This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
It was all just a prank.
No one was actually supposed to die.
But nothing goes as planned at Crestwell High.
If you asked any of them how the fight started, they wouldn’t have had a specific answer. But somehow a bunch of students got in a fight. Nothing new. It happened a lot, too often to keep track.
These brawlers rarely spoke outside of their fights, keeping to themselves or only talking to one or two others. They were neither friends nor mortal enemies. But when two pissed each other off, the others joined in, and there was no going back. They would go all out while their classmates cheered them on.
Welcome to Crestwell High.
A whistle blew and the swimmers dove into the pool. Water splashed as they swam, and as they did boy watching the bleachers sighed to himself. He watched the swimmers finish and climb out the pool, yearning to drop his own stuff and dive in. He paused, considering doing just that after they left. Since it was still winter, it would be a long while before public pools open.
“You should actually join us instead of just watching for once, Matteo,” Daniel told him, walking over. He stared up at Matteo while drying his hair with a towel.
Matteo shook his head as he always did when they had this conversation. “My answer still isn’t changing.” With that said he stood and grabbed his bag.
“I don’t understand why you won’t swim,” Daniel said coming to stand beside Matteo, successfully soaking the floor beneath him. “You used to like it; we would go swimming all the time.”
Matteo stood and ran a hand over his shaved head, temporarily forgetting the hair wasn’t there (unfortunately, he’d lost a bet to Daniel). He ignored Daniel’s small smirk toward the action and then spoke. “You’re the younger brother, Danny, I don’t have to tell you.” He started to walk away but Daniel followed.
“I’m only two years younger than you, Matt. You can tell me things,” Daniel continued.
“Just tell mom I said hi, ” Matteo responded bitterly. Daniel grabbed his arm and stared into his brother’s dark eyes.
“Did something happen with dad?”
“He’s my dad not yours,” Matteo said pulling his arm away. Daniel stood stunned as Matteo stormed out. He walked briskly down the hall trying to calm himself. Finally he paused, staring back down the hallway and considering going back to apologize, but he wasn’t sure that he could do so without snapping again. He scratched his arms nervously before shaking his head. He took a deep breath and kept walking, staring down at his shoes. He would have to apologize to Daniel later.
“You can’t keep doing this, Riley,” Mr. Simmons told his nephew. “I can’t always get you out of detention.”
Riley rolled his gray eyes. “I fell asleep during class. You’re acting like I committed a felony.”
“Knowing you, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did.”
Riley patted his chest over his heart, “Wow Uncle K, that one hurt right here.”
“Just go home, Riley.”
Riley gave a mock salute. “Yes sir!”
His uncle rolled his eyes. “And cut that hair of yours. You’re making yourself look like a girl.”
Riley only smiled at him. “If it bothers you that much I’ll keep it.” Before his uncle could reply, he left the room and started down the hall when he noticed he was being followed. He turned around to smile at his shadow.
The other boy had dark hair and dark eyes, but he didn’t smile back. “You forgot your backpack in the nurse’s office. Mrs. Dreyer asked me to bring it to you.”
“Thanks Jackson. Wait—did you grab my phone?” Riley asked taking the backpack.
Riley sighed and swung an arm around the shorter boy’s shoulders. “We should hang out tonight,” Riley told him as they began walking back toward the nurse’s’ office.
“Oh come on Jax.”
“I have to watch Cara.”
“Twelve is old enough for her to stay home alone.”
“Not in Nick’s mind.”
“Bring her along then.”
“I was grounded for a two weeks last time I brought her along.”
“Ready to go?” Mickey asked with a smile.
Beside her, Colin blinked his green eyes blankly. “Uh...” He started confused. “Go where?”
Mickey rolled her dark eyes. “The mall, remember? You know; we go, you pick out your birthday gift, I buy it, then when I give it to you at your party on Sunday, you pretend to be surprised?”
Colin grimaced and scratched the back of his blonde head. “Um right, sorry... I actually made plans to go ice skating with your sister.”
Mickey’s eyes narrowed as she crossed her arms. “Ashley hates ice skating.”
Colin shrugged. “Sorry dude. I’ll make it up to you.”
“No you won’t,” the dark-skinned girl sighed.
“Yes I will.”
“You never do though! I’ve accepted that you’re dating satan herself, but I’m still your friend and every time we make plans, she gets in the way.”
“Don’t. I’ll just stay home.”
“Mickey I promise I will-”
“Aw is somebody jealous?” A mocking voice asked from behind.
“Go away, Ashley,” Mickey growled, turning around.
“Pretty sure you should be the one leaving, Michaela,” Ashley told her twin with a smirk. The two didn’t look exactly like twins. Mickey’s hair was cut in a short Afro while Ashley’s was long and straight. Mickey was dressed in comfortable jeans and shirt without makeup. While Ashley wore heels and too much makeup.
Ashley smiled at her twin and linked her arms with Colin. “I just came to talk to my boyfriend so shoo.”
“I’m talking to my friend so fuck off.” Mickey turned back to Colin and grabbed his arm before starting down the hall. She was jerked back when Ashley grabbed on to Colin’s other arm.
“You can’t just use me for tug of war!” Colin shouted at both pulling his arms away. He opened his mouth to speak but both girls were already screaming at each other. Ashley reached for her sister’s short hair to pull on it but not having that, Mickey punched her sister. Colin watched unsure of what to do.
“You’re an idiot.”
Colin turned to face the person who had joined. Duke, still wearing his basketball shorts and a sweaty T-shirt from practice. Colin looked at Duke his gaze hardening. “What do you want?”
Duke shrugged. “I figured you’d abandon Mickey again and I’d have to pick up the pieces and invite her to hang out with Cristi and I.”
Colin took a step closer to Duke. “You need to stay away from Cristiana. You are just gonna get her involved with the wrong crowd.”
Duke glared at the other boy. “I’m not involved with them anymore, and I haven’t been for a very long time. I’m just keeping watch over her for her brother.”
“Like I can trust anything you say. All you do is lie and hurt people.”
“Says the guy who helps his girlfriend bully his best friend.”
Colin’s eyes narrowed, and the next thing he knew, he was punching Duke in the face while shouting. Duke began to shout back as he swung his own arm.
“Do you plan on leaving at all? Not that I don’t enjoy your company Nani.”
“Huh?” Nani blinked and spun around in her chair to face Mr. Clark. “What’d ya say?”
“I asked if you planned on leaving. I don’t want to kick you out, but my daughter has a dance recital tonight.”
“Oh, sorry,” Nani apologized, her bespectacled green eyes glancing at the clock. Had it been really been an hour already? She turned back to face the computer in front of her. “I’m done anyway.”
“You sure? I can stay a bit longer.”
“I’m good,” Nani said standing once she turned the computer off. She gave him a smile, “Thanks though.”
“You know...” Mr. Clark started. “You remind me a bit of a younger me.”
“You were a girl? Wow surgery can do wonders these days,” Nani said pushing a lock of her dyed gray hair behind her ear.
Mr. Clark rolled his eyes. “You know what I meant.” Nani shrugged and readjusted her green beanie. “Anyway how are you liking it here so far? It’s been two months?”
Nani nodded slinging her backpack on. “Just about, and it’s been okay.”
“That’s good to hear,” Mr. Clark smiled. “I’ll see you monday then Ms. Felding.”
Nani smiled and hurried off down the hall.
“So I was thinking we should binge watch Marvel movies,” Veronica said pulling her blonde hair back in a ponytail.
Cristiana closed her locker with a sigh. “I want to but Duke said he wanted to hang out.”
“He can watch with us!”
“I don’t think he would appreciate us drooling over Tom Hiddleston. Let alone being in a room Colin had occupied previously.”
Veronica frowned. “True... I still don’t entirely get why they hate each other.”
“I don’t think they really get it either.”
“I mean-” Veronica was cut off by the sound of yelling from around the corner.
Cristiana pushed a lock of dark brown hair behind her ear as she frowned at the sight. “Well I think we found the boys.”
“That is very nice,” Jordan smiled staring at the sketch on the paper. “But um... what exactly is it?”
Across the table Elias sighed and crumpled up the piece of paper and grabbing another.
“You could have just told me what it was. There is no need to destroy your own hard work.”
Elias raised an eyebrow. “I only spent five minutes on it.”
“Five minutes of hard work?” Jordan suggested.
Both boys looked up as the art room door opened, and Matteo walked in. He dropped his bag and sunk in a chair before putting his head on the table.
“You’re late again,” Jordan scolded. “How am I supposed to tutor you if you rarely show up?”
“You argue with your brother again?” Elias asked.
“Yeah... I snapped at him,” Matteo sighed. “I know it’s not his fault and it’s not fair for me to take it out on him but...”
“You could always just punch one of your parents in the face.”
“I’ve considered it.”
“I’m going to be there. I will draw the whole thing to document the important moment,” Elias promised.
Matteo smiled slightly. “Sure, man.”
“Or,” Jordan started. “you could always-”
“It’s Friday and movie night at my place,” Elias said changing the subject. “Who’s buying snacks?”
Matteo and Elias turned to look at Jordan who sighed. “Will there ever be a day that I don’t have to pay?”
“Course. The day we suddenly become richer than you.”
Jordan sighed and gathered his things.
“Race ya?” Matteo asked walking to the door. “Winner picks the movie?”
Elias shoved his stuff in his bag. “You’re on. 1...2... Go!” He shouted, taking off the down the hall with Matteo shouting and running after him.
Jordan shook his head before jogging after them. “Idiots.”
“Here we go again,” Veronica sighed as turned the corner. Cristiana ran forward bumping into a girl with gray hair and a beanie, accidentally sending her stuff sprawling. Cristana ran for Duke and Colin, trying to separate them while Veronica went to help the girl up. “Sorry Nani,” Veronica apologized for her friend.
Nani looked around and cursed seeing that her laptop had gotten thrown into the middle of the fighting twins. She hurried over and pushed both girls out of the way of stepping on her precious baby. Mickey fell back into a locker while Ashley fell to the floor.
“You stupid newbie!” Ashley shrieked getting up. “You made me break a nail!”
“What the hell!” Mickey shouted at Nani, her anger shifting. Mickey shoved Nani back before making a fist.
Veronica rushed forward to stop the fighting girls as Nani raised her laptop as a weapon.
“Ow!” Cristiana screamed as one of the two boys managed to hit her in the face while trying to fight the other. Both boys paused to glare at one another before attacking each other once more.
“You okay?” A voice asked Cristiana as its owner pulled her away from the fighting.
Cristiana nodded at Riley who has spoken.
“Idiots. They hurt you and keep going,” Riley examined her face before he stormed over to Duke and Colin. Cristiana moved to stop them, but Jackson grabbed her arm while shaking his head.
“Don’t. Once he gets mad, there’s no stopping him.”
“I don’t get why he is mad. It’s not like it’s his problem,” Cristiana said watching as Riley pulled Colin away from Duke and punched him in the stomach.
“He doesn’t like to watch people get hurt. He prefers to hurt them him-” Jackson was cut off by Matteo suddenly slamming him to the ground after quickly rounding the corner.
“Jax!” Riley shouted, hurrying over and pulling his friend up.
“I’m fine, idiot,” Jackson said pushing Riley away. Once he did, Riley turned and went to punch Matteo, but Elias hopped in front to take the blow.
“Stop it, you idiots!” Jordan shouted at everyone only to be drowned out by the sounds of yelling and fighting.
“Enough!” Eyes turn to Principal Lauer. “In my office now.”
Twelve pairs of eyes stared at their principal silently. Principal Lauer sat behind his desk, massaging his temples as he watched Nurse Drey finish examining and bandaging up the last of the students.
“You’re all lucky it’s just bruises,” Nurse Drey said once she was finished.
“Thank you very much, Nurse Drey,” Principal Lauer told the woman. She nodded and left the room, and the principal turned his attention to the students in front of him. “I’ve had it with you all. Detention after detention seems to do nothing to punish you. So, I’ve come up with something new. A sort of... ‘bonding experience’. A sleepover to be exact. You will be left alone in the school from 7 pm tomorrow until 7 am Sunday morning.” He immediately holds up a hand to silence all groans, and shouts of complaint. “I will review the school cameras to see how it goes. And if it doesn’t go well or some don’t show up, you will all be suspended for three weeks minimum.”
“You can’t do that!”
“This worse than what The Breakfast Club had to do!”
“Enough! I’ve made up my mind!” Principal Lauer said firmly. “I-”
“Sir!” Jordan interjects. “I was just trying to stop them!”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Grey, but all involved must be punished. I’ll see you all here at 7 pm tomorrow.”
As the group of the students headed out of the school, two hung back a bit to talk. “You know this may not be that bad...”
“How so? We are trapped here for twelve hours over the weekend.”
“We can have some fun with this. We’re alone all night after all. Why not... Mess with some people’s heads?”
“Don’t overthink it. But I have an idea.”
“Okay my plan is...”
“But you’re smiling.”
“Okay, I admit that it could be pretty cool and funny. Alright I’m in. But we’re gonna need others to pull this off. Maybe we can leave one or two people out.” A pen was pulled out and a paper scribbled on. “This is my number. Text me, and we can plan this out.”
The paper was exchanged and pocketed. “Okay, let’s do this!”
Jacquie Walker: This is one of the best books I have had the pleasure to read. Claudio has created a very "real" world brought alive as his words paint a rich tapestry of the lives of his characters and the world they live in as they journey toward their destiny.I recommend this to all who love this genre.... it...
biangeli: I really like your work because it's very in-depth to the depression and suicide experience. The pacing and cause-and-effect chain of events were excellent as well, though I think you should also be a little more creative on some explanations of events (i.e. when Katie was explaining about the Al...
danijelstoilkovic: I really like this story. The characters, the mysteries, that bonding in the end, but I would really like to see what happened next. Is there a second part? And this would really be one cool horror movie and if I was the director, I wouldn't change a thing.It's awesome!
CornflowerBlues: I'm liking everything about this story so far: the brazen detective, the way he gave in to temptation, the temptation (<3!!), and the unexpectedly complex backdrop of his job and the case he's working. The story is well written, and despite its erotica tag, has an intriguing detective story and a...
Tony Lee: Read this during my 7-hour flight. You've done a great job describing each situation, but I believe there is room for improvement. Also, the ending was a bit abrupt and I think the last part where Terry Hunter was brought in again (slight spoiler) wasn't really necessary.. But overall the story k...
mcase: I thoroughly enjoyed every particle of this interesting story!! I really enjoyed the development of the main characters and loved them despite their flaws. The plot was interesting and kept me reading, wanting to find out what would happen next. Great work!There were a few consistent mechanical e...
Gayle Gunderson Boyce: I loved the book. Couldn't stop reading it. The story was good with a strong build up of suspense and sense of urgency to catch the killer. All clues pointed to Talbot yet enough things didn't add up to keep us looking and thinking. Jack Creed is a likeable character with lots of gut experience. ...