Even if he had decided to stay the night in the motel room, Ian wouldn’t have been able to sleep. The events that transpired no more than a few hours prior were too heavily engrained in his mind. All he could see were flashes of Rebecca’s face and the terrified individuals who saw him.
The horrifying feeling began to sink in – it was over. His life would never be the same. All of his friends, his colleagues – his parents. How could he ever see his parents again? It wouldn’t be too much longer before the news travelled to them. It would start with his mom calling his cell phone, and he not answering. It would then evolve to panic, but once they would hear the news – what would they think? What would go through their minds after knowing what their son had just done? Ian knew he could never see his parents again. They wouldn’t understand.
His friends, though he didn’t stay in touch with too many of them, they knew him. People from school knew him. His image would be forever tarnished, stained and ruined. He wasn’t innocent – not even close.
So there he was. Dyed hair, colored contacts – a completely new look. Never in his life did he think he would be forced to change his identity to such an extreme. He may have walked out of the motel looking entirely different without a trace of his previous self on his person, but all he did was remove Ian from the situation; he was nobody. The thoughts crossed his mind of what exactly to do next. What can I do? Live life as a homeless ghost? Go on without an identity?
He could simply turn himself in and put an end to the torment; just go up to the cops – any of them that were now patrolling the crime scene. He could just approach an officer and say, “Hello sir. It was me,” and then let fate take action. That would be the easy way out. The stress and pressure he would endure soon after would be gone before it started.
No. That couldn’t be what would happen next. He destroyed his identity already. It would just look even worse if he turned himself in now. Life in prison without parole – death penalty perhaps. 25 to life at the bare minimum and given the cold-blooded nature of it, there was no way out. He had no lawyers and hell would freeze over before a public defender would have a fighting chance at helping him go free. Ian’s mind raced as quickly as his heart rate.
Hyperventilating, disturbed, scarred, Ian collapsed up against a wall in a darkening alleyway and buried his face in his sweaty palms. The sun was setting. Tomorrow morning, he would have to do something next. He already changed his appearance so turning himself in anyway would simply be backtracking on whatever progress he had already made. He would just look silly and stupid – to have gone through all the trouble of dying his hair, burning his cards and documents, torturing his eyes with basic colored contact lenses all to run to the police station and throw away the effort he already started? No.
Ian had to get away. But where? Where could he go? What could he do? There were no apparent options at all. He could no longer get a job, couldn’t apply for a loan because he was no longer documented – at least this new appearance of him isn’t. He would have to start over.
Ian had no idea how long he was sitting against the wall in the alleyway but at this point or when specifically he covered the concrete beneath his feet in vomit but he could actually see – a sunrise? Had it been all night already? There were so many people who walked right by the alleyway, looked directly at Ian, and continued. As if he was a completely different person; as if he wasn’t some immediately wanted criminal that all of the police were frantic to find.
In fact, from their perspective, he looked like any other homeless person one would make an extra effort with whom to avoid eye contact. There were people walking around and walking near him – some even looking at him. No one did anything. No one said anything. The police may have already put out a search warrant for him, yet there was.
After staring at the concrete beneath his feet for a few minutes, he had an idea. A spark.
He got up, walked out of the alley, still noticing the blue and red glow of the cop lights rushing in one direction in the distance – and walked in the opposite direction.