Twelve Hours

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4:00 AM

Feet pounded toward the sound of the gunshot. They checked in all the rooms until they found the one with the bodies.

In the room Colin lay on the floor his eyes trained on the other body. Ashley.

Mickey slowly walked over to Ashley and silently pulled her sister in a hug as tears ran down her face. Veronica ran forward and her knees collapsed underneath her as she sat in the blood flowing from her older brother. Her breathing quickened as tears began to pour from her eyes and her body wracked with sobs.

“Veronica,” a voice breathed.

Veronica froze and her eyes drifted to Colin. His breathing was ragged and his face was contorted in pain. His hands held his stomach and chest as if he could do something to stop the bleeding. His eyes held fear but nevertheless he forced out a smile.

“Veronica,” he said quietly. “You’re okay.”

Her eyes widened and grabbed him in a tight hug refusing to let go. “Idiot! Worry about yourself for once! Someone!” She screamed. “Do something! Anything!” But behind her no one moved. She closed her eyes again crying into his shoulder mixing her tears with his blood.

“I’m the big brother. I have to worry about you.”

“Shut up!”

“It’s what I do.”

“I said shut up! Save your breath idiot!”

“Get...” He stopped as he began to cough up blood. “Out of here alive okay?”

“Shut up already!”

“Stop- crying already...” He wheezed.

“Fine!” Veronica shouted using one hand to wipe away her tears. “Are you happy now! Huh!”

He didn’t reply.

“Colin?” Veronica said her voice cracking as her eyes searched his face. “Colin! Open your eyes! Colin answer me dammit! Colin! Come on you idiot, it’s your birthday! Colin!” She screeched. “Col-” A hand rested on her shoulder and stopped suddenly.

“Come on,” Cristiana’s voice said sounding far away. “We still need to get out of here.”

Veronica stood slowly refusing help even though her legs were shaky. Her eyes still full of tears never leaving Colin’s form.

Mickey felt hands pulling her away but she shook them off. Slowly and with shaky hands she reached out to close sister’s eyes. When she did her eyes drifted to something- a piece of paper squeezed in Ashley’s fist. Mickey winced as she pulled it out of the dead girl’s grasp as hands pulled her to her feet and out the room.

“What’s that?” Riley asked spotting the paper in Mickey’s hand. She held it out to him and he took it slowly and smoothed it out. Jackson held a flashlight as Riley read it aloud. ”I’m sorry. But, I told you I killed Matteo. And I did. He found me in the dark and I pushed him. And then I screamed for help. Do you believe me now? Now that I’ve killed Colin too?

I’m sorry. I was let in on the prank so I could do this.

I’m sorry But it was the only way. The only way to guarantee Mickey’s safety was to do as I was asked. My death was the only way to ensure I don’t kill again. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry to everyone. I’m sorry to Matteo who I didn’t really know, I’m sorry To Nani whose death I didn’t help stop, and to Colin, my boyfriend who I only used for the hell of it. Most of all I‘m sorry to Michaela Mickey. You told me that you liked Colin so I took him myself. I did everything I could just to make you upset because I always thought that it’s not fair that things worked out for you. I wore the perfect hair and clothes yet you got the same treatment. People liked you for you. And I was jealous of that, so I made your life hell. You probably hate and I deserve it. Some twin sister I am.

I’m sorry.

-Ashley Johnston.”

Silence fell. The only sound was Mickey wiping away her tears and failing as she sobbed into Duke’s shoulder.

It was Jackson who broke the silence. “Wait a moment. Who let her in on the prank?”

“She was one of the four to be left out,” Elias realized.

No one spoke as the eyed each other warily, unsure who to trust. Everyone but Riley and Veronica that is. The other two who had been left out of the cruel prank.

Meanwhile the killer’s mind reeled. Slowly the killer removed themselves from the group mumbling about using the bathroom but no one seemed to be paying enough attention to care. Inside the bathroom they sunk to ground behind the closed door whispering to themselves. “Ashley you idiot! You weren’t supposed to die! You were supposed to help and everything would be fine! Fuck this screws up everything!” The killer quickly pulled out their small phone. The killer took a deep breath about to dial a number. “No,” the killer told themselves gripping the phone tightly in one hand, tightly enough to press a button without meaning to. “I can’t back out now...”

The killer returned from the bathroom to find no one had moved. The killer joined them in sitting silently on the floor. The only sound in the hallway was to the sound of the ticking clock overhead. The students sat only listening to it sound second after second. Minute after minute.

“Eight,” Veronica said softly with a glance to clock as tears still spilled from her eyes. “We went from twelve to eight in nine hours. Has it really only been that long?”

“And only one of the eight of us has a guaranteed spot at going home,” Riley deadpanned. “Whichever one of you is working with the Uprise and told Ashley about the prank.”

“Lucky person then,” Duke said.

“Mm-hmm,” Jordan agreed.

“The rest of us might have to fight for that chance,” Elias said.

“The rest of will have to fight for that chance,” Jackson corrected.

“I’m going down swinging,” Cristiana promised.

“I’m gonna do more than that,” Mickey said standing. “I’m gonna find and kill whoever is behind this myself.”

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