“I know that it’s gotten shorter because she told me that a chunk of her hair fell off before I could question her. But it just makes me question her more. I walk away and don’t look back. Even when the tears sting my eyes.”
“I’m not a murderer!” my friend Reda yells a bit too loudly in front of our school, Lincoln High School.
We get weird looks, and I shush her suspiciously. “You can’t just yell stupid things at the top of your lungs at school!”
“Yeah, but it just proves my point even further. If I’m willing to yell it in a public area, then I’m right.”
I scowl. I hate Reda’s stubbornness. But, even if I leave her, what friend will I have? We’re both alone in high school, and it would just make us miserable if we left each other. I stop feeling bad for her and toughen up again.
“I had two twin baby brothers. Now I have one. And I have reason to believe it was you who killed Zach!”
“No you don’t! For the last time, how do you know if it was my hair?” she asks, skeptically touching her hair.
I know that it’s gotten shorter because she told me that a chunk of her hair fell off before I could question her. But it just makes me question her more. I walk away and don’t look back. Even when the tears sting my eyes. Though I didn’t get too attached to Zach or Henry in the five months since they’ve been born, because I’ve been so busy with school and popularity statuses, I’m still so sad that one of them is dead. It puts me in danger, and it puts my trust in the world in danger — not to mention my best friend!
My house looks like a crime scene on one of those felony shows. Blood stains the crib that Zach used to sleep in. There’s police everywhere. My parents are heard crying in the kitchen, and it hurts me. I know that a kid shouldn’t have to hear their parents cry, and it hurts me that I do. I don’t dare go near the kitchen door. I just go upstairs to my room.
I’m so lucky that Henry was sleeping with mom and dad in their bed because he had a bit of a fever. I’m so lucky to at least have one brother left. My parents don’t have anybody to send me or Henry to for safety because Mom’s an orphan and Dad’s family lives in Arizona. So Henry’s sleeping in my bed for the night.
Since I got home late from the therapist my parents send me to, who I hate, I get right into my pajamas and skip dinner. Downstairs, with the police, is Henry. There’s one police officer that’s holding him as he talks to Mom about putting him up for adoption. Naturally, she refuses and wipes her eyes with her shirt sleeve. She turns away and looks at me. This is the first time I’ve seen her in days.
Bags heaving down below her eye.
Red eyes above those bags.
Wrinkles as far as the eye can see.
It kills me to say this, but she looks like a disappointment of a mother. Before we both burst into tears, I take Henry from the police officer without a word. I take Henry upstairs, even though it’s way before either of our bedtimes.
It’s the middle of the night, and my stomach is rumbling vigorously. I regret skipping dinner and hop out of bed before remembering what the police officers told me.
Don’t let him out of your sight.
So I bring him with me.
As I’m walking down the hall, I realize that Mom and Dad’s room is empty. They’re probably at the police station working out what to do with Henry and me. It makes me tear up a little bit, but I stay strong.
I keep going down, slowly and carefully, and think about how much my parents trust me enough to leave me alone at home. I am sixteen, and there are multiple police cars outside, but still.
I make it to the kitchen, and I carefully put Henry down on the counter. I make myself a glass of milk and help myself to the treats from the many gift baskets that we got. I make my way to the living room, first bringing Henry and making sure that he’s okay in his baby seat, and then bring my treats.
I sit down and just stare at the ceiling. Once I’m done with my milk and cookies, I go back upstairs to my room, only to find someone there already.
That is the moment I stop believing my friend.