Curiosity Killed The Cat

Emily Shakespeare never gets in any trouble. She is the best student at St Catherine's College. All of a sudden her school has been closed off, and no one knows why. When she tries to find out, she gets in more trouble than she had ever imagined...

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4. The Black Cat

The next day there was still no school. I decided to see if Maeve wanted to head into town with me. I had to do grocery shopping for Mum and it might have been the only chance I'd get to leave the house that week. I was grounded for a week. I couldn't stand the thought of staying indoors for an entire week, so I'd jumped at the idea of grocery shopping.

I took out my phone and sent her a text.

Emily: R u coming out??? :D

I waited for about ten minutes before my phone finally buzzed again.

Maeve<3: Soz got extra dance practise, see u 2morow??? :)

Emily: maybe, i'm grounded but hopefully she'll let me out :'(

Maeve<3: poor you, well gtg, bye!!! :)

Emily: Bye, :)

I put my phone in my pocket and pulled on my jacket. Mum had given me some money and a huge shopping list. I grabbed my small blue hand bag and a few big shopping bags, seven to be precise. I went into the hallway. Mum was feeding Katelynne in the kitchen so I poked my head around the door.

"I'm going out to do the shopping," I said, waving the shopping list in the air.

"Be back by twelve o'clock, no dilly-dallying, remember your still grounded young lady," Mum warned. I went out the door and ran down the stairs. Mr Ransworth was outside his apartment on the second floor. He was polishing the door handle though it was already so shiny it was almost blinding to look at.

"Good mornin' Emily," he smiled, "You off somewhere?"

"Just to the supermarket for some grocery shopping, Mr Ransworth," I lifted up the shopping bags to show him. He nodded his head, showing his wispy white hair, and turned back to the door handle.

I went down two more flights of stairs to the ground floor. Mrs Smith was sitting behind the desk tapping away on her computer. She was quite old and had been working in Oakwood apartments since they first opened, nearly fifty years ago. She has countless Employee of the Month certificates in her apartment, with pictures of her when she was probably still in her twenties.

"Good morning Mrs Smith," I said as I passed. She nodded vaguely in my direction, before continuing her constant tapping on her keyboard. I pushed through the stiff revolving doors and out onto the pavement. I checked my watch. It was 9:45am, giving me two hours and a quarter before I had to be back.

I set off down the road. I just had to walk the usual way to school, then continue on for about ten minutes, which would altogether take about half an hour. So up and back, that takes an hour, leaving me with an hour and a quarter in Tesco.

 The wind was icy cold, and the clouds were gathering above me. I zipped up my jacket to keep in the heat. There were a few people strolling around town, but they started to thin out as I neared the school. Police cars patrolled the streets everywhere. Whatever had happened was serious.

I turned the corner I always turned to get to St Catherine’s College, which was still surrounded by police tape. I saw the haughty policeman we’d met the day before, and I decided it would be best to avoid him for today. I kept walking, straight past the school, when I felt a soft tickle on the back of my leg. I spun around and saw a sleek black cat swish past my leg. He looked up at me and purred, weaving casually through my legs and circling me slowly. He narrowed his large green eyes at me and let out a small meow.

He started to walk away slowly. I stared at him. It was the same one from before, I was sure of it. His fur was ever so slightly tinted with blue, which you could only notice when it shone in the daylight.

I was about to continue walking when the cat stopped and turned his head. He stared at me and meowed. I took a step towards him. He continued to stare at me, eyes wide. I took another step forward cautiously. He turned and slowly began walking again. I stopped and he stopped, looking at me impatiently. I followed him back along the path to the school where he slid under the gate. He stared at me as if he was waiting for me to follow.

“Sorry little guy, I can’t follow you any further,” I said, seeing the police tape barring off the gate. He looked at me and purred, leaping up on the wall surrounding the school yard. He jumped down beside me and rubbed his head against my leg. He leaped back up on the wall, and down the other side, looking up at me again. It took me a moment to understand what he was doing.

I don’t know what came over me after that. That area of the school was near the gymnasium, a bit away from the rest of the school. I scanned the area to make sure there were no police nearby and climbed over the wall. I don’t know why or what urged me to suddenly break the rules, or the law in fact, but I did. It was something about that cat; it was like he knew something and he was trying to tell me.

I followed the cat carefully across the yard to the gym, where he slipped in through an open door. If the door was unlocked, it must mean there was someone in there. I poked my head around the door to make sure the coast was clear before sliding in silently. I saw the black cat’s silhouette disappear into the girls changing room. I tiptoed quietly along the dark corridor towards the door.

Suddenly the lights flickered on above me. The sensor lights were on. I dived into the changing room and closed the door beside me. I heard footsteps along the corridor and muffled voices. What had I gotten myself into? I spotted the cat again, standing impatiently by the double doors to the gym. I pushed them open and stepped into the huge dark room. The cat took lead again and I followed, sticking close to the walls just in case a policeman was to walk in.

Reaching the door at the far end of the hall I listened carefully. There didn’t seem to be as many police guarding this side of the school. I entered the next corridor and the cat lead me down past my English classroom and my Art classroom. The lights turned on above me so I tried to be as fast as possible. I heard footsteps ahead of me. The classrooms were locked as well as the bathrooms. I started to panic. The cat hid behind a bin near the lockers. As fast as I could I pulled the lockers away from the wall, squeezing in behind them.

I tried to hold my breath as the policemen walked past the lockers. From the space between the lockers I could see one man had a cup of coffee in his hand and was talking to the other man. I couldn’t tell what they were talking about; it was too quiet to hear. When they reached the end of the corridor the black cat stepped out from his hiding place. I left the lockers and continued on behind him. The time was 10:27.

The cat stopped by the staffroom. There was police tape blocking off the corridor and I could hear voices coming from inside the staffroom, just a few metres away. I ducked under the police tape and sidled along the wall until I was close enough to hear what was being said.

“We can find no evidence of a weapon or fingerprints chief,”

“And what about the victim, any news on her?”

“No chief, we are not sure how she was killed, it seemed she was suffocated, but the more research we do, the less likely it seems to be anything we have thought so far.”

“She was new at the school, Mrs Samuels was,”

“Yes chief, she began teaching here three weeks ago.”

“So, the others say when they left the room, she just dropped dead?”

“Apparently so…”

 

I stood frozen for a few moments. Mrs Samuels was dead. She had joined our school just recently and taught me History now Mrs Johnson was retired. At least she used to.

I leaned forward and peered in the window into the staff room. A few policemen, including Chief Redmond, were standing around… a chalked outline of my History teacher on the staffroom carpet…

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