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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14. Thirteen

 

After we'd spent a few hours watching TV with Ric, April and I headed home. She was relieved and happy, knowing that she would be able to see Dalton again soon and nothing majorly bad had happened to him. When I slipped into bed that night I thought about tomorrow. It was Robin's commemorative service at the town hall. It made me particularly uncomfortable thinking about it. By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I still wasn't prepared for it and I felt as though a large permanent lump had formed in my throat.

I changed in to a black dress and found some dark coloured ribbon to tie my hair back. Mum and dad were both dressed in black too and they'd even forced Kitty to put a darker shade of clothing on than usual. She was usually wearing something neon coloured, which was definitely not suitable for a funeral. As I went downstairs, they were discussing with her how it was important to be quiet when we got to the town hall because it was respectful. She'd dumbly mumbled something about 'but she can't hear me if she's dead' and I had to stop myself from locking her in the bathroom instead of taking her with us.

We piled into the car, mum swiftly reversing out of the drive and starting towards the road which led out of the village. A few miles into our journey I glimpsed the sight of April's car behind us and I turned around in my seat to wave back at her. She was clearly very focused on driving as her parents were in the car so she didn't see me. She was never that focused when it was just her and I.

I went back to watching the scenery. Since seeing the red thing on the side of the road I had been very observant during rides from my house to Rook Valley. I hadn't seen anything red again and I was starting to think I really had made it up that first time.

When we got to Rook Valley, the town hall car park was full so we had to park on the side of the road somewhere. Kitty was hanging off dads arm as we walked along, singing to herself, something which I hoped she would stop when we got closer to the town hall. I was feeling very on edge, like anything could make me cry. It was strange, I knew I wasn't Robin's best friend or anything, I doubt she ever really knew who I was, but seeing her dead had changed everything. I didn't care how close I was to her, I was filled with this overwhelming sadness that she was gone, that her life was taken. It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair at all.

As we neared the entrance I saw a man and woman at the door, greeting people. They were ashen faced, looked like they hadn't slept in weeks and the woman had clearly been recently crying. They had to be Robin's parents and as I got closer, Robin's blue eyes stared back at me as my parents were offering their condolences. Her mother had the same eyes and curly blonde hair, the similarity was very striking and made me feel worse. All that was raging in my head was images of Robin's destroyed face.

I gripped hold tight of the drink that mum was passing me at the refreshments table. She glanced at me with a frown on her face and asked me if I was alright, but before I could answer Kitty had started to show the tell tale signs of starting to have a tantrum. Instead, I slipped off to find a seat, my legs shaking as I walked.

"Felicity!" I heard a voice and turned my head. Dalton was waving over at me, gesturing at me to come and sit next to him, from a few rows back.

I tried to smile at him as I ambled my way back down the room, and apologised to the lady who had to get out of my way so I could get to the free seat next to him.

"Ric told me everything, how you and April came to the house," he began, talking really fast. "That's really nice of you to care so much."

I shrugged slightly with a small smile. "We were just worried."

Dalton rose from his seat and looked behind him. "Is April here yet?"

"Their car was behind us at one point, so I'm sure she'll be here soon," I informed him and he was still looking eagerly towards the back of the hall. I don't know how he was so full of energy and life at a commemorative service. He was probably happy to be home again so he couldn't quite contain his excitement.

"I see her!" he suddenly exclaimed and the lady glared at him as she had to move again to let him past.

I sunk back in my seat slightly and took a sip of my drink. Towards the front of the hall there was a large picture of Robin and it wasn't making me feel any better. There was so much colour and life in her face. She always had been a smiley person and now all I could think of was how savagely she had been attacked and how horrible it was.

"Hey, Fe Flem." Another voice broke me from my wallowing trance again.

I raised my head to see Ric. I hadn't even realised he'd walked down the aisle.

"Oh, hi."

He sat down in the seat next to me. "It's like the whole town is here," he commented as he looked around him. It was almost packed and there was a loud rumble of voices.

I looked around to, spotting many pupils of the school and their parents. Grandparents too, babies trying to be kept quiet and even the greedy, mean looking farmer from Picket. It was as though the whole town and their neighbours had come to pay their respects. I suppose it wasn't every day a local girl turned up dead.

"People liked her," I said quietly.

"I didn't know her. I don't think I ever saw her around town," Ric replied and he was looking towards the photo at the front with a thinking frown on his face.

"I saw her every day," I mumbled and Ric moved his eyes to me, looking a little sympathetic.

"Dalton said you were the one who found her," Ric continued quietly and I nodded slowly. "That must have been awful."

"It was." I shivered slightly as I tried not to focus too much on the images in my head again. It had been increasingly hard when I had walked into the room not to think about it.

I expected us to fall into silence but Ric cleared his throat. "You know," he started and he rubbed at the back of his neck, looking a little awkward about what he was saying, "if you want to talk about it, you can always come and talk to me."

I was taken aback at first but soon tried to smile back. After all, what had happened yesterday had brought us closer together, it wasn't like a complete stranger was offering up his time if I wanted to talk about dead people. There was still a lot I didn't know about him but I felt more at ease next to him, less like we were just merely acquaintances any more. Maybe I could really talk to him about all the horrible stuff, get it off my chest. Maybe I could tell him about the monster theory too. Yet as I looked round at him, I still decided against it.

Once all the chairs were filled and the clocks hit 11am, Mr and Mrs Cross positioned themselves at the front.

"Hello everyone," Mr Cross started and he looked out at all the faces staring back at him. "As you all know, we're here to commemorate our daughters life. I'd just like to start with a few words." He shared a look with Mrs Cross who dabbed at her eyes and gripped his hand tightly. He took in a big breath and began speaking again in this rough but sombre voice. "Robin was a kind girl, someone who a lot of people liked and a lot of people got on with." There was a few echoing sobs around the room. "It has absolutely heart broken us that she is gone." I felt my hands start to shake. "It was too soon, much too soon. Our wonderful girl was just 18 and had her whole life ahead of her. She was going to be a lawyer, she'd just got her offers back from several universities. There was so much brightness in her future." Mrs Cross burst into more tears and it was painful to watch. It was painful to keep listening.

I swallowed hard and my hands still shook against the cup in my hand.

I didn't know how Mr Cross was continuing to form words but he did manage to. I could hear the pain in every word. "It sickens me that someone would take her away from the world. I can't imagine why she ever deserved this fate. It is not fair, like all deaths of young people are. It is not fair that we live in such a cruel world." He paused and my heart kept on hammering against my rib-cage, and my eyes stung. "But I don't want to focus on the bad things because Robin wouldn't want that. She was always so positive, always optimistic, and should remain a constant reminder to us all that even though times get dark, we have to try and pull through."

I felt a single tear roll down my cheek. Sobs were still reverberating around the room and I couldn't listen any more as Mr and Mrs Cross sat down and one of the town hall's event people stood up to continue. She called up various relatives and friends to make little speeches, share memories of Robin. Everyone kept repeating about how happy she was, so damn happy. Now her smile was ripped from her forever. Quite literally, her face had been half ripped off.

The cup in my hand crunched and I realised I had squeezed my fingers into a fist as I tried to force the horror from my head. I felt Ric shift slightly next to me, then his hand passed over mine and he slowly took the cup from me so that I didn't continue pulverising it and making crackling noises. I hadn't noticed a couple of people had turned to look at me like I was being rude so I was glad Ric had taken action.

My eyes focused back to the front again where a girl was standing, sobbing into a tissue trying to blubber out some kind of speech. I recognised her as one of Robin's friends, Abi-Rose Micheals. Her pink dyed hair fell limply down in straggly strands, not it's usual fluffed up style and her face was a mess of running black eyeliner and puffy red skin.

"S-She was my b-best friend," she stuttered out. "We'd grown up together." She took a shuddering breath. "And now I can't grow up with her anymore." More shuddering breathes. "All I think now is a-about how lonely it is without h-her." She dabbed furiously at her face again. "How unfair it is." She was almost wailing now, so overcome with tears she looked like she might die there on the spot. "I saw her! I saw her in that bathroom." My heart almost fell out of me as I remembered. Another girl had seen her body, they'd ran back into the room screaming about it. That had been her.

It wasn't just me.

I listened to Abi-Rose again. She was so distraught. "Who could do s-such a thing, I thought. Who would do that to Robin! And then I realised, no sane person would. No one hated her. No one had any reason to k-kill her... But a murderer would. A cold hearted devil! A god damn fucking devil would!" She was screaming now. A few people had got up to try and calm her down and pull her away from the front. "They need to find them!" She was pointing over to the few police men at the side of the room. "They're not doing enough! They're not doing anything!"

Her friends had successfully moved her from the front of the hall, trying to sooth her with words but she was manic as she was hauled off to the bathroom. I started after her with shock in my eyes. She must have been haunted too, she could have the same images flashing in her head... What if she could help me? What if she could consolidate my theory? She'd seen the same as I did after all. What if she thought they were claw marks across her face too?

I had to ask her. No matter if she screamed about a murderer, I needed to talk to her. My hands were shaking violently in my lap again but some of it was anticipation this time. Ric shifted again in his seat and I felt him grasp my hand, squeeze it gently. I think he thought I was overcome with emotion and needed comforting. I had to admit that I probably did need it.

"It's okay," he whispered across to me. I looked round at him and his sympathetic face again. It was nice that he cared even though we were new friends. 

He remained squeezing my hand for the rest of the service.

Mr and Mrs Cross ended the service with their thanks for coming and their hopes that they will get the right kind of justice for Robin's murder. More refreshments were then brought out and people scattered, some on their way out and others staying to chat in groups, parents talking to parents about how awful Mr and Mrs Cross must feel, friend hugging friend a little closer. I had to admit hearing all her friends speak about her made me realise how lucky I was to have April and still be able to see her, talk to her. And to be able to make new friends too and to live on, grow up. Robin couldn't do that any more.

Ric and I made our way over to the refreshments table to get me a plastic cup with more juice and less squishedness.

"There you are!" I heard April's voice and was enveloped in a hug, her ginger hair covering my eyesight for  a few seconds. 

The emotional service had obviously got to her too. I squished her back and she slowly released me, her eyes still a little red like she had cried at some point in the service. I knew I probably looked no better.

Dalton passed her a drink and put his hand on her shoulder, turning her slightly more towards him. She was soon beaming at him and chattering away at 90 miles per hour. They both shared that fast talking thing and I slightly wanted to roll my eyes again at how obvious their affections were for each other.

"Just friends, my arse," Ric commented beside me as we were slowly edging away from them again.

I would have laughed if I still didn't feel like crying. "I know right," I just forced out in the most normal voice I could manage.

We leaned back against the wall of the hall, beside each other. I took slow sips every few seconds, the silence almost turning into something more awkward.

"Oh yeah," Ric suddenly spoke up again and saved us from too much awkwardness. "I spoke to dad about the archives and he said you can have photocopies of any articles you want."

I actually smiled this time. Finally, good news. Something to help me towards figuring things out.

"I was thinking," Ric continued, "you could come over tomorrow, help me pick out all the right ones you need."

I nodded quickly at him. "Yeah, sure."

A smile crossed his face. "Okay." Then he paused. "I still get to help with the whole investigation thing, don't I?"

I knew April's feelings had been negative towards investigating but I nodded at him. If he wanted to help me he could. You should really tell him your theory though, a voice spoke up in my head. It was right. If he thought I was crazy then so be it, it wasn't like we were extremely close, like April and I. It had been different when she didn't believe me because it felt like a personal insult, like even though she knew me well and she always listened to me, she didn't want to listen to me talk about that one thing.

"You can still help, but I need to tell you something first," I finally replied, "it's a theory I have."

He nodded his head and looked at me a little eagerly. "What is it?"

I twitched nervously, playing with the hem of my dress. "It might seem weird though."

He shrugged at me. "A lot of things are weird in life. Even if your theory is weird, that doesn't mean it's wrong."

"Okay." I took in a long, deep breathe. "I think it was a monster."

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