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I stare at the body, Jason's body, and my stomach twist in pure horror as my mind slowly process the scene in front of me. It's crushed. Completely deformed and close to unrecognizable. His face is no more. It's just a mess of blood and flesh and a broken skull. Still, there's no doubt about it. It's him, the guy I've turned down maybe one too many times. The guy who gave me free coffee more than once. The guy I never really gave a fair chance.
"I... I-" I try to find my voice, but it seems like my tongue has gone numb with the rest of my body and I can't find the strength nor the will to force it to follow my lead. I swallow, slowly, and take a deep breath as a few tears find their way down my pale cheeks.
"I think it's him", Noah says sternly, directing his words to the police officer standing beside us.
The officer gives him a short nod, clearly understanding how hard this must be for us, before he adverts his soft eyes to me.
"Do you agree?" He asks softly and I take another deep breath before finally managing to get control over my voice again.
"I-It's him. I-I k-know it is", I stutter, my eyes fleeing from the sight in front of me and focusing on my shoelaces instead.
"Alright, the officer says and straighten his posture, "that's all we needed to know for now. I suggest you go back to your rooms and try to get some sleep. You have a lot to process and we do not wish to keep you up any longer."
I'm about to ask him what is going to happen now, but as the officer catches my glossy eyes, he sighs and put a warm hand onto my shoulder.
"I'm sorry for your loss", he says and I furrow my eyebrows as the meaning of his words makes my heart fill with guilt.
I feel guilty, ashamed almost, by the sincerity of the officer's words because of the way I've acted towards Jason.
I don't deserve his words, his sympathy, because the tears and pain in my eyes aren't there because I'm sorry for me. I'm sorry for him, Jason, and his loss. I'm sorry for him and his friends and his family, but I'm not sorry for me. This has nothing to do with me. Jason is dead and I'm sorry for him because he didn't deserve to die like this. No one does.
"Do you know who did it?" I ask in a voice barely above a whisper. "And why?"
The police officer furrows his brows and scratches his beard. "I don't know if it's a good idea to-"
"Please", I beg him, not even letting him finish his sentence. "Just tell me something, anything, please."
"Linnea", Noah suddenly says from beside me, "I think we should go."
"Just tell me something", I beg the officer again as I slowly stand up, "please."
He sighs and locks his dark eyes with mine. "We don't know who did it yet but we don't think the murder was at random."
My eyes widen as I take in his words. Y-you mean that it was planned?"
Even though he seems to be very uncomfortable telling me this, he continues. "It seems like it, but we can't say anything for sure right now."
"But why?" I say, a tone of desperation audible in my voice.
"Linnea, let's go", Noah says again, this time with a hint of sternness in his voice.
"We don't know why yet", the officer answers, "but judging by what we can see, the murderer didn't hold anything back. We believe the motive was personal, but it's only theories. We can't say anything for sure until the investigation is done."
"Personal?" I say it out loud, although I'm not expecting an answer. Even though I didn't know Jason that well, I try to search through my mind after something, anything, that can help me puzzle the pieces together.
I suddenly feel something grab my arm, and as I look up I'm met by Noah's steel blue eyes.
"C'mon, it's time to go", he says, his voice sounding soft but his eyes were ice cold. I furrow my eyebrows in confusion over the lack of emotion I can make out in his blue orbs, but then a thought, which I've felt creeping around in the corners of my mind for the last hour but couldn't grasp, finally appears crystal clear.
A wave of realization hits me like a ton of bricks as I puzzle the pieces together and Noah seems to notice the emotions flashing through my eyes. I open my mouth to scream, shout out the truth, but just as I'm about to do so, Noah wrap his arms around me in a hug and knock the air out of me.
"Shut up and no one will get hurt", he whispers in my ear, causing me to stiffen as I feel my heart skip a beat out of fear.
He keeps holding onto me for a few more seconds before he slowly pulls away and smiles, his back turned towards the police officer.
"Let the police do their job", he says loud enough for the officer to hear, "you need to rest."
The officer, of course, agrees with Noah and after throwing one last glance at the dead body, I let Noah lead me out of the ambulance and away from safety. The further we get from the police, the more I start to shake.
It's completely dark outside, the clock probably nearing three in the morning, and as we are both out of sight and earshot, I rip myself free from Noah's grip and start running. I don't know where, and it doesn't even matter because of two reasons. One, because my sight is clouded with tears, making it impossible for me to see where I'm going anyway, and two, because Noah catches up to me in a matter of a few, pathetic seconds.