Amisa pushes herself off the wall and turns back into her bedroom, flailing her arms around herself as if to console the shaking that follows from the sobs and wails. Quiet whispers still erupt from the hall and mingle together in droves of sadness that makes the weight in her chest pound painfully.

It had been stupid of her to go down to the police station, but her parents had insisted and, anyway, it hadn’t been so awful at first. For a minute, the three of them seemed even hopeful that the disappearance of Maxence was over and put to an end finally. Running away from home had become routine for the increasingly troubled youth and he only bothered coming back if something serious had happened, so the Labeau’s figured he’d gotten caught in yet another drug bust and was waiting to get bailed out. After all, this wasn’t the first time they’d gone down to the station to retrieve him. It was a misleadingly nice thought that lasted all of five seconds, however. Unlike the previous occurrences, Amisa hadn’t been asked to make an appearance. This time proved different. She had let herself relax into the warmth of her mother’s arm that had been thrown around her neck as the two were guided down the dimly lit halls that, at the time, seemed never-ending. When they had finally arrived, Elodie had pulled her arm back to herself and braced herself against Gaspard instead, knocking Amisa back as she fumbled her hands across the table in desperation of maintaining her balance. Amisa had looked at her feet then, her pulse engulfing her very senses and making her ears ring.

They ask her something before she even has time to ‘round the corner, and she doesn’t know what to expect but she is sure that the news they’re about to receive is not of the good variety. It’s how her mother pales afterwards that sends a red flag warning to Amisa. The memories of the way Maxence’s voice raises as he scolds her for her choice of clothes, the way he lectures her on her excessive use of profanity; his overprotective ways that irk the living shit out of her. She’d always look over her shoulder to toss him a wicked, hound-dog smile; though it’d eventually falter and fade as she took in the expression on Maxence’s face and noticed that he was genuinely concerned for her well-being. They were all things that she found annoying. They were all things that she took for granted once upon a time.

It was stupid of her.

If only she had listened.

“Can you identify this for us? Is this Maxence?” It’s a question that she can hardly make out, but she stops by the foot of the table and stares. Her brother is laying in front of her, a sheet of white pulled up to his neck and she eyes him immediately, her hands stifling to their pockets as she provides her undivided attention to the expression on his face. Maxence’s once blue eyes are dark and shadowed, his lips look as if they’re hanging half off and his flesh is no longer the warm, lively shade it used to be. Amisa bites the inside of her mouth, her feet feeling suddenly too heavy to move. “Amisa, is this your brother?” The man asks once more, almost unapologetically — too impatient for her liking. She fights to find the right words to say, though all it takes is a simple yes or no. What was once her brother is now a corpse, looking so small and so cold. “Amisa?” She struggles to swallow the lump in her throat, momentarily muted. For once in her life, she’s incapable of speaking.

“Yes, that’s Maxence. That’s my brother,” she mutters in utter defeat, feeling her very innocence and happiness instantly drain itself out of her body.