The Boy Next Door - Pt. IV: Breaking The Seal
Updated: Feb 6
Is Nina involved in the murder? What is in the envelope? Why are they going back to Logan?
Based on true events
Bobby’s Diner - San Antonio, TX
“We met you in Loganville, and knew your family… The Logans. It was Denzel, your father, Melanie, your mother, Rob, your brother and you… Nina. Well… your birth name is actually–”
“Essie,” Nina responded in a somber tone.
Her mom and dad are shocked by her response.
“Who the hell told you that?” her dad whispered. Nina reaches into her purse and grabs her wallet. She pulls both the picture from the Logan family album and the original picture she has. She places them side-by-side on the table.
“Greg showed me the Logan family album–”
“Greg?” Her parents give each other an alarming look.
“Nina, please listen, Greg is not–”
Two bullets are fired into the diner.
Nina ducks inside of the booth and covers her head. Everyone screams and begins running out of the restaurant or taking cover below their tables. Nina opens her eyes and sees both of her parent’s feet sitting still beneath the table.
“Get down here!” Nina screams towards her parents. They don’t respond. She slowly peaks above the table.
Nina lets out a SCREAM.
Her mother and father are leaned back on the booth seats, lying face-up with their mouths open. Nina stands up to get a better look. She sees one bullet hole with a streak of blood in each of their foreheads.
Nina’s jaw drops. She slowly walks towards her mom’s lifeless body before being pulled away by a police officer.
“Let me go! Let me go! That’s my mom!” Nina yells as she fights to release herself from the officer.
“Help is on the way, but you’re not safe in here,” the officer replies as she forcefully escorts Nina outside of the diner.
Nina is placed in the back of a police car with the window rolled down.
“Hi, um… Nina. I’m Officer LD. Are you ok?” Officer LD asks.
“My parents… there were gun shots and then I ducked and then… I don’t know it just happened so fast,” Nina responds frantically.
“Were you hit?”
“No, I just told you I ducked. I’m fine. Can you check on my parents!”
“They’re being taken to the hospital right now.”
“Then you need to let me go so I can be with them.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Because it’s not safe. This was not a random shooting, your parents were murdered and whoever did it was trained.”
“Trained? What are you talking about?”
“Two clean shots straight to the head, in a public place, with you sitting across from them… That’s no accident.”
“But why would someone want to murder them?”
“That’s what I’m trying to find out. Can you start from the beginning?”
Nina pauses and begins to cry. She takes a deep breath and starts talking.
“We planned to meet here today so I flew down from school. This was our favorite spot to eat as a family. I walked in and sat in the booth. I waited for them to arrive. They showed up and we were just talking for a few minutes before I heard the shots and–”
“Hey LD, let me have a word with you.” A loud voice screams from another police car.
“Stay here, I’ll be right back.”
Officer LD locks the car door and urgently walks to the other police car. Detective Miller sits with his arms crossed on the hood of the car. He stands up.
“I thought you had the night off?” Detective Miller asks.
“I did, but I got called right back in,” said Officer LD.
“It comes with the badge. They said you were first on the scene, whaddya got?”
“I don’t think she’s our suspect.” Detective Miller doesn’t respond, but has a look of disbelief on his face. Officer LD continues.
“She seems shaken up about it and even confused. She said she ducked when she heard the bullets–
“Oh she ducked huh?” Detective Miller sarcastically rebuttals.
“Yeah, she ducked.”
“At the perfect time to miss two incoming bullets from behind her head.”
“I mean… yeah, I guess,” Officer LD responds in a perplexed tone.
“She’s the second coming of the fucking matrix then huh?”
“Wait… you don’t think she did it do you? Jone told me you believe this was a professional hit after seeing the crime scene. It had to be done by someone who is highly skilled with a gun.”
“Walk with me, I want you to see something,” says Detective Miller.
They walk over to the booth where Nina sat with her parents. Detective Miller points at the booth and continues.
“The shots came from behind her. One on the right of her head and one on the left of her head. From the chamber of the gun, straight to the center of their foreheads. It’s almost impossible for her to not get nicked or something while sitting less than four feet from her parents. And of course they’re sitting in a crowded diner, but the only seats open are the ones directly behind her parents. Did she say who arrived first and chose the seats?”
“She arrived first, but I have a hard time believing that she could pull something like this off. We didn’t find any weapon or–”
“I never said she pulled the trigger.”
“Then what are you saying?”
“That when spontaneous murders, like this one happen, nine times out of ten, someone close to the person is involved… A friend, a lover or in a lot of cases…their own blood… which reminds me… did you find any blood on her?”
“No, but her clothes haven’t been examined yet.”
“Hmmm, less than four feet away, yet no blood on her… unless… she knew it was going to happen and ducked before it happened.”
“You can’t be serious right now.”
“They woke me up out my fucking sleep for this, I’m nothing but serious.”
Jone– the second officer on the scene, quickly approaches and interrupts the conversation. She tends to jumble her thoughts and speak extremely fast and tonight was no different.
“Excuse me detective, but I have an update for you!” Detective Miller nods as a sign of approval.
“Make it quick, Jone.”
“I just spoke with Bobby, the owner of the diner– oh, he said hello by the way LD. Ok, so Bobby told me that–”
“You know him?” Detective Miller asks Officer LD.
“It’s the best diner in town and our station is up the street… what can I say, I’m a regular,” she responds with a smirk. Jone jumps back in.
“Great segway into my point LD! By the way, what is LD short for?
“Jone!” Detective Miller yells.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry. Ok so Bobby, the owner says the girl– Nina Anderson is her name, and her parents, Mona and Ray Anderson have been regulars for over a decade, and visited the diner at least once a week– if not more, so he’s practically watched the girl grow up. But get this… he hasn’t seen the family in five months! And the last time they were at the diner before the whole five month absence, the mom and the girl got into a shouting match and the girl stormed out of the diner alone.”
“What were they shouting about?” the detective asked.
“Something about a family business and college,” said Jone.
“That explains it then, she told me she flew in from school to meet with her parents so she must’ve been at school most of those five months. And who didn’t argue with their parents at that age?” Officer LD asked rhetorically.
“That’s just the beginning of the trouble,” Jone replies. She shuffles through her notepad and continues.
“Nina goes to the local high school with Bobby's daughter, I think he said her name was Sarah? … oh well. So apparently Nina changed her address before graduation to hide mail from her parents– likely mail for college. And the strangest of it all, she skipped the graduation and went off the grid without even telling her parents or anyone for that matter. So in the last five months she hasn't talked to, or seen them until today. And even today, they got into another argument! Crazy right?! Her mom hit the table loud enough to get everyone's attention in the diner. Less than a minute later, the shots were fired.”
“And seconds after that, she turned into Neo from the matrix and dodged the bullets,” says Detective Miller as he looks directly at Officer LD. Jone watches them stare each other down for a couple seconds. The silence makes her feel anxious so she tries to break it.
“Wait, didn’t two of the bullets graze Neo? Or is this some kind of Keanu Reeves joke?” Jone asks. They ignore her and maintain their eye contact with one another.
“Give us a minute, Jone,” the detective mutters. Jone hesitates and continues to look for understanding by reading their body language. She senses the tension, but is unsure if it’s real. She receives a stern look from the detective and immediately turns and walks in the opposite direction.
Detective Miller waits for Jone to walk far enough, then continues.
“Look, I’m not saying she did it, okay? She may be telling you the whole truth… but my instincts tell me that she knows more than she’s letting on. She has a clear motive for God’s sake. And look.. if she doesn’t know anything, then she’s in some real hot shit and might be the next target. We don’t want that shit on our hands.”
“Whoever killed her parents didn’t want her dead. It’s obvious. They shot around her, so there’s no way she’s the next target,” Officer LD quickly responded.
“All I’m saying is bring her into the station so we can ask more questions and get to the bottom of this thing. The last thing we need is her school finding out and this becoming national news. Copy?”
“Let me finish up here and I’ll meet you at the station.” The detective walks away and Officer LD walks back towards the car.
As Officer LD approaches the car, she notices that Nina’s head isn’t showing through the back window. She runs to the car and opens the door.
Nina is gone.
5 MINUTES EARLIER
Nina sits in the cop car waiting for Officer LD to return. She’s still in shock and is trying to piece together what happened, but all she can think about is how her parents reacted to Greg’s name.
“I knew I couldn’t trust him,” Nina whispers to herself. Moments later she hears a soft knock on the car door.
“Nina,” she hears from outside the car. She sits up and pokes her head out of the window.
“Shhhh. Not too loud,” Dr. Edwards replies emphatically with her pointer finger covering her mouth.
“You gotta get me out of here so I can find out what hospital they took my parents to.”
“Hold on.” Dr. Edwards reaches into her pocket and pulls out a key. She jams it into the car door, but the door won't open.
“Damn, it’s not working,”
“Ok, we’ll have to try something else. Are your hands free?” Nina lifts both hands above her head to her. Dr. Edwards continues.
“Great. Window it is.” She suddenly hears footsteps and quickly turns around and crouches near the front of the car. She waits for the footsteps to go by and peeks around the car. She sees Detective Miller and Officer LD walking away from the car and towards the crime scene and makes a beeline for the car door.
“I need you to put both hands out the window– I’m going to pull you out.” Nina does exactly what she says and Dr. Edwards pulls her out of the window.
“Come on, I parked around the corner,” says Dr. Edwards. They flee the scene unseen.
Dr. Edward’s Home - Garden Ridge, TX
Dr. Edwards opens the front door and quickly runs upstairs. Nina enters the home and shuts the door behind her. She looks around in amazement.
“Come up here,” Dr. Edwards yells from the upstairs bannister. Nina makes her way up the stairs and into Dr. Edwards’ room. Dr. Edwards is moving at what seems to be super speed as she goes from the closet to the bathroom to the bedroom, going in and out of dressers, pulling clothes and shoes from every which way and throwing them into a small suitcase and handbag.
“Wow, I thought the entrance was impressive. This is niiice!”
“This is what hard work gets you.”
“I had no idea a counselor could live like this.”
“Did you forget the doctor before my name? I’m no average counselor.”
“I know that’s right.” Dr. Edwards throws a curly, blonde wig at Nina.
“Put that on.” Nina catches it and gives Dr. Edwards a distorted look.
“This is nice and all, but it’s not really me.”
“What’s really you will be wanted all over the state soon so we need to change that,” She throws sweatpants, then a hoodie, and finally a baseball cap in Nina’s direction– all in which she catches. The clothes cover her face and hang off her body like coats on a rack.
“I hope these fit,” Nina says as she makes her way to the bathroom.
Moments later Nina comes back into the bedroom with the sweatpants, hoodie, wig and cap.
“I look like a little boy,” she complained.
“Perfect. No one’s looking for a little boy who fled a crime scene right now.” Nina nods in agreement. She notices that Dr. Edwards is still moving at super speed, but is not making much progress with her bag. She examines Dr. Edwards outfit and it’s the total opposite of what she normally wears. She usually has her hair and makeup done, paired with some sort of matching lipstick. Her clothes are always form fitting, high-end designer coupled with breathtaking heels. Today she’s in loose, athletic apparel and sneakers, a style Nina did not think ever existed in her wardrobe.
“I meant to ask… how did you know I was at the diner? The only people who knew I was coming back to town were my parents.”
“Your location was on.”
“Ahhh right… well… not saying you’re a stalker or anything, but… do you like… always check my location?”
“No, I don’t if you must know. I have a life.” Dr. Edwards chuckles and continues,
“I was on a run in the area, and heard the sirens so I stopped by the scene, being the nosy person I am. I saw the name, 'Bobby’s Diner' and it reminded me of you. You always had great things to say about the diner and how it was your family’s go-to spot. It made me miss you so I checked your location and to my surprise, you were not only in town, but at the diner and didn't even tell me! How dare you? At that point I was concerned so I walked a little closer to the scene and saw you talking to the officer, then I was really scared. I knew it was dangerous, but I couldn’t help but go over and make sure you were okay. Once the officer walked away, I swooped in and here we are.”
“Hold on, who drives to the city… to run?”
“Um, me. There are a lot of great trails close to the city.” Dr. Edwards begins to feel unappreciated and takes a break from packing to look at Nina. She continues.
“And how about a: Thanks for saving me Dr. Edwards, you’re the best counselor and superhero ever.”
“I’m so sorry, you’re right. I’ve just been so confused about everything that’s happening in my life right now. It’s making me question every little thing.” Nina walks over and gives Dr. Edwards a hug. They hold each other for a moment and Nina begins to cry.
“You’ve been the biggest blessing in my life the last year. You’re supportive, reliable and willing to even go to jail for me.”
“Thanks Nina, you know I always got your back. But um… I’m not going to jail for you so we need to wrap this hug session up so we can get out of here. Dr. Edwards gives Nina another big squeeze before detaching from the hug.
“Where are we going again?”
“You and all these questions Nina, gah-lee! If you must know... we’re going back to Logan. It’s the only place you’re safe right now.
“Logan?! Wait, how do you know about Logan?”
“There’s a lot that needs to be explained and the people there can answer all of your questions better than I can. You have to trust me here Nina.”
“Please don't tell me–”
“No more questions Nina.” Dr. Edwards says.
Dr. Edwards slowly walks over to her dresser and pulls out an envelope. She’s holding the envelope with two hands. The delicacy in which she’s holding it makes Nina feel a slight rush of anxiety. Nina watches as Dr. Edwards slowly walks back to her. Dr. Edwards puts the envelope in her right hand. With her left hand, she reaches for Nina’s hand and opens it palm-up. Dr. Edwards softly puts the envelope in Nina’s palm, then covers the envelope with her right hand. Her right hand stays on top of Nina’s for a few seconds. Dr. Edwards continues to look down at the envelope. Nina’s anxiety goes from a slight rush to what feels like an uncontrollable flood. Her eyes are locked on Dr. Edwards and screaming to cut the tension, but she says nothing. Dr. Edwards continues to stare at the hand-envelope sandwich the two have made. She looks up at Nina.
“You’ll need this.” Dr. Edwards removes her hands from Nina’s and continues.
“We don’t have much time, but I can’t go to the airport smelling like this. Let me take a quick shower then we can leave.”
Dr. Edwards walks into the bathroom and shuts the door. Nina wants to wait until she hears the shower running before she opens the envelope. She listens closely. Ten seconds go by before she hears water coming out of the bathtub spout. Another ten seconds pass and she hears the shower running. She contemplates opening the envelope then, but wants to hear Dr. Edwards enter the tub first.
Thirteen seconds go by.
Finally she hears the curtain hooks scratch the shower rod, followed by two feet lightly touching the tub's surface. It’s time.
Nina breaks the seal on the envelope and reaches inside.