by Stephanie H., Age 16 , Grade 11, Davie County High School, Mocksville, NC USA
Teacher: Mr. Auffhammer
Heart Ripped in Two.
She moves through the dark night softly and silently. Her hair acts like a curtain around her face, keeping her from seeing clearly at what’s around her. Her body tells her to feel safe, for she is all alone with no danger around when in fact, there is another body lurking near. Right as she is about to pass an alleyway, a voice calls out to her from behind, startling her.
“Lily!” The gruff voice yells.
Turning around, her heart seems to stop beating so rapidly when she notices who it is.
“Don’t do that to me you jerk! You scared me.” Lily screams back.
“Calm down.” The man chuckles. “Where are you headed anyway?”
“Home. And you?” She asks.
“I was actually trying to find you.” He says sheepishly. “I wanted to ask if you are free to go on a date tomorrow night.”
Flushing red with shyness, Lily softly responds, “Um, I can’t. I’m sorry.”
The man’s face flushes red as well, but his is with anger. Stepping closer to Lily, he looks at her face, studying her.
“There’s someone else, isn’t there?” He grumbles out.
“W-what? N-no, no there’s not.” Lily unconvincingly says.
“Don’t lie to me!” The man bellows out.
“Calm down.” She says softly as she takes a few steps away from him.
“You know, I have always had my eyes set on you. I know you only saw me as a close friend but you were always something more in my eyes. And here you are, with another man in your life.” The man says furiously.
“Why are acting like this?” Lily frantically asks. “You’re scaring me.”
“Good.” He says and sprints towards her, tackling her body to the ground.
Yelling and screaming, Lily tries her best to battle the beast that is on top of her. She hits and scratches everything that’s in reach of her hands.
“Quit it!” He bellows out.
Whimpering, Lily waits for his next move, giving up on fighting the bulky man knowing she can’t win. It is then that the mysterious man takes out a small wooden arrow from his back pocket.
“Just like you broke my heart in two, I’ll do the same to you.” He speaks softly, aiming the weapon right in the center of Lily’s heart.
She screams and screams after each blow is given to her heart. All of her effort goes ignored and with one final breath, her life wisps away.
The sounds of cameras going off meet with the sirens of various police cars, making Detective Abernethy’s head throb with pain. But it can’t compare to the heartache he feels as he lays his eyes upon the victim's dead body. She was 19. A hardworking college student trying to get somewhere in life, but it was all snacthed away in a blink of an eye. Her chocolate like hair was now matted with blood as well as her clothing. Her eyes, he remembers, were once lively and sparkling green. But as he looks closer, they were now lifeless and void of any emotion.
“Detective Abernethy, we’re so sorry for your loss.” Says a deputy. “I was dispatched here early in the morning. I didn’t know who it was until I saw her face. That’s when I called you.”
Yet, Detective Tate Abernethy continues to solemnly stare at his sister's dead body.
“What happened?” He monotonically says.
Sympathetically, the officer states, “We have concluded that this was a gruesome murder. The victim received vast amounts of stab wounds to her heart. We also found a small arching arrow inside the dumpster she was hidden behind which we believe was the murder weapon. It has been sent to the lab for forensic testing, but we’re not certain if any matches will be made due to the heavy amount of blood covering that belongs to the victim.”
“Do you have any indication on the time of the murder?” Tates hard voice says.
“We believe it occurred around midnight. The surveillance cameras on the bus station a little ways up the street showed the victim walking along the sidewalk. That was around 11:46 p.m. A few minutes later, a man in dark clothing appeared to be following her.” The officer replies.
“Alright.” Detective Abernethy says and walks towards his blacked out vehicle, leaving the deputy dumbfounded.
Back in his office, Detective Abernethy’s desk is littered with all kinds of strong alcoholic beverages. He drinks his sorrows away in memory of his dead sister. The memories of them playing together when they were younger are now replaced with the pictures of her lying dead in an alleyway. That will surely haunt him for eternity. He was supposed to be her guardian ever since the death of their parents. And now, he feels as if he failed. With one more chug, his anger gets the best of him as he throws the glass cup at the wall, shattering it into a bunch of pieces.
Remaining silent, Tate’s eyes gloss over as he continues to stare blankly at the wall. Soon, the only thing that roams his mind is who could’ve done such a sinful thing. Anger courses through him rapidly. Flushed white, his knuckles crack under the pressure of his fist. Noticing his friend's sudden change in attitude, John slowly backs away, not knowing what Tate could be capable of doing. Determined to find the one responsible for Lily’s death, Detective Tate Abernethy stands from his chair, setting out on his quest. Little does he know of the darkness he was about to face.
Touching her soft cheek, Tate says his final goodbyes to his dear sister. Walking away from the casket, he makes his way to sit with his friends and coworkers that attended the funeral. It is then that he notices his best friend, Officer John Putin, is missing.
“Where’s John?” He asks.
“No idea, boss.” Replies a deputy.
This isn’t the only odd thing Tate has noticed about his friend. Lately, John has been absent from work far more than usual. With every call Tate makes to him, voicemail always answers. Deciding to pay him a visit soon, Tate puts his focus back on the funeral.
“We got someone.” Is the first thing Detective Abernethy hears as he enters the police department.
Rushing alongside the officer who told Tate the news, they both make their way to the interrogation room. Halting in front of the two-way mirror, Detective Abernethy’s face shows pure rage. Fred Cunning, a notorious mafia man, sits in the room, handcuffed and all.
“We found him sniffing around the crime scene. He says he just wanted to get closure, whatever that means.” Said the officer.
“He’ll get his closure alright.” Tate gruffly says.
Bursting through the door, Detective Abernethy makes his way to the chair opposite of Fred. The scraping of the chairs legs is the only thing heard in the soundless room. Both pairs of eyes make contact for a few seconds before Tate breaks the silence.
“Care to explain why you were at a closed off investigation site?”
“Well if you must know, I was trying to see if I could find anything that could tell me who murdered my girlfriend.” Fred harshly says.
Shocked. Detective Abernethy whispers out, “What?”
“Lily and I were together for more than a year. Our relationship was kept in secret for the sole reason that you were against her dating.”
“What are you talking about?” Tate roughly says.
“I knew she was your sister.”
Bewildered, Tate stares at Fred, not knowing what to say. How could his little sister keep something like this from him? How does he know if Fred was capable of murdering Lily?
Spitefully, Tate ask Fred, “Did you do it?”
Fred abruptly stands from his chair while pointing a finger at Tate and says, “Never ask me that again. I loved Lily with everything I had and I’ll be damned if I let whoever killed her get away.”
“I can’t tell if you’re lying or not, so let me continues with my interrogation. Where were the night of June 3rd, 2013?” Detective Abernethy raspingly says.
Blowing out a breath, Fred annoyingly says, “I was at home.”
Humorlessly chuckling, Detective Abernethy narrows his eyes at Fred, saying, “That’s it?”
“Prove it.” Detective Abernethy says.
“You’ll just have to take my word for it.” Fred shrugs.
“Alright, let's say you were home on that night. You are well known mafia man with many connections. One call away, and someone's dead, isn’t that right?”
Staying silent, Fred avoids eye contact with Detective Abernethy.
Continuing, Detective Abernethy says, “There really isn’t anything you could say that could prove your innocence, is there?”
“Someone was after her.” Fred softly says.
“She told me she felt someone was after her. Everywhere she went, she felt as if someone was following her. I thought she was just paranoid of you finding out about us.”
Turning angry all of a sudden, Detective Abernethy fists the collar of Fred's shirt, and spits, “I want to hear every single thing about this so called stalker. Now.”
After a long and strenuous conversation between Fred and Detective Abernethy, the detective’s mind is about to burst. It seemed that Fred was being sincere when explaining Lily’s fears. The real question was, could Fred possibly be telling the truth? A knock on Detective Abernethy’s door is what breaks his train of thought.
“Come in.” Detective Abernethy shouts.
Walking in is none other than John.
“Hey Tate.” John faintly says.
Irritation towards John starts to bubble within Tate. His so called best friend didn’t even bother to call after the news of Lily’s death.
“What do you want?” Detective Abernethy gruffly says.
Clearing his throat, John awkwardly asks, “How have you been?”
“How have I been?! Well if you must know, I’m not doing my best ever since Lily died!” Detective Abernethy bellows out.
The flinch John did at the mention of Lily doesn’t go unnoticed by the detective.
“Look man, I’m sorry. I’ve just been busy with some other stuff.” John says while scratching his neck.
“What happened to your arms?” Detective Abernethy asks when he notices the scratches that litter John's arms.
With a chuckle, John replies, “It was a stray cat that I tried to rescue. Don’t worry. Listen, I am really sorry I wasn’t there for you after Lily’s death. I just came to tell you that as well as letting you know I’m going away for a while.”
Furrowing his eyebrows, Detective Abernethy asks John, “Why now?”
“I think it’s just time to get away from the chaos.”
Before the detective could reply, John starts taking a few steps toward the door.
“I’ll call you before I leave so we can hang out. Bye Tate.”
Opening the door, John makes his way out, leaving Detective Abernethy behind with a perplexed expression. Right as he’s walking, a sudden collision happens, making John fall.
“Watch where you’re goi-” John never finishes.
In front of him stands Fred who was leaving the police station after being let go.
“Have we met before?” Fred asks confusingly.
Eyes blazing with hatred, John stands, replying to Fred. “Never.” He then leaves.
Two days passed ever since the conversation between John and Detective Abernethy, and still no call from John. His whole visit made Tate feel uneasy. When Lily’s name was brought up, Tate couldn't help but notice how uncomfortable John looked. The blaring sound of Tate’s phone rid him of his never ending thoughts.
“Detective Abernethy speaking.”
“Detective, both the autopsy and forensic analysis report are ready for you to read. Should I send someone to deliver them to your office?” A lady speaks through the other line.
A few minutes later, Detective Abernethy has both files open on his desk. The sudden information taken in was overwhelming. Reading the autopsy report, Tate finds out there was someone's DNA under her fingernails. Hastily trying to find the results of the DNA matching, Detective Abernethy is shocked to the core. The DNA found matched that of his best friend, John Putin. Connecting the dots, he acquires that the scratches on John's arms weren't from a cat, but from his sister's attempt to fighting back. Johns sudden disappearance is most likely from trying to stay on the down low. Little did he know, his sudden change in behavior did not go unnoticed from his ‘best friend.’ Feeling betrayal and anger, Detective Abernethy picks up the phone, telling other officers to get ready to make an arrest.
“LET ME GO! I’M INNOCENT!” Are the hollers that notify Tate of John's arrest.
“Bring him to the interrogation room.” Detective Abernethy tells the officers who hold John.
Once John and Tate are both situated inside the interrogation room, complete and utter tension fills up the small area.
“Why?” Detective Abernethy speaks first.
“I DIDN’T DO IT!”
“Let’s cut to the chase. Your DNA was found under her fingernails. There’s no escaping forensic testing, John.”
It is then that John’s face mirrors pure outrage.
“YOU KNOW WHY I DID IT?! BECAUSE YOUR SISTER NEVER GAVE ME A CHANCE! I HAVE BEEN AFTER HER EVER SINCE I FIRST MET HER!” John barks.
“Don’t you dare call her that.” Detective Abernethy harshly says.
A small chortle escapes John’s mouth. “She got what she deserved. No one denies me.”
“You’re twisted.” Tate spits.
“Aw, is poor Tate upset that he found out his ‘best friend’ played him. Well, no you know how I felt with your sister. May she rest in peace.” John says mockingly.
“Ah ah ah. I think I’m entitled to my lawyer now.” John says while smirking.
“Oh you’ll get your lawyer alright. But just know, you are going to rot your days away in a prison cell for the rest of your pathetic life.” Detective Abernethy says.
John keeps quiet, but his eyes show anger and nervousness. Taking one final glance at him, Detective Abernethy walks away confidently, never looking back.