I came to on the taxi ride back to Plum’s house, with no memory of how I had gotten there. Any attempt to recall anything brought on a confusing jumble of images and sensations. It was a relief to just sit back and allow my mind to go blank.
I didn’t find the emptiness strange, attributing it to exhaustion. From Delilah to Hiromi and Aki, I had just been through a lot, in the space of a few hours. The absence of thought was relaxing. For the first time in forever, there was no fear, no niggling concerns, no anxiety provoking problems or responsibility weighing me down.
There was however, a slight pressure at the edge of my consciousness. Some task that I had to complete, but couldn’t quite recall. Thinking about it made my left arm itch with alarming intensity. I pulled back my sleeve and saw nothing but clear skin. When I scratched, my fingers detected raised areas under the skin and traced a pattern extending from wrist to elbow. A memory bobbed up from the murky depths of my consciousness and I recalled Hiromi drawing something on the underside of my forearm.
The driver pulled up to the gate and the guard granted us access. When I attempted to pay, the driver waved away the money and said my friend had taken care of it. Our eyes briefly met and the gravity of his expression made me uneasy. There was terrible knowledge in his eyes. Before I could say anything, he turned and his manner became dismissive. All of my trials and tribulations still hadn’t made me bold enough to speak up and insist that he tell me what he knew.
Instead, I reluctantly climbed out and stood watching the taxi drive away. Delilah responded to the ringing doorbell. She opened the door and walked away, without looking at me. Earlier, I had dreaded out next encounter. What do you say to someone who suddenly knows all of your deepest darkest secrets?
We had acquired knowledge of things about one another that most people take to their graves. However, when she opened the door there was none of the anticipated awkwardness or embarrassment. I felt detached from my emotions. My only sensation was the itch which slowly intensified to a burn.
The place looked great. Everything was back in place and the marble floors were so clean they shone. You would never known a battle had taken place in that house. I found Plum in her room, brushing her hair in front of the mirror over her dresser. She briefly looked over at my reflection in the mirror and addressed me without turning around.
“There you are! What the hell happened here? The girls and I came back to find my room a mess and Delilah passed out with blood down the front of her shirt. I thought her nose would never stop bleeding. Hello? Earth to Patricia. I’m talking to you!”
I didn’t respond, because I couldn’t. It felt as though someone suddenly flipped a switch inside my head and took control of my body. I couldn’t stop myself from running at her. One hand reached into the inner pocket of my jacket and pulled out a dagger. Where the hell had that come from?