Speak & Listen 2

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A Ghoul In Town

“Sophia Kepnes, a seventeen year old girl from Clinton Hills, was found dead during a swamp party. Forensics failed to find evidence proving that she was murdered, with the exception of a mysterious phone text with only the words, ‘CUT YOURSELF’ as her last text from an untraceable number. Some believe she was suicidal.”

A news reporter spoke with patience in her voice as David, in his morning gown, tensed toward the television screen. It was a Sunday, finishing the week when Sophia was found dead in a swamp during a house party.

I had not seen Carmichael, but I was certain that wherever he was, he was devastated and broken. The man LOVED his daughter, more than anything.

Sophia had lived with her single father for almost her whole life. I knew her mother wasn’t so much in her life, but I had always assumed the just divorced and the mother was either happily married with another man or she moved into another town.

In other news, David had not said a word about what had happened at that party. If memory serves, I remember only receiving a silent look when I got back home. Gabriel and Alejandro were worried enough to sleep with me in the same room since Friday.


He gave me a blank look. He looked pathetic. He had been attired in the same night gown since Thursday. He hasn’t taken a shower, hasn’t brushed his teeth and was back on smoking cigarettes, which wasn’t polite to his hygiene. “Yes?”

“You never ask me about what happened…”

“I honestly don’t want to know.” He gave me, now, a petrified look. “Wh…are you okay? Did you take your meds?”

My eyebrows furrowed. “No! You do not make me look like the insane person here. With your unresponsive, zombie-like tendencies in this house, THROWING TANTRUMS AND ACTING LIKE A BABY ADULT…” My pitch escalated.

He shot up. “Now Adrian, I’d be damned if you talk to me like that. I am your father.”

“IF YOU WERE, YOU WOULD BE ACTING LIKE IT! When you invited me back into this house, you assured me a home and not a mannequin crying over her EX being remarried!”

He paused. Wow. I expected a hot comeback after that.

He patiently sat down and bewailed. Now my guilt consumed me. “Dad…I’m so sorry…”

“No, son. You’re right. I have been at my worst since I heard about Cynthia remarrying. It’s just that…she’s the first woman I’ve ever actually loved and I feel terrible because it feels like I failed her.”

I sat down with him and embraced him. “Dad, I can assure you that it’s no loss. That’s how love works, from my experience. Now matter how long you guys have been together, it doesn’t stop the other from breaking the idea you were in love with in the first place. And Cynthia was the idea.”

He looked up to me. I was literally spooning him. “You think so?”

“I think sandcastles can be built again, dad.”

He smiled. “I’m so sorry son. Do you think that’s the reason why Gabriel and Alejandro are leaving?”

“Would you blame them?”

He shook his head. “I’ll talk to them.”

“Thank you, dad. Now, more than ever, I need you.”

He shifted up from my chest and looked at me. “How are you feeling, son?”

I was definitely far from okay. “I’m okay, dad. Detective Lucy thinks she was killed.”

“She cut her wrist, didn’t she?”

“The wrist was cut. All they have so far is a text. We don’t know whether or not she did it.”

“I need to visit Carmichael. I’ll tell Alejandro to fix you something to eat while I take a shower.” He sat up.

I nodded silently. He noticed I didn’t respond. “Come here.”

I dived into his arms and held onto him.

I don’t know what happened, but wow. I broke down.

Vivid flashbacks came with every weep, from the first time Sophia and I met in third grade, to the days we would share lunch, sleep over at each other’s apartments and how we would laugh at Cynthia’s tantrums (as she openly hated the fact that I had friends), at when we went to our first party together at Gabriel’s house (the freshman party) to the day when she stood up for the at the school corridors when Alan and I came out to the last memory I had of her…a bleeding arm with a face filled with mud and an unresponsive body.

This past week, it felt as if that was the only memory I had of her. A cut wrist.

David was gone, driving to Clinton Hills to see his good friend, Carmichael. Alejandro, Gabriel and I were sat at the dining table for lunch.

After dishing up, Alejandro sat down in silence. The silence was noticeable.

“David spoke to you?” For some reason, I was nervous to ask.

“Uhm…yeah. He explained himself and gave us the liberty to study wherever we want. Even offered to pay for tuition.”

“Well that’s great, isn’t it?” My face blossomed.

Silence followed again, which now confused me.


He looked at me with teary eyes.

“...what’s going on?” My voice sterned.

Alejandro and Gabriel looked at each other. Gabriel spoke. “We, well I, think that the killings that started taking place earlier on this year are being conducted by someone I might know.”

My eyes widened. “WHAT?”

“He calls himself ‘the Ghoul’.” Alejandro added.

“And I think it might be my father…Charles.” Gabriel added.

I scoffed. “That’s ridiculous. Why would a man like him go around terrorizing an entire town?”

Gabriel’s jaws clenched. “He called me with a private cell…and he said something that captivated my attention.”

Alejandro looked at me before looking back at Gabriel. “He called you?”

“He said...you’ll be seeing your brother soon.”

“Niall?” My voice exclaimed.

“That’s impossible.” Alejandro shook his head.

“Then who, Alejandro?” Gabriel looked frustrated.

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