User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active
 

JEREMY

Sitting in an interrogation room at the Violetwood Police Department was the last thing that should’ve happened during Jeremy’s senior year of high school.

Jeremy should’ve reveled in how Brown accepted him. But Marcia Anniston happened. And Jeremy should’ve known she was trouble when he met her at a party during freshman year. Marcia flirted with Jeremy out of boredom, yet he still became friends with her.

Marcia had a gift for making feel people special, though. Like when she asked him numerous questions about his Christmas vacation several months ago, only to ditch him when a hotter guy strutted through the school hallway.

Jeremy needed to stop reminiscing, though. Especially with the current contempt radiating from the detective’s eyes.

Detective Jones rubbed his hair—which was more gray than black—while sitting across from Jeremy. “I know you’re eighteen, but would you feel more comfortable if I asked your mom to come in the room?”

Jeremy sighed. “Nah.”

Detective Jones cracked his knuckles. “I’m not out to get you. There’s just some insistencies with the autopsy report, and what you and your friends claimed happened to Daphne.”

Jeremy fidgeted in his chair. Inconsistencies was a polite way to say Marcia pushed Daphne into the river after arguing for over ten minutes. Marcia wanted Daphne to step aside. Something about claiming she had a better shot with Richard because of being more attractive.

Jeremey drummed his fingers against the table. “I see.”

There’s no reason you should go to jail.”

I don’t know what you want me to say.”

Perhaps you aren’t ready to talk, and that’s okay. I can chat with your friends while you think.”

Jeremy picked at his nail. So much for Marcia insisting Daphne slipped, and cracked her head on a rock being the official story.

Jeremy pursed his lips. “I didn’t say I didn’t want to cooperate.”

Do you always speak in double negatives?”

A damp chill filled the air, and Jeremy’s teeth chattered. So much for it being spring. Jeremy might as well have been in Antarctica. The temperature hadn’t been above freezing in days.

I can get you some coffee if you want,” Detective Jones said. “Maybe that would warm you up.”

Jeremey’s throat tightened. “I’m good.”

Fine.” Detective Jones sighed. “But I need an answer. What’s your decision?”

You have no idea what my life is like.”

Then make me understand.” Detective Jones rubbed a pink streak under his left eye, then Jeremy shuddered. He didn’t wanna contemplate how the detective got his scar. Jeremy’s head spun with possibilities, and each one seemed worse than the previous one.

More sweat dripped down Jeremy’s back while his heart thumped faster. The weather might’ve been cold, but he couldn’t wish away his anxiety.

Telling the truth was the right thing to do—good boys and girls didn’t lie. At least according to every adult Jeremy ever met. But Jeremy had his reputation to consider. Losing Brown was the last thing he wanted, proving Marcia’s story was best. Yet Jeremy didn’t wanna be a coward. Daphne shouldn’t have died. Especially over something trivial like boy drama. Jeremy wasn’t Marcia, and appreciated the good in Daphne. Like how she used to tutor him three times a week when he was in danger of failing Geometry in tenth grade.

Jeremy nibbled on the inside of his lip. If only he hadn’t let Marcia talk him into going for a walk and he went to Starbucks as originally planned. Jeremy should’ve known something bad would happen. Jeremy stood by his original opinion of how trouble followed Marcia everywhere she went. Like that time when they dined and dashed at a diner in a neighboring town because Marcia thought the waiter was rude.

The detective’s gaze narrowed. “What are you gonna do?”

***

MARCIA

Her burnt toast should’ve been the first clue that the day was destined to be bad. Because she didn’t deserve burnt toast. She was Marcia Anniston, and deserved anything and everything.

But no. Her dismal breakfast was the least of her problems. She sat in an interrogation room at the Violetwood Police Department, and had to give the performance of a lifetime if she wanted to wiggle out of killing Daphne.

The door creaked.

A guy entered the room before sitting down at the table. However, his hair was more gray than black, proving he needed to dye his hair ASAP. Unless he wanted to look ugly. That was a strong possibility since numerous creases existed on his blazer, revealing he probably hadn’t ironed his clothes. And Marcia just had to scoff—she believed people deserved eternal damnation for fashion blunders.

Good to see you, Marcia,” Detective Jones said.

She flipped her blonde hair over her shoulders. “Same.”

I need you to be honest.”

I’m always honest. In fact, I’d return a penny to someone if the person dropped it.”

He rolled his eyes. “That’s great, but I’m not hear for banter.”

The detective was naive for believing she’d return a lost penny. Marcia couldn’t care about doing the right thing if she tried. Sure. Some people might’ve thought she was harsh. But she had the guts to do what most people didn’t because of letting her true self shine through. Marcia could’ve rambled about how she was a good person once upon a time—before she was with her father when his bakery was robbed, and the gunman killed him. However, harshness resembled a bad style choice, and she had to own who she was.

She slid her elbows onto the wooden table while leaning so close that the acrid scent of whatever aftershave the detective used prickled her skin.

Daphne fell into the river, and hit her head on a rock,” Marcia said. “It was a tragedy, but that’s all it was.”

***

JEREMY

Jeremey sat next to Oscar in the police department waiting room a few minutes ago, but hadn’t spoken. And that was kind of strange. Jeremy could’ve gone home if he wanted to, yet he hadn’t. He chose to sit next to Oscar. Maybe his reasoning was because Oscar wasn’t like him and Marcia. Oscar was seventeen, and that meant having the good fortune of Oscar’s father—who was in the bathroom—being present when Detective Jones questioned Oscar. Because Jeremy could pretend to feel slightly guilty in light of the secret he was still keeping from his Oscar and Marcia.

What did you say?” Oscar asked.

What do you think I said?”

Oscar’s Adams apple throbbed. “You don’t have be mean. We’re on the same side.”

Jeremy exhaled a breath. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have taken my anger out on you.”

Don’t worry about it. Marcia has that effect on people.”

We’ll be fine.”

What does that mean?” Oscar asked.

I sold the story.”

Oscar shifted his weight in the black leather chair. “You did what?”

It was the only way,” Jeremy said.

Are you saying I should do the same?”

Jeremy’s lips quivered. “Yes...”

Okay. Fine.”

I should go.” Jeremy tugged at the sides of his leather jacket after standing. “I told my mom to leave here without me because I wanted to chat with you. But she’ll worry if I’m not home soon.”

Oscar squeezed Jeremy’s hand. “Wait.”

Jeremy furrowed his brow. “What?”

Do you think I have a shot with Marcia?”

Jeremy’s jaw trembled. “Come again?”

Answer the question.”

I don’t think you want me to.”

Oscar huffed. “I guess I have my answer.”

Jeremy’s honesty was essential. That option was just better. Because he could mentally acknowledge his secret even if nobody could know what happened…

***

Jeremy whirled around, facing Oscar and Marcia. The wind whistled louder, and they stood in front of the river.

Do you mind if I have a minute to say goodbye?” Jeremey paused for a beat. “She was our friend.”

Marcia stomped her feet against the ground. “Damn you, Jeremy! You always have to make life complicated.”

Let him say goodbye,” Oscar said.

Jeremy sucked in a breath. “Please...”

Fine,” Marcia said. “But you better meet me at my house in ten minutes so we can figure out the cover story.”

Marcia and Oscar darted away, and Jeremy was soon by himself.

Jeremy sighed while Daphne’s body remained in the river. He might not have worshipped Daphne like he did Marcia. Yet Jeremy still appreciated life. Marcia shouldn’t have smacked a rock against Daphne’s head, making her fall backwards into the river and hit her head on another rock once in the water.

Jeremy’s stomach coiled. Daphne just opened her eyes, which seemed impossible. Yet she had. Daphne rubbed her head, then moaned.

I can’t believe that crazy bitch tried to kill me.” Daphne looked up at Jeremy.

I’m sorry,” Jeremy said.

Not as sorry as you’ll be when I go to the cops and tell them Marcia tried to kill me while you and Oscar did nothing.”

Jeremy might not have enjoyed violent video games or watched gritty cable television dramas, yet he grabbed the rock lying on the ground in front of him. He had to help Marcia if he ever wanted a real shot with her in addition to how being an accomplice to attempted murder wouldn’t make for an entertaining cocktail party anecdote twenty years from now.

So, Jeremy did the only thing he could. He bashed Daphne’s head so many times that profuse amounts of blood splattered into the river until she no longer had a pulse.

***

Yup. Jeremy couldn’t let Oscar think he had a shot with Marcia. Jeremy would win Marcia over because other guys weren’t like him. They couldn’t say they’d killed for Marcia like he killed Daphne.
Yet Jeremy couldn’t be mean no matter how much he wanted to win Marcia back while he continued standing in front of Oscar in the police department waiting room. Doing so could’ve hinted that Jeremy no longer emulated a good boy image.

Jeremy feigned a smile. “Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll find another girl to date soon.”

Oscar nodded. “Yeah. You’re probably right.”

Footsteps echoed, growing louder with each passing second.

Jeremy and Oscar tilted their heads. Marcia just left one of the interrogation rooms with Detective Jones. And Jeremy only needed one guess to know whether she stuck to the official story or not. Especially since Marcia just winked at him.

Detective Jones gritted his teeth. “You guys are free to go.”

I’m not being interviewed?” Oscar asked.

Nope,” Detective Jones replied.

Oscar scrunched his eyebrows. “Explain.”

Detective Jones coughed into his right arm. “As Marcia pointed out, there’s no actual proof of you killing Daphne...”

Marcia snickered. “It’s like we’ve won the lottery.”

Jeremy would smirk later when he was alone. Anything that might’ve revealed the truth couldn’t be done.

Jeremy also had to appreciate the irony of the situation while he, Marcia, and Oscar exited the police station. Marcia thought she was so clever for getting away with murder when he was the one who actually got away with murder.

BIO

Chris Bedell’s previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Entropy Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, among others. Chris is also a novelist, having published 11 books—including his YA Thriller LOVE HIM/HATE HIM from Between the Lines Publishing in February 2021. Furthermore, Chris graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2016.

0
0
0
s2sdefault

Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:

Amount

Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!

Stories Tips And Advice