I’ve been working on some fiction, which is different for me. I tend to stick to poetry or creative non fiction. I’ve got a few things going, this is one I started last night. It is still extremely rough and I’m still fleshing out the plot.
I was 16-years-old when I was murdered. I left my house that morning, said goodbye to my family and walked the familiar path to the small clearing in the woods behind my home. I set my backpack down and waited in the cool of the autumn morning. I never saw who I was waiting for. The blows came from behind, hard and fast; The first one knocked me to the ground, I pulled my arms over my head protectively as the hits kept coming. It was on the fourth hit I lost consciousness.
My attacker stopped, stepped over me and kept walking, never looking back. I bled to death from the wounds to my head. I was found six hours later by a hiker hiker. I stood next to my body looking down at the carnage and feeling sorrow for my family and the life I could have had. I wondered why I could still think, let alone feel and at the same time I was grateful for some kind of continued existence. I knew who killed me, he was the only one who knew I’d be there. I wondered why he did it and felt the familiar pang of sadness as I realized I was never coming back.
I felt bad for the man who found me, he tried so hard to breath life back into my corpse and cried as the people from the Medical Examiner’s Office loaded me into their truck. I was glad someone with a heart found me, but also sad he would carry around the image of my lifeless body for the rest of his life. As I stood there I willed him to move on, not to keep that image in his mind.
I didn’t follow my body to the morgue, I wasn’t interested in seeing myself dissected, but neither did I want to see my family’s reactions. I knew it would be a crushing blow to my twin sister. The masochist in me won out and I followed the officer on the short walk to my home. As we walked I noticed he kept looking over his shoulder, I wondered if he could feel me there. The furtive glances got more frequent as we got closer to the large white farm house.
Standing behind him, I watched him knock on the door, through the window I saw my identical twin sister heading towards the door. As she opened it and saw the officer her face fell. Some part of her knew it was about me. She began to cry, my older brother came out of the living room after hearing my sister sobbing.
“Can I help you Officer?” Zach asked putting his arm around Alexis.
“Are your parents home?” The officer answered, clearly uncomfortable with having to explain to two teenagers their sister was dead.
“No, they’re not. What is this about?” Zach demanded.
“I’m sorry to inform you the body of Elizabeth Fredrick was found about a mile from here, it appears she was murdered.” The officer said, his voice shaking and tears filling his eyes.
“Oh my god, are you sure it’s her? Can I see her? Where was she? What happened?” Zach bombarded the officer with questions, as Alexis cried. The officer gave them the details of my brutal death. I watched as Alexis’ tears became full fledged wailing and Zach’s body shook as he cried asking the officer over and over if they were sure. Eventually they closed the door. I waited on the steps until my parents came home.
My father arrived home first, he was followed into the house by a detective. I followed them in listening to their conversation.
“Mr. Fredrick I can’t begin to understand your grief, I need to ask you some questions and then I’ll let you and your family be together.” Detective Gregory Scarlotti said, placing a hand on my father’s shoulder. My dad looked back at him and nodded, sitting down in the leather Lazy Boy he gestured to the ugly tweed couch in the sitting room.
“Do you know anyone who had a problem with Elizabeth, anyone who would want to hurt her?” He asked gently.
“No! Lizzy had no enemies, she was the sweetest kid. Everyone loves-loved her.” My dad responded, tears rolling down his cheeks.
“Do you know if she was seeing anyone?”
“I don’t know, her sister would know better, I can go get her if you want to ask her.” My dad said quickly, jumping at the opportunity to be helpful.
“That would be great, sir.” My dad got up and walked towards the stairs. I watched as Detective Scarlotti walked around the sitting room looking at our school pictures. He settled on one of me and Alexis, it was taken earlier in the year at homecoming. He touched the frame and sighed heavily. His eyes moved onto our most recent family photo, I watched as he tried to distinguish Alexis and I. He turned quickly as he heard footfalls heading back towards the sitting room.
My dad came back in, followed by my sister. Her eyes were red from crying and she was wearing one of my sweaters. She stood next to my father’s chair, twirling a strand of her long brown hair. Detective Scarlotti looked up at her and I heard him sigh again. I did not envy him his job.
“Thanks for talking to me Alexis, can you tell me if your sister was seeing anyone?” Scarlotti asked.
“She was, I don’t know who. She wouldn’t tell me. I think he was an older guy. Maybe a teacher. She was really secretive about it, and we never kept secrets.” The tears started again as she remembered how close we were, the secret language we used when we were little and the way we always “just knew” what the other was thinking. I felt alone without her, I knew she must feel the same way. Detective Scarlotti wrote down what my sister said, I looked over towards my father and saw the dazed look on his face. He was still processing my death and now he had to consider I was murdered by my older boyfriend who might have been a teacher. I hated myself in that moment, angry at the choices I made. Scarlotti looked up again and asked if Alexis knew anyone who wanted to hurt me. She cried harder and yelled at him that I was the sweetest person and whoever hurt me was insane, she turned and stalked out of the room.
“I’m sorry for that, you have to understand how close they were. To Alex this is like losing her other half. They’ve been inseparable since birth. When they were babies they shared one crib, wouldn’t sleep any other way. The only teenagers I knew who wanted share a room.”
“It’s alright, she gave me a place to start. I’ll need to talk to your son too and your wife when she gets here, if that’s alright?” Scarlotti asked.
“Yeah, I’ll get Zach.” My dad got up out of his chair, leaned out of the room and yelled up to Zach.
“Thank you, Mr. Fredrick. Do you have any recent photos of Elizabeth?” Scarlotti asked. Without a word my dad reached into his wallet and took out my most recent school pictures. They had been taken three months earlier. Scarlotti took the picture and studied my face, the long dark brown hair, blue eyes and pale, delicate skin. He placed the photo in his briefcase as my brother came into the room. Rather than stand like Alexis had, Zach sat down in the chair my dad had been occupying.
“What do you need to know from me, everyone loved my sister. No one wanted to hurt her. I can’t help you.” Zach said angrily.
“Did you know who your sister was seeing?” Scarlotti asked disregarding Zach’s anger.
“No I don’t. He was older, maybe a teacher. Not at her school though, she ran track. Maybe one of the other track coaches or something. I overheard her on her phone, saying something about meeting in the woods and not to worry she wasn’t going to ruin his life.” Zach answered.
“When was this phone call?”
“A few weeks ago. I grabbed her phone while she was sleeping but I didn’t recognize the phone number.”
“We can get the phone records, do you remember the exact date?”
“It had to be the 12th, it was after a track meet and that was her last one. It was after the track meet too, so like six o’clock or so. Does that help?” He asked apologetically.
“Yeah that helps. Thank you. I’m so sorry for your loss. We’re gonna get whoever did this.” Scarlotti said to both my brother and my dad. They both nodded, still numbed by the grief. I head the door open and knew it had to be my mom. She walked into the sitting room, mascara tears running down her face.
“Mrs. Fredrick, I’m Detective Scarlotti. I’m so sorry for your loss. If it’s alright I’d like to ask you a few questions. It won’t take long, then I’ll be out of here so you can be with your family.” Scarlotti said standing up. My mom looked at him and sat down on the couch, she gestured for him to get on with it.
“I’ve already asked your husband and your children but I need to ask you as well, do you know anyone who would want to hurt your daughter?”
“No. She was well-liked, everyone loved her.” She said in a detached tone. That’s my mom, ice-cold.
“Ok. Thank you. Do you know if she was involved with anyone, maybe someone older?”
“My daughter didn’t confide in me. I don’t know much about her personal life.” She responded, guilt lacing her words.
“Have you or your husband noticed anyone hanging around the house, maybe following Elizabeth, any prank calls? Scarlotti asked. Both of my parents shook their head.
“I saw someone, yesterday.” Zach said quietly.
“Did you get a good look at him?” Scarlotti asked, encouraged.
“Yeah, I did. I took his picture with my phone. I thought he was the teacher dude. I was going to find out who he was and turn him in.”
“Do you have the phone? I can have the techs get the picture off of it.” Scarlotti asked. Zach reached into his pocket and handed the detective his cell phone.
“Thank you, I think I’ve got all I need for now. I’ll be in touch soon to let you know what’s going on. And I’ll get this phone back to you in a couple of days.” Scarlotti said, rising from the couch. He shook my dad’s hand and nodded towards Zach and my mom. I heard him leave the house. Zach left the room and walked back to his room, I heard his door close and the muffled sound of Type O Negative vibrating out of his room.
My parents sat in the living without speaking, the silence broken only by my father’s tears as he nursed a Miller Light. My mother sat stone still on the couch, seemingly unable to feel.