She could hear the police sirens in the distance. A sound of alarm and warning, but it did not disturb her. It was just one track of sound in the symphony of cacophonous noise which was her daily playlist. Children shrieking, dogs howling, blaring car horns-nothing out of the norm. And so she poured her coffee and began to review what tasks lay ahead of her that day. Pick up the dry-cleaning, call Hong Kong, get her eyebrows waxed. If there was time-drop by the post office to see if the package had arrived. In one fluid movement, she swept up her mug, hung her purse squarely on her shoulder and stood to leave. There was no sense in lingering in an empty apartment.
The apartment hadn't always been an empty burrow for a thirty-something woman to come rest her head each night. Three months ago, it was a sanctum of peace and love. A place where two lovers united daily to comfort and assuage themselves from the terror of life. But now that was gone.
Tock. Tock. Tock. Marielle clicked her heels on the concrete and checked the time. 9:13 am. Her heart skipped a beat and she quickened her steps. The bus arrived at 9:15 am. Maybe he would be on it today. She had always seen him on the route 40 bus this time of day. Maybe he would know something about Liam. She pretended not to care, but Liam's absence was driving her mad.
They had argued one night about nothing in particular and everything in general. Vague accusations of heartbreak and neglect were made and after reaching emotional gridlock, the words, "just leave!" escaped her mouth, in direct opposition to the clamor in her heart.
The bus came to a stop, just as she turned the corner. A tall, thin man wearing an over-sized black hoodie bolted out. It was him. "Hey!" she called. The man looked her way and widened his eyes in surprise. "You!" he shouted. "Where is Liam?!"
"I-I don't know," she stammered. "I was hoping you could tell me!"
"It's worse than I thought then," the man said. "Come with me, miss."