Trace of Ink
By Zale_Valrez
Date: June 2, 2022
Ch. 9An Issue

Chapter 8: An Issue
The warmth of the Golden hour was calming but that calmness was bothering her. She never saw Nick the whole day but found his motor by morning and then it was now nowhere to be found.
She was one hundred percent sure that he attended none even a single class. Her foot had gotten better causing her to walk swiftly.
Once she got home, she faced her newly set up computer. While I was booting she dialed her trusted friend.
'1012387762, yes Miss?'
"Can you track down someone?"
'Depending on the person, please state his name,' Lora answered.
"Nick Kingston Hernandez," she murmured while scanning her computer. She checked her device if it was well set upped.
'Give me a sec,'
"Sure," after a few minutes Fera received an email from Lora.
'Sent, Miss.'
"Thank you," and she immediately opened it. Horrific info was written in it and her brain somewhat refused to process it. "Wait, Lora. Am I reading this right?"
'Nick Hernandez, his recent trip, private land of Constancio Family, current location, nearest precinct.' She unconsciously bit her lips while checking the map of his current location. 'Seriously?' she mentally hissed.
"Yeah, right. I want him out from that jail."
"Right away, Miss."
'You've gotten serious trouble, Nicky. What have you done?' Those words rang in her head while watching the CCTV clips of him getting arrested. And pictures of him accepting his faith of spending a night in that thick walls.
After assuring everything went already fine. She ate dinner and did some laundry. Her schoolwork followed and she finished everything around eleven at night.
She decided to sleep but the ungrateful dog had mercilessly started barking. It should be Mama Tes's. Nick probably got home, she closed her eyes and wait her drowse to take over.
SHE WAS BUSY taking care of her dishes when she heard a few gentle knocks on her wooden door. She removed her left earpod before opening the door.
"Good morning! Hello, honey. How's everything, are you alright?" Mama Tes greeted her with full energy.
"Good morning Mama Tes, everything is doing well, thank you for asking." She pulled a tight smile and her eyes fell on the Tupperware in her firm grip.
"Oh! By the way, I have breakfast for you." She softly announced, "I honestly wanted to check your apartment too. I know how bad it was since I didn't expect your arrival."
"I am having fun fixing the whole place, especially I am turning it into my place. I am not done yet but I am working on it. I'm sorry to say this Mama Tes but I'll be running late from school. And I haven't done my dishes yet," she politely spoke.
"Of course, but one more question. What happened to Nick? I heard he's in jail," she managed to put a confused look on her face.
"I don't know, I haven't talked to him since yesterday." And the landlady nodded.
"Oh, Okay-okay, you should prepare now. Have a great day ahead." After Mama Tes turned to leave she shut her door and finished her dishes swiftly.
Upon climbing down from the apartment, she found Nick walking to school. He was in a white shirt and black pants. He had his black backpack, which was visibly empty.
She was dying to ask about yesterday but she just couldn't bring herself to start the conversation. Starting a conversation had been hard for her since she was young.
What she had done was intentionally stepped into a dry leaf that created enough noise to catch Nick’s attention. He turned his head to Fera behind him.
A genuine confusion formed on her face as she saw the scratch on his face and a bit of cut on the left part of his lips.
"You smashed your face on the wall?"
He stopped and a half-smile crept onto his lips. He waited until Fera reached him and they walked side by side.
"Got into a small fight,' his low voice was too familiar to her ears and that made her smile unconsciously. 'Small fight and end up in jail? I doubt that' she mentally remarked.
"Hmm," and gave him a small nod. "And you're walking because?"
"I left my motor somewhere," it was followed by a chuckle.
"And I should buy that one."
"I know you'll never, I got into serious trouble I guess. I crashed into private land and got arrested, unfortunately, I left my motor." They passed some trees and a couple of houses. Fera was just looking at her steps while listening.
"Erika Madrigal, one of our schoolmates went missing yesterday until now." That simple statement was enough for Fera to realize everything.
"And you tried to investigate." She concluded with full confidence.
"I did," he confirmed.
"In an illegal way, causing you to end up in jail." He laughed and nodded.
"What made you think it was fun?" It wasn't sound offensive, it was low and weak. And she took a glance at him.
"It's not fun, I am trying to help." Her thoughts were flooding yet she choose to respect his choice. Her mindset was full of selfishness so she'd never understand his opinion.
"What happened?"
"It's hard to talk about it this time, especially since I had no evidence. But I know, Erika and a teacher from her major subject had a relationship. Now they are both nowhere to be found," he said.
"You're saying they might elope and decide to be together."
"I don't think so," he answered. They reached the school gate and parted ways. The rumors of them being together were still burning and giving spice to every gossiper's headline.
She went to the girl's powder room to pee, and while sitting, she heard someone enter. They were talking lowly, they are whispering still even inside the room.
"I heard they fought, this is a big mess. Mr. Constancio had three ex-mistress and separated from her legal wife. Now Erika is gone so is him. He'll lose his license as a teacher," she heard a girl speak.
"I heard Erika is pregnant and they might decide to leave the city." Fera flushed the toilet and went out.
'I'm sick of this issue,' she ranted. 'Let them do what the hell they want, what is it to do with them? They are judging the couple. It's fine to talk about something and be conscious of what is happening around you but talking about something beyond proven truth and making up lies is not good.' All she thought while walking to her class.
She was walking aggressively and her flooded thought occupied her consciousness, she accidentally bumped into someone.
"I'm sorry, I am sorry, Sir."
"It's fine," a familiar voice made her look up to him. She stepped back and took a huge gulp secretly. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine Mr. Constancio." She instantly replied the teacher who was the headline for two days already had shown up.
"Are you sure? You look pale," he commented. Fera nodded instantly and her gaze fell into his uniform, it was neat and clean that made him look noble. Down to his watch and his shoes, his black shoes complemented his dirty white uniform and black trouser.
"Good morning, Sir and excuse. I should head to my first subject." She politely excused herself, the teacher just smiled and shortly nodded before heading ahead too.
'He's still fashionable at his age, no wonder he can easily capture girls' hearts.' She mentally complimented the teacher while tracing the path to her first subject.
She took her seat and sat peacefully, the discussion started and it went flawlessly. Only before she noticed Nick on the left side.
He kept looking at his watch and the clock on the wall. He also constantly playing with his pen, like his restless. Nick noticed that Fera was watching him, as he look at her, she raised her eyebrow.
'I saw him,' he mouthed. Then Fera tilted her head towards the whiteboard, telling him to listen still. He accidentally let out an annoyed sigh and the teacher turned to him. She slid her pilot into her pocket and looked straight at Nick.
"Yes, Mr. Hernandez?" She crossed her arms, "Do you need something?" She asked in monotone, 'this lady wasn't in the mood, isn't she?' Fera mentally concluded.
"Nothing, ma'am." He answered with a great polite tone.
"Stand up, was a history was only those written in a historical book?" He stood and face the teacher with no fear.
"No, ma'am."
"Everything in the past is history." He simply answered and sat down, Miss Torres added some supporting details to explain Nick’s answer further.
"HEY! WHERE ARE you going?" Fera ran after him when she noticed his head somewhere else.
"I saw him, he's here," Nick whispered as Fera reached him.
"It's lunchtime, aren't you going to eat?" She asked instead of acknowledging the horrific fact.
"I have no time, maybe later." They walked to the parking lot and some students turn their heads toward them.
"And what are you planning?"
"I just need to check something," Nick said. As they got into the parking area, Nick realized that his motor was not there.
Fera saw him disappointed, "Why does this matter to you, Nick?" she asked.
The parking area was surrounded by huge trees and their leaves blanket the ground from the sun's light. They sat on the nearest bench.
"I can't sit still, knowing someone might need help." He answered with full honesty. It came from the deepest depth of his heart.
"You know you can't save everyone, right?"
"I can at least give them the justice they deserve." He took a deep breath, "of course, a part of it was not just helping. It is giving me fulfillment when I solve a mystery, if I clear something unspoken truth, it's an achievement for me."
Fera on the other hand was trying to relate but she couldn't. Questions appeared in her head instead of understanding his side.
"Don't you think sometimes, some unspoken truth is better to be unspoken? Some truth is better to be hidden.....for the meantime." She said hesitantly.
"And letting someone suffer silently? A buried past will hunt you one day, so make peace with it and you could move on. I am not being a hero, and not trying to be a hero. For me, every truth must prevail no matter how hard or harsh it is." Fera nodded her head, she knew that she could never bend his principles. So as she is, she'd never bend her principles too.
It is free to comment, but you better keep it yourself. You are free to express but Fera rather keeps everything herself. Every public information had the owner's permission. But if the information was too personal, you must know your limitations. We must respect privacy and individuality, that was her motto.
And she respected his decision and choices in life. "Okay, if that's what makes you sleep tight." She got her wallet and handed him some money.
"What is this for?"
"The only way to help you, I know you hadn’t brought money with you. You may don't have your motor, but you can ride public transportation, right?"
"No, I'll just keep my business away from theirs this time," he answered.
"I insist, you can pay me anytime."
Hesitancy hadn't stopped Nick’s eagerness to investigate. " Are you sure? Won't you be needing this for now?"
"More than sure."
"Thank you, I owe you big time." She smiled at him which made him smile too.
"You should head out now."
"Yeah, thank you again." She watched him walk towards the gate. 'I don't get it. But he's happy upon helping others so there's no way of stopping him.' All she could think, she saw how his face lit up a while ago.
Why would people risk their lives to help others?
Does helping benefits our life?
I don't get it but he seems happy doing it.

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