Traces, Part Nine

You would probably expect my jaw to drop to the floor at such a declaration. I mean, they did just say they think they know who the murder is, right?


I don’t believe them at all. Why should I? There are such false claims all the time, I’m not gonna believe every single one of them. I may have let a murderer get away, but I don’t want to be that much of an idiot.

We move a short distance away from the crowd. But before either of them can even try to open their mouths, I snap, “What the hell do you mean by this?”

Lindy looks surprised. “We meant what we said. We think we know who the murderer is!” she cries, stepping closer to me with eagerness in her eyes.

I roll my eyes. “Cut the crap, Lindy. I barely know you. So why would you want to help, unless you’re just pulling my leg?” I ask.

Lindy flushes before Ryan can talk. “Maybe because there’s a killer on the loose who has killed not just one but two of my friends, and there’s something I can actually do about it? How about that?” she spits.

“You haven’t lost any friends-!” I stop. Jack. And Whitney. Those two were part of the popular group, right? Well, not part…they just talked sometimes…I think. “Oh,” I say.

Lindy’s glare lessens a little. “Yeah. Oh,” she repeats.

Ryan sighs and puts his face in his hands. “Please, hear us out, Ella.”

I sigh and lean awkwardly again my crutches. “Um, okay. Fine. But if you’re lying…” I begin, not finishing my sentence on purpose.

Lindy sighs. “I’ve known Ryan and Iris for years. We were family friends, and there was this one guy who was also always hanging with us. His name was Matthew.” She glances at Ryan, as if trying to confirm that she’s right. Didn’t they go over this already?

I sigh. “So you think this Matthew could be the murderer? Why?” I ask.

Ryan chews his lip before responding. “I think he had feelings for my sister.”

I close my eyes. Typical. “That’s too cliché though,” I reply.

Lindy just groans. “Must everything be unique and original to be real or something?” she demands sharply.

“I suppose not, but something this typical…it doesn’t sound right. Something’s missing.”

Ryan pinches his nose. “We’re still figuring out the details. Didn’t you want help?”

I sigh. Better to choose the lesser of two evils. But first, I need more info. “But why, exactly, do you think he’s the one who’s killing everyone?”

Ryan looks away. “Because he would do just about anything for Iris. And I mean, he would go overboard. She told us all one time that there was a guy in high school that wouldn’t leave her alone. And then he got beat up enough to be hospitalized. Whoever did it was never caught,” he says.

“Did you ever find out Matthew did it?”

Lindy crosses her arms. “No, nothing concrete. Just a hunch. From all of us. That says something, right?”

I don’t know if it means anything, but I’ll let it slide. “Anything else?”

Ryan thinks for a while. “Well, Mathew did have a tendency towards violence. He was in juvie at least once, and was in a mental hospital for a time because of his problems.” He suddenly throws up his hands. “Oh for crying out loud. I don’t know if we’re right. It’s just a hunch, like we had when that guy was beat up. But before her death, I know Iris was trying to get back in touch with Matthew. After his stay at the hospital, he left town. Dunno why. But maybe she got through to him. Who knows?” he wonders.

Lindy coughs. “But really, the who of the matter is less important than this: I think I know who the next victim is.”

I gasp. “Who?”

Lindy nods solemnly. “I think you know her. Her older sister was a peer of Iris’. The talker today said they think that if there is a killer, that they’re targeting people who were mean to a specific person. If this killer really is targeting those who were mean to her, no wonder he saved this one for last. This girl was downright cruel to Iris.”

I want to grab this girl from the shoulders and shake her. I need to know who the next victim is! “Who. Is. The next. Victim,” I snap.

Lindy thinks for a moment. “We talked to the student college, and she said her younger sister’s name is Cynthia. She goes to a school for the deaf and blind. Do you know her?”

My heart has fallen so fast, I’m surprised I’m not having a heart attack. “I…I do,” I say slowly, licking my lips. “She’s my neighbor.”

Sorry for such a long delay with this chapter! And sorry for it being so short. I had some bad writer’s block with this. But I’ll try to get Traces updates up again soon!

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