You don’t think about the future until you are forced to live in it. You speed through four years of college, and then your future is standing there at the finish line pinching you to let you know it’s real and it’s ready for you.
My name is Anaya. It is African, and it means admire God which is ironic because I don’t necessarily believe in a God. However, my parents believe God is the reason for the blessings in their life. They thanked him for making it to America after a horrid journey to get here from Sierra Leone. Then, they thanked him again with my name after two years of fertility doctors, and no luck getting pregnant, then finally having me.
I was raised Christian, but I kind of lost my faith. After leaving home for college, I stopped praying and going to church. So, I guess you could say religion just slipped through my hands like sand. I started living life by my own book instead of the holy book, The Bible. Now I am a fresh college graduate and I have an interview with my dream company.
There’s this popular new app being run out of Silicon Valley called TourDe. It was created in San Francisco, a popular tourist city, by this guy named Kurt Daniels. The app is wonderful. It is used for tourists so they don’t have to rely on companies to give them tours of cities. It shows you different popular spots and landmarks you may want to visit in the city, locals can list their favorite spots on there as well. There’s a map with each tourist spot pinned on it with reviews. It will tell you how to get there using your vehicle or other transportation also. It also links up volunteer locals to show tourists around. The most popular part of the app though is the tour led by your phone. Your phone can lead you through a tour like a guide can. It’s also really cheap, it’s only $7 a month. Most U.S. cities have a TourDe page on the app, but some places are not registered yet. I fell in love with the company when I took an internship here through my school last year, and now I’m interviewing here.
I know they say most new graduates work as janitors, or fast food workers, or those people who stand in front of businesses dancing with signs, but I may be getting my dream job already. It took me sending the CEO an email once a month my entire senior year (I would have emailed once a week, but I didn’t want to come off as a stalker) until he finally invited me to come in to interview, but I am almost there. I am starting my chapter of adulthood in my book of life…
My interview is at 9am, and here I am up at 5am. Traffic to work is terrible here in the city, but I would still have plenty of time to get down there even if I slept until 7. I am too nervous though. My future is in the hands of this CEO, and I do not handle rejection well.
After a quick shower, I stand in front of the mirror. My lucky black dress is hanging on my door. I grab it off the hanger and slip it on.
“Anaya!” My roommate busts into my room talking loudly.
“Geez! I got on my clothes just in time. Why didn’t you knock?” I scream covering my privates with my hands like I’m naked.
“Oh come on. We lived in the dorms together and had communal showers. I’ve seen all of you. Our whole floor probably saw your nakedness.”
“What did you need? I am leaving for my interview soon.”
“I came in here to wish you good luck. I packed you a to-go breakfast for the road. I’m so happy for you babe.” She smiles hugging me tightly.
“Thank you so much. This is such a big opportunity. I hope I don’t blow it.”
“Oh please! You are the smartest person I know. You would be a great asset to that company.”
“I hope they think so.”
“Well, I have to get to work. Just glad I caught you before you left. I know how early your day starts when you’re nervous for something. Tell me how it goes later.”
“Of course. Thanks.”
I laid back on my bed and squeeze into my stockings, then slide on my black high heels. I like moments when I get to dress professional because it makes me feel important and successful.
I grab my keys and the breakfast Darcy left me on the counter and head out the door. My future will be bright, or it will be doomed, in just a few hours.
I get stuck at a red light and decide to pop open the breakfast Darcy made me.
I open the lid to the bowl and the smell of cinnamon and honey jumps around in my nose. In the bowl is oatmeal and a side of grapes. I grab the little spoon she put inside and eat a scoop.
Darcy has always been a good cook. She is the oldest of her and her three siblings so she loves to cook. She is used to it. Me on the other hand, I am an only child. I even suck at making cereal but I am very near and love cleaning. So, it creates a balance in our apartment since she cooks and I clean.
After three spoons of oatmeal, the light finally turns green. I hit the gas and resume to my interview.
I pull up to the large and modern building. It is all made of glass, so you can see the inside perfectly. I walk towards the entrance past rows and rows of luscious, green, bushes. Then I pass three bike racks full of bikes.
The receptionist buzzes me in as I am about to stick my finger out to mash the button to get in.
“Hi. How may I help you?” The petite, blonde, receptionist smiles.
“Hi. I have an interview at nine with Mr. Daniels.” I say wiping my hands on my pea coat. They are really sweaty; I am so nervous.
“Are you Anaya Dimka?”
“I mean ma’am. I am so sorry!”
“You’re nervous. Don’t be! This is a relaxed, fun, office. Think of it as you would think of a college campus. But, not college around finals.”
“Well, Anaya you are an hour early, so have a seat in the main lobby and then you will be called in when he’s ready for your interview.”
“Feel free to stop in the café. Today, there’s complimentary cronuts and coffee.”
“Thank you so much.”
I grab my backpack from off of the floor and head to the lobby. The office is so colorful and lively. Each department of the company has a small square room for their offices. In each room, there’s a television, a cluster of desks, a hammock in a corner, and a couch in one corner.
The lobby is even more flashy. There’s colorful and expensive art all over the walls, seats hanging from the ceiling, a few green and blue couches that match the company’s logo, a big furry white rug, a foosball table and air hockey table, and in the corner there is even a slide that leads to a ball pit. There is simply so much going on. Employees are all over the place with their laptops.
I take a seat on one of the blue couches. I have on a dress, and I am short, so I do not feel like trying to climb into one of these hanging chairs even though they do look cool.
I don’t like being on my phone while I am waiting for interviews, because I don’t want to seem obsessed with my phone, making them think I would be on my phone all the time while I am working so I just stare at the wall.
The wall I am facing is a large mural of the company’s logo. The company’s symbol is a personified Earth. In the logo, Earth is wearing a stereotypical Hawaiian tourist shirt with a camera around its neck. It’s definitely unique and original.
I begin to get hot in my jacket because I sweat a lot when I am nervous, and I hate it. I slip my jacket off and stuff it into my backpack.
“Anaya?” A handsome young man smiles pointing his index finger at me.
He looks very clean and successful. He has dark brown hair slicked into a comb-over and blue eyes. He is wearing a navy blue suit with a black button up under and black oxfords. An expensive watch is wrapped around his wrist. He smells fantastic too, like expensive cologne.
“Yes. I’m Anaya.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Kurt. Are you ready for your interview?”
“Oh. Sorry. Yes. Hi Mr. Daniels.”
I guess I did not do my research well before my interview. I had no idea what Kurt Daniels looked like. I never saw him when I did my internship either, he is usually really busy.
“Nice to meet you too.” He smiles, a hypnotizing smile, showing his dimples and pearly white teeth before shaking my hand. “Follow me to my office.”
I raise up from the couch and follow behind him. He walks really fast. He is pretty lean and tall, so he walks in bigger strides than me. I try to keep up behind him, making sure not to get too far behind.
“So how do you like the office?” He says slowing down so I am walking next to him.
“I think it’s great. It’s very relaxing and unique.”
“Thank you. My goal when designing the place was to have something that didn’t produce stress or give off a boring work vibe.”
“I think it’s great. The employees seem to like it.”
We board onto the elevator and head to the top floor, the third floor.
“Did you make it to the café for the complimentary cronuts and coffee?”
“I did not. I had breakfast before I came.”
“That’s wonderful. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
We stepped off of the elevator on the third floor. The ceilings are open, so you can see down the other two floors. The third floor is small. The only thing up here is a large room that is his office and a conference room. I guess he wants to feel on top.
“After you.” He smiles opening the door to his office. It is nice. He smiles so much. I wonder do his cheeks hurt from smiling so much.
I walk in and look around. There’s little pictures all over one wall from the business and the other wall is covered in awards, certificates, magazine covers, and other bragging pieces. Not one piece of the walls is uncovered. He has an amazing view of the city as well. He walks over behind his large black desk and takes a seat in his black oxford chair.
He likes blue I see. The furniture in his office is black (a desk, a few book shelves, and a table) and there’s blue accent chairs on top of a black furry carpet. The floor is blue and black marble swirls. He can live out of this office if he wants. There’s a television and a couch, and there’s even a walk-in closet in here full of suits, shoes, and a few casual pieces of clothing.
“Have a seat.” He smiles waving his hand over the two blue chairs in front of his desk. He is still smiling; I cannot believe it. They say smiling burns a few calories; it must be the reason Kurt Daniels is so fit because he has not stopped smiling since our interview started.
“Thank you.” I smile taking a seat, wiping my hands on my dress as I sit. He takes a seat at his desk after me.
“So, Anaya. You were very consistent in your emails, so I had to give you an interview.” He smiles at me fiddling with a Rubik’s cube.
“Yes. TourDe is my dream company to work at. I interned here last year and I fell in love with the passion of the employees, the positive and comfortable atmosphere, and the mission and purpose of the company.”
“Did you bring any documents for me?”
“Yes sir.” I pull out a manila folder containing a copy of my transcript, a copy of my degree, a resume, a letter of interest, and I even have two recommendations.”
“Thanks.” He says flipping through the papers. “Did you just say you interned here? That’s spectacular! Through which school?”
“Berkeley alumni. Wow. That is one of the best schools, and nearby. I am a Harvard man.”
“What did you major in?
“I majored in English. I love reading and writing. What was your major Anaya?”
“I majored in computer engineering.”
“Impressive Ms. Dimka.” He smiles. He sits the Rubik’s cube down, that is now completed, and crosses his legs.
“Do you have any experience with coding or with working with a tech company?”
“Well, I have done internships at different places, but never a paid position.”
“How much experience would you say you have?”
“Well I interned places junior and senior year, so two years?”
“That’s great. I am glad you have experience, so your ability to do the job is not questionable. But, what would you do if you got the job?”
“If I got the front end job, I would design excellent platforms for the users to use. I am highly skilled in coding and using different software. I am also very passionate and would help users have the best experience possible. “
“Are you a good team player?”
“Yes. I work well in groups where everyone works together, contributing ideas and creating projects and solutions together.”
“How about if you have to work alone?”
“I am good at that too. I am a very flexible worker. I can handle different situations and environments.”
“That is good to hear. One last question, why do you want to be a front end?”
“I want to be a front end because they play a critical role in a company’s success and in the user’s experience. They develop programs and content that are a prominent piece of the app.”
“Thank you for coming in to interview. I also noticed you got here an hour early. I love your punctuality.”
“Thank you.” I say standing up and shaking his hand. I wonder did I get the job. I know I just graduated in the Spring, but I have the degree, the experience, and the passion. I think I said all the right things. Or, I hope so.
“Before you go, I am going to show you the room where our three front ends work. We are currently looking for a fourth. I like even numbers. Plus, it’s a demanding job. They could use another two hands.”
We walk down the steps to the second floor to a room that had a sign that said “front ends” on the door. It has all of the pictures of the front ends on it.
He lightly knocks then opens the door. The three workers are sitting at their desks discussing something. There are two boys and a girl.
“Hey Kurt!” The girl waved.
“Hello guys. This is Anaya. She is your new front end. I wanted to introduce her.”
“Wait, did you say I am the new front end?”
“Yes. Congratulations. You get the job.” He smiles.
“Thank you so much.” I squeal.
“You are welcome. But, your recommendation letters, credentials, and background got you the job. Not me.”
“Congratulations.” The girl smiles walking over to me and hugging me. She is tall. She has wild brown hair that smothered my face as she hugged me. She is dressed in a purple floral dress with converse.
“Thank you.” I smile.
“This is where you will be reporting to starting Monday, and these knuckleheads will be your team.” He says shutting the door behind him as we head down the stairs towards the parking lot. “Tomorrow and Friday, you will be with HR going over salary, signing papers, and going over other important employee information.”
We arrive to my car, a white 2008 Volkswagen Jetta, and he shakes my hand.
“When I hire a new employee I like to treat them to lunch to get to know them better. It’s about that time right now. Are you free?” He says with his hands in his pockets.
“Oh. Sure. Yes.” I nod. I can’t say no to the boss. I did plan on meeting Darcy for lunch though, but she will understand when I text her. She will be happy I got the job.
“Okay. You can follow me.” In big and confident strides, his keys swinging on his finger, he walks over to his designated parking spot and hops into a Porsche Mission E with flat black paint and dark blue rims. I get into my car as his motor hums to life. I start mine and then followed behind him to a restaurant. Just like with his walking, it is impossible to keep up with his speed in his fancy car.
I turn behind him into this empty restaurant called Meatless. I park next to him, since the parking lot is empty, and we walk inside together.
“Hi Kurt!” A cute redhead waitress with freckles smiles at him. You can tell she likes him.
“Hi.” He nods as we are seated.
“I spent four years so far in the bay area, and I have never heard of this place. What is it?” I ask flipping through the menu looking for my comfort food, chicken strips and French fries.
“It just opened a few months ago. Really great place. They open at noon, but I pay them to dine here before they open so I don’t have to deal with a crowd. I’m a people person, and a people pleaser, but sometimes I like to be alone, especially when I am trying to enjoy a meal.
“Oh, that’s nice.”
“They are a vegetarian spot. I am not vegetarian, but I will eat vegetarian meals sometimes to be healthy. Have to maintain my body.” He chuckles.
“Are you guys ready to order?” The waitress smiles with her tablet to put in our orders.
“I will have the grilled veggie and hummus wraps. No tomatoes, and sauce on the side.”
“And for you?” She smiles looking at me. After three flips through the menu, I still have no idea. My go to food at a restaurant is not even an option here.
“Um, I will have the linguine with spinach-herb pesto.”
“Okay. It will be out soon.”
“Thanks.” Kurt nods. You can tell he wants to call her by name but he cannot remember it. I wonder what is their relationship with each other. He is a single, handsome, and rich man so it wouldn’t be hard to believe that he is also a player.
“Do you come here often?” I ask making small conversation.
“Yes. At least once a week. I usually have my assistant come grab me some for lunch and take it back to my office though
“I never heard of it.”
“Wow. You are missing out! I am glad I have given this new experience to you. When you taste their linguine you will become hooked.”
“Yeah. I hope it’s good.”
“Trust me. You should trust me.” He smiles as the food came to the table.
“Thank you.” I smile at the waitress.
The delicious smell fills my nose and makes my stomach growl. I pull my fork out my napkin and stick it into my food. I look over at Kurt and he has his head down, and is mumbling, so I silently sit my fork back down. He is praying. Judging by his personality and his life, I would have never thought he would be religious. Praying is something everyone does, especially inauthentic celebrities, but Kurt seems devoted to a religion judging by his rhetoric in his prayer.
“Amen… Great. Now let’s dig in.” He smiles clapping his hands together as he finishes. He sits a napkin on his pants then starts cutting his wraps with a knife and fork, plopping pieces into his mouth.
“You were right. This is so good.” I say after scarfing down a huge fork of linguine.
“Told you. And, I am always right.”
“Thank you for treating me to this Mr. Daniels.”
“Again, call me Kurt. I am only 26. Being called sir or Mr. Daniels makes me feel old.”
“Okay. Sorry Kurt.”
“No problem. So, where are you originally from?”
“My parents came here from Sierra Leone in Africa, but I was born and raised in Nevada.”
“Interesting. I was born and raised in Santa Clara, not too far from here.”
We sit in the empty restaurant savoring our food and enjoying small conversation until it is time for the restaurant to open. Kurt seems like a really great guy and a very intelligent guy. I am lucky to have him as a boss.
I get a to-go tray then we head to our cars.
“I will see you tomorrow Anaya. And, don’t be worried if you don’t see me sometimes. Sometimes I am so busy, there are days I don’t even leave my office. Then, sometimes I travel for things. You know, CEO duties. But, if you ever need anything don’t be afraid to call me or text me or knock on my office door. Welcome to the team!”
“Thanks Kurt. See you tomorrow.”
“Enjoy the rest of your day. HR should be sending you a welcome email telling you your salary and other information and giving you documents to print out and have ready for training tomorrow.”
“Okay. Thanks for letting me know.”
“Okay. Back to the office I go. Enjoy the rest of your day Anaya!”
“Thanks boss.” I smile and wave. His motor quickly hums to life and he backs out and speeds fast out of the restaurant back down to TourDe.
I sit my leftovers in my passenger seat and start up my car. I cannot hold in the big news anymore. I decide to call Darcy right away.
“Hello? I can’t talk long; my lunch break ends in three minutes”. She says quietly.
“I won’t be long. Guess what?” I smile. I wonder can she tell I am smiling through the phone.
“Chicken sounds good right now. Kurt took me to a vegetarian place for lunch.”
“Kurt Daniels right? You did your interview at a restaurant?”
“No. It was a celebration lunch!”
“You got the job? Oh my god Anaya!”
“Yes! I am so happy!”
“Congratulations girl! I am so happy for you! He gave you a celebratory lunch, but I don’t care. You are getting a celebratory dinner tonight!”
“Thank you! I’ll let you get back to work.”
“Okay! I am going to brag to all of my coworkers!”
“Haha. Okay. Bye! See you later!”
I hang up the phone then get on the road back to our apartment in San Francisco. I hope my parents are both home. I am going to video chat with them and tell them the news. They are going to be so happy. All of their sacrifices and all of their hard work has paid off. They got me through college and now I am employed with one of the ten most successful tech companies of the year. Their dreams were dreams for me, and now by reaching my dreams I have completed their dreams as well. I am so happy and I know they will be as well.
I get back to our apartment and I flop down on the couch. I fix my hair and make sure there’s no lunch in my teeth, then I hit the button to video chat with my parents on my laptop. They are not tech-savvy, but they learned how to video chat when I moved away for college years ago.
I sit impatient and anxious, as it beeps, waiting for them to answer. Then, my dad finally answers.
“Hi dad!” I wave to him as he squints at the screen, even though he is wearing his glasses.
“Hi baby! How are you?” He smiles in his thick accent.
“I am doing better than ever, and I will tell you why as soon as you and mom are here together. Where is mom? Also, how are you?”
“Your mom is coming; she was pulling a cake out of the oven. And, I am wonderful baby. Your mother and I are using our vacation days from work to go on a cruise this summer!”
“Wow! Exciting! I will be working this summer. I got a new job.”
“A new job where? Don’t sell yourself short. I hope it is a career and not some silly job.” My dad says concerned and curious.
“Hi honey! Hello my beautiful girl!” My mom says excitedly, crouching down so she is seen by the small square camera, running over to the computer. Her apron is covered in flour.
“Hi mom. Glad you both are here now. I have incredible news for you.”
“Please do not be pregnant. Sex before marriage is a sin!”
“No. That’s not the news.”
“You found a man finally?”
“No mom. Haha. Something I consider more important. I got my dream job!”
“Wonderful news! Baby! I am so proud of you!” My dad cheers.
“See. We prayed and God has answered! What a blessing!” My mom cries.
“Yes.” I smile. But honestly, I did not pray for the job. I haven’t prayed since I was a kid.
“All of our hard work has paid off. You have become a beautiful, strong, and intelligent young woman Anaya.” My dad grins.
“Yes. I am who I am, and I do what I do, because of you guys. Thank you for everything mom and dad.” I wish I could hug them right now. I am long overdue for a visit home. I will have to visit before they leave for their cruise.
“We are so happy. We have to tell everyone the good news.”
“Okay. I am going to let you guys go. I have to go run some errands before dinner.”
“Love you!” They say in unison.
I shut my laptop then go in my room to get out of this outfit. I turn on the television to watch the news as I examine my closet for something casual and comfortable to throw on.
“Breaking News! We have an update on the story of the Silicon Six! A seventh woman has gone missing, and investigators have reason to believe she is connected to the other recent six deaths that have occurred over the past four months. This victim has been identified as Iliana Vandercamp, a 23-year old college student who worked at the new vegetarian restaurant Meatless. Like the other six murders, her body was discovered in a locked chest that was abandoned on the side of the road on Interstate 101. Meatless is currently under investigation, and as soon as more details of the homicide are released, you will hear them from us first here on SF News at Noon. Have a nice day.”
What an eerie coincidence. I was just at Meatless a few hours ago and one of the workers has been found dead. I wonder how long ago it happened. I wonder how the restaurant feels. That redhead worker didn’t seem disturbed when we came in, it was like nothing had happened. But, I guess the news did just get out.
I shake the thoughts of my head and finally throw on a pair of ripped jeans cuffed at the ankle, a black and white striped shirt, and I slip on my red Toms.
While waiting for Darcy to get home, I decide to clear my room. It is a catastrophe from trying to find the perfect interview outfit.
I turn on some indie folk and begin to clean. I throw all of my dresses back on hangers and stuff them into my closet, all of my shoes are neatly thrown back into my closet, and I even decide to make my bed.
I look around my room satisfied. The walls are covered in different things. One wall is covered in floating shelves of books, the wall with my bed against it is covered in little polaroids of family and friends, and my other wall has different awards and certificates. I am a pretty simple person. There’s not many decorations. My bedspread is plain black and all of my furniture is white. I am simple.
I flop down on my bed thinking about this Iliana woman, and then my door opens startling me.
“You scared me Darcy!” I whine jumping up throwing a pillow at her.
“Hi employed girl. You are going to be making the big bucks.” She smiles climbing into my bed next to me.
Darcy is short, she stands at about 5’3. We roomed together freshman year of college. We were roommates that actually liked each other and became best friends. We have been inseparable ever since.
Darcy and I have such unique personalities. I am quiet and into books. Darcy is loud, feisty, and wild. But, our differences mesh together so well. We complete each other, and pull each other out of our comfort zones since sometimes I will have her read a book with me, or sometimes she will drag me to the club.
She’s really pretty and petite. She’s half Mexican and half black with long curly brown hair and green eyes. She’s been trying to help me with my confidence, but it’s hard to be confident when society doesn’t see your worth. I am dark-skinned with dreadlocks and plain brown eyes. I have never had a boyfriend either.
“So what do you want for dinner?”
“I am not sure.”
“Where did you and your boss go for lunch?”
“Meatless.” I smile nervously wondering if she has seen the news.
“Oh my god. Did you see the news?” She said shocked gripping my arm. There goes my answer.
“Yes. And, it is so tragic, so sad, and so weird.”
“How did the restaurant seem?”
“Fine. The waitress was actually flirting with Kurt. Everyone was alright. But the news was just barely released, so it may be different now.”
“That is so crazy girl.”
“I know. Because I visited the restaurant, I feel some sort of personal connection to this case. I have this yearning to get to the bottom of it.”
“Don’t stress honey. The police are doing their job.”
“I know. But, I can’t shake this sense of obligation and guilt and curiosity.”
“Do you think anyone at the restaurant is behind her murder?”
“I am not sure. I want to go back though.”
“I want to go too. How about we go for dinner?”
“Okay. Have you eaten vegetarian before?”
“No, but I am sure it’s not hard. If I can have something with cheese, I am good.”
“Yes. You’ll like it. They’re actually good.”
“Cool. Want to go now? I can drive.”
“Sure. Then maybe we can grab ice cream on the way home and watch a movie when we get back.”
“I would love that!”
“Okay. Let’s go.”
Darcy is a crazy driver. She also has a mustang, so that makes her an even worse driver because she is not only driving crazy, she is also driving fast.
Buildings and other scenes blur together as we pass them. You can see the reflection of her red car in the buildings as we shoot past them.
“This feels so far.” She mopes speeding up at a yellow light before getting caught at it as it turns red.
“Yeah. I guess it kind of is. Didn’t feel like it earlier. I guess I was just on a new job high.”
“Too late to turn back now though.” She smiles smashing her foot down on the gas even more making me jerk back in my seat. Thank goodness for seatbelts.
We pull up to the restaurant and there are tons of cop cars and reporters out. I wonder did they find Iliana’s murderer.
“Looks like we took that drive for nothing.” Darcy sighs resting her head against her steering wheel.
“Wait. We may not have gotten food, but I think I may get information.” I say hurrying taking my seatbelt off as I spot the waitress from earlier. She’s an inside source I can get information from on Iliana.
“Food is more important.” Darcy whines. It is crazy how much she eats and how skinny she is. She has a phenomenal metabolism.
“I will be right back.” I smile getting out of the car.
“You can’t pass this line miss.” An officer says sternly, grabbing me as I try to walk under the caution tape to the waitress.
“Waitress!” I scream. I feel bad for forgetting her name. I forgot it just like Kurt.
She is standing a few feet away from the door smoking a cigarette. She looks stressed.
“You need to leave miss.”
“Hold on. I know her.”
“She cannot talk right now. We need to question her.”
“Please. It’s important.”
“Well then text her or snap her or whatever you kids do. She cannot come see you right now.” He says annoyed, holding me back with just one arm. Either he is strong or I am weak.
The cop has given me a brilliant idea. I can just text her.
“Waitress! It’s about your co-worker! Text me!” I scream my phone number hopping up so she can see me over the tall and muscular police officer.
To my relief, she actually types the numbers into her phone. Or, at least I think she did. Now it will just be a waiting game.
“Sorry officer.” I say embarrassed as I walk back to the car.
“You go girl! Don’t take no for an answer!” Darcy laughs impressed, high fiving me as I put my seatbelt on.
“Thank you. It’s just really important to me.”
“I understand. I saw how important it is as you jumped up and down shouting your number. I didn’t support you getting into this at first, but if it’s important to you I support you and I am here for you. Just be careful babe. I don’t want it to consume you, or to ruin your life, or get you in some sort of trouble. Your life is coming together great and I don’t want your involvement with this to ruin it.”
“Thank you best friend.” I smile hugging her before we drive off.
“Now let’s head home.”
“Let’s stop for burritos on the way home, and a gallon of ice cream.”
“You know me so well.” She smiles at me in awe.
The city has some of the best burritos. We devour them while we watch a marathon of our favorite reality show, Child Actor Moms. We are so stuffed; we didn’t even get to the ice cream. We ended up going to bed.
I wake up in the morning and look for something to put on. The dress code is casual, so I get to wear my favorite thing which is jeans. I grab a pair of black skinny jeans off the hanger, slip on a jean shirt, and step into my black converse. I tie my dreads up into a bun with a red hairband, then head out the door to my dream job!
I get to work and everyone is standing in two lines across from each other with their hands in the air forming a roof above me. They are all shouting words of encouragement as I pass through. There’s balloons that say “welcome new girl” and a bunch of confetti is being thrown at me as I walk down their line. At the end of the line is Kurt standing behind a cart with a large, round, black cake, with yellow flowers along one of the sides, that has “Congratulations Anaya!” written in edible glitter on it. I feel so lucky to have such a welcoming and friendly bunch of co-workers. And, even better, I have such an awesome boss. This all just feels too good to be true to me since my life is exactly where I want it, and at such a young age. I know dreams become reality with hard work, but most of the time things that are perfect are a façade to the grotesque reality that is sneaking up behind you.
“Thank you guys so much for the warm welcome. It really makes me feel excited for this job.” I smile as we all stand in a circle around the cake.
“Make a wish.” Kurt smiles holding a lighter in front of the cake, there is no candle though.
“I made a wish.” I smile. It is a little white lie though since I did not make a wish. What else could I possibly wish for? I have my dream job, a college degree, my family, a dear best friend, and it seems like things are only going up from here. I don’t need a wish, because my wish has come true.
“By the way, I do not smoke and this is a no-smoking workplace.” Kurt says maintaining that mystical smile.
“Can we have cake now please?” A co-worker smiles. She is wearing a dark blue romper with black strappy sandals, and a fuzzy black sweater over it.
“Do us the honor Anaya.” Kurt smiles handing me a large cake knife. It is so shiny and clean yet it also looks worn and abused.
I grab onto the blue wooden handle and poke into the smooth black cake, right through the “A” in my name making everyone’s eyes widen since they’re ready for cake.
I cut up a bunch of slices and hand them to all of the co-workers, then I cut one for myself. We stand around chatting and eating cake, and I get to meet a few of my co-workers before Kurt tells us it’s time to work.
I throw my scraped up plate into the trash, then head to the HR department for my first day of work. I still can’t believe I am an employee of TourDe.
When I get home from work, the apartment is empty. Darcy must be working overtime tonight. She is a teacher at an elementary school, so she often has very long work days. She has a very demanding, challenging, tedious, and unfortunately unappreciated career.
I flop down on the couch and my phone goes off. The waitress from Meatless is calling me, and I m so happy she is getting back to me.
“Hi. It’s Melanie.” She says, and her tone sounds distraught.
“Melanie. Hi. How are you?” I say with sympathy since she just lost her co-worker. And, I am glad she reminded me of her name because I did not remember it. I will not forget it again, Melanie.
“I am okay. I am in disbelief. She was my best friend, my roommate, and now she is gone.” She says broken up, struggling not to cry.
“I am so sorry to hear that.”
“I try not to think about it, but before I can move on I feel there is something that needs to be explored…”
“And, what would that be?”
“I am feeling kind of weird about your boss, Kurt Daniels.”
“He was on a date with Iliana, and that is the last night I have seen her.”
“That is a weird coincidence. He doesn’t seem capable of murder though. He’s a really sweet guy. I have known him for less than a week, but I didn’t get a creepy or dangerous vibe from him at all.”
“Yeah, he doesn’t. But, maybe he knows what happened after their date.”
“And, the weird thing is that she was texting me from her phone everyday up until last week.”
“So strange, what was she saying?”
“She had said how she was spending the weekend at her parents and that she would see me when she gets back. We text messaged, but never talked on the phone. I should have been suspicious, but you never think things like this could happen to you or someone you love.”
“So whoever murdered her kept her phone and used it to message people, to convince people that she is still alive.”
“Yes. I don’t think it’s Kurt Daniels, but I don’t think it would hurt to ask questions.”
“I don’t think it’s that easy. I just got this job, I can’t jeopardize it.”
“I understand, but I just don’t know what to think.”
“To be honest, it didn’t sit well with me that the restaurant I ate at today is drowning hours later because of a murder. It makes me feel connected to Iliana’s death, and I will do whatever I can to get to the bottom of it. She deserves justice.”
“Thank you so much. I will be your partner; we will find that murderer together.”
“Yes we will.”
“We should meet for coffee one day.”
“That can definitely be arranged.”
“Great. Okay, I will let you go. I have a meeting to attend. Thanks for your involvement.”
“No problem. And again, I am so sorry that you lost your best friend.”
“It’s part of life, but it’s the most devastating part. Thank you for your concern.”
“Okay. I will let you go now. Bye.”
I hit the red phone button to end the call, and I decided to call my boss Kurt out of curiosity. I know he is a busy guy, but I hope he answers.
I give up after a second call. Maybe I can catch him at work tomorrow. I decide to pull something out of the refrigerator for dinner. Darcy is still gone. I forgot she has parent teacher conferences for the end of the school year tonight.
I pull out some leftover broccoli casserole and heat it up. I eat in front of the television, and this show Laugh Out Loud is interrupted by another news announcement.
“Hello viewers. We have another critical update on the Silicon Six story. The recent victim Iliana’s autopsy has been released to us and it is confirmed she suffered from six stab wounds in her chest. Because of the similar style of death, police have linked her murder with the other six women. They are currently looking for the Silicon Seven murderer, and they have a few suspects in mind. We will update you with more news once we find out. Be sure to visit our website, SF Daily Report, where you hear big news first. Enjoy your night, and be safe.” The male news anchor said solemnly.
The news is so depressing, and it just makes me so anxious. I grab my empty bowl and wash it out. As I dry it off and place it in the pantry, my phone begins to ring. I pull it out of my pocket and look at the caller id, it’s Kurt.
“Hi Anaya. Sorry for missing your calls earlier. I was in a meeting with an investor.”
“It’s okay. Thank you for calling back.”
“So, what did you need?” He says sweetly. I actually do not know what I need to say to him, or ask him. I did not think he would answer or talk to me.
“Um, well I just wanted to say thank you for the welcome celebration today. I didn’t get to say it earlier.”
“You are welcome Anaya. I want you to feel welcomed and appreciated. I appreciate and care for each of my employees.”
“Thank you for being the type of boss you are.”
“You are welcome. You know what, I know it is not best to bring religion into work, but how would you like to come to church with me Sunday morning? I remember your past with religion briefly came up during our interview, and I can help you find God again. I think you will like my church.”
“Sure. I would love to. Thank you for the offer.”
“No problem. I can pick you up. Be ready at 9:00am. Dress appropriately.”
“Okay. Will do.”
Then he hung up, without even warning me with a goodbye. I remember Kurt praying at the table when we went out for lunch, but I had no idea he was this devoted to a religion. I guess this will be a good way to get to know him better, and to try to sneak in a few questions about Iliana.
I slip my phone back into my pocket and walk into my room to pick out my outfit for tomorrow.
Sunday comes quick, and I have no idea what to wear to church. Church is so different in modern times from dress code to preaching style. I decide on a plain blue and white polka dot dress with a cardigan and my brown oxfords. I tie my hair into a ponytail then head out the door. As soon as I lock the door, Kurt pulls up.
He hops out of a fancy dark brown new Mercedes G-Class, leaving it running, and comes over to hug me.
“Hi.” He waves walking over to me.
He is wearing his trademark hairstyle with a midnight blue sweater rolled to his elbows, and he has on a black and white striped button up under but the only visible part is the collar that is folded down over the sweater. He is also wearing khakis and black oxfords.
“Nice car. How many do you have?”
“Three. The sports car, this SUV, and I have a GMC truck.” He says proudly.
“That is so cool. So, are you ready to head out?”
“Do you mind if I use your bathroom first? I didn’t have time to go before heading over here.”
“You don’t have to explain yourself, go ahead.” I smile unlocking the door and opening it for him to walk in.
“Oh my god. You are in my apartment.” Darcy says star struck as she shakes Kurt’s hand.
“He has to use the restroom. Don’t stall him.” I smile leaning against the door waiting.
“Nice to meet you.” He smiles that perfect, luxurious, smile.
Their handshake lasts for two minutes as they stare and smile at each other. Darcy has wooed my boss. I guess no type of man is resistant to Darcy’s charm.
“Excuse me, I have to use the bathroom.” Kurt smiles breaking the silence.
He comes back from the bathroom and walks over to Darcy.
“Aren’t you going to be late church boy?” Darcy flirted.
“I will risk tardiness to give you my card. Call me sometimes. I would love to take you out to a five-star meal.”
“I would love that too. Now you better get going before the priest gets upset.” Darcy whispers to him.
“Call.” He winks as we walk out of the door.
We get into his fancy, fast, SUV and it is like that random flirtation never happened. It would be weird for my boss and my best friend/roommate to go out. I don’t even know if I want her dating him until I find out more about him. Darcy is the sibling, the sister, I never had.
“So, what religion do you practice?” I say over the classic rock music he has playing lowly on his huge touchscreen stereo.
“Catholicism. I was born and raised a catholic, and I still am one. I have become a billionaire, own a popular app, and I have graduated college yet the thing that makes my grandma the proudest of me is that through it all I still go to church and keep my Catholic faith.
“That is really sweet.”
“Yeah, maybe at church today you will find faith again.”
“Maybe.” But, maybe not.
“It will be good to visit the confessional with me after as well, since it’s been a while. You apologize and he forgives you for your sins, no matter what you did. This is prominent because you want to make sure to always stay on God’s good list.”
We pull up to the church and it is a small, old, church in Santa Clara. Kurt seems like he would have been a member of one of those modern mega churches.
“This is the church I went to as a kid. You’ll meet my family; they’re supposed to be saving us seats. My mom and grandma always get here early to talk to our priest.”
I wonder have all of the co-workers met his family or been to his church. Maybe he was inspired to bring me because of the conversation we had about my name, then my religious past which conversation always comes up after people find out the meaning of my name.
“Let’s head inside. Services will be starting in five minutes.”
We walk into the small church. I follow behind him to a bench in the third row. There’s a small blonde woman sitting next to an even smaller woman with gray hair.
We walk over to them and they stand up and hug Kurt.
“Hi mom. Hi grandma. So happy to see you two beautiful women today.”
“Hi honey bunny.” Kurt’s mom smiles pinching his cheeks like he’s a little boy.
“This is my newest co-worker Anaya. She will be joining us for services today.” Kurt smiles scooting over as they walk towards me to hug me.
“Such a beautiful name, and a beautiful girl.” His mom smiles. Kurt must have inherited his frequent smiling from his mother.
“Her name means admire God.” Kurt smiles as we sit down on the benches.
“Oh wow! Beautiful! I am glad you admire God. That is the key to life and happiness.” His grandma says sweetly staring at my hair. I wonder if she is judging it or admiring it.
“By the way, my name is Sheena, and my mother’s name is Betty.” His mom smiles.
“Nice to meet you both.” His mother and grandmother seem really nice. I remember in an interview last year he did an episode of Soul Barers and he had admitted he was raised by a single mom.
“I really like this girl Kurt.” His mom winks at me.
“Mom, she is my employee so that is an inappropriate relationship.”
“Plus, he is interested in my friend.” I giggle. I finally let my guard down with Kurt. He seems so intimidating, but now I realize he is a normal person and is very relatable and cool. Maybe it is because he is not wearing a suit today.
“Oh, who is her friend?” His mom says defensively.
“She’s a teacher. We went to college together.”
“A teacher? Oh no honey. That I will not allow. She is only after your money with her scarce teacher’s salary!” His mom said. I don’t know if this comment makes her mean, or simply a protective mother.
“Mom. That is out of line. Besides, it’s not like I am going to marry her.”
It is hard to hear them bash my best friend like this. She is a great person with so many phenomenal qualities, and her best quality is her career. I admire teachers. They create doctors, lawyers, dancers, singers, and much more through their teaching. They deserve better treatment, and pay.
“Well, you need to get married soon. You cannot keep going on all of these dates with these whores. They’re only making you sin. You need to get married so you can have sex the way God intended, with a spouse you marry.”
“Mom. Again, that is out of line. We should not be talking about my sex life in church, and I would prefer not to discuss it with you at all. It is uncomfortable.” Kurt whispers agitated and embarrassed.
“I’m sorry too. Here comes the priest, so let’s quiet down for services.”
Church is finally starting, saving me from enduring the rest of the awkward and intimate conversation between Kurt and his mom.
“I hope you enjoy.” Kurt smiles and whispers to me as the priest begins.
After the services, we say goodbye to his mother and grandmother, who make sure to complain about my generation being impure, and needing forgiveness instead of just being pure and abiding by God’s laws like them, before they left in his mom’s Prius.
“Let’s head to confessional.” Kurt smiles after we watch his mom and grandma drive away.
I follow behind him to this dimly lit room. It is empty and silent. There are two booths, one for the Priest and one for the confessor.
Kurt walks over to one of the booths and turns around and smiles at me, and gives me a thumbs up, before closing the curtain to the booth. As it closes, I see him motion the sign of the cross.
I decide to creep closer to the booth to see if I can hear what Kurt says. It will help me find out a little more about him, for the truth of someone’s soul lies in their secrets.
He begins to speak, and I try my hardest to listen.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. My last confession was one week ago. This week, forgive me for all of my sins that I will list right now. First, I am sorry for having sex with Iliana. I also apologize for my seventh moment of weakness. Finally, I am sorry for the alcohol consumption, and for my greed. If I forgot any sins, I am sorry. I know they have been forgiven with the others, but I will confess the forgotten next week, if any exist. Thank you.” Kurt said. His tone sounded so vulnerable and shaky, yet confident.
“94 Penance.” The priest said in a calm, yet demanding, tone.
“I will do my Penance, and thank you so much for forgiving me and absolving my sins.” Kurt says excitedly exiting the booth. I hear him coming out so I hurry and get back away from the booth.
His confession is so broad that it is hard to dissect, but the one about the seventh weakness sounds so abstract and interpretive, yet it still stabs at my mind begging to be dissected and unveiled. I can’t think of it now though, I have to go into this booth and confess to a Priest.
“Guess it’s my turn.” I say forcing a smile before disappearing behind the curtain in the booth.
“Hi. I have never done a confession, so bear with me. Since I have never done a confession in my 23 years, it is difficult to think of every moment of sin, so I will just say I apologize for everything I have done wrong to you. Thanks. Bye.” I say feeling enclosed and suffocated by this booth full of sorrow and dirty sin.
“172 Penance.” The monotone voice says for me. I don’t know whether a lot of penance is good or bad, but I am granted way more than Kurt.
“I don’t know what Penance is, but thank you.” I say exiting.
“That could have gone better, but congratulations for being brave and stepping in there. And, thank you for trying out my church. I hope it was an enriching experience for you.” Kurt smiles as we walk to the parking lot. He is the last car here, aside from the Priest’s Mercedes.
“I am starving.” Kurt says making a quick, sharp, turn out of the parking lot.
“Me too. I didn’t have time for breakfast this morning.”
“That sucks. We can stop at a drive-thru before I drop you off.
We stopped by a sandwich shop and got sandwiches and chips then he dropped me off.
“Thanks for the church and thanks for the sandwich.” I smile leaning in to his car through the rolled down window.
“No problem. Thanks for the good company.”
“Good luck with Darcy.”
“Thanks for reminding me of her name.”
“Okay. Bye.” I wave as he speeds off.
I walk into the apartment with my sandwich. I plop down on the couch and begin to devour it. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until biting into this small honey-wheat square of heaven.
“How was church cutie?” Darcy smiles stealing a few of my chips.
“Okay I guess. I felt disconnected and a bit disinterested honestly.”
“Maybe I will be invited to go with him next week.”
“So, you like him?”
“What’s not to like? He’s rich, handsome, intelligent, and sweet.”
“Yes, I think he is. But, I am having a hard time validating these things.”
“What are you saying, I shouldn’t date him?”
“Well, not until I find out more about him.”
“I can find out more about him myself.”
“What if something goes wrong.”
“Then oh well. But in case something goes right, I have to try.”
“I don’t know…”
“Anaya. A rich and almost perfect man is interested in me. It doesn’t hurt to try.”
“Oh no Darcy. You sound like a gold digger.”
“Anaya. It is not like that. Let me go on a date with him. Don’t act like a parent.”
“It’s your life, do what you want. I already gave you my advice.”
“Thanks darling.” She smiles pulling me in for a hug.
Church and confession exhausted me, so after finishing my turkey and avocado sandwich, I head to my room for a nap.
My mind becomes so active when I am not busy, so I begin to think about Kurt’s last confession. He called it his seventh moment of weakness…
It is too much of a coincidence that he is apologizing for a seventh of something around the time a seventh girl has been murdered, and that seventh girl was last seen with Kurt before she was murdered. I wish it was a crazy coincidence, but it just cannot be. There are too many pieces of information that are screaming Kurt did it.
Work today has been great so far. I am done training with HR and get to work with my team in our office. I even decorated my desk today finally with pictures of friends and family. I also found cute little desk things, like a desk calendar, a deck of inspirational quotes to be placed on the desk, an organizer, and a small vase with small fake flowers.
I have a meeting with Kurt in his office, to discuss my first week as an official employee. It’s a small check-in meeting I am doing before I go home for the day.
I knock before going into his office. I stop in front of the door, startled by the sight of Darcy in his lap at his desk.
“I am so sorry. I thought you said come in.” I say looking down awkwardly. Ever since I have come to my personal conclusion that Kurt is the Silicon Seven killer last week, I have been uncomfortable around him.
“Oh, I did. She was just leaving.” Kurt smiles kissing Darcy’s hand as she grabs her purse and walks towards the door.
“What are you doing here?” I ask confused. I didn’t even know they began talking. “We are having an early dinner in Wine country after his meeting with you. We connected so well, so today we have our first date.” Darcy grins goofily. She is wearing a tight black pencil skirt, a white ruffled crop top, and black strappy ankle high heels. Her wild curly hair is up in a bun.
“Oh. I didn’t know. Well, good luck.” I sigh hugging her tightly.
“Better have her home tonight, or I will have to call your mom.” I said jokingly to Kurt. But, I honestly mean it. If she is not home, I will call someone, but instead of his mom I will call the cops. I cannot lose my best friend. And, I simply cannot just see that happen to another woman.
“Of course.” Kurt laughs a contagious and harmonic laugh.
“Bye guys. I will be waiting in the lobby for you Kurt.” Darcy smiles waving as she shut the door behind her.
What do you do when you know someone you love is in danger and there’s nothing you can do or say to stop them from getting hurt? I want to stop her from going out with this guy who I have reason to believe is dangerous, but I know nothing I do or say will stop her. All I can do is try to make sure I obstruct him from doing anything heinous if he is the person I have grown to think he is last night.
“So, Anaya I promise you don’t see me this much once you become an official employee. I just want to see how you are doing since you are new. How would you describe your first week?” Kurt asks as he fiddles with his rubix cube again.
“It has gone great. College has actually prepared me for the work I have done here so far. I also have an amazing team.” I say. I didn’t want to say much more. I don’t know how I feel about him, but until I find out if my idea is the truth, I have to respect him since he is my boss.
“That is great to hear. I am glad you are enjoying it here. I have also heard nothing but good things about you from your team and HR. Keep up the good work.”
“Thank you Kurt.”
“Any questions for me?”
I want to ask him about Iliana, and what his intentions are with my best friend, but I don’t have enough evidence to make accusations like that.
“No, no questions.”
“Okay. Then, that concludes our short meeting. I officially declare you an employee of TourDe”
“Okay. Great. Thanks.”
I want to be more excited, but now I do not know if my dream company is the company I work for after all. I do not want to work for a twisted murderer.
“Enjoy the rest of your day.”
I raise from the soft chair and exit out of his office. I pass by Darcy on the way out. I try one last time to deter her from wanting to go out on a date with him.
“Hi babe.” Darcy smiles as I sit on the couch next to her in the lobby.
“Last chance to back out of your date.” I whisper in her ear as we hug.
“I am not backing out. He’s a great guy. I have never scheduled a date with someone so perfect.”
“You know, the more someone seems perfect, the less they are. He has some flaws, some major flaws.”
“What do you know that you are not telling me? You cannot try to prevent me from going on what may be my best date ever without telling me why.”
“Hey, you ready to head out? Our reservation is for twenty minutes.” Kurt comes over interrupting us. He has perfect timing to save himself and his date.
“Of course cutie.” Darcy smiles in awe.
“But, what about our conversation?”
“You can tell me later babe.”
“Thanks Anaya. See you tomorrow.” Kurt smiles.
“Bye Anaya. We will talk later, maybe tomorrow. Love ya!” Darcy winks.
Hopefully we can talk tonight, or tomorrow. If I don’t then that may mean Darcy is his eighth moment of weakness. I slip my backpack onto my shoulders and head to my car. I will be eating dinner alone tonight, so I decide to grab something fast.
I grab Chinese from my favorite Chinese place then head to the apartment. I park in the garage and pull my phone out, hoping I have a message for Darcy. I hope the restaurant catches on fire and everyone has to be evacuated, or there’s a salmonella outbreak, or a bomb threat is called in, or there’s a robbery, or maybe a riot ignites… I know it is evil to wish that on all of the restaurant guests and the workers, but I just don’t want to lose my best friend. She is
I sit in front of the television, my phone in my left hand and my container of shrimp fried rice in the other, full of anxiety instead of this delicious food because I have lost my appetite.
I decide to call Melanie and update her on the past few days. We still haven’t met up for coffee yet.
“Hi. It’s me, Anaya.”
“Hi Anaya. You sound overcome. What’s wrong?”
“My friend went on a date with Kurt and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
“Oh, I am so sorry. You know what though, I tried to talk my friend out of her date with him too. I didn’t think he was an evil guy, but I thought he was an egocentric player who would break her heart, so I tried to talk her out of it. She did what she wanted to though.”
“I know, and now I have reason to believe he may be the killer of Iliana and the other six women.”
“Oh my god. What did you find out?”
“I went to church with him Sunday and then to confessional. I don’t know if I heard him clearly but he apologized for his seventh moment of weakness.”
“Seventh moment of weakness, what does that mean?”
“I think it means the seventh murder he has committed.”
“Oh god. I hope your interpretation is wrong.”
“I have to get to the bottom of this.”
“How?” Melanie says beginning to cry.
“I am going to just confront him. If Darcy returns home tonight, or in the morning, then he is not the killer. But, if she is not home by the morning I am bursting into his office and questioning him about my friend.”
“Sounds very brave.”
“I never thought I was brave; I guess I found out I am now that I have to be.”
“What can I do?”
“I just want you to keep documents of everything so we can get a file together for police.”
“I can do that.”
“Okay. Thanks. I hope we get to the bottom of this.”
“We will. And, I am glad I have found a friend. Iliana was all I had, now I am glad that I have been able to find another good person to bring into my life.”
“I am glad we have become friends too.”
“I will let you go. Try texting your friend to see what is going on.”
“Good luck. Bye”
I hang up the phone and try dialing Darcy. To my surprise Darcy answers.
“So glad you answered. How is your date?” I say relieved.
“We are leaving the restaurant. When we got there, they were closed because there was a bomb threat. It’s the end of the school year, so probably some silly seniors. But, we are just going to grab pizza and go back to his place.” Darcy says seductively.
“Oh, a bomb threat. Wow. That is scary. That is a sign to just come home.”
“Please stop trying to ruin my date. I have to go soon okay? So what did you call for?”
“Darcy. He is a murderer.”
“You are that desperate to get me to cancel my date? That is an extreme and absurd accusation to place on someone. Especially him, he is the sweetest and sanest person I have ever met. I see no crazy bones in his body. He is incapable of doing something like that.”
“I think there’s more than meets the eye, or the smile.”
“he is devoted to his catholic faith, so he can’t commit a sin like that.”
“Well, if he’s engaging in premarital sex and other sins, what other sin might he be committing? I mean, what’s one more sin to him? In his eyes, confessing and apologizing for his sins makes it all go away and purifies him like he’s a videogame that gets to start over with a new life.”
“You must be bored. What made you think of all of this?”
“Darcy listen to m-”
“Okay. Kurt is telling me to hang up unfortunately. I don’t blame him. This is his date, so he should have all of my attention. I am turning my phone off, so don’t bother texting or calling. I will talk to you when I get home tomorrow. Stop worrying so much, I am fine. Enjoy the rest of your night. Bye now.”
She hangs up before I can warn her again. I try calling back one more time, but it goes straight to voicemail meaning she has turned her phone off. Now, it becomes a waiting game…
The next morning comes, and Darcy still has not made it home for her walk of shame. I want to go in to work late, just to see if she comes home. But, I am still in my first month so I have to go in. I waste all of my time staring at the door waiting for it to open and for Darcy to walk through, so I have to skip my getting ready ritual and just throw on the first thing I pull out of my closet.
I throw on a long red and black plaid button up shirt, black leggings to my ankles, and my black ankle boots. I fix my hair quickly in the mirror, then drive off to work.
I get to work and it destroys my mood. I become more anxious, more angry, more curious, and more hysterical. I do not know how I am going to get through the work day today.
When I get on the elevator, I run into Kurt of course. My fists ball up and I want to attack him with questions, and with my fists, but I have to calmly approach him about Darcy.
“Hey Anaya.” Kurt smiles rubbing his thumb along the rim of his coffee cup.
“Hi. How was your date?”
“It was kind of a bust with the restaurant, but once we got back to my house things turned around.”
“She hasn’t come home yet. Do you know where she could be?”
“She was too embarrassed to endure a walk of shame, so she decided to go home after you left for work. I had got her a taxi.”
“Oh. Okay. She should answer when I call then.”
“I am not sure.”
“Why is that?”
“She got called in last minute to fill in as a chaperone for a camping trip with the fourth graders at her school because one of the chaperones got sick.”
“Oh. I will still try though.”
“Don’t take offense for me asking, but is there a reason you are being so protective over Darcy? Like, are you jealous that she gets to sleep with me, or are you jealous I get to sleep with her?”
“No. I am not gay and I also am not attracted to you. I am being so protective because a date with you was the last time Iliana was seen alive.” I say making Kurt flinch and squeeze his cup tight making the lid pop off. It flies and hits the roof.
To only be going up one floor, this has been a really long elevator ride. As soon as Kurt’s mouth opened to reply, the elevator dings and I pretty much run off to conclude that tense conversation. I head over to my team, and try to get through work. I know I am not getting away with my accusation though, since I am working for the man I just accused of murder.
I get called to his office during my lunch break. I don’t know what to do or say. I feel wrong for making that statement. I shouldn’t put the blame on him until I have good, solid, evidence.
“Hi. What did you need boss?” I say sweetly.
“It seems like we have a misunderstanding. And, I can’t live with that. I don’t like my soul to be misjudged, especially negatively. So, I think you should come to dinner at my house tonight so we can clear this ignorant and chaotic rumor up.”
“Sure. I can do that.” I say nervously.
“You haven’t told anyone else your false accusations right? I hate lies to be spread about me, especially something so extreme and immoral. I am hurt you think I could do something like that. I would never do that to anyone, especially a woman when I was raised by a great one.”
“I am sorry. I haven’t been thinking straight I guess. But, don’t worry. The thought is gone, and I haven’t told anyone else about my idea.”
“Okay. Great. I will text you the address right now.”
“Okay. Thanks. Should I bring anything?”
“Just yourself and an open and unbiased mind.” He smiles that bright, charming, smile.
“Okay. Thanks for inviting me.”
“And, I am sorry for going out with Darcy. I didn’t know it would upset you. I thought you were okay with it.”
“It’s fine. If you guys want to go on a second date, go ahead.” I say feeling bad for getting in the way.
“Okay. So I will see you later, around seven? And, if it will make you feel better try calling Darcy so you know she is okay.”
“Okay. Thanks boss. Bye.”
I kind of feel bad for thinking Kurt was capable of being a murderer. The last four hours of work go by slow like a sloth. In every free moment of time I get, I stare at the large black digital clock on the wall sluggishly ticking. I stare at the clock so long that it becomes a blur of ticking white.
As soon as six hits, I grab my backpack and head to the door. Before going to Kurt’s, I go home and grab a bottle of wine, then head back out the door to his apartment. I hope he doesn’t mind if I show up a little early.
I drive down the crowded streets feeling like a sticky blob of nerves and emotions. Every red light, I look down at my phone to see if there is a message from Darcy. I am going to give her until the end of the day to text me, if not I am going to the cops.
I pull up to Kurt’s luxury loft on Market street and pull into the garage. He has already paid for parking for me, thank god because it is ridiculously expensive, so I pull in and the front desk worker clicks Kurt’s floor for me to go up to. It is such a fancy and high-tech building.
I get to his door and my phone buzzes. It is a text message from Darcy.
Hey babe. Sorry for the late reply. I had a busy night ;). Then, I was called in last minute to take over as a chaperone with the fourth grade camping trip, so Kurt called me a taxi and I rushed home and packed and headed to the school for the trip. We left this afternoon. Sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye! Just know, I am safe and I will be home in three days. And, pray for me because there are so many freaking bugs, and only two outlets! Sorry for calling, the service out here is trash, but I will text when I can. Love you! Xo…
I didn’t realize Kurt opened his door and invited me in I was dissecting the text message so much. I quickly replied then put my phone away.
“Hi. Sorry. Darcy had text messaged me.”
“It’s fine. I understand.” Kurt smiled motioning for me to come in.
Who knew such a large and luxurious apartment would be through this simple and small front door. It is decorated so nicely, with art all over the place. He has a library, an office, a guest bedroom, and a huge master bedroom. All rooms are decorated in different patterns of shades of blue and black. The kitchen is large with a checkered floor which I love.
“I know you said not to bring anything, but I don’t like to come empty-handed.” I said handing him the wine as we sat at his counter.
It is always an enlightening learning experience to observe a person in their home. They give off such a different vibe and mood. He seems so relaxed and human. He isn’t in a suit and his hair isn’t perfect.
Standing there barefoot in jeans and a t-shirt, with a piece of hair hanging down on his forehead, stirring the delicious smelling pasta sauce makes him look so normal and so handsome.
“I am making spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread. The pasta sauce is homemade, my grandmother’s recipe.” He smiled bringing glass bowls of food over to his dining table.
“It smells delicious.” I smile as I grab a spoon and scoop some onto my plate.
We begin to eat and the food is so mouthwatering and delicious that it melted all of my tension and anxiety away.
“So, how is the food?” He smiles plopping a huge meatball into his mouth.
“So amazing. You can definitely cook.”
“I watched my mom all the time.” He smiled taking a sip of wine.
“I can’t cook. I suck.” I laugh.
“Eat up. Have more.” He says pouring more onto my plate as my plate becomes empty. It is like he is trying to fatten me up to eat me, or to simply make me useless, tired, and vulnerable.
I look down at my phone to see if Darcy has messaged back. I decide she has a lot of things going on being out in the woods with a bunch of fourth graders, so I am not going to bother her. I text her goodbye and then put my phone away.
As I stab into the last meatball on my plate, I hear a ringtone coming from one of the kitchen drawers.
“Oh my god.” I say losing grip of my fork.
“What is it?” Kurt asks.
“I heard Darcy’s phone.”
“What? How?” He asks with a confused look, but a skittish tone.
“You fooled me for a second.” I say beginning to cry shaking my head.
“What do you mean, Anaya? I am confused?”
“You are the Silicon Seven murderer!” I scream.
“No I am not!” He screams loud of out frustration.
“No one I know has that ringtone but Darcy because I always tell her how annoying it is! You have her phone and you tricked me!” I screamed with tears racing down my face.
I text Darcy’s phone again and again and it rings and it screams and I go and retrieve it from the top drawer in his kitchen next to the large cake knife from my first day of work. The knife is covered in spots of blood, Darcy’s blood. I feel like I have been stabbed twice, once by the fact that this weapon was used to murder my best friend and also because this weapon that has slain my friend and probably the other women was used to cut my cake at work.
“Where is she?” I scream holding up the phone, pointing the knife at him.
“I guess you know the truth now; you should know where she is.” He smirked.
“You are a sick psychopath! The cops will be on their way soon, and you are going to prison!” I scream throwing Darcy’s phone at him.
“With God on my side, I can get through anything, even prison. But, he has kept me safe for long enough, what will change now?” His aura changes to black as he walks towards me. I am finally seeing his true colors.
“He will not forgive you for taking all of these innocent lives.”
“He already has. He has forgiven me every week since it started eight weeks ago. That is why you confess, so your sins are absolved.”
“Religion does not give you the right to justify being a brute.” I say backing away as he walks towards me, my knife still pointed at him.
“I gave you a chance to get off my back and to get back on my good side, but you are just too stubborn. Screw justice, the world does not work that way Anaya.” He said swiftly picking up a large knife from his knife rack. The sound of the metal grinding against the wood as he pulled it out made me cringe.
“I am going to get justice for all of those women you killed and for all of your other villainy in the city.” I say my hand trembling with the knife still pointed at him.
“I am going to give you a chance to pray to God before I kill you. You can still have a chance to make it to heaven.”
“I don’t need to pray. I am not going to die. You are.” I say as strongly as I can.
“I’ll give you five seconds, take advantage of it. You don’t want to spend eternity in hell when I gave you the chance to go to heaven.” He says looking at his reflection in his knife.
“I told you already, I am not dying!” I scream.
“5, 4, 3, 2, -1. Okay. Your time is up. Now, you die.” He says running towards me with a knife held out.
I stand there frozen, shivering like a coward, gripping onto my knife with both hands hoping it gets him as he gets me. I decide to run away and try to get out of here.
He runs even faster than me, and ends up catching me. He grabs me and tackles me to the floor. He pushes his knife through my flesh and twists it deep into my ribs. I scream in pain and fall to the floor. I curl up like an armadillo and bawl.
“The police should be on their way.” I say weakly hoping that will scare him since I failed.
“You have no evidence against me, and why would they believe you over me Anaya? Come on, you’re smarter than that! You are actually the smartest woman I have ever met, which made you the hardest to kill. You’re clever.” Kurt smiles pulling the knife out of me. It hurt even worse to be ejected.
There are many forms of pain that the human body endures, but what I just experienced, being stabbed, has got to be one of the worse, at least for me it is.
He walks over to the sink and begins to wash out the knife. I hold my hand against my wound to stop my blood from spilling, and grasp enough strength to get up on my knees. He is caught off-guard, so I need to be brave and strong and fight through the ultimate discomfort and get justice for Darcy, Iliana, and the other six women.
I bite my lip to hold back the cries of pain that slithered and hissed through my body as I slid on my knees over to the sink behind Kurt.
“I am sorry it had to happen this way. I never planned to kill you. It is just the women I sleep with that I kill. It makes it easier for me to not be tempted by their slutty impure ways again.” Kurt said never turning his head to look at me.
He wiped the knife so strategically and consistently, using a lot of bleach. I guess this is what he did with the cake knife he had me cut my welcome cake with. That welcome was cut with blood; I feel sick thinking about it. I knew there was something eerie about the knife’s cleanliness…
“If you didn’t plan to kill me, why did you stab me?” I moan.
“Well to be fair, you pulled the knife out on me first. This is like self-defense.” He chuckles.
“The other eight stab victims weren’t.”
“Eh. I guess.” He said so emotionless. I don’t get how murder is nothing to him. He killed my best friend and went into work the next day like nothing happened. He is such a privileged, misogynistic, sadistic and egocentric man with a patriarchal mind. He just uses people and disposes of them like they aren’t human beings. He’s a sociopath and no one sees it; I didn’t even see it. He is talented and sneaky with his façade.
I decided to sneak around the kitchen counter so I can get directly behind him and stab him in his back.
“You were a great front end too. The office will miss you. But, you had to be taken out because you know too much. And, I can’t risk all that I have and all that I am for the small mistakes I made.”
“The office will be closing down soon, the shares will drop and the users will drop… The app will be undesirable damaged trash once everyone finds out you are the Silicon Seven, now eight, murderer.” I say through gritted teeth.
I swing my knife with as much force as I can and it pokes through his white t-shirt into his back.
“Damnit.” He moans dropping to the ground, the knife he was cleaning clattering to the floor.
“Go to hell! You abominable devil!” I scream. I stab him again, his tainted warm blood splattering all over me. Then I stab him six more times, totaling eight stabs, one for each of his victims he has wrongfully killed.
I drop the knife and lay on my back in exhaustion waiting for the cops to bust through his door and take me to the hospital. I knew my life right now was too good to be true. My boss ended up being a freaking psycho murderer.
My blood gushes out from my side, spilling into the puddle of his. The two blood types intertwining and mingling.
“Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity.” He struggles to say. His breathing becomes ragged, yet he still keeps that charming, now sociopathic smile.
I can see his heart struggling, slowly pumping up and down hard, then stopping. I got rid of the darkness, but somehow after him, my world turns black…