“I’m sorry officer, but can you tell me what you are doing here?” Dylan asked the uniformed man that was putting police tape on the door.
“Do you know the person who lives here?” the officer asked in return, ignoring Dylan’s question.
“Not really, I met him a couple of nights ago. But I came here because I was worried about him, so can you please tell me if he’s okay?”
“Why were you worried, sir? Did he say something to you about his plans?”
What the hell? Plans? Wait… was this a criminal investigation? Dylan looked around. No ambulance or anything, just one police car, one officer in front of the apartment and the other one probably inside.
“No, I don’t know what kind of plans you mean. It’s just some things he said. I realised he may have been having a manic episode. So, if he has done something crazy, please let a psychologist check him out. He may not be in his right mind.” Dylan pleaded, wondering what the hell Jeffrey had gotten himself into.
“He sure isn’t in his right mind sir. He’s dead. Jumped off the Kyso studio building after assaulting a receptionist and stabbing their president with a letter opener.”
There was nothing. No sadness, no grief, no anger, no pain. Nothing. Just a realisation that he had been right but too late. He shouldn’t have avoided Jeffrey yesterday. If he had just ended his shift and let Jeffrey pick him up, he would probably still be alive.
The usual ‘it isn’t your fault’ wasn’t cutting it now. People had always said that to him, and he knew they were right. But now? No, it wasn’t his fault that Jeffrey had jumped off a building in a manic state, but he would have been able to prevent this if he had acted like the thirty-five year old he was, and he hadn’t. No, he ran away and made jokes about it with his neighbour, like a high-schooler. And now Jeffrey was dead.
“Is the man he stabbed still alive?” He asked the police officer.
“Yes. I don’t know how he’s doing, but they took him to the hospital and if he’d died there, they would have told me. Mr. van Schagen really didn’t say anything about what he was up to?”
“I met him at Mercury last Saturday, that’s the bar I work at. He was celebrating, throwing money around. Said he’d gotten a deal with a big producer that was going down on Monday. Said he was going to make millions. But he didn’t want to say more about it. He sounded genuinely happy. Like he had really sold them a script. I only realised later that he may not have been in his right mind.”
“Can I take that down as your official statement?”
“Sure.” Dylan said. Wondering if he should say more. It’s not right to withhold information from the police. But then again, they want to know about the shit that went down at the studio. Not about Jeffrey’s sex-life. He handed over his passport, so that the police officer could put his information down with the statement.
“Says here you live in Nuenen?”
“No, I recently moved.” Dylan explained and told the officer his current address and phone number.
“Thank you for your cooperation Mr de Jonge, if we have any further questions we’ll be in touch.” The officer extended his hand and Dylan shook it. He threw a last glance at Jeffrey’s apartment, then turned and walked home.
Dylan smoked three cigarettes on the way back to his house. He still didn’t feel anything but a gnawing guilt scratching at his intestines. The rest was blank.
It should hurt. This should hurt. Why didn’t it? Why didn’t it hurt to hear that the man he hooked up with two nights ago had jumped off a building? Didn’t he care? No, he DID care. He cared a lot. He just couldn’t feel it.
It was the same when Sead died. But that he had attributed to the fact that he had been expecting his death. How sudden it had come, still he had known. He figured that somewhere in his heart he had already known he lost him. That his grief had been spread thin over that many months, so that at the end nothing was left. But now. Jeffrey’s death came completely out of the blue and in a very shocking manner, and he still couldn’t feel it.
Wouldn’t it be sick of you if you couldn’t cry about losing your husband, and yet feel hurt about losing a man you didn’t even know?
He needed to talk to someone, Dylan realised. He was here in a new city, all alone. He needed to talk to his family, his friends. But his family loved Sean almost as much as he had and his friends were Sean’s friends. He didn’t want to tell any of them he had hooked up with a guy from a bar, so soon after Sean’s death. How much he wanted to go to them, have them comfort him, he couldn’t put it out of his mind that they would think less of him. And he didn’t want that.
There was one person he could call that didn’t have anything to do with Sean. Sean hadn’t liked her. He had been bugging Dylan every time he made plans to see her. Dylan had understood that Sean wasn’t the self-assured man to be okay with him being friends with his ex, so they had hardly spoken in the past years. She had been at the funeral though, and she had been nice to him. Saying he could always call her if he wanted to talk. Dylan hoped Senna had meant it as he looked her up in her contact list and rang her up.
“Hey Dylan! Nice of you to call. How are you?”
“Hey Senna. Um. I’m okay I guess, but something happened, and I needed to talk about it. Am I calling at a good time?”
“Yeah, I’m on my lunch break. I was taking a stroll in the park. The autumn colours are so pretty.”
Dylan glanced at the meagre amount of trees in sight. He couldn’t get used to the absence of green in this city. The leaves were brown here, but he knew the park Senna was walking in. He imagined its brilliant shades of green, yellow, and red and smiled. “They are.” He said.
“Ok, so... Tell me what happened.”
“Well, I had a one-night stand…”
Before Dylan could finish his sentence, he heard a loud “Whoop! Whoop!” from the other side of the line. “Yeah! My Dylan finally got laid! Good for you!”
“Yeah, well not really.”
“He jumped off a building this morning.”
“Yeah, well… I figured there was something wrong. He…”
“OH MY GOD IT’S A CURSE! You are actually cursed! Oh, Dylan I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to. I never. Look. I’ll go see an occultist. I’ll find a way to break it. Please Dylan, I didn’t know, I’m so sorry!”
“What the hell are you talking about, what has any of this got to do with you?”
“Well, you know in high school, when we were together, I dabbled a bit in witchcraft.”
“Yes, like all alternative girls did at that time, so what?”
“I think I may have accidentally cursed you.”
“That’s nonsense, Senna. Witchcraft is not real, you know this.”
“Yeah well, I started doubting that. You know, with what happened and all. But now you sleep with someone and he ALSO dies. It’s not a coincidence any more Dylan.”
“I agree, but I think it has more to do with me picking the wrong men, than with a curse. Are you saying you were so mad about me cheating on you that you actually performed a curse ritual, and wished everyone that I even slept with died?”
“No, of course not! I did no such thing, but I WAS angry.”
“As you should have been. Still, our friendship survived, and I presume you’re not mad about it anymore, right?”
“Of course! I was mad only for a short time. I kind of understood. It wasn’t right that you screwed a guy behind my back, but I got why you didn’t come out at the time. I don’t know. I think I loved you too much to stay mad at you. Besides, I’m really glad we got to stay friends, we always had so much fun together.”
“Yeah we did. But I think we’ve established you didn’t curse me. So now there’s just this fucked-up situation and I don’t know. I can’t FEEL anything.”
“Guilt, perhaps. Nothing substantial.”
“I understand the guilt. I think some part of you knows about the curse, meaning you’ve basically murdered the man by sleeping with him.”
Dylan sighed, annoyed. “I thought you said you were my friend.”
“I am! I am, I just... I think this isn’t a coincidence. Please don’t have sex with anyone else. I’m going to fix this. Right now.”
Then she hung up.
Dylan stared at his phone. He hadn’t been expecting this. Maybe he should have. He knew Senna for almost twenty years now. She had always had an illogical tendency towards the paranormal and occult. Of course, she jumped to this conclusion.
But she had been right though. This wasn’t a coincidence. Dylan had a type. He knew this and so he should’ve seen it. He had listened to his dick instead of thinking clearly, and now a person was dead because of it. It should hurt. He deserved to be in pain about this.
Yet he wasn’t.