Someone must have seen him, because the police were at his door. He scrambled the velvet curtain shut from his bedroom window, eyes wide in disbelief. Rayan closed his eyes and covered his mouth, almost as if he was repressing a scream. He turned away from the window and sat at the edge of his bed. I can’t go down now, he reasoned, they’re probably going to ask mum some questions first. Ding dong. He stood up and inhaled deeply through his nose, breathing right back out. He repeats this a few times, until his breath steadies out.
Rayan is no sitting duck. He opens his bedroom door and listens out on the landing. The familar drone of his mother chastising the police is oddly soothing. He feels reinforced in his lie, reinforced in himself. Surely, he’ll be lucky enough to get away with it, with the rate his mum was screaming at them. He smirked to himself and ruffled his hair, clean and soft as can be, exhaling a gentle sigh of release. You’d never know there was blood in there, he thought satisfyingly to himself. Another sign they were going to get away with it.
He retreats back to his bedroom to await the end of the visit, to go and give his mother the puppy eye treatment and perhaps make her a cup of tea for all of the trouble she had to endure. Fourteen and he knew how to be his mother’s favourite child, no easy feat when you’re one of 6. Schmoozing people, it turned out to be a valuable skill – they wouldn’t have been able to make this removal so easy without it. Once he’s done school, Rayan dreamed of becoming a businessman.
He sits down at his desk facing a window, opening up his Macbook. Rayan chuckles, the initial paranoia is always the worst, and yes, maybe this job wasn’t as clean as most times – but hey, nothing’s perfect. He opens his Discord tab, and messages into the ”fallen birds of prey” server. He missed a bunch of messages, so he reads through them all. Nothing special, the gang is celebrating as per usual. He hesitates before he messages
”y’all better off deleting chat history. cops at mine. all is good”
He proceeds to delete anything remotely incriminating. Although his mother’s ability to love him reassured him, it’s always better to be safer in these scenarios. He reached for his phone in his jean pocket next. The crew all make sure they clear their tracks at regular intervals, so it doesn’t take him long to open the right apps and messages.
He hesitates over the icon of his gallery. To delete or not to delete, as always. He opens the gallery up, scrolling down to the images taken a mere four days ago. He enlarges a few, eyes wide and hungry, devouring every detail in the three images. His fallen birds. His mind demands to remember exactly what happened, exactly how it all felt – if it were not for the fact there was an authoritative knock on his door. Rayan’s head jumps back up, and he swivels around to face the door.
”Just a sec!”, he calls, to the unwanted strangers at his door. With a huge sigh, he hits delete on three images, throws his phone on his bed, and welcomes destiny into his room.
Categories: Short Story