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What Have I Done?

Boom. That’s probably the chemistry classrooms. The new chemistry classrooms. The ones that cost thousands of dollars to build. Maybe a million. Oh, why does it matter? Why am I even thinking about this? It’s not important. It’s not going to change what happened.
What am I going to do? What can I do? What? Think, Elizabeth. Maybe this is just a dream. Concentrate. I can’t really hold onto a hope like that, though. Stop distracting yourself!
Oh, my God. How could I have been so stupid? I should have told someone. I mean, it’s not my fault that the tennis ball I was throwing hit that light bulb and made it explode and catch the tests on the desk on fire and WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t. All I was doing was going in for Chemistry tutoring. Why didn’t you tell anyone, then? Well, maybe I shouldn’t have been dribbling a tennis ball inside, but how could I have stopped myself? Tennis has been on my mind a lot recently. If I want to make it on varsity, I’ve got to practice. It’s called dedication! It’s for the team. You’re not going to be on the team now, that’s for sure. But what if no one finds out? If. Yes, if! Oh, what am I kidding myself?
Mom and Dad. How will they react? Their darling daughter, straight A’s, never been grounded, dreaming of going to Columbia, perfect Elizabeth. She was going to be a professor, that’s what her Dad said. She was going to do something in the world. Now she’ll do something— do something by going to ALC.
But even worse— what will my other relatives think? Family friends? Casual acquaintances? What’s been going in your life, Elizabeth? Nothing much— just the usual school-burning, with some petty theft on the side. Oh, God. I’m not like that. Or I wasn’t until now. Imagine, I used to think I was so cool for skipping pep rallies and leaving school early.

The worst thing I’ve done before this was steal a glitter packet from Randall’s when I was four. I guess stealing glitter is the gateway crime.

Should I keep quiet? Hope no one finds out? There are security cameras at school, but maybe... No, they’ll find me. Hunt me down like a cockroach. Flush me down the toilet of despair. Maybe if I tell them now, it’ll be okay. But then they’ll wonder why I ran. I mean, they won’t wonder why I ran from the fire, but the fact that I didn’t stop running until I got to the Magnolia Cafe is a little iffy. Maybe I can just tell them I’m really scared of fire. Actually, I am. But what I was more scared of was getting in trouble. A little too scared, I guess.

WHY didn’t I just tell someone right after the explosion? My life would have been so much- Hey, look! Smoke is starting to rise from the top of Austin High. That’s bad, Elizabeth. Really bad.

I’ll probably be on the news tonight. I’ve never done that before, been on the news. I always wanted to be famous, and I guess I will be now, for my own 15 minutes. Probably more like 12, actually. Austin crime isn’t that big of a deal on the international news scene. But I’m not a criminal. I can’t call myself that, or else I’ll start believing it. I’m not a criminal.

Oh, my. What have you done, Lizzie? What have you done?

I wonder how good Austin Police Department lie detectors are.




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