One Murder For Another

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Chapter 19

TW: I’m not sure if I’m supposed to put a trigger warning or not but it’s better to be safe than sorry. There is self-harm near the end of this chapter, so if that makes you uncomfortable skip that part or just skip this entire chapter.

Khalil’s cheeks burned and he was sure they were bright red, but the more he thought about the fall festival the wider his simile grew, until he was sporting a mile long toothy grin. He had never smiled so hard in his life, though he had never really had a reason to before Mina, but he still couldn’t bring himself to hide his goofy giddiness as he pounded his way up the gravel front steps of the foster home, pushing the rickety door open with ease.

“Where have you been!” Suddenly the urge to feel any emotion evaporated and instead Khalil was left feeling numb as he eyed the cross figure of the petite woman in front of him. Donna’s arms were crossed over her chest, her small round eyes folded to nothing more than two small snake like slits, her footing frantically tapping against the broken and chipped hardwood floors as if she had something to be pissed about. He was the one sharing a home barely big enough for six with eleven other conniving little boys, if either of them had the right to be pissed it was him.

“Out.” Khalil humphed his shoulders in response, taking care to slam the front door shut behind him as he moved to slide past Donna’s fuming figure and up the stairs.

“Out?” her voice fluctuated with both annoyance and anger.

“That’s what I said.”

“This wasn’t part of the agreement when Brigit brought you here!” she yelled after him and he stopped mid-stair turning around to glare back down at her with glowering eyes. “Curfew was two hours ago Khalil! When you live under my roof you have to follow my rules! I’ve been as lenient with you as I can, but starting fights with other boys, staying out late past curfew, if you don’t get your act together-”

“What?” he chuckled “What are you gonna kick me out Donna? I’ve been every where that you can go and juvie-” he suppressed the urge to laugh aloud “Juvie doesn’t scare me. So go ahead, do whatever you want with me, but do us both a favor and stay the fuck out of my business.” He didn’t stop to discern her reaction, his beat trainers pounding against the wooden oak stairs as he stormed to his room, taking care to slam the door extra hard.

He rested his back against the cool wood of his bedroom door with a soft sigh, his air of annoyance completely dissipating as thoughts of Mina plagued his thoughts once more. A small smile began to tug on the edges of his lips, but it disappeared in a millisecond when he looked up to find Beau standing mere feet in front of him, a guilty looked plagued across his face and a small phone clutched in his hand. The screen was still lit up green, a recent call from a number Khalil didn’t recognize written across the screen, and Beau was quick to turn the bright screen off, slipping the phone back into his pocket, when he realized that Khalil’s eyes had been wandering.

“You’re back.” Khalil’s eyes lingered a minute more on the place where Beau had shoved his phone, before traveling back up to take in his anxiety ridden features. Khalil could tell he was hiding something, he just didn’t know what.

“I’m not that easy to get rid of.” he quipped and he watched Beau writhe under his stare, crossing his arms across his chest in defense.

“You missed curfew.”

Khalil crossed behind him, pulling his large navy T-shirt over his head as he went. “I was with Mina” he smirked, even though he knew Beau couldn’t see his amusement, bending down and pulling his legs free of his jeans until he was only left standing in his underwear. “Did you know that rich people actually like to bob for apples for fun!” he laughed as he began to rummage through the open drawer of the dresser beside his bed.

“You need to stay away from her Khalil.”

He chuckled under his breath, pulling on a pair of holey red sweatpants as he shook his head at Beau’s comment. “I’m serious.” he continued “You need to stay the hell away from Mina Joyce.” Khalil turned around now, eliminating the inches of distance between the pair of them, until they were only standing centimeters from one another.

“Important phone call?” Khalil scrunched his nose in questioning, pointing to the prominent bulge in Beau’s front pocket.

“Just a friend.”

Khalil pursed his lips. “A friend” he repeated, and Beau nodded his head. Khalil smirk, shaking his head to himself as he moved to walk away, only stopping in his tracks when Beau spoke again.

“You’re playing a dangerous game, you know that?” Silence. “You can’t just toy with people’s emotions, you can’t just use people for your own selfish needs”

“I’m not toying or using anybody!” Khalil exclaimed, his voice booming through the room like thunder, but Beau seemed to be completely unaffected, keeping his cool and even stepping closer to him as if squaring up for yet another fight.

“No?” Beau scoffed,his voice calm and collected in comparison to Khalil’s. He cocked his head to the side as his eyes rolled to the very back of his head. “Then what are you doing with MJ? Huh? You’re not using her just to get close to her parents? You’re not going to just disappear and leave her to deal with the mess you created when you finally get what you want? Or what you gonna kill her too?” He was spitting in Khalil’s fast now, and as the last words ripped from Beau’s tongue Khalil’s anger reached peak level.

“I would never hurt Mina!” he screamed and he wasn’t sure he had ever spoken truer words in his life. Maybe at first he had just been using her, but now the prospect of laying even a finger on her made him shudder.

“You already have, because all you know how to do is lie and manipulate people. What do you think is going to happen when she finds out who you really are Khalil.

“Shut the hell up!” he whispered

“Do you think she’s going to want to hang out with you when she realizes she’s been hanging out with someones who’s deranged?”

“Shut up!” He was growing louder now.

“Of course she’s not, she’s going to go running right back to her boyfriend and right back to-”

“Boys!” Donna’s voice filled the room, and suddenly everything became deathly quiet, even Khalil’s heart didn’t dare make a sound, but he didn’t care to hear another one of Donna’s speeches, he didn’t care to be threatened with homelessness for the third time that night. So, with both Beau’s and Donna’s voice yelling after him, he pounded his way back down the creaky oak stairs and down into the dark and damp depths of the foster home basement, stomping right into the small powder room, throwing the door shut behind him. Beau’s words echoing in the back of his head all the while.

His breathing was ragged, his face beet red and puffy, scars left from his fingernails etched into the soft skin of his palm, and a part of him cringed at the fact that Beau’s words had hurt him so hard, a part of him cringed because he knew his words to be true. He should’t have cared what Mina thought about him anyway, he was only using her like Beau said. Right? Feelings were for the weak, they only ever got in the way and Mina was proof of that. So why couldn’t he just get it together, why was everything becoming so complicated all of a sudden?

“AHHHHHH” he screamed aloud, punching his curled fist into the large square mirror sat on the wall in front of him, shattering a portion of it and sending tiny glass shards flying all over the floor.

“Shit” he cursed, shaking his hand at the pain that was now tingling up his arm.

Still fuming with frustration, spewing curses underneath his breath, Khalil yanked the mirror cabinet open with his unhurt hand searching through the shelves frantically, throwing band-aids and pill bottles aside until he found what he was looking for and, flipping the switchblade open he calmed his breathing staring at his savage-like appearance in the mirror.

She was turning him soft.

“AHHHH” He winced as the blade traveled across his skin. He was quick and precise with his cuts, cutting deep enough to leave a scar but shallow enough not to cause any real damage. He moved the cold blade all over his body, his arms, his stomach, his cheeks, only stopping when the porcelain of the sink could no longer be seen under the murder scene he had created.

He shuddered at the sight, but he couldn’t force himself to stop, to put down the blade, to suffocate whatever it was that he was beginning to feel for the girl who was supposed to have been nothing more than a tool.

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