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Playing With Fire
Hello! I hope everyone enjoys this book, with new chapters out weekly/daily!
Sam Allen’s steps followed her down the empty hallway. They echoed, with every step she took becoming louder as the walls spread apart. Although her steps were slow and steady, her mind was racing. Maybe it was the thrill of being in an empty high school on a Friday night. Maybe a part of her knew what kind of surprises lay in wait just around the corner.
My hands begin to fidget so I stuff them in my pockets. Of course, the day school lets out I am back, roaming the halls. I should be over at Sylvie’s house, ordering Chinese food and watching cheesy Hallmark movies. But no. Instead I am at Westbrook High looking for my computer that Jamie Anderson, my boyfriend, left at the school. When I had arrived at the school, no one was at the front desk, but the door was left unlocked. Most likely from the budget cuts they made this year.
I glance down at the floor, watching my feet move, one after another. I am so distracted that I almost miss it. A classroom door was left open as if someone left in a hurry. I recognize the room as Mr. Wilson’s room, the tenth-grade algebra teacher. Jamie has him fifth period, so I decide to at least look around. In no way do I expect to see the dead body of Mr. Wilson, hanging from a noose.
I had only just reached the doorway when I noticed him. My heart drops to my stomach. I feel my pupils dilate in what can only be fear. I let out a yelp and stumble back out into the hallway. My breath picks up, and when it does, I can smell the awful, wretched stench that must be his blood. I feel my eyes overflow with salty tears, I let them silently drip down my face.
I stay that way for a while. I allow myself five minutes of grief. I sink to the floor, with my back up against the cold, metal lockers. I know my time is up, that those five minutes have passed, but I can’t bring myself to calm down. My brain hops around, searching for an answer as to what to do next. I count to ten. My breathing slows, the tears stop. I get to my feet and pull out my phone. My fingers move without me telling them to as if they know what I need.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
An overly chipper voice from my phone asks. I pause, collecting my thoughts.
“I- I was at my high school, and I saw… I um…Well, I found a dead body.” I state, informatively. This seems to surprise the women on the phone.
“Did you say there’s a dead body? Where are you? Is there anyone with you?” She fires at me, rapidly.
“Yes, there is a dead body. I am at Westbrook High, and no, I’m alone.” Alone and with a dead guy, I think to myself. The lady thanks me, tells me someone is on their way and hangs up.
I stare at my phone for a moment before pocketing it. I glance at the clock. It’s 5:20 pm. My feet drift back over to where Mr. Wilson hangs. I stare at the scene for a moment, taking in the worst of it. In his hand, there is a knife, and in his stomach, there is a hole, with blood still flowing from it. I almost throw up right then and there.
It takes the police four minutes and fifty seconds to arrive at the school. It takes them another minute to find the room I’m in.
About ten police officers arrive all at once, each getting straight to work. A man and a woman, both in uniform, come up to me.
“We’d like ta’ ask a few questions.” The man tells me. I nod, not speaking. The two officers glance at each other before the woman asks the first question.
“What’s your name, sweetie?”
I tell them. “Samantha Ann Allens, but no one calls me Samantha. I go by Sam.”
The man pulls out a notebook and writes this down. They ask me a few more questions about myself. My age, who my family is, whether I attend this school, and so on.
The questions begin to change. They ask why I was here, what time I found the body if I saw anyone nearby. By the time I have finished answering the questions, I realize how bad this makes me look. I came here, alone. I have no alibi. I “found” this body but really I could have easily killed him and called the police to make myself seem innocent. I hope they realize soon that this has nothing to do with me.
“Okay Sam. Thank you for calling us, and we appreciate yer help here. We would like you ta' come back to the station with us so that we get a more detailed analysis of what happened.” The male officer tells me.
“Sure. But let me call my family first and let them know where I’m going.”
“Alright, just tell us when yer ready.”
I give him a half-smile, which is all I can manage, and I cross over to where the door is. My hands are still shaking when I pull out my phone. I decide to call Jamie first. The phone rings. I watch it for a while before it goes to voicemail. I heave a sigh and dial my mom’s phone next. She picks up.
“Where are you? I called Sylvia’s mom and she told me you left their house to get your computer? But why aren’t you at home?”
“Mom! Calm down, I’m fine. I’m at the school right now because that’s where Jamie left it. I let him borrow it.”
“The school?! How did you get in there?”
I roll my eyes and realize this might take a while. I tell her about how the door was unlocked. I don’t tell her that I found a dead body although I’m sure she will eventually find out. I let her know that I will be late for dinner because there’s traffic.
After I hang up, the officers are waiting for me. They motion to the door and I walk into the hallway. They follow closely behind me. I watch my feet move, one after another, just as I did 20 minutes ago. But the difference is, now, watching my feet follow each other, one after the other is the only thing keeping me sane.
I get an escort to the station, with the police cruiser driving with its lights flashing in front of me. The police station is one of the smallest buildings in town. This says a lot because all of the buildings in Westbrook, Massachusetts are small. But it makes sense. For as long as I remember, Westbrook has been a place where crime hasn’t really existed. I mean sure, the occasional robbery would occur. Suicide was decently common, but never has there been a murder.
The more I thought about it the more confused I got. I mean sure, Tom Wilson’s body was hanging from a noose, the knife that fits the wound in his body was in his hand. But it’s too easy. Call it a gut feeling, but I don’t think Tom Wilson killed himself.
When we get to the station, I park my jeep next to the cruiser. The jeep was a gift from my parents, although I paid for half. It’s deep green, my favorite color. I remember the feeling when I woke up on Christmas morning and first saw the green jeep in the driveway. When my mom handed me the keys I didn’t even put on my shoes, I just bounded out into the snow. I close my eyes, wishing I could go back in time to that moment.
I stay like that until a knock on my window makes my eyes flutter open. The policeman raises his eyebrows as if to say ‘Come on.' I reluctantly open the door and get out.
“Sorry I was just-” I begin, but he cuts me off.
“Don’t worry ‘bout it.” He says with a grunt.
The conversation stops there. We reach the door and I open it to find the door is extremely heavy. The police station smells heavily of disinfectant wipes. There are people in uniform buzzing around the building, each on their own mission. As we pass the front desk, my escort yells over his shoulder, “Tell Marshall I’m takin’ the witness to room thirteen!”
Is that what I am? A witness? I didn’t actually see Mr.Wilson get hanged. I didn’t see him get stabbed. But I guess that is the closest word to describe what I am. I am a witness to a crime that I know I did not commit. I just need to prove it.