Collision

Cover of Collision

 

Title

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3




 

 

 

Prologue

 

A bright sunny late afternoon, and I thought it would be a great idea to have a walk around town again, or rather it should have been a great idea at least. I seemed to do that quite a bit when I don’t have an idea on what to write. Being a secret author of a very popular teen novel series really puts a strain on my shoulders. The next book is supposed to be published and ready for release in about two months’ time and my publisher, Jeffery, has been breathing down my neck about it.

The problem about my next book is that I need to end the series off. But for some odd reason the story just doesn’t sound right when I do try to end it.

Walking by a few homes, with small children playing in the front yards and their parents keeping a watchful eye over them, I can see that the parents are all tired from the week’s work and are trying to relax. But their kids really want them to join in with their games. As I keep walking, I see a father reluctantly getting up and start chasing his son around the yard and hearing him laughing all the way.

Turning onto the only road that leads in or out of town, I enter the familiar woods of Bealfire. Bealfire is our town’s name. It’s a fairly small town with its diner, police station, schools and mental institute. Maybe it isn’t the stock standard type of town, but the residents all like this town. Maybe especially since nothing major ever happens. It’s also sporting its own woods.

The woods of Bealfire are something of a local legend in our town. The things that go bump in the night live there apparently. I think that’s just the adult’s way of scaring the children not to go near them. It is an unwritten rule that children aren’t allowed near the woods, though.

I, on the other hand, enjoy the silence that the woods have to offer a person. Gives me a chance to think. Only surrounded by nature’s music. Birds chirping away, frogs from a nearby pond can be heard in their choir song and at night crickets can be heard all the way to my house, which is on the other side of town.

The woods are on the side of the only road that goes in or out of town. Thick and dense shrubs surround the outside of the woods, making it a slight bit of a challenge to enter it. Walking along the side of the road, I notice that there are some tree branches broken from probably the town’s kids. That can be dangerous.

Hearing a car behind me thundering down the road, I turn to see who was in such a hurry. It’s Tom and Alice, and not thinking anything more about it, I continue my walk as they speed along past me. Giving a quick glance, I see that they are not happy about something. Alice has a scowl on her face. Relationship problems again, I recon. I turn my attention to the woods again and suddenly hear an earth-shattering crash that will haunt me for years.

I face the direction of the sound and see that the car has crashed into a tree. Already running without realising it, I get to wreckage. Nearing it, I can smell the metal in the air. The smell of blood and metal from car is mixed. The front end of the car is crumpled inwards, and the windscreen is shattered.

My mind is racing and not making any sense. Survivors? Are there any survivors in the car? Looking inside I see Alice unconscious. Ambulance, I need to phone for one. Grabbing my mobile phone, I dial our local emergency number.

“Hi, there has been an accident on the road next to the woods, two people involved in the crash. It looks horrible!” I shouted in the phone with panic.

“Hello ma’am, please stay calm, are the people awake? Are they still alive? I am dispatching an ambulance to your location now, but we need to know if they are still alive?” The lady on the phone said in a calming manner.

“I don’t know. I… I… let me check for a pulse…” I said as I tried to get into the car. Alice’s head has a nasty gash and blood is seeping through her blond hair down her jacket. Putting my fingers next to her neck to find her pulse, and luckily, I find it. She’s still alive.

“The girl is still alive; she has a pulse!” I scream into the phone. Running to Tom’s side of the car to check him, I stop midstride screaming. Tom is dead. One of the branches that were broken already has stabbed him in the chest. Blood dripping down the branch and holding Tom in an upright position, it truly is gruesome.

I lunge for the nearest bush and vomit. Such a scene I will not forget for a very long time. Sirens in the distance coming closer, I realise that the ambulance must be near. I run to the side of the road and wave like a mad person to the sight.

The ambulance men rush out and start checking the scene for the survivor. One of the guys is trying to tell me something, but I am honestly not registering. He turns me around and leads me to the ambulance.

“Ma’am, you need to calm down. You’re in shock.” He said, trying to make me understand.

“Is she going to be okay? The guy… I think he’s…” I say, trying to form the words.

“Ma’am, you did what you needed to do.” The guy said, trying to reassure me.

The guy was called away to help the others, and the next thing that happens is police are on the scene, trying to do crowd control. I never even realised that a crowd had formed near here. Looking into the crowd, I see Matt standing there, with a look of horror on his face. Matt is or, rather was, Tom’s best friend. I honestly don’t have the guts to even let him know his best friend since childhood has died in a horrible accident.

Alice is not going to get over this. That I know. It did seem that they were fighting about something earlier on. I have to know what happened, but in all honesty, I really don’t think it would be a good idea to go visit Alice in the hospital.

Getting up from the ambulance to get out of the way for the gurney to get in, I make my way into the crowd to get away from there. Almost halfway out of the crowd, someone grabs me. Swinging around, I see that a police officer is standing behind me. Oh, great!

“Miss, would you mind answering a few questions?” The officer asked. Shaking my head, he began rambling off questions about the accident, trying to establish timeline and everything.

“Finally, did you know the victims?” He asked, trying not to sound assertive.

“I know them, just not personally. They are in some of my classes.” I answered. The officer’s name was Smith, according to his nametag. He is a slight bit taller than me, bright blue eyes, neatly dressed and presented in his blue uniform.

“I see. You’re not friends with them, just saw what happened and reported it. If anything does come to mind, please don’t hesitate to call.” He concluded. He seemed troubled though with the thought of such young people getting into such a car accident. As he walked away, the crowd seemed to dissipate as well.

I need to get home before anybody realises that I'm missing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Bealfire has not seen an accident since that day. Speedbumps were poured and the tree that has been the site of the accident, has been transformed by all the well-wishing and mourning. Trinkets, cards and flowers decorate the base of the tree.

Matt hasn’t been the same cheerful person since. I feel kind of sorry for him. Alice has been institutionalised not long after the accident, as she thinks the whole accident is her fault. In all honesty, nobody knows what happened during that car ride. Officer Smith has contacted me again over the past year trying to see if I remember anything that stands out. I told him that I thought I saw the two fighting or having an argument, but other than that, I have no idea what happened to them.

I think this would be a good story, if I can figure out what happened. Maybe it’s time for an adventure. I think that Officer Smith knows more than what he’s letting on. The local newspaper doesn’t know much. I think I need to start with the newspapers first, and start outlining my story.

My pen-name is Alex Winston, and no-one knows that I have been writing books since the beginning of the 8th grade. Only people who knows my identity is my agent. I had to give him my ID number for security purposes. He’s the only one that knows. My story from last year has been published and Jeff, my publisher, has been nagging me for a new series.

Every now again, whenever I'm in school, I see that some girls are carrying around one of my books, and talking about it to their friends. It makes me happy to see that, and even happier that I don’t have friends that will share their books with me. I think I would spoil the whole story for them.

“Her last story was awesome. The main character found out that she was still able to finish her final year of school, and be able to support her new baby. What type of girl would really still do that?” Melissa from English class exclaimed.

“I thought the author was a guy?” Trudy exclaimed. These girls are always talking about books. Not really surprising anymore.

I do, on one hand, like not having friends, but on the other, it makes story writing difficult. This is why Jeff has been nagging me about a new series.

Looking up, I see Matt standing with a group of guys and laughing away. He was a year ago so distraught, and now, he looks just like he did when Tom was still alive. Only thing that has changed, is that he isn’t hanging out with his friends that much anymore. His build figure has gotten thinner and it looks like he hasn’t seen that much sleep since. I think he was genuinely traumatised that evening. I know I was. The therapist that Officer Smith recommended did do wonders. Matt’s dark brown hair used to be full of life and shiny, but it looks duller these days. He looks up from his friends, and sees me looking at him. Oh no! I don’t want to explain to him why I was looking at him.

He excuses himself from his friends, and starts heading in my direction. I can feel my heart pounding and that I wish the ground would open up and swallow me alive. His friends are looking at him strangely and a few of them start laughing. Why? Are the guys pranking me? Is it a joke? It can’t be. I don’t think I would be able to handle it if it was a joke.

“Hi Abbigail. You know, I have been meaning to talk to you for a while now.” He began. My mouth isn’t moving to form words. Staring at him blankly, he continues and takes a seat in front me.

“You know, ever since the accident last year, I really couldn’t sleep. I asked around on who reported the accident, and found out that it was you. I didn’t even see you at the scene.” He started explaining. I didn’t know he was trying to figure out what was going on either. Maybe I can use this to my advantage.

“How did you even managed to get that right? Those calls are supposed to be anonymous.” I asked without even thinking.

“After badgering that police officer, he finally gave up and said it was you.” He replied with a smile.

“That would Officer Smith. Are you trying to figure out what happened?” I manage to blurt out.

“Yeah, for the sole reason that he was a good driver. He never even got one speeding ticket. Even I have to admit this crash was way too weird.” He explained. He seems calm about it. I just wonder why he brought up the accident. It happened about a year ago. I think this year they are having a service to remember what happened last year.

“I agree on that one. I told Officer Smith that I thought I saw the two of them arguing, but I think I must have imagined it.” I explain. Matt’s face seems to fall at this idea.

“They were fighting about something and Alice is not telling anyone. She has been locked away in that institute, outside of town.” He elaborates. He looks to be on edge. After the accident, she was convinced that she was the cause of Tom’s death.

“I’m guessing you tried to speak to her about it?” I asked.

“Yeah, the moment I asked her about it, she started screaming and the nurses had to sedate her. My chances of finding out what happened that day is next to impossible.” He replied.

“You going to the ceremony this weekend?” I asked, and immediately turned red in my face.

“Yeah, I have to go. He was my best friend after all. Are you going?” he asked, and his eyes seemed to sparkle.

“Yeah, I’m going. I have to pay my respects to him.” I said nonchalantly. Matt gets up from his seat across from me.

“Maybe I’ll see you there then.” He said with a smile. I nod in agreement and still trying to regain my composure. Did we just make plans to see each other this weekend? My heart is still pounding from that conversation.

I get back to my notes on my book, and I think it will be a good idea to create this accident into a story.

“I think he just asked her out.” I hear a girl murmur to her friend.

“I didn’t think he would ever bounce back. Good for him. She really isn’t that bad.” The other girl replied, which made me smile.

“You say that she isn’t bad; then why doesn’t she have any friends?” The first girl retorted. Oh no, I think she is jealous about the whole situation. Who is gossiping like that? I turn to see who it is, and it really doesn’t surprise me to find out it is Tamara. The class queen, who openly flirts with any guy, and has been known to give special attention to Matt.

Returning back to my notes, I start scribbling down the information I got from Matt. I didn’t know how bad Alice’s mind has gotten since. Also, my suspicions were right about them fighting. What were they fighting about? One thing I have to know is whether the car was tampered with, or if Alice somehow made the car crash.

***

Finally, school has ended for the day and I am free to walk the town as I please. My parents are both at work the whole day through, trying to make ends meet every month. They aren’t always at home, busy with meetings or going to see clients, which gives me the perfect opportunity to write without being interrupted. If they only knew about my secret writer’s career, but I do fear that if anyone knows about it, they will be asking for my help financially. I know my parents won’t do that, but I have seen some kids working and their parents taking advantage of them. I’m not going to take that chance.

Walking down the very same road I had taken last year; I see that the parents of the very same children aren’t outside anymore. The children seem to be busy talking away with their friends. I guess that they are also growing up.

The only road leading out of town, has somehow become darker these days. The woods are more over grown, the branches of the trees aren’t being broken anymore by kids. They are being neatly cut away. Looking back, the accident has caused the local government to make sure that the town looks neater than what is has been before. The woods a natural wonder, it’s not supposed to be touched like this.

I get to the infamous tree that was caught in the accident. It really has been transformed with everyone’s trinkets. Crouching down to see the trinkets a bit better, I hear footsteps thudding on the pavement. I turn around to look who was coming, I see that a girl with a long white gown was heading towards me. I got to get out of here.

Ducking into the nearby bushes, and trying not to make a sound, I see that she hasn’t noticed me at all. Who is this girl? I turn my head to see who it is, and almost let out a scream when I recognised her face. It’s Alice. What is she doing here?

Last I heard she was in the institute. She broke out to be here? What is she going to do here? She bends down and places something against the tree.

“It’s all my fault.” She whispered. She is so close to the tree and the bushes where I am hiding, I shouldn’t make a sound. Shifting my weight to the other foot, I instantly feel regret from doing it.

Crack!

I freeze in one spot. I see her standing up and looking in my direction. I hold my breath and hope she doesn’t see me. She is looking down the road, and bolts up the road. Someone is coming this way. From the sound of it, I think it’s a car.

Sitting up after she left, I see a police car speeding by. They are looking for her. She broke out just to be here. I don’t think she caused the accident. She must have been innocent, and thinking the accident was her fault just proves her innocence. But then what would she think did cause the accident then? What were they arguing about that day then? Getting up from my spot, I start running back to my house to try and make heads and tails about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Returning to school, all I hear is the ‘escaped lunatic’. I have to get to class, without making it noticeable that I know something. I wonder if I should at least let Officer Smith know about this. No, this might really be good for the story, and I don’t want to mess it up. Jeffery has been asking for a new series and has given me a due date in two months.

“Have you heard about that lunatic that escaped? I saw the ambulance driving along the streets yesterday, trying to find that guy.” One girl stated to her friends. She got it wrong though, it was a police car that was chasing. Just goes to show you how gossip can warp the truth. “It’s in the newspaper this morning. Everybody knows about it. I just hope this guy isn’t dangerous.” Her friend retorted. Shaking my head and heading to my class, I keep hearing kids gossiping about it. They all wonder how dangerous this person is, who it is, and why did they escape? If they only knew it was their classmate and Matt’s friend.

Turning into my class, I see Matt standing near my table. I think he might be waiting for me. My face turns red at this thought. Why am I being like this? Is it the extra attention I have been getting from him? Or is it maybe that I have feelings for him? Even if they are platonic, it’s still annoying to feel this uncomfortable with him around.

“Hey Abbigail, I was wondering if you were coming to school at all today.” Matt greeted.

“Hey, I’m always at school. I have to give in my own death certificate to my parents before I can even think of being off from school.” I replied with a smile and took my seat. Matt took the seat across in front of me.

“So, have you heard about the escaped lunatic?” Matt asked immediately. He doesn’t mess around with gossip, does he? My eyes widen at the thought of telling him his friend is the one to have escaped. If I want to at least have one friend in high school, I should be honest with him. How to word it, though?

“I know who it is.” I whispered as I leaned in towards him. His eyes widen at the thought of knowing the person.

“It’s Alice. And I think she might have spotted me while she was looking at the tree. I was hiding behind some bushes when she saw me. Before she could do anything, the police came chasing after her.” I continued to explain. Matt’s complexion has become pale. I knew I didn’t word it right. Way-to-go Abbigail, my mind is screaming at me.

“Are you sure it was her? I thought she was locked away in that institute?” He asked, and I really couldn’t answer him. I nodded to say yes, and he leans forward again to whisper to me again.

“You know, I went to go see her that side, and the moment I mentioned Tom’s name she started screaming and shouting. She has lost it.” He explained. He is still looking pale from the news.

“You know, I honestly don’t think she was the one to really cause that accident. The accident seemed to be timed too right. If that makes even sense?” I replied. Matt nods his head in agreement with me. Which means that I wasn’t the only one thinking the same thing.

“It does seem that crash was too perfectly timed. Alongside with the accident was their argument. I still think it’s too much of a coincidence. I have been asking Officer Smith about it, but it seems that he clams up the moment I set foot in his office.” Matt explains. Officer Smith has more information about this case than what we know. I need to find out for my story.

“I think he knows more than what we do, I mean he is the investigator.” I said, before the teacher walked into the classroom. Matt immediately went to his desk and order was restored in the class. Science today first, and something that I’m not really bothered with to listen.

I grab my notebook for my stories and start scribbling down the information that Matt just gave me. It did seem to perfectly timed that crash. If it was timed, was Tom’s car purposefully sabotaged?

***

Lunch period I normally hide away in the library, busy reading up on things I need for my books, but Matt caught me in the hallway.

“Abbigail, I was wondering, do you want to go to the ceremony tomorrow together?” Matt asked. He looks so serious and nervous at the same time. My heart is racing at the thought of going with him. Why is he asking me on a date? Why not any of the other girls?

“Uhm…, I mean, yeah, sure, why not?” I stammered. I instantly turn bright red like a tomato from the awkwardness.

“Great, I’ll pick you up?” He asked and I gave him my address before heading into the library. While staring at the books blankly, I kept replaying that moment over in my head. This is the feeling I have only ever described in books. This is how those characters felt? No. It’s more intense.

A guy next to me started looking at me funny, which made me focus again. I wanted to find out cars. Finding a general car book, I page through the book and find myself upon the schematics of the car. The schematics looks like French to me, but I recognise the axle and steering column. But thinking about it now, I’m going in blind here. That’s not a good starting point. What I need to know is what was done to the car to begin with. And the person to find that out from, is Officer Smith. I head over to the photocopier and make a copy the schematics of the car. It’s not the exact same car that Tom was driving, but I honestly do think the basics of a car looks more or less similar.

I wonder if I do go to him, if he would be willing to share this information? I rather do think that I should at least go and report to him about Alice. This might be more useful than what I initially thought it might be. This could build a trusting relationship.

That settles it. I’m going to go see him after school about it. Heading out the library with the librarian looking at me funny for not checking out anything, I head in the direction of my next class.

Going through the hallways, I hear a commotion outside. I start heading in the direction to see what’s going on, I pass Matt again.

“What’s going on?” I asked him without really thinking.

“Two guys having at it about a girl again. As per normal.” He said, trying to hide a smile of excitement.

“The hormones in this school really does surprise me sometimes.” I retorted with my head shaking, and started heading back to class. Matt joins my side on the way.

“So, I was thinking about going to see Officer Smith, to tell him about Alice, you know?” I said, trying to make conversation.

“Yeah? That might be a good idea. You need company?” He offered. He seems to be eager to get information about this accident. I wonder why?

“No, it’s okay. I just need to report it. Nothing special really. Won’t even take me five minutes.” I said with a smile. He nods, understanding that I don’t want company today.

“Of course, won’t be that long. So, I’ll pick you up tomorrow then.” He said with a smile and headed towards his desk. His friends have goofy smiles on their faces. Most probably going to be teasing him about me the minute he sits down.

I head to my desk and start making notes about when I saw Alice. Jeffery really wants a story. This would be a good start as any. The minute I get home after seeing Officer Smith, I need to start typing.

***

“Hi, may I please speak to Officer Smith? It’s pertaining to a case he was working on.” I asked the receptionist, who looked so bored with life.

“Sure, follow me.” She answered monotonously. I followed her through the maze of tables and finally get to his table.

“Abbigail! I didn’t expect to see you any time soon again.” He greeted me with a smile.

“Hi Officer Smith. I thought I might need to report something that happened yesterday.” I started. His expression changed to serious in an instant.

“What happened? Start from the beginning.” He said in a reassuring voice.

“Okay, so yesterday, I was on my way to the tree to pay my respects before tomorrow’s ceremony. The moment I reached the tree, I heard someone running up the road. Now instead of just standing still and waiting for them to get to the tree, I ducked behind some bushes. The minute I saw who it was, I was glad I ducked. It was Alice.” I explained. Officer Smith’s face was looking sombre at the thought of this.

“I was hoping to keep that detail out of the public eye. She escaped two days ago, and the ambulance and police have been frantic trying to locate her. Her psychologist has deemed her dangerous. You can be lucky that she never saw you.” He commented. My mind is racing at the thought of her being dangerous. She also saw me, which is not really comforting.

“Officer, I would just like to ask something related to the case. The car in the crash, was it sabotaged somehow?” I asked without even thinking. I shouldn’t have asked.

“I’m not allowed to give out details like that. Especially if it’s pertaining to the case. With questions like that, it makes me think you are a suspect. Just like that Matt from your school.” He answered seriously. That backfired on me greatly.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to sound like that. I was just hoping that Alice was innocent in all of this.” I replied. My chances of finding out what happened to the car has just gone up in smoke.

“I can quite understand that you are hoping that it was a ‘wrong place, wrong time’ type of situation. I will let you and your friend know about it. Then maybe finally this town will get some closure.” He said, trying to reassure me in this thought. This only raises more questions.

“Okay, thank you for your time Officer.” I said and stood up from my seat.

“Thank you for coming to report that to me.” He said with a smile. I walked out of the station, thinking that Officer Smith really does know more than what he is letting on. I guess that should rather be the case, seeing as though he should be investigating this case, not me.

Returning home, I quickly check the mail to see if there is any post for me. Reaching in the post box, I find only one envelope which is addressed to me. Hand written, and doesn’t feel very thick either. Opening the letter, I felt a chill going down my spine and my world crashing down. Like a mirror braking in the background, I can hear it as clear as day.

I know your secret.

How could this even be possible? I have been careful with this secret for years. From whom is this letter? Checking the envelope again, I find that there is no return address. This is not good. If this secret gets out, then the whole world would want to know who Alex Winston is. I have made it so that no-one knows Alex Winston for a reason.

Grabbing my cell phone, I phone the only other person who knows.

“Hi Abbigail, I was wondering when I would hear from you again. Have you thought of a new series? Deadline is looming.” He answered without even giving me a chance to talk.

“Hey Jeffery, I have thought of a new series, but I’m sitting with a new problem.” I started explaining.

“What’s the problem? Writer’s block?” Jeffery asked. I am freaking out and this guy is not even trying to listen.

“Jeffery, listen to me, okay? I think someone knows who I am.” I screamed into the phone, which made Jeffery listen to me for a change.

“Wait, what? How did this happen?” he asked in a panic.

“I just received a letter in the post saying it. No return address or anything. Jeff, I’m freaking out here.” I stammered.

“Okay, I know how bad this could be, but it might be just a friend who’s playing a mean joke on you.” Jeffery suggested.

“I wish it was a friend pulling a prank. I only know one guy so far in school. He doesn’t even know me that well.” I admitted.

“I would say report it to the police, but that will cause the whole town to know your secret. I think the best way for now, is to keep an eye on any one who looks suspicious.” Jeffery suggested.

“I think that would be the best idea for now.” I agreed with him.

“So, the series? Any ideas on that yet?” He asked straight away.

“Yeah, I’ll start outlining the story today. I’ll email you the outline then.” I answered and after saying good-bye, I booted my computer up.

For about a year and a half Jeffery has nagged me to buy a computer that has a word processor. He was getting rather tired of getting hand written work from me. I was rather adamant about getting a computer, for the reason of my parents asking me about it. They aren’t always at home, but they notice enough to ask. The day I got the computer, which is an old desktop computer, with an old box shape monitor; they asked how I could afford it. I immediately lied and said I was saving up for it, school projects and such was part of that lie. They didn’t ask again, though.

Opening a new document, I started outlining my new characters, their situations and the overall story. I started just after three in the afternoon, and when I just looked up for a split second to see the time, I saw it was already half past seven in the evening. My parents are gone again, looks like it.

Okay, Abbigail, time to grab something to eat at your favourite small diner. They have always been nice to me when I arrive at odd hours to grab a bite. Grabbing my coat and stuffing a small pocket notebook and pen in my pocket, along with my debit card, I head out the door. Making sure I locked it behind me, I walked briskly towards the diner. They are situated literally a block away from me. Looking over my shoulder, I make sure nobody is following me.

“Hi dear.” The old lady greeted me. Everybody calls her Granny. Always friendly and she doesn’t always look at a person with an inquisitive look. The diner is actually called Granny’s Diner. This place has been here for ages. Long before my parents even got together.

The place is decorated with wooden tables and chairs, the bar part of the diner is a pale cream colour, like a very dated white, with red round bar stools lining the bar. Ironically enough, this bar doesn’t serve any alcohol. It does serve exquisite lemon meringue pie though.

“Hi Granny, how’s everything?” I asked with a smile. She is the owner of this place, and although, she has children and grandkids of her own, she likes to run the diner. Instead of listening to anyone’s opinion, she does things her way. An old lady with hair always tied up in a bun and eyes that have gone grey from age.

“Busy as always. You want some lasagne? It’s today’s special?” She asked. I nodded my head yes, and she was off getting me a plate of lasagne.

Grabbing my notebook and pen, I started jotting down some ideas for my story. As I started thinking about it, my mind drifted to today’s letter. I should be freaking out about it more. It was typed, which doesn’t give me much to go on. Bealfire’s technological advancements hasn’t been that much, apart from all the kids having mobile phones. Other than that, I haven’t really seen anyone asking for a computer, or asking for upgrades or anything like that.

So, I can deduct that this person has at least access to a computer and a printer, most probably their parent’s computer. Does this person use the computer for school projects or any essays writing? I can always check my class’s style of projects. We handed an essay project in not too long ago. This strange occurrence has only happened since I started hanging out with Matt. How does he tie in to all of this? Is he the one that could have made that note?

“There you go, dear.” Granny said as she placed the lasagne in front of me.

“Thank you.” I said, and started to eat.

“You looked miles away, dear. Is everything going alright?” She asked in her sweet grandma voice.

“Yeah, everything’s fine. Just some school things I’m wondering about.” I replied with a smile. An automatic lie.

“Ah yes, school. Something I have always seen kids worrying themselves to death about. They always turn out okay in the end.” She said with a reassuring smile, patted my shoulder and she left for another customer.

‘They always turn out okay in the end.’ Those words seem to echo in my mind. If I really think about it, the girls in my class did seem annoyed at the thought of Matt talking to me. I wonder if it was any of them that thought my secret is having a crush on Matt or something. Which would make me freaking out like a mad person all for nothing.

Taking a bite of my lasagne, I take the opportunity to look around the diner. I only see a few people tonight. A man with a long, brown coat enjoying his dinner and his black hat sitting on the table next to him. A young woman with hair strands falling out of her pony tail and looking like she had one hell of a day, is trying to relax with her coffee. A few other customers were also busy with their suppers.

After paying for supper, I take a brisk walk home. Looking over my shoulder, I see that there is a figure walking far behind me. I shouldn’t be spooked, but I start walking faster anyway. I turn at the corner of my street, I look again, and see the figure has vanished. Breathing a sigh of relief, I start heading towards my house. I didn’t slow down my pace, though. Passing by the post box, I reluctantly slow down and quickly check it.

Another note. Oh no. I quickly make my way into my house and lock the doors behind me. Heading towards my room, I feel a growing dread about this note. Ripping the top open, I read the letter.

Alex Winston.

I am being stalked. A growing, heavy feeling of dread is forming in the pit of my stomach. How did all of this even happen? How did they find out? Who is ‘they’? Have I been that careless about my secret?

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

 

Morning came and I haven’t been able to sleep a wink last night. I have been pondering about the notes the whole night through. Has anyone been watching me at the diner? Was the figure who was walking far behind me, the person responsible for the notes?

Looking into the mirror in the bathroom, I can see that my eyes have dark circles underneath them. I barely even moved in my bed. I have never been so scared in my life.

“Come on Abbigail, you need to get ready!” My mom shouted from the kitchen. I know she woke me up, but I can’t really recall it.

“I’m up!” I shouted back. Having washed my face and brushed my hair, I head downstairs for breakfast.

“Morning Mom, morning Dad.” I chirped as I entered the kitchen. Mom was busy making eggs and toast, and Dad was busy reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee on hand. A typical Saturday morning.

“Morning dear, grab some breakfast. The ceremony is in two hours. You don’t want to miss you date with that guy.” Mom instructed. Looking over at Dad, I see him raising an eye brow.

“It’s not a date entirely. Just someone I’m hanging out with at the ceremony. Speaking of which, he should be here in about an hour’s time.” I said glancing down at my wristwatch.

“Sounds an awful lot like a date to me.” Mom retorted with a smile.

“A date at a ceremony, of all things.” Dad said absent-mindedly.

After finishing breakfast and returning to my room, I find that there is a message on my cell phone. It’s from Matt, to just let me know that he’ll be here in about half an hour. The ceremony isn’t going to be for another two hours. I think he just wants to be there early.

Looking out the window, I see the sky is fitting with my mood today, gloomy and overcast. Quickly dressing in my black pants and black blazer jacket, I get my make-up ready. After adding my mascara and eyeliner, I heard a knock at the front door. Matt is here early.

“Hey Matt.” I greeted him at the door, and closed it behind me. We started towards his old car.

“Hi Abbigail, seems chilly today.” He said, trying not sound like he is making small talk.

“Yeah, it is. I wonder if we’ll get any parking near there.” I wondered. Matt nods with this idea.

“Yeah, I drove on ahead to the tree, and saw quite a few parking spots not too far from it.” He said as he opens the door for me. I climbed in, and Matt took his seat next to mine. As we drove, an uncomfortable silence fell over us.

“So, I reported seeing Alice to Officer Smith yesterday. He already knew she was out.” I said, trying to alleviate the tension.

“He already knew? Doesn’t really surprise me, but I didn’t think he would know so soon.” Matt replied with a serious tone.

“Yeah, he also told me that she could be dangerous when confronted, according to her psychologist. I don’t think he meant for me to know that.” I said. Matt looked in my direction before turning his head back to the road.

Nearing the parking spaces made for the ceremony, I can see Matt is uncomfortable. He’s wearing a new pair of dark blue jeans and a black jacket to match. Yet, he seems uncomfortable at the thought of having Alice lurking around.

“This place is already packed. Think the whole town thought it would be a good idea to be here early.” Matt said to no one in particular.

Looking out the car window, I saw what Matt was talking about. The parking area is already full of people who want to go to the ceremony. Matt finds a parking spot, and we soon head over to the crowd gathered in front of the tree.

As we approached the crowd, I saw a few girls from our class standing together. They do not look happy to see Matt and me together. In all honesty, this really isn’t a date. I don’t even know what this is. Maybe a gathering? They aren’t really glad to see us together, as they are whispering to each other with angry expressions on their faces.

We head towards the tree, to see that the mayor of Bealfire is talking to a few people. I didn’t think the mayor would be really interested in this affair.

“Did the mayor organise this ceremony?” I ask Matt, and he nods his yes. Normally the mayor wouldn’t really wouldn’t bother with these types of events, but I think he is just doing this to gain popularity in next year’s election. The crowd started moving towards the tree as they saw that the mayor was about to speak.

“Today marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic accident, which costed a young man his life. It was a bright, sunny afternoon when this accident rocked our fair town.” The mayor started. Looking around, I see that the crowd has thickened to hear the mayor more properly.

“Thomas Scott and Alice Vermicelli were both traveling along on this road, on their way for a picnic just outside of town, when suddenly they swerved into a tree, which killed Mr Scott instantly. Miss Vermicelli has luckily survived the accident.” The mayor described. I look up at Matt, and see that he doesn’t want to relive that moment. I honestly thought I would be more traumatised than what he is. I think it has more to do with him being their friend.

“That day was a tragic day indeed. The police and emergency services of our community were fast and effective that day. The call was barely placed when they arrived on the scene. A young girl, Abbigail Williams, placed the call that day, and if it wasn’t for her quick thinking, Miss Vermicelli would not be alive today.” I stood there staring at the mayor, who was shuffling through his papers. Why did he have the need to mention my name? I thought those calls are anonymous? Looking around the crowd, I can see the people staring at me, especially those girls from before.

“As the local newspaper depicted that following week, an investigation has been launched, to determine whether the crash was an accident or not. Unfortunately, I am sad to say that sabotage was involved.” The mayor announced. I didn’t know about the sabotage. I didn’t read anything about it.

“The events that led to this incident are being investigated, and we will hopefully be able to give the Scott family closure.” The mayor finishes his speech. The mayor steps down from the podium, and a swarm of paparazzi surrounds him and all of them asking the same question.

“Matt, did you know anything about suspected sabotage?” I asked him, and he looks pale. He most probably didn’t even know.

“No, this is not right. They didn’t do anything to anyone. Who would do that to them?” Matt asked absent-mindedly. I place my hand on his arm and give him a light squeeze. He looks like a lost soul.

After the mayor has left, the crowd began to walk by the infamous tree in a sad, slow line. Almost everyone is placing flowers or small trinkets at the base of the tree. Matt and I get in line to give our respects. Matt is staring off into space. He is not taking this well at all.

Walking up to the tree to pay our respects, I see that Officer Smith is at the tree making sure everything is going okay. Looking past him into the woods, I see a shadowy figure standing close by. Is that more security? Officer Smith notices me staring and looks behind him. He immediately radios in and he goes off running after the figure.

Matt and I are staring at this spectacle, when it was suddenly our turn. I turn to Matt to ask him what’s going on. He also decides to run off behind them. I think that was Alice. She is quite brave to be standing so close to the ceremony. Matt has left me standing in front of the tree, making me look like a spectacle in front of everyone.

When Matt gets back, I am going to kill him. You don’t just run off like that. Especially when you’re with someone. Looking around me, I see so many staring at me. They are all wondering the same thing. What just happened, and why did Matt leave her alone? This is beyond embarrassing.

After the ceremony, I head back to where the car was parked, to find that the car is missing. Matt must have taken it, without even giving me a call. I’m walking home then. What the hell is his problem with Alice?

Walking down the road towards the familiar houses, I see those girls again. Still standing together and gossiping. One noticed me and stopped talking. Other three aren’t too happy either. It’s still none of my business really. The one girl has a sneer on her face as she approaches me.

“Hey Abbigail.” She says with a smirk.

“Hi, can I help you?” I ask, and think she is up to no-good. She and the other three are from school, if I remember correctly, her name is Miranda. Her group is following close behind her.

“Yes, actually, you can. What is the deal with you and Matt?” She asked angrily. I thought as much, still the stereotypical popular girl and her group.

“He and I are just friends. He invited me to come along to the ceremony, seeing as though I was the one who called 911.” I replied with a tone.

“He and I would have gone if you didn’t agree to go in the first place. It was a dare. A prank to see if you would actually go. You don’t mean anything to him. Why do think he left you here alone?” Miranda explained with a twisted smile.

“You’re wrong.” I replied trying to sound brave, but it sounded like squeak. Feeling the back of my eyes burning, I turned away from the group and left. They are wrong, aren’t they?

I remember that first day he came to speak to me, the other guys were busy laughing and eyeing him as he walked over to me. I remember thinking that had to be a prank. I honestly don’t think Miranda was right about Matt though.

Briskly walking home, I pass by the familiar houses. Every single one of those houses empty of any human existence. Everyone was at the ceremony. Was it that important to hold this event? Why was it that important? Accidents and deaths happen every day. Granted not in our town, but in the rest of our world it’s a normal everyday occurrence. What’s making Tom’s accident this huge? I have to find answers. Officer Smith isn’t going to help me; maybe I should look at the car first? I still need to go start with that story of mine. Otherwise Jeff will be on my case as well.

***

Timothy and Alison were driving along a road, with houses on one side and a forest to the other. Annabelle, or Anna as her only friend Mike calls her, was walking along the very same road, to contemplate about her messed up life in general.

Walking along, she sees these two driving by and what looks like Alison screaming. Anna looked on as the car suddenly swerved into a nearby tree. The tyres screeching and metal crunching is a sound Anna will never forget in her life. She whips out her mobile phone and calls 911.

‘Hi, my name is Annabelle Stein, and I want to report an accident. I think the driver is dead. The passenger might still be alive…’ Anna spoke into her mobile.

The only thing she could do was stand and watch as a crowd formed around the accident. The town’s golden boy of football and star cheerleader has been in major accident and the town’s people aren’t making way for the ambulance.

The ambulance finally makes it through the crowd and the emergency guy helps Anna to calm her down. He told her she was in shock and will most likely need to see a therapist after everything.

‘Who are these kids? Do you know them?’ One emergency guy asked Anna. She is hardly even listening to the guy’s questions, when the second guy finds their wallets. Police arrived on scene as well, and a very handsome looking officer started asking Anna the very same questions.

***

Sitting back into my chair, I wonder about Matt. Checking my mobile phone, I still don’t see any texts or missed calls from him. I really am worried about him. He just disappeared without so much as a good-bye. I’m not going to file a missing person report either, seeing as though he took his car with him. Maybe I should just walk by his house tomorrow and see if his car is there. Or give him a call now. I dial his number and wait for him to answer. Nothing.

The phone goes straight to voice mail. Staring at the screen blankly, hoping Matt will call back, I nearly jump out of my skin when Jeff calls.

“Hi Jeff. How are you?” I answer after scrapping my nerves back together.

“Hi Abbigail, I'm fine. You sound out of breath. Have you been exercising?” He asks.

“No, just got a fright is all. I was busy with my book and I was deep in thought about it.” I lied.

“Oh, sorry about that. I was phoning actually to hear about the story. I’m guessing you already started with your first book of the series. I also read through the outline as well, I think it is a pretty good story. But please tell me you’ll be done on time or sooner?” Jeff nagged.

“Yeah, I should be done with the first story on time. Just have a few things to deal with though.” I replied, and sounding tired. Glancing at the time I see its way past seven again in the evening.

“Jeff, don’t you go home after work is finished? It’s past seven already.” I asked him.

“There’s no rest for agents, ever. Speaking of no rest, you sound tired. Still worrying about that stalker incident?” Jeff asked. He oddly sounds concerned, which isn’t normal for him.

“Slight bit. I was also at a ceremony where we had a gate-crasher. You remember that accident that happened a year ago? That ceremony, honouring the lost life?” I explained.

“A gate-crasher at the memorial ceremony? That doesn’t sound right.” Jeff remarked absent-mindedly.

“Well, it happened, and before anybody could get a good look at him, the guy bolted.” I replied sounding annoyed. Jeff isn’t concentrating. This love-hate relationship is really not worth the trouble anymore.

“As long as you are safe from that weirdo. More than guaranteed, your stalker guy is the guy who gate-crashed the ceremony. But if you really don’t feel safe anymore, I do recommend reporting it.” Jeff said, sounding surprisingly caring. Maybe it isn’t all that much of a love hate relationship then.

“Promise the minute I get scared; I’ll go to the police.” I said before hanging up. I honestly just hope it won’t have to come to that.