitress came back and placed down their glasses of water in front of them.She brushed back her hair over ear which revealed beautiful white chrysanthemum-shaped earrings.
"Did I make it within one second?" Her southern twang tugged at Syler's heartstrings.
Zaz gave her wide grin. He then started to imitate her twang. "That'll do just fine, lil' darling."
Missy blushed. "Are you guys ready to order?"
They ordered their food and Missy raced off to get the orders to the cook.
Syler pointed to Zaz. "That right there is what I'm talking about. You're totally flirting with her. And she is flirting back."
This perked Zaz's interest. "She is?" He started gazing past Syler's shoulder. Syler followed his gaze to Missy. Missy must have caught them looking because she blushed again. "Well, she is mighty purty lookin'."
Syler grunted in exasperation. "Look, I already called dibs on this one."
That slapped the dreamy gaze off of Zaz's face. "Dibs? When?"
"I've been coming to this diner every week for the last month and I finally figured out her schedule."
Zaz started laughing. "So that's why we met here? Because of this girl?"
Syler nodded. "Well, yeah. I saw her in the window a month ago and that day when I walked in I couldn't work up the nerve to talk to her."
Zaz smiled. "Alright. I'll lay off. I've been looking for this dream girl anyway."
Syler started to look out the window. He saw people walking by on the busy street and there was noticeable fellow sitting on a bench across the street. He had a yellow cap on and wore a white hoodie with a yellow smiley face on the front. He sat there with a book that he didn't seem to be actually reading.
"Anything found on that dream girl?"
"No. She left no name with the hospital and the cops apparently never got a report from her. No one knows who she was."
Syler began to feel unnerved. Is that guy watching us?
"What are you looking at out there?"
"That guy with smiley face hoodie. He looks like he's watching us." Fear crept into his voice. "I think it might be that guy that stabbed you."
Zaz turned his head with speed. A bus went by and when it was gone, so was the stranger.
Zaz visibly shivered. "Just thinking of that guy makes me feel like I'm in that bathroom having my blood spill out with no one to help me all over again."
Syler didn't say anything. He couldn't imagine what that must have been like. Syler remembered the worst thing that ever happened to him. It was the day his dad left. It felt his heart taken out of him and then stomped on. He wasn't even sure if he got all the pieces back after that.
"Wow, did someone die while I was gone?" Missy was back and she brought their food. Syler's stomach grumbled but he didn't feel in the mood to eat anymore. The bacon cheeseburger was so close but... Who was he kidding? He could always eat something.
"No, but someone might if you don't get that food over here." Syler said.
Missy gasped. She put her hand to her chest. "Did you just threaten me?"
Zaz came to the rescue. "Pardon my friend. He's just hungry and he's kind of nervous because he thinks you're cute."
Syler kicked him under the table.
Zaz winced. "Though you might want to get that food out."
Missy laughed. "Alright. Wait no longer."
It was at that moment the TV just above the counter in the middle of the diner volume was turned up.
"I have Tessa Sparks here to talk about her tour but before we get into that. Let's talk about what you are still doing in Washington, D.C. I mean seriously, there has to be a guy."
Syler turned his head swiftly. Tessa had her hair in curly pigtails and an ivory headband to match her gorgeous white sweater dress. Tessa smiled cutely. "Not exactly. I found some inspiration for a new song here and I'm playing it out to see how it goes." Her smile widened.
The talk show host grinned, her dimples showing. "So there is a guy? Do tell us more!" She winked at the camera like she was our best friend hinting that they were getting us something good.
"Earth to Syler. What's going on, man? Are my jokes not funny anymore?" Zaz had the usual smirk on his face when he's said something he found amusing.
"Shut up for a moment. I'm watching." Syler pointed towards the TV.
Tessa met the host's eyes. "Let's just say that I'm enjoying the sights of Washington, D.C. I've never been to the Cherry Blossom Festival before. I think I'll try it out."
Syler got up from the table. "I've gotta go."
"But the food just got here!"
"I'm not hungry."
Zaz gaped at Syler. Syler took a $20 out of his wallet and placed it on the table.
"For my half." Then he walked away before Zaz could say another word.
He rushed out the door and started to look for a taxi. Someone tapped him on his shoulder. He turned to see Missy.
"I hope I didn't scare you outta there." The corners of her lips raised slightly.
Syler hadn't noticed how alluring her lips looked before. "Uh. No, you didn't."
She chuckled. "Calm down. I didn't come to hassle you. You just forgot this." She handed him a slip of paper. Syler examined it and it was a 10 digit number with 2 dashes in it. He looked up and blushed.
She smiled widely and walked away. Syler couldn't help but stare. He folded the slip of paper and then put it in his back pocket. Then he thought better of it and put it in his wallet.
Then urgency flooded back into him and he looked for a taxi, found one, and caught it. Syler didn't know what was in store for him but it was going to be different. He smiled at the thought.
Zaz had found his way back to the office from the diner. He worked hard the rest of the day on filing the legal data into their folders. Then he went back to his apartment only to find the door open and the lights on. Zaz kicked open the door. The door swung wide open and there he saw what he expected. His apartment was a mess. There were chip bags on the floor and pizza boxes adorned the floor around his sofa and Zaz could see it clear from the foyer.
Chebron's head peeked from behind the wall. "Dude, what the hell?"
Zaz walked over to him. The hallway opened out into the living room with the kitchen on his right. Chebron sat on the sofa with 2 other dudes that Zaz was only vaguely aware of, Zip and Chip. Zaz had no idea if those were their real names.
"I'm sorry, man. I've been spooked since this whole stabbing incident." Zaz started as he walked in.
It looked liked they were playing Mario Kart and Chebron, as per usual, was beating Zip and Chip. Zaz picked up one of the pizza boxes and opened it to find his favorite kind, pepperoni and jalapeno. "Awesome."
Chebron hit play on his game and they continued. "It's cool. I thought we were about to get killed for a moment though."
Zip nodded. "Yeah, but I would've destroyed them with my karate though."
Chip looked at Zip. "Bitch, please! You took one karate class!"
They all laughed.
"It was a really good karate class though!" Zip assured them.
Zaz chuckled. "Guys, I'm going to be in my room if you need anything."
Zaz walked past the kitchen to the rooms. Zaz's room was on the right but Zaz's attention was toward Chebron's room on the left. There was a girl in there. She was beautiful. She had plump lips and sparkling brown eyes. She had an afro that only a few others could pull off. She was of African descent and she was looking straight at him.
"Well, hello. Who are you?" Zaz said, smiling.
She looked him over and then smiled. "I'm Elena. Who do I have to pleasure to be meeting with." Her sing-songy voice was transfixing.
Zaz walked over into Chebron's room and put out his hand. "I'm Zaz."
"Why, Zaz, Chebron has told me all about you." She said.
Zaz looked baffled. "Really? He hasn't said a thing about you."
She chuckled. "Well, he only met me earlier today."
Zaz chuckled. "Oh okay." I really shouldn't be surprised. It is Chebron, after all. "Well, it was nice meeting you." Zaz turned to leave the room and saw on the bookshelf by the door that Chebron's golden trophy that he proudly displayed had recently been moved. The trophy was for humanitarian achievements Chebron had done in college. All he did to get it was write an article in the school paper about cyberbullying and he got himself that trophy.
Zaz chuckled to himself. Chebron was a horrible person but he had to admit that he knew what to play up.
Zaz walked into his room to find that everything was exactly how he left it. The bed was disheveled as he had woken up late and had to rush to work. And his wall was covered with pictures and info on the Smiley Face Murders. The reason he had woken up late. He closed the door behind him and locked it. He opened up his dark blue curtains and looked out his window to see the green leaves of the ginkgo trees.
There were people walking by and there was one guy with a smiley face hoodie standing across the street. Is that the same guy Syler saw? He then continued walking. That can't have been a coincidence.
Zaz went back to his "murder board" which was right above his desk. Zaz took a seat in his chair and then pulled out his phone. He pressed on the contact and hit call.
"Hey buddy, wassup?"
"Yo, Jack. You got anything for me."
Jack sighed. "Sorry, man. It's the same thing as the last time you called. The description doesn't run a match on anybody in our database. No one has called in our tip line that's worth mentioning."
"Well, thanks anyway, Jack. How about the girl?"
Jack was silent for a moment. "I'm sorry her description is also too general. There are a lot of attractive blonde chicks in this city. Sorry, I can't be of any more help. You know that this isn't my case but I'll keep tabs on it for you. Detective O'Malley is good. He has a great close rate."
"But he still hasn't solved the murder of my father." Zaz said bitterly.
Jack was silent. "I'm sorry but I have to go. I'll call you tomorrow."
Zaz said alright and hung up the phone. Tears formed in his eyes and he slammed his desk with his fist. He looked up at the murder board and his eyes stuck onto the article near the middle. The Smiley Face Murderer Strikes Again!!!! Postal worker Frank Cooper was murdered...
Zaz couldn't bring himself to read the rest. He had given up on trying to find his father's killer once but he wouldn't do it again. Not this time.
Emma Dawling examined herself in the mirror. She had her white dress with the purple lilac pattern on with which she wore her white flower earrings. Her blonde hair was coiffed and her make-up was on. I'm ready.
She walked out of the dressing room and onto the stage. There she saw the set was all set. She walked over and sat down in one of the chairs at the table in the "dining room". The backstage crew ran around ensuring everything was ok. Emma had some time to herself before the curtain was pulled open. Ah, a moment of rest. She led a busy life and these moments were rare.
Her mind went back to what she was doing about a month ago at Tessa Sparks' concert. She had been sitting a good distance away from the stage but she still had a pretty decent view. Rebecca sat next to her. Neither of them had dressed fancy. They wore blue jeans with their Tessa Sparks T-shirts. They read "I love you, Tessa Sparks!". Emma looked over at Rebecca.
"It's been so long since we have done something like this. I haven't had myself a chance to dance like this for awhile and my body is itchin' to dance." Emma said animatedly, moving her arms to the beat of the music playing in the background.
Rebecca chuckled. "Yeah, this is good. I've been missing our adventures. Remember that one time we holed up in that cabin we found in Shenandoah Valley until the owners walked in on us barbecuing the last of our food? What was it? Venison, wasn't it? And they weren't even mad. They just wanted some of our venison."
Emma thought back to that time and chuckled. "Yeah, I remember. We were wild teenagers! Those were some good times."
It was right then that the background music stopped, the lights aimed at the staged turned on, the curtains opened and Tessa Sparks came onto stage. She said "Hit it." And the concert went into high gear. The music was great and Emma and Rebecca had an awesome time dancing to the music.
After the concert, Emma and Rebecca were starting to walk out of the concert hall. Emma had quite a few drinks and she was starting to feel it.
"Hey, I'm going to make a stop at the bathroom."
Rebecca nodded. "Alright. I'll go with you."
Emma shook her head. "Nope, not unless you're going to hold my hair while I vomit." Rebecca made a disgusted face. "I thought not. I'll meet you outside."
Rebecca agreed and headed out.
Emma walked until she found a restroom. She opened up the door, walked in and went for the nearest toilet. She got onto her knees and placed her mouth over the toilet. Then she promptly vomited. She noticed that there was no one else in the restroom. There were only the sounds of running water and something else. She came out of the stall and found by the sinks there was an air vent and out of the air vent she heard voices.
"W-what do you mean?" A tenor voice said.
"I know you saw something, boy. You should've just walked away." A gruff voice said.
Then there sounded like there was a struggle. Emma heard blows being dealt.
"You've just made a mistake, kid." The gruff voice said. Then Emma heard a fast motion followed by a gasp and then it sounded like one of collapsed on the floor. Shit. Oh shit. He just killed him! She grabbed out her phone and almost started calling 911. What if he's still alive? That's when she heard him scream.
She went to her phone's alarm tones and chose the sirens then put her phone by the air vent at the same time increasing the volume on her phone. She squeezed her eyes shut. I hope this works. The sirens went off and they sounded exactly like police sirens.
Emma heard the gruff voice mumble something and then she heard the sound of a door opening and footsteps running away. She waited for a few moments to be sure. Then she peeked out of the bathroom. No one was nearby. She went to the men's bathroom and right before she opened it up she heard a cry. "Help!" It was the tenor voice.
She grabbed open the door and saw the stabbed man's body right away. He wore a blue button down shirt with a black checkered pattern to it. He wore denim jeans which fit him perfectly and a pair of black and blue Converse. His chocolate eyes stared back at her, eyes barely showing with his eyelids nearly closed. Of course the first thing she noticed was the blood stains on his shirt and it was spreading slowly but surely.
"Are you alright?" She asked. The man promptly closed his eyes. I'll take that as a no. She called 911 and got an ambulance on its way. Good thing I was a nurse in one play. She knelt down beside him and ripped a part of his shirt and then used that to put pressure on the wound.
Emma brought her attention back to the present. And the curtains opened causing her start her monologue.
The man with the blonde goatee sat in the audience of the new play at the theatre, The Housewife Spy. He had left his grey skull-knit hat at home today and donned a bowler. He stroked his goatee and watched with enjoyment as his next target, the blonde heroine Emma Dawling, performed. He wasn't ready to take her out but soon he would add her to his collection. He smiled at the thought. Soon.