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Writings by Laurels; Short Stories, Essays, and Anything Else I'd Like to Show off
Topic Started: Oct 15 2011, 10:44 AM (2,990 Views)
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Cause what you see isn't always the truth
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This is a story I wrote my school's creative journal. I don't know if it is going to be published yet, but I want to share it with people, and this looks like a good community to do so.

I'll split this into parts so I don't suffocate anyone with my prose. As an additional note, anything in italics should be in quotations, but some weird code comes up if quotations appear. Also, indentation doesn't work in the quote, so I had to space it out, but that should make it easy to read.

Feel free to make comments, give suggestions, or ask questions.

Without further ado, I give you, Lena

Quote:
 

When she first arrived in class, no one ever thought that Lena could be a monster. To us, she was just a new student from Florida. I always thought she looked sleepy. I don't think her eyes were ever completely open. Her dark eyebrows were always leveled and resting above her eyes. Her hair was always flat and rested right on her shoulders. She was of average height, didn't have much body fat, and personally, I thought she was ordinary.

Lena arrived in February of our third year at the Bentley Preparatory School for Girls. At that time, my friends and I were considered the baddest bitches at the school. Suzanne was the tough one, having strengthened her body through rugby and hockey and she would always convince nerds to hand over their lunch money and help her with homework. Brittney was the idiot of our group. She always did terribly in class, but luckily, Suzanne was her best friend, so she always got help from classmates who Suzanne persuaded to help her.

Then there was Liza. She brought us together, united us under a single ideal: that we could rule the school, take advantage of the weak girls and coast by until college. Liza was ruthless, almost methodical in her torment. She knew how to take apart any girl and use that for her own need. Suzanne would joke that if Liza willed it, it would happen.

As for myself, I had money, more money than Suzanne, Brittney, and Liza combined. We could do anything, go anywhere, and I would be there with the cash to handle it. Liza knew I was weak, and she could manipulate me. She could figure out that I spent more time alone than with others, and that I was someone who would be desperate for company, good or bad.

When Lena arrived, the gears started to turn in Liza's brain. I figured that she was thinking of ways to take advantage of Lena and harass her. It wasn't until after school at my place that Liza brought this to our attention.

Ladies, said Liza, I think it's time we made ourselves familiar with that new kid.

Lena? Why? What value could she possibly have? asked Brittney.

Did you even watch her in class? said Suzanne, hitting Brittney's shoulder. She's a grade A doormat. What value couldn't she have for us?

Exactly Sue, said Liza. Tomorrow, we will make it clear to Lena that she better be on our good side, and that we she better do what we say if she doesn't want us to make her time here a living hell.

Guys, do we really need to harass Lena? I asked. She's new, and we don't even know her. We should be more welcoming to her and try to be nice to her.

The three of them stared at me.

Annette, said Liza, are you sick? You sound like an idiot. You don't understand it. If we show mercy, then other girls will think they can stand up to us. We have power, and we should keep it. Tomorrow, we will find the right moment to approach Lena and make our presence known.

But...

Or, I could let Suzanne get a few practice punches on you. What sounds best?

I turned to Suzanne and saw her crack her knuckles.

We'll talk to Lena, I said, looking at the floor.

That's better, said Liza.

The next day at school, we approached Lena between classes. She was returning from the restroom, and we moved in to speak to her.

Hello Lena, said Liza, motioning Brittney and Suzanne to surround Lena, how is school for you? Is everything A-Okay?

Brittney let out a giggle. Liza only spoke like that when she wanted to seem bigger than the girl we had surrounded.

It's fine, Lena replied softly.

Good, well, we are the welcoming committee, said Liza, so, if you want to be welcome here, you will do as we ask. Am I clear?

Lena was silent.

Well? Liza reiterated.

I don't need your threats, said Lena. Please, leave me alone, and let me get back to class.

She then pushed Liza forward and walked back to class. We were all frozen in shock. No one had ever stood up to Liza before, let alone show any force. Liza was teeming with frustration. Her face was getting red, her hands curled into fists, and her teeth were gritting together.

Who the hell does she think she is? said Liza. Where does she get that kind of attitude?

I don't know, said Brittney, maybe she was born with it.

Shut up! shouted Liza.

Look, we know she won't be compliant, said Suzanne, so why don't we be a little more patient?

Patient? I asked.

Yeah, said Suzanne, let's watch her, get an idea on who she is, and then try to come up with something to use against her.

Hey, that's a good idea, said Liza. Alright, let's see who Lena is.



Edited by Laurels, Oct 15 2011, 01:15 PM.
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http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/40/lenacharacters2.png/

Here are the pics of the major players in this tale, if you need a visual reference
Edited by Laurels, Oct 15 2011, 08:51 PM.
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We headed into the class and picked seats around Lena to watch her behavior. For the first few days, Lena didn't do anything out of the ordinary. In class, she would always sit facing the teacher. She never took notes on the subjects, her hands were always rested on the desk in a clamped fist. Her face was frozen like a statue. She would blink, but she never smiled or strained her face. She probably would never have frown lines with how she appeared. She often looked sleepy, but I didn't see any bags under her eyes. Despite this attitude in class, whenever the teacher called on Lena to answer a question, she was always able to answer without hesitation or any fear. It's like she absorbed the lecture without having to write anything down.

Her strange behavior continued in other classes as well. Electives allowed Lena to show off more. She was the fastest runner, beating Suzanne's record in track, and was also very talented at playing basketball, volleyball, and pretty much every sport we ever played. In Gym, I noticed that she never seemed to get tired at all. I don't think I ever saw her sweat. Her hair never even got messy. It was always perfectly straight and resting on her shoulders, like there was enough hair spray to make a Jersey Shore cast mate jealous. It's like physical activity was completely natural to her.

During this time, we still did pick up some of her quirks. In Art, Lena would become absorbed in her work. She would use many strange techniques on her work and with her materials. I noticed she seemed to carry a small grindstone in her messenger bag. This was so she could sharpen her knives in Home Economics, but she also sharpened scissors, straight edges, and X-Acto knives in Art class. I still don't know how she got the idea to carry a grindstone, but she found many uses for it.

With all that we observed, we decided to finally use this to torment Lena. I had noticed Liza growing more and more frustrated with Lena ever since Lena stood up to her. Liza did seem a little ridiculous, but I'm pretty certain that she had ego problems, and Lena must have hurt her really bad. Still, we decided to begin our bullying of Lena.

In free period, we saw Lena working on an art project in one of the empty classrooms. She was cutting colored paper and making a collage. We thought it was strange, but we decided to move while we were alone.

Hey Lena, nice collage, said Liza, looks like you are the next Van Gogh.

Van Gogh wasn't a collage artist, Lena replied, pasting some purple and black shapes together with a glue stick. I think you meant to refer to me as the next Picasso or Gilliam.

As we surrounded her, Lena's attention was still on the collage. Liza was clearly annoyed that her verbal taunts didn't phase Lena. So, she decided to grab the collage from Lena's desk.

Oh look, said Liza, holding the collage above her head, I stole the famous construction paper collage of the great Lena! I demand $20 million or else I burn it.

Lena looked up as Liza waved the collage around.

Please give that back, Lena politely asked.

I don't think so, said Liza, I might make a few changes to it.

Liza then tore the collage in half.

Oh no! mocked Suzanne. How will the art community handle losing the wonderful work of Lena?

Nooooo!!!! cried out Brittney as she, Suzanne, and Liza began laughing.

Well, are you going to push me now Lena? asked Liza.

It's a collage, said Lena, pulling out her grindstone and sharpening her scissors, I can always tear it up and put it back together to make a new piece.

Liza was getting really frustrated at this point. I could look at her red face and see that the cogs in her head were turning, trying with an idea to use against Lena. The large smile across her face indicated that she figured out what to try next. She whispered to Suzanne, and Suzanne then slammed her hands down on Lena's arms, causing Lena to let go of her grindstone, which Brittney quickly picked up.

We got your precious grindstone! chanted Brittney, tossing it to Liza.

Yeah, how will you sharpen your battleax now? asked Liza, tossing it to Suzanne.

The three of them began a game of keep-away. They did toss it to me, but I simply threw it back. However, we then noticed an aspect was missing: Lena. As we were tossing the grindstone around the room, she had not gotten up from her desk. She just sat and watched us toss it around.

Please return it to me, Lena asked kindly.

No way freak, said Liza, tossing it to Suzanne, not unless you promise to do everything we say.

It's a grindstone, said Lena. I can get another.

I think a blood vessel popped in Liza's head. Liza fed off the fear and misery of her classmates, and she just couldn't stand that Lena wasn't at all affected by their actions. Liza then took the grindstone and threw it at Lena, shouting as she did.

It took less than a third of a second for that grindstone to reach Lena. Lena remained seated and quickly raised her right arm up, catching the grindstone an inch from her forehead. The event happened so quickly that I might have missed it if I had blinked.

Everyone was frozen in place. Lena set the grindstone on the desk and stood up.

If you don't want to suffer, you will stop your harassment, she said calmly.

Oh yeah, taunted Liza, what are you going to do about it?

Lena simply looked down and picked up the scissors from her desk. She held the red scissors in both of her hands and opened them completely. She then held the scissors horizontally under her left eye. Placing the sharp end on her cheekbone, she slowly moved the scissors across her cheek. We then saw a smooth line of blood appear and trickle down her face. Brittney gasped, and Suzanne and Liza were silent. I had to cover my mouth with my hands when I saw the blood trickle down her face. I'm not very good with blood, so I had to turn away once I saw the blood trickle down her face.

Lena then put the scissors, grindstone, and collage in her bag and walked to the door, pulling a handkerchief from her bag and placing it on her wound. Before she left, she turned back and said one thing:

Just leave me alone.

Even though she had no anger in her voice, I felt scared. I could see that Lena wasn't someone normal, and it might be best if we stay away from her. Still, I could see that Liza wasn't happy about being threatened. She was getting that red shade I began to associate with her reacting to anything Lena, and her forehead was getting scrunched as she curled her hands into fists. The cogs were moving again, and I was afraid of what Liza could do.

We can't let her threaten us like that, Suzanne said, breaking the silence.

Like Hell we are, said Liza. Give me some time, and we will straighten her out.
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A few days later, Liza pulled us aside and gave us her idea. Liza's new plan was to use physical force against Lena. Suzanne was the toughest girl in school, and Suzanne could probably rough Lena up. We decided to find the best time to ambush Lena, so once again, we studied our subject. After a few days, we decided that the best time to confront Lena would be in in the forest behind school, where Lena would cut through, presumably to go home. The forest was part of school property, but was mainly used for science classes and physical education classes. Hardly anyone was there after school, and since Lena began to participate in Art Club, we knew she would be late leaving school some days.

The plan came to fruition about a week after Lena's display in the classroom. The four of us waited around the forest for Lena to cross through after Art Club. Brittney and I were there to make sure Lena couldn't run away, while Liza would intimidate her and Suzanne would pummel her. The four of us hid behind various trees around the path Lena would travel so we could see her as she made her way down the path. Of course, we didn't calculate how late she could stay, so we ended up spending a few hours sitting and gossiping. Finally, we heard the sounds of approaching footsteps, and we got into place.

She was walking with the expression she normally carried: complete boredom. Her eyes were droopy, and she sported a band-aid under her eye where she cut her cheek with the scissors. Her bag was hanging across her shoulders and bounced with her movement. I noticed that she had very good posture and might make a good runway model if she used better makeup and styled her hair. There was no time to think about that, because Liza was making her move.

Hello Lena, said Liza smuggly, you decided to get a look at the wonderful forest?

Brittney and I moved behind Lena as Suzanne appeared next to Liza. Lena didn't react.

You see Lena, we don't like girls who think they can act tough to us, said Liza, moving closer to Lena. We have tried to teach you your place, but you don't seem to get it, do you?

Lena remained silent.

Don't worry though. We are here to rehabilitate you. Our diagnosis shows that you have a case of arrogance, and you need to be treated appropriately. Nurse Suzanne will administer the treatment now.

Alright, said Suzanne, cracking her knuckles, this will only hurt 'slightly'.

Brittney giggled as Suzanne and Liza traded places. I couldn't help and focus on how Lena stood completely still. I couldn't see her face, but her posture showed a certain calmness that one would expect a Buddhist monk to show.

Liza had outlined how Suzanne would beat Lena. Suzanne would start with a few slaps, then a few gut punches before tossing her to the ground and kicking her. Suzanne was about to make her first strike. She raised her flat palm high into the sky, blocking the sun. She then moved it quickly to strike Lena's face.

In a split second, Lena had caught Suzanne's arm. She held it in her left hand, just below Suzanne's wrist. The movement was so quick that it reminded me of time-lapse photography.

You bitch! shouted Suzanne, preparing to slap Lena with her other hand.

However, she was stopped short. Lena's grip tightened, and Suzanne began to whimper. Suddenly, there was a loud snap, and Suzanne's cries grew several decibels. She collapsed to the ground, clutching her right arm. As I moved in to help her, I saw the damage. Lena had crushed the bone in Suzanne's arm. Her wrist hung limp while a large black handprint was visible on Suzanne's skin. I could see some small white fragments protruding from of Suzanne's flesh. Then there was the blood. I began to dry heave, and soon found myself rushing to a bush to throw up.

Brittney and Liza were frozen in terror as Suzanne continued to cry. Lena brushed her hand on her skirt and continued walking down the path. As she passed Liza, I heard her say one thing:

You didn't listen.

Lena was soon out of our path. Suzanne was still on the ground crying in pain as I wiped my mouth with a fallen leaf.

What the hell was that? asked Liza. How did she do that?

Maybe she's a robot, suggested Brittney.

How stupid are you Brittney? Liza shouted at Brittney's face.

Stop it Liza, I shouted, we got to help Suzanne!

You bet your ass we do, said Liza. We got an assault case to use on Lena, and I want to see her in jail.

We can't go to the police! I informed Liza.

What do you mean? This is aggravated assault, and Suzanne can attest that Lena caused it!

But we would be revealing how we treat her! Our classmates know we have had our eye on Lena and they can vouch for her. Any lawyer could make a self-defense case for Lena. Besides, how can we possibly explain how a tiny girl like her could crush someone's arm with a single squeeze of the hand?

Liza was silent. Suzanne continued to cry as I picked her up.

Okay, said Liza, collecting herself. Suzanne fell while we were walking in the woods, and a rock fell, crushing her arm. That's our story. Got it?

Brittney, Suzanne, and I nodded. We hurried Suzanne out of the woods and got her to the hospital. A doctor put a cast on her arm and told us it might take months for Suzanne to heal. Suzanne learned that she would have to drop rugby and hockey for the rest of the school year because of her injury. This seemed to just piss her off more. I always thought she used sports as an outlet for her anger, and it appeared my hypothesis was correct.

A few days later, we were all at my house. My parents were out, and Liza had brought some beer her older sister bought for her. We were trying to cheer Suzanne up, but she wouldn't have it.

You know, said Suzanne, I thought we were messing with Lena because we were bored and needed some fresh meat. Now, I want her dead.

Good to see that you are on board with me, said Liza, chugging the rest of her beer. Now, we need to think of some way to get back at her.

Don't you think that might cause more problems? I asked. Lena clearly isn't normal, and she could do worse. I say we back off.

Annette, Liza said, Lena is dangerous. Who knows what she might do to someone else if we don't stop her now. We need to break her. We need to do so in a way that won't make us look suspicious but can ruin her. What should we do?

We were silent. We were all taking sips from our beer when Brittney suddenly stood up with an idea.

If we want to ruin her, we need to do what the Green Goblin did to Spiderman, she explained. We need to attack her heart.

As far as I know, said Suzanne, she doesn't have a heart. How can we possibly hurt it?

Easy, said Brittney, we hurt Rachel.

Rachel was a classmate of ours. She was Student Council President, a member of Art Club, and a genuine poster child for our school. When Lena first arrived, Rachel was the first to reach out to Lena. She would invite Lena to have lunch with her and her friends, invite her to the mall and parties, and even helped her get into Art Club. Rachel's friends didn't seem to have much of an opinion on Lena, but they seemed to get why Rachel wanted to be so inclusive.

Brittney, this might be the smartest thing you have ever said, said Liza. We'll get someone to beat up Rachel, and watch Lena suffer as her only friend toils away in the hospital.

Who could we get to beat up Rachel? asked Suzanne. It's not like we can hire an assassin.

Don't worry Sue, said Liza, Annette has that covered.

Huh?

Annette, didn't you say that your Dad's business partner had criminal connections?

Mr. Doherty? Well, supposedly he had been known to hire thugs to intimidate my father's business rivals.

Well, convince Mr. Doherty to get some guys to hurt Rachel.

I was silent. I knew it was terrible to hurt Rachel, but they were right. Lena could be a menace, and we needed to weaken her.

Alright. I'm sure I can get some money to help him get the job done.

The next time I visited my Dad at work, I stopped by Mr. Doherty's office. I explained the situation to him, and asked if he could possibly get some guys to hurt Rachel. I lied though, I said that Rachel was the one who hurt Suzanne instead of Lena. He was willing to do so if I gave him $10,000, but he said it wouldn't be long. I knew Mr. Doherty would be willing to do anything for money, and he clearly didn't even care about what had to be done. He just needed to know where Rachel tended to travel. With that arranged, I pawned some old jewelry I never wore and in exchange I had the $10,000 I needed.
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In a few days, I received a call at night from Mr. Doherty. According to him, three of his men found Rachel shopping. They pulled her into an alley and took turns punching her. I asked Mr. Doherty to ensure that they would only beat her. They were forbidden to rob, rape, or kill her. His men were compliant, so the job was exactly as I envisioned.

We received news the next day in class that Rachel had been assaulted and was in the hospital, so they warned us to be careful when walking alone at night. It was hard to tell if Lena was hurt. I heard her talking to Rachel's friends about visiting her in the hospital and buying some flowers, so I knew that Lena would at least see Rachel's beaten body.

Liza and the others celebrated our victory, but I was worried. I knew that Rachel was Lena's one true friend, and I worried how Lena might react.

Calm down Annette, Liza told me when I voiced my concerns. Lena would never suspect us. She probably thinks it was just some punks who beat Rachel.

Still, I was uneasy about the whole situation. Our class made a bunch of get-well cards, and I offered to take them to Rachel in the hospital. Rachel looked like hell. Her face was really beaten. She had two black eyes, a busted lip, and apparently she had a few broken ribs. She was alive, but physical therapy might take a while.

Hi Rachel, I said when I entered. The class wishes you best of luck on your recovery.

Thank you Annette, she weakly replied.

I set the cards on the tray by Rachel's bed and sat down.

Rachel, I know this might be nosy, but what exactly happened?

It's fine to ask, said Rachel, I already told the police what happened. I was walking out of the mall when some guys dragged me into an alley and took turns punching me. Then they left.

They didn't say anything?

Well, when I was lying on the ground following the assault, I heard one guy say that a Mr. Doherty would give him three grand for that, but I might have heard wrong. They went back into the alley and I crawled into the street where I was found and taken to the hospital.

Oh. I'm so sorry for your suffering.

It's fine Annette. It's not like you had anything to do with it.

I faked a laugh from that, but Rachel clearly bought it, and she laughed as well. I then noticed several bouquets near her bead. She got lots of roses and daisies, but there was one magnificent bouquet of lilies.

Who gave you that bouquet? I asked, pointing to the lilies.

Oh, Lena did. Olivia and Shannon gave me the daisies while my parents got me the roses. I can't believe Lena went out of her way to get me those lilies.

Was Lena curious about your accident?

Everyone was, but Lena seemed very interested in what happened. Maybe she's planning to start a neighborhood watch or something.

My body froze when Rachel finished. I stayed a little longer to keep Rachel company, but I soon had to leave. If the police heard Rachel mention his name, then Lena knew that Mr. Doherty was behind the assault. She could probably trace him to my father's company and figure out that we paid him to attack Rachel. I hoped the police would get to him before she did.

But I was wrong. When I got home, I saw my dad looking very upset and distant. Mom told me that Mr. Doherty was murdered. Someone attacked him while he was in his garage and slit his throat. Nobody saw the killer though, so they figure that one of Mr. Doherty's criminal rivals took him out.

That night, I stayed up to watch the news to hear anything I could about the event. The policeman discussing the killing said that the killer probably hid in Mr. Doherty's car and waited until he got into his garage before attacking him. A coroner said that the killing was most likely committed not with a knife, but a simple pair of house scissors.

I immediately called Liza and told her about Mr. Doherty's murder. She told me to not worry because she was certain that Lena was only going after the criminals. In the next few days, I began to seriously hope Liza was right. It seemed like every day there was a report in the newspaper about some gangster being killed. Before I knew it, there were three dead gangsters, all of whom had connections to Mr. Doherty, and all of whom might have been involved with Rachel's assault. I knew that Lena had to be behind it.

Fortunately, I wasn't the only one afraid. Brittney and Suzanne were also getting worried that Lena was going to come after them. At this point, even Liza was becoming more and more worried. I noticed that Lena was becoming more detached in her work. She wasn't doing as well at school, but everyone assumed it was grief at Rachel's attack. Still, she did give Brittney a look during Brittney's oral presentation on The House of the Spirits that Brittney said felt like a death glare. Suzanne stopped driving to school because she was afraid that Lena could be hiding in her car. Even I had to lock every door and window in my house before I went to bed, with extra protection for my bedroom. That hardly made me feel better, as insomnia set in. The next time we met at Liza's house, we had to address what we were all feeling.

We're just going to have to kill her first, said Liza.

We can't kill her, said Brittney, we will go to jail.

Not if it's self defense. We just need to confront her again, and try to kill her when she attacks us.

I'm in, said Suzanne. I'll cut that bitch's arm off for what she did to mine.

Guys, we just need to come forward and confess, I demanded.

Good idea Annette, Liza told me. While Lena gets the electric chair, we can go to jail for several years for conspiring in Rachel's assault. If Lena dies, so does all evidence of our cooperation in Rachel's attack.

Lena still knows we did it, I said, she knows Mr. Doherty works for my dad's company, and so she probably killed the gangsters first to torment us.

That's why we need to strike first, said Liza. My dad keeps a revolver in his closet, and I'm sure we can get some knives.

I couldn't believe what they were saying. Never had I thought we would be plotting someone's murder. I felt sick just being in the room with these girls, and I was done with it all.

You guys are mad, I said. You are going to die.

I stormed out of Liza's house and made my way to the car. Liza ran out.

Annette, if you snitch, I will kill you too! she shouted as I drove away.

I went home and sat in my room, thinking about what to do. I knew Liza could hurt me if I snitched. She probably could find some people to kill me, but I knew that if I told the police what happened, then we could stop Lena. We might get some charges, but we will live and Lena will be locked away.

I made my way to the police station and told them I had information in Rachel's assault. I was taken to a room with Detective Claire Langston. I told her everything: how Liza and the others were bullying her, how Lena broke Suzanne's arm, and how I used my connections to get Rachel beaten to torment Lena and that Lena was killing everyone involved.

This is a serious crime Annette, Detective Langston told me, drinking her coffee. Still, you might get less punishment for coming forward.

I don't deserve it. I was bullied into going along with Liza's schemes, and now four people are dead because of me.

Alright, can you give us some information about Lena? What's her full name?

Her name is Lena Nash. She's seventeen, says she's from Florida. I don't think she specified where though.

Detective Langston typed some data into her computer.

That's odd, there are no results of anyone with that name existing outside the school records. Does Lena have a Facebook page or a blog that might have her picture?

I think Lena started a page with Rachel's suggestion.

Detective Langston typed on her computer and soon found the page. She was silent. She then got up and went to talk to some other officers. I was told to stay in the room and wait. A few minutes later, Detective Langston returned.

Annette, we are taking you into protective custody.

What? Why? What's going on?

You are in real danger. We need to get your friends as well. I already had Detective Powers send men out to find them.

What's going on? I asked.

You girls picked the wrong person to bully. Lena Nash, otherwise known as Tanya Courtney, Ella Farmer, Rebecca Staine, Judy Lowry, and Monica Wilson is a dangerous criminal wanted in several states. She supposedly broke out of a lab in Florida and fled to other states. She was part of an experiment on sociopathy.

Sociopathy?

Sociopathy is when a person is antisocial to the point that they lack any sort of moral code. The lab report said that she is incapable of expressing or feeling emotion. They also said that she has a high level of intelligence due to photographic memory, and the experiments seem to have given her superhuman reflexes and strength.

Wait, how did an experiment give her these powers?

I don't entirely understand the lab report, but it was said to be a side effect of some treatment that was supposed to make her sane.

So, if she doesn't have a moral code, then why would she kill Mr. Doherty and those gangsters?

My guess is that Lena couldn't express or feel love for Rachel, but still appreciated her kindness. You said Rachel was the one person to reach out for her. I guess Lena wanted to repay that kindness. Of course, she might have had her pride hurt when she learned that you and your friends called a hit on Rachel.

But how did Lena join the school and get a home if she is on the run?

Lena is good at making money and good at bribing people. She probably got some people to register her at your prep school.

Well how is she a criminal?

The experiment she was a part of was never legal. There were some human rights violations and breach of ethical codes. After she escaped, she would travel from state to state, changing her appearance and name so she could blend into society. However, everywhere she went, several people ended up injured. It was always like you described. First she shows her resistance to pain, then makes a strike, and is finally pushed to the point where she kills several people before fleeing.

Oh shit, I said, covering my face with my hands.

That's why we need to keep you and your friends away from her, Detective Langston told me.

At that moment, another detective burst into the room and spoke to Detective Langston.

Hey Claire, he said to Detective Langston, we found the other girls. A woman heard screams from the house next door and called for help.

Whose house were they at?

712 Martineau Way. The house is owned by Carl and Marjorie Nash, whoever they are.

I gasped as Detective Langston moved to talk to the man outside. I was then taken into custody and kept at the station overnight. The police got a testimony from Brittney, as Liza and Suzanne were doped up on morphine. Detective Langston summarized what happened to the three when they went to Lena's home.
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Final Act!

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It began when Liza, Suzanne, and Brittney made their way to Lena's house following a tip. Liza had the revolver she mentioned, and Suzanne and Brittney were each carrying a knife. They knocked on the door and were greeted by Lena. Liza burst into the house, holding the gun up to Lena's head.

You're dead Lena, Liza said. You think you can terrorize us with your scissors and death glares?

Lena remained completely calm. Even with the barrel of a revolver against her forehead, she remained passive.

Just kill her already, said Suzanne.

Dumbass, we might get caught, said Liza, turning to Suzanne. Let's see if there is a basement where...

In an instant, Liza was given a swift punch to the gut. She dropped the revolver, which Lena grabbed. She then knocked Liza to the ground and held the revolver up to Suzanne and Brittney.

You won't get caught, she told them, and neither will I.

She then tossed the revolver across the room before punching Suzanne and Brittney in the face. They fell to the ground and soon fell unconscious.

Brittney said that they awoke in a dark room some time later. They were all tied to cots and restrained to ensure that none of them could escape. Strangely, Liza and Brittney had their hands and feet restrained, but Suzanne was only restrained by her midsection. Lena entered the room from the staircase in the corner, carrying a large bag of items, which she set on the table in front of them. She finally turned on the lights. Lena now had her hair tied back, was wearing goggles, as well as black leather gloves and a leather apron. She began to unload the contents of her bag on the table.

Let us go, you psychopathic bitch! shouted Liza.

Not yet, said Lena. I don't plan to kill you three, but I will make sure you suffer for your crime.

Crime? We're just teenagers! shouted Suzanne.

Yet you conspired to assault me, had Rachel attacked just to hurt me, and then you withheld evidence for fear of your own punishment. The only difference is that I know how to take my time.

You mean you just set up a torture chamber in your home when you moved into this house? asked Liza.

No, this was a recent development, said Lena, finally turning around from emptying her tool kit.

Please Lena, Brittney pleaded, we were just arrogant and stupid. Let us go and we will leave you alone. We won't even snitch.

Lena then walked towards Brittney.

Brittney. You constantly follow orders and never question them. In your world, everything goes your way and you just live problem free. I won't do anything to you, but you will watch everything that happens.

Brittney had been crying since she woke up, and had only increased when Lena spoke to her directly. Lena tilted Brittney's bed up, making Brittney look like she was a witch about to be burned at the stake.

Lena then walked over to Suzanne, who was struggling to hit Lena.

Suzanne, you were gifted with physical prowess. You could do anything with your hands, but you choose to hurt others with them. I'm going to make sure that you don't hurt anyone ever again.

Lena walked back to the table. She grabbed an electric handsaw and plugged an extension cord into an outlet. She also picked up a brulee torch as she walked towards Suzanne's bed. She lifted some wooden planks that were attached to the side of Suzanne's cot and tied her hands to the planks with the leather restraints. Suzanne began to panic.

Wait, wait, I'm sorry. Liza made me do it. I didn't want to hurt you! she pleaded as Lena strapped her hands to the boards.

Too late, Lena calmly said.

She turned the handsaw on and lowered it on Suzanne's left hand. Blood splattered up Lena's face, while some flecks got onto Brittney and Liza. Liza screamed while Brittney closed her eyes and continued to cry out in fear. Suzanne was soon crying and shouting even more than when Lena crushed her arm. Lena then activated the brulee torch and used it to cauterize the wound, which only caused Suzanne to cry louder. Brittney continued to beg Lena to stop, while Liza was simply teeming with anger. Lena then walked to the other side of Suzanne's cot, where Suzanne's cast was strapped into the restraint.

She proceeded to lower the handsaw on Suzanne's cast. Suzanne cried out again, continuing as Lena cauterized the other hand. Suzanne fainted shortly after the cauterization. Brittney continued to cry out in horror, begging Lena to stop.

Lena set the handsaw on the table and picked up a pair of scissors. Liza knew she was next, and began to explode.

You horrible bitch, Liza shouted, rattling in her cot. You have no soul, no conscience, no humanity! You think you can just manipulate people like this for your satisfaction.

Lena then moved over to Liza and grabbed Liza's jaw. Liza was silent.

I may not have a soul, or a conscience, or any humanity, but I at least know that. I gain no satisfaction other than knowing that you will never be able to hurt anyone again. That's what gives me real power. You only use your voice to hurt and control, but you fail to see your own sadism. I will ensure that never happens again.

Lena let go of Liza's jaw. She lifted Liza cot up like Brittney's, allowing Brittney and Liza to stare at each other. Lena then opened the scissors, the same red scissors used to make Lena's collage, and used the brulee torch to heat the scissors until the metal was as red as a cardinal bird. She then grabbed Liza's jaw once again and pulled out Liza's tongue. Brittney closed her eyes and continued to cry. In an instant, she heard a snapping sound, followed by a muffled cry from Liza's direction. Brittney didn't want to open her eyes, but she knew that Lena had punished Liza.

Lena then went back to the table and packed up her supplies. Placing the bag on her back, she walked back to the three girls and released her restraints. Suzanne was still unconscious, Liza was lying on the ground covering her mouth and crying. Brittney held her hands in her face and continued to cry. Lena walked over to Brittney, pulled out a cell phone and handed it to Brittney.

Call for help, she calmly said.

Lena then walked away, heading up the stairs in the corner. Brittney sat dumbfounded, but composed herself enough to call the police.

No one had any idea where Lena had gone after the event in her home. She wasn't spotted at the train station, the bus station, or the airport. She had simply disappeared.

A few days after the incident, I visited my friends at the hospital. Suzanne's arms were wrapped in bandages following a surgery to treat her injuries better than Lena's method. Liza was mute, and her hospital diet consisted solely of liquid meals, so she was showing signs of weight loss. Brittney had been transferred to a mental hospital to receive treatment for her trauma. After visiting them, I spoke with Detective Langston outside.

Why didn't Lena come for me? I asked her.

You didn't go to her house that day, Detective Langston told me. Lena probably knows you told the police about it, so she might have decided to spare you. Besides, now that we know what she was up to, she fled for her own safety. She probably left to make a new identity and start a new life somewhere far from here.

I don't deserve to be spared, I said.

Maybe you don't, but you are alive, and you can spend your life making amends.

True. Say, do you know if Rachel is still here?

Reportedly she is.

Okay, I'm going to see how she is.

I made my way through the hospital to the ward where Rachel was staying. She was asleep in her bed. Her injuries were starting to clear up, but she still looked pretty bad. I sat down next to Rachel's bedside.

Rachel, I'm sorry I got you into this mess, I said. I was weak and manipulated. I hope you can forgive us someday. I don't expect you to do so anytime soon, but I hope you can reach that point. I'm not ready to forgive myself, but I plan to do right by you and everyone.

Rachel didn't respond. I doubt she heard what I said, but I decided to let her be. As I got up, I looked at her one last time. I then noticed something on the desk next to Rachel's bed. Amongst the flowers, get-well cards, and food trays, sat a single tiny grindstone, with fresh marks on it. I quickly dashed to the door and looked out into the hallway, but all I saw were doctors and nurses scurrying about. At that moment, I felt a presence in the hospital.

She's still here, isn't she?


And that is the end of Lena. I hope you all enjoyed it. Feel free to ask me questions or make comments on the story. I really would like to hear your input.

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I found this to be a pretty enthralling story from beginning to end, I tell ya what.
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It was wonderful! The ending gave me the chills! Keep writing like that, please :P
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Hm okay... I will possibly come across as a bit harsh here, but I'm trying to be constructive.

By the by, the weird stuff that comes up when previewing a post with " " in it will go away when you actually post, it's just a zeta quirk.

I have to say that this was not particularly my cup of tea. Weirdness of a serial killer with my (nick)name asides, I found it... difficult to empathise or sympathise with any of the characters with the possible exception of Rachel. None of the group of bullies (including Annette) were particularly investing characters, because they were just... pretty standard kinds of bitch, and almost entirely interchangeable, though having said that, Annette was somewhat the exception in that she had some more development (and obvious focus, given the PoV), but the others were largely quite flat. With that, some of the elements of the story were slightly... damp. As I said, it is hard to empathise with fairly broadly shaded characters, moreso when the victims, to be frank, are not very nice people.

But then, you can't root for Lena, because she's frankly a bit of a psycho. Admittedly there is the sense of comeuppance that comes with bad people getting their dues... but then it goes some way beyond fair dues, doesn't it?

A lot of the description was... clipped, I'll say. That's kind've how it comes across. Some segments lost impact through lack of elaboration. To clarify, I didn't have any problem telling what was going on, but there were sections where it was almost too matter of fact. "This happened, then this happened, then this." It becomes pretty dry, and you lose out on a lot of the atmosphere, which is pretty vital for a horror story.

There's also a slight bugbear for me... which is, in explaining what happened to the girls retrospectively, you sort've take a lot of tension out of the question over their fates. They make it. Injured, but they still make it. That again, makes the subsequent scene less atmospheric. We don't know what's going to happen, sure, but they aren't going to die or anything. The ending picked this up a little better, but still.

The only other thing is that Annette's apparent ability to call a hit (and raise $10,000 dollars just like that) came completely out of nowhere. I understood she was wealthy, but not "Yeah those kinds of connections" wealthy. Maybe I just missed the indications, but it SERIOUSLY made me go 'buh'.

It wasn't badly written by any means, but I think it needs some work.
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@ Slamexo and Nadir Thank you for your remarks. I love hearing words like "enthralling" and "chills"

@ Namira Alright, I understand your points, and allow me to make my responses in hopes of clarifying some of the confusion.

First, it is strange that the villain has the same name as your nickname. I picked the name Lena because it was a simple name, and when you make placeholder names for characters, they sometimes just stick.

Second, with the characters, I can understand why you might have trouble with empathizing with anyone aside from Rachel (I sort of imagined her to be the only truly good character of the story, but she was merely a plot device, so she wasn't going to mean much). I tend to write stories that have some levels of ambiguity to them, so I like to think that the reader would try to imagine why certain events happen. The story is from Annette's POV, and so most of the story is just her general impressions of what is going on, like how she always notes that Liza is teeming with frustration and thinking of new ways to hurt Lena.

As for why the characters are flat, it's simply that Annette is recalling this period of events. I know bully characters tend to be very flat, but I mainly hoped that there could be some dimension to them, and I think I only really accomplished that with Annette. Still, I tried to at least add some extra elements to Brittney and Suzanne. Brittney was the one who suggested attacking Rachel, and the whole story had Liza and Suzanne call her stupid and demean her, so this could show that she is smarter than how her friends treat her. Likewise, while Suzanne was always portrayed as a brute, she did have moments of weakness, such as how she pleaded with Lena to not cut her hands off and tried to blame Liza for everything.

I have no excuse for Liza. I tried to make it clear that she had control issues and anger problems, and if that made her flat, then I can see. Still, this is Annette recalling the events with Lena, so there isn't much time for them to grow. The story ends before the girls finish their rehabilitation, so it isn't clear if they are going to change.

Now to explain Lena. I never wanted the reader to sympathize with her. Even though the main characters are bullies and are getting what they deserved, Lena is still the villain. She is essentially the extreme of if the victim fought against the antagonist. Lena has no conscience or emotion, and so her actions lack any real concern or guilt. She doesn't care how much she is hurting them. As mentioned in the story, Lena has been moving like this for a long time. Why? We don't know. Annette doesn't know, but most likely Lena has faced torment before and is simply acting out in hopes they would stop.

When they attacked Rachel, Lena didn't feel sorrow for her friend. She could feel respect and gratitude for Rachel for reaching out to be a friend, but when Lena realized that the attack had connections to the girls who have been harassing her, she knew they had to stop. She warns them several times to leave her alone, but they kept pressing her. Her torture of the girls is terrible, but to Lena, it is completely appropriate. She knows she can do this, and she is. She thinks this will stop the three from harassing anyone, and it might not.

As for how I did descriptions, yeah, this is a problem I tend to have with writing. Again, the whole story was Annette recalling the events surrounding Lena's time at their school, so I felt it was necessary to only focus on the events that actually involved Lena and the girls. All the time in between would be filler.

To address your issue with tension. I did consider having Lena kill Brittney, Suzanne, and Liza. However, the idea was sort of sour to me. Still, I figured having them live with the trauma and pain would be more satisfying. Maybe Lena knew that the real torture would be living with the memory and living without the appendages. I can at least get where you were coming from.

As for the $10,000 thing, yeah, I had that issue addressed when I was writing the story. I saw Ivanhoe last summer, and got the idea of having Annette sell some jewelry to afford the money for the hit from the scene of Rebecca donating her mother's jewels to Ivanhoe so he can raise money for King Richard's ransom. Annette's wealth isn't an issue, and I sort of figured people could get the idea that an obscenely rich girl would get nice jewelry from her parents.

Overall, thank you for the criticism. I do like knowing how I can improve my writing. The fact that you found a lot to criticize at least shows that you took the time to read the story, so thank you for that as well. I at least hope some of what I wrote has at least explained some things to you. If it doesn't change your opinion, that's fine. I just hope that you didn't regret reading the story.

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If constructive criticism is on the table, I would have to toss in that I did find the characterization to be a bit weak in here.

I definitely get that Lena's psycho, Liza's narcissist etc., but only really because Anette and the police were kind enough to point out those facts to us. Lena's attitude is pretty firmly confirmed in the final scene, yus, but everyone else doesn't really seem to live up to their reputation thanks to the immovable object in front of them, which I'm sure was the point of it all but it still serves to make the bullies just look rather pathetic for queen bitches, even if it's only because what they're up against is ungodly psycho super chick. A few recollections of past scenarios the girls undertook could quite easily add an extra image of horrible nastiness about them without Anette having to just state it out.

For that matter on Lena, having her be completely invulnerable more or less took out any doubt that something terrible was going to happen to the main girls, thus removing some more of the tension. Maybe giving her a moment of weakness or even just pretending to have one even would have served to make her sudden disproportionate payback more shocking; you could argue that Rachel getting the crap beaten out of her (I'm gonna have to agree with Iz on this one: Anette being able to summon thugs out of nowhere due to family really invoked a double take. Also, $10,000 just to beat up a girl? Those are some damn expensive thugs!) could be argued as her moment of weakness but because she's so displaced from the event itself it doesn't really serve to make her appear any less super mode.

Equally on par with the invulnerability with have Anette: I can see that she was meant to be innocent and just pushed along with it all, but in the end she did go along with some pretty damn horrible stuff and more or less got away with it. There was the arrested for conspiring an assault point but reminding her of that towards the end would have helped remind the audience that she wasn't getting off scot free, or perhaps even have her take up Brittney's punishment in the final scene (I was surprised that Brittney seemed to be considered just going along with it all, to be honest; she seemed pretty happy to think up new ideas for her suffering) If the intent was for her to be spared due to her purity, then well I personally just don't think she was being innocent enough to qualify for that privilege: bullied or not, she went along with everything pretty easily. Beyond being bullied as well, there really didn't seem to be anything at fault with Anette; you could probably swap her and Rachel's positions (Anette uses money, Rachel uses her position on the school council) in the story's quite effortlessly, and when our main character is coming off as friendly and good natured as the designated sacrifice, we're approaching levels of out of place without enough justification. Perhaps if she tried justify what she did whilst feeling intense remorse over her actions still, she'd fit in with the bitch clique some more whilst still being the most sympathetic.

I still found it to be an enthralling story from beginning to end, I tell ya what, but I felt that these character issues got in the way a little of how scary and meaningful the story could be.
Edited by Slam, Oct 21 2011, 07:49 AM.
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@ Slamexo

Thank you for your criticism. Yeah, character has always been sort of weak for me because I tend to focus more on story, but I understand what you are saying.

I always feel like bullies are such pathetic people because they have to make the lives of others worse without any tangible reward for themselves. I did have some narrative about things the girls did, but really, they are kind of stupid girls. Their response to seeing a person inflict damage to herself is to plan to assault the girl.

As for Lena's sueish tendencies, this is Annette's story about Lena. She doesn't know much about Lena, none of the characters do, so she is going to miss out on some moments. When Lena kills those people and tortures the girls, the idea was that her pride was hurt. Rachel was attacked because these bitches who have been bothering Lena hired some guys to beat her up. Lena probably blamed herself for the event and thought it best to rectify.

Now, the $10,000 thing. Annette had to give the money to Mr. Doherty, who she only knew had vague criminal connections. HE got the thugs. She doesn't know how or what the money was for, but she knew it got the job done.

As for Annette in the end, yeah, she did kind of get away with bullying and conspiracy to two separate crimes, but mostly in that the situation had gotten much worse, with a known murderer being in the town, four people being murdered, and three people being hospitalized. Annette and the girls might face punishment, but it might be lessened. Still, if they were to be punished, Annette would probably be the only one to get any since Liza and Suzanne are both hospitalized and Brittney is in a mental ward. They most likely would get a small sentence, but that's not integral to the story.

Still, I always envisioned Annette as being quite a doormat. She is much richer than her friends, but was basically goaded into "friendship" due to some personal weaknesses. Obviously, she is going to be much kinder than the rest because she was an honorary member. Obviously, she is not excused from everything. I considered Annette a bully because she went along with everything. She did participate in the harassment with the grindstone, she did agree to help beat Lena in the woods, and she went along and got the hit put out on Rachel. Annette could have made lots of excuses for why she couldn't get Rachel attacked, but she didn't.

Annette merely get's off because she made the right moves at the right time. Because she went to the police, she didn't get tortured by Lena. I don't even know how Lena would have tortured her, probably by making her watch like Brittney. I always figured that Annette's torture was seeing the result of the events on her friends. One is insane, one is missing her hands, and the other lost her tongue. The last scene in Rachel's room is to cement this.

Also, in stories where everything is told from the perspective of one person, always take into account that the person may be an unreliable narrator. I'm not saying Annette is a liar, but you could interpret the story as Annette explaining what happened without actually demonizing herself. It's likely she was just as mean as the others and simply avoided any punishment by going to the police in a moment of weakness. I'm not saying this is true, but you could view the story this way.

Still, thank you for enjoying the story. I'm at least glad it has entertained you and everyone else here. I'll think about these critiques and try to improve myself later.
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Here is another story I wrote and feel like sharing with all of you. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to post comments (positive, negative, and constructive) and to post your theories as to what happened. This is Unsure.

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Ryan looked at the files on his desk. Laid before him were pictures of three people who were no longer alive, and it was his job to figure out who killed them. He had the evening off, but after dinner, all he could think about was George, Margaret, and Jeremy, and how someone managed to kill them in such brutal ways.

As he thought about this, there was a knock on the door of his office. He got up and walked over. When he opened it, he found his wife Lindsay staring at him.

“Hey Linds, what's going on?” he asked her.

“I was just checking on you. You feeling alright?” she asked nervously.

“Of course,” he responded, “don't worry about me, I'm fine.”

“Come on Ryan. Shut off that policeman brain for one night,” Lindsay said, placing her hand on his shoulder, “it can wait until morning.”

“I know. This case just has everyone at the station going nuts.”

“Well,” said Lindsay, rubbing his shoulders, “the station won't mind if you get a good night's sleep. So why don't you turn in?”

“Alright. I think I will clean up a bit and then go to bed. I really could use some tea first,” Ryan said, stroking his wife's hand.

“That sounds nice,” she replied. “I'm going to bed. Tomorrow, you are getting out by five right? Bridget has her recital tomorrow.”

“I asked the Chief, and he said it would be fine. Laura even said that she could handle it so I could leave earlier.”

“Perfect,” said Lindsay, giving Ryan a quick kiss, “good night dear.”

“Good night Lindsay,” Ryan said as he watched her head upstairs.

Ryan made his way into the kitchen. He put the kettle on the stove and flipped the knob, watching the blue fire snap into existence and begin to boil the water. He got a mug out of the shelf and placed a bag of Earl Grey into it. He began to organize some of the papers on the kitchen table and put away some of the material Lindsay had out when she was working on her case reports earlier. He also went ahead and made lunch for Bridget tomorrow, just so he had something to do. Ryan found that the work was too easy, and the tea wasn't ready, so his mind drifted back to the case.

The town had never seen anything like it. People died, but never in such bizarre methods. They referred to the case as The Closed Room Killings, simply because they had no real way to identify a killer or figure out how the crimes could be committed by human hands. Most serial murders have repetitive motives or a “signature” from the killer, but the police force had to turn to terms used by mystery novelists like Agatha Christie when looking at the crimes.

So far, only three people had been killed, but the lack of suspects and evidence made the force believe that it was likely the killer would strike again. It began in the early morning of April 13th. Frank Martelli was prepping the kitchen at Joe's Pizzeria when he went into the alley to throw away some trash. It was there that he discovered the body of sixteen year old George Dawson. George was found to have been stabbed multiple times, with at least seven stabbings being fatal. He had lost most of his blood, but the lack of blood in the alley made Ryan and his partner Laura suspect that George was killed elsewhere and dumped. Livor mortis suggested that George had only been in the alley for about three hours with the red coloring on his back, yet the coroner thinks that George had to have been kept somewhere else for a while.

However, the case changed when the coroner gave his estimate of how long George had been dead. Rigor mortis had disappeared when the coroner examined George's body, suggesting that he had been dead for more than thirty-six hours. His palor skin also suggested that he had been dead for several days, the wounds on George's body were also beginning to show signs of larval infestation, meaning he had to be dead for at most three days. However, George's parents revealed that the last time they saw their son was the evening before he was found. There was an eight hour span of time where George had to be dead, and yet his body suggested he had been dead longer.

His parents were suspected, but it was found that others had seen George in this time. His friends confirmed that he spent time with them after school the day before he was found, and they admitted that there was nothing wrong with him. His teachers also had records of him being in class, and the security cameras at the Food Lion he worked part time showed that he had been there during the three days he was dead. Ryan knew the body was George's. His parents said he had a scar from spinal surgery, and it matched the records of the surgeon who operated on him. Somehow, George was alive and dead at the same time. The police were baffled.

It only got worse. As police were analyzing evidence found in the alley and on George, reports of another killing came in. On April 18th, five days after George was killed, twenty-seven year old fitness instructor Margaret Patterson was found stabbed to death in Oswald Park. The woman had been attacked while jogging and was stabbed multiple times. The wounds were similar to that of George's, but the weapon had yet to be identified. As Ryan and Laura studied Margaret's body, they began to realize that her death was similar to George's, simply because the timing made no sense.

Margaret was spotted in the park by many patrons, gardeners, and some of the employees at the snack bar. No one was sure where she was killed, but they knew she had to die somewhere in the park. Due to some illicit activities in the park, police set up surveillance at the park entrances, and Margaret was shown to enter the park at 1 p.m that day. Her body was discovered at 7 p.m. In the six hour time frame, Margaret had to have been killed inside the park.

What made Margaret's death peculiar was the location of her body. Her body was placed under a park bench. Because it is Spring, daylight hours are longer, so someone would have had to see her body get placed under the bench. Impressions on her skin suggested she was lying there for at least three hours. Even stranger, she had been under the bench for all that time, yet dozens of people sat on the bench during the day, and yet no one noticed her. The bench was leveled with the field behind it, so anyone there should have seen a body beneath the bench. Also, because Margaret died in that time frame, she did not have time to have the blood drained from her like George. Her body was stuffed under the bench on its side, so blood should have leaked out from under the bench, which would have made it easier to find her. Strangely, there was no blood under the bench.

Ryan and Laura found that they had more time to work on the case, as the killer did not strike for another two weeks. In that interval, they discovered that the weapon had to be a wakizashi, a small blade found in Japan. None of the pawn shops in town reported having wakizashis, and no one in town reported purchasing one over the Internet. When the next murder was reported, Ryan and Laura found themselves on a completely different track.

Forty-six year old store clerk Jeremy Horner was the next to die. However, Jeremy's was particular because there was a witness, his nine year old niece Cheryl Skinner. On May 1st, Jeremy and Cheryl were walking through a suburban area. As they reached a corner, Cheryl stopped to tie her shoe. Jeremy walked to the corner before he realized that Cheryl stopped. At that moment, a shot was fired, and a bullet passed through Jeremy's head, killing him. Cheryl ran over to her uncle's body, crying and shouting. She turned in the direction the shot came from, and found nothing.

The shot had to come from the street on the other edge of the corner, yet no one was there. Cheryl should have been able to see someone run away if they were on the street. The killer couldn't hop over the fence on the corner because it was too high. There weren't any cars on the street that time of day, so the killer couldn't have hidden from Cheryl. Jeremy was practically shot by a ghost.

With that, there were three dead citizens, and absolutely nothing to help figure out who was responsible for the deaths. The type of gun used to kill Jeremy had yet to be identified, so the police were at a standstill. They were hoping to find the killer before another citizen died. A curfew was in order, but Ryan found that ridiculous, since Margaret and Jeremy were killed in the daytime. Still, it calmed things down, so Ryan hoped that things were getting better.

The kettle sang and Ryan poured the hot water into his mug. He began to dab the tea bag when the phone began to ring.

“Who could be calling at this hour?” thought Ryan.

He walked over to the cordless phone and looked at the caller I.D. It said “Laura”, so Ryan figured that Laura stumbled upon something, or that there might be something worse going on. He picked the phone up and pressed the green button as he held it to his ear.

“It's Ryan.”

“Hey Ryan, it's Laura. I am on my way to your house. You need to be in the front yard as soon as I get there.”

“Why? What's going on? Was there another victim?”

“Yes, there has.”

“Who is it?”

Laura was silent. Ryan bit his lip.

“Laura, who died?”

“It's Lindsay.”

Ryan was silent. His heart ceased for that moment. He then struggled to say the next few words.

“Lindsay?”

“Yes. Arthur was the first responder and identified her. I was able to confirm it as well. Lindsay is dead.”

“That can't be possible. I just saw her fifteen minutes ago.”

“Ryan, the coroner's early report puts Lindsay at being dead for about ten days. Are you certain you saw her fifteen minutes ago?”

“Yeah, she was going upstairs to get ready for bed.”

“Look Ryan,” Laura said sternly, “you and Bridget are not safe. Get out of the house now. The killer might be there, and you two are not safe. I am about three minutes away. If you are not out in three minutes, I will call for backup.”

Ryan immediately hung the phone up. He grabbed a key out of his pocket as he rushed to his office. Unlocking the top drawer of his desk, he pulled a revolver out. Checking to see if it was loaded, he hurried upstairs. He checked the hallway before he made his way down. He knew that Bridget was his priority, and he had to be careful. He crept up the stairs and made his way down the hall to Bridget's room.

He pushed the door open and walked in. The six year old girl sat up immediately. Ryan was glad that she was a light sleeper.

“Hi honey, we need to go. Come on,” Ryan said as he pulled the young girl out of her bed.

“What's going on?” Bridget said, rubbing her eyes.

“We're not safe he. Miss Laura is coming to take us to safety.”

He grabbed Bridget's small hand and pulled her into the hallway.

“Where's Mom?” she asked.

“Mom is... not coming.” Ryan said before stopping.

Ryan and Bridget ran downstairs, Ryan holding the revolver up. He opened the front door and ran out into the yard. Laura arrived a few minutes later, the sirens blaring in the quiet evening. Ryan opened the back door and put Bridget inside. He rushed in and buckled her up as Laura drove the two to the police station.

At the station, Ryan learned the details of what happened to his wife. Lindsay had been dead for at least ten days. Her body was beginning to bloat and decompose, there were more maggots on her than George. They realized it was her due to the tattoo of a butterfly on her shoulder, which most of the police force recognized when Lindsay wore a backless dress to a Christmas Party one year. Lindsay had been stabbed to death, but there was only one wound on her body, right on her heart. The murder weapon had yet to be identified, but the wakizashi was suspected.

When questioned, Ryan affirmed that he saw Lindsay during the ten days she had been dead. Bridget was also certain she saw her mother in the time she was supposed to be dead. Lindsay's coworkers at the hospital and her boss also admitted to seeing her in that time, and nothing was suspicious about her in the time. Even police officers like Laura saw her in the time frame, so no one had any idea how Lindsay could be dead during those days. Nobody could figure out how a woman could be alive and active during a time where she should have been dead.

There is simply no explanation.


And that's the story. There are no additional parts, it's a one-shot. So, what did you think? What did you think happened? Let me hear/have it.
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Really? Just a one shot? But you've set up such a marvellous mystery to be unravelled~

Course it's very important when writing a mystery that you actually have the solution worked out in your head, lest you end up pulling something out of your ass and disappointing all the readers, but assuming this one shot has a solution then by golly I want a sequel damn it!

That said:
- Dialogue falls kind of flat. For a guy who's just been told his wife is dead in the middle of a serial killing Ryan seems unnaturally calm about it all. Case in point when he's getting his daughter out of bed; he sounds far too controlled to come off as realistic, skilled cop or not.
- For that matter, a little too much detail in some sections. Details of crime scenes are for the most part fine, it's critical to setting up a good mystery after all, but we don't really need to know the exact details of Ryan's evening or a word for word transcript of him and Lindsay's conversation. Try to compact it a little bit so it doesn't kill pace. LISTS ARE BORING!

As for my theory on what's going on? Obviously a doppelgänger ninja from Japan is off his meds.
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Update! I got feedback on what my school's journal thought of Lena. After being reviewed by the other members of my journal staff (members can't go to meetings if their piece is being reviewed), they decided that Lena would not be featured in the journal.

According to what one member told me, members of the group thought that the story was too long. Although my journal no longer is concerning itself with the length of the story, many members thought that it took too long to reach the point. I can understand that, but I figured that I was at least putting a three act structure in a story that was only around eleven pages. Oh well, que sera sera, life goes on. I'll post Lena to my Tumblr account and keep it locked away.

Fortunately, this came around the time I had inspiration for another story. This is something that I witnessed last night, and I simply had to write about it. I'm a bit worried that there is too much of me questioning stuff and not enough on what is going on, but this is my account.

Without further ado, this is Phone in Hand.

Quote:
 
“I hate you! Let me go!”

Those words propelled me out of my delirium. I was in my room, trying to fall asleep. I spent my uneventful evening watching a lot of TV in my dorm, and I had decided it was time to go to sleep. I was wrapped up in my blanket and curled up in my double bed, trying to relax my brain and enter dreamworld.

I don't think I will be able to go to sleep anytime soon.

It was nearly midnight. I was in my bed when I heard the girl shout those words. My first instinct was to raise my blinds to see what was going on. The blinds wouldn't stay completely up, so I hurt my right hand trying to pull them up. Outside, I saw a girl get pulled into a car parked in the small street next to my building. I don't entirely know what kind of car it was, but I figured it was along the lines of an SUV or something like that.

I tried to watch the scene below. The glare from the lights below made it hard to see into the car, but I could still see the girl. The man who pulled her in was in the driver's seat, so I had no idea what he looked like.

I was still lying on my bed, stomach down, looking out the window. I had cracked my window open to try and hear what was going on. I live on a noisy intersection, so it is hard to hear most things outside my window, but that girl's scream was loud enough to penetrate the city sounds.

My Blackberry was charging on the windowsill, so I picked it up. I had no idea what the man was going to do the girl, so for safety, I pre-dialed 911 in case I saw more physical violence. However, I realized that it might be better to call campus police. I had to get out of bed to look up the phone number because I didn't have it set to my contacts. As I waited to log in, I was worried about what I could miss. Was the girl being hit? Were they fighting?

I had the number, and resumed my place on my bed, looking out the window at the car below. I felt like Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet, a voyeur looking into the lives of others. There wasn't much going on. I could see the light from the girl's cell phone, but not much else.

The man honked the horn three times. I heard a clapping sound. I wasn't sure if he was hitting the dashboard or her.

She tried to get out of the car, but he kept her inside. They needed to air out whatever they were discussing. I remained vigilant, waiting for the right moment to call.

I tried to think of what to say to the campus policeman or woman on the other end. Is it just a domestic disturbance? Am I meddling with a couple's personal issue? Will the police even do anything?

I thought back to a scene from La Dolce Vita, where Marcello and Emma were sitting in his car as Marcello announced his desire to break up. Were the two down there like the characters in Fellini's movie? Violence seemed present, but would it reach the levels of when Emma repeatedly hit Marcello?

All I could do was sit. There wasn't too much else going on below. They were still talking, and I still had my phone in hand, ready to call the campus police as soon as I had a justifiable reason. Nothing happened.
Soon, the girl got out of the car. She stormed down the street, away from the car. The man floored the car onto the busy street and drove off. I sat there silent. I had been looking over the girl, trying to be a guardian angel, but I did nothing. I opened my window as far as I could and leaned out. I could vaguely see the girl walking down the street. Her head was hung low.

As I processed the event, I began to criticize myself. I had witnessed an act of domestic violence, and I did nothing. I watched and had the police ready, but I didn't call them. Was this how the apartment residents reacted to watching Kitty Genovese die? Is this why none of them called for help? Were we all just waiting for the signal to confirm the problem? I heard the girl call out in distress, but I simply watched. Why did I even grab my phone if I wasn't going to do anything?

I was a fool. I played the events that could have happened in my head, and I didn't act upon them. I thought of scenarios of all levels, such as the police arresting the man, the girl getting beaten like Rihanna, or, probably the scenario that scared me the most, that they would notice me, and try to hurt me.

None of that happened. I simply sat and watched. Marcello had left Emma, and I was simply waiting for the scene to resolve itself.

God, I am so ashamed.


Since I am presenting this before I submit it, this is a perfect chance for constructive criticism and arguments. Let me know exactly how you feel and what can be improved. Unlike Lena where I posted the story after I submitted it and so your criticism would only matter if it got a second chance, this time, you guys might be helping me shape the story to be something published in my school's annual journal.

My body is ready, let me have it.
Edited by Laurels, Nov 12 2011, 12:38 AM.
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