Chris was a little embarassed, considering the current circumstance. He was alone, with a girl. It was a bit unusual for him, possibly harmless. It had been almost a year since he was last seen with a girl. His bitterness drove him to the edge and repelled most decent girls. He enjoyed the attention, as long as it wasn't something serious. His attitude was more then enough to keep girls at a distance. Atleast from there, they could gawk and dream about him from a safe zone, without igniting his temper.
As Nadia gathered her thoughts, Chris looked out into the open and took up his camera. Zooming in on the fountain, he snapped the picture. Reviewing it, he realized the photo bomb with dark blonde hair. Taking up his camera one more time, he took another picture of the fountain. Then he turned his attention back to Nadia. "Why did she follow me to the park anyways?" He thought. "Oh. Thats right. I offered her to come along. I didn't think she would actually do it."
"Listen. I'm no psychiatrist but I think it would be better if you talked to your own friends about this situation."
Nadia stared at Chris, trying to focus, every moving thing seemed to catch her attention. A girl of familiar features walked past and settled on the bench behind the tree.
"I'm sorry I don't know what happened! I kept seeing you around school and your the closest to a friend I've got and I didn't mean to hurt him I really didn't and I don't know what to do because I can't look at that car with out feeling sick and...Could I go to prison? My Dad would so kill me if I- Oh god! He can't kill me because I did it, I got there first but he wanted the hammer and I couldn't! Not again!"
Nadia couldn't stop. She was throwing up words faster and faster until she had no breathe left. She leant back against the tree and just breathed. She stared at the ground.
"I'm scared..." Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked up to Chris for advice, not advice really but comfort, or maybe just... No, she didn't know what she wanted, just some reassurance really.
Nadia's circumstance wasn't sitting well with Chris, but what could he do? "I suppose it wouldn't help too much if I told you my brother is a persecutor and he wins all his cases?" Nadia buried her face in her knees. Chris sighed. "Well the obvious is, you killed your own father, but there must be some hidden reason for why you did it?"
Chris realized the bruises on Nadia's skin were familiar to him. "A hammer you said? Was that your fathers weapon of choice for abusing you?" Nadia said nothing. "I had similiar bruises last semester from my wood shop."
This comment lifted Nadia's mood ever so slightly as she imagined Chris hitting himself with a hammer and cursing, making her giggle ever so slightly. She looked up at Chris and remembered the situation, she held back her tears.
"Are you going to tell on me?" She whispered, not managing to raise her voice any more.
Nadia was a good girl. She always bought in homework on time, she should be an straight A student but that would get her noticed so she kept to her C's with occasional B's, she was polite and always remembered her manors but she believed in karma and couldn't work out what on earth she had done so wrong to get her into this mess.
"Would your brother help me-" She cut short her sentence not wanting to sound greedy by wanting to save herself. Nadia pulled her self to her feet.
"I'm so sorry, I should go. I didn't mean to lay this all on you just... just promise you won't say anything, please?" Nadia stood there, not really wanting to leave but wanting to appear braver than she really was in front of Chris. "It wasn't just a hammer you know. He has different weapons in different places, the hammer is just for the car... he hit me because I forgot a book..." Nadia lifted her sleeve to show a series of cuts and different shaped bruises. "This one was in the kitchen for making his cereal too soggy" She pointed to the cuts that were slashed along her arms, then pointed to the other bruises. "These were in the bathroom for only buying 2ply toilet paper, I don't know if this would help me in court but-" Nadia sniffled, wiped a tear from her cheek and stood, staring at the ground.
The girl's words resonated within Janey as she caught her breath. She dared not look in their direction; the last thing she wanted was for them to find out that she was listening. Yet this wasn't just curiosity anymore. Somehow, she was suddenly a lot more involved than she would've ever expected. Killing? Abuse? This was practically second degree murder they were discussing.
Janey couldn't listen anymore. She'd heard it all. This was a secret; she had no intention of spilling it. She honestly wasn't sure that they were being completely truthful, anyway. This whole thing seemed too random to be real. At the same time, something kept bugging her. A detail she'd missed, maybe? She thought hard, trying to remember what it was. Fumbling through her notebook, Janey flipped back a page and retread what she'd scribbled down. Suddenly she found it. A car. She'd passed a stalled car on the way to the park, in the school lot. It had seemed a bit odd that it was just sitting there. Still...
Janey blinked down at her watch. She still had ten minutes till next block; just enough time to check for the car, and be in class when the bell rung. Slowly, she packed her novel and notebook back in her bag. Trying to stay inconspicuous, she stood up and brushed off the back of her pants before walking back the way she came. There was no time to lose.
Chris snickered. "My brother can't help you. Being a persecutor, he will try to prove you guilty. I don't want to be the one to put you in that situation." Chris realized how insensitive he was acting and bowed his head. His bangs now covering his eyes.
"I won't tell anyone. But in the worst case cenario, you may need to turn yourself in, instead of trying to run away. Being an accident, your punishment may not be so severe. Better yet, they
may take pity on you, if they can prove you were being abused and it was just self defense. That would be completely harmless and you won't have a record. Unfortunately, that is a slim chance."
The situation was less tense, until he held up his camera again and took Nadia's picture. "In case the teachers wonder where you were, you were having your photo taken for yearbook." He winked.
As she rounded the corner, Janey could see the school clearly, only a block or two away. Her view of the front entrance was obscured by the bushes lining the sidewalk but, walking closer, she caught a glimspe of the front lot. The car she'd passed earlier was still there. It was a dingy red, older model car. Wading through the bushes, she reached the paved lot and slowly approached the car. It had been sitting there a while. But there's no way that that girl killed someone. Someone would've found the body by now, reasoned Janey in her mind. Still, she felt uneasy about looking in the car. Something in the girl's voice left her wondering.
Reaching the car, Janey walked around the side slowly. She didn't see anything inside other than a few books and tools scattered on the back seat. That girl must've been lying, thought Janey. Maybe to impress that guy she was talking to. She walked to the front of the car, her own conviction appeasing her worry. Then her heart stopped.
There he was, slumped in the front seat. A man, his eyes closed and his head resting on the steering wheel. There was only a tickle of blood to be seen, but the hammer that lay menacingly on the seat beside him said it all. Janey staggered back from the car, her mind spinning. She could see his face; expressionless and cold. Her mind flashed back to another face, looking much the same way, bordered by hospital sheets and IV tubes. She closed her eyes and tried to forget the memory, to push it away. This was all too real. There really was a dead man in the car. More death. More pain. The girl really did do it. She couldn't have. But she did. She had to have. And now she was involved. She was seeing more death. Not again. This couldn't be happening...
Janey stood up, and looked at the car again. It was most definitely real. The car was still there. She'd seen death before; stared him down, even. But this was the last thing she wanted. Nonetheless, she had to do something. But what? The thought that someone may see her with the car flashed in her mind with a jolt, and she realized she needed to leave the scene immediately. Still shaken, Janey took one last glance at the car and the dead driver before slowly walking back to the school doors.
As Chris lowered the camera after taking Nadia's picture she turned and walked away from him.
Nadia didn't know what to do. She couldn't go back to school. The car was there. She couldn't go home. What would her 'Mum' do? Nadia could only think of one thing.
She walked up to Chris again, shaking uncontrollably, not because she was cold, not because she was scared but because she was terrified. "Good bye. I won't bother you any more, I'm so, so sorry." She nodded and walked away. As she did so she bought a notepad and pen out from her pocket and scribbled down a quick a message.
"I have committed a crime, a sin. I can not live with myself for it and I know for a fact no one wanted me alive anyway. My Dad would always shout at me, 'You can't do anything right! If you ever learn how to do something, I prey it's learning to tie a noose!' He actually made me tie nooses when I was younger as a punishment if I ran away from a beating. Anyway, in five hours, I will be hanging in garage 666 in the far west of town. If you save me in time, I will turn myself in for my crime and take whatever punishment I am given. If you don't save me then, goodbye. It was nice almost knowing you. Nadia. xoxo"
She tore the piece of paper out from her pad and left it stuck to the bench behind the tree.
Nadia looked back to see if Chris was looking but she couldn't see much as her eyes were so teary. She turned away, took a deep breathe and held it as a clumsy tear fell from her eye and tumbled down her cheek.
"Goodbye Chris" She whispered.
Before Chris could say anything, Nadia had already walked away. He looked down at the ground again, while placing his camera in the front pocket of his back pack. The wind had picked up and the movement of the trees seemed dream like. Unfortunately, he remembered waking up that morning. He looked back at Nadia, watching her scratch something on a notebook. A diary?
His phone vibrated in his pocket, catching him by surprise.
"Where are you and why didn't you take me with you? Math was hell." -Philip
Philip, Chris's best friend and the biggest pain in the a**. He is the star quarterback for the school's football team and boyfriend to the ever famous head cheerleader, Vicky. (Icky as most call her.) He wasn't so bad, but he wasn't much of a people person. When together, Chris normally did all the talking. Chris rolled his eyes. Normally, Philip asked for advice on how to deal with women, but since last year, it hasn't gone over very well.
Chris responded to the text. "It was a last minute decision. You were already in class. Besides, you owe me for the last time I took the heat from the principal, for ditching."
Chris brushed his bangs back to read the reply. "You're right. I'm being selfish. Next ditch, I'll take the blame I just wish I could get out of class the rest of the day."He smiled and threw his bag over his shoulder. Looking over, he noticed Nadia had placed the piece of paper on the bench and disappeared. The wind picked it up and Chris caught it mid-air. Raising an eyebrow, he read the note. His eyes widened and his pulse rose. "Philip, your wish is my command. I need your help."
Nadia had already made it to the garage where she half heartedly intended to end her life. She honestly thought no one wanted her alive anyway and that people wanted her dead. Since when did her life become so dramatic?
Nadia examined the ceiling and found a place to rest her chair underneath it. She collected a piece of rope from under a work bench and started tying her life into a noose.
"Stop shaking!" She whispered to herself. Her hands were shaking so much she felt like they were maracas. Nadia didn't want to die. Not really. But she felt it was better for the rest of the world if she wasn't in the way.
She pulled out her notepad again and scribbled down how she felt about being unwanted in the world and how she was doing every one a favour. She pinned the note to the front of her dress.
Nadia had put on the one thing she had left of her real mum. Her wedding dress. Nadia felt close to her somehow and decided this was the better way to go. Nadia hung the nooses, and stood on the chair...
An hour later, Philip met Chris outside the front entrance. "Whats the big panic? You got bored by yourself?" Philip was wearing his letterman's jacket and fiddling with his pocket knife as he came down the steps. "Someone is in trouble." Philip narrowed his eyes. "What? Are they about to make the biggest mistake of their life?" "I don't really know her, but I'm not just gonna stand by and let someone hurt themself." Philip smirked. "Does she got a thing for you?" Chris punched him in the arm. "Hey! I need that for pracitce later." Chris glared at him. "If you make it there alive."
Philip put his knife away and leaned against the railing. "What is your deal?" Chris grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. "Do you need an explanation for everything? The one person I truly love is gone because I couldn't save her in time. I'm not taking risks anymore. I know something and I'm going to take care of it! She's going to kill herself!" "What the hell!" Philip caught Chris by the arms and yanked him off. "Are you insane? Why didn't you say something sooner!" "My best friend is an idiot." Philip looked hurt in his eyes by this, but he brushed it off. There was a long pause, before either of them said anything. Chris took the note out again and re-read it. He was trembling, wanting to scream. Everything was fine in his life for just a moment, until the reality hit him like a brick wall.The pain and agony he had tried to forget.
He ran down the sidewalk towards the red car, Philip behind him. "What are you doing?" Chris looked inside, than banged his fist against the window, breaking it. "I thought she was bluffing." Philip looked inside. "Holy S***!" "You need to drive." Philip nodded and the two booked it towards Philip's car. "What is going on?" Philip asked Chris. "This girl named Nadia, she was who I was with, but by accident." "Accident?" Philip repeated. "Yes! That's just how it happened. She told me she was scared because she killed her father this morning with a hammer. I thought she was just trying to get some attention, the way your dumb girlfriend claimed you got her pregnant last year." Philip was speechless. "It was self defense though. Her father beats her." "Beat her. Not much he can do now." Philip corrected.
"We need to get to this address." Chris showed him the paper. "That's on the other side of town. About an hour from here." Chris leaned his head on the window. "Thanks for the obvious. Can you get us there?" Philip said nothing. He put on his seatbelt and put his car in reverse. Chris's heart pumped fast as the car picked up speed. He thought of the night that changed his life almost instantaneously. He tried to distract himself. But nothing helped. Chris, Philip and Annie were in this very car when it happened. She had taken her seatbelt off just for a moment, when they had the collision with the semi. Annie had been thrown from the car and out on the road. Philip was bleeding and barely conscience. "Go check on her. I'm fine." Chris got out carefully, with two broken ribs and crawled to her side. She wasn't breathing , for the glass that permeated her chest.
Chris gave Annie CPR and she gasped for air, but only for a moment to say his name. "Chris." Then, she died. Right there, in his arms. He cried for days, knowing that no one in this world cared for him as much as she did. His mother had passed away years before, due to illness and his father didn't give a damn. His brothers were brothers. Nothing but meat heads.Chris had friends, but it still wasn't the same. He could relate to Nadia, in ways he hadn't seen before. He felt like such an idiot. Philip saw the pain thrashing inside of Chris. "I know." Was all he said, as they continued down the road.
Outside, the two boys, the dark-haired one and some other guy (his friend, she supposed,) were talking. The guy with the letteman jacket fingered his knife, as the boy from the park spoke. Janey stood inside the doors of the school, watching them. She'd been killing time in the library, when she saw the boy with the dark hair go by. Of course, she couldn't remember his name to save his life. Nonetheless he looked worried. Something in his eyes made her get up and follow him. As he went outside the school, she had stood inside the door, staying partially hidden.
Suddenly the boy ran over to the red car, his jacketed friend following him, and smashed his fist at the window, making it shatter. Janey ran outside, not caring about being stealthy anymore. She could hear the boys talking. Now they had seen the dead man, too. Now there was four people in this mess. This was it. She had to find out what was going on.
Before Janey could move, the two boys ran to another car, and got inside. She panicked- they were leaving. After what they'd just seen, she doubted they were going for a lunch run. She ran towards the vehicle; down the steps, and onto the front walk. But she was too late. The car didn't even notice her; it wheeled straight by, accelerating down the school lot and onto the road, stopping at the nearby light a minute later. Her heart sank. A second later, Janey began running as fast as possible after the car. If they stayed at the light long enough, maybe she could catch them. She hoped she wasn't making a ridiculous mistake.
Chris kept checking the clock. A nervous habit. Nothing was said when the two were at the stop light. Philip was breathing heavily, but he looked very serious compared to Chris who easily could have seen a ghost. Everything was happening so fast. They didn't know what to do. "Should we call the cops?" Chris shook his head. But before he could respond, he noticed a girl running towards their car. "Hey. She was at the park with Nadia and I. I recognize her from the picture I took today." Philip turned his head around and looked. The light had turned green and he wasn't paying attention. "Do you think she knows something?"
"Why else would she follow us? She's not selling girl scout cookies." Chris leaned back and unlocked the back door. The driver behind them layed on the horn and Philip flipped him off. The big man opened his car door and started running in their direction.....
Janey ran towards the car. She could see the driver looking back at her as she approached. The car made no attempt to pull away as the light went green. As she passed the car behind them, a horn wailed in her ear, cutting out all other sound. Turning to see what the problem was, a man got out of the car and advanced towards the boys' car, looking furious. He began to yell. Janey's nerves began to tick. Oh no. She had not just run all that way to be pulled over.
Making the final steps to the car's rear door, she yelled over the car at the angry man. "Back off! Or I'll call the cops for harassement!" She screamed. Thinking the car door was locked, she jigged the handle violently, adrenaline pumping through her brain. Luckily, the boys hadn't locked it. Swinging herself into the car before the man could reply, she slammed the door quickly. "Drive." she said. "Now."
Philip floored it and off they went. Chris turned around to look out the back window, then at the girl. "So. What do you know exactly?" He asked. Philip turned the car sharply, hitting the curb, as he did. "Was Wal-mart giving out driver's license's when you got yours?" He said sarcastically. "Shut up. I'm Philip by the way. Star quarterback." He didn't take his eyes off the road. "I'm Chris. You are?" His heart kept pumping fast and his hands were shaking. He felt so weird, yet he didn't understand his feelings about the situation. He contemplated calling his older brother, but he didn't want to further the severity of the situation. If Nadia was seriously going to kill herself, they needed to approach her cautiously. And by they, Chris meant him. He was the only one who was supposed to read it. Hesitantly, he took the note out of his pocket and handed it to the girl in the back.