From The Ashes – Part 6
Jason stared at his arms, watching the water run over the pink scrapes and scratches zigzagging over his skin. His brain quickly flashed to Tara running her fingers across the flesh of his arm, the memory making him stumble back against the shower stall tile.
With a swift turn of the faucet, Jason ended what should have been a relaxing shower and grabbed his towel. He ran through his apartment searching for his cell phone, dripping water everywhere.
“Gotta find Nick. See if he remembers anything,” he mumbled to himself.
“This is Nick! I can’t talk now because, well, who knows what the hell I’m doing, right? Leave a message! Beeeeep!”
Jason threw the phone down onto the carpet, frustrated to get Nick’s voicemail again. He sat on the couch, head in his hands, willing another memory to resurface. He needed to piece the night together and fast.
A minute later, his phone rang, but it wasn’t Nick calling him back. It was his partner Kristen.
“Are you home? Anything new come to mind?” she asked without saying hello.
Jason sighed and answered, “Just a flash here and there but nothing solid yet. Some scratches on my arms I didn’t notice earlier. I’m going to head to the hospital and make sure everything is ok.”
“That’s good,” Kristen said gently. “We’ll figure it out.”
“I need to find Nick, the friend I was with last night. Maybe he knows something,” Jason continued as he paced his apartment. “I tried calling him a few times but he’s not answering. I hope he just has a bad hangover.”
“Keep me posted,” Kristen said. “And I’ll let you know when tox reports and evidence have anything.”
“Evidence should pick up something…DNA…fibers…anything,” Jason said quietly.
“Jay,” his partner soothed. “You didn’t do this. I know you didn’t. We’ll get to the bottom of it.”
Jason hung up the phone and sat with his eyes closed for a minute. He tried to breathe away his anxiety before getting himself together to head to the hospital. After a few exhales, he felt better, but just as he began walking toward his bedroom, another flash of memory stopped him in his tracks. This time, he and Tara walked along the sidewalk, arms draped around each other, laughing. Another flash and he was kissing her.
The cab ride to the hospital was a blur. He remembered telling the driver to head to New York Presbyterian’s ER entrance and remembered paying the man and exiting. But everything in between was clouded in memories of kissing, hugging, walking, and even grabbing hold of the dead girl when she was very much still alive the night before. But none of it made sense. It was a jumble and when he remembered pieces, it was like watching a movie, not reliving a memory.
He tried Nick’s phone a few more times while he waited to go into an exam room, but it only went to voicemail. His many text messages went unanswered, and after a while, Jason was concerned that something terrible had happened to Nick, too. Maybe he should send an officer to his friend’s apartment for a wellness check.
All Jason’s tests came up clean, except for a slight concussion that the doctor said could be interfering with his memory. The scratches were minor and minimal, and after a couple of hours, the hospital sent Jason home. Instead of heading to his apartment, he decided to do his own wellness check on his friend. Jason turned toward Nick’s apartment, hoping to find his friend sleeping off a drunken stupor.
“Nick! Buddy, open the door, man,” Jason called out as he knocked on Nick’s apartment door. “Come on, Nick, wake up. You know I can get this door open, right?”
Jason dialed Nick’s cell phone one more time before pulling out a lockpick set concealed in his pocket. It was a skill he’d picked up on the job from a superior officer who showed him a few secret tricks to make hairy situations easier.
When Nick’s voicemail popped up again, Jason took matters into his own hands and popped the lock. He looked around the hallway for any witnesses before taking a deep breath and entering the apartment.
He was apprehensive about what he’d find inside.