Last scene from Episode 1..
My gaze went up slowly from the phone’s screen to the bed where Austin’s body was covered with a blue blanket up to his stomach. His eyes were closed and his body lay still..
Very slowly,I got on my knees and caressed his cheek
“You’d be alright” I whispered,not even trusting my own words completely. I closed my eyes immediately I felt it getting wet,then stood up and cleaned my wet lashes before heading back for the stairs and out of the basement.
It’d all started just last year. When I was 15 and Austin was 17. He’d had friends. They were a group. A frat. There was red-haired Emily who’d actually dyed her blonde hair red. There was Dylan, the closest to Austin. Jace,the tough one amongst them. Mitchie and then my brother, Austin. Two girls,three boys. All seniors at Mark-Bedders.
I remember Emily used to visit most nights. I was the only one who knew, ’cause I loved spying. She’d usually tap on Austin’s window and they’d talk for a while before she’d leave. Austin knew I was spying though, and when he’d told me he’d never liked her,I’d laughed hard. My brother wasn’t to be blamed. He was a hottie. Big time hottie.
My dad’s American while mom is Ghanaian.Early last year was when dad had left the family. He’d been wanting a divorce and last year,it’d finally been done. I could tell mom was heartbroken. She’d stayed in her room for days.
The night of the divorce,I’d been in my room staring into space… fearing for the family that dad was leaving. I hadn’t wanted to come out. I’d wanted to delete his image from my head and mind that night and coming out to watch him move his luggages wouldn’t have helped a single bit. Austin had barged into my room, leaning his back against the wall once he was in
“….And to think he’s leaving mom ’cause of some silly high school sweetheart” He’d said, hissing at the
last word as he moved his hair back.
“How did you know?” I’d asked quietly,staring up at him. He’d looked at me and smirked
“Think you’re the only one who can spy?”
I’d wanted to smile in response,but for those few minutes,I’d practically forgotten how to smile. The next few minutes had been hell. I’d never seen Austin that mad.
“You’re a damn coward!” He’d yelled, slamming dad against the wall threatening to tear him apart. I’d watched the scene in terror. Mom’s tears cascaded down her face as she kept screaming for fear of
what Austin might do. Narrowly missing a punch,dad had pushed himself out the door with his very last luggage, ignorant of the fact that baby Julianna was forming in mom’s womb.
I got to my room and opened the door. Slamming it shut, I sighed and headed for my bed, grabbing my school bag. I’ve got few assignments to do. Chemistry’s first. No one wants Mr Steve’s trouble.
…….. PAUL …..
“It’s time to wake up,Paul McKenzie. Wake up and live your dreams. It’s time to wake up,Paul McKenzie. Wake up and…..”
“Oh shut up. I heard you the first time” I groaned, moving my hand around the bedside table blindly to find the remote control to my alarm
“It’s time to…..”
“Finally” I groaned as I found the small remote and turned the alarm off “Annoying but super-cool alarm” I yawned before finally flinging my eyes open “Time to wake up and live your dreams” I repeated, grinning widely,then suddenly stopped grinning and sat up “Hey,I gotta change that line ‘Wake up and live your dreams’. What if I dreamt of creepy vampires tearing me apart? Or of me getting a detention in school? Or even of me disappearing to some town? Or….”
“Paul” A voice at the door cut me off as soft knocking followed. Mom.
The door opened and she poked her head in
“Morning,hon. Did you sleep well?”
“Mmmm-hhhhmm” I hummed, pushing the blanket off my body before placing my feet on the floor and looking around. Ok,my room’s a mess.
“I know. I know,mom” I laughed slightly, fully aware of what her question was going to be ” I’ll put it in place before I go down for breakfast. Or maybe after I’m back from school?” I gave an innocent smile and blinked while mom rolled her eyes with a hint of a smile on her lips
“I and your dad are off to work. We have to leave early today. See you at noon, Sweetheart. Bye”
“Bye,Mom” I smiled, watching as she blew a kiss before shutting the door
“Breakfast’s in the kitchen!” She yelled, walking away
“Alright,Mom. Got it!”
I waited till the sound of her footsteps faded before I returned my eyes to my surrounding. Lots of books were all over the bed and the clothes I’d worn the previous day were on the floor. My laptop was left
open on my study desk and…well…my teeth’s still unbrushed,I haven’t taken my bath and my hair’s messy when I’m literally late for school. Yeah,I’d set the alarm to wake me by this time on purpose. I’d been busy through most of the night hours and needed good,if not better, sleep.
Preparation for school was done in a pretty good haste and soon,I was dressed in a black and white striped T-shirt,dark jeans and cool black and white converse. Just so you know, when referring to this particular converse, don’t forget to add the ‘cool’ to it ’cause hey..I literally bought it with my own money. It’s the only converse I’d bought myself… With my money. The rest are just shoes dad keeps stocking in my shoe closet.
I gelled my hair and made it relax sideways before I grabbed my school bag and put my books into it. Breakfast was bread toast and scrambled eggs with lots of milk. Soon,I was done. I locked the front door before boarding a taxi to school.
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“That period was the toughest time in the history of America” Miss Nora’s voice floated across the classroom once again and I yawned
“You’ve said that a million times, Miss Nora” A voice from the front said and everyone started to murmur while Miss Nora sighed tiredly. History class’ a bore. She should talk more about Ancient Egypt and Mummies. The bell chimed just then and everyone grabbed their books from their desks and headed for the door. I flung my bag over my right shoulder and picked my books,then headed out to meet Sophie and Zoe. They don’t take History classes.
“I met with Officer Wilson yesterday” Sophie spoke as she inter-twined her fingers and relaxed back on her chair. We were both in the cafeteria for lunch break and on Sophie’s request,Zoe had gone to get us some burgers and fruit smoothie. Sophie and Zoe are my closest friends.
I leaned forward and placed my arms on the table
“Yeah” She nodded and took in a lungful of air
“So what happened?”
She raised her lashes at me, looking directly at my face
“He said Zoe was Austin’s… murderer”
“Wait,What?” I scoffed, chuckling a bit ” And Sophie,You saying ‘murderer’ makes it feel like Austin is dead” I lowered my voice “He’s only in coma. C-O-M-A” I spelt it out
“Yeah,I know” She rolled her eyes “Well that’s what everyone thinks. That he’s dead…and missing”
“He’s missing, Sophie… Except that he’s not missing to us”
“Whatever” She rolled her eyes and placed her hands on the table “Can we just go back to what were talking about?”
“No…’Cause it doesn’t make sense”
“Yeah,it doesn’t..but I’m telling you that that’s what Officer Wilson said. He’d brought out the
knife…that particular knife that Austin had been stabbed with. I recognized it. He’d brought it out, said they’d done a scan of the object and that the fingerprints belonged to a certain Zoe Peterson…and that’s Zoe”
“Something’s just not right. I still can’t wrap my head around all this. You were there, Sophie. You saw everything”
“And you were there too. I can’t believe you stalked me that night”
“Well, you too,were stalking someone else”
“You’re unbelievable,Paul” She gave a fake frown and folded her arms
“I know, right?. I sure got that from you”
I leaned back on my seat, remembering that night. Sophie hadn’t seen me,but I’d seen her run out from a mini mart,then flag down a cab. The fact that she was directing the driver to go after a black car few metres away on the street,was evident. I’d seen fear on her face and my curiosity had perked up, so I’d quickly followed, boarding a cab too. I recountered just what had happened the afternoon of that same day in school
“Sophie” I’d called as she’d made to run away. School was over and Sophie was in a rush to go home,which was unlike her because she loved to spend extra time in school. For her, home was boring. That afternoon,she’d been in a hurry to leave and had hardly even said anything to anyone while in class. Thankfully,she’d stopped and turned around
“Sophie, you’re going to tell me what’s happening. I’m not letting you leave here till you tell me. You’ve been weird these last few days. You wouldn’t even speak to anyone”
“I gotta go,Paul”
“Sophie” I’d called again,letting out a breath in frustration “We’re friends,right?”
“What happened, Sophie?”
She’d closed her eyes,taking a deep breath “Emily. She wrote my brother a letter which I happened to see. I think my brother is in danger. According to the letter,they’d be having a frat party tonight. Not for
the normal partying but for something else. Emily didn’t mention what it was in the letter but I’m sure it’s something serious”
I’d let her run off after she’d shared more details and so when I saw her by evening running out of the mini mart and going after a car,I’d known something was up and had followed.
I and Sophie were the only witnesses of the murder. Well…There was a third witness—A guy. I hadn’t seen him, though. Sophie hadn’t too…but we both know there’d been a third witness. Apparently…the boy, whoever he was,had been at the backyard first and had noticed what was going on,then dialled the cops. He’d done that minutes before drunk Sophie arrived at the scene. I still can’t believe Sophie got drunk!. I’d wanted to go help her out when she’d gone outside and tried to walk with the support of the wall…but I knew that was a bad idea because Sophie might have created a scene.. added to the fact that she was drunk and hadn’t even known I’d followed her,so I’d kept my distance but also kept a close eye on her. When the cops had unexpectedly arrived and everywhere turned chaotic,I’d tried running to the backyard to finally help Sophie out of the frat house but I’d bumped into her from behind. She’d staggered and fell to the floor and that was when I’d seen Austin too,lying few metres away on the floor,with blood pooling at his sides
“Guys,this smoothie is just perfect” Zoe’s voice broke into my thoughts as she placed a tray containing three burgers and cups of fruit smoothie on the table. Deciding to act gentlemanly,I reached out and pulled out the seat next to me for her to sit on
“Officially the gentleman,huh?” Zoe teased, though smiling gratefully as she sat
“Shut up” I laughed, picking a plate of burger from the tray and a smoothie. Sophie picked hers and sipped the smoothie
“Mmmm. Pretty good”
“Told ya” Zoe grinned, reaching for her burger “So guys..” She called, placing a piece of the burger into her mouth “There’s a new movie that’d be showing in the cinema on Saturday…..”
…… WRITER’S POV ….
A bike stopped in front of a store with graffiti walls. Dylan,the rider,took off his helmet and shook his head slowly, making his black hair move over his face before settling perfectly. He alighted from the bike and locked it, throwing the keys into his pocket as he approached the store
“Look who’s here” Emily said slowly, twirling a straw in between her painted fingers. She shifted a strand of her red hair away from her face and leaned back on the black couch where Mitchie also sat. Jace,the eldest,sat across from them, sipping a drink from a tumbler. Dylan settled on another couch and breathed out
“So who’s up for Truth or Dare?” Jace asked, looking up as he raised the cup to his lips again
“What,Jace?!. I can’t believe you just asked that question. That shit was what got Austin killed!!”Mitchie half-yelled, anger burning in her eyes
“That was what I heard..and you guys are gonna give me the whole story. Right now”
The group looked up to see the guy who had just spoken. He leaned away from the door, chuckled and walked closer to them. His short-sleeved shirt showed off his heavily tattoed arms and he had a single brow piercing. Mitchie froze in her seat as she stared the guy all over
“No. This can’t be Brielle’s brother” She whispered,very inaudibly. The tattoed guy sat right beside Mitchie, looked her over with seducing eyes, before returning his gaze back to the group as his expression turned serious
“Now tell me. Who gave Austin Andrews the damn dare?”