Traces, Part 5

Sammy is fuming as we exit the coffee shop. “I can’t believe him! I just can’t believe him!”

Ryan Parker had refused to tell us much, other than Iris had been bullied at school. Sammy had tried to ask him why, but he just said that it was probably because the students didn’t like her choice in friends, and that was that.

I sigh. “Maybe if you hadn’t been so forward, or acted like you were in a wild goose chase…” I trail off.

Sammy slumps. “Ugh. I know. I got over excited.” She straightens her posture. “But Ella, I’m sick of all these theories. It’s time to put one to the test!”

“What d’you mean?” I ask, looking at her curiously.

“Ryan said that all those kids were mean to Iris, and that was a big reason why she killed herself. Nelson also said that he could’ve been nicer to her. Maybe…maybe this killer is tracking down the family of those they hold accountable for Iris’s death,” she muses.

I gasp, realization settling in. “You can’t be serious, Sammy! Are you saying we should use you as bait?”

Sammy’s silence says more than any yes could. I start to get angry. “Sammy, this is starting to get stupid. Yes, there is a possibility of a murderer, but even then it’s not very strong. It’s more likely that this is a high stress area, and these are actual suicides, albeit with very odd coincidences.”

Sammy smiles sweetly at me. “Well then, you won’t mind me being bait for a non existent killer, right?”

This is when another thought occurs to me: maybe by doing this, Sammy will finally let this whole killer business go. I sigh as if I’m resigned. “Okay, fine, Sammy. Let’s pretend this could be an actual thing. What’s your plan?”

She smiles widely. “Well, all those other kids died over the weekend, when their parents  and siblings weren’t home. I know for a fact that neither of my parents will be home next Saturday, and of course Nelson will be staying at the dorms.”

“So you’ll be alone then…” That’s not a good idea. 

She laughs and shakes her head.”Oh, no, Ella! You’ll be in my attic!”

What? “Erm…”

She must read the look on my face. “Oh, it’s all good! We can have a sleepover next Friday, hang out in the attic most of the night. In the morning, you’ll stay up in the attic while I go downstairs. It’ll look like I’m alone.”

“But how will you let me know if there’s trouble?”

“My dad is deaf, remember? We have plenty of remotes for the lights in our house, since he can’t hear us when we’re calling.”

I nod slowly. This plan will never work. “Um, okay…so you’ll flick the lights off and on if there’s trouble,” I say warily.

Sammy throws a fist up and jumps. “Yeah!” she crows.  “Sounds like a plan!” She looks so happy and energetic, you would never guess that we’re hatching a plan to catch a murderer that doesn’t exist.

***

My eyes keep flicking to the clock on the wall. It reads 12:00. I suddenly wish that I had done some more research on the other students; what time did they die at?  I’m starting to feel anxious.

Sammy had said she would flick the lights on with her remote if there was trouble, that’s why I’m sitting near the attic’s exit.

Why’m I scared? There isn’t a bloody killer…God, Ella, you’re losing it…

It’s been too quiet for too long. The lack of noise, that must be what’s getting to me. That, and the filtered sunlight in the dim windows, giving the light a weird gray undertone that doesn’t feel natural.

God, it reeks of dust up here! It tickles my nose like nothing else.

I sigh and lean back. There’s nothing we can do now, Sammy agreed if nothing had happened by 5:30 (her parents will be home by six) then I could go home and call this whole thing a bust. Now I only have to last five more hours…

I haven’t any books to read or music to listen to, for the sake of Sammy appearing home alone. Now I have to stay up here with only my thoughts to occupy me.

Despite the fact that it’s mid-October and fairly chilly outside, it’s quite warm up in the attic. Me and Sammy stayed up a little too late last night, and I could easily find myself drifting off to sleep in this comfy warmth…

My eyes drift open as I realize I was dozing.

But now I catch something odd, but I can’t put my finger on it. So why’s my heart beating so fast now? What’s wrong? It looks normal here.

Crap, I should’ve slept more, I can’t concentrate worth a damn…

My heart stops when I realize what’s going on. The lights flicker on and off twice, giving a sharp , electric, glow.

Then they stop.

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