Dark Tales The Collection

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Chapter Ten

Prom Night

Laura looked at herself in her mirror. She was nervous about that night. She was all dressed up in her mom’s old prom dress. One of the only things that she had left of her mother’s. Laura slid on a few rings before getting her high heels on. She knew that it was probably a bad idea to wear them in case he went after her that night but she didn’t want to make it seem like something was wrong.

There was a knock at her door. Laura turned to see her father standing there. “Are you ready to go?” Mr. Rogers asked.

Laura nodded. She was about as ready as she would ever be. Sure she wasn’t going with Ted but that couldn’t be helped. She had a bigger mission to do at that time. She looked at her watch. Hopefully by the time prom was over, she would have exposed one of the biggest secrets in the town.

“You remind me so much of your mother right now.” Mr. Rogers said. Laura looked at her dad. “She looked nervous too before her first prom.” Mr. Rogers went on. “Part of me was expecting her to change her mind on the way to the prom and say to me that she couldn’t go through with going to prom.” He smiled. “But luckily she didn’t.”

Laura smiled. “I should get going Dad.” She said. Mr. Rogers smiled and left the room. Laura took a breath and went into the hallway. The words weren’t there. Hopefully, that was a good thing. She didn’t want to be reminded that the person she looked so much like had been murdered on her prom night in the same bedroom. With that thought, Laura rushed out of her room.

At the school, Laura was walking down the hallway to the gym where the prom was being held. She was a bit surprised that they were going to hold the prom in the gym. She had seen the gym the first day she had been there and it looked small. She went through the doors to the gym and looked around. It looked like the entire eleventh and twelfth grade classes were there dancing. She wasn’t certain if James was there or not. It was important though for him to be there. He would finally get closure and be able to move on once she told the truth to everyone about what had happened that terrible night.

Laura then spotted James. He was standing off to the side of the gym by himself. Not that anyone else would be able to see him. Laura sighed with relief and went over to him. Now if anyone saw her, they would think she was standing off to the side by herself. One thing she hated about ghosts. They could be invisible to just about everyone but only a few people, or in this case, just be visible to her.

“Is he here yet?” Laura asked James as she looked around the gym again. There was no sign of Anthony.

James shook his head. “It’s possible that he won’t even be here tonight.” He replied. “Not after you let it slip that you know more than he realized.” Noticing that Laura was looking at him, he continued. “I was at your school to hear you talk about that night. If he didn’t know before that day how much you knew, he does now.”

Laura knew that she couldn’t do anything to change that and that it was too late to go back and not do what the two of them were planning. She had to do this. That was when she spotted him. Her eyes widened. He was staring at James and her. “There he is.” She told James quietly. That was when she saw the way he was looking towards her. Laura realized that he could see James too. That would make sense. Anthony did have a role to play that night and it was clear that his past was catching up to him.

Laura then saw Anthony walking quickly out of the gym. Since he was one of the chaperones, anyone else would just think he was doing a patrol of part of the school to make sure that none of the students snuck off. She knew though that she couldn’t let him leave. There was no telling if he was going to disappear again. “Let’s get him.” Laura told James.

The two left the gym. “Which way did he go?” James asked.

Laura looked both ways and that was when she saw him. Anthony was heading towards the teacher parking lot. So the man was trying to run away and disappear like he had done all those years before. “This way.” She said. The two of them ran towards the exit for the teacher parking lot. By the time they got to the door, Anthony was heading towards the car.

Laura refused to let him get away. She pushed the door open and James and she got outside. “Stop!” She shouted at Anthony. The man stopped and turned around. “It’s over Mr. Thorton. You and I both know that you know the truth about that night.”

Mr. Thorton grimaced. This was about to turn ugly really quickly.“How did you know who I really was?” He demanded. “I knew that you knew back when you asked me to share my theory about my disappearance.”

Laura crossed her arms over her chest. “I knew when I looked up Anthony Colby on the internet.” She told him. “You never thought someone would try to find you, did you?”

Mr. Thorton sighed and nodded. “I didn’t think anyone would try to get witnesses to that horrible event.” He told Laura. “Especially a witness who had been gone for forty six years.” Everything was ruined now. “But I see that you do know more than I thought you did.” He continued. “Especially if you’re with him.” He gestured to James. “I always heard that the Abandoned House was supposedly haunted but I never believed it.”

Mr. Thorton looked at James. “Nice to see you again after all these years James.” He told the ghost. “If I had known that you were still around, I would have burned your body instead of just letting the police find your dead body. Save me the trouble of having to disappear and completely reinvent myself.” He smiled. “How does it feel to be dead by the way?”

James balled his fists. “How about I show you what it’s like.” He said.

Mr. Thorton laughed. “Really? You’re going to threaten me as a ghost?” He laughed again. “You can’t touch me James. One of the benefits of being alive while you’re dead.”

Laura shook her head. “I don’t understand though.” She said. “Why would you murder Jessica and James? Especially since you were going to the prom with Jessica that night?” None of it made any sense to her. It was like there was still a piece of the puzzle missing.

Mr. Thorton removed his glasses and looked at Laura. “I don’t expect you to understand Ms. Rogers.” He said. “After all I did check up on who you were. Straight A student, boyfriend who would never leave you despite the distance, and everything you ever wanted.” He scoffed. “Me? I was adopted which was covered up my parents. No one ever knew that. It’s why it was so easy for me to change back to my birth last name. I wanted to date the most popular girl and spread rumors about James so that everyone would hate him.”

He smiled. “I was homeschooled until I started going here my junior year.” He explained. “When I came here, I started charming Jessica. I could tell that she was starting to like me. But when I asked her to be my girlfriend, she said that she wouldn’t leave James. So it got ugly real quick.” Mr. Thorton glared at James. “I threatened to hurt you and make it look like you had done it to yourself unless she agreed to do what I wanted.”

Laura thought back to the story. It was starting to make sense and was a complete setup. “So that’s why you asked her to the prom in front of everyone.” She said. “To make sure that everyone saw James fight you and make it look like he was as dangerous as you told people he was.”

Mr. Thorton nodded. “It worked too. Everyone believed me and the lies I forced Jessica to tell.” He said. “But then the day of prom, she told me over the phone she was going to come clean and tell the truth. About me threatening to hurt James, how I had set James up to get arrested.”

Mr. Thorton shook his head and smiled. “I admit I lost my cool for a bit there. But luckily for me, I was able to make it look like James had murdered Jessica. All I had to do was drug James’s food with a drug that wouldn’t be detectable when they ran an autopsy. Then I snuck him out while he was passed out and dying from the poisonous drugs. By the time I got to Jessica’s house, he was dead in the trunk. Then I killed Jessica in her room. Knowing how violent James was supposed to be from the rumors I spread, I made it look like he had killed Jessica.”

“Why though?” Laura asked. “Why did you kill James if you were going to set him up to take the fall? He was already believed to be dangerous. You could have just drugged him enough to leave him alive in the woods and have the police find him with the murder weapon.” She knew it sounded bad saying that but it sounded like Mr. Thorton did too much.

Mr. Thorton laughed. “And have what happened? The police look into other people who would have a motive for just killing Jessica?” He asked before shaking his head. “No. Killing both of them would make it look like James had finally snapped. Especially after putting the murder weapon in his hand after giving him a nasty cut.”

Mr. Thorton then took out a knife. “Now I have to do the same to you Laura.” He told her. “I can’t have anyone exposing my secret.”

Laura couldn’t believe him. Did people really think she would do that to herself? She wasn’t the type of person to do that stuff. “People will wonder why I did it.” She told Mr. Thorton. “And I have no reason to.”

Mr. Thorton smiled. “You’ll do it because you feel like everyone is against you. They’ll all think that you thought you were Jessica and that living was too much without Anthony to take care of you.” It seemed easy to him. “When I’m asked, I’ll just tell the police I tried to talk you out of it but that I wasn’t successful.” Mr. Thorton took a step towards Laura.

James ran towards Mr. Thorton. “You murdered Jessica!” James shouted. To both Laura and Mr. Thorton’s surprise, James tackled the teacher to the floor. “You took her away from everyone!” James shouted. “You’re the murderous boyfriend, not me.” The two guys fought over the knife. As they fought, Mr. Thorton stiffened up a bit before slumping to the ground. The knife was sticking into his body where his heart was.

James got to his feet and looked at Laura. “You’re safe now.” He told her. He smiled. “I wasn’t able to save Jessica but I was able to save you.”

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