The cashier stared at Michi for a while and I thought that maybe she was getting uncomfortable so I signaled her to go outside and wait. Suddenly the man spoke. “Hey! Aren’t you that girl?” he looked at me with a big smile, “Glad you found her mister” he shook hands with me and I looked at Michi who had a puzzled expression.
Did this have something to do with her past? Was this a clue as to where she had come from? Had she run away from home? Michi was waiting for me outside the store. I decided to ask her directly but bumped into a lady and dropped everything. At first it looked like she was coming inside to help me, but she never did. The lady helped me pick up my stuff and I thanked her, but when I turned around I saw Michi running away with a scared expression. What the hell was going on?
I asked the store’s guard to take care of my belonging and ran after her but lost sight of her pretty soon. Why was she running? Had she done something wrong? Why wouldn’t she talk to me about it? I thought we were becoming friends. I decided to lodge a police complaint to find Michi. When I came back to the store to take my bags I saw Michi’s photo on one of those ‘missing person’ posters. So she did run away! But why? I snatched the poster off the board and took my bags and went straight to the nearest police station.
“Um… excuse me. I need to ask about this girl” I showed the poster to an inspector who was sitting behind a desk. I did not know much about police stations but one things I was sure of; if you have your own desk, then you are someone important.
“Oh the lost kid. Yeah his husband is looking for her. He was the one who put up the posters. Who are you?” the inspector looked at me suspiciously.
“Husband?!” what the hell! The cutie had a man? It never looked like that to me. She was too young to be married. My reaction must have been too dramatic for the inspector looked a little taken aback.
“It looks like you know her. Sorry sir but you will have to answer a few questions now”
The interrogation wasn’t much long. I told them everything but something didn’t feel right. At end they asked me Michi’s current location.
“I-I don’t know…” I felt a little stupid saying those words. I would not have believed myself had I been the one interrogating me.
“Listen mister. You don’t expect us to believe that bullshit right? Where is she? Mr. Fin is already on his way and he will be looking for answers when he arrives you know. So I am asking you to be a little more co-operative” the inspector looked pissed off. I couldn’t blame him exactly but what was I supposed to do.
“Look she ran away this morning and I tried to catch her but failed. After that I came here to ask you people about her. How many times do I need to say this to make you believe in me?” I was speaking as calmly as I could. In the back of my mind though, I couldn’t help but worry about Michi.
We heard a little commotion outside the gate and then a tall lean man entered the room with a curvy woman. The man was wearing a shirt and a pant and looked exhausted while the lady had heavy makeup on.
“Are you the one who found her?!” the man hurried towards me. His face was pale but somehow his eyes did not match his expression.
“Y-yeah. Michi was with me till this morning” I answered, unsure as to how to handle this man.
“We are so worried for her. She is a little… you know” the lady shook her head in an odd manner so as to say that Michi was unstable. “Fin and I haven’t been able to sleep or eat anything since we lost sight of her”
“You don’t look much famished or tired though” I commented jokingly on all the accessories she had put on.
“Please. Tell me. Where is she?” the guy named Fin cut her off before she could over-react properly. He did not seem to be worried about Michi exactly but at least the thirst to find her was there all right. I told the two of them everything in less than 2 minutes and waited for their replies.
“If that’s the case then we should still be able to catch her” Em or whatever her name was said. “What do you say?”
“Yes… Yes you are right. Let us catch her.” Fin replied as he got up on his feet shakily. He had been sitting on his knees on the ground.
Catch her? That didn’t sound like something a husband would, or rather, should say. And that girl Em, something about her was really off. She kept looking at Fin from time to time with strange eyes.
“Can I join in the search too? I think I can be of use” I did not want to leave Michi on the merci of these people. Something was off and I was determined to get to the bottom of it.
“So this was the last place where you saw her?” one of the officer’s asked me. We had all gathered in front of the convenience store and the cashier was being questioned as well. He looked at me quickly once or twice with a confused look. Next we went in the direction where Michi had run off to and then took separate ways.
I wish I had given her a cell phone, but now was not the time to think about what could have been done. The place I was in now was a cluster of alleys.
Each of us had taken a different road. At the end of my alley I noticed the shadow of two figures standing close to one another in the alley beside me. One was of a man and the other belonged to a woman. It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was our Fin and Em.
I moved in a little closer to get a clearer look and saw that Em had her arms wrapped around Fin’s neck.
“It’s ok! Why are you being a chicken?! We are already this far in the game and are almost as good as won” Em said in a pleading tone.
“This is wrong Em! I-I think we were wrong… we have done something unforgivable. And I am worried about Michi.” Fin replied looking at the ground.
“What a spineless coward you are!” Fin flinched at this comment and Em continued on in an aggressive voice, “You felt no remorse when we set the plan before your wedding or when we forced her to take the pills or when we lodged that complaint to find her, so why are acting like Mr.-goody-two-shoes now?!” I could not believe my ears. What exactly had they done to Michi? Em looked like she could hit Fin at any moment now.
“I-I knew all along that we were wrong… B-But I…” Fin seemed to be losing it.
“I never thought you’d snap so soon. This is such a disappointment.” Em removed her hands and crossed them over her chest. “What do you want to do now?”
“Let’s just leave” Fin replied smiling weakly.
“Yeah, I mean we do have the money and the police are busy finding her. So we can just make a run for it. They might just take care of her so it will be a win-win situation. No one is hurt and we will be safe.”
“Who is going where Fin?” I was at my limit now.
Coming out from the shadows of the setting sun, I stood right in front of the two of them like a pillar, looking straight at Fin. “Right now you are no less than a criminal, you know that don’t you?”
“Shit! He heard us!” Em exclaimed in a muffled voice as she covered her mouth in shock. Fin stood frozen.
“I-I-I…” his legs, no, rather his whole body seemed to be shaking. “W-We are doing this for her!” he finally blurted out.
“Oh really? I’d like to know how” I walked up close to Fin till our eyes were just a few centimeters apart and stared him down heavily. Em ran off in a panic leaving the two of us alone.
“You don’t get it. S-She is just a lonely existence. I feel sorry for her. The only way to make her happy was to set her free of this world. But I wasn’t able to do that. So now if the police can take care of her then wouldn’t that be the best possible thing for her?” Fin kept blurting of things that made no sense to me, but what I knew for sure now was that they were the ones who made Michi cry.
“JUST EXACTLY HOW CONCEITED CAN YOU BE?!” I bumped Fin on his head with my head and caught him by the collar before he could fall. “YOU ARE THE WORST KIND OF TRASH I HAVE SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE” I punched him hard and in turn got punched myself as well by Fin’s sudden attack.
“THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY! YOU WON’T UNDERST-“
“THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY!!!” I head bumped him again, which in turn made me dizzy. I could feel a warm and moist tickly sensation on my head. I was sure that I had been hitting his head, so how did I get a cut on mine? In the frenzy I noticed a small clip like item on Fin’s head. Well now I’ll be careful so as to not to bump my head on his again. We had a few more rounds of fist fighting before falling to the ground.
We lay there panting for some time. Fin’s breaths calmed down before mine. After a few minutes I heard a soft sniffing sound. I got up on my elbows and turned to look at Fin. He had covered his eyes with one hand but I could see that he was crying.
“I know you are right” he spoke between his sobs. “There is no justification for what I did. I’ve known this since the very beginning, yet I-I…” his voice drifted off. I didn’t know what I was supposed to feel anymore. Was I supposed to make him feel worse or was I supposed to sympathize with him? Either ways, knowing that he realized his mistake was a big thing or there would have been another Michi part 6. Oops! I wasn’t supposed to say that here!
“What should I do now?” Fin asked removing his hand and looking at me with red sore eyes.
“Isn’t that obvious? Apologize. And then turn yourself in” these suggestions were again one of those easier-said-than-done things but looking at Fin at the moment made me realize that maybe when you are down on the path of redemption; the tougher deeds give the highest level of satisfaction.
One of the officers somehow spotted us lying on the ground and came running towards us. The rest of the story is not much interesting. Fin confessed there and then, the head inspector was called and Fin got a tight slap on his face. Em was caught somewhere on her way to the airport, and Michi was left in my custody after a lot of begging on my part. The sun had already set and the heavy clouds now seemed like they wanted to relax. In a short while it started drizzling and I resumed my search for Michi.
It didn’t take me long to find her. She was sleeping on a bench near a bus stand. Drenched heavily. I called up the other cops who were trying to find her that I got her and told them to wait for me at my residency. Seeing Michi’s face now I could imagine what she might have gone through. I did not know the details yet, but not being able to share your pain is a big thing. I might have broken down a long time ago. I picked her up on my back and started walking.
After a short while I felt her arms move and then she started panicking. I put her down and she looked at me with tears in her eyes. I wanted to comfort her properly and so without thinking hugged her tightly. This is not the kind of hug you all are thinking about. This is a pure hug between friends who don’t need words.
“Don’t worry, its ok. I am going to protect you”
I said those words like some action hero, but I was determined to keep this promise. Looking closely when she saw blood on my head, she got a little flustered, but I somehow quickly summed up all the details of the afternoon in a tight sentence and slowly calmed down.
“Say… I finally got a job” I wonder if this was the right time to break the news, but I had been wanting to tell her this since morning.
Michi looked at me encouragingly and urged me to speak on. “It is a job in a place called Crackville and I was hoping if you would like to come with me”
Standing silently in the rain, Michi closed her eyes for some time and then opened them slowly. The look I got to see at that moment was filled with fire and enthusiasm. With a sharp nod Michi flashed her teeth in a big grin, and so our new journey in a faraway land was set in motion.
“By the way I heard that gang fights are a pretty common scenario there…”