Punch to the heart revisited

“I only smoked because he offered me a cigarette. It wasn’t all that bad, I thought I’d choke my lungs up but I didn’t. I never did anything until I met him. Never drank alcohol, never took drugs. Never saw anyone die.”

“Did you see him kill Shayna?”

Gracie stared at the ground. “No.”

Karen’s throat constricted. “I need to ask you something,” she looked at Gracie, “about Shayna. How was she? Was she scared? Did she say anything?”

“If she was scared she didn’t show it. It was me who was scared because I knew what was coming, my hands were shaking so bad. She told me not to be afraid. I know she wanted me to help her but I couldn’t. He has a lot of weapons, Detective, and he’s so strong. He had a gun to my head to show her. She told me to do what I had to do to stay alive.”

It took immense effort, but Karen fought back her emotions. “That sounds like my girl Shay,” she tried to make a smile happen, “ice cold.”

Gracie jerked her head round. “Weird, that’s what she said too, ice cold.”

“Did she say anything else?”

Karen knew she was losing the battle with her emotions, tears stung behind her eyes, her voice thickened with every word, strained under the crushing weight of grief she had yet to release. She willed herself to pull it together, “Gracie, what did she say?”

Gracie kicked at a stone. “She said that there is no word for goodbye in Navajo.”

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