From the Ashes-Part 8
“Nothing yet about Nick?” Jason asked Kristen through his cell phone. He knew he was calling her too much, but he couldn’t help it.
“We’re looking for him, Jay. No leads yet,” his partner said calmly.
Jason paced the hallway outside of Nick’s apartment. If Kristen knew he was there, she’d be aggravated, but he couldn’t worry about that now.
“Did you check his phone records? Internet history? Anything?”
“Jay,” Kristen said, trying to keep her voice steady. “Calm down. And don’t go back to his apartment.”
Jason looked at his friend’s apartment door before lying to his partner that he’d steer clear of the place. It was as if she sensed he wouldn’t listen to her. He hung up with Kristen and pulled out his lock pick set, ensuring no one was around to see him breaking and entering.
The apartment was exactly as he suspected it would look. Nick’s mess was still there but it was clear the police had added to the chaos when they searched. Buried under a pile of clothing on a messy table was a laptop. Jason frowned, wondering why the cops didn’t take it to search out Nick’s internet searches.
Slapping on a pair of latex gloves, Jason carefully removed the mess from the computer and lifted the lid. The laptop came to life, and a small box appeared asking for a password.
Jason whispered to himself as he typed in potential passwords. “Hmmm…girls? Too obvious. Sex? Nope. Drunk?”
Every attempt blocked him from access. Jason cursed to himself before realizing what the most obvious passcode could be for his longtime friend.
The laptop’s home screen appeared, and Jason laughed to himself. He almost missed Nick’s ridiculous misogyny.
Jason opened the search engine and checked Nick’s history. Pages about nonlethal drugs, memory lapse, drugs that metabolize quickly, and how to figure out dosing filled the list. Jason’s mouth dropped open. How could the police miss the laptop, and if they did check it, how’d they miss this? He continued to read through Nick’s most recent searches and found tabbed and bookmarked websites on anxiety and depression. There were also a few saved pages about Nick’s brother’s accident. Jason’s stomach churned as he delved deeper into the articles and blog posts his friend was exploring before his disappearance.
Next to the laptop, underneath a pile of dirty dishes, was a stack of newspaper clippings about the car wreck that killed Nick’s brother Matt. Some areas were highlighted, particularly those that called the wreck an accident due to mechanical issues. Jason knew the accident affected Nick, even if his friend pretended that partying made it all better in the end. Just as he was going to move onto another pile, a business card caught his attention.
“Red,” Jason read, noting that it was the last club he remembered being at when his memory faded. On the open space near the club’s details was a handwritten note:
“Nicky, everything will be ok in the end if you trust that you can overcome any obstacle. Rise like the Phoenix, my friend. –Brian”
“Who the hell is Brian?” Jason muttered to himself.