Ryder saw her from across the parking lot, which was illuminated from the police cars’ flashing lights. She sat down on the curb, where the sidewalk and the street melted together. She took a cigarette to her painted lips and released a huff of smoke. With his hands in his pockets, Ryder looked up at the motel. Police tape bordered the entire entrance. A stern, middle-aged officer guarded the front door.
He started walking across the parking lot to her as she huffed the smoke. “Daisy,” he called, solemnly.
She lifted her eyes from the cement. “Ryder,” she said. “I’m surprised you came. You never liked your brother much.”
“That’s not true,” he protested. He gestured to the curb. “May I?”
She shrugged her shoulders, causing her bright, dyed red hair to bounce around her head. Ryder sat down next to her, making sure to keep a respectable distance. She was like an animal; if he spooked her, she would run. “I loved my brother. We just disagreed sometimes.”
She blew out another puff of smoke. “Have they told you anything?”
“No,” he sighed. “You?”
“No,” she whispered.
Ryder turned around and stole a glance at the cheap motel. The police lights made the building seem blue. “What do you think happened?”
“He’s dead,” she told him plainly. “I know it. I feel it. He’s dead. I don’t know what happened. I got the call just like you did.”
She nodded and blew another cloud of smoke. “That was nice of her,” she said. “I’m just his girlfriend.”
“I wouldn’t say that. You two have been dating for years now. He told my mother he was thinking of proposing soon.”
Daisy laughed sourly. She dropped her cigarette and smashed it with her dirty, old sneaker. “Too bad he’s dead, isn’t it?”
“We don’t know that.”
“Mr. Anderson?” a voice called.
The two looked up to see the police officer. A grim look spread across his face. “Ryder Anderson? I have bad news.”
As an aspiring writer, Samantha Friskey enjoys writing short stories while drinking a good cup of tea. She currently attends school in Washington, D.C.