The church was packed, from front to back. It was filled with strangers, I knew none of these people and I'll bet my last dollar that she wouldn't know them either. To me, everybody in this house of God was a pretender. Everyone in attendance was gathered here to lay her to rest. My best friend, my sister, my ride-or-die. Vishay and I have been friends since we were knee-high to a duck. When I received the horrific news that she had died I was stunned speechless. I was in shock, and when the initial shock subsided, I cried for a thousand hours. It was only a few days ago that I learned how she had died. Detectives showing up at my door questioning me about a disagreement between two friends was mind-boggling and pissed me off in the same time frame. The news floored, brought me to my knees, and I no longer wanted to talk about irrelevant shit, I wanted, no, needed to know who done it, why, and what are they doing to find Vishay's killer or killers. Questioning me about nothing wasn't helping her case.
The Reverend preached, from the pulpit, he delivered a powerful eulogy about my slain friend. He recited kind words that touched me deeply. But it was when this guy stood up and walked towards the pulpit with a trumpet in his white-gloved hands and began blowing the notes to "Walk With Me Lord" that took me out. The music was more than I could bear. And just like one of those Jack-N-Box I popped up, sprung up off the front pew, and darted towards the exit, running away from sad music, trying to run away from heartache and pain. I ran until I was no longer inside the church, ran until I reached my car. No stopping then, I started my car, pulled it in gear, and peeled out of that parking lot moving like a bat out of hell.
I didn't stop until I made it back to the building that housed my apartment. Pulling up out front and releasing my vehicle to the valet parking attendant. I rushed inside, made a straight line toward the elevators. Feverishly stabbing the buttons until the doors slid open. I stepped inside, the doors slid closed behind, and I pressed the number for my floor. I paced around the space while the vertical lift carried me up to the thirty-ninth floor. The door came apart and I hurried off, turned right, and did not stop until I was tucked safely inside my rented space. Hovering over my toilet I regurgitated the contents of my stomach. I dry heaving violently when there was nothing left to come out. About five minutes after I made it home three loud rapid taps at my door cut through the silence of the apartment. Startled, I jumped, and fell away from the toilet. I fell back into the cold wall and glared out toward that man-made portal.
Another four minutes or so, I pulled myself together, stood up, and went to answer the knocking. Heading in that direction I counted backward from 10 then from 1 back to 10. Pulling open the outlet when I reached ten. No one was there. I moved closer to the door and peeked out into the hallway. I looked left then towards the right. Still, I saw nothing or no one. About halfway into closing the door, my eyes dropped down toward the floor, that's when I spotted it. It was just sitting down there. It was a box, a strange-looking box, but still a box. I swung the door back open, kneeled to pick it up. Moving back into the apartment and kicking the portal shut behind me. I held the box in both of my hands and walked towards the kitchen. Completing the journey I sat the box down on the tabletop. Claiming a seat, I lowered my frame down into the chair. I eyed that box intently, stared at it like it was something from another planet. The woodwork was made out of cherry oak wood and the fabric that also made up its design was this light-blue velvet material.
The bright orange sticky note that sat on top of it had a four-digit number written across it. 2021 is the numerals. I rolled the little dials on the lock until all four numbers stared up at me. Popping the mini lock and removing it from the box. I moved to open it but quickly stopping myself. What am I thinking? I thought to myself. I didn't have a clue about this damn box, I didn't know what it was, didn't know the contents of the inner belly. I contemplated if I should open it or not, I mulled over should I or should I not. Time passed by and I still hadn't come to a decision. I just sat at my kitchen table scowling at the strangely pretty container.
"What are you waiting for, B'onca Ware?" I quizzed myself aloud. I told myself, "Toughing up, B'onca, you're from the Southside. The Southside of Phylicia California does not breed punk-bitches."
Saying, fuck it. I came to a decision, deciding on opening the box. I sighed, shook my head, and opened it. Pulling the box halfway open, peeping with one eye closed. Peeking inside with my one open eye. Nothing jumped out at me eating my face off. Nor, did anything explode ending my life. Fully opening the mysterious square, I riffled through its contents. There's a letter of some sort and a bloodstained key. Sighing, I reluctantly pulled the paper out. Unfolding the sheet of loose-leaf paper and began to read the words printed along its lines.
"Dear B'onca if have received my Aveson Vintage box and you are looking at its contents, reading the letter I've enclosed, then I'm most likely already dead, or damn near there."
Just those few words brought me to tears. I knew Vishay Rivers was gone, that she was deceased. But reading the words written in her handwriting made it a reality. Until now I didn't wanna believe it, my mind just wouldn't allow me to accept what was obvious. My mind made me believe that I could pick up the phone, dial her number, and on the second ring, she'll answer just as she always has. My tears fell even hard.
I continued reading.
"First, B'onca, I wanna strongly recommend that you do not get involved, that you do not try and find out what happened to me, this was my plight, and mine alone. Secondly, I've made a few mistakes, even worse decisions over the past few years. Stop! B'onca, don't do that to yourself. You've done nothing wrong, and there was nothing you could've done to help me. Trust and believe as I tell you this. Thirdly, B'onca, I've always admired you, looked up to you. I've always strived to be just like you. I love you, B'onca. I'm sorry that I had to leave you alone in this cold and cruel world. Lastly, my friend, my big sister from another mother. The key. Sorry about the blood. It's not mine by the way. Anyway, the key is to a storage unit down at Phylicia's Self Storage. What inside should make up for all that I've caused to transpire? B'onca, leave Phylicia, please. B'onca, leave this city with what I have gifted you and never look back."
After reading the letter, I read then re-read the letter again. Holding the bloody key in my left hand and the note in the right. My mind raced, I thought hard about what Vishay wrote, and what I concluded was that Vishay Rivers was completely delusional, and out of her freaking mind if she thought I was going to let her murder go unsolved. Somebody hurt my friend, my sister. No matter what she's done, nobody had the right to take her life. They ended her life on my watch and there's no fucking way that I'm letting that go. I'll find who's responsible, even if it's only one person or twenty. They'll pay for this, either in prison time or in blood.
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