The last vestiges of sleep burn away as Abram's adrenaline courses. Everything seems to be happening quickly. Korina is at his door sobbing, telling him something he struggles to believe.
"I didn't mean it... I … he's not... moving...." She rambles in a confused panic.
Korina stumbles in nearly falling. Abram struggles to comprehend what is going on as he holds her. It takes many moments before he can say anything at all. The two young people sit crumpled together, Abram cradling Korina like a frail child.
It's not possible... It's just not possible.... Is Abram's first thought, not being able to comprehend the possibility of Korina killing someone.
For a brief moment he wonders if she is lying, he wonders if this is some sort of act. But as Abram holds her he can feel the dampness in her clothes. Then the harsh reality sets in when he sees the blood on her hands and shirt.
This is real
"Korina... tell me what happened?" He finally asks.
When she doesn't respond he takes a different approach. Taking charge, he places his hand on her cheek, locking eyes for a moment. Abram takes a couple of deep breaths while Korina follows suit.
"He... it... Peyton followed me to the bar. He was so mad ..." She begins but pauses. She closes her eyes wanting to start from the beginning.
"After... I saw you today... I was a lil upset. Didn't like being rejected so I wanted to... clear my head."
Hearing the words Abram feels a twinge of guilt. 'Rejecting' Korina is not how he would put it, but it is essentially what happened.
"I went to some bar. I had a ...few... drinks. Then I met a guy and... we were hanging out... having fun. Started hooking up... ya know?" Korina pauses, wondering if that admission would hurt Abram's feelings.
It doesn't. What he is hurt by is the fact that he wasn't there for her when she needed.
"I must have posted a pic or ...something because Peyton came to the bar... like out of nowhere. I... didn't know he was even back in town. I can tell he was high, we started fighting... then dragged me out of there."
Abram clinches his fist. The thought of Peyton causing Korina harm enrages him.
"He wouldn't stop... yelling... and calling me a slut..." Korina starts to cry again, hiding her face behind her hands.
"Why... why would you stay with a guy like him?" Abram mutters near tears himself feeling sorry for her.
"Peyton's never done anything like that before... he ...threw me around, then... choking … me. I struggled to fight him off … He... I... managed to grab something... it must have been a pitchfork from the fireplace... I don't know, I hit him and he fell... and there was soo much blood..." She finishes doubling over in grief.
Abram stands up wanting to cool the rising storm of anger inside of him. Korina's black eye and bruise lip is proof of Peyton's savagery.
He's a coward... hitting a woman!
A moment later his law enforcement training kicks in. Protocol dictates that he would call this in immediately for many reasons; to document the confession, ensure the suspects safety and cooperation among other things. The authorities need to be notified to secure the crime scene and the deceased.
"I need to call this in. We have to tell my department..."
"No! You can't... With my... history with drugs... no one will believe me. Not to mention the media..." She pleads grabbing Abram by the arm.
His initial instinct is to call it in regardless, but seeing her like this sparks something. Her helpless demeanor calls to him, he could not simply turn his back on her. He knows how a situation like this can spiral out of control. The department can spin things in a negative way, saying she planned it.
She needs me.... this time I gotta help her. I can't call it in yet. They would arrest her if I do. He thinks, deciding his next course of action in an instant.
On some level he knows that his actions are illegal. This is a major offense for an officer of the Law. Abram takes his duty serious, but in this moment seeing Korina like this... he knows he should help her.
It was self defense! He thinks, deciding that's what they will tell the authorities.
He recalls every detail of Korina's confession, wanting to find anything that can strengthen her story.
"Which bar did you go to? You say that y'all were arguing in the bar...did anyone see you arguing?" He asks sounding like a defense attorney.
"Yeah... I guess people saw us..." Korina confusingly replies.
Abram is now pacing back and forth. He is formulating a plan, conjuring an ironclad defense. It won't be difficult, Korina is a victim, a battered girlfriend. Besides, Abram can testify truthfully about Peyton abusive history. He recalls the day when he and Bill received a call about the couple. Then it hits him.
"Bill! If we can get him to go along..." He thinks aloud getting excited.
Abram's heart is racing now. A proper plan is coming together, a plan that will protect Korina. He knows they need to get to the house, before anyone else. He needs to see the body, but more importantly he needs to see the area. He needs to make sure the crime scene doesn't have anything that could contradict Kroina's story.
This can work... this can work. She will be safe. She can start over. He ponders ignoring the major risk involved.
"We need to talk to Bill." He says clamoring to get dressed.
"Wha... your uncle? No... we can't... he'll arrest me."
"No, he won't... we need some help. If anyone knows how to .... bend the rules a lil its my uncle." Abram says leading the way. He pulls Korina to the front door barely explaining his plan.
"Abram... I ...." She pulls away wanting it all to stop. "I ...don't want you to get in trouble."
Abram takes a moment to consider, but only a moment. He will help Korina, no matter what the cost.
"This will work... trust me."
Abram's surrogate uncle has a similar reaction when woken from his sleep. Bill is too tired to realize that he is bare-chested, his underwear being the only clothes that he has on. He is confused and hesitant to believe what is going on. When Abram and the cowering Mimic-ko model enter his home it begins to sink in. Abram is rambling about some story, skimming over the most important detail; Peyton McHale is dead.
"Wha... why didn't you call it in?!" Bill asks roughly smacking Abram along the back of his head.
"Why is she here... do you even know what protocol means!?" This time Bill pushes Abram, letting his anger take over.
Abram stumbles back dodging another wild swing. He expected Bill to be a little upset, but not this.
"I... you know how they can misread evidence... she didn't mean..."
"That's for the courts to decide, not you! Do you know how much trouble you're in!"
Korina tries to calm the tense mood. " Mr. Eckhart... please don't be mad at Abram... he... it's not his fault." She pleads.
Bill scoffs turning his attention to Korina. "Oh... I know it's not his fault. The boy's too dumb to know when he is being played. Your taking advantage of him! His life was fine before you came..."
Abram grabs Bill by the arm, stepping in front of Korina. "It's not her fault either!"
The move shocks Bill; he instantly can tell what is going on. Over the past couple of weeks Bill noticed the way Abram has been distracted, clocking in late, missing appointments, failing tasks among other inconsistencies. At first Bill didn't think anything of it, now he knows it was her. Korina is the reason for Abram's behavior.
Bill scowls at the frail girl, this Mimic-ko model. A girl that has just come in to their small quiet colony and started a big storm. And what really bothers Bill is that his nephew is at the center of it.
"Bill... just listen to me. I want to make sure that the scene matches the story. Peyton was violent. Korina was defending herself." Abram says after a long moment.
Bill droops his shoulders. "Abram... kid.... This girl is bad news." He calmly starts, this time wanting to reason with his nephew.
"We got to call this in. She... this situation can ruin everything... our jobs... our freedom... everything we built. What about Anna... aren't you thinking of her?"
The question hits a nerve in Abram. "I am thinking about Anna! I'm also thinking about how we knew Peyton was beating Korina.... and we did nothing!" He says pointing a finger.
Bill has never seen this side of Abram. Theirs a fierceness in his eye, a maturity about him. Bill doesn't want to admit it but Abram is right about a couple of things. If Peyton is dead, the first person he and the department would investigate will be Korina. Advancements in forensics paint a clear picture, one that may implicate her. He thinks deeply on the situation, gradually seeing Abram's logic.
Abram takes Bill's long silence as a good sign. "I just want to make sure our ducks are in a row before we call it in... it's the least we can do."
Bill steps in close, looking Abram in the eye. "Tampering with evidence is a serious offense, I mean with a capitol 'S'. If she is lying..."
Abram looks at Korina. He knows what is at stake. "Alex wouldn't lie about this."
Thank you Lin for your comments. The final chapter is next.