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avatar munriba
Level 2 : Apprentice Artist
2






CHAPTER ONE


BODY AT CLIFF'S EDGE



  I woke suddenly, dazed and stuck with a headache that pounded and echoed through my head. The house was silent, the only sound was the silent ticking of the clock approaching 1 AM. It was no longer Halloween anymore. It took a moment for me to open my eyes, to take in where I was, in the dark shadows. I felt something upon my shoulder and looked to the side of me, Jennifer’s head on my shoulder, eyes closed, and hair tousled, she snored softly like the trill of wind, barely loud enough to hear over the stern ticking of the clock. I nudged her off my shoulder and got up as silently as possible, hearing her slump over and rest her head on the couch cushions. I smiled. It was late, the TV off, leaving everything obscured in a thick blanket of darkness. I said my silent farewells and searched for my phone in the dark, my hands stumbled over trash until he felt the coolness of the glass upon his fingertips. I quietly found and left through the back door making sure my footsteps were silent. I escaped into the pale moonlit night— morning?
  My car was easy to spot in the dark, silver and perched on the edge of Willow Street, a short walk from Jennifer’s house. I waded through the dewy grass, and strolled over the sidewalk, embracing the cool yet humid night. The wind filled me with serenity as I fall in a haze to the rhythmic pattern of my soft footsteps and the whistle of the cool night. It was nothing less of a submissive lullaby. Only then, to the soft trill of wind did I realize how tired I was, how lethargic, and how slow I moved. I took my time getting to my car, struggling to pull my keys out of my full pockets, and unlocking my car with a click. I slid into the driver’s seat, taking an Advil from the glove compartment, and swallowing it, I felt it slide down my throat and grimaced. I hated swallowing pills. I turned the key to my car, it erupted and then started a rhythm as the engine was chugging, warming up and fighting the autumn air. I pulled my seatbelt over me and pulled out, taking a series of roads to Cliff’s Edge. The night was foggy, yet the rocky edge that shadowed a stony beach was still faintly visible, and the sound of the waves was easily heard, crashing and grasping the rocks, and painting the sands.
  It was a gentle song, and as many roads of Angler Island were quiet at this hour, it was easy to hear. My headache faded ever so slightly, thanks to the Advil and the song of the sea and for a moment I felt at peace in the chaos of life, but that only lasted a moment. A flash, a blur leaped in front of my headlights, it was almost too late I realized it was a deer. I tried to swerve out of the way, I felt my seatbelt cling to me, my tires skid with an ear-piercing sound. I clung to the wheel as I skidded to the side of the road and slammed on the brakes. I was now heavily breathing, the deer galloped into the forest not even giving me a look my way. I took a moment, to catch my breath, to slow down my breathing and then I tapped on the gas pedal, and was met with a stutter, I got out of my car, my car wedged in mud at the edge of the road, tires engulfed in dirt. I sighed. At least the deer was okay. I took a moment to look around, and in the forest and brush saw the light of a fire carving its way through the trees and leaves.


  It was a small town on a small island, I knew everyone on the island, I had too, there wasn’t anywhere to go that wasn’t by ferry, everyone knew each other, nothing interesting happened. the only time new faces came was during the on-seasons, summer, and spring when it was warm, and tourists explored the rocky beaches and fished. But it was the off-season and I hoped whoever lay behind the brush could help me, hopefully, it was someone I knew, Mrs. Murry often went camping. She had plenty of spirit left in her. I pushed through the forest, and as much as I wanted to sigh, and groan from my tiredness, and how inconvenient this was for me. I couldn’t help but be enchanted by the oranges and yellows of the leaves and the way they caught the moonlight, it helped to slow down my heavy breathing. I clenched my arms and felt my body grow tense as a gust of wind caught me off-guard. The fire grew closer and closer, and brighter between the trees. I reached a small clearing, a fire burned earnestly but there was no one there, just flames, just embers. I turned back after standing by the fire for a moment, letting the heat wash over me like warm ocean waves. I felt for my phone in my pocket and pulled it out, No Service. Crap. My parents are going to be furious. I didn’t want to leave the fire, its warmth, but it left me first, another gust of wind put it out, and all that was left were a few embers and smoke, pale grey moonlit smoke. It was now dark, pitch dark, and I didn’t know where I was. I turned the flashlight on my phone, it cast long menacing shadows, that shifted with every move of the flashlight. In the dark I felt unsettled, I felt vulnerable. I turned around and wandered back, but it didn’t seem the same path I took, even with the absence of the fire’s light, it was a different scene. Even in the dark, I knew I was going the wrong way, I was lost. But I continued to wander, glancing at my phone for a bar of service every few steps. Nothing.

After a glance from my phone I stopped dead in my tracks, I shook immensely. there was a stream, still, silent, but its water was colored red and its river stones had taken a new shade. And bobbing in the water was the lifeless body of Merle Douglas, stabbed multiple times, sporadically, incoherently. I felt my phone slip from my hands, the coolness leave my fingers, and fall to the ground, the flashlight now shining through the trees. The cold became the least of my worries as I stood as still as the waters he was laying in.



CHAPTER TWO

MERLE DOUGLAS, THE PHANTOM




  My heart pounded in my chest, a rhythm that grew uneven, then quieter until I didn’t feel mine. The pain was now gone, but it wasn’t as I expected. There was no bright light, no fire, no nothing. I was here, in the darkened forest, with Jonah Abrahams standing over me, frozen, still, for such a calm person he did very poorly under pressure, always had. I didn’t feel pain, not sorrow, not anguish and I felt alive, but not alive, like I was trapped in between, stuck between two worlds, but I wasn’t frightened. I wasn’t scared. Even the water around me felt more distant like it didn’t touch my skin, but I knew it was there. I stood up or felt like I did, but not making a splash. The water was still, it didn’t make a sound. I tried to say something, I tried to speak, it was silent, dead silent. It scared me, but I didn’t feel scared, and that angered me, but I couldn’t feel anything, I tried, but I felt nothing. Any inch of emotion disappeared in an instance. I wanted to hate it but I couldn’t. It was like any fire of passion or anguish was extinguished. It felt neither good nor bad, here nor there. I was just there. I looked down, I didn’t have legs, I didn’t have anything, all I was was a floating consciousness, an invisible pair of eyes. I walked— er, floated towards Jonah who was visibly contemplating what to do, I went right through him, he felt nothing but air.
  I wasn’t sure what this was, it didn’t feel like Hell, but it wasn’t heaven. the absence of joy, the absence of pain. The absence, of everything. I didn’t remorse the loss of my life, mostly because I wasn’t capable with this peculiar inability to feel but because it was imperfect. As I walked through him, I heard the ring of his phone, and I turned around, seeing my dead body, and I tried so hard in that moment to grieve, not for the loss of my life, not the pain but how little I did with it. How cruelly it ended. I walked away from Jonah when I saw two bleeding, dead crows on the ground, their blood staining the grass. And despite not being able to feel anything I still thought poor crows, because I knew I would grieve them and disappeared into the night.



CHAPTER THREE

LUCID DREAMS



  Gone. I didn’t sleep well that last night, I had known Merle, laughed with Merle, talked with him. After I called the police I was taken to the station, left my car, but not my fear. I don’t remember much, I was too tired, and the whole ordeal felt more like a dream than reality but I remember this:



    What exactly happened Jonah?

  I came home from-

  From where?

  Jennifer Hopkins.

  Were you the only ones there?

  Why does that matter? Merle-

  Calm down, Jonah.

  Do you think I?

  No, but everyone is a suspect. You must understand.

  No! He was my friend, why would you ever think.

  Were you the only ones there?

  No, some people left early, we were watching a movie, it was nothing—

  Names?

  Jennifer, Adrian Haynes, and Rivers Weiss.

  What about after?

  I drove over Cliff’s Edge when a deer jumped in front of my headlights and I skidded to the edge of the street, got stuck in some mud from yesterday’s rain. I saw a fire, it’s off-season, I thought it was Mrs. Murphy, I got lost and then found him—

  Yeah.

  Were there any parents there?

  Hm?

  At the party?

  Yes, they were in the kitchen talking before I fell asleep.

  Jonah, I’m not accusing you, I think you’re too delicate of a soul to murder, but you found him first, I’ll let you go, we’ll question some of your peers Monday. But I suggest you take Monday off, mental health day you know? Witnessing something like this can be traumatic. It is traumatic.



  He was right. It was traumatic. Every time I tried to sleep, I dreamt lucid, vivid, dreams. My parents were— they were I don’t know, a mix of emotions, angry, scared, happy I was alive. They left me alone to my thoughts, they thought that was what was best for me, they were wrong. I didn’t want to think, I didn’t want to remember seeing him like that, so helpless. Finally, I grew too tired, and sleep overcame my emotions, I slept.



* * *



  I woke up suddenly. Saturday. And for a second I nearly forgot what happened, I looked at my phone, Jennifer called me, 15 times. I wanted to answer, to tell her I was okay, but I wasn’t, and I needed a moment.



CHAPTER FOUR

I COULD TELL THEM ALL



  I could tell them, I knew who murdered me, but I didn’t, I couldn’t. I didn’t even bother thinking about it. I took life for granted. It was now Monday. I didn’t bother going home, my parents never cared about me, they never had, but at 8:30 A.M. I left the pier and went to school like I always did. For the past weekend I spent my time at the pier, watching sunsets, walking along the waves, trying to accept this new life, and as much as I didn’t miss my old life there was still things I missed, being able to laugh and even feel pain. There were two crows who followed me, a murder of crows, they seemed to be the only ones who know I still saw everything, that I was there. People weren’t different now that I was dead. I didn’t really expect them to be. I would definitely say the most peculiar part of my day was attending my own memorial ceremony. But I didn’t feel here or there about it, not angry, not a thing even when people were whispering, even when jokes were made. All I wondered was if they would do that if they could see me.

  The crows followed me, they hung in the rafters of the gym, and when I went to my science class, they sat on the open windowsill, the autumn sun catching their black feathers, as if lighting them on fire. I was listening to a lecture about our test I no longer had to take Wednesday. Then the vice principal walked through the door and asked for Rivers Weiss. I didn’t follow them, I and everyone in that room knew exactly where he was going. The police were talking to everyone at Jennifer’s party, I knew because whispers spread like wildfire. And fires always left things in ashes.



CHAPTER FIVE

SANDPIPERS AND CLOUDY SKIES



  I walked down Flagler Pier Monday. The air was cool and crisp, fresh, hinted with salt, filled with the chorus of seagulls. I walked down the pier my footsteps uneven as I stumbled, I hadn’t slept much. I was alone on the pier, it was foggy, the wind cold and wet. I had taken the sheriff’s advice, I took the day off but my mom encouraged me to get out, I know she’s concerned about me. I can’t blame her. I stopped and hung on the railing, overlooking the rocky beach obscured in fog. Why could someone so kind, so pure, and caring be taken from the world? I didn’t know, just as I didn’t know why the skies grew grey and foggy around autumn and winter, and I didn’t know why the sandpipers migrated to each end of the beach each month. That’s just things were. My phone buzzed. It was Emily McCarthy, I looked at the text she sent me,



    Hey, how are you?

  Fine.

  I’m having a party tonight, you’re welcome to come, 6:30, my place.

  Sure. I’ll be there.



  Did I want to go? No. But I knew my mom would be less concerned if I acted normal. I wanted to feel normal. I called my mom and spent the rest of the day at the pier until 6:00. I called a Uber.



* * *



  Emily was popular but she wasn’t stuck up. As I stood in front of her house I began to realize why she had her nice things, her house was large, sandy marble and large glass windows. I knocked on the door. She answered and gave a soft sympathetic smile. She led me through her house, her nice living room, and through a glass door to her pool, and all eyes were on me, for a moment at least. I wondered if anything would ever be the same. I sat on the edge of a pool chair, pulling out my phone ignoring the laughter and the splashing of water. I regretted coming. Emily went off, I don’t think she forgot about me, but other people needed her. Then a girl approached me, her name was— Mallory, I never learned her last name. I remember seeing her talk to Merle before he— left us. Her voice was shaky,

  “Hey, can I talk to you?”

“Um. Sure?”

“In private?”

I nodded, confused, and she pulled me over to a corner that no one was and said,

“I killed Merle Douglas.”

I was frozen, I stood still. I felt my eyes grow big, and I felt instantly unsafe,

“You killed Merle? No, you couldn’t have.”

  Her eyes brimmed with tears, “But I did— I murdered him.” Her voice was stiff, almost in disbelief. I didn’t feel angry, I felt scared. Confused. I wasn’t sure what to do or what to say.



CHAPTER SIX

SHE KILLED ME



  I followed Jonah to the party. I’m not sure if it was a wise idea, and I still don’t know. But hearing the person who murdered me admit what she did was— I couldn’t say, because I could no longer feel. But my crows screamed as if to express my anguish, or perhaps my relief, but I knew they were trying to speak through me, whatever they were saying. It was true, I had seen something Mallory didn’t want anyone to see, and she seemed to sense my second thoughts on revealing her secret. It started on Cliff’s Edge, she was driving, clearly intoxicated, angry. I warned her not to drive, I didn’t feel safe, and I felt she knew that. She was ranting about something, I don’t remember what, I was busy watching the road for her. Someone cut her off, and she channeled her anger, pushed too hard on the gas pedal, knocked him off the cliff killed him. She told me to get out. I did. She called the police, called it an “accident” said someone slipped something in her drink. And they believed her, they had every reason too. She had no record of violence.
  It was a quiet town. But she knew it wasn’t an accident. I knew it wasn’t an accident. It was manslaughter, an act of instinct, but manslaughter. She warned me not to tell and for a while, I didn’t, because she was quick to anger and violent— at least always threatened to be — and I was scared. And then October 31st, she came to my house, asked to talk a walk with me, and in Blackbird’s Forest, murdered me. I wish I did more. I could have done more, something. But now I was dead, Mallory was still hurting, and Jonah would never be the same.




CHAPTER SEVEN

STANDING ON A PRECIPICE


  I tried so hard to believe she hadn’t said that. I stumbled so far backward, I had to catch myself. I almost fell in the pool. I felt my legs shaking, the world getting foggy, more uncertain. I couldn’t look at her. I did what I did best, I ran from my problems. I regretted it though. I could see in the fear in her eyes she was hurting, she needed someone. She trusted me. But I ran, and I was running I noticed something in the pocket of her jeans, it looked like tickets, white ones like the ones for the ferry. I didn’t give it much notice, I ran, out of her house, out into the air, the crisp autumn air.
  I looked for my car, scouring, hoping only to realize a took a Uber. It’s fine. I needed a walk. I needed some air. Emily lived in a nice part of town, beach houses. Nice ones too. I walked down the sidewalk, my footsteps quiet. Unsteady. What should I do? Should I say something? To the police? What if she— kills me? No. She looked too guilty. I wanted to believe that, but as I looked at the grey, faded sky, I was uncertain. Scared. Why were things like this? They could be so different. I stopped, the sidewalk opened to a faded wooden boardwalk, that twisted through the rocky dunes to a smoother side of the beach. I sighed and walked down it, sliding my hand on its railing, feeling each wooden groove and rusted nailhead. The beach was empty, they always were this time of year. I found a large rock, laced with water drops on one side from where it was smacked by the waves. I climbed it, the grooves cool and eroded. I sat on its smooth top. It was at the edge of the beach, where the waves met the sands. The sun was setting, a fire of oranges and reds, peaking over faraway islands, touching sandbars, and shimmering in the water.
  I let the salty wind take my burdens. I closed my eyes, falling victim to the seductive sound of the waves. I didn’t know what I would do or what would happen. For the first time in forever, life was uncertain. I didn’t like it. It was— awful.


  Breathe. I told myself. Do I need to say something? If I do she might— but they would already know by then. I need to do something worthwhile. For once in my life. If I was Merle Douglas, I would want to be avenged.

I felt like I was standing on a precipice, not knowing what lies below. Any wrong move could send me hurtling down into whatever lies below. I’ll wait. I’ll just have to wait.



CHAPTER EIGHT

GREY IRISES



  I saw the crinkles in Jonah’s forehead as he gazed out upon the sunset-lit sea, a bit of red glimmering in his grey irises. I knew he was scared, thinking. That’s how he would always think. And I knew he was thinking about me. I could care less if I was avenged, maybe when I was alive, but I didn’t care. It didn’t matter to me anymore. If given the choice between keeping my life for just a few more years or being here, I don’t know what I would choose. I watched the waves, the orange-painted waves, gently melting into the ocean blue. Why were things like this? They didn’t have to be. I wanted to Jonah to be happy. But he wasn’t. I didn’t feel guilty, but I wanted too, “I should be going.” I heard Jonah say. To himself. For a second I thought he was talking to me, for a second, I forgot.

CHAPTER NINE

THE FERRY



  Another sleepless night. Another silent dinner. I couldn’t stop thinking. Ignorance is bliss. I never believed it until now. What should I do? I need to do something… I need to get some sleep. I can’t think straight. I got no more than two hours. I woke up to the pounding sound of my alarm, coursing from my phone, shaking the air. My head pounded, it throbbed. Just like it did that night. That night. Sunlight poured through the small crack in my curtains, sweet golden honey. The only light in my room. I felt like Romeo, creating my own artificial night.

I got dressed, stumbling down the stairs, getting into my car and driving to school. I avoided Cliff’s Edge. But I wish I didn’t. I wanted to watch the sunrise. The lush purples only found in birds of paradise. The oranges of tropical flowers. It was an oddly warm morning, the sun was bright and warm, the fog thin. I was reluctant to go to school. I knew things would be different. They were. From the second I walked in, I was given dirty looks, even by the faculty. I even heard someone whisper, “I bet he killed him.” I wasn’t fazed. I was too tired, too impatient to care what people thought of me. I kept my head down and went to my locker, pushing through the morning crowds, trying to keep a steady breath. And then I saw it. Merle Douglas’ locker, wide open and filled with colorful flowers that buried a framed portrait of him. I held my breath, I held my tears. I couldn’t look at it. I couldn’t see someone so full of life and know how helpless and lifeless they are now. I opened my locker, trying to keep his face out of my view. Trying to keep Mallory out of my mind. She was in my first-period class. Great. I grabbed my math book and pushed through the crowds, my pace quick. I noticed people didn’t want to sit next to me. I ended up sitting at the very back, a whole row and column of empty desks around me. Mallory wasn’t here. Mallory wasn’t here? The ticket. The ferry.

My hand shot up into the air,

“Yes, Jonah? Are you going to answer number five?”

“No, ma’am. May I go to the bathroom?”

“Sure.”

The good thing about this whole ordeal, if you could say anything was good about this, people were easier on you when you just had found a dead body in a dark forest the day after halloween. I left my backpack. I left everything where it was. I slipped out of the classroom, letting the door shut behind me and walked like I knew where I was going. I felt fear grow inside of me, mixed with a bit of excitement, and adrenaline. I walked right past the men’s bathroom, and continued to the exit, my footsteps clicking in the empty hallway. I pushed the doors open, breaking into the fresh morning. And then I ran, I ran for the parking lot. I got in my car and drove to Flagler Pier. I got out of my car, not even bothering to lock it and ran across the boardwalk, pushing past the few people there and down a flight of wooden steps to a dock nestled in front of the rocks. The air was strong with salt and the seagull’s calls, piercing. There was a ticket counter, the faded gold paint on its side reading Ferry Tickets.

I went up to it and asked for a ticket through the fogged glass. I recognized the ticket vender’s tired blue eyes. Philly.
  He didn’t question me, he seemed to already know the answer. He pushed a ticket across the faded counter and I passed him a variety of change that made $10. He didn’t bother to count. He knew. I ran across the dock, my footsteps echoing. The ferry was about to leave. And then I saw her, Mallory, climbing the rusted metal stairs on to the ferry. The ferry from my childhood. White and old, with its colonial benches and New York flag. She saw me. She didn’t grimace or smile. Just stared. Then turned back around and went up onto the ferry. I followed her. She took a seat on a bench at the bow of the ship, and I sat next to her. The metal steps were pulled down, the ferry’s horn sounded and we began to move. She at first avoided my glance and then said,


  “This was a stupid idea. They’re are just going to find me.”

“You’re running from your mistakes like I ran from you—I’m. I’m sorry.”

She smiled for a second, then that smile faded,

“I’m a monster.”

“No. You’re a human being. We’re imperfect. We do things we think we want to but really don’t want to do,” I stopped, took a breath of the ocean wind and finished, “Because we’re afraid.”

She was looking down at her thumbs, twiddling them, “I was afraid. I- I am afraid. But—This. It isn’t right. I can’t be known as the person who murdered, Merle of all people. I’ve destroyed my future. I’ve ruined everything. This. This is wrong. Yeah, I was afraid. I still am, I don’t know how to deal with this but I can’t think this is the right way,”
   She looked out over the waves as if looking for an answer and then said,


“It might be hard to believe but I loved Merle. We talked and then things, we—I, got hurt. I didn’t know how to deal with everything. I got on this ferry thinking I’d run away to New York City but—I will never escape what I did. I’ll never forgive myself. Even if I was thinking irrationally.”

“What are you going to do?”

  She sighed and looked at me with her sea-green eyes, they looked so lost, “Turn myself in. Face whatever.”

I watched as her eyes brimmed with tears, out of compulsion, out of a need for myself I hugged her. I don’t know why. Maybe everyone just wanted me to be normal. Be myself again and forget everything, but I couldn’t and no one had even bothered to give me a hug. so I gave one to someone who needed it. An awkward hug that caught her off-guard. And then as my eyes brimmed with tears I said, “Then, we’ll do it together.”

She didn’t hug me back but she didn’t resist it. She melted in my embrace, and her tenseness seemed to fade, for a second. Together. No more lies, no more murders, no more blood. I released my grasp on her, and through the quiet, in the empty ferry, in the light fog, we heard a song. It was a humpback whale, it’s shadow darkening the water above it. We listened to its melody, we let it lift our worries and our fear. Only for a moment. at least until we reach Orient and take the ferry back. Then we’ll have to face it.



* * *



  The evening was quiet, tranquil, the sun dropping below the horizon. As soon as we stepped off the ferry, it began to pour, heavy rain, and dark clouds that cloaked the painted sky in a grey shroud, faint sunlight dripping through the uneven stitches and catching the sunlight, turning the color of honey. She looked at me, hesitant, afraid. I only gazed into her eyes, hoping she could see something in my eyes, some form of reassurance. We ran, unfazed by the pouring rain, hands linked. I felt the cold rain dripping down my back and get caught on my eyelashes, I smiled, it was refreshing, it was real. It wasn’t a perfect sunset or a perfect night, it wasn’t a mockery of my misfortunes, it shared them. We rushed into my car as I fumbled for my keys, slamming the door and shivering ever so slightly from the cold, and from fear. I started my car, pulled out of the parking lot, and drove down Flagler Avenue, the moment ending, the car becoming quiet and sinking into the dullness of the rain. I pulled in front of the police station, I gave her one more reassuring look and pushed the door open, embracing the rain, running through it, and reaching the front door and the small canopy that kept the front steps dry, when the sweet refreshing rain was no longer refreshing, and the cold grasped us, and I shivered ever so slightly. But Mallory didn’t, she only tensed up, I could see her muscles retract. I took a breath, a quick and unsteady breath. The police station, that night of our solemnities.

  We pushed the police station door’s open, I hadn’t been here since that night. And for a second, I glanced over at Mallory, and then I thought of Merle’s helpless body. No. Stop.

  I stopped, it was Jennifer, drenched in rain, sitting in those ugly and uncomfortable chairs at the police offices, eyes moist and glistening. She looked up from her gaze upon the floor, her eyes widening upon seeing me. She got upon and walked up to me,

  “Where the—“

“What are you doing here?” I interjected.

“Looking for you! You think you can just take a ferry and disappear and everything would be fine?” She screamed, “Who’s this?”

“None of your business.”

“It is very well my business, I’ve been patient with you with this whole Merle thing, but you can’t run away from your problems.”

  I sighed, “Get out of my way.” I pushed past her, Mallory hesitantly following me,

“If you’re here to see the sheriff, he’s busy,” She began, as we stopped, “He’s meeting with your parents.”

My heart dropped. Reality stirred, “what’s wrong with you? We’re supposed to be a couple!”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I think you should leave.”

“Jonah. Think about this.”

“Go.”

  She did, I turned away from her, hearing the glass doors open, and the tapping of rain fill the air before succumbing at the slam of the door,

“Is that your girlfriend?”

“Ex-girlfriend.”

  The police office was like any other, we took our seats on the ugly chairs, starring for what felt like hours at a drab grey wall, my body was cramped, tense from fear and the shallow cushions of the chair. The lights were milky, and a front desk lay empty. I felt alone, scared and I knew Mallory was more afraid. She clenched the armrests of the chair, digging her nails into the plastic. Alone. Waiting for my parents to come through that door, waiting for this to be over. What would happen next? She would be arrested and everything was just supposed to go back to normal? It couldn’t. It was like I was living a new life, a life I’m not sure if I liked, I mean I would have never met Mallory, but was that worth it? She was going to leave me too. I dug my hands into my scalp, my wet hair grasping my cold fingers. I shut my eyes and opened them a second later, the door opened. My parents noticed me, the sheriff saw me. They looked stunned, a mix of joy, confusion, and worry.


* * *



  I felt deprived, I was now in the hallway, a blank, dull hallway. I still heard the rain, it became such a repetitive sound, a fell into a daze. I was just interviewed, I told them everything, the truth, nothing but the truth. I couldn’t help but think, I couldn’t help but feel, even if I barely knew Mallory, that she would still have to go through a juvenile detention center, that she would have to leave her world behind, her life. I was upset I left Jennifer, but I didn’t feel sad, I felt if it happened a couple of weeks ago, it would have been different, but I’ve become so desensitized to everything, Depression became a companion, and life a swirl of rocky paths and forks caught in fog. Complicated, impossible to know what happens next. It was like, nothing mattered anymore. The door, opened, I broke out of my daze, and there she was, Mallory handcuffed, escorted by an officer. I got up, I looked at her but didn’t move, she turned, I saw her eyes, reddened, pained, but she smiled and mouthed thank you.

 No, don’t thank me I mouthed back. Yet she only smiled that bittersweet smile. That pained, hurting, uncertain smile. Please. No. What have I done? Merle doesn’t care anymore, he’s dead, but he’s still a person, I still loved him. I just sobbed, my soft cries being drowned by the growing plunder of rain.



FIN

* * *


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

Hey, I hope you enjoyed it. Please, tell me if there any mistakes I didn't see or if anything doesn't make sense. Criticism is very appreciated. I submitted a shorter version of this piece for the "Animal Whisperer Blog Contest" if you want to check it out here: https://www.planetminecraft.com/blog/a-murder-of-crows-shortened-version/
Other than that, have a good day!



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That was... amazing! There's no other word for it. I can't think of anything that needs to be changed off the top of my head other than the things I said on the shortened version. You did a great job. I literally sat there the whole time I was reading it with my mouth hanging open, I was utterly captivated. Amazing story and my vote's on you to win the animal whisperer contest!
  • munriba
  • Level 2
  • Apprentice Artist
  • March 14, 2019, 8:15 am
Thank you so much, you don't know how much that means to me. I was so scared no one would read it because it was so long. I love writing and I'm so glad that people are enjoying what I'm passionate about! Thank you, you've made my day!
It was amazing! Anyone who didn't read it is missing out. I love mysteries. I'm actually listening to one right now. XD Or maybe this is horror. Idk yet. :) Anyways, I really enjoyed your story.

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