Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: September 21, 2398

Bridgette is about to leave her room when realizes that she put her skirt on backwards. “Chey!” No response. She spins it around, glad she didn’t leave the apartment looking like that. Cheyenne would find it funny. “Chey!” Still no response. “Cheyenne, have you seen my bracelet! I don’t remember when I last wore it, but it’s not on my nightstand!” Why isn’t she responding? She needs to sleep a lot, even with the Insulator of Life, there’s no way she beat her out of bed this morning. She opens her door, and reaches over to knock on Cheyenne’s. “Are you there?” What is up with this? She takes the liberty of opening Cheyenne’s door. At first, it’s like she doesn’t see what she’s seeing. That’s not her, hanging there. It’s a big decoration for some kind of holiday that she’s not that familiar with. It’s’s an illusion. There’s nothing there at all. This is some kind of trick. That Alyssa girl can make you see things, right. But why would she do that? Why would she make her see her best friend hanging from the rafter? That’s sick. This is sick. It’s a sick joke. “Help!” She flips the upturned chair upright, and jumps onto it, holding Cheyenne by the waist as high as she can. “HELP!” she screams again.
The door is locked!” someone on the other side of it muffles back.
“Break it down!”
Mateo suddenly appears in the common area of the apartment.
“Get a knife!” Bridgette orders.
Mateo grabs a kitchen knife from the block. He runs into the room, squeezes himself onto the chair with her, and slices through the bedsheet. He tosses the knife to the corner just in time to catch them both before they fall to the floor.
Bridgette scrambles to remove the sheet from Cheyenne’s neck. She doesn’t check for a pulse, or a breath. She goes right into chest compressions and rescue breaths. By now, Leona and others have rushed into the apartment, having retrieved the master key.
Leona kneels down and takes Cheyenne’s wrist for some reason. “She’s gone.”
“She’s cold,” Leona explains solemnly.
“So? It’s a little cold today. It’s the first day of fall, isn’t it?” Bridgette keeps going.
“Bridgette, stop.”
Bridgette stops. Her hands come off of her friend’s dead body, and land on her own knees as she leans back. “She’s so cold,” she agrees, tearing up. “She did this last night. Either I was here, or I came in, and didn’t check on her like I usually do. Why didn’t I check on her? If I had just...”
“Where is the Insulator of Life?” Mateo asks, looking around the room.
“Is that all you people care about?”
Leona takes both Bridgette’s hands in hers. “If it’s not here, where would it have gone? Would she have put it somewhere else?”
Bridgette wipes the saltwater from her eyes, and looks around too. “No. You were done with it, so she would have brought it back here, where it belongs.”
“She did,” Kivi says. “We were chatting, so I followed her in. I saw her set it on her desk.”
“And she wasn’t suicidal, right?” Leona asks.
“No, of course not.”
Leona looks up at Ramses, who sighs, and shuts his eyes in sadness and fear. “The boo-boo cage is on, right?”
“Yes,” Leona answers.
Ramses takes a little remote out of his pocket, and presses a button, dropping the remote in time for it to not teleport with him.
“Angela, check the security feeds. I want to know everything that happened in this building since I let who we thought was Ramses out of that cage.”
“You have a client meeting today,” Alyssa points out.
“You take it,” Angela requests.
“I’m not qualified or experienced, I’m just the receptionist.”
“You helped me edit the discussion notes. You know the material. I trust you. I need to watch the feeds. My mind can absorb the footage better than normal people.”
“Shouldn’t Kivi do it instead?” Alyssa suggests.
“Kivi needs to find someone for me,” Leona says, standing up.
“Who?” Bridgette questions.
“Erlendr Preston,” Leona answers with a burning hatred. “We may be able to rewrite history.”
Mateo wraps Cheyenne’s body in her blanket, and carries her out of the apartment. Bridgette doesn’t know where he’s taking her, or what they’re going to do with it. They’re not really a part of society anymore. Would they even be able to call the authorities on this matter? No, they have to handle it in-house. When they find out who did this, be it Ramses, Erlendr in Ramses’ body, or a random burglar, Bridgette is gonna deal with it herself. She’ll hurt anyone who tries to get in her way. They’re going to answer for their crimes, and she’s the only one who gets to determine what that means.
Leona doesn’t feel like it’s good for Bridgette’s mental health to be at The Lofts right now, so Marie escorts her to the condo. Heath has been sleeping in his old master bedroom, and Arcadia and Vearden sleep together, so that leaves the smaller room free for Bridgette’s use. She woke up well-rested this morning, but she’s feeling so tired. She can’t even keep her eyes open. She passes out on the bed.
She doesn’t wake up until night has fallen. The other four, including Marie, are sitting in the living room. “I’m hungry.”
“We’re warming a dish for you,” Vearden says, standing up, and heading for the kitchen area to retrieve it.
“What is it you people like to say,” Bridgette begins, “report?”
“Please, sit,” Marie recommends. “Angela finished with the security footage. The whereabouts of Ramses’ body has been accounted for all day yesterday, and all this morning. He fell asleep in his lab, having missed out on a lot of work, so a camera was always on him.” She hesitates to continue.
“Say it.”
“Andile Mhlangu was seen leaving your apartment, going down the stairs, and exiting through the side door.”
“I can’t remember who was in her body,” Bridgette admits.
Marie nods. “It was the man we’ve been looking for, Meredarchos.”
Bridgette nods. “That’s good,” she decides.
“Why would that be good?” Heath asks, afraid of the answer.
“Andile doesn’t need her body anymore, unlike Ramses. That means I can kill it.”

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