Wednesday, 8:32 PM

It’s been a little over a week since the last time I wrote anything in this. In that time, nothing happened. Just about everything went back to the way it was before all of this started. For a while I didn’t even feel safe in my own home, but I managed to get over it. Once I got over the nervousness, the anticipation, the fear, I almost started enjoying life again. Almost. It’ll probably take me far longer to get over this depression. Possibly more time than I have. But I can live with that. I have to live with that. No regrets.

Adjusting back to my normal lifestyle was a little bit of a challenge. It’s a miracle that I still have my job, considering how I’ve been lately. I suppose they need all the labor they can get, and I’m not about to say no to that. I need them as much as they need me, and I have no problem admitting that.

I find that I watch everything I say and do a lot more closely now. I hesitate on even the most trivial of actions. One wrong move and someone might spot an inconsistency in something I say. I’m analyzing everyone’s intent more than I ever have before. Why did that guy ask me what time it is? Doesn’t he have a phone he could check? Is that person following me? Have I ever seen him before? I treat everyone like they could be in on the grand conspiracy against me. I have no one I can turn to for assistance or advice; it’s just me against the world. Maybe once upon a time I could have had a companion in all of this, but I’ve long since alienated anyone who might have stayed by my side.

Anyway, that’s what the last week has been like. Filled with paranoia, my usual mix of self-loathing, and a lot of just sitting around thinking about the inevitable, while nothing out of the ordinary actually happened. That is, until last night.

I had just finished eating when my phone started ringing. My heart practically skipped a beat. Why would anyone be calling me this late in the day? Did someone find out? Was this the moment I had been dreading? And if it was… Should I even answer? Would it be safer to just avoid it for as long as I can? No. That’s no way to live. That’s one mistake I decided not to make again. I answered it.

“Hello?” I said.

“Is this Chase Thomas?” the person on the other end said.

“Yes. Who is this?”

The man introduced himself as Lance Codd, a member of the city’s police department. My stomach began to churn. This is probably it, I thought. It was happening already. There would be no point in trying to fight it. I prepared myself for the worst and asked him why he was calling.

“Some new information regarding a certain case has recently surfaced,” he said. “It’s important that I speak with you in person as soon as possible.” I didn’t like the sound of that.

“Couldn’t you just tell me now?” I asked.

There was a brief moment of silence. “I’d rather not take the risk,” he said. It seemed like I had no way out of this one. If I tried avoiding them any more noticeably, they would almost definitely consider that suspicious behavior and begin to investigate me further. Unfortunately, my best hope would be to do exactly what they wanted. I agreed to go down to the station the next day to speak with Mr. Codd. He thanked me for my time and hung up.

Needless to say, I did not sleep well that night. But as much as the odds were stacked against me, I made sure I didn’t forget that the odds were not zero. I still had a chance to get through this. It might not have been a big chance, but it was a chance nonetheless. And that was enough for me.

And that brings us to this morning, when I went to the police station. I never like going into the city, and this time was no different. It always just seems to have a dangerous atmosphere to it. Car accidents, high crime rates, etc. And maybe it was just my paranoia, but the city seemed particularly unsafe today. I had already practically been assuming the whole world was out to get me, but now I couldn’t help but think the world itself was joining in. Not that anything out of the ordinary even happened on my way there. It was just the feeling I had.

I arrived at the station right on time and was greeted by the officer I spoke to over the phone when I went in. For a moment I was worried over how he recognized me without ever having met me before, but I quickly realized he probably had access to my driver’s license photo and whatever other pictures of me there are on public record. I greeted him back, and he motioned for me to follow him into a back room for some privacy. I would have to be a fool to so eagerly walk right into my doom, I realized. I did it anyway.

I was a little surprised when we passed right by an interrogation room. If that wasn’t where we were going, then where else? We kept walking, and Mr. Codd took me into an empty break room. He looked around. “Good. No cameras,” he said. He turned around to me. “This conversation is completely off-record. If anyone asks, it never even happened.”

“What’s all this about?” I asked him. At this point I didn’t really know what to expect.

“Listen, Chase… I’m breaking protocol by telling you this. But I thought it was important that you know,” he said.

“Know what?”

“The car accident your parents died in,” the officer said. “It wasn’t an accident.”

For a split second, I felt utterly relieved that I was not here for the reason I thought I was brought here. Then I realized what the officer was saying. “What do you mean? Does that mean… What was it then?”

“According to some new sources we’ve obtained, we have reason to believe they may have been murdered.”

I could barely believe my ears. “What—how…”

“I shouldn’t be telling you any of this yet, this early into the investigation, but it looks to be conclusive.” He sighed. “They’re your parents. You deserve to know.”

“What can you tell me?” I asked.

“You probably didn’t know it at the time; you were pretty young. But when your parents were alive, they were involved in… some risky business, you could say. Friends in high places. Enemies in higher places. Supposedly, the day after they died, they were going to act as anonymous witnesses in a high profile court case… against Eugene Malone.”

Oh my god. This couldn’t be happening. “Are you saying… Eugene Malone killed my parents?”

“At the very least, he probably gave the order.”

I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I still don’t want to believe it. Everywhere I go, Eugene Malone finds a way to creep back into my thoughts. And now I know it isn’t even a recent thing. He has always been there, just beneath the surface, running my life. Ruining my life.

The officer made me promise not to let anything he told me leak. I wouldn’t have told anyone regardless. I have no one to tell. Codd and I finished the conversation, and I went home, and I began writing this journal entry.

I don’t know how much longer I can take this.