A few years have passed since the events that took place at the Purple Eyes Diner. Jaden and Marvin swore to never speak of that night ever again. They both graduated from college, and they were living in an apartment together after graduation. The lease on their apartment is up next week, and they’re trying to decide if they want a new lease or move somewhere else together. However, Marvin proposes an interesting opportunity to Jaden.
“Hey bro, someone reached out to me about us renting two rooms in this really nice house in the city. You have to look at these pictures,” Marvin explains to Jaden.
Marvin attempts to show Jaden the pictures, but he’s not in the mood to see them. Marvin asks Jaden what’s wrong with him. Jaden explains that he’s thinking about moving back home with his mom and sister.
Jaden explains, “I don’t know man, I feel like I should be back home now. Everything has been on my sister to take care of our mom, and I need to help out in some way.”
Jaden starts to tear up, and Marvin is quick to embrace him. He whispers to Jaden, “I get it man, you want to be back with your mom and sister. They could use you right now, but your mom and sister want you to live your life. They want you to be happy and free.”
“I don’t know if that’s true, man. I just talked to my sister a couple of days ago, and she’s the one that asked if I was thinking about coming home. She wasn’t telling me to come home, but it felt like she was kind of hoping that I would come home.”
“Jaden, you don’t know—
“Marvin, my sister has taken care of our mom for years! She needs a break and deserves a life too. It’s selfish of me to just live on my own, I have to help in some way or help even more now than ever! I have to go home!”
Jaden pushes Marvin off him, but Marvin is quick to embrace him again and Jaden struggles to get out of his embrace. Then, Marvin says, “I’m sorry, bro. You’re right, maybe it is best for you to go home and help your mother. Maybe that’s what’s best for you. I just want to show you this house, and I just want you to think about how happy and free you’ll be living in this place. Just for a moment.”
Jaden sighs and reluctantly allows Marvin to show him pictures of the house. Marvin gets his phone out and shows Jaden the beautiful home in the city. The kitchen is perfect, the living room is spacious and there’s a huge backyard. Jaden is stunned that it’s a remarkable house, and the bedrooms are spacious and have their own bathroom. Jaden can’t believe the house, and Marvin says the best part is the rent. Jaden asks how much the rent is, and Marvin says that it’s only $500 for the both of them. Plus, they do not have to worry about paying for utilities or a deposit.
Jaden is shocked and excited, but he is somewhat skeptical. The deal and offer sounds too good to be true for Jaden. He asks how Marvin came across this house, and Marvin explains that he was emailed about it by the homeowner. Jaden is confused, and Marvin shows Jaden the email. It read that there were two rooms available at the homeowner’s house that the homeowner was looking to rent out. The email was sent by someone with the name Jeremy.
Jaden thinks the email is strange, then Marvin says, “Before you say anything, I emailed him back saying that we were interested in the rooms and got to Facetime with him.”
“You Facetimed the guy? What was he like?” Jaden questions.
“He was kinda quiet and didn’t say much, but he was cool for the most part.”
“Did you see his face? And did you ask him why he was renting out the rooms?”
“Geez, so many questions. Yeah, I kinda saw his face. He was just talking about how he just wanted to make some extra bucks.”
“Wait, what do you mean you ‘kinda saw his face,’ Marvin?”
“He just had on a hoodie, and he had the hood over his face. It was just kinda hard to see his face.”
Jaden sighs and says, “Bro, do you realize how sketchy and weird that sounds? I don’t know about all that, but if you want to live there then you go ahead. I’m going back home.”
“Here’s the thing, I kinda need you in order to live there.”
“What do you mean?”
“The rent is only $500, if you’re also going to be there. If you’re not, then it’s going to be $2,000 for me to rent a room, and I can’t pay that at all.”
Before Jaden can say anything, Marvin begs him to consider living in the house. Jaden refuses and says, “No, I just have a bad feeling about that place. Plus, I just told you that I want to go home. And how can you come up with that agreement without talking to me at all? I’m sorry bro, but you’re on your own.”
Jaden tries to walk away, but Marvin stops him. Then, he has this menacing, strange look on his face. Marvin coldly says, “Did you forget what I did for you that night? Did you forget how I saved your life? I didn’t leave you on your own, but now you’re trying to leave and abandon me?”
Jaden tries to assure Marvin that he’s not abandoning him, but Marvin pushes Jaden to the ground and continues, “You were almost going to have us killed that night. You owe me for what I did for you that night. You owe me your life.”
Jaden doesn’t know what to say, but Marvin quickly adds, “Or if you feel like you don’t owe me anything, then maybe I should cut ties with you and tell the cops you were the one that murdered that kid that night, while I watched in horror.”
Jaden shakes his head and can’t believe what he’s hearing from his best friend and roommate. It doesn’t make any sense to him. Marvin then gets on top of Jaden and starts choking him. Jaden is struggling to breathe and get out of the chokehold Marvin has him in.
Then Marvin whispers, “I could talk about how I was whispering and whispering like crazy that night. How I was begging for you to stop the stabbing and killing, but you just wouldn’t listen. You just kept going and going, and you never wanted to stop and think. You were just so sick and twisted that night at Purple Eyes.”
Jaden begs for him to stop and Marvin lets go of Jaden. He gets off of Jaden and says, “Great, I’ll let Jeremy know that we’ll be moving in next week.”
This is the end of part four of “A Familiar Shadow.”
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The final part of this short story series will be posted next Thursday