My career as a journalist began when I was finally hired by one of the well-respected monthly magazine, The Carrington, as one of their investigative journalist. Althought the reason I became a journalist wasn’t matched with the job I was given, I kept saying to myself to give it a shot. As I began working with them, I also began persuading my editor with a lot of sport related articles I had made before so she could see me for what kind of journalist I really was, a sports journalist.
After a year working as investigative journalist, I realized I had made a wrong decision by giving myself a hope that one day my editor would put me in the position that I was crafting for so long. I was tired and almost gave up when I worked on my resignation letter more than making news content to be published. When my editor asked me to conduct an interview with a person who became the talks of local society in Merlyn, I promised to myself that this would be the last job I took in this magazine.
Merlyn is a small city in Los Angeles suburb where its population was not more than 5000. Recently, this small city was shocked by a phenomenon of a girl who could recover the dead people’s memory. The last thing people heard about her was that she was recruited by the local Police Force to help them solve homicide cases as a consultant. This girl was the subject of my last interview for The Carrington.
“Reserved table for Caroline Brody, please.”
A voice mentioning a name that sounded familiar to me caught my attention. I took a quick look at the person who stood in front of the reception table. From the glimpse look, I could tell that she had gorgeous blonde hair and sunglasses covering her eyes. I wondered something as I focused on my notebook, a pen, and recorder on the table before me. If she was such a phenomenon, why wouldn’t anyone recognize her?
“This way, please,” the waiter led her to my table that I had ordered two days before our meeting for the interview.
When she finally stood before me, I saw a beautiful young lady which had thick lips that matched her gaunt cheek and a sharp chin. The sunglasses fitted perfectly with her pointed nose. The leather jacket that she used to cover a plain t-shirt she wore along with black jeans and a pair of boots made her even more stunning. Just as I thought that she was perfect, I saw her right hand holding a stick closely which was used as her ‘eyes’ in order to avoid bumping with things around her. The girl was blind.
“Hi, I’m sorry I couldn’t make it on time,” she said while smiling into a wrong direction.
“It’s okay. I only got here a few minutes,” I stood and replied her at the same time. I also gave my hand for a hand shake to introduce myself. “Bradley Wilson.”
For once, her intention to return my hand shake failed because her hand missed mine quite far.
“Caroline Brody,” she said as I shook her hand.
I helped her to sit on the chair across the table and ordered her a cup of tea to make our interview more relaxed and less awkward. Before I began the interview, I confessed to her that I didn’t see for what she really was, and she smiled and told me the reason why her blindness wasn’t published in any newspaper or magazine she had ever been into. It was done for her own safety’s sake.
“Carol, please,” she said while adjusting her seat.
“Carol, you have been a phenomenon in this city for the past year, how do you feel about it?” my first cliche question notified that the interview session had begun. I also turned my recorder on as I grabbed my note and pen.
“Well, I wouldn’t say a phenomenon. I’m just using my ability to help the ones who need me. It’s not actually an amazing thing.”
“People say that you can read mind of the dead, can you explain more about it because in this mortal world that seems impossible?”
“It actually restores their memories. I know what their last memories are by touching parts of their heads. Usually the corpse that gives me its full memory is the one who hasn’t been dead for 24 hours. If it’s more, then what I get is only flashes of it.
“You work for the police to help them investigating homicide cases now, how does your ability work out for them?”
As the waitress came to bring us our beverages, she continued answering my questions.
“They thought by knowing the memory of the homicide victims, the murder cases will be solved faster and easier than before. So far it worked.”
“And how long is ‘so far’?” I grabbed my coffee and sipped it while waiting for her answer.
“Fifty seven cases in the past six months.”
“Wow, that is actually amazing.”
She just smiled while her right hand was on the table looking for a cup of tea she had ordered before. I helped her with her cup and sugar. She drank it before I proceeded to the next question.
“Where did you get this kind of power, if you called it a power?”
“It’s actually a long story, but I will make it short for you.”
After she put back the cup into its saucer, she began telling me the story of how she got the power in restoring a dead man’s memory.
It started when she had a fatal car accident in a cold winter night. Her car which she was driving ran off the cliff after she tried to avoid a truck which was coming on the opposite direction. On the passenger seat was her boyfriend who got killed in the accident. She didn’t know about it because her family refused to tell the truth to her during her recovery knowing herself had lost her sight. They were afraid she would drown herself into sorrow.
On the day of her boyfriend’s funeral, her family couldn’t stand telling her lies about her love one. They finally told her so that she could touch her boyfriend for the last time. She, then, paid a visit for the last time to her boyfriend.
“When I touched his cheek, I saw a scene that brought us to our condition at that time. I saw the accident in my mind like it was a tape that was being replayed. At that time, I didn’t think too much about it because I thought it was my sorrow that brought an impossible imagination like that.”
She paused to continue drinking the tea. I could finally see her eyes when she decided to take her glasses off. Her light-blue eyes looked perfectly fine if you didn’t notice those blank looks towards no direction.
I swore if she was able to see, she would notice a sympathetic look that I showed her. It was such a tragic true story for a beautiful girl like her.
“But then a few days later when one of my acquaintances passed away, the same thing happened. I thought I was crazy back then, but it happened over and over again every time I touched a dead person’s body.
“I told my mom about this and she said I should accept it like some kind of gift. She thought I should feel like this is a blessing in disguise. I could never give my argument toward her opinion because I have no idea about what has gotten into me.”
“If your mom considers your power as a gift, what would you consider it as?”
“I’m not sure,” she laughed and shrugged her shoulders with a hidden sad expression. “I wasn’t actually a good girl before I had the accident. So I would consider my power as redemption for my bad behavior in the past rather than a gift. I believe, by giving it, God gives me a chance to be a better person.”
Her last statement gave us the silent I didn’t expect. It lasted for more than five minutes before she continued.
“Just as I had accepted this ‘blessing’, the police discovered the story and they asked me to join the forces to solve a lot of murder cases.”
“Had anyone ever underestimated you before you finally gained their trust?”
“Of course. Back on early days I joined the forces, couple of the officers questioning my presence and my weird method on the crime scene. They said what a blind girl could do with this murder investigation. I used to ignore them because they were not the ones who hired me as a consultant.”
“I bet they took back everything they said as soon as you are proved to help solving a lot of their cases.”
“I guess so.”
We laughed together.
“Do you have any specific case that you think is the most interesting for you to solve?”
“Ah, yes. The Craven Cottage Case. It took longer that other murder cases to be solved and it almost cost me my life because of the recklessness of other officers to clear the area of the crime scene.”
The Craven Cottage Case was a famous murder case where the murderer buried his victims under a cottage near the country side. The police found ten bodies when they dug the crime scene. Some of the victims had been dead for at least two months which were hard for their memories to be recovered. The freshest body was dead at least for 36 hours. She only had the glimpses of the last victim’s memory when she told the police that the suspect was a Caucasian male with 7 ft 6’ and had a black SUV car. She also said he wore military necklace and had a dragon tattoo on his chest. The police worked on other leads because she wasn’t giving much help due to the victims’ conditions.
Then a few days later she had a telephone call which told her that there had been a new victim with the same method of killing as the serial killer suspect. Before she could reach the new crime scene, somebody abducted her from the taxi she was on. He threatened to kill her if she didn’t stop investigating The Craven Cottage Case. The moment he said that, she instantly knew who took her.
“I was scared to death by then. I thought I was going to die because somehow I knew no one could save me from this psychopath,” she continued still with a blank expression in her eyes, but I could feel her fear which reflected from her tone.
The police was quick on looking up the lead from the last murder case. They found the suspect’s house and they found her tied to a chair in the basement. The suspect managed to escape before the police found them, but later on he was arrested when he was on his way leaving the town.
“Did you ever think to stop after what had happened?”
“Yes. I decided to stop helping the police a day after my abduction due to my condition. I was shocked as hell that I couldn’t even think straight.”
“What makes you coming back again eventually?”
“I don’t know,” she sighed and shrugged. “I feel like it’s the only way I can use my power in a good way.”
“Okay. Last question. With the murder cases that you have investigated so far and you also have seen terrible images from the victims’ recovered memories, didn’t they ever make you feel traumatized or something? Because I’m sure you are not the kind of woman who loves witnessing gruesome actions.”
“Ah, yes. That must be the million dollar question,” she smiled.
I honestly didn’t know what she was talking about by mentioning it as the most important question of all.
“You are aware that blind people can’t see the world, aren’t you?”
I gave her a nod even I knew that she was blind.
“Seeing their memories means I can see the world through the very last thing they saw. No matter how bad and gruesome their memories are, if it means I can see the world again every time I touch the corpses. It’s good enough for me.”
I was shutted by her answer.
“If I was sick with those murders, I could always go to some strangers’ funeral who died in natural causes to recover their good memories. It helps me with the trauma.”
Just as the condition was getting frozen because I couldn’t make up any other question and I was too stunned even more with her last answer so that I couldn’t give any comments, her phone rang.
She struggled to get it from a pocket in her jacket.
“Caroline Brody,~ Yes, detective, we had just finished.~ Of course, I’ll be there soon,” she flipped back her phone and prepared to ask me a permission to end the interview.
“I’m afraid our interview should end here. Detective Shane just notified me that there is a murder case with a fresh body in his possession. I better get there soon before the time isn’t allowed me to look at the victim’s memory for the last time.”
“May I come with you?” that question was just flown into the air.
“I’m not sure. Detective Shane isn’t too friendly with journalists especially the ones who ask too many questions.”
“Don’t worry, I will be there only to observe your method,” I said it as I put all my belongings into my backpack in a hurry.
“Then let’s go.”
Her story might be complex for several people, but I would take back what I said earlier about this being my last interview for the magazine just to be with her and write her stories as one of the new topic for the magazine. I hoped my editor would approve everything.
As she stood, I instantly took her hand and led her to a taxi where we were heading to a crime scene.