She had worn a dress matched with her bronze-colored hair and green eyes. Usually, when shopping, Zoey took the seventh street leading straight to the city malls gold and chrome-accented doors. But this morning she had taken an unusually longer detour cutting through the fish market.
Just before proceeding past the quiet crosswalk falling on the seventeenth, a Victorian-style apartment building stood tall. The fishy smell was making her gag, and still, Zoey walked towards the crosswalk as elegant as a flamingo. She couldn’t let the uncomfortable atmosphere cause anything to her poise as the most wonderful career opportunity had presented itself. The client is a little off-putting, though, meeting her in an unsafe neighborhood. But it’s not every day the largest Magazine asked Zoey for an audition.
As she put her hand on the handle of the doorway, a strange feeling of being watched went down her spine as fast as a spider goes for a kill. With an anxious look, she grazed her eyes back in search of a stalker grazing and scouring all the dark corners she passed coming here. When she couldn’t find what she looked for, a sense of stability came back to her white cheeks, and she pushed back the doors at the entrance and disappeared inside.
A silhouette popped out from the shadows right by the dumpsters, watching her go inside. As the doors closed behind Zoey, the figure promptly followed.
“They killed her, you know? I’m sure of it," Ben could hardly speak through his sobbing. As the waitress came by to drop a cup of coffee, Ben looked away to hide his tears. “It took the police two days to find her dead body. But they said, she committed suicide.” Ben continued realizing the waitress had gone away.
“The police have done a thorough job.” “So, tell me, what can I do you for, mate?” Nathan said; not being able to mask the ridicule in his voice, he followed the sentence with a fake cough. “We all know the story, media has been comprehensive and keen about poking people’s ears with the story for so many weeks now. It’s not every day a supermodel dies, you know!” He stopped with lighting a “Sherman’s Classic.”
Ben started scratching and stroking his unshaven beard while trying to remember why he came here for, to Nathan. After his sister died, he has had some hardship remembering stuff.
Nathan knew how Ben was very dependent on his sister. With her death and the long-gone security of financial stability, Ben could come to Nathan only for one thing; money. This drunk and gambling burden on mother earth dared to show his face after his sister had taken away Nathan’s wife.
“Dykes get what dykes deserve you know? Zoey was never kind to me.” Nathan said. “So whatever you are here for, spill the beans and get out mate. You’re ruining my lunch.”
The narrow walkway that followed to the restaurant’s entrance was shimmering in the afternoon yellow sunlight as if it was paved with finely cut tiny diamonds all through and through. This part of West Hollywood reeked of wannabe artists and celebrities, unlike the Hollywood boulevard. All the walls around are covered in flattering graffiti and flyers that gave the whole neighborhood a look of some dystopian punk movie set.
“What, cat got your tongue mate?” with Nathan’s sneer towards him, Ben realized he had been sitting quietly for far too long.
“Uhm” Ben cleared his throat. “Do you have some cash on you, Nate?”
Nate had guessed it right. “What, you too? Hit the head or something?” Nate got Angry. “Your sister snatched away my wife, and you have the balls to ask me for money?” His face turned as cloudy as some pagan god of chaos.
“Here, take these and never show your face in front of me, mate.” Nate took some notes of tens, crumpled them and threw at Ben’s face. “Delete my number and get out, before I shove it deep inside you!”
Ben got up and proceeded past the half partitions around every table made of Frosted glass. And through those, he could see all the faces looking towards him with pity, empathy and even some mockery. But he had found what he came here for. Ben now knew his sister’s death wasn’t a suicide. And he knew who killed her.
Zoey was hanging from the ceiling that day in that apartment, a tight-rope around her neck that pulled her face upwards. Almost like she was crucified. She and Ben were supposed to visit their foster mom that day, but her phone was off. So Ben started asking around looking for her and after a long dreadful day, he had seen what no brother ever wanted to see.
The police came and deemed it a suicide. But something kept poking inside Ben’s head. Her sister saved him throughout his life from hardships with a strong will, and no matter what hit them, she always pushed forward, even harder. So, Ben did what any good brother would do. If it was murder, he couldn’t let the killer getaway.
As the investigation drew towards its conclusion, the police deemed it as a suicide. They had set up a temporary CSI lab down in the garage, and Ben kept nosing around. Tight security was maintained around the lab, making all his effort go into vain. And his investigation too was futile as all of Zoey’s acquaintances he knew had an ironclad alibi.
But one day, while they were closing down the tent for good, he snuck in. It’s not too hard to put on an actual disguise when you lived in Hollywood. The police had actually found nothing except a cigarette butt with miraculously no DNA on it. A Sherman’s classic.
A few days later, Nathan’s neighbors called the police. There was a strange smell rotten meat coming out from Nate’s Studio. He too, had committed suicide. And the police had found nothing. Except for a butt of a “Sherman’s Classic” with no DNA on it