I step forward, shocked, and my mind races. "What are you doing here? You are violating Chapter 24 of the New World Law, Section C, which is prosecutable by up to 6 weeks in the iso-centre or 1 year in prison. Anything you say can, and will, be used in your prosecution, and I am hereby arresting you." I take another step forward, and only then notice that he is swinging his empty hand in a circular motion, a sign that he doesn't care what I'm saying and wanted me to shut up a long time before I did. I stop, unnerved by his arrogance, and in my silence he finds words.
"Yah gonna quote anyfin else at me, Officer? Or are we past that now, eh?" His words remain slurred, and I can tell he's had a little more than just his current glass of wine. Beneath his trenchcoat are black trousers with blue stripes, matching his jacket and shirt. He wears a yellow bowtie, bold against the black and blue backdrop and black trenchcoat. His black hair is slicked back, scruffy from actions in his drunkenness, and his bushy eyebrows appear to be propping strands of his hair that have bucked the trend. His nose appears to have been misshapen from fracture, and his lips are curled awkwardly from obvious alcoholism. "That's that then, ain't it?" He adds, taking my silence as acceptance. "Anyways, I can helps yah. I hear that you needs information. Three men, right?" I gulp. 'Who is he? How does he know? It has to be the men who killed Ana's brother, but what can he do?' I can't help but be suspicious. I was taught to be.
"And?" I reply, trying to sound just stern enough to show that I'm in charge, but I just end up sounding petulant.
"Well, I believe we can help each other."
"I have information. On one of them. I'm sure yah'll be able to...find out anyfin else yah might want."
"What do you want then?"
"Well," He starts, a grin spreading across his drunken face, "You could start by refilling mah cup." He chuckles, "I mean, what kinda host leaves his guest with an empty glass?" And with that, he downs the rest of the wine and laughs, throwing his head back as he does so. This action puts him off-balance, and he collapses backwards, limbs spread across the floor. His glass, no, my glass shatters into millions of pieces, covering the kitchen area with shards.
'What do I do?' My mind races. I figure out a plan, and grab his shoulders, dragging him from the kitchen, down the hall and through to the living room. I lift him, heaving his shoulders up, resting them on my knees as I try to push his limp body onto the sofa. Suddenly, he slips from my grasp and falls to the floor, his right shoulder landing on my right foot with a large thumping sound. I try to life him again, before I hear a noise behind me; I turn sharply, letting the man slump gently to the ground, and see that Ana has entered the room. She lets out a slight gasp, and as I try to explain, there is a groan from behind me.
"What the...? Ry?" Ana asks, and I can see and hear that she has been crying in the guest room instead of trying to sleep. She unfolds her arms and extends them in a gesture of anger, and there's nothing I can say. I know no more, really, than she does. 'You can't tell her' I think, 'To protect her.' And I shrug my shoulders slightly and mumble an expression of confusion.
She turns swiftly on her heels and storms towards the front door. I don't move, rooted to the spot, fixated on the point where she was standing. I hear her yank the door open, step out into the night, and slam it closed again. She didn't even stop to pick up her things. "I don't blame 'er." A voice from behind says. All of the stress, anger and raw emotion of today kicks in, and I lash out, striking the man in the stomach with my fist. He coughs and splutters, before drifting back into unconsciousness.
A tear pricks the back of my eye, threatening to cause a cascade, as this reminds me of Ana's brother. 'Why did you leave them?' I ask myself, 'The men could wait. Freda had it. Ana needed you, and you left her with some woman you don't even know. How could you? What kind of man, friend... 'close' friend are you?' These are questions to which I have no answers. The more I think, the more I question myself, and the tear turns into a river, flowing every which way, flooding the creases of my face, burning the skin as it does so.
I sit back onto the sofa, leaving the man at my feet, and rest my head against the back. 'No. You need real sleep.' My mind is right, despite it being the first thing I've welcomed it saying in a while. I stand, my body aching from the day, and I quickly scale the stairs, two at a time. I walk on the landing, and I come to the Guest Room before my room. I enter, the door still half open, and I'm startled at what I find.
"Ana..." I whisper.