Gerda watched the passersby, drudging through the ice and darkness. Even from the relative comfort of her seat on the bus, she had no sympathy for them. She was resolute, focused solely on the task of finding her husband. She was the only hope he had. Even his parents and the police didn’t seem interested. Perhaps they were right, perhaps he had just run off. He certainly seemed to have changed over the past year. He used to be a kind man but recently he seemed darker. When she asked what was wrong, he would just brush her aside. She looked at the bus map. There were still several stops before she got off. She tried to get comfortable but the memory of coming home to find him missing, the house turned upside-down and their beautiful rose garden totally trampled, jabbed at her. On reaching her stop, Gerda exited the bus and made her way to the bar where Kai worked, careful not to make eye contact with the women leaning on the corners and alleys. She recognized the bartender and approached him.

“Kevin?” she beckoned, “I’m looking for Kai.”

“It’s ‘Crow’ at work,” he grumbled, “Last time I saw him, he was getting in to some fancy sports car. I don’t know where he went but you can check the CCTV if you like.”

He pointed to the door behind the bar. After trawling through the footage, Gerda finally found Kai getting into a very expensive looking white car. She printed off the image and took it with her as she left.

Outside she didn’t get a chance to contemplate her next move before a pair of small but strong hands pushed her in the back. She landed on her hands and knees.

“This my street, Lady,” a women’s voice whipped, “You don’t work it without my sayin’ so.”

“I’m not working,” Gerda explained, still on her knees, “I’m just looking for my husband.”

“You think I ain’t heard that before, Lady? I heard it all before.”

“No, really,” Gerda brandished the printout, “He has disappeared.”

The other women visibly softened looking at the picture.

“That Reggie’s car,” she said solemnly, backing off, “Yo husband at Reggie’s palace.”

The woman went back to her corner and Gerda hailed a taxi. When she explained the situation to the driver he knew exactly where to go.

“That’s Reggie’s palace,” he pointed out as they stopped.

Gerda walked the long driveway to the massive house. With trepidation she tapped the knocker. After a long pause, it was Kai who answered.

“What’s going on?” Gerda asked.

Kai said nothing, he just looked sullenly at the ground.

“Come on, let’s go home,” she persisted.

Still nothing.

Just then another face appeared over Kai’s shoulder and suddenly it all made sense. Reggie wasn’t some guy friend, she was Regina Gelida the notorious Italian meth dealer. So that’s why Kai changed. The realization brought tears to Gerda’s eyes.

Regina closed the door with a scoff.

Submitted by: James Christie