1 | A Tragic Life
S U N D A Y
"Good evening. I'm Michael Dahmer with the 6 o'clock news. I'm standing in the town of Newport where residents are still grieving the loss of two well-known people. Charles Kennedy was sentenced to life in prison this evening for the brutal double murder of local Newport residents and council members, Jessica and Mitchell Johnson. Investigators say the two were murdered in their very own bed the night of October 30th. Charles killed the pair in their sleep and fled the scene of the crime when their oldest daughter walked in. Though the town is grateful for their two children making it out alive, the death of their parents will leave a tragic mark on this once quiet town—"
The news reporter went on about the tragic story that was Sutton's life as she sat in the small living room of her aunt's apartment complex. One of the darkest chapters of Sutton's life—now reduced to a head line. A story reporters got to spread with their unsolicited opinions and views.
Every now and again Effy would slant glances at the TV screen, and roll her eyes whenever a person would appear sobbing as if someone had physical harmed them—had taken something away from them. It was all the same. They would cry and wish there was something they could have done, declaring their "love" and "compassion" for Sutton's family. But in reality, all they wanted was their fifteen minutes of fame.
Sutton mentally scoffed to herself. If any of them were as close as they painted themselves to be, if they really did care as much as they said they did, then why had Sutton never seen them before in her life? Why hadn't they ever come over for dinner or tried to help when we nearly went bankrupt?
How come they were all strangers to her?
Sutton was no fool. She knew the majority of the time when someone said they were sorry, they weren't really sorry. And that left her aggrieved.
Sutton didn't need some reporter telling her—reminding her what she already knew. It wasn't really like she could easily forget that night. All that blood...
Yet, Sutton couldn't look away. It was like watching a tragically glorious car crash.
The front door opened, and in came her Aunt Carol; the only family she and Jaime had left.
"Hey, kiddo," Carol chimed as she dropped her keys in the bowl and slipped her jacket off. Regret instantly settled in the pit of her stomach like a rock when Sutton kept her back to her and continued drawing.
Carol was young, still in her mid-twenties and trying to figure her life out. The great age difference between Carol and Sutton's mother made it all the more explainable why the two were never close. They were so estranged that Jaime and Sutton themselves never even knew about Carol up until a few weeks ago, when child services told them they would be living with her given their young ages.
Sutton wouldn't have believed they were family, had it not been for the uncanny resemblance between the two. They both had the same grey eyes and inky black hair Sutton was cursed with.
The tv screen went black for as it changed to commercial and in the dark reflection, Sutton spotted the silhouette of Carol standing at the living room entrance. She turned and closed her sketch pad.
"Where's your sister?" Jaime. The poor twelve-year-old taking the death of her parents so badly, all she did was mope around and cry herself to sleep. Begging the God she never believed in for another chance. Slowly slipping into the dark place of depression and diagnosed with survivor's guilt.
Sutton lifted her hands and signed, 'Up in her room—crying.'
Carol blinked. "Oh-kay… well, it's getting late. You should probably start heading to bed now. You have to get up early tomorrow for your first day of school. Wouldn't want you to be late or anything."
With her lips pressed together, Sutton nodded and gathered her things. She stood and padded around the couch. Just as she was about to pass Carol, she stopped and stood shoulder to shoulder with her.
Sutton couldn't be more grateful for the stranger taking them in. She wanted to show it, but no amount of words could possibly do its justice—even if she could speak.
Leaning in, she kissed Carol on the cheek before rushing up stairs. Leaving a momentarily shocked Carol standing alone with her lips agape.
Well, that was unexpected.
M O N D A Y
When Sutton arrived at school, she felt completely overwhelmed.
She had never felt more lost in her entire life. For as long as she could remember Sutton had always lived in the same small town, with the same people, in the same house—going to the same school.
Now? Now she was at a new school in a larger city with a bunch of new faces.
After ten minutes of walking through the halls in search for the front office, Sutton finally found it.
There she was given her new schedule, locker number and combination. And assigned a "Big Sister"—someone for her to shadow for the day that not only shared her classes but could communicate with her. Enter Taylor Newman.
Taylor was nice and pretty in every way. She had fiery long curly hair and light freckles.
'Do you know where your locker is?' Taylor signed as they walked down the corridors side by side.
As much as Sutton was relieved to have someone who knew sign language so fluently as Taylor, the last thing she wanted was the unwanted attention signing had a tendency of attracting.
All Sutton really wanted was to keep her head down, graduate, and then get the hell out of there. It was safer that way. For everyone.
Sutton signed, 'You don't need to sign. I can read lips. Just don't talk too fast or too slow.'
"Oh, cool." Taylor smiled. Flashing her white pearly teeth. "Well, that makes it a hell of a lot easier on my part!"
Sutton halfheartedly smiled, but it faded when she realized all the eyes on her.
She gripped the strap of her bag and began nervously twisting it.
"Don't worry," Taylor reassured. "they'll stop staring eventually. It's a big school. They'll find something new to talk about in a week or two." She turned when she heard double doors at the end of the corridor slam loudly. Her smile quickly fades.
Sutton followed Taylor's gaze. At the end of the hall, came five towering boys.
They walked with a sort of confidence Sutton had never seen. Their actions made it known that if anyone owned the school, it was them.
Sutton's mother used to always tell her there was a fine line between confidence and cocky. And just by looking at them, Sutton could tell they were dancing on that very line.
When they passed, the middle boy slanted Sutton a glance. No, not Sutton. Taylor.
He smirked, and Taylor glared before she turned to her locker. Her coldness electrifying the air.
Unphased, he simply turned forward and disappeared with the others into the sea of students.
'Who are they?' Sutton signed curiously. But what she really wanted to ask was, what was that all about?
Taylor gave them one look. A solemn expression consuming her beautiful features. She turned curtly back to her locker. "Trouble," she murmured. "Do yourself a favor and stay far, far away from them. All of them."