This story is by Calysta Thompson and was part of our 2017 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the Spring Writing Contest stories here.
I wake up groggy and pissy. My head is pounding and every inch of my skin feels wrong. Groaning, I throw my leg over the rest of my bed in an attempt to fall back asleep and it lands on something that feels like someone else’s leg. There is a distant feeling of guilt that I cannot place. I curse my drunk self to at least the third level of hell before peeling my eyes open to face this situation. Dull blue eyes stare back at me, unblinking.
“Good morning?” I try, hoping that I am in my own bedroom, not trapped in some random creeps house. I quickly glance at the blankets I am nestled under and breathe a mental sigh of relief to find them blue and familiar. I turn back to the face beside me to find blue again, but much less familiar. Why isn’t she saying anything? Then I realize she has a plastic bag over her head and it finally hits me. She’s dead. I scream. Loud and long. I couldn’t help it. I think a part of me was hoping it would wake her up.
The funny part is I have no idea who this is, or rather was. I don’t remember how we met or why she is in bed with me. I suppose it’s not that funny. My brain begins to wonder if it was me who killed her before I can tell it not to. I follow that spirling thought until I reach a point of near insanity. When I regain my sanity, I try desperately to find a pulse, finding nothing except clammy skin. A shudder makes its way down my spine without my permission, so I leap out of bed and grab my phone, thankful that drunk me remembered to plug it in last night. But the second I turn my back on the body, every cell in my body tenses. In the same instant I feel like I can’t turn my back on her – it – and I can’t turn around lest it moves. I quickly call my best friend and neighbour, Mason.
“Hey what’s up?” He sounds cheerful and happy and I pause for a moment, wondering if I should tell him. This doesn’t seem real.
“I need you to sit down before I tell you this.”
“I just woke up with a stranger in my bed.”
“What the hell Tess!” He shouts so loud I have to pull the phone away from my ear.
“There’s more.” He sighs angrily but doesn’t say anything so I take a deep breath and add “She’s dead.” Mason is silent for a long while.
“Yes, actually dead.”
“I was hoping you meant dead asleep. Dammit, Azzie is gonna be so pissed.” Before I can ask who Azzie is, he is talking again. “Wait there, I’ll call the police and then come over.” I nod before realising he can’t see me.
“Okay.” Hanging up, I look around my room, wondering what to do now. I look at myself in the mirror and realize I am still wearing clothes I don’t recognize. Jeans that could possibly be mine, but I don’t really know and a shirt that says ‘I can’t even think straight’. “Great,” I mutter to myself, “It was a take my clothes off kind of drunk.” I strip off the unfamiliar clothes and breathe a sigh of relief to find a familiar bra underneath. I open my closet to find more unfamiliar clothes. I find a dress that I recognize and grab a pair of leggings. Mason arrives five minutes later to find me brushing my teeth.
“The police are on their way. I’m going to go see what I can about the mysterious body.” I nod, spit out my toothpaste and walk after him, watching as he opens the door and goes over to the sleeping figure. He looks at her face and pales.
“Tess… do you know who this is?” Mason stares at me, before glancing at the body and shivering. He then pulls the sheet over her face and looks back at me.
“No, I already said that!” I yell, frustrated. He looks worried.
“Does the name Azzie ring any bells?” I shake my head. “Azure?” I shake my head again. “Azure Temple?”
“No, I told you I don’t know her.” Mason’s eyebrows furrow.
“When was your last relationship?”
“Freshman year of college, first time I dated a girl.” I reply. Mason steps closer to me.
“What day is it?” I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this serious before.
“Sunday, I think. Why?”
“What date?” Mason is standing right in front of me now.
“June 17, 2015. What’s going on?” Mason wraps his arm around my shoulder and leads me to one of the chairs in my room. I sit down and he kneels in front of me.
“Can you remember what you did last night?” He refuses to break eye contact with me.
“I don’t remember what I did last night. Because I went drinking.” My head hangs in shame. Mason always got mad at me when I get drunk. Said I needed to get help, to get better. Maybe someday.
“Except you didn’t. I was with you last night. You went home early to spend time with Azzie. We weren’t out drinking, because you stopped drinking eight months ago, when you met Azzie, who funnily enough was at an AA meeting with you. It’s February 17th, 2016.” I stare blankly at him for a long minute before speaking.
“Then why don’t I remember that?” I say slowly, dreading the answer I know I’m going to get.
“My personal belief is psychogenic situation specific amnesia.” He rattles off like I know what that means.
“And in not med student English?”
“It’s kinda like you were so upset about what happened to Azzie that your brain locked up all your memories with Azzie so that you wouldn’t be hurt by them.” I nod and then there is a harsh knock at the door. Mason goes to open it and I follow him. The officer looks at the two of us, then at the papers in his hands.
“I’m responding to a call placed by a Mason Grelin?” Mason puts his hand up, the dork.
“That would be me.” I shake my hand at him.
“And you are?” He asks me.
“Tessa Sael. This is my house and I found the body,” I pause for a minute, “Do I invite you in, like how does this work?” The officer must sense my anxiousness and takes pity on me.
“Basically, we are going to have to take you both in for questioning, and the forensic team are going to take a look at what happened here and gather evidence.” I nod. “First I have just a few questions of my own. Mind if we sit down?” I nod again and walk over to the couches in the living room. “I have both your names and your address, can I get yours Mr. Grelin?” Mason gives it to him, adding that it’s next door for good measure. “And was either of you able to identify the deceased?” I look at Mason.
“Her name is Azure Temple. She’s Tess’s girlfriend of about eight months.” the officer lifts a eyebrow at me. “Tess doesn’t remember anything since July 17, 2015.” The officer whistles at this and writes it down. He then waves another officer over.
“Take them both in for questioning, then make she that she gets to the hospital after.” The other officer nods and leads us to a police car. It’s not a long drive to the police office, but feels as though it is taking forever. We are both given to officers we take us to separate rooms. Mine consists of what assumedly a two way mirror, a table and two chairs. The police officer that brought me in here points at a chair and tells to wait here, then leaves. A couple minutes later an older man in suit comes in and takes a seat across from me.
“My name is Detective Trent and I’m just gonna ask you some routine questions, okay?”
“Oh um, actually it might be difficult for me to tell you what happened because I can’t remember it. I can’t even remember her, but Mason told me that she’s my girlfriend and we’ve been dating for eight months, but I can try to answer as best as I can.” Detective Trent nods, unfazed. Someone must have told him beforehand.
“Alright then, let’s start simple. What’s your full name.
“Tessa Anne Sael.”
Blue Eyes is staring at me.
“I love you Tessa Sael.” Blue Eyes is smiling at me now.
“I love you Azure Helen Temple.” I hear myself say.
“When is your birthday?”
“Happy Birthday!” Blue Eyes says, walking into the room with breakfast on a tray. There is a note on the tray that says Happy 4 months sober. And I kiss Blue Eyes.
“Do you remember anything about Azure Temple?”
Blue Eyes staring into mine.
“Tessa Sael, will you do me the absolute honor of being my girlfriend?” Blue Eyes isn’t smiling. Blue Eyes is nervous.
“Azzie Temple, it would be my absolute pleasure.”
“Blue Eyes.” I choke out a sob. “Oh God Azzie.” The police officer looks concerned. “I remember now. I remember what happened.” I sob so hard my body shakes “She’s dead.” It sounds muffled and weird because of my sobs but Detective Trent nods in understanding.
“Can you tell me what happened?” He asks kindly. I nod, closing my eyes and remembering.
I open the door, smiling and calling out a cheerful “Honey, I’m home!” into the quiet of the house. I take off my coat and hang up my stuff and head to the bedroom. Azzie is lying on the bed with plastic bag over her head. Is that some new beauty thing? I walk over and crawl onto the bed. Now I can see that her lips are blue and her hand is limply wrapped around her neck, holding the plastic bag in place. And then it hits me. She’s either dead or dying. She’s… she’s trying to kill herself. Or she already has. The room feels like it’s spinning and my arms feel like noodles. The last thing I see before I pass out is a note on her bedside table table with large print words that say ‘I’M SORRY’.
“And then couldn’t remember this morning?” Detective Trent asks, and I nod. “Thank you for answering my questions. I’m going to recommend that you be taken to the hospital. Because of policy, there will be police officers with you at all times and we’ll see if the evidence supports your story. Someone will be in to get you in a moment.” And he leaves. I look up at the small window and see pure blue sky and a single tear slides down my face. Someone gently taps me on the shoulder and I turn and its Mason. I stand and collapse in his arms and sob, loudly and mutter about how it’s not fair as he carries me to the police car waiting to take me to the hospital. The ride there seems to take forever and this time I am put on a rolling gurney instead of Mason’s arms. I cry louder and he grabs my hand as they roll me through the hallways to a room in the psych ward. Mason tells me it’s just a precaution and as soon as they give the all clear he’s going to take me back to his place and we’re gonna have a junk food and movies night. He says that everything is going to be okay. I hope he’s right. When he goes to the bathroom, I ask one of the nurses what shade of blue the walls are. She smiles and says