Once she hit the pillow of the creaky motel bed, she was out like a light. It didn’t matter how uncomfortable the bed felt to her, she was just extremely exhausted, and that bed felt like heaven to her.
Naomi woke up around 7 in the afternoon. Full of energy and ready to do anything. But then she realized that she can’t go out and draw any attention to herself. Or maybe she could..
After several minutes of contemplating, Naomi decided to go out and explore Miami Beach alittle. It was getting dark anyway. But first she needed a shower … Desperately.
Before she left, she realized that she didn’t have anymore clothes to wear. ‘So much for packing light’ Naomi thought to herself. She went back to the front desk to ask how much was a tide pod was, then she was on her way to the washing machines that were near the front desk.
As Naomi was waiting for her clothes to be done, she sat in a chair and checked the place out a bit. She checked for cameras, any law enforcement officers and constantly at the TV to see if Enrique happened to put on the news. But from the looks of the TV, she didn’t have to worry about it.
Sitting there, she felt someone looking at her. From the corner of her eye, she saw an old woman sitting in a corner of the lobby. Was she there the whole time? Naomi was really slacking at checking her surrounds earlier at hand.
The old lady looked as if she was a walking worm. She was lanky with the hair as white as snow, she walked with a limp and a cane, with eyes that were gleaming and a smile that was welcoming. She knew Naomi was looking at her and Naomi didn’t know whether to feel safe or scared to death.
“Excuse me darling … ” the old lady’s voice sounded weak “.. are you here alone? Where’s your parents? You seem oh so young to be in this motel by your lonesome.”
Naomi exhaled sharply. She doesn’t like the word darling. It has too much history and meaning behind it. “ Um, ma’am, whether I am here alone or not is none of your business. And whether I am young or old is none of your business either” Naomi remembered to not say any details like she accidently spilled to Lucia. The old lady was about to speak but the buzzer of the dryer went off, having Naomi quickly going over to it and taking out her clothes.
“Excuse me ma’am” Naomi said politely as she walked passed the old lady with her head down. She walked quickly to her room, but she felt the old lady staring her down all the way there.
In her room, Naomi stood with her back against the door. Her heart was beating a mile a minute. Was it because she hates being confronted? Or the was it the guilt of what happened earlier that morning? Naomi didn’t want to think about that now, she grabbed her wallet, headphones and phone, ‘Thank God it’s charged’ she said to herself, and she headed out the door. With her headphones in and as she turned to go out the front doors of the motel, she spotted the old lady in her seat reading the newspaper, so she decided to go out through the back.
Walking the streets of Miami beach, Naomi was nervous. ‘What if someone recognizes me from the news?’ ‘What if someone I know from Miami is here and they make a big scene about it?’ But as she was thinking these thoughts, she noticed that nobody was paying her any attention at all, so went about her business.
First stop: a clothing store. ‘A Macy’s? What a coincidence’ she thought to herself. Inside the store she bought two outfits, all cash. To her surprise, the cashier didn’t say anything, confident that nobody knew or recognized her, she went to different shops along the beach and even sat and ate in a restaurant. She started to feel uncomfortable though when she noticed that a little girl, around 8 years old was staring at her. To make it all worse, the little girl tugged on her moms shirt and pointed at Naomi and said “Mommy, isn’t that the girl from the news? Remember the tragedy on the news you and titi were talking about?”. The mom looked up to see who her daughter was pointing at, but Naomi disappeared before the little girl finished talking. “There’s no one there Mari”. The little girl looked confused when she looked back to where Naomi was sitting, but she was certain she knew who she saw.
Naomi, panting a little from having to leave so quickly, walked back to her motel room with her belongings. She entered the room, flipped the light on and put her stuff down, but in the process, something on the floor caught her eye. She dropped her stuff in its place and picked up the paper. It was a ripped sheet out of the newspaper of Naomi’s face with the headliner that read:
“GIRL, 17, FLEE’S A MURDER SCENE. ONE DEAD, ONE IN STABLE CONDITION”
‘Oh no, this can’t be happening. Oh on! Wait what? She’s alive? How can this be?’ Naomi said to herself. She turned the paper around and saw writing in a dark green ink that resembled her eye color that read: “I know who you are” Panicking she turned off her phone and sat on her bed to make a plan to leave Miami Beach and leave city, maybe even the state.
On her bed, Naomi counted the money that she had left in her wallet. “$73. 89 …. This is not gonna last. And the fact that it’s only wednesday. But I do have two credit cards, but then again that’ll be too risky” All this thinking was making her head hurt. Yeah, she was running out of time, but she still has time before someone really started looking into her situation right?
The next morning, Naomi gobbled her breakfast down with her hoodie over her head, constantly checking her surroundings. She felt as if everyone was watching her, but when she would look around, nobody was. Or were they? Done with her breakfast, Naomi sped walked to her room, but before she was able to turn the corner, the old lady from last night stuck her cane out and stopped Naomi in her tracks.
“I know who you are little one” she whispered.
Just the two police officers came in the door and started talking to Enrique.
“Hello sir, my name is Officer Martinez and this is my partner Officer Garcia.”
“Oh, ah hello officers, may I help you with something?” Enrique said shakily.
“Um, yes ..” Officer Martinez squinted at his name tag “.. Mr. Ramirez, um have you seen this girl around anywhere?” He showed a picture of Naomi to him, he glanced and thought about it, and then he saw Naomi staring at him from the corner of his eye. Just then the old lady pulled Naomi behind her and put her finger over her mouth and walked to Naomi’s room.
Inside the room, the old lady sat on the bed and Naomi stood by the door, in silence.
“Why?” Naomi finally asked.
“Why what darling?” replied the old lady
“ One, don’t call me darling, please and two, you’re hiding me, but you know what I did. Why are you helping me?”
“Technically, I don’t know what you did. The news isn’t always accurate… But what did you do if you don’t mind me asking?”
Naomi walked over to the bed and sat next to the old lady and told her story.
“It all happened so quickly. I just couldn’t take it anymore. The guy, the, the person that is supposed to be my dad would always touch me, until a month ago, uh, he, uh umm , he raped me. I told that lady that was supposed to be my mom and she just smiled. Like she, she was happy about what happened. But then she comforted me and told me that I would be okay. She gave me pain medicine which made me go to sleep and little did I know, the guy, he did it again when I was asleep. Then there was this one time where last week where she pulled me out of school and told me that something horrible happened and that I needed to be home. So when we arrived, we went into her bedroom and told me to sit on the bed for a second. So I sat there. She went to her closet/bathroom and I could hear mumbling. She came out and put a camera directly in front of me and propped it on the dresser. I asked her what she was doing, but she didn’t reply. Then she said in a soft voice ‘we’re ready’. Then the guy came out of the closet/bathroom with only his underwear on. I tried to get up and run out the door, but, but …”
Naomi had tears running down her cheeks now. They were rolling faster with every word she said.
“... the lady, uh, she grabbed me and held me down on the bed while he did it again. I was screaming and yelling and biting, but nothing stopped him. They were just encouraging each other on. I swear I thought I was going to die at that point…”
The old lady had some tears rolling down her cheeks too.
“... When the guy was done, uh, he got up, turned off the camera and just left me there. The lady told me to get up, shower and go to bed, that I had school the next day. I did as she told. She dropped me off at school the next day, but I walked home right after. I went home and I, I went through their closet and raided it looking for the camera. When I was done the place was a mess, but I didn’t find the camera and it was too much to clean up. We had early release so i had to hurry back to school. So then, then I, I went around the whole house breaking things and ran as quickly as I could without being in pain, made it to dismissal in time. I went to the bathroom to freshen up a bit before meeting the lady. During the drive home, the lady kept trying to talk to me, but I didn’t budge, so we drove the rest of the way in silence. As we pulled up to the house, the lady almost had a heart attack… “
Naomi was laughing a little now. The old lady was a little terrified, kind of wishing that she never asked for details.
“.. ‘What in the name of the devil happened to my house’ the lady said. She called her husband to tell him what she saw, and then she called the cops. I was actually a little excited because my plan was actually working. So you know the cops get there and the guy too, the lady was telling the officers what happened they took her statement and then told her that a police car would be outside the house for the next three days to keep watch. But both of them tried to say that they were fine, but the officer didn’t budge. Then those three days were up ... “
Naomi paused and looked at the old lady. The old lady motioned for her to continue
“ After I had came home from school that afternoon, my, I mean the lady and her husband were busy with contractor until later that evening. When he left, the lady told me that they needed to talk to me in the living room when they got back from wherever they were going . During that time, I went to their room and found the camera inside a nightstand. I set it up in the living room. I stayed up in there watching TV, until they came back it was around 3:30 in the morning. When I heard the car pull up, I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a chef knife and hid it under the blanket. They came in the door loud and were arguing. They stood in the living room blocking me from watching TV for about 15 minutes before they noticed me. And when they did, they had this wicked smile on their faces. The lady said to the guy ‘You know what I’m thinking?’ and then the guy walked over to me, but before he could touch me, I stabbed him in the stomach with the knife. I caught both of them off guard. The guy fell to the floor, I got up and continued to stab him. The lady called the cops. When she hung up she tried to get me but I stabbed her a couple times. After that, I stood over them, watching them bleed out in pain. I carefully slipped the knife in the lady’s hand with the blanket. I ran into my room, found a bag and quickly put my necessities inside it, put on my favorite hoodie, and ran out the front door without any hesitation. I heard police sirens in the distance and sprinted for another minute before I started to walk. When I saw the flashing lights grow bigger and brighter, I threw the hoodie over my head, put my earbuds in, all the way until I found the salon where I dyed my hair and then ended up here yesterday. And oh, my name is Naomi Monet, no last name.”
Naomi finished that sentence with relief in her eyes.
“What a story Naomi Monet no last name. I am sorry that you had to go through that. But why didn’t you try to leave and go to the police? And oh, my name is Edna Eve Lopez” she said
“ I tried to leave three times, but they caught me every time and they beat me …. Now that you know what I’ve done, what, what are you gonna do about it?”
“Been there done that” Edna said
“Never heard about the case back in 63? You’re too young. I was 17 too when I killed my parents, I’m not ashamed about it. Those were some dangerous times. Dangerous times calls for dangerous measures Naomi. I believe what you did was a sink or swim moment and you decided to swim.”
“ You mean desperate times call for desperate measures?”
“Mmm not much of a difference to me,”
“Um, anyway, what am I going to do? There are cops flooded around here. I’m pretty sure they’ve looked at my picture several times, and they know what my face looks like..”
“I have a house up in North Carolina. Come with me, change your name and start over. I promise you’ll like it.”
Before they left out the back door, Naomi asked “What was your real name?”
“Elouise Star McMinn, changed it and got married, but I’m a widow now. You’ll find out more of me when we get to North Carolina..”
And with that said, Naomi took all her stuff, dumped her phone and credit cards, got in the car with Elouise, and rode to North Carolina, without looking back.