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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33. Thirty-Two

 

"Well, I didn't expect this," Fiona started as she closed the door behind her.

I continued to stare back at her, not finding any words yet. She walked across the room and sat herself into the seat opposite me.

"You're friends with my niece, April, aren't you?" she questioned and she furrowed her brow at me.

I nodded slowly back at her, feeling my face going slightly red.

"I thought Felicity Flemming sounded familiar," she replied and opened the lid of the laptop, tapping around. "I'm Fiona Barns, I work for the Bartwell Youth Justice Service." Her expression was unreadable but that was also unnerving. I didn't know what to expect. She continued, reading from the screen, "knife possession... now why would you have a knife?" She flipped her eyes back to me. "I never pictured April's friend as someone who would end up in my office."

I hung my head slightly. Fiona sighed deeply, I could almost hear the disappointment. I said nothing so she continued again, in a serious sounding voice, "whilst I would like to understand why you, as my nieces friend, got yourself into this situation, it isn't my job to judge people from that kind of stand point. It's about what we can do now, to stop something like this happening again." She shuffled something across the desk towards me. A leaflet displaying the title 'Say NO to Knife crime'. "I'd like you to read this." She pushed another leaflet towards me, displaying a symbol with Diversion Programme written across it, with 'Bartwell Youth Justice Service' underneath. "This is about the diversion programme. We are mainly here to help divert children and young people, like yourself, from taking more choices which might bring them to the attention of the police again." She paused. "Understand so far?"

I just nodded.

"The police and your parents referred you, I've read through what they'd written on your referral form, and this has helped me to assess what you might need," she explained. She was looking at her laptop screen instead of me. "I'd like you to go to what we call a Victim Awareness Educational Class. We hold them here every Saturday."

I nodded again. She turned her eyes back to me, and her expression hardened slightly.

"It says here you didn't hurt anyone... but I feel like it would be good for you to learn about victims of knife crime, so that you can understand what knife crime does to some people, how it impacts their lives, why we should prevent these sorts of crimes. Not handle weapons," she said and I felt my heart pound in my chest. It didn't sound like an appealing class. It would be distressing to hear stories about it.

I wouldn't hurt anyone. I didn't have the knife so I could hurt someone. I wasn't going to hurt anybody. I kept repeating those facts in my head. Fiona kept staring back like she thought I had done something terrible.

"You don't say much do you?" she commented after a few more seconds silence.

I cleared my throat. "I don't know what to say." I was telling the truth. I wasn't exactly going to argue with her.

"How do you feel about what you've done?" she asked me slowly.

'What you've done', definitely sounded like I'd done something worse than I had. I swallowed hard and replied, quietly, "I don't know."

She cocked an eyebrow. "You don't know?"

I shrugged and answered, "I didn't mean for this happen." I really didn't. I never thought carrying that knife would land me here.

"Well, most people don't aim to end up here," she replied in a matter of fact tone, "some people think they can get away with behaving badly but we're here to make sure they realise there are consequences to their actions."

Her eyes were still hard and I certainly saw the similarities between her and April. It made me uncomfortable. It was like the same expression that April had on her face when she was angry with me.

"I'd also like you to go to our group meeting on Wednesday this week," Fiona added. She checked something on her laptop. "It's at 1o'clock, you just need to sign in at the desk."

"Okay," I replied as I knew I didn't have a choice. "What do you have to do in it?"

"There's usually a range of activities; team building, crafts, sometimes the chance to speak to counsellors, that sort of thing. It's about trying to establish some better, more productive skills which people can use in everyday life. Lead a better lifestyle," she answered and pulled out something from a draw. She handed it over. "Here, you can take this too, it's all the dates and times for some of the activities we do. This Wednesday's group session is only compulsory for you, but if you ever want to come to more, they're there."

I took the rota and added it to my collection of information, briefly scanning my eyes over it. Rock climbing, hiking, football, camping; it didn't sound like my sort of thing but I didn't comment.

"Felicity," Fiona said more gently than she had before, and I raised my head again. She looked perplexed now. "Why did you do it?"

"Do what?" I asked but I knew what. I just didn't want to say it out loud, make myself sound like a criminal.

"Why did you have that knife?" she queried. "I know Rook Valley, it's not a place where there's a lot of knife crime. City's like Bartwell, larger towns, it's way more common in, but not Rook Valley. I don't see how you were encouraged into this type of thing... so why?"

I looked back at her again and I only saw concern. She wasn't talking as Fiona Barns working for the Youth Justice Service now, it was like she was a worried parent. It reminded me of my dads reaction last night, how he had just had this utter sense of confusion about him, he didn't understand my actions at all. So why would Fiona?

"I work with all sorts of kids who come from all different backgrounds, and have done all manner of things," she continued when I just looked to the floor. "I know a bit about why people do things, why they might feel like they have to do something. And I have to say a lot of the knife crime in this area is gang related but you, you're not the gang type, unless I'm really mistaken. There's not gangs in a small little town like Rook Valley... so I'm struggling here to understand." She paused for a few long seconds. "Felicity, I'm here to help you. Clearly there's something bothering you, something big enough that made you walk around with that knife."

She was right but how could I tell her? How could I tell her what I really thought? I wasn't crazy, I was right to be scared and that's why I had that knife.

"Felicity," Fiona pressed me slightly and I reluctantly lifted my head again. "Before I started here, I used to work with kids in juvenile prison. I've heard everything. You can trust me. You can tell me anything."

"You wouldn't believe me," I mumbled quietly.

"Believe what?" She leaned forward slightly.

I blinked a few times, my breath stuck in my throat. Could I really tell her?

"There's a monster."

For a brief few seconds her face was still and then confusion crinkled through her brow. "A monster?"

I nodded. "In Rook Valley... It killed Robin Cross. It hurt Amanda Carrington years ago."

She looked like she didn't know what to say, slightly stunned in her seat.

"There's something terrible out there," I whispered and my eyes fell back to looking at the floor. I knew she didn't believe me. Her silence meant she was in disbelief, I knew it.

"Amanda Carrington?" she queried suddenly and it confused me. I looked up at her face and nodded. Her brow crinkled some more like she was thinking about something.

"What?" I questioned and my heart had started to beat faster in my chest.

She shrugged slightly and I felt my heart falter. What was she thinking?

"Do you know her?" I asked, anticipation swelling in my chest.

Fiona looked stuck between wanting to speak and not. Slowly, she reached to a draw and pulled something out. She passed it across the table and my breath instantly faltered at the sight of the picture. An older woman stared back at me, who looked remarkably like an older Amanda Carrington, with the same large brown eyes and heart shaped face in particular. She was sat in a seat surrounded by young teenagers obviously listening to what she was saying.

"I don't think she was called Amanda though, but someone Carrington. A few years back, we had her as a guest speaker at one of our victim awareness classes," she explained. "She talked about her sister...how she had been attacked."

My eyes were wide. It made sense now. This was Matilda Carrington, the sister who gave a statement for one of the articles I saw about Amanda's case.

I gripped the photo tighter. "Attacked by what?"

"I don't know, I wasn't there." She held her hand out to take the photo back but I didn't want to let go. I felt like I had just found something useful after days of feeling useless.

"Can I speak to her?" I asked and I sounded almost desperate. I wanted to find Amanda, ask her about her attack. Matilda would probably know where she was now.

Fiona looked sceptically at me. "I don't know about that." She paused. "Felicity-"

I cut across her. "Please." I tried to plead with my eyes. "Just a contact number, an address, something..."

"I can't do that," she replied and pulled the photo from my hand. Her expression turned firm again. "Please can we back track to the part where you said you thought there was a monster?" She was still looking pretty baffled by it all.

"That's what attacked, Amanda," I replied. "And you must have seen it on the news, about Robin's attack."

She nodded.

"That was the same monster."

Her brow furrowed. "It was a knife... It was a murderer, with a knife."

I felt my chest tighten and I kept shaking my head. Too many people had said that. It wasn't true. It wasn't true. It couldn't be true. I hadn't been chasing this monster for nothing.

"Something attacked her." I was desperate for her to understand.

Fiona lent forward again. "Felicity-"

I cut across her again. "If you don't believe me, fine, but please just give me Matilda's contact details. I need to talk to Amanda, ask her about her attack."

Fiona was still baffled and didn't seem to know what to say.

"Please, Fiona," I urged her. "You said you want to help me... This will help me. I just want to talk to her."

The indecision was clear on her face and the minutes dragged on as she was silent, un-moving and then she sighed. Her hands moved to her keyboard and she typed something. I waited hopefully.

"She left a number for us, in case we wanted to contact her again," Fiona said slowly.  "It's from a few years ago, I can't guarantee she's still using it."

"Thank you." You could hear the happiness in my voice.

She scribbled the number down on a scrap piece of paper. Before she let me take it she paused and spoke again, like she needed to justify her decision to herself, "this is only because I think it might benefit you to talk to her. To someone whose sister was a victim... But she was talking about murder Felicity. This wasn't an animal attack victim." She cocked an eyebrow. "I think you're jumping too far with that thought."

I took the number and stared down at it. I tried to ignore the last part of her sentence.

Had the police jumped to knife crime for Amanda's case too? Or were they really just victims of a murderous person? I cleared that thought from my head. They weren't human. I'd spent so long believing my monster theories, I wasn't about to let everyone else tell me it was a knife crime, and make me think it was.

I pocketed the number and smiled at Fiona. "Thank you," I said again and I meant it. There was some kind of relief inside me, that I had a next step. Now, I didn't just have to sit around waiting for something to happen, for the monster to reveal itself. I could go and find Amanda first.

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