A Shade of Halloween

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Chapter Fifteen

At lunch time, I had finally had enough of school. Instead of sitting at the cafeteria and engaging in long sessions of ’how are you, Selena’ and ’it’s gonna be okay’ with condoning students, I opted to go to the flower shop. I still hadn’t gone to say goodbye to Alex and I believed I felt up to it now. Alex’s favorite color was navy blue so I made a bouquet with blue Orchids and white Spring Starflowers.

I walked to the cemetery which was several blocks away from campus. I needed the walk because it helped with my nerves. I wasn’t really sure what to say to Alex when I got there and I thought I could use the time to come up with a few lines. I didn’t. When I wasn’t drawing blanks, I was coming up with silly things like I’m sorry you’re dead. Who says that?

By the time I got to the cemetery, there were just a handful of people visiting their departed loved ones. Mostly old people really, but I guessed it was normal. It was mid-afternoon and most people were busy at work or school or whatever else they did to keep them busy. I already knew where Alex’s headstone was because I asked my mom. I walked straight to it and placed my bouquet of flowers close to the others there and just stared. It was weird. For the number of times I teased Alex, it was surprising to have nothing to say to him now. I sat on the grass and continued staring at the headstone. That was when the inscription registered itself in my head.

Alex Orwell Black (1999 – 2016).

I never knew Alex had a middle name. What was more surprising was what that middle name was – Orwell. My mind went straight to the Selena Ryder book I had read in the library the last time I was there. That Selena’s best friend who was murdered happened to be named Alexander Orwell. Now, I was really confused. Not only did he have the same name as my Alex – at least the first two names, he was murdered the same way! That was too much of a coincidence for me. I didn’t know if anyone else would have ignored it, but I couldn’t. I knew I had to go back to the library immediately and read more of that book. It was probably going to have some clues about what was going on around me. Everything was getting way too creepy for me to sit back and ignore.

“Selena.” I heard my name behind me and jumped.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.” Detective Howard said, walking towards me with an almost expressionless look on his face.

I lifted myself off the ground. “Hi, Detective.”

“I was at your school and one of your classmates said you went to the flower shop. I figured you were coming here. If it’s okay, I’ll like to have a quick discussion with you once you’re done paying your respects to your friend.”

I hope this has nothing to do with the note.

“Um… I was just leaving.” I replied.

“Can we talk in the car then?” He asked.

“Sure.” I walked back to his car with him and took the passenger’s seat.

“I wanted to update you on the case about your roommate before the press release this evening.” He said.

My fingers reflexively clutched the seat of his car from nervousness, as I waited for his next words.

“I’m sorry to inform you that the case is inconclusive at this point. The victim’s autopsy report revealed the cause of death to be severe blood loss from an injury to the neck. He had no prints on him and there were no traces of his blood anywhere in the room where his body was found. What we’ve been able to deduce is that the murder didn’t happen in that room because there would have been traces of blood if it did. What we don’t know however, is the motive behind his murder. There has been no other recorded murder like his recently. We also do not know if this is an isolated case or something that’s going to repeat itself. I know how difficult this must be for you to hear – with the killer still at large, but I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to track him down with the minimal clues we have. We’ll keep your family updated if anything new turns up.”

I released my grip on the car seat and just stared at the detective. I was relieved to know I wasn’t a suspect but that bothered me. It’s not like I wanted to be a suspect but the fact that I wasn’t one, confirmed that they didn’t see the note I wrote about Alex’s murder. If they didn’t see it and I couldn’t find it, then where was it?

“Are you okay, Selena?” Detective Howard asked when he noticed I wasn’t saying anything.

“Um… yeah. I guess I can only hope the killer is found soon.” I replied. “Thanks for letting me know.”

“Where are you headed? I can give you a ride.” He stated, looking at me with sympathetic eyes.

“Back to campus. I need to go to the library.” I replied.

Detective Howard nodded and drove the car out of the parking lot.

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