Trigger warnings: Violence, domestic violence, blood. More blood than usual. You know what, just assume blood as a given from now on
The house was furnished with long leather couches, a minimalist fireplace and even a fountain, yet it was a jarring imitation of luxury in a neighbourhood such as this. Though it was noon, all the blinds were fully down. An effort to keep the media at bay, perhaps.
“Why are you at my home, if you’re not the press?” asked the manager. “If it’s money you want…”
“We’re not interested in money,” said Cap. “We just wanna know one thing, Caden. The truth of why you were there, in your own words.”
“You can tell us,” said Rowan. “Don’t worry, we won’t tell a soul.”
“Start from the top,” said Cap.
“Why aren’t you there with them?” asked Zeke.
“I would be, but someone had to make sure you didn’t starve to death. Cap and Rowan didn’t want to miss the chance to play good cop bad cop, and Elowen, uh, wants to put off seeing you as long as possible. In fact, she would prefer not to see you ever again.”
“The feeling is mutual.”
“How much do you know?” asked the manager.
“Where to begin,” said Cap. “I know you dated Lexi Lilly.”
“My cat was our shared cat,” said Lexi Lilly.
“I know you shared the cat.”
“We were happy for almost a year.”
“But the bliss didn’t last past the anniversary, did it?”
“He started being jealous. Asking me where I’d been, who I was talking to…”
“You became controlling.”
“He yelled at me.”
“Then you started verbally abusing her.”
The manager’s face was white as a sheet and his hands trembled. “H-how…”
“He hit me once,” said Lexi Lilly quietly.
“And in the end, you resorted to violence,” said Cap. “And that wasn’t all, was it? Not even close. Look, Caden, I could keep going but we all know where this will end. We know everything, alright? How would it look if the world knew about this? So start talking, and don’t leave anything out.”
“So there are four of us,” said Alyssa. “The twins are spellcasters.”
“They’re twins, huh.”
“Yup. And Cap, eh, who knows what Cap is. He’s definitely a Sensitive like you, but is also a bit insane.”
“Wait, what do you mean by Sensitive?”
“You can see me, right? I’m sure you’ve guessed, but most people can’t.”
“What even are you exactly?”
“I don’t think there’s an official term,” said Alyssa, “but people call us ‘sleepwalkers’. I’ve also heard ‘comawalkers’ and ‘bloody abominations of nature’. Basically, we’re people in a coma whose consciousness wanders around.”
“Why can I see you though?”
“Who knows? The one thing I’ve learnt while in this state is, there are rules, but most of them are made to be broken.”
Zeke put another letter into Alyssa’s outstretched hand. “Why are you telling me this stuff, by the way?” he asked. “What if I decide to jump out the window and tell the police?”
“Why, because they’re gonna believe you?”
That shut him up.
“They already came by,” said Alyssa. “Some snitches recognised us from the news. But we made sure we had alibis, and the police are now looking for people who look like us. A wild goose chase. I could ask the same to you though, why are you asking me this stuff?”
“I think it’s a pretty logical response,” said Zeke.
“I dunno, honestly we thought you’d try to ram the door down. I was even prepared to knock you out again.”
“It was the letters, those damn letters,” said the manager.
“It killed you to know she didn’t destroy them?” said Rowan.
The manager snorted. “Like she would. They were letters from her precious band leader.”
Lexi Lilly gasped. “Wait, are you talking about-”
“Lexi,” murmured Elowen.
“Oh, right. Sorry. He’s talking about the letters I wrote to Dilan, the leader of my old band. I never told anyone about those, how does he…”
“So the letters to Dilan,” said Rowan. “They sparked your jealousy.”
“You would have thought the same! She complained to him about me!”
“So, like I said, there are some general rules,” said Alyssa. “Unfortunately, most of the rules we’ve found have been broken at some point. So we gotta take them as guidelines rather than law.”
“Ok, what are some of the rules that haven’t been broken so far?”
“Well, bear in mind that we don’t have the biggest sample size. But one of them is, no one who wakes up from their coma remembers what they were up to when they were sleepwalking.”
“Another good one is, the stronger your coma self gets, the weaker your corporeal self gets, and vice versa. That’s why, unless you’re a long term stable sleepwalker like me, you should try not to do things that push you closer to the other side.”
“Like, trying to interact with people you know, that’s one of them. Most of the time, that’s no big deal. But like I said, there have been exceptions.”
“You’ve been opening my letters?” cried Lexi Lilly, her fingers curling up in indignation.
“Lexi,” murmured Elowen again.
Lexi Lilly bit her lip in anger.
“You said you have them, right?” continued the manager. “You saw what they were like. Back and forth they went, like two bloody lovebirds in a tree. It was that last letter she wrote. That damn letter, it just… I had suspected for some time, but to see the evidence that she had been cheating on me…”
“What?” shrieked Lexi Lilly.
“‘I wrote this song thinking of you,’ she said. She wrote that song while we were still together! I couldn’t let her send that letter, that song should have been mine.”
“So you planned it,” said Cap. “Waited until night, covered your face, drove to her house.”
“No!” said the manager. “It wasn’t planned, I didn’t mean to do it! I was very drunk, and I just wanted to scare her. But she started screaming, and running, I don’t even remember having the knife-”
The manager looked up. “What do you mean, what?”
“You stabbed her? But that fan confessed,” said Rowan, bewildered.
“I… what… you said you knew…”
Three of the four heads in the room turned to Lexi Lilly.
“What are you looking at?” cried the manager.
Lexi Lilly couldn’t think. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t hear anything over the sound of her heartbeat. Her heartbeat as it pushed out the blood.
Over her clothes.
Over her hands.