“I really don’t know. My memory has evaded me,” I tell her guiltily. “Maybe with time it will come back…”
There is an icy chill running down my spine, a speck of fear which has come from somewhere, something to do with Mr. Jones but I don’t know what exactly. It might just the normal fear that I have for him.
“Have you been in to see Mr. Jones then? Or aren’t you allowed if the cops want him? Does he look bad?”
“I haven’t been in. I wouldn’t even if I could, Esme. I don’t like that weasel and I don’t trust him at all.”
“No,” I murmur in reply. “I don’t trust him either. But I don’t know if that’s because I have never trusted him because he’s always been an asshole to me, or if something else has happened.”
Something in that room, something when I was kept behind, something that sparked all of this…
Argh, fucking hell, why is my brain being such an asshole? Why can’t I get anything in my head? I don’t like this big black empty hole, it’s hard, it needs filling. The memories need to come back here right away.
“Will the police want to speak to me?” I gasp, panicked now. “Because I don’t remember anything.”
I suddenly notice a much louder bleeping sound which is coming from a monitor by my side. A heart monitor actually. Ooh, that makes this a lot more serious than I thought it was. How hurt am I really?
“I don’t think they are going to put you under any pressure,” Delia reassures me with a calm smile. “You are a victim in all of this, that much is certain. They aren’t going to be coming down hard on you. You might be a witness, but if you can’t remember anything then there isn’t anything that you can do, is there? There might be no need.”
It feels like I might well be the only witness which is a whole bunch of pressure, it makes me feel even worse. Of course the cops are going to need to speak to me. They will need me to tell them everything.
“What had happened that day?” I ask Delia quickly. “Talk me through it. See if it sparks my mind.”
“Erm… I don’t know. I don’t think there was anything particularly different about that day aside from Mr. Jones not parading around like a fucking black cloud, bringing everyone’s mood down, it was the same as always. A couple of the guys who I work with did say that they thought he might be planning something because he was so quiet, but no one could have predicted a fucking fire.” She shakes her head sadly. “I should have stuck around, shouldn’t I? I shouldn’t have let him keep you behind again. But it happens all the time. I didn’t know that it was something else.”
“You don’t feel guilty, do you?” I cock my head to one side and stare at Delia curiously. “Because there is no way that anyone could have known what was going to happen. Even if he did seem different and like he was planning something. No one has ever known what was going on in Mr. Jones’ head. There’s no way to tell.”
“But you could have died,” she explodes. “You nearly did die, Esme. If you had… I wouldn’t have ever been able to forgive myself. I already feel horrible for all of the times that I left you in there with him.”
“Delia, honestly… you had no choice. I stayed behind because I had no choice. It just is what it is.”
That might have been my routine before, but fuck knows what my life will be now. I have no idea. The company is gone, burned to the ground for whatever reason. It doesn’t really matter if it was an insurance scam or not, it leaves me and the rest of the employees in the same boat. No job, no money, all pretty screwed. I really am screwed but I suppose it doesn’t really matter anymore. The choice has been made for me, I just need to make it work.
All of a sudden, the door to my hospital room opens and a familiar face peers inside. Immediately everything inside of me stiffens, I panic, adrenaline courses through my veins at a million miles an hour, my heart races as the speed of light which unfortunately comes to light because I’m attached to a God damn heart monitor.
“Theo…” I gasp out, my eyes popping wide as I stare at my best friend in shock. I wasn’t expecting him to come, I had no idea, and now… now I really am remembering him saving me. I don’t think it was a dream.
“I have to get going.” Delia jumps up rapidly and grabs her bag. “I need to get on with job searching. But I will be back to see you tomorrow if you are still here.” She winks playfully. “Erm, have a good time.”