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He didn’t know what to expect when he opened the letter. Four years ago to this day Tyler Smith’s girlfriend, Lizzie, was murdered. Anything and everything haunted him on the anniversary, the smell of her favorite coffee, her favorite basketball team, people wearing sunglasses, anything.
Tyler opened the letter and read it; it was from the killer who said his name was Joe McKing. He realized that this was his chance to meet the killer he barely remembered. Tyler was there when the gun went off. Although some of his memories were vivid and haunted him, he couldn’t picture the killers face. For years he had tried to get in the killer’s head and understand, why he killed Lizzie and why he hadn’t noticed Tyler peering around the corner.
He wrote back asking if it would be possible to meet him somewhere to get some insight and closure on the event. He soon received a letter back saying where and when he should meet Joe: Thursday, 8 pm, at the Corner Street Café in Chestertown. He found himself extremely excited; why he didn’t understand. He should be cowering in fear and should be finding a plane ticket out of the country and alerting the police to the letter from Joe McKing.
Nevertheless, he found himself sitting at the café at a table at 8 pm on Thursday. A guy with a guitar was sitting in the corner singing softly to sweet melodies; Tyler distracted himself by listening to the music. He waited and waited. It began to pour outside and it was dark. He continued to drink coffee in hopes that something was holding Joe up and that if he waited long enough Joe would come. Then suddenly it was 10 pm, closing time. The barista who had made every single cup of his coffee dutifully came out and handed him the check and asked him to leave. Thirty dollars for nothing he thought.
He stepped outside into the foggy rain and looked around. He hadn’t lost all hope... He must be around here somewhere. Wired by the coffee he decided that he would go searching on foot for Joe. He walked around for almost an hour. Then it began to pour again. It was late, but Tyler wasn’t tired. He walked back to his car. As he sat there he was thinking about Lizzie, he was always thinking about Lizzie. But this time it felt different, it felt like she was there in his presence. Then he heard her voice, “Tyler don’t go looking for him…” He tried to answer but she was gone. No I am going to go, I need this and you need this.
He put the key in the ignition and started to drive, but now that he was off his coffee buzz he realized that he had didn’t know what to look for. They say that the brain tries to forget traumatic memories; this was certainly true in Tyler’s case. He tried to remember the killer’s face. He had been there when the gun went off. Why couldn’t he remember what Joe looked like? He couldn’t remember if he’d ever actually saw the killer’s face or a picture. He just couldn’t remember what Joe looked like. He continued to drive aimlessly.
He drove round and round Chestertown, till he could barely keep his eyes open. He came to a stop, an alley was to his right and a dead end to his left. Suddenly, a man popped out of the bushes to his right. The man motioned to him; the man began to walk down the alley. Tyler followed the man out of curiosity, Tyler got out of the car at the end of the alley.
“Hello Tyler, I’ve been following you all night waiting for the right moment to come out and meet you. You see I can’t come out in public because everybody is looking for me…”
Tyler backed away form Joe; he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. All he could think was she was right.
“ As much as I’d like to tell you I’m here to tell you exactly what happened that night and that I am sorry, I’m not here for that.”
“ What are you here for?” Tyler stammered.
“ Something a little like this.” Joe pulled out a gun from inside his jacket.
Tyler was paralyzed all he could think was oh god, I’m going to go just like Lizzie.
“You were the only witness, I have to get rid of you, it’s too bad, you sound like a nice guy.”
Joe pulled the trigger, BANG, that little bullet sent Tyler spinning, flying through life and coming to the end much too soon. Just like Lizzie.
Joe turned around, put the gun back in his jacket and walked to the road. He turned around looked down into the alley.
“ I came here for closure for me, not you.”
And then, he smiled.