Hush Now (ON HOLD)

Everyone has secrets, Camden Rivers is no exception. All anyone really knows about Camden is that she's president of the AV club and that her brother, the perfect and popular Daniel, is dead. What they don't know is that she visits her disowned sister in jail, has parents who not-so-discreetly despises her and the reason for her parents' hate is eating her alive. When Clete Jopkins, a student in her literature class, joins the AV club, Camden thinks that her secrets will finally be set loose. But after a documentary experiment goes wrong Camden and her AV club buddies find themselves in the catch for a killer. Camden and Clete's secrets have a role to play in the deaths and if they don't hush now, they'll be next on the kill list.

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1. Chapter One

I wipe the mist off the clouded mirror and sneak a peak at my reflection. Still ugly as ever. Still not as good-looking as Daniel.

I turn my face away from the mirror as I remember Daniel. Don't think of him now, I urge myself, not now. I tighten my towel around me and walk out of the bathroom, tears lingering in my eyes. I can pass those off as shower water, I tell myself, no one will be able to tell that I felt like crying. And so, I put on my expressionless mask that I have worn for years now and run into my room to change before the cold catches me.

I settle on faded jeans and a tucked in oversize t-shirt with the words "Carpe Diem" on it. I pull on a cobalt blue blazer and brown belt. I still wear my hair down, letting my long brown hair flow down. I inspect my face in the mirror, the blue of the blazer looked better on the manequin. I shrug it and the belt off and instead wear my favourite gray hoodie. It looks okay, I guess, and nothing will brighten up my muddy-brown eyes anyways. I sigh and let the comb roam through my hair. I'll visit Anna in prison after AV club. I sigh, I not supposed to talk to her since she was officially disowned after she was incarcerated  but I still do anyways. If I get caught by mom I'll bring up Daniel, that always shuts her up. Tears sting at the backs of my eyes again but I push them back. Finally Daniel's death comes in handy.

*

I flip the egg over and am rewarded with an appetizing sizzle. I then lay it on my plate and make my way to the dining table, a round little thing with spindly legs and rough edges. It's cluttered with various books, mostly mine, and old wallets. I shove enough of the mess away to fit in my plate and start munching on my golden egg. I would have liked to bake a muffin instead but I woke up late, I was up all night watching the entries for the documentry competition that closes next month. The AV club and I are having the movie equivalent of writer's block. I zone out for a couple minutes thinking about ideas but, as always, I shoot them down almost the second I think of them.

"Camden! Are you eating breakfast?" Mom hollers from her room. She doesn't need to yell, I would've heard her loud and clear if she whispered. Our two-bedroom flat is a glorified closet if you ask me, but since we lost both Daniel and Anna it has seemed bigger. I think about Anna and Daniel for a second, The Golden Twins, the smartest and most beautiful kids the Rivers family ever had. Thinking about that hurts a little, Anna and Daniel were perfect. Then there's me. Camden Rivers, the girl not quite as pretty as her sister and not quite as smart as her brother. The runt of the family, the mistake.

Mom walks in after I don't respond. Ever since Daniel left us she's been walking around dead-like with her feet dragging behind her and slumped shoulders. Everyone knew he was her favourite out of the twins. Anna was dad's.The version of her now, with disheleved hair and swollen eyes is a far cry from her beauty days. They say that she was beautiful before I was born, that's another thing I messed up, my mom's looks.

"I asked you something," she grumbles and lays her head down in her arms as she slumps down onto the table. I take another bite of my egg.

"I was busy eating," I say. She glares at me through her arms and then snaps her head up.

"I can see that," she snaps. I chug down some milk and wipe it at the back of my hand. Her face twists in disgust. I frown. It's not that she doesn't love me, I say to try to convince myself, it's just that I'm not her favourite.

She shoots me a death glare before laying her head down again. No matter how much I tell myself that she loves me I know that it's a lie, she wishes it was me to die and not Daniel. She would trade our places in a heart beat.

"Camden?" she asks after a while.

"Yes, ma?"

"Don't eat too many eggs, you'll get heavier," she smirks. That hurt. A lot. I don't even know what's she's talking about, I ate one egg. The scrambled mess seems to slither down my throat now, leaving a thick, oily trail but I force it down. I even shove another forkful into my mouth before washing the dish just to spite her.

"I'm going to school now Ma," I yell after I grab my backpack. She walks up to me and folds me into one of those heartless, meaningless hugs. I return it, soaking up every bit of fake love I could get my hands on. Feeling her fragile frame makes me feel bigger by comparison but I shake it off, mom was just in one of her moods. She didn't mean a word of it. I silently forgive her.

"I love you," she says as I walk out the door.

"Love you too," I say, just as the door slams in my face. I pinch my side, remembering the day after my last good day with Daniel and Anna and I start to dry sob. Right outside my crumbling apartment, I sob without the tears. What do I have to do to make those three little words true? Within a second I recompose myself and jog to school, hopefully getting rid of the calories that the egg gave me.

*

"Woah, Camden. Did you get hit by a bus or something?" asks Noel as I walk into the classroom. I know how I look, I look terrible. A bus splashed gutter water all over my jeans and my t-shirt is a rumpled mess. My hair got knotted, thanks to the wind, and I cut my lip when I tried to apply lip balm.

"You don't need to rub it in, you know," I snap as I throw myself into a random chair. Noel, of course, looks like she lives in a fashion magazine. Her white blond hair is styled to perfection and her outfit screams summer while my outfit screams boring.

Gloria pulls up a seat beside me and helps me fix my hair. In the end we both give up and I decide to tie it in a clean ponytail. Gloria is the brunette version of Noel. With chocolate coloured hair and emerald eyes, Gloria is on of the prettiest girls in school. Being friends with them is always a blow to your self esteem but they don't make me feel bad about it, they don't try to anyway. That's partly why I like AV club so much, I don't need to look like a doll to feel like I belong.

"Did you get the assingnment Cammie? I had no clue what the hell the questions meant," exclaims Noel. I smile at this.

"Let me guess, you want to borrow my notes," I say confidently. She has that guilty look in her eyes which makes me throw my notes at her to copy. She takes them gratefully.

"You, Camden, are the best human being alive," she says and gives me a big bear hug. Grade 11 literature isn't a hard subject, essential  if you want to be a director like me, but not hard in the slightest. Gloria and Noel aren't dumb like most people think, they're actually quite smart, but have trouble focusing. Between trying to set me up with one of a AV club buddies or scoping out guys for themselves (which they have no trouble with) leaves little time for studying.

"Did you catch last night's episode of NCIS?" asks Gloria as Noel hurriedly scribbles my notes down before Mrs. Smith walks in. Gloria and I are obessed with cop shows. One time we turned down Tyler (the most popular guy in school)'s party to watch a CSI marathon at our houses and talk about them afterwards over video chat.

"Couldn't. Parents are super strict with me sleeping at nine o'clock. You know, after Anna," I say as Mrs. Smith walks in. Gloria knows that Anna's still in jail. The neighborhood that I live in changes people. It changed Anna. She got mixed with the wrong people when she was my age. Sometimes she never even came home at night. Imagine Anna Rivers, the golden girl, the cheeky, wild one getting caught up in a gang.The funny thing is that she didn't just get caught up with it though, she was the gang's ringleader, their boss. She was even good at being bad.

"S'okay kiddo. I'll spoil it for you at lunch," Gloria laughs as we take our seats. I roll my eyes, she loves spoiling shows for me. I walk over to my respective seat, my wet jeans clinging to my legs making it hard to walk, and open my textbook.

"Okay class, we have a transfer. He was unsuccessful at his previous elective and has decided to come here, Literature 101!" exclaims Mrs.Smith in her overly cheery voice. She walks over to the door and pulls someone out.

The first thing that comes to mind is that I've seen this kid before. Not only in school but in my neighborhood, he's one of us. The kids who live in our part of the city have that look in their eyes, that constant fear. That fear is built up over time, after nights where gun shots are a constant lullaby and days where everyone on the street looks like a enemy, that fear is something you get used to. I think that I hide that fear pretty well. Sometimes at night I'm scared for my life but besides that I don't let the mask slip. I'm one those kids. He is a slightly different one.

"I'm Clete Jopkins," he says after a while. Most of the kids in our class aren't paying much attention, they're mostly just picking at their nails or desperately trying to finish homework. I study the kid, Clete, whatever his name was and try to figure him out.

His hair is done up in a coif and the sides are shaved off. There's one type of lot who do that, I forgot the name though. Anna taught me how to tell which gang memeber from another when I was younger, I forgot most of them now though. His pulled down sleeves must hide tattoos, I can see that much, which is weird since our school allows tattoos. That means one thing, either his tattoos are something gang-related or symbolizes some sort of profanity. Scars mingle with the tats, he must have gotten invovled in some pretty bad fights. His brown puppy dog eyes scan the room, his light smirk is making people feel intimidated. This guy has a reputation, I can see that much as some of the guys are scared stiff.

"Okay, um, Clete. You may take a seat," mumbles Mrs.Smith. She shoos him away but before he takes a seat at the back of the class he holds two fingers up to his right eyebrow and makes a sideways V shape and looks directly at me.

The Signal. That's my sister's signal. I used to help my sister sneak back home using the fire escape by my bedroom window, that was the signal that we used to make sure the coast was clear.

He knows The Signal.

He worked for my sister.

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