Claw Marks and Corridors

Felicity saw something she shouldn't have. A dead girl in the bathroom at school. Not just any girl, Robin Cross, the head girl. Since that night all she's had in her head is images of a creature ravaging her body. But Robin was just stabbed excessively, right?

Felicity's life is shattering as she struggles to find the truth and anyone who will believe her. Even the corridors start to not feel safe anymore.

*First Draft*

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Author's note

This is a first draft, meaning that a couple of the chapters are going to be changed/need serious editing at some point! Please bare this in mind.
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11. Ten

 

I felt like a dark cloud followed us as April drove towards Picket. We said nothing, both deciding to internalise anything else that we wanted to say. It was silent and moody and I didn't like it. We didn't usually act like this. April was usually giggly and happy, this version of her wasn't nice.

She pulled up outside my house and I mumbled my thanks quickly as I got out. She said nothing as I slammed the door and she instantly pulled away from the curb, like she couldn't bare to be in my presence anymore. I walked my way inside, chucking my ruined bag at the bin and calling, "I need a new bag," into the lounge before I made my way upstairs.

I didn't reply to my parent's questions, carrying my stuff to my room. I dropped everything onto my desk and flung myself at the bed. Tears broke from my eyes and I felt pathetic about it. It was just, April and I rarely argued seriously. We disagreed and bickered but not to the point where we'd become silent and angry at each other. It didn't feel right.

I spent the rest of the evening moping around, ignoring my parents when they tried to ask what was wrong with me at dinner. Kitty was wailing about something as usual and she was soon fussed over instead. I slipped off upstairs again and watched films in bed, trying to distract myself from the raging thoughts in my brain. I didn't want to think about it all right now.

I fell asleep early, my nightmares as haunting and horrible as all of the last ones, but this time April featured too. She was standing in the bathroom in the corner and laughing at me. You're such an idiot, Felicity. She appeared at my shoulder as I was staring at the monster attacking Robin. It's all in your head. She laughed again. I ran to the body, but there was just blood left again.

Maybe you killed her yourself.

No, no, no. I kept on dragging my hands across the floor.

Maybe you think it's a monster because you're just guilty.

I cried out.

Maybe you are the monster.

I screamed. "No!" And my eyes broke open, there was scrambling on the landing and mum was at the door.

"Felicity!" she called through the door. "Felicity, are you alright?"

I lay crying in bed, shaking violently. Mum knocked again and tried to open the door but I had locked it. She kept on knocking. I pushed myself out of bed and stumbled to the door. I unlocked it shakily and Mum burst in with a confused look on her face.

"What's wrong?" she asked when she saw I was crying. 

My lip wobbled as more tears fell down my face. "Am I a m-monster?"

"What?" Mum stared at me, looking surprised and then suddenly pulled me into a hug. "Of course not."

I continued to cry as mum held me, mumbling words of comfort but I couldn't listen. All I could hear in my head was April's voice. She wouldn't actually say that, would she? She wouldn't accuse me of being the murderer, would she?

I didn't hurt Robin. I didn't kill anyone. I wasn't a monster.

After a few more minutes of standing in my doorway being hugged by mum, I tried to stop my tears. It had only been a nightmare, it wasn't real. I kept telling myself that until I finally let go and told her I was fine. She looked sceptical but it was 2 o'clock in the morning and we both needed to go back to bed, so I just nodded, and slowly closed the door. I heard her walk back across to her bedroom, shut the door with a click behind her.

I climbed back into bed and pulled the duvet up to my chin but I didn't want to sleep. I was too haunted, too worried I'd have another nightmare. I lay there awake for what must have been hours, slowly slipping into a light sleep when my eyes got too heavy and I couldn't battle my body. I woke in the morning to mum tapping on my door. She'd brought me a cup of tea.

I thanked her and told her I was fine as she looked a little worried about me still. I'd always thought she'd decided only to care about Kitty now but as soon as I had screamed she had come running to me instead, showing that she did care about me too. I sat up in bed and slowly drank my tea, clearing the sleepiness from my head. At least I hadn't had another nightmare in the last few hours.

I got up from my bed and went to have a shower. The sensation of slightly cold water hitting my body woke me up. I didn't feel so scared anymore. Last night when I woke from that nightmare I had been terrified, I had actually believed what was in it, but now, I knew it wasn't real. April wouldn't call me a monster. She was annoyed at me for a different reason.

Mum called my name up the stairs and I reluctantly shed my towel and pulled some clothes on. I descended the stairs and was about to ask what she wanted when I saw for myself the reason she had summoned me. April was standing waiting for me on the doorstep.

I put my hands in my pockets and stepped to the door, mum disappearing off into the house again.

"I know you're probably still upset with me," she started slowly and she looked at the floor. "I'm still upset with you too." She paused slightly. "But I wanted to say sorry and that, really that argument only happened because I care."

I held the side of the door and looked out at her. She seemed genuinely apologetic and I wanted to say that I understood but I also didn't. Instead, I just shrugged.

"I do care about you Fe, and I don't think you're crazy," she continued. It was nice to hear but I still remained silent. "You don't have to say anything... I know this is probably not what you want to hear but I just came here to say this. If we could just forget about yesterday, I wouldn't mind. Let's forget I was ever mad at you, because it's like Mr Sinclair said we need to keep each other close right now." She took in a deep breath. "Instead, we're just pulling apart and I don't want that... so please, I'm sorry."

I felt a tug at my heart and I found it increasingly hard not to just give in. I sighed deeply and met her eyes. She was biting her lip in anxiousness again and her eyes were glazed with tears as she looked back at me.

I gave in. "It's okay."

She smiled gently. "Really?"

I nodded and sighed again. "It's probably my fault too, so I'm sorry."

April smiled again. "It's okay."

"I'm just scared," I told her and it was the truth. "Like you said, I saw something horrible and I just wanted to find some kind of solution."

April looked at me a little sadly. "I think everyone does, right?"

I nodded slightly. "I guess so." I just knew no one else was thinking it was a monster, and my apology didn't mean I stopped believing in my theory.

"Can I come in?" April asked gently.

I wanted to say yes but I shook my head. Her smile dropped a little.

"I just need to clear my head right now," I told her. "But you can come back tomorrow?"

April nodded and sighed. "Okay."

I tried to give her a smile as she backed away and I slowly shut the door. I stood with my back pressed against it for a few seconds before I made my way back upstairs. It was a relief to know that we had apologised to each other. I didn't like being angry and upset with her, so I preferred it that we had just decided to forget the argument, but I couldn't quite forget it.

April didn't believe in the monster, she didn't believe in my theory. Maybe I could prove it to her somehow. I didn't know how but I wanted to be able to. I sunk down onto my bed, thinking to myself. If I kept researching, kept puzzling it all out, there might be a point where April would believe me. For now, I just had to wait. I could wait, for April's sake. We could be friends again and tomorrow I was going to try my best to act normally, not mention anything bad. If she really wanted to help, she'd have to believe me properly first so I would only include her in my investigation when I knew more for definite about some things.

What about Ric? I suddenly thought. I hadn't told him my theory but I had said he could help me. So, he needed to know what I thought too, didn't he? I picked up my phone from my desk, hovered over his number but I couldn't call. Although April said she didn't think I was crazy, I doubted that was true. I thought there was a real-life monster close by, of course she thought I was crazy, and I'm sure Ric would think so too. I put my phone down again. He hadn't called me about the articles yet, the least I could do was wait till I could get more information first, before I revealed anything to him. If he thought I was crazy after that, at least I'd still have the articles.

Maybe it was bad thinking like that but I was just desperate. I wanted more clues to puzzle this out and, in the articles, there might be something more. But what if there isn't, a voice in my head called and I shook it away. I didn't know what my next step would be if there was nothing more I could find out. I'd just have to wait and see, I guess. One step at a time, I told myself. One step at a time.

*

April appeared at my doorstep again on Sunday. She was holding a plastic tub with brownies in and smiled at me when I opened the door.

I pointed to the box. "What are they for?"

"Peace offering," she replied with the smile still on her face.

I smiled slightly in reply and pulled the door back further, letting her inside. We went upstairs to my room, sitting ourselves down on my bed.

"I just want it to be like normal," April started again slowly and I looked round at her. "Like obviously I care about what happened to Robin, but I just want to forget about her for a bit, like no offence to her. I just want to be normal, happy us. Not have the death hanging over us for just a day."

I understood what she meant. Dwelling on it always put me in a bad, reflective mood which didn't feel right. I'd felt frantic and scared ever since I saw her body, I hadn't relaxed once. So, I nodded at her and tried to smile again.

She kicked off her shoes and opened the plastic tub. She offered it to me first and I took one. She did the same and raised it like she was making a toast with a glass.

"To a happy day," she said and grinned at me.

"To a happy day," I repeated and we knocked the brownies together before we bit into them.

She giggled like usual through a mouthful and it was almost refreshing to hear. It was usual April behaviour.

"So... Ric?" she started and I narrowed my eyes at her. What was she insinuating?

I swallowed my bite. "So... Dalton?" I copied her and laughed slightly when she blushed bright red.

"Shut up." She chucked another brownie at me and I just grinned at her in a knowing way. It was nice to act normally, to be normal teenage girls having a conversation. It was something the past week had lacked.

"Did you really just go upstairs to see his gecko then?" I asked, after another bite.

She scowled at me but her giggle gave it all away. I narrowed my eyes some more and she burst out suddenly, like she had been waiting to tell me for ages, "we might have kissed a bit."

"April McKinnon!" I gasped slightly as she blushed profusely. "I knew you weren't just friends!"

"Oh shush," April muttered busying herself with stuffing brownies in her mouth.

"You know it's obvious, right?" I said to her as she was still blushing. "Ric could see it too."

April swallowed her big mouthful. "As you asked me a private question, then I get to ask you one. Is watching TV the only thing you and Ric did?"

I snorted at her. "We only just met."

She giggled and poked me. "Does that matter? You seemed pretty relaxed with each other, Fe Flem."

I poked her back. "Don't you start calling me that too!"

She giggled again through her mouthful and I just scowled back. We spent the next few minutes stupidly arguing over whether watching TV and talking was the only thing Ric and I had done. It was stupid because we had only just met, there was nothing going on, but April just liked to tease me about things. On this occasion it was probably so I didn't ask more questions about Dalton.

We'd never been the typical teenage girls but I felt more normal in that moment. We were just two girls giggling about boys, whilst we binge ate brownies. From an outside perspective you couldn't have guessed that the two friends knew about a dead girl or that one of them believed a monster had killed her. All that was just in their heads, as on the outside they tried to forget it for the day.

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