68 | Trust No One

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"I FEEL like this is a trick," Khan said, getting to his feet

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"I FEEL like this is a trick," Khan said, getting to his feet. "Chi might act dumb when she wants to, but she's smart. Very."

"A girl who got away with killing her own family doesn't leave evidence like this behind," I said, catching onto what he was saying. "So, either she planted it or someone else did."

"Possibly the killer," Khan said, tapping his chin before leaning down toward the body again.

Clicking on my iPad, I leaned against the threshold as he continued looking over Layla's mouth again. I went back to the footage, slowly going over everything this time. And when it cut to the laundry room, I heard something I was missing.

A noise — a clacking sound. Like she dropped or threw something. I rewound it again with the volume turned all the way up, and I heard it yet again.

When Layla first entered the laundry room, I saw her wave her arms near the far corner. I thought she was just moving her arms around, and the noise came from her stumbling feet on the floor. But when I examined it closely, the noise closely follows her movements, and a soft shadow of something being thrown was seen when I paused the footage.

I couldn't make out what it was though, but maybe it was still there.

"Come on," I said to Khan who was deep in thought. "We need to get to the laundry room." I didn't wait for him to respond; I just found myself running there with him on my heels, confusion morphing his angelic features.

"What's going on?" he asked once we got there, and I searched around the small space.

"In the video, when she's in here, she throws something in the corner," I said, going toward the corner where the metal radiator stood. I slammed down onto my knees and stuck my hand under the metal thing, cursing under my breath when the heat burned me.

"Let me try," he said, grabbing a rag from the sink. He wrapped it around his hand and placed it under the radiator. "Whatever it was is melted now." He pulled back the rag, showing me tiny specks of black char with microscopic dots of yellow, or was it orange? Or neither, and the heat discolored it?

Fuck, I couldn't tell.

I slammed my fist against the wall. "I should've gotten here earlier. How could I miss this? It was right there in front of my face."

Khan tossed the rag in the sink. "It's an easy mistake. The footage isn't that focused and clear, and it sounded like the noise came from her feet, not from her throwing something." He pointed to the hallway. "Let's retrack her whole footpath while watching the video. We might catch something else."

"Might as well give it a try."

♟♙♟

By the time we got started, it was early in the a.m., meaning if we were on the outside, the tip of the bright sun would be cracking the surface, shimmering with multi-color pinks, oranges and reds while birds chirped morning lullabies.

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