the oldest flower
Rae's voice squealed on the other end of the line, "Oh my God Ivory- don't do this! You'll get us all in trouble!" she stutters, obviously stumbling wherever she was. "Please! If we all find out everything then someone's going to get killed! One of us did it and we all know it! I'm calling Levi- He'll stop you, and he'll save us!"
"If you call Levi I'll tell Cory everything. And if you killed Isabel, I'll kill you."
"I didn't kill her! How many times do I have to tell you? I was in the back of the car and I couldn't possibly do anything-"
"Do Cory and Danila know? Did you make them keep quiet?" I gasp out. "Rae, if you don't meet us-"
"I won't! I'm not going near you, you bitch!"
I tremble, my voice cracking like a mirror destined to give years of bad luck. "Where will you go? If you run, we'll-."
The phone goes dead, and I throw it across the room so a horrible, splintering sounds fills the old barn and pieces of junk metal slide across the wood. Rae did it. Rae killed Isabel, and now she's running like a piece of prey, from me. A predator.
And my insides feel like they're turning me inside out, my scream ripping though my bones like a bitter bullet flying of its own accord. Everything is inside my ears, every sound in the whole word shattering. Is this madness? Is this what it feels like to be finally losing everything?
Ivory. Rae. Jasmine. Cory. Danila. And Isabel. One of us killed her. We all had the chance.
I drop to my knees. Poppies. Circles. Sugar. Circles. Poppies. Circles.
Danila fancied Rae and Rae hated Isabel and Jasmine hated Cory because Cory loved Rae too and Isabel hated me because I sometimes hated her and then Danila hated Rae and Jasmine and I hated Rae because she was pretty and perfect and Danila and Cory hated each other and then Isabel was dead. And we all hated each other because it had to be- it had to be one of us! There was no-one else ever even though Levi was always standing by me and Mum and Dad were always holding us back, and sometimes Stefan and Charles hung around the rim of the circle.
And then after it all happened Danila told me that Rae and Isabel had a fight that very morning, and Isabel hurled the first dirty punch. Jasmine told me Rae always whispered about me to her, and how I was always chasing after all the boys she liked. And there was a rumour in the group that I loved my sister like more than just family but it wasn't true. Apparently Danila kissed Isabel a few weeks beforehand, and I don't know how much happened but Cory said it went too far. And I spiked Cory's drink with some shit that was being sold at school and he got sick for a day, but I didn't mean it.
And Circles over again. Danila told me again today he loved Rae and I love Isabel and I think Rae killed her.
But Jasmine always knew everything because I always confided everything to her, so she would know how best to grab her change at Isabel's throat. But Only Rae was sneaky enough to get the noose around Isabel's neck and only Cory was brash enough to let Isabel hang in the air, weightless. And I only would be cruel enough to watch her die.
I shudder. If Rae gets away, if Rae runs, we'll never pin the murder onto someone's back. Not ever. Because someone did it: I know they did. They did it, they did it, they did it and they have to, have to, have to pay. Circles. You pass a spot and you'll have to pass it again, whatever it means. Circles. Circles.
I stagger out of the old barn where we used to meet together, and Cory and Danila are waiting outside, their eyes bright with fear.
"Ivory-" Cory shouts my name, but I push passed him, my legs racing forward. Even though I can't breathe, even though I'm carefully suffocating, asphyxiating, I've never felt more alive.
"Danila! Call Jasmine! Tell her to meet me where the poppies are."
Danila is dizzy. I can see it in his dead eyes.
Rae is going to get away, and Jasmine might too. One of us did it. Cory and Danila are too stupid.
There's just three of us. Three phantoms walking three circles. And somewhere in those circles is the answer. We have to pass the same point once again, and I'm determined to be there when we do.
Rae is crying and Jasmine looks like she's dying.
The poppies bleed in the dark wind and the stars begin to fall around us, like broken angels.
I feel myself fall too, in a straight line, instead of a circle. It's quite strange, really. How it all turns out. There were never any poppies. There was just me.