3. MIA

Ian had been struggling for many days after Matthew’s death. This particular death was supposed to bring Mia one step closer to the salvation she needed, however, it only made matters worse. A drug addict, a worthless junkie who was in love with her abusive drug dealer. Ian thought that she would have moved on by then, but she didn’t. She was suffering from drug withdrawal symptoms as well as the loss of a loved one. She had lost ten pounds in less than a week, and her figure now looked like a fade shadow. Vomiting, sweating, and fainting were a constant companion in her daily routine, and it was the third night sleepless.

            “We need to go to a clinic.” Said Ian for the millionth time. Mia had no strength left to argue again. She was sitting on the floor against his bed, unable to move a muscle. She was holding a wet napkin, with which she would touch her cheeks and forehead every now and then, for a chance to feel refreshed. Every time Ian tried to touch her, she would scream, scratch or even bite him like a wild animal.

            Ian wanted to help her but on his terms. She wasn’t allowed to get out of the room, and of course, no one was allowed to enter either. He didn’t want anyone seeing her or touching her. He would commit her to a clinic for as long as it needed and then they would leave together; far away from everything and everyone and leave happily ever after. At least, that was his initial plan. See, Ian had it all figured out with Mia’s best interest in heart. However, he never considered one major factor that could ruin – as it did – even the greatest of plans. And that factor was no other than Mia.

            It was the fourth sleepless night in a row for both of them. Ian used to lock Mia in his dorm room and leave off to a hotel, so he could get some sleep. He was lucky that he didn’t have a roommate in the campus. Mia exhausted as she was, found what was left of her strength that night and confronted Ian.

            “Did you do it?” she asked with wet eyes looking directly into his. He hadn’t heard her voice for a very long time, and he felt his heart pounding when he finally did. However, as if he just heard the voice but not the question he answered with tenderness,

“Are you feeling all right? Do you want to eat or drink something?”

He slowly touched her pale cheek, and she distanced herself with great fear, almost fell from the chair she was sitting on.

            “Mia? It’s me. Come here”, Ian walked closer to her. She didn’t scream this time.

            “Just give me an answer. Did you do it?” she insisted.

            “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

            “Did you kill Matty?” a tear ran down her face, something that would otherwise make Ian run next to her, hug her, maybe even kiss her forehead and tell her that everything will be ok okay. That was not one of those times. Hearing Mia calling Matthew with a caring nickname drove him over the edge. She had never called him with a tender nickname, except from “hey dude” and “come on man.”

            “Why do you even care? Have you forgotten how he treated you? All the nights you crawled here begging me for help?”

            “Did you kill him?” she repeated with a steady voice.

            “Whoever killed him made you and every other girl a favor.”

            “Every other girl?” Mia rolled her eyes. Ian hit the jackpot. He found her weak spot. That was the way, he thought, to make her see the real Matthew and hate him once and for all.

            “Of course, there were other girls, Mia. You meant nothing to him.”     Mia stood up with difficulty, struggling to balance her weight to her two skinny legs. She walked slowly towards the exit and touched the doorknob. She didn’t turn it, however. The idea that it would be locked again, sent her shivers all over her restless body. She turned and glanced at Ian. He stared with disapproval.

            “I want to go out,” she said calmly. Ian left a chuckle but didn’t answer. When he realized how serious her face looked, he replied by walking slowly towards her.

            “It’s not healthy. You need to rest.”

            “I want to leave,” she screamed.

            “And go where? I mean… look at you.” Ian’s face revealed a repellent, almost nauseating expression. She felt exposed and vulnerable, as she realized her attempt for escape was a failure.

            A blur of darkness against the window was Mia’s only company that night. It would be morning soon. The sun would rise, but Mia will not have the chance to see it. She will not enjoy the warm ray of sunlight on her face. Her chaotic mind and dark thoughts didn’t allow her to cry that night. Ian was fast asleep on the floor. His snoring was indicative of how much tired he was. Mia was lying face down on the bed and thinking of the one thing that ever made her happy and alive. The white powdery substance. A little taste of it and she would be able to deal with everyone, especially Ian. She could claim back the freedom that he so unjustly deprived her – her right to live again.

“It all happened in a moment. It felt like a second for what seemed like an eternity. The sound of Mia trying to open the window woke me up. She was on the desk, barefoot, bouncing against the window. We were on the sixth floor. I tried to calm her down. She was sick. She was still recovering.” Ian stopped for a second and then he continued. “I grabbed her arms and tried to put her back to bed. She was punching and kicking me like a wild animal. Not once did she call for help. Never. All those days that I was supposedly keeping her as my prisoner, she had never screamed for help. I guess she knew that I was trying to protect her. But that night… Her face, her eyes… She was no longer the Mia I knew and… She was gone.”

“Please, tell us what happened next, Mr. Hurts.”

“She snatched the desk lamp, throwing a few books on the floor and hit me hard on the head. I fell on the floor, but I didn’t lose my senses. Mia managed to break the window. I saw her looking outside. There weren’t other windows or balconies, so there was no escape. She must have realized it when she turned and looked at me. I stood up when she murmured something. It must have been the word please or something like that. She was crying and then I knew what I had to do. I gave her the freedom she begged for so eagerly. The only freedom she could have without hurting herself or anyone else. I pushed her out the window, and she accepted the push without uncertainty. Without resistance.”

Ian stopped his testimony. Was that a tear? Was he crying? I stopped the recorder hidden in my purse. I took a quick look inside the court room. People, the jury, the lawyers, everyone – they started felling sympathy for this man. I could see it in their eyes. A man who killed, murdered in cold blood not only random people, but people he claimed he loved. If a person like that id capable of love… I remember his last words to me,

“No one is going to declare they like Ian Hurts, a murderer. They may feel it, but they will never say it.”

Did he know about this?

Did he plan this from the beginning?

I left the courtroom frustrated. He didn’t even look at me. Of course, when an actor is on stage during the performance, he cannot break character, can he?

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