22 (Minute Mystery) Part 1
by Emily Reed
Ellias honked the horn as the skittish driver waded through the snow covered roads. On a 30 mile per hour road, they were going a solid 10. They were driving at a normal pace until they hit the patches of snow. This led Ellias to draw the conclusion that whoever was behind the wheel was either young and cautious or old and (annoyingly) wise. As a reckless young adult, he used his car’s four wheel drive to its full potential.
That was until he was running low on fuel. The monitor screen flickered, displaying “11 miles to go” and the low fuel warning flashed red. He had to get to a gas station quickly but this fellow didn't sense his urgency.
Ellias rolled down the window and yelled, “Could you hurry up?!” The driver did not respond. Ellias smacked the wheel in frustration.
Finally, when he only had “2 miles to go,” Ellias passed the car and minutes later, he arrived at the gas station. With his blood pressure high, he pumped gas into his car. Once he had a full tank, Ellias decided that after the stress he went through, he deserved to treat himself with a bite to eat.
He pushed open the heavy metal door, that was in need of a fresh coat of paint, and walked into the gas station. He looked down the first aisle and saw a gaunt looking man staring him in the eye while holding an Almond Joy. The man had his wispy gray hair combed over to the right side of his head in an unruly heap. He had horn-rimmed glasses that couldn't hide the right eye that looked straight at you and the left that wandered to the right. This strange look was one Ellias had seen before, but he couldn't put his finger on where.
Feeling incredibly disturbed, Ellias broke eye contact after several seconds and decided his appetite for a candy bar had diminished significantly. He walked down the second aisle and picked up a bag of pretzels. He tip-toed past a woman with her four small children so he could get to the drinks in the cooler.
Once at the cooler, he saw that a woman with curly, berry blue hair was grabbing a Mountain Dew. As he patiently waited behind her, he observed that he thought of her hair as the same color as his favorite jelly bean flavor because her perky dress gave her the appearance of someone who dyed their hair by choice. She wasn't obligated to dye her hair out of teenage rebellion because she was older than 18. He admired that she chose to do what made her happy and didn't care about what people thought of her decisions.
When she turned around, he was greeted with a courteous smile and rich chocolate eyes. “Excuse me,” she said as she passed him and got in line at the checkout.
He grabbed a Mountain Dew and walked over to the checkout line. He stood behind the brown-eyed-girl and couldn't help but think of Isabella. A year ago, his long time girlfriend was shot and killed in the middle of a crossfire. It was a tragic case of wrong place and wrong time but Ellias couldn't help but blame himself for not being there for her. He was the one she had been texting before she sent a “brb” to when she went to grab some milk at the grocery store a block away. She should have gone in the morning because 10 at night in the city isn't safe. Why hadn't he thought of telling her that?
Maybe because he remembered when they were teenagers, her dad wouldn't let her drive until she was 18. So he, being older, had to pick her up in the middle of the night so they could go to the movies at midnight or trespass on private beaches.
He smiled as he paid his bill. The burly man behind the counter rang up his total at $4.99. The woman with blue hair was beside him at the other counter being rung up by another disgruntled employee. Ellias handed the man a five dollar bill and to attempt to speed up the process, he told him to keep the change. The man grunted in response. What was his problem?
As he exited the store, he passed by two guys coming in who wore suits and were overdressed for gas station food. Ellias did not have the right to judge considering he usually ate at the grocery store to get away from the craziness at work. It wasn’t his business how they spent their lunch break.
Once he exited through the door, he got into his car and drove away. And that was the last anyone saw of Ellias Monte.
It was June 22nd, 2016 when Ellias Monte was pronounced dead at two in the afternoon. Monte crashed his car into a tree and died immediately on impact. The police suspect that he was driving under the influence, but that’s not what really happened.
Who killed Ellias and why?
(read part 2)