Too Late for Hope Island

“Really Ms. Wyatt. I don’t want to waste your time. We take punctuality very seriously here at Hope Island. Our community of at-risk youth needs to know they can count on us—“
“Please! Sorry to interrupt Father Lovejoy. I’m never late. Really I pride myself on being organized. As a kid things were a little catch as catch can. I’m not like that,” Vicky said panic tinging her breath. “This job is a perfect fit I swear Father.”
“It’s Reverend. Calm yourself no need to get upset, love. There will be other jobs. Reach out to us again next semester.” Rev. Lovejoy tented his fingers in the universal symbol of benevolent obstinacy.
Vicky’s lip quivered. “I was calm. I wanted to be calm for the interview so badly. I even took a run along the Charles.” Vicky collected her purse and briefcase.
“You ran too long is that it, love?”
“No, I didn’t. I gave myself plenty of time. I saw a dead cat on the jogging trail. Plump and glossy coat, a calico. Clearly someone’s housecat looking for adventure and hit by a motorbike or a car or a something and crawling back home for help and not making it. I saw a lady stricken standing nearby, big eyes open mouth. I was going to run past and say sorry. When I saw she wasn’t looking at the kitty. The lady on the side of the road was looking at the head and shoulders in the river.”
Vicky slung her bags over her arm and headed for the office door.
“Head and shoulders, yeah,” Vicky said opening the door.
“Whoa wait. What’s this…” Rev. Lovejoy said and started scrolling through his phone.
“I jumped in the Charles hoping the head and shoulders were on a live guy who was just unconscious hoping I could help. I could smell the death on the water I knew that smell. The guy was gone but I had to get him to shore. Someone called the police. The lady just started screaming delayed shock you know. Passersby helped me get the body ashore then the statements to be made. The cops were nice because we were all students and such. Even the body. They got my details and let me go back to my apartment. I took a shower and got dressed and hurried here. I was on time and then I remembered something and made myself late. I blew it. Thank you anyway Father I mean Rev. Lovejoy.”
Vicky stepped through the door and closed it behind her.
The clergyman raced around his desk and through open the door. “Wait did you know the person who died? Had you seen them before? What did you remember?”
“No I never saw him before it was the cat. I remembered the dead cat. I took her photo and moved her off the path so I could help her be found by her people. Calicos are almost always females. Uusually sweethearts, you know. She was loved and would be missed. Never knowing is the worst, I know. I’m going to share her photos online so someone will know what became of her. Know she didn’t run away right. Goodbye Father.” Vicky stepped into the elevator. Rev. Lovejoy leapt into the closing doors.
“First forgive a foolish old man.”

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