Cruel Sacrifices

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Andie: Don’t play fuckin’ games with me! Is this U on here, you bastard!

RiverdaleHeightsAlumi: I see I got U upset, huh

Andie: Shannon or Lee, Michael, I know it’s gotta be one of y’all messing with me!

RiverdaleHeightsAlumi: Who da fuck R these people U calling me?

Andie: Shannon, if this U, I’m sorry, we’re sorry it was only an accident! Cody fell! I know you’re pissed with us! Or Tony or Lee or Michael, what in the hell R U doing on here? You need to stop it with your games! Whoever the hell you are! Andrea gasped as she typed.

RiverdaleHeightsAlumi: maybe U forgetting 1 person WHORE! Killer rings a bell?!

Andrea froze, unblinking. She felt like she was in a trance, in the twilight zone.

RiverdaleHeightsAlumi: Yeah, I thought so

Andie: U mean U R the killer from the news?

RiverdaleHeightsAlumi: Hooray, she finally gets one!

Andie: I’m getting off, U bastard!

RiverdaleHeightsAlumi: Before U get off BITCH, U better go check on your friend Pete, he’s lying in the road somewhere on FIFTH AVENUE WAITING TO BE ROADKILL! HAHAHAHA!!!

Andrea saw that the killer had signed off. She felt sick. Fifth Avenue, that’s the same place that Lee took me to talk and to dodged Michael.

Oh my God, Pete lying in the road somewhere! Did that killer already kill again or was he predicting what he was going to do in the future?

I can’t sit here, knowing something bad is about to happen! Andrea called Officer Langley and reported the killer’s threat against Pete.

“Yes, Officer Langley here?”

“Officer, this is Andrea Smith.”

“Yes, I know. What can I do for you, dear?”

“Someone just instant message me on my PC and made a threat against my friend Pete Lowell. I think it was the killer. He said that Pete is going to be lying in the road on Fifth Avenue!” Andrea ranted breathlessly.

“Andrea, calm down. When did you get this instant message?”

“Today, around six. We had been talking for a while and he got angry and made the threat.”

Officer Langley remained silent for a moment.

“Did you hear what I just said, officer?”

“Yes, dear I did. Look, Andrea, I don’t take too kindly for being jerk around-”

Andrea cut in. “What, officer, I’m not joking! I’m serious!”

“Okay, my partner and I will go check on it. But Ms. Smith, you kids have to stop it with the practical jokes. That is a crime. And I don’t want to have to arrest you and your friends for making false police reports.”

“What false police reports, officer?”

“Well, today someone called in the exact same crime, Andrea. Was that you? The young lady sounded just like you.”

“No way, officer! I did not do that!”

“Calm down, Ms. Smith. I only asked you a question. Like I told you, Officer Davis and I are going to check this out again, in the meantime, stay put.”

“Officer, I can’t go and check on my friend-”

“No, Ms. Smith. Stay where you are. If this is serious like you say it is, let us the professionals check it out, okay?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good day, Ms. Smith. And if we find this credible then we’ll get back to you, okay?”

“Yes, thank you.” Andrea, exasperated, gradually hung up the phone.

A young lady already reported to the cops the same thing that I had? Who was that? Was that Shannon or the killer pretending to be a concerned caller reporting something he did?

Or was it Michael or Lee or somebody else? Andrea thought. Andrea sat quietly all through dinner. Barely touching her food.

Her family engaged in conversation without her. The three of them joking around like always.

“Andrea, you all right, sweetie?” her father asked.

“Yeah, Dad, I was thinking, that’s all.”

“About what?” he pressed.

“Uh,” Andrea crinkled her forehead, trying to come up with something convincing, without worrying her parents with what really was bothering her.

“She’s lying, she doesn’t remember what she was thinking about!” laughed Eric.

Andrea rolled her eyes at him and stuck out her tongue.

“Leave your sister alone, she’s already having a rough time lately,” comforted her mother.

“Thanks, Mom,” Andrea answered.

“It’s nothing bad, is it honey?”

“Nope, everything’s fine now.”

“Are you going to eat the rest of your meal?”

“Nah, not right now, Mom. I’m not hungry anymore. I’m going to save it for later.” Andrea had eaten nearly all of the dressing and ribs but left the vegetables and potatoes untouched. She had drunk all of her iced tea as well.

Andrea put her dish in the fridge and ran back upstairs. The rest of her family began to get up to do the same. She anxiously waited for Officer Langley’s call. Almost two hours later, it came. Andrea suddenly realized that the police officer’s tone seemed harsh.

“Look, Andrea, the police department does not have the resources to be investigating false leads. Now, this has got to stop. I warn you earlier about what will happen if this continued. Now, I’m going to give you another chance. Do not call here anymore with your pranks. You kids need to understand that pranks take away time and resources for real leads and crimes that do need us. Lately, we been getting bombarded with so many leads. Many of them false-like this one.”

“But officer, the killer did send me that threat.”

“Look, Andrea, my partner and I went to Fifth Avenue and we came up with absolutely nothing. There was no one lying in the street on Fifth Avenue. Obviously, the person was kidding with you. Did you talk to your friend Pete?”

“I called him a dozen times but he didn’t answer.”

“Did you call your other friends to see if they saw him?”

“I did that too and they told me they haven’t heard from him neither.”

“Well, maybe Pete is playing a joke on all of you. He might be relaxing or went away for a while. His family hasn’t reported him missing.”

“Officer, they may not even know that he’s missing.”

“Or the reason might be because he’s not missing. As I said, Ms. Smith, your friend Pete may be hanging with new friends or having a good time somewhere. Which is what you and your friends should be doing instead of making false reports to the police department. Anyway, Ms. Smith, with some of your friends’ cases going on. Like the now closed investigation with Cody, whose death was ruled an accident and Rebbie being an endangered runaway, and now this prank with your friend Pete, we have a case overload.”

“Officer, like I told you before, I’m not lying! Rebbie really is missing and the killer has been threatening my friends for some time now!”

“Ms. Smith, you need to relax. Don’t call the police unless you’re sure that a crime has taken place. I’m going to let you go and if you are telling the truth then that simply means that the truth has a way of getting out. And we are getting new leads in this investigation against the killer, so no need to worry about that, okay?”

“Okay, thanks, officer.”

“No problem. And we will be at the memorial tomorrow. So have a nice day, Ms. Smith.”

“Yeah, you too, Officer Langley.”

The memorial was somber and quiet, you could hear a pin drop inside the school. Andrea and her friends were listening to Shannon speak about her brother Cody.

A big portrait showed Cody smiling, obviously during a happier time, not like what Andrea saw of him on the night he died. Andrea watched the tears streak from Shannon’s face. Everybody, the students and teachers were dressed up in dark attire.

Andrea didn’t mean to speak ill of the dead but she was surprised that this many people came to Cody’s memorial.

Because he had been the school’s biggest nerd or social outcast, to put it mildly. Andrea could feel tears at the corners of her eyes. She saw flowers, candles, cards littered by Cody’s pictures.

Andrea heard a door quietly open. Her eyes met the police officers Langley and Davis as they stood in the back.

She knew the student body was attending the public memorial out of their respect for Shannon. It was probably because of her popularity that half the school came this Saturday.

I see the officers kept their word, Andrea thought. Shannon finished her speech and blew a kiss near Cody’s shrine. She walked off the stage. Andrea glanced at her.

She held Shannon’s stern stare for a long moment before Shannon walked away and sat by a group of students. Andrea saw she wanted to sit as far away from us as possible. The minister had just wrapped up his speech before Andrea and the others followed Shannon outside.

Andrea broke away from her clique, now consisting of Tony, Maria, Joyce, Trish, Antonio, and Josh. Rebbie was still missing and none of them had heard from Pete yet.

But Andrea had already expected the worst. She jogged over to Shannon as the other students patted her on the back and gave their condolences. Shannon was walking fast as if she was in a hurry.

“Shannon, wait!” Andrea called as she ran. Shannon kept walking as if she didn’t hear her. “Shannon, please wait! Hold on!” Andrea tried again.

This time Shannon slowed her stride. She turned around and look at Andrea. The frigid wind blew her hair from side to side, it almost got into her mouth.

The look Shannon gave Andrea was a mixture of hurt and sadness. Andrea saw no traces of anger or contempt this time.

“Yeah, what is it?” Shannon called back as Andrea caught up with her, breathing hard. Billows of white smoke came out of her mouth.

“Say, Shannon, I am so sorry about what happened with Cody. You didn’t give me a chance to explain.”

“I’m sorry too, Andrea.”

Andrea gave her a weird look. Is she losing it? She’s sorry for what?

“I’m sorry for yelling at you and cussing you out,” Shannon told her as if reading her mind. “I should’ve listened to you. I was so mad that day.”

“It’s okay. I mean you have a right to be mad after all. We did a cruel thing with Cody. We never should have played that prank on him. Never should have had that party...” Andrea’s voice trailed off.

“Yeah, y’all shouldn’t have. It’s all right now. I forgive you. You have been nothing but a friend to me, Andrea. I guess I overreacted, huh.”

The two girls were silent for a moment. Shannon even gave Andrea a half smile. They both watched from afar the others hanging around Tony’s jeep.

“Y’all still don’t know what happened to Rebbie and Pete?” Shannon wanted to know.

“No, we don’t,” Andrea told her as they begin to walk near the others.

“I’m headed to Rebbie’s house to talk to her mother. Maybe she can tell us something about Rebbie’s disappearance. The police believe she ran away. I heard her mother gave them a note of sorts, detailing that Rebbie had planned to go away. She’s eighteen, I don’t know, maybe she did go away. But it doesn’t make sense, ya know,” Andrea finished her monologue.

“And why is that?” Shannon asked.

“Because Rebbie had her whole life ahead of her. She liked this town even more than I did. She wanted to stay in Arkansas and work. She wanted to be an actress. She had auditioned for plays at the Rep and The Public Theater. Of course, if she wanted to be a real actress, she’ll have to leave here but she wanted a start for her goals somewhere. The girl was a true Razorbacks fan and everything. A small town Arkie,” Andrea laughed.

Shannon smiled. “I see.”

“Like I said, it just doesn’t make sense that she would up and leave out of the blue. She would have told us. Especially, Pete, we don’t even know if she told him. Now he’s disappeared on us. It really is strange. I just keep having this feeling that something’s happened to them both. Somebody out there had something to do with their disappearance.”

“Maybe it’s that serial killer of Summerville,” Shannon suggested.

“Yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking. You wanna head over Rebbie’s with me?” Andrea asked her.

“Yeah, I’m puzzled too about what could have happened with her.”

“Let’s go then.”

Andrea and Shannon walked over to Tony’s ride.

“Hey, girls, y’all wanna head over to Reb’s house and check on her mama?” Andrea asked.

“Yeah, I been wanting to talk with her too.”

“See you guys later,” Trish waved to the guys.

“Andrea, you wanna hang out later tonight?” Tony asked.

Andrea gulp. She was surprised that Tony was trying to make up with her so soon.

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