Eliza’s eyes felt like they were about to explode. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! How long are they gonna stay in there? She massaged hard her temples and took deep breaths, managing to hold her urge to smash her fists on the desk. Again.
Hope this can help, the girl thought, glancing down at the latest little notebook she was using. She flipped through the pages filled with dates, notes and bill’s serial numbers. Anything Eliza believed it could help prove the conspiracy against the chief of police, she had written down in a hasty handwriting.
Hope people can read it, she thought, squinting her eyes to understand what she wrote. The next second, she let out a heavy and frustrated sigh as her heart sank. It’s not enough to save the chief. With all I found, I can incriminate so many people. Actually, I can bring down most of the town. But what I really need is to find the proof that disappeared… that will show the chief’s innocence.
Eliza had given up searching for the evidence on the first day. With so many people involved, there was no chance of her finding it. So she went with the only other choice; follow those close to the mayor and hope to catch anything that might help her.
From the safety of the library, Eliza had discovered a lot about the town’s general corruption. She had a lot that could help Bianca’s father in the future. Bianca… thinking of her girlfriend made the girl close her eyes to stop the tears. Things had gotten worse for the chief of police. Not only had the evidence disappeared, other false accusations piled on him.
Besides the mayor himself, Eliza followed his wife, his eldest daughter and son, both city councilmembers, his second son, third daughter, and the assistant. Now she was following the mayor’s main bodyguard turn, Jairo, who was off duty today.
Ignoring her stingy eyes, Eliza focused on the public library’s wall. No change, she thought when she saw the club and the bodyguard remained by the pool. But no matter how long she had been waiting, she didn’t feel discouraged at all.
I know he’s gonna get something big today. There’s no way the mayor would hand his bodyguard a bag full of money for no reason other than the evidence. And there’s no way the bodyguard would go to the club with the money for no reason other than making the payoff. Whenever someone entered the locker room, the girl watched if they would go to the locker eleven where Jairo had placed the money. But so far, nothing.
Eliza rested her eyes for a few moments before opening her bag and pulling another identical notebook. In capital letters, she copied down the latest information. I’m gonna need more notebooks, she realized when finished, almost reaching the last page. She glanced at her bag filled with notebooks and let out a groan.
The idea of completing another notebook and copying all the information on the other made her hand throbbed. I’ve never written so much in my life. Guess all writers out there are masochists, she thought, letting out a tired chuckle. But for Bianca, I’ll be a masochist too. When she realized what she thought, her laugh was more cheerful. If she ever knows I thought of this…
With the redhead in mind, Eliza breathed deep and concentrated on the wall once more. After everything she didn’t want to see disappeared from her line of sight, her eyes stopped on Jairo. About fucking time! She was so happy she lost control of her powers. Buildings, trees, people, cars and much more blurred. Without closing her eyes, Eliza held her breath.
When everything settled, she watched the bodyguard walking to the locker room with a cop. Luiz? Eliza almost lost control of her powers again when she recognized the man. Calm down, Eliza. Maybe he has nothing to do with this. Yeah, that could be it. How many times he had dinner with us? Dad trusts him.
Eliza watched as both men headed to the sauna without exchanging any words. Jairo didn’t even walk to the locker with the money. He took a towel from another locker and headed to the sauna. She winced and almost shut her eyes when Luiz undressed and went after the bodyguard. Shaking her head, she turned away from the policeman.
Luiz had put an identical bag as Jairo’s on the locker 12, and when Eliza pried into its content, she almost laughed in victory. That’s it! Inside the bag, there were papers, disks and flash drives. There’s the missing evidence! There’s gotta be it! She hastily wrote down the time and Luiz’s name and watched to the sauna.
There was no one besides them in the sauna. Despite that, both men sat facing each other, exchanging mean less conversation about the weather and others small talk. Is that a code or something? I don’t remember anyone else using it… As she decided to write down or not, Luiz covered his mouth with a hand and seemed to clear his throat.
Damn it! He had spoken something, but she didn’t get it. But when Jairo covered his mouth and spoke something, she managed to read his lips. 1-8-99? What’s that? August first, 1999? 1899? She asked herself, but then shrugged and wrote down. Doesn’t matter. Now all I need is to trace the evidence. And then I’ll finally see Red again…
Bianca and her family had secluded themselves even more; even her parents had stopped leaving the house if they could avoid. From time to time, whenever the stakeout allowed, if the redhead’s mansion was within her power limits, Eliza tried to take a glimpse at her girlfriend. Even when the mansion wasn’t inside her radius, she watched the circus on the front gate.
The last time she saw Bianca was three day after she had spent the night. Due to a failed attempt home invasion by some journalists, the security had increased. Eliza had used the tree successfully a few times despite her shaky legs. But when the neighbors got back from vacation, jumping the fence became out of question and the girl hadn’t felt nor touched her girlfriend ever since that day.
Her longing for the redhead made her powers waver. Just a little more… Just a little more and I’ll see Bianca smiling again, Eliza thought. She rested her eyes for a moment and imagined the girlfriend she hadn’t seen in too long. Drawing energy from that smile, both the real and the teasing one, the girl activated her powers once again.
Jairo stayed where he was, but Luiz left the sauna. Eliza watched as the cop as he returned to the locker room. She pulled back her vision enough to keep them both in sight. The strain was almost unbearable, but she still forced herself. Ah, fuck… If I could take pics with my eyes, she complained, but even so, she couldn’t stop smiling.
Luiz took his clothes from locker 12, dried himself and dressed. Eliza didn’t know if it was the nervousness or was it was because of the sauna, but Luiz sweated so much he seemed sick. He looked his sides, making sure he was alone before walking to locker 11 and putting the code on the padlock. So that’s what 1-8-99 meant. The cop opened the bag, his eyes shining as he looked at the money. With his breathing heavy, he left the locker room and the club almost as if he was running away.
Jairo remained on the sauna a bit more. Hope I can make use of this, she thought. Her eyes were burning, closing them barely made any difference. She got her bottle with herbal tea and winced before drinking it. Helps you calm down my ass. It’s like I’m drinking grass. And it’s not working at all! Isn’t this shit supposed to make me calmer? Rubbing her head, Eliza took deep breaths again. When the throbbing wasn’t so bad, she looked at the wall of the library and focused once more.
Less than ten minutes after Luiz left, the bodyguard returned to the locker room. With a calm complete opposite from the cop, he dried himself, dressed and went to locker 12. Without giving any suspicion of doing some illegal business, he got the bag with the evidence, looked its content and went to his car as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
Hope he doesn’t leave my limit. If I lose track of him… I need to see where he’s taking the evidence. Eliza closed one eye and put the cold bottle against it. With one eye, she watched Jairo. I didn’t think I’d force them this much, she thought when the pain was too much and she closed the other eye.
As the bottle helped cool down her face, the memories of her rehab crossed her mind. Eliza trembled and shook her head weakly. There’s no way I’ll let that happen again. I have Bianca now. It’s not like before. I’m doing this for my Red, for us, she said to herself over and over, doing her best to ignore the pain.
With her eyes too dry, Eliza used the eye drop. It’s already empty, she thought, shaking the little plastic container. How much money did I spend on these? She hated putting it in her eyes, but still forced herself to do it. Thank God there was some money left after paying my rehab. This and the notebooks cost more than I thought.
With her determination renewed, she opened her eyes again. After a few seconds, she found the grey car driving through the town. A relief overcame her. Just as she had hoped, Jairo was heading back to the mayor’s huge property outside the town. If everything goes right, I’ll track the evidence and make sure the cops get it.
Damn it. He’s too fast. He’s gonna get away from my sight… It wasn’t just inside the library. Eliza had checked the mayor’s mansion in the first day. The most she could see was the driveway, and that was while standing in the south corner of the mall. Not only she couldn’t concentrate at all, it brought too much attention to her, to the point where one of the security guards came to talk to her. And it was too dangerous to stand there staring at nothing. I thought I’d be mugged at any second.
Throwing the notebooks, bottle and everything else on her bag, Eliza left the library. With one eye on the bodyguard, she raised a hand for a cab. When one car finally stopped, she jumped inside and almost screamed where she wanted to go to the driver.
When she got to there, the girl gave the money and ran out of the car without waiting for her change. Shit, shit! Jairo was already on her limit, coming in and out of the radius where her sight wouldn’t go any further. She ran to the girl’s bathroom on the southeast side of the small. It was the only place she could stand for a long time staring at the wall without people thinking she was a drug addict.
Facing the toilet and with both hands on the wall, Eliza became a stone looking at the wall. It’s almost out of my reach… She pressed her forehead against the wall and strained her eyes, but it made no difference; the car was outside her limit. Up until now, if she wanted, she could look inside the car and feel as if she was next to Jairo without any trouble depending on the angle. Now her sight didn’t go any further and she could only watch the car moved away from her.
Shit, shit, shit! Why that farm is so fucking huge! Fuck you, mayor! Without closing her eyes, she searched her bag for a new eye drop. She held her instinct to close them and wince as the liquid dripped. Damn it… I really hate this… but if it helps…
But it didn’t. Even with the eye drop, her eyes still throbbed and the tears mixed with the liquid fell. For Bianca… For Bianca… Eliza smashed her fist on the wall and breathed deep. Come on, just a bit more, just a bit more… Please… please…
The car was still moving away, but little by little, her sight went on. The pain grew, her head throbbed and her eyes burned, but Eliza never blinked. When Jairo parked the car in the garage, she watched him as if she stood right behind him.
For the first time, Eliza finally broke into the mayor’s house. He’s so fucking rich and still steals. What a bastard, she thought, screaming in victory in her heart. She banged her fist hard on the wall. The pain on her hand was a welcome distraction from the others.
The only time Eliza had forced her powers this much for this long was when she had no control over them and resorted to painkillers. And still she kept her eyes open, afraid to lose track of the evidence.
The bodyguard said something to the mayor’s eldest daughter. Eliza closed her left eye, held the notebook against the wall and wrote it all in as fast as she could. No… you’re wrong… sweetheart, she thought, her breathing heavy, but with a strained smile. Thanks to me… everything isn’t… about to go… smoothly… I’m gonna… make you all pay… for keeping me… away from Bianca…
Eliza knew the daughter, under the mayor’s order, wouldn’t just get rid of the evidence. Even though it implicated the entire family, with the evidence in their power, they could blackmail almost the entire town’s council.
The mayor’s risking all to save a few millions in bribe. Oh yeah, that’s right. He’s a gambler. Eliza laughed. Even though he could just get rid of everything, he wants to keep it as guarantee no one will try to make a plea-bargaining. And that will be your end, mayor. Just so you know, I didn’t vote for you.
After they finished discussing, the daughter took the suitcase to a room on the second floor. Where’s she… gonna hide…? Eliza was past her limit. She was already losing consciousness due to the pain. Come on… That’s… the last… thing I… need…
The daughter picked up a chair, placed it underneath the ceiling fan and climbed up. Avoiding the wood blades, she pushed the ceiling, revealing a hidden panel. She hid the evidence and put the panel back to where it was.
That’s… just like… in the movies… The hiding place was nearly impossible to find unless you knew it was there. Not only the ceiling fan helped to hide, the wallpaper made the microscopic cracks pretty much invisible.
Eliza watched the daughter left the room, but no one went to the office. Apart from the daughter, there were only the employees in the house. She wrote down everything down and closed her eye.
The back of her eyes throbbed, as if they could explode at any moment. Her body was heavy, sweat came down her face, she couldn’t think straight and breathed hard. Her head felt like it was splitting, but Eliza was smiling in victory. With this, everything will go back to normal… and Bianca… Bianca and I… Eliza didn’t finish the thought; the urge to puke made her mind stop.
I need to… get all these… to the right people… right now, she thought after cleaning her mouth and flushing. Using the wall as support, Eliza dragged herself out of the bathroom.
In her sleepless nights and countless hours spying nothing useful, Eliza had thought of a few ideas to get the information out.
Being a cop’s daughter, she knew just the information of an anonymous informant might not be enough. Especially when the other party was someone as powerful as the mayor. But thanks the level of information she had, if she could make her notebooks also reach the news, the police couldn’t just ignore it or make it go away.
To get the news on her side, Eliza had also come up with a few things. The first was to make the reporters causing the circus on Bianca’s house get the information. But she discarded the idea. There was no way she could give the information to them in an anonymous way. And she hated the idea of any of them getting the glory.
The other idea she had thought was to give the information to Raisa’s mother. Given their relationship, or at least what it seemed, since the reporter was one of the few helping the chief, Eliza was sure her plane would work. And the best way the girl had come up to give the information without revealing where the information had come from was putting the notebooks in the trash bin before Raisa’s house. Hopefully she’ll show her mother… no… I’m sure she will… she cares about Bianca just as much as I do…
Ah, fuck it… I’ll go with that… I don’t have… time or energy… to think of… anything else…
A few people looked at her as she staggered to the mall’s entrance. She called for a cab and told him Raisa’s address. Lucky I got her address when Bianca wanted to introduce us. She copied down the latest entry in the other notebook.
She between the notebooks for a second. I doubt it, but… it’s best if dad doesn’t see the original… if he recognizes my writing… but if it makes it to the news, he’s gonna see it anyway… With an exhausted sigh, she threw the original in the black trash bag. I’m glad I got everything prepared beforehand…
The cab left her at the corner of Raisa’s house. She doubted he would ever connect the dots, but since there was a chance of the fact of the notebooks had been found in the trashcan reaching the news, she didn’t want anyone seeing her doing that. Taking much longer than she should to reach the house, Eliza put the plastic bag in the trash and walked away, hoping no one had seen her.
After she walked to nearest cabstand, Eliza was going home. Now for the last part, she told herself when she opened the front door.
“Dad,” she said when he picked up the phone, hoping her exhausted voice would pass as fear.
“What is it, sweetheart?” he said, just as tired as she was.
“Come home… quick… There’s… a strange guy… just walked around the house and left something in the trash bin…”
“What?” Suddenly he seemed to awaken. “Lock the door and stay away from the windows. I’m coming home now.”
“I think he’s gone, but what he left… just hurry. It’s about the chief.”
“I’m coming now.” He hung up before she said anything else.
That went great… now for the second part. Hope it goes like this too, she thought, dialing Raisa’s number.
“Eliza?” she said before the girl spoke anything.
“Hey, Raisa. I know it may sound… too weird, but can you take a look at your trash bin right now?”
“Someone just left a bag here with notebooks… It’s filled with investigations about the mayor… Things that might help Bianca’s dad.”
Just as Eliza expected. The name Bianca made Raisa more interested in the conversation.
“Yes, and on the first page there was a note saying the same information would go to the media as well. Since your mom is the biggest reporter in the area…”
“I’ll check!” Eliza heard the other girl racing and doors opening. “Yes! There’s a bag here filled with notebooks! Holy shit! If this is right, it’ll help the chief.”
“Then take it to your mother. I’m gonna show it to my dad too.”
“Yes, I will. Bye.”
Good, good. Now to convince my dad to act… Eliza washed her face with cold water as she waited, ignoring the growing pain. Then minutes later, she heard the police siren. Did you really need that, dad? Eliza thought, but let out a weak chuckle.
“Eliza! Are you okay?” He came rushing inside, leaving the door open.
“I am. But take… a look at these…” She stopped talking when she saw her dad’s partner waking after him. If Luiz is involved, maybe others are too…
“Hey little girl. Is everything alright?”
Eliza hesitated for a moment. She knew Flavio for a long time and knew her dad trusted him. He even came to many of my birthdays when I was a kid… Her head hurt too much to think of anything else, so she decided to go with her plan.
“Look what… the guy left.”
She handed her dad the latest notebook with the page about today’s even open. They both read it all, their eyes widening as they reached the end. Flavio picked another notebook and flipped. His reaction was enough to know they were shocked. Yes… Now I need to get them to act…
“Is this for real?” Flavio asked her dad.
“Look here,” he showed to the younger cop a page. “The hours matches our investigations…”
“Luiz was acting in a suspicious way… What do you think we should do with these?”
“Do you think any judge would give us a warrant?”
“But read this.” Flavio showed the notebook numbered 1 to Eliza’s dad. “They’re gonna show to the media. If the mayor got wind of this, it’s gonna be harder to get him.”
The older cop showed an empty expression. Eliza knew that meant her dad was in deep thinking. She knew he was considering everything, including her and the rest of the family safety. Come on, dad. Please… It’s to help the chief… to help Bianca…
“Gather the guys. I’ll be taking responsibility about this,” he said in a firm voice. Flavio smiled, nodded and ran to the car. “Little girl. Do go out today. Lock the door and… are you alright? You look sick.”
“I’m okay, dad… Just a little scare,” she lied, putting up a forced smile. “Please, go. Go help the chief.” And your daughter’s girlfriend.
He bit his lips as he looked between the notebooks and her face. Then he nodded and gave Eliza a kiss on the cheek before going after Flavio. The younger cop had already turned the siren on.
Great… Now is up to them… Please, please, let everything go okay, she prayed in her heart. After the siren was gone, all the fatigue hit her. She lost strength and her legs almost cave in. Eliza barely managed to reach the sofa.
I feel like shit, she thought. Just breathing hurt and her body felt hot despite cold afternoon. My head feels like exploding. But that wasn’t what scared her. My eyes… No matter how much she closed them, she could still see through her eyelids. It’s just like those days… Maybe a painkiller will help…
Despite the pain, Eliza forced herself to stand up. The cold bottle she had used was already warm. It fell from her hand, but she didn’t pick it up. Later, she said to herself, dragging her sluggish self to her parent’s bedroom. Thank god they’re not home, she thought, looking for her father’s medicine.
With one eye half-open but seeing double, Eliza found what she needed. All the memories flooded to her mind at once when she picked the medicine. For a moment everything felt like spinning. The girl puked on the toilet and supported herself on the wall, her breathing short and irregular. Can’t believe I’m gonna use this shit again, she said to herself, opening the lid.
She took one pill from the bottle and closed it. She meant to put it in the same place, but her hand trembled and pills spread on the floor. I’m not gonna overuse it again, she said to herself. It’s just this one time. I used my powers too much… I need it just this once…
The memories invaded her mind again, from the day she took god knows how many pills to when she woke up in the hospital with her parents crying by the bed. Her days in the rehab, her parent’s conversation she overheard. Everything came to her mind at once. And then the picture of Bianca smiling appeared in her mind. That’s right. It’s okay. It’s not gonna be like before. I have Red now… yes… Bianca…
Thinking about her girlfriend made Eliza’s hand stop midday to her mouth. No… Even if it’s just one, I might end up back there again… for precaution… I… I can’t bear to be away from her… I don’t know if I’ll make it without her…
Eliza cried without any restrains. The tears didn’t stop, but she ignored the head-splitting pain and picked up the yellow plastic bottle. With difficulty, she placed the pill back and put it back in the medicine closet.
Eliza looked at herself in the mirror. Her exhausted and red eyes reflection was the last thing she saw before losing her consciousness.