Once there was a me, and the me was a pattern, a large one that covered the whole and made it move as one great machine. Now, that me is gone, and the pattern has changed; it is many little patterns working to divide the big structure and dispel what came before. The woman that was is gone – the corpse that is remains to rot.
The blood that once flowed through the veins has settled already but the nerves have nothing to talk to in order to get things working properly again. The brain is still and the chemicals no longer combine and reform to make the patterns move together as one. Hope, anger, love, vengeance, faith, despair – they are not to be found here anymore. And yet...
The memory of the pattern remains. The memory of what was once me remains. And I am waiting for someone to hear my voice.
There is a pattern, a man, who is complaining at another one. The pattern of the vibrations is comprehensible still, but in a day, two days, twenty, I know the memory will fade and there will be nothing left but an empty echo.
“Do we have to get him in? He’s only going to sneer at us and tell me I’m too thick to live.”
“I don’t see we have any other option, Anderson, this is the fifth in a row and honestly we should have got him in ages ago.”
Neither can hear me. My voice is not what it was. I speak a different pattern, now, a different language. I cannot vibrate the air.
Time passes, but not much.
“Blow to the side of the head, probably with one of the bits of pipe that are around here. If it wasn’t for the number of victims, I’d assume it was a drug deal gone wrong – you can see the track marks, though most are pretty old, and her pupils are dilated indicating a recent fix.”
The whorls of the prints on the fingers of the man brushes against the skin that was once of me, but there is nothing left in my head to tell if the contact is kind or clinical. There is a quality of gentleness to his voice that, if the vanished pattern was intact, the me that was once there would find soothing. Or so what is left believes. He listens, but not to what I need him to.
“Very good, John! Completely wrong, but at least you’re trying to use your brain. Look at the calluses on the left hand and the right middle finger – clearly this is a woman used to carrying a briefcase in her non-dominant hand in order to leave her dominant hand free to write.”
This man is listening to me. But – it is listening to small things, pointless things.
“Or open doors, but more likely she writes a lot. Hair long, cared for but pinned away from her face; neat clothes but her jacket over there has deep creases on the back. The sort of physique acquired in a gym rather than through active exercise. So, office worker, the kind who does a lot of paperwork. Literal paperwork that is; not on a computer, and she probably has to carry around a heavy bag or briefcase as a result. Immigrations, perhaps; lots of paperwork there, and the occasional home visit.”
These are the dull things I can’t help but say. He is not listening properly to what I need him to hear before the memory of what I can say is gone.
“That’s great, really, but what has that got to do with anything?”
“Those track marks are too old – she hasn’t indulged in a long while. Besides, if she was a current drug addict, she would be snorting cocaine like her superiors.”
“Clearly not obvious enough for you, Anderson, and why are you still in the room?”
I wish the voice I used to have could still scream at them for me.
“Right then, now to the interesting part.”
“Do you see this? These aren’t her shoes. They’re the same size, but these are far too uncomfortable and the heel is far too high for an office worker. At least, for an office worker who keeps her hair back, doesn’t wear much makeup and has a blouse that doesn’t display her cleavage. Not to mention too expensive – her clothes are from Marks and Spencer’s so why is she wearing designer label shoes? Which, by the way, almost completely invalidates the idea that she is currently an addict, the money would have been spent on a fix, they aren’t paid that much. Her hands have been cleaned, too – the only dust is from where they’ve rested on the floor, which is remarkable considering it’s all over the rest of her. And, if we check her tights – ah. There you are.”
The man is listening, listening to me! If I could move I would point out the rest of what I am trying to tell him – yet if I could move, I would be more than a memory, and would speak with a different voice.
“What? There’s what?”
“Blood. Or at least, little spatters of something red and dried, and considering we have a murderer who has given her new shoes for no apparent reason, we can probably assume that Miss Immigrations here managed to injure her attacker badly enough to get blood on both her shoes and hands. So that should be perfectly obvious now, no need to thank me.”
What is left of me understands what this man does not – he has translated the words but not the meaning of them. The pattern of the greater me might have vanished, but its last moments are important to what remains. They are what made me. I need him to translate.
“I wasn’t planning to. You haven’t actually told me anything.”
“Do you need me provide my explanation all tied up with a pretty little bow?”
“A little more actual explaining will do.”
Let him translate. Let my meaning be clear. Once there was faith, and it is gone, but the faintest of memories remains.
“Hmm. Well, those shoes cost over four hundred pounds and the designer is only sold in three stores in London, only one of which is a chain. From the looks of them they can’t be more than four months old. Find out who has bought a pair of those shoes in the last few months, couple that with the injury, which was on the underside of the arm if I’m any judge, and you’ll find your suspect list greatly reduced. And that is all without taking into account the fact that the briefcase is missing. I do love it when they make mistakes.”
The other man spoke the words I wanted to say.
“And what was their mistake?”
“Not taking me into account, of course. Come along John.”
Glee, delight, gratitude, joy – all gone, yes, but the memory remains.
“Should I be concerned or supportive about your extensive knowledge of women’s shoes?”
“Shut up, John.”