Double Hearts-Part 1
I shrugged at Jenna in response. I bent down and squinted, studying the brick wall once more. I was hoping the letters would change, that somehow, I’d misread the large and blotchy message spray painted in red. The words blurred as tears filled my eyes. These weren’t tears of sorrow, though. I wasn’t sad, not even a little bit. I was far too angry to be sad.
“Who would do something like this?”
The disbelief in Jenna’s voice comforted me, but it also fueled my anger. Jenna was sweet and, even though the two of us were in college now, she was still innocent, still naive. Life hadn’t caught up with her yet. She still believed life was good, that people were good. Part of me hated that this would tarnish her view of the world. The other part of me thought this would be good for her. I didn’t like that part of myself, but it was there all the same. Jenna wrapped an arm around my shoulders and squeezed tight.
“Don’t worry, we’ll go to campus security. They’ll clean it off and find out who did this.”
I already know who did this, I thought. The proof was in the frazzled swirl of the W and the delicate inscription of my name. The derogatory word was distressed, frenzied, splattered against the wall in hurried, angry strokes. My name, however, was different. Elle. The word flowed off the wall in dainty, elegant lines. It stared back, taunting me with its careful composure. It almost looked as if the two were written by separate culprits. I knew better. There was only one person in the world who could paint my name as if it were a blessing from the divine and then curse me with the fury born from the depths of hell. Jonah.
When the realization hit, I froze. Cold, dread dripped an icy path down my spine as hot fear clogged my throat. I closed my eyes against the barrage of memories I’d been keeping under lock and key. Jenna squeezed me tighter.
“Elle? You’re shaking.”
I pried my eyes open and forced air into my lungs. It wasn’t him. Couldn’t be. My gaze caught on the two looping “l’s” and I swallowed. Jenna shifted to block my view.
“Elle, do you know who did this?”
I looked up and almost smiled at the intensity in her eyes. Righteous indignation. It radiated out from her rosy pinked cheeks to the tiny balled fists at her sides. Just like that, the spell of past-life trauma was broken. Tension drained from my body in an instant, and I relaxed. Jonah didn’t do this. He couldn’t have.
“No, Jen. I don’t. But you’re right. We do need to see campus security.”
I left the eerily familiar message and headed towards the security building on the other side of campus. Anger flooded me once more. Someone was fucking with me. Someone who knew my past, a past which had been burned and buried years ago. No, it wasn’t Jonah who wrote that message. That I knew with absolute certainty. What was left of Jonah Marks was buried in an unmarked grave over a thousand miles away from here. I should know. I was the one who put him there.