When I was informed that Miss Peartree wanted to speak to me, initially I felt terrified. She must know what had happened between Shaina and me. I packed up my books from the table I had been using in the library. I made my way slowly towards Miss Peartree’s office. Once she summoned you, you had to go immediately.
I approached the glossy wooden door and knocked twice before she answered.
“Come in,” her voice sounded faint and distant.
I went in, taking the seat opposite her. As soon as I sat down I launched into my explanation.
“It was a mistake. I didn’t mean for it to happen. Neither did Shaina.” I glanced at Miss Peartree, noticing that she was looking at me quizzically. Damn it! I thought. I had just got myself into more trouble by opening my big mouth.
“Sara, what are you ranting about? I think I’ll have to turn a blind eye to what you have just said. Anyway, the reason I called you in here was to discuss Haven with you. She’s having a tough time here and I feel that you’re the ideal person to guide her along.”
My mind raced. Haven. Who was Haven?
“Haven has been here for three months now and some people have been causing her a lot of hassle and torment. I want you to help befriend her and help her out, make sure she can settle down and make friends of her won. How do you feel about that?” Miss Peartree looked at me closely, waiting for an answer.
“I’m not sure that I know who Haven is. Can you show me a photo of her?”
“Of course. Wait a moment,” she clicked her laptop mouse a few times before turning the screen to face me.
“This is Haven.”
I saw the face, the sad eyes, the wistful half smile and I realised. This was Haven. Haven was the girl Shaina and I had targeted because she beat us in the maths test we always aced; because she was chosen for the athletics team instead of Shaina; because she looked weird and because she was different. We had even followed her home from college yesterday and posted letters through her door which said horrible things about her and about her past, things that probably weren’t even true. We’d just wanted something to do to kill our boredom.
“Sara? Will you show Haven how to cope? I’m sure I can trust you to do this for me.”
She looked at me expectantly, waiting for my answer. What should I say? I couldn’t help Haven, I had tortured her and now this was my punishment.
A knock on the door saved me from answering. It was a policeman. He was clutching a dripping wet floral fabric bag.
“Can I speak to you urgently please?”
He addressed Miss Peartree quietly; his eyes had a deep sadness to them. She nodded at me and I got up to leave her office. As I left I heard the policeman mention the name Haven. I stopped and stood outside the door, pressing my ear against the keyhole.
“We found this bag in the river. The name on it says ‘Haven Bedford’. Is she a student here?”
I imagined Miss Peartree looking shocked and devastated.
Her reply sounded shaky, only just together, “Yes. Yes, she is.”
I had heard all I needed to hear. I turned and walked out of the school, not caring where I was going. It was entirely my fault. If Shaina and I hadn’t been so stupid and childish none of this would have happened.
I, Sara Lewis, was a murderer.
I had killed Haven.