Suddenly, there is a void that follows me around. I couldn’t even say it is a vast expanse of emptiness, like an orb floating within the reaches of my existence.
The series of events that transpired between June 18, 2011, approximately 3:00am and winded up to a full crescendo at 11:30pm on that same day, have shattered, destroyed and maligned the very sensitivity of the bond among friends, families and the public.
What could I say? What could have I done? Does thinking up scenarios of arriving home to our small apartment would have made any difference? Had I decided to go home early, could I have saved my friend’s life? Had I been more attentive earlier in the day, could I have warned Mhalou that I don’t feel good about her newfound friend? Or, if any of my co-habitants have been there, would Mhalou still be among the living? And realizing that, even if I was there, or the either Dotty and Amy were there, we would all have been murdered in cold blood. It’s THAT heavy on my heart. The guilt, the anger, the pain, all composing that same sphere of void that hangs heavy now on my weary soul, if people do have souls.
The experience leaves a bad taste in my mouth, like copper shavings drawing blood on the insides of my mouth. It was so surreal, so vivid, yet so muddled, it has taken too long to end and was fast enough to jog the memory. The whole time I was running from the gate of Coronado Heights to the door of our apartment, stumbling, falling hard on my face before reaching our shared habitat, I was in a haze of confusion. All the people around, some I know, some I don’t, and some have the familiarity of a dread most would try to avoid. Several times I tried to walk past the the cordon of police and tanods, but only at the last instance of identifying the body of Mhalou Dominguez Laquindanum, did I get the full slap in the face and the blood curdling truth that my friend is dead, tied up with electrical cords on hands and feet, blood pooling under, while her head was obscured by the blanket that was used to gag her and was wound tightly around her neck, probably to suppress her cries for help, if she tried. I just had to go down and gather my wits. The cops were polite enough, SOCO however hindered by the smallness of the place and the apparent contamination of the crime scene, proved to be efficient and thorough. I was still staring at a blank wall, trying to look for reasons why it happened.
Dotty was shaking. Deng was shaking. Russel was shaking. I’m numb from the waist up. The glaring lights from cameras made it even more alien. More than twenty stab wounds. Mhalou was dead more than 5 hours. Nobody heard anything.