‘You know, I gotta admit. I didn’t expect this,’ Clay thought as he collapsed to the floor, thankfully landing on his back. Footsteps echoed in the hall, the vibrations making it obvious that their owner was centimeters away from his face. Fighting to open his eyes, he only got a glimpse of a face before he felt his eyes close again.
His body felt heavy. Or did it feel light? He couldn’t tell. He could tell that his chest hurt though. Blindly reaching up, he felt his fingers brush against a plastic handle. ‘Oh right. I was stabbed,’ he thought as he allowed his arm to drop back down. Was that a splash he heard? He could feel warmth seeping into the tear in his spacesuit’s arm.
Breathing was hard. Hard and painful. It felt like he had a twenty pound weight on his chest, and part of said weight was a spike and that spike was going into his chest. A weak smile formed on his face. ‘Spikes... I wonder if ‘pollo’s hair is spikey enough to stab someone...’ he thought as his fingers started to feel numb.
‘Small, spiky guy...’ he thought, mind turning towards his best friend. Memories of the two of them hanging out flashed before his mind’s eye.
Then, it hit him.
‘Oh. I’m dying, aren’t I?’ He thought as he realized his eyes were too heavy to open. ‘Heh... it’s almost funny...’ he thought as he heard a gun go off far away. At least, it sounded like it was far away. He couldn’t tell if it was or not.
‘Clay Terran. Worked his ass off for years of his life to go into space, and now, minutes before he was supposed to go into space, he died,’ he thought. Then, his thoughts turned to Apollo again. ‘’pollo... god, how’s he going to deal with this?’ He wondered. He couldn’t really feel anything anymore. Instead, he was retreating to his mind.
‘Have the others seen him deal with grief?’ He wondered. ‘I doubt it... he doesn’t show it...’ he thought. ‘Didn’t I promise him I’d be by his side forever?’ He wondered.
It was interesting. In his last moments, the only thing he could think about was Apollo. Wondering how Apollo would react. Wishing he could have more time with his friend. Wishing he wasn’t the only person who Apollo trusted with absolutely everything.
‘Wait... if I die... ‘pollo won’t have anyone...’ he thought. Light flickered on outside his eyes. Light. Was it the bright light people supposedly saw when they died? He hoped not.
Movement. He felt someone touch his arm. It was faint, but it was there. Had someone found him? Was he going to get help?
‘Please... don’t let me die. I can’t leave ‘pollo all alone. He needs me...’ he thought as the touch faded. His mind felt fuzzy as an inviting warmth overcame his body. ‘Please...’ he thought again. ‘I can’t...’
As the darkness swallowed him, one voice cut through everything.
Apollo grinned as he looked out the window of Klavier’s office. ‘Any moment now!’ He thought as he stared out the window eagerly. Klavier had gone to get the pair lunch a few minutes ago, smiling as he promised to be back soon.
It was an exciting day. Clay was going into space finally, and despite not being able to go and watch the launch from the Space Center, he was determined to watch the launch.
‘It’s gonna be a weird year,’ he thought as he smiled softly. A year without Clay... that was going to hurt, though knowing that he was up there, living his dream made everything worth it. Clay had wanted to go into space for well, two decades. He had held onto this dream since he was five. As he stared out the window, his phone rang.
Glancing down at the caller id, Apollo was surprised to see that it was from the Space Center. ‘Maybe Clay is able to make one final call?’ He wondered as he shrugged and accepted the call.
“Hello?” He asked, instantly ruling out Clay, as he didn’t get cut off.
“Hello, is this Mr. Apollo Justice?” The person on the other line asked.
“Yeah, that’s me,” Apollo said as unease started to settle into his stomach. The way the person had started this conversation... something was wrong. “Why?” He asked.
“There... was an incident at the Space Center,” the person said. Apollo’s stomach dropped. “There was an explosion and...” they trailed off. Apollo felt a chill go through him.
“A-and what?” He asked tentatively. Instantly the idea of Clay being hurt came to mind. Hurt right before he went into space. That’s the only reason he’d call him. “Wh-wh-“
“I regret to inform you that Mr. Terran was murdered.”
Everything around Apollo froze. He felt like he had been dipped in ice as his mind scrambled. “E-excuse me..?” He asked.
“After the explosion, Mr. Cosmos found Mr. Terran and Mr. Starbuck collapsed onto the ground,” the person said. “Mr. Starbuck came to quickly but... there was a knife found in Mr. Terran’s chest.”
“O-oh,” Apollo said as he felt tears fill his eyes. “I... I’ll...” He couldn’t finish his sentence. Hitting the hang up button shakily, he stared at his phone for a few second. Then, he threw the phone across the office and collapsed to his knees.
Images of the pair hanging out flashing through his mind as the words ‘murdered’ and ‘knife’ ran through his head. Tears filled his eyes as he slowly wrapped an arm around himself and put another one over his mouth. It was like his emotions hadn’t caught up with what his body wanted to do.
“I bro- schatzi?” Klavier asked as he opened the door, food in his hand. “Schatzi, what-“ Apollo just scrambled to his feet as he threw himself at Klavier and wailed.
He wailed until his throat was raw. He wailed until he couldn’t feel his face. He wailed until he ran out of tears. He continued to wail even after he couldn’t cry anymore.
After almost an hour of crying, Apollo managed to somewhat stabilize himself. Pulling away slightly, he looked up at Klavier. He looked absolutely pitiful, eyes displaying just how heartbroken he was.
“Apollo... what happened?” Klavier said. An email notification caused the computer screen across the room lit up, causing both to look at the screen. They had been looking at the news before Klavier left, and it was clear that it had refreshed.
‘Mysterious explosion at the Space Center leaves multiple injured.’ Read a headline. Then, another headline. ‘Astronaut Clay Terran murdered in Space Center.’ Apollo felt fresh tears spring to his eyes as he quickly turned away.
“Oh my god...” Klavier whispered before he pulled Apollo into a tight hug. “Mausi...” he trailed off. “Solomon Starbuck arrested for the bombing and murder at the Space Center...” he whispered. “It seems like they-“ Apollo just pushed himself to his feet as he blindly walked over to his phone. A few seconds later, it rang.
The detention center phone.
“I’ll be there soon,” Apollo said before the person on the other line could say anything.
“A-Apollo... I-I’m so sorry,” Solomon said quietly. Apollo just grit his teeth.
“You didn’t do it. I’ll be there within the hour,” he said. Then, he hung up. Spinning around, Apollo looked at Klavier and stared at him. “Take me home. I need to get something.” Klavier just blinked before opening his mouth. “Either take me home or I’m getting an uber.”
“I... okay,” Klavier said. Stalking out of the office, Apollo made his way towards the car park. Standing beside his boyfriend’s motorcycle, he said nothing as they got situated.
Then, they were off. Apollo just stared ahead blankly as he wrapped his arms around his boyfriend’s waist. Then, he closed his eyes.
A few minutes later, they were at the apartment. “We’re here,” Klavier said softly. Apollo just nodded.
Getting off, he numbly walked up to the apartment complex. He continued up the stairs, mind running on autopilot as he unlocked his door and walked into the apartment.
Brown eyes locked on a familiar object, and he walked over to it. Picking it up, he slid it on.
“Schatzi...” Klavier whispered. “Just... let Herr Wright take this,” he said. Apollo just shook his head. “Or Fräulein Cykes. They’ll understand why you can’t take whatever case this is,” he said. Apollo shook his head again, face completely devoid of emotion as he looked at himself in the mirror.
Then, he turned and started towards the door without a word.
“Apollo- please,” Klavier said. “Just let me text Herr Wright!” He exclaimed as he put a hand on Apollo’s shoulder. Apollo just shrugged his hand off and continued to make his way towards the door. “Why are you so determined to take this case?” He asked as Apollo opened the door.
Apollo didn’t even look back. “I need to solve this.” Then, he walked out and closed the door, ignoring Klavier’s protests as he walked away from the apartment.
As he walked outside, he pulled Clay’s jacket tighter around him and looked up at the pale outline of the moon.
“Don’t worry Clay. Whoever did this won’t get away with it. I don’t care what I have to do.”
“We can’t tell him.”
“I can’t lie to him- you and I both know he can figure it out.”
“Then dodge the question! If word gets out...”
“Word will not get out, and if it does, those fools will wish they never opened their foolish mouths.”
“The autopsy report went through, sir.”
“Are you sure this will work, Miles?”
“It’s our only choice, Wright.”