a murder means a murderer.
A Murder in the Night Mist
We walk through the mist of the night, only the dim glow of a flickering lantern lighting the night. Danielle glimpses her house and tells me to leave her there, but I still slowly follow her.
“See you, Georgia!” she shouts into the night, sending a shiver ripple eerily into the darkness.
“I’ll come to see you off!” I yell back. I run after her dark shadow of a figure, glancing over my shoulder the whole way then looking forward again. Danielle has seemed to get to her knees to pick something up, but when she doesn’t get back up again, I bite my lip. I know I get worried too easily, but it’s been a part of my nature, ever since my mother had a car accident and didn’t make it.
“You okay there?” I say, shivering. The cold wind reaches me, even through the heavy beige coat I’m wearing.
Danielle doesn’t answer. I run over to where she had keeled over, but I can see nothing except for her pretty black coat. “Hey, Danielle, don’t scare me! You know I get worried easily!” I laugh, forcing the unease out of my mind. Where’s that best friend of mine? She didn’t tell me we were going to play hide and seek.
I dash over to her house and rap the door. Her aunt Fleur, who she lives with, opens it and smiles broadly at me. She is wearing a soft pink sweater and comfortable navy blue trackpants. “Is Danielle home?” she says kindly. I like Fleur. She’s always so gentle to me.
“No, she bent down to get something, I think, then when I went over to her, I didn’t see her anywhere. I was wondering if she had already gone back here,” I answer, the unease forcing its way back into me.
“Well, she’s not here. You sure you looked carefully?” Fleur frowns. She’s like me. She worries a lot for her late brother’s children.
“Yes.” I change my mind. Did I? “Well...”
“How about we go and look?” Fleur suggests, putting a warm hand on my shoulder. I nod and we go and look.
“Well, this is her coat,” Fleur says as she sees it. “It’s a clue she must be here. People don’t vanish in thin air, you know.” She picks it up.
I scream. Fleur jumps in fright, and searches all around her after glancing at me. She understands and gasps in horror, her pale hand against her obviously-pounding heart. “No,” she whispers. Goosebumps form on my face as they always do when I’m scared. I’m scared. I’m so scared. How could it be?
Danielle’s brother, Friedrich, comes racing out of the house. He’s a good caring older brother. “What’s happened?” he bellows as he jumps the stairs down and flies over to where we lurch with horror.
He stares down at where the coat had been and just stays there. His body has seemed to freeze him into that very position. We three gaze down at the terrible sight, our eyes misting with grief and terror and horror and sorrow and everything you could imagine. I cannot move.
Danielle is dead.
Grief is like a dose of numbing pain so overwhelming it makes your head spin. I stumble over to a bench to sit down. They shouldn’t make everyone go to school when something like this has happened.
My friends all have a look of sorrow on their faces for my friend, but not as deep and horrorstruck as my one. Danielle was more than a friend, more than a best friend. We were supposed to be bound together for life, to cheer each other up when one of us needed some cheering up, to laugh together when we needed some laughter, to cry together when we needed to cry. I remember walking through that mist of a night, with only that little lantern to light our way, then Fleur pulling away the coat...
“It will be okay, Georgia,” Sarah murmurs, placing a soft hand on my trembling arm.
“But....” I want to rage every drop of anger I have on Sarah. Doesn’t she see? That it won’t be okay, that Danielle will never come back to me, even if she wanted to? But I know she’s only trying to help, but she doesn’t know how to because Danielle wasn’t her friend and she’s never experienced something like this. So instead, I say in a shaking voice, “Thanks, Sarah.”
She pulls me into a bear hug and my other best friend, Orianna, joins in. Catherine, Bella and Kristine just blink silently at us. “I know you’ll be alright,” Orianna whispers in my ear. “You’ll be fine, you’re a strong one. You must face what has come and face it with your head held high. Don’t let this leave you broken for the rest of your life. I know you can do it. Danielle was a.... well.... a... a girl with such love she could probably make something ugly, beautiful.” Orianna hesitates over her words and I wonder if she really means it. But I don’t care; at least I have someone to comfort me.
The whole week, teachers look at me with such sympathy and pity I can’t look at them, because I don’t want it. Finally, on the Monday after Danielle died, I am ready to start tracking down this culprit. Thoughts whirl in my mind, of me killing the culprit, driven by maddened grief. But then I shake my head, because no decent person would kill.
“Clues?” I say quietly to everyone. We’re in my bedroom and discussing who it might be.
“No, but maybe we should list some suspects, first,” Orianna suggests. I blink at her to show my approval, and gaze around at everyone. Sarah grabs a piece of slightly-crumpled white paper lying on my messed-up desk and a pen, then looks at me expectantly.
“Well, maybe Danielle’s mum,” Orianna proposed.
“That’s true,” I nod thoughtfully. When 6-year-old Danielle decided the road was safe to cross and walked across it, her father glimpsed a truck roaring towards his young daughter. Courageously, he had dived in front of Danielle, saving her from death’s grasp but paying the consequence. Danielle’s mother had loved him and furiously concluded that it was Danielle’s fault. It was why Danielle lived with her aunt, because her mother no longer wanted her anymore.
“But, Danielle is her daughter, no one wants to kill their kid!” Sarah argues.
“Let’s put her on the list anyways,” Catherine says distractedly, staring out my window. She was always a bit dim-witted and Kristine brought her to me so I could take her under my wing; no one wanted a dumb friend.
“Yes, let’s do that,” I nod.
We end up with only a few suspects after an hour of talking:
Danielle’s mum- probably
Portia — Note from Bella: probably because she hates us all heh heh
Danielle’s mum’s friends???
Catherine and Orianna go home after that. Bella closes the door and says very clearly, “I think it might be Catherine.”
We all have different reactions. Kristine frowns at her, her brown eyebrows twitching thoughtfully. Sarah jumps up and her jaw drops open. I just stare at her, confused. How could that be?
Bella continues. “Catherine is so stupid.” I flinch at her frank statement. “She seems so distracted all the time. How could a 16 year old be so dumb? Is she just faking it?” Bella stares meaningfully at us.
“No! Bella, just because she’s a little imbecile, doesn’t mean she’s secretly this brilliant murderer who comes up with fantastic plans and she hides her brilliance to lead people off track!” Kristine shoots back at her, standing up. My confused gaze turns to Kristine. Kristine has never spoken her mind before, she has always gone with what our opinions are.
“Well, Kristine is right, in my mind,” Sarah says weakly. She’s still getting over what Bella just said.
“Can’t you see? It fits in perfectly! She wasn’t at school that day Danielle was murdered”— I flinch at the word —“and she must have been planning it then!” Bella snaps.
“Go away, Bella,” Sarah hisses. “We don’t want people who turns against their own friends.”
Bella stares at us hard, turns on her heel and strides out the door.
“It couldn’t be Catherine!” I gasp into a few minutes of silence.
“Whose diary is this?” Sarah says suddenly, frowning and picking up a black leather book with the words ‘DIARY’ imprinted on the cover.
“Dunno.” I shrug.
“Not mine,” Kristine says. She’s talking in her usual quiet tone again, but her face is glowing.
“Let’s look inside,” Sarah says.
“Well, it’s personal information and everything, whoever’s diary that is,” I reply uncertainly.
“Well, we won’t know whose it is if we don’t look inside,” Sarah points out.
“Oh, alright,” I sigh.
She opens the diary. There are untidy scrawls in every page in three quarters of the book. The remaining pages are blank. There are also some pictures. Sarah squints down at a page, Kristine and me peering over her shoulder. She looks up at us, her eyes wide.
“They’re plans of a murder,” she says in a quiet voice. Dread creeps into my mind. “Danielle’s murder,” Sarah finishes.
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