“I think she would like it.”
I looked at the tiny sapling and the plaque beneath it.
In Loving Memory
“I think she would too.” I smiled, taking Raphael’s arm again.
It was a cherry blossom, in a spot of grass in the park that I knew got lots of sun. A bench was already placed nearby, eager for its future shade.
The Chicago Ballet had contacted me asking me to return to the troupe. I hadn’t replied quite yet.
“So, what’s next?” Raphael asked me as we walked, looking at the frosted ground.
“I want to tell Daniel what happened. And....and I want to find my parents. Or...my father and...grandmother.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
I looked at him and shrugged.
“They all have a right to know, don’t they? And I want to find out why I was out of the loop for so long.”
My phone buzzed and I pulled it out, looking to see I’d been sent a video (yeah I was able to afford a better phone plan, really was great).
I sat down, playing it. Raphael looked at it and stiffened.
When I was at a certain point I paused it, squinting. There was a black smudge on the killer’s skin peeking out of the nightgown, and I pulled down the fabric of my neckline to inspect my own tattoo.
Raphael cleared his throat awkwardly but I was too engrossed in what I was doing. It could very well be my tattoo in the video. Which meant...
“Oh god.” I said suddenly, dropping the phone.
He seemed to realize what I was thinking and picked it up.
“If she was thorough enough to take your clothes I’m sure she could have gotten the same tattoo as you. You could ask the artist.”
Rena was gone. The tattoo parlor was empty, the windows boarded up and the sign had been painted over. I asked around and the other store owners said that some kind of fast food place was set to open there.
Something was going on, but I wasn’t sure what.
It had been a few days before I, in the middle of changing my clothes, noticed that there was a letter hidden in the feather on my skin. I stopped what I was doing and kept looking, finding more and more.
I grabbed a piece of paper and scrawled them all down.
It looked like nonsense.
“Raphael!” I yelled, “Get over here!”
He came into the room and, before he could comment on the fact that I had only one of my shirt sleeves on, I held the paper out at him.
“What does it mean?”
“I...I think it could be some kind of anagram.” He said, scratching his head, “One second.”
Raphael pulled out a laptop and typed the letters in, tapping his finger on the keyboard.
“This program should unscramble it for you...here.”
I looked at a list of possible words, scrolling down past nonsensical phrases until one caught my eye.
Sleep is your enemy.