“I thought about Hannah. The only person I can truly say was nice to me in my entire life. Why did she help me? The thoughts of easy suicide soon turned to indignant disgust. Dying isn’t the answer to my problems. Yes, it would solve everything both for myself and for my reluctant captor who would rather clean up a body than try guarding a prisoner, but what would have been the point of it all. All I had done with my life since Hannah saved me was follow the dark path her mother had predicted. Likely not in the way her mother predicted. But still, I had wrought nothing but evil my whole life. That brought back the thoughts of suicide. Maybe the world would be a better place if I just swallowed these five pills, drank some whiskey and laid my head down on this sociopath’s chest and listen to her lethal heartbeat as my own faded. Maybe the world would be a better place if Jill was not in it. Then something Hannah said stuck out in my head. She called me a rose blooming through a crack in the asphalt. If only she had been right. I started to cry slightly at how wrong she had been.
I was the asphalt.
I started to put the first tablet to my mouth. Then a thought occurred to me. If I end this all now, how could I ever become the rose? I didn’t have to start as the rose. I could just be the seed. Also, if I end this now, Hannah might as well never wielded that tire iron at those four boys. The end result of my death was the same. Suicide wasn’t an indication of how I judged myself. It was a judgment against her and what she saw in me. I put the tablet down. No matter how terrible. I needed to know how my story progressed from here. Even if the ending was just a more horrific version of my heartbeat coming to a stop.
“I’m sorry. I can’t do it. I want to find out what happens next. I don’t want to end my life here and now. Even if what happens next is bad or terrible and I have no hope of anything different. I do want to live to see what it is if for no other reason pure curiosity.” I said. Shelley told me to get up off of her. The cost of admission to listen to her heart was my life and I failed to pay it.
She pulled the gun out of her holster and looked at it, then at me, then back at it. With a slow sigh she said “I have a problem. You have that pathetic puppy dog look on your face. You don’t scream. You don’t plead. You don’t beg, run, fight, cry, or anything (lucky she didn’t see me sobbing on the floor earlier). Literally, killing you would be absolutely no fun for me at all and I don’t even want to do it. The logistical problem is two-fold. One, you are a witness and I have to deal with that fact. And two, your former employer likely knows you are alive and will almost certainly send people to kill you under the assumption that you have told me all their dirty little secrets already. Both of these logistical problems are solved if you are dead but, well…” She looks me in the face and gets disgusted as I simply look back at her “…well, don’t look at me that way. Killing you is like stepping on a kitten or something. You just look so pathetic with those big eyes that it makes it really hard on me to do this.” I wasn’t aware of any look on my face other than confusion and terror. I remembered what Dan had told me. It was one detail that may save my life. “I’m a hacker.” I said. Her eyes brightened slightly. “You know, I need a hacker.” She relaxed a little. “Ok, maybe we can make this work.” I nodded. Perhaps this could work. Even if it lead down dark paths at least I would still be walking. She continued “Ok, how about this. I won’t kill you now. That will make things easier for us to get along. You work for me for a while and see if you like it. If you don’t, no hard feelings, then we’ll come back here with these pills and whiskey and you can listen to my heart while yours slowly comes to a stop. Does that sound like a deal?” I nodded…”