This was the only thing to watch on television lately. Every station was talking about the murder of 17-year-old May Hart.
This was a story of a lifetime for reporters, impervious town has gone rogue. The reporters have started to flock the once amicable town like a bunch of hungry vultures surrounding a carcass.
Black Hill has always been secluded and wasn’t really known by many outsiders. People often drive through to get to the next town, but it’s not really a tourist attraction.
I had never even heard of Black Hill until my father announced that he got the job as the Sheriff, the town was also hard to find on Google. My father and I packed our bags and moved all the way here from sunny California. The weather was also something to get used to since its subzero weather was the opposite to the constant heat of California.
“You ready, Mia?” My dad asked dressed in his new uniform and his golden badge that had Sheriff engraved. My dad always had this habit of calling me Mia instead of Amelia.
“I’m ready to go, Sheriff.” I said pushing a piece of my brunette hair behind my ear, a habit of mine for as long as I can remember, and he offered me a small smile.
He walked to his police vehicle that the station issued him, and I walked to my dad’s old car that he bought me the day I got my license. It’s an old, beaten up Chevy Pickup, but I liked it because it had character and it always got me from A to B. I was about to climb into my car until I heard my dad yell my name in his scruffy voice, I call it his work voice, and I instantly looked up to his direction.
“Please try and make friends for once.” He told me before climbing in his car and driving off.
Black Hill High was a lot bigger than I expected it to be. I thought since there weren’t many residents within the town that the school would be meagre. There are tons of students hanging around the front entrance and I struggled to make my way through the crowd, but I eventually managed to squeeze my way inside. The hallways were spacious, even with the lockers, so I could easily walk through without bumping into anyone. I looked around for what seemed like forever until I finally managed to locate a sign above a door that read Office. The office was completely deserted, apart from an old gray-haired lady sitting behind a counter that seemed to be a little too high for her, since I could only see her eyes and above. I walked up and she instantly gave me a warm smile and I tried to make my smile seem as sincere as possible but I’m certain she could see the dull look in my green eyes, I didn’t want to be here.
“You must be Amelia Beckett.” She said and started searching for something before I could even reply.
She got a dark blue file that had my name on and handed it all to me and I softly thanked her.
“That’s your class schedule and locker combination. We don’t get many new students around here.” She said and I thanked her once more before groggily exiting the office.
I saw that my first class was English, my favorite subject, I’ve always had a thing for English. I’ve always enjoyed writing, creating my own fantasy world through words always seemed appealing to me and it always relaxed me in a way.
Growing up, I had always had an obsession for literature, my favorite is, of course, Shakespeare. In my old school, I worked for the school newspaper and always did a segment in the literary section, but this school doesn’t have a school newspaper or anything other than sports, so my writing would have to resort to being written in my private journal but I suppose it’s better that way considering I’m trying to keep a low profile.
I slipped my locker combination and the map of the hallways that the office lady provided me with. After a few wrong turns and near slight encounters of colliding with other students, I eventually managed to find my way to my locker.
I immediately put in my combination and started to shove everything inside it, except for my English textbook. I walked into the class, even though there was still ten minutes until it started, and I saw only the teacher was in there and a girl sitting in the middle seat of the front row.
“You must be our new student.” I heard a booming voice say and I saw the teacher give me a kind smile.
He seemed a bit young to be a teacher, like he just graduated. He had short blonde hair that was spiked up a bit and he had dark blue eyes. He was quite attractive if you were into the older guy thing, which I wasn’t.
“Well Ms. Beckett, there aren’t really any seating arrangements for this class. So, you can sit wherever you want.” He said and flashed me one more smile before he started to write something on the board.
I turned and saw the girl that was sitting in the front row smiling at me. I didn’t want to be rude and go and sit at the back in the corner like I was planning to, so I walked up to her and sat in the seat located to her right.
The girl had shoulder length dark brunette, almost black, hair and she had these piercing blue eyes that completely complimented her pale complexion.
“I’m Lillian Eddison, but you can call me Lily. We don’t get a lot of new kids around, so expect everyone to be staring at you when class starts.” Lillian says and I gave her a fake smile and a small nod before taking my books out.
“What’s your name?” She asked and I tried my best not to show my frustration, clearly this girl doesn’t understand I’m not much of a talker.
“Amelia Beckett.” I said quietly, but loud enough so she could hear me.
I slouched further into my seat and I stared at my textbook for so long that I wouldn’t be shocked if a hole was suddenly forming.
When I walked into the school everyone seemed to be happy, like nothing ever happened. Surely everyone would be upset if one of their classmates was brutally murdered only two weeks ago.
I thought I’d walk into this school and everyone would be mourning, but the exact opposite is happening. As soon as the bell rang students started to stampede their way into the class and the once silent and peaceful mood was destroyed in an instant. Once the students found their seats the noise started to settle down and Mr. Stanley made his way to the board.
“We are going to be covering Julius Caesar this year.” Mr. Stanley said, and the entire class groaned, but he pretended he didn’t hear them and started on with the lecture.
Twenty minutes into the lecture, the door opened and in walked a boy. He had mahogany brown, almost black, hair that was hanging in his eyes and he was wearing a simple T-Shirt and Jeans and he had a dark leather jacket scrunched up in his hands. He did not seem happy to be here and Mr. Stanley didn’t seem all too pleased to see him.
“Mr. Crawford, glad you were only twenty minutes late this time.” Mr. Stanley said, and the boy just smirked.
“I couldn’t let you miss me too much, Sir.” He said in a rough and unimpressed voice before making his way to the only seat in the back of the class.
His seat made a loud squeaky noise as he pulled it back and then sat down and crossed his arms over his chest. I turned back to the board, before he caught me staring, and started to take down the notes on the board.
As soon as I walked into the cafeteria, I could feel people staring at me. I rolled my eyes and walked up to an abandoned table a few feet away from me and I sat down in the corner seat.
I started to munch on my apple, trying my best to ignore the obvious stares that were practically piercing my back. How rude are these people?
“I told you they’d be looking.” Lillian said sitting next to me.
I wanted to make a comment of how I just wanted to be alone, but she seemed extremely fragile and saying one wrong thing might shatter her into pieces. So, I decided to bite my tongue and just pretend that nothing really bothers me.
I just shrugged and took another bite out of my apple and started to survey the cafeteria. My eyes stopped moving around when they landed on the guy from English, the guy who didn’t bother to show up on time.
“That’s Ethan Crawford.” Lillian said to me, she must have noticed I was staring.
“So, what’s his story for showing up late?” I asked her, I might as well get some valuable information on the people that I’ll be spending my final year with.
“He’s been moved around from foster homes for years until he finally found a solid family that he permanently stayed with. He moved here in freshman year.” Lillian said and I nodded slowly.
“He also dated May for about a year, they broke up when sophomore year ended.” Lillian said and my eyes widened.
May as in the May that was just brutally murdered?
“Why’d they break up?” I asked her curiously.
“She wanted popularity and Ethan couldn’t give her that, but Seth Gallagher could, and May was dating him until, you know.”
Lillian explained and I looked at her in curiosity.
“Which one is this Seth guy?” I asked her and she scanned the cafeteria and nudged her head to the right and my eyes instantly followed the direction.
A few tables away from us sat two girls and one guy; I guess that must be Seth. He has dirty blonde hair that was spiked up with way too much hair gel in my opinion, but I couldn’t get a proper look of him because he was a bit too far away.
Sitting next to him was a girl with bleached blonde hair and she kept on touching this Seth guy’s shoulder, but he didn’t seem to be complaining.
He doesn’t seem to be too upset about the fact that his girlfriend is dead. The other girl was sitting on the seat across from them and she seemed to be paying more attention to her light blonde hair like it was the most important thing in the world.
“Who are the two girls?” I asked Lillian and she seemed more than happy to gossip.
“The girl sitting next to Seth is Abigail Westcliffe and the other girl is Tiffany Evans, they were May’s best friends.” Lillian explained and I further analyzed them as Lillian was talking.
Seth and Abigail seem to be a little too close and happy.
“So, who was the leader of their little clique?” I asked, because every school had cliques.
“May was the leader; I guess being head cheerleader and dating the quarterback of the football team automatically makes you the queen of the social circle.”
I suddenly felt that familiar habit of mine kick in, the habit of constantly analyzing everything like I was the detective in the case.
Could Abigail or Tiffany have been the ones responsible for May’s death? Maybe they were tired of living in May’s shadow and the only way to become the Queen Bee is to get rid of the Queen Bee.
“There were rumors going around that May was cheating on Seth.” Lillian said and she instantly had my attention.
“Does anyone know with whom?” I asked curiously, but Lillian just shook her head.
“No one knows, but it was apparently with some older guy.” Lillian explained.
Was this older guy responsible for May’s death?
How are you supposed to make him a suspect if no one even knows who he is? Trying to track this man would be like trying to track a ghost. I turned my attention back to Ethan and saw he was sitting alone slouched in his seat and burning a hole in the table, could I be looking at the killer?
I was about to ask Lillian more about Ethan, but the bell ruined any chances of me digging for any further information.
The house was silent when I got home which means my dad must still be at work, it wasn’t anything new.
Back home he’d work late pretty much every night, so I was used to having to spend my dinners alone. I made some dinner for myself and left some in the microwave for my dad before I started with my homework.
I only had an essay for English, and I decided to start on that now instead of leaving it for the last minute.
The topic is about how Brutus betrayed Caesar, his apparent close friend. It didn’t take me too long to finish and then I decided to go to bed with thoughts of May Hart swimming through my mind.
I’ve only been here for a week, but this town seemed strange. I’m not sure if it’s because this is the first murder the town has ever experienced or if the town was just strange in the first place.
The people here weren’t very welcoming, but I wonder if it’s just because they’re guarded, the killer has yet to be caught and it could be anyone.
It could be the neighbor that you’ve been living next to for all these years, or it could be the friendly cashier lady that always chats with you while she is price checking your items, it could even be someone you walk past in the dairy isle.
It’s strange to think that even a murderer needs everyday items such as milk and eggs. The town was living in fear and it won’t ever go away until the monster has been caught.
I walked towards my locker, but it felt like someone was watching me. I turned my head to the right and saw a group of people were looking at me, but they quickly looked away once I spotted them.
I ignored their stares and turned my attention back to rearranging the contents of my locker.
“You’re the sheriff’s daughter?” Lillian asked, I never even noticed her making her way towards me.
“How did you know that?” I asked looking at her in confusion.
Is that why these strangers were staring at me like in that way? Is that why I noticed the whispering started once I walked past someone?
“Word travels fast in Black Hill, we don’t have much gossip.”
Is me being the sheriff’s daughter more gossip worthy than a murdered classmate?
“It’s just that the previous Sheriff left.” Lillian said and I closed my locker and crossed my arms over my chest.
“What does that have to do with me?” I asked her curiously.
“The previous Sheriff was May Hart’s father.”
Lillian said and my eyes widened.
“I guess he didn’t want to be involved in investigating his own daughter’s murder and her mother didn’t want to stay in this town to constantly be reminded of it.” Lillian further explained.
I nodded my head and looked around the hallways and I noticed a glass cabinet a few feet away that I never noticed before.
I never paid much interest to that side of the hallway because I never had to pass there to get anywhere.
I walked up to the cabinet and saw pictures of a girl all over.
In memory of May Hart.
A scroll read in cursive writing and it was under a picture of a girl with shoulder length brunette hair and dark blue eyes, so that’s May Hart. It’s hard to imagine that a girl that went to school every day and hung out with friends every day, like a normal teenager, could be the victim of a callous crime.
The bell broke me out of my bubbling thoughts and I took one look at the once alive girl and sighed before walking off to class trying my best to get the image of her head out of mind, but it seemed like it was permanently embedded.
She hasn’t stopped staring at me since I sat down in the cafeteria. She’s been glaring at me like a vulture waiting for its prey to finally drop dead.
Her blue eyes were cold, and I could see why some people would try not to drop onto her radar, Abigail Westcliffe is ferocious.
I’ve heard many stories about her throughout the week, but I never believed them until now. Many told me that Abigail was a May 2.0.
They told me how Abigail was second in command but could sometimes be more ruthless than May; she had people cowering away from her with just one look which I completely believe since I am currently on the receiving end of her cold and ruthless stare.
I don’t know what I could have done wrong to even be under Abigail’s deadly target, I didn’t even know that people as high as her on the social food chain even wastes their time at acknowledging the new kid.
“Told you her stare was terrifying.” Lillian said sitting down next to me with her lunch.
“Why is she looking at me though?” I asked her, trying my best not to glance at Abigail again.
“I’m not sure really, it’s odd that she’s even acknowledging you.” Lillian said and took a huge bite out of her cheesy pizza.
“Well I wish she’d stop; I’m trying my best to get through this year as unnoticed as possible.” I told her before taking a sip of my water.
Lillian didn’t even seem like she was listening to a word I was saying because she was too busy sneaking peaks at what seemed to be Seth Gallagher.
I felt a gaze other than Abigail’s focused on me and I observed my surroundings of the cafeteria and I noticed that I was now under the radar of Ethan Crawford too.
He was crouched back in his seat with his forearms resting on the table in front of him. He never looked away once I caught his stare, the gaze was filled with such intensity that it took me a while to look away.
There was something about Ethan Crawford that gave me chills and not in the enjoyable way. Could I have just been looking at the murderer? Was he scoping me out and marking me as his next victim?
That thought alone sent even more chills around my body and I knew I had to leave this cafeteria immediately before I started to overthink again.
I stood up, grabbed my bag, and took off without even saying goodbye to Lillian. It was rude of me, but I had to avoid the gazes of Abigail and Ethan, the two most likely suspects.
I leaned against my locker and took a deep breath. It was all too much for me, I feel like a rat in a cage, I have nowhere to escape and I’m locked in with a murderer.
Anyone in this small town could be the killer, trying to pretend to be a member of everyday society.
Is the murderer a student? Could the murderer be a parent? Drops their kids off at school by day and murders teenage girls by night?
“Amelia, are you okay?” A voice asked and I jumped in shock at the sudden burst of noise and I just caught the scream from jumping out of my throat.
I turned and noticed that it was Mr. Stanley standing in front of me and I stood up straight and looked at him. I nodded my head and wiped away some perspiration that was running down my forehead with the back of my hand.
“I’m okay, thanks Mr. Stanley.” I said in a raspy voice, I was trying to make it sound strong, but anyone could notice it had a hint of shakiness to it.
He nodded his head and offered me a small smile.
“I’m always here if you’re having problems. Some of the kids here aren’t very welcoming.” He explained and I nodded my head.
“I’m sure I’ll make friends soon.” I said to him with a small smile.
I’d rather have him think I’m having social issues rather than worrying about the murderer that could be wandering the hallways as we speak.
He nodded his head once more and walked into his classroom and shut the door and I could finally let out a big sigh.
I pushed some hair off my forehead and took another deep breath. I looked up and I noticed that glass cabinet once again and I was instantly drawn to it.
I, once again, faced those dark blue eyes and I started to notice things I never did before in that one specific picture.
At first glance it’s easy to think of the picture as just a normal teenage girl smiling like she was the happiest person in the world, but at a second glance I could see the exact opposite.
May’s eyes have fear written all over them, like she knew that this was going to happen to her. Could May have possibly known that someone was out to kill her, but they did the job before she could even look for help?
If May knew that she was in danger, then why was she alone at Everwood Park in the middle of the night?
I looked at her scared blue eyes that seemed like they were screaming for help, for someone to just notice that something was extremely wrong. Could her friends have been the reason between the scared look?
I tried to look away from those fearful eyes, but I couldn’t. Everyday people walked past this glass cabinet and never even gave it a second glance, like they don’t even care that her life was taken away from her.
Did the murderer walk past this cabinet with a sinister smile because they did what everyone truly desired to do?
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before looking into her eyes again and had an inner battle with myself.
I’ve always been a curious person and I always felt that I permanently had to know what was going on.
I always had to have things figured out and in my control. After an intense battle my curiosity overruled, and I knew that nothing was going to stop me from figuring out who murdered May Hart.
“It’s the time of the year that I truly enjoy.” Mr. Stanley said while walking around the classroom and passing the students’ tables to make sure they were listening to him.
“It’s the time of the year for Essays.” Groans immediately filled the classroom and I noticed Mr. Stanley smirk at all the students’ despair.
“I hear that every year, it’s like you guys think that groaning will make me change my mind.” Mr. Stanley said walking to his desk.
“It’s worth a try.” Someone said from the back and the classroom filled with chuckles.
“Mr. Crawford. I just look forward to your input every time you’re in my class.” Mr. Stanley said while he started to hand out the forms.
I immediately started to read mine and I saw that it was an essay on Julius Caesar and we were required to write about the relationship between Brutus and Caesar.
I read further and noticed that it was a paired assignment; I was not looking forward to having to associate with any new people.
“I will be deciding who your partners are.” Mr. Stanley said taking out a piece of paper and he started reading out the partners and my heart stopped once my name came up.
Amelia Beckett and Ethan Crawford.
The second I found out that I was partnered with Ethan Crawford, my heart started to beat a million beats a second.
I was not at all comfortable being partnered with him since I haven’t heard very pleasant things about him.
As soon as the bell rang, I dashed out of class, gathered my books and drove home before anyone could stop me.
I was currently sitting in my kitchen and writing down notes in my notepad. I was writing down the list of suspects and why I think they could be the ones who murdered May.
I’d obviously have to further investigate as many people at the school as I can, but so far Abigail, Seth, Tiffany and Ethan seemed to have the biggest motives for wanting to get rid of May forever.
I should also try and sneak a look in my dad’s files that are in his office and see if I can gather more information about May’s murder, it’s risky but I don’t have the resources that my dad has and I tried to reassure myself that it’s the right thing to do.
I remember the news saying she was murdered at Everwood Park, so maybe I should look there and see if I can find anything out of the ordinary, maybe the investigators missed something?
It’s very unlikely that they did, but it’s worth a shot. I took my coat and put it on and walked to my car. It was starting to get dark but the best way to get a clever idea of what happened is to go to the park the time it happened, or at least the time the police think it took place.
Everwood Park was scary at night. It was completely deserted, and the only source of light is the moon and the odd streetlight.
It was chilly and I tried to shove my hands as far into my coat pockets as possible to try and keep as warm as I can. I had no idea what I was expecting to see once I arrived here, but it wasn’t this.
I was kind of expecting maybe a clue of exactly where her body was found, maybe chalk lines of her body or maybe even an arrow pointing to the ground and saying dead girl found here but I knew those were ridiculous thoughts.
Murders are tricky and sometimes people are very talented at hiding the evidence, and this murderer was very talented.
Hardly any evidence was found from what I saw of my father’s case files. I admit, I broke into my own father’s evidence to look at the files, but I didn’t have much of a choice, I needed to know as much about this case as possible.
The only sound I could hear was the breeze of the wind flowing into my direction.
The park was huge, and I had no idea where to even start, but I had to at least get a clear idea of May’s surroundings before she was murdered.
If the park is deserted at night, then why was May even here? Was she just going for a walk and some random person attacked her? Or was May lured here by someone she knew very well, someone she trusted?
I had no idea why she was here, but I knew I had to at least find out as much as I can about May and what she was doing and who she was with before she came here.
I found something on the ground that looked like an earring, but as I was about to crouch down to look at it, I heard bushes rustling in the woods to my right.
I looked out into the woods to see if I could see anything, but it was so dark in the woods that I probably wouldn’t have even been able to see my own hands.
The sound died away and I assume it was just a bunny rabbit or a squirrel. I crouched down and observed the earring, which was diamond, obviously not real diamond.
The rustling sound in the bushes seemed to be drawing nearer to where I was and I had to make a run for it, because there is no way a squirrel could make such a huge noise.
I accidentally dropped the earring but it was too late to go back for it because there was no way I wanted to be near the emerging figure that was coming out of the woods, for all I know it could have been the killer.
I ran into my car and immediately locked the doors while I tried to catch my breath. My chest felt extremely tight and I gripped my shirt near my chest like that was going to do anything to solve my breathing problem, but I always lost my breath when I start to panic and the only thing I could do is relax and breath slowly to regain my composure.
After a few huffs and puffs my lungs slowly started to reopen and I could think clearly again. I noticed something odd on my window in front of me and it looked like a piece of paper.
I looked if I could see anyone outside of my car and when I felt like I was safe I climbed out slowly and took the piece of paper, that was stuck to my window with tape, off and I read what was on it with shaky hands.
The letter was typed, and I found that smart, because it can’t be traced back to whoever wrote this, clearly whoever is behind this is in no way an amateur.
My eyes widened and my breath hitched again once I read what was written.
Don’t get involved with things that are none of your business. Stop looking or else.