I opened the door.
Camio was aware of me the moment I opened the door.
Not Camio’s blood.
“Camio…?” I asked, my voice barely a rustle above a whisper. The air felt wet in the room, as though it had been drenched with… well, with what, I could only guess, though I had a very good guess.
“What are you doing here?” came a voice.
It was that deep voice that I had been expecting when I’d first opened the door and met Camio, the voice I imagined he’d have if he wasn’t mute. Well, apparently he ISN’T mute, I thought as the baritone rang out in the room. The voice had a gravelly crunch to it, and when he spoke it sounded to me like the grating of rocks in vocal form.
“I… got out of work early…” I finished lamely, unsure of what to do.
Camio was in his room. Something else was in Camio’s room, or had been, and it had left a hell of a lot of blood, enough for the smell to be overpowering. And I was standing there, witness to it in smell and sound.
Camio walked towards me. For the first time in all the time he’d live there, I heard him walk. Thu-THUMP. Thu-THUMP. It sounded like someone was walking heel-to-toe in high heels, except the sound was heavier. I couldn’t quite place what it was, where I’d heard it before, and then it hit me.
Camio stopped in front of me. He was breathing hard, and I could almost hear him wondering what to do now that I’d caught him at… whatever he was doing. Whatever he decided, I was sure it wouldn’t end well for me.
Gathering up my courage – figuring it was the last thing I’d ever do – I reached out for him. My hand was trembling as I tried to touch him.
He brought his hand out to mine.