“What do you mean they think I did this?” Rowan protested after the police officer had told her something that couldn’t possibly be true. “Someone must have heard something. I have an alibi.”
“Unfortunately Ma’am, no one heard anything. Surely someone would have heard a burglar making such a mess. You have no alibi for the half hour you claim it took you to walk home. It’s only a ten-minute walk from here to the high school where your interview was. For all we know you could have snuck in yourself and made this mess before calling 911 for the insurance claims. Your neighbours all think you would do something like this— “
“But I would never do anything like that.”
“Again, I’m sorry Ma’am. This is not something we can investigate further. Don’t worry, I won’t charge you for insurance fraud this time. Just don’t do it again.”
The police officers all left without saying a word. Rowan wanted to protest further but at that point speaking up would only make it worse. She did not want to get charged for something she didn’t do.
The fact that her neighbours had all blamed her for the mess and the dead raven on her doorstep said volumes about her relationship with the people who lived near her. Most of her neighbours were younger people either still in university, or have just graduated. Her closest neighbour was studying for exams and had been in her room when this had all happened. She must have lied about what she heard.
There had been a few times in the past where she woke up with terrible nightmares. They were always the same. A family lay murdered on their living room floor. Blood soaked into the carpet. She was hiding in a closet. A man walked around calling out for her. She knew he had a sneer on his face, his fingers tapping lightly on the knife her carried. The dream would always end with the man finding her and bringing his knife down upon her. She would wake up screaming hysterically which did not please the neighbours.
Not to mention the fact that they all thought she was an eavesdropper. Rowan didn’t know how she knew so many details about their personal lives, but she definitely didn’t find these things out by listening in on her neighbours’ conversations.
Now she had to clean up. She would get no help, she would have to do everything on her own. First she dealt with the books because she never had a an organization system for them. This is when she noticed something strange about all the objects that had been strewn across the floor. Usually when she picked up an object with her bare hands, especially objects as well-loved as these books she would feel memories that were not hers nudging themselves into the center of her consciousness. When she picked up the books she felt nothing but the memories that had just been made. She had always believed that she was delusional. This was never brought up to anyone because she didn’t want to be the crazy girl even though that’s exactly what she became. If she felt nothing when touching her things than something must have changed.
Someone knocked loudly on her door.
Mr. Streer stood on the other side. He looked as though he was going to explode. He was an older man with a receding hairline, except he had dies what hair he had left a bright blue. He had stretchers in his ears, and a nose ring.
“How could you waste my time like that. Do you know how much time I lost because I had to talk to the police? Huh. Do you? Because far too much of my time was wasted all because you couldn’t keep your mouth shut.”
“No buts. Not only did you waste my time but you several of your neighbours at risk. Next time this happens you will no longer be living here. Do. I. Make. Myself. Clear.”
Rowan stood there for a second frozen. Her jaw was clenched, tears were filling her eyes. “Uh. Yes. Yes sir.” She mumbled.
“Good.” He smiled menacingly.
He turned leaving her staring into the hallway out of shock. After about a minute of standing there she closed the door and slowly got back to cleaning. She finally finished picking everything off the floor and was about to attempt cleaning up the mess in front of her door when yet another person knocked on her door. She contemplated whether or not she should answer it. The last two people who had visited her had been less than pleasant and it was unlikely that anyone else would want to talk to her without being angry with her. Most likely her neighbours just thought that she was just being her usual crazy self so they wouldn’t come. Maybe it was a Jehovah’s Witness come to tell her about his religion. Yeah maybe she shouldn’t answer.
When the person knocked again she sighed in annoyance. She had to answer eventually. What if it was important? What is the police had returned with some evidence that proved she was innocent? She began to day dream about all the good things that could be waiting for her at the door. Now she just had to answer.
A tall man around her age with sandy blonde hair stood in the doorway.
“Are you Rowan Winters?” he asked in a gentle voice.
“That is me.” Rowan replied apprehensively. She did not expect someone like him to be there. He actually looked like a nice guy and he wasn’t looking down on her like most of the other guys she knew would.
He smiled. “That’s good. Because you and I, well, we have a lot to talk about.”