“I never want to speak to her again.” said Jace.
“How could she do this to us?” I pondered. “We were her friends!”
It was a Friday night after the big homecoming football game. Phoebe, Libby, and I went together to Nolan Dike’s annual homecoming party. Nolan put on this party each year to celebrate our homecoming events. Win or lose, anybody who was anybody was at this party.
Libby had just moved to our school, and she instantly fit into our group. However, her recent choice in a boyfriend left me puzzled and disgusted. She had begun dating Jace Pattman, the most obnoxious party boy, soon after entering our school. He was not her type, or at least, I didn’t think he was. She seemed too sweet and innocent for him.
As soon as we arrived at Nolan’s, Jace appeared. I wanted to leave, but Libby and Phoebe begged me to stay. Therefore, I decided to make the best of a bad situation. I put on my bathing suit, jumped in the pool, and joined in a game of pool volleyball. Phoebe decided to play pickle juice pong, and Libby soon disappeared with Jace. I didn’t see her the rest of the night; actually, it turned out to be the last time I saw my friend, Libby.
The night flew by, as it often does when you’re having fun. I looked at my watch: 1:00 A.M.! It was an hour past my curfew!
I panicked and began trying to locate my friends so we could leave. Phoebe was laying on the couch, sick from pickle juice, I assumed. “Hey, Phoebe, have you seen Libby?” I asked.
“No, not since we arrived,” said Phoebe.
Suddenly, an ear-splitting scream stopped the entire party in its tracks. That is when our annual, fun-filled night came to a horrific end.
The scream came from the woods behind Nolan’s house. Everyone started running in that direction when Jace busted out of the woods.
“Call 9-1-1! Libby is gone!”
When I heard these words, my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach. Phoebe and I looked at each other. We were not worried about our curfew anymore. The color had drained out of our faces.
We watched the cops pull away. We were still in shock. How had everything gone so wrong? Now, about a month later, nothing had been the same without Libby. Police were still investigating. We heard rumors that they believed Libby was kidnapped, disappeared into the ravine, washed down the river, or worse. The rumors ran rampant. Just when I thought I couldn’t be more confused, something else happened when a regular trip to my locker deepened the mystery. A note was left inside my locker. It read: “Libby’s disappearance was not an accident.”
As I read this simple but haunting sentence, I could feel a lump develop in my chest. Who wrote this? Why was it left in my locker? What does it mean? I had so many questions, and I needed someone to help solve the mystery behind this note and the disappearance of our friend. So, I turned to Phoebe.
When I spoke to Phoebe, she surprised me with a note she had received: “Libby moved for a reason.”
Phoebe’s note raised more questions. Why did Libby move here? Why didn’t Libby ever talk about her old school? All she ever told us was that she needed a new start and that people at her old school were boring. We decided to find out more about Libby’s past and see if there was anyone that could make sense of these rumors. I also decided it was time to talk to Jace. I wanted the whole story.
Jace was not over Libby’s disappearance. This night had changed him. This “party boy” was now a somber, meek kid. So when I approached him, he didn’t really want to speak. But when I told him about the notes, he spilled every little detail. He wanted to solve the mystery of that night and finally rest his mind.
He began recalling every detail of their time together that night. “We were hanging out, having a blast. She was laughing about jokes she had pulled on friends at her old school. No one knew Libby as well as I did. She was quite the prankster.”
He continued, “She asked me to get her a sweater from the house. On my way back, I heard her scream.” He began to put his hands on his face and rub his eyes. I could tell he didn’t want me to see him cry.
He gathered himself and continued to explain that he ran back to where they were sitting and she wasn’t there. We talked about the notes Phoebe and I had received. I asked him if Libby ever spoke of anyone she was close to at her old school.
“Did she have a best friend? Someone that would know her well,” I asked.
Jace paused for a moment and then spoke of a girl named, Charlie.
“Libby talked about Charlie. She said that she was her partner in crime. Whatever that meant.”
The next morning, Phoebe, Jace, and I all met and drove together to the Keflan High School. This was Libby’s old school and current school of, Charlie, someone we wanted to talk to. After arriving, we noticed a girl walking down the hall with “Charlie” on the back of her shirt. We decided to approach her.
Phoebe spoke first. “Excuse me, Charlie? We were wondering if you knew a girl that used to go to school here. Her name was Libby Carpner.”
A smirk appeared on her face. “What do you want to know?” she asked.
We expressed our concern and questions regarding Libby’s disappearance. Our worries were met with a strange reaction from this girl.
“Libby was quite a prankster. She loved fooling people and did it often. That is something I will always remember about her. She loved the thrill of a good prank. However, some people can’t take a good joke, or at least, that’s what Libby thought. She moved shortly after pulling a school prank that got the attention of the school administration. We never heard from her again.” She smiled as she went on about her way to her next class.
Jace, Phoebe, and I all looked at each other with the same uncomfortable look. Would she? Could she?
We left Keflan High not knowing what to think or say. Not wanting to believe our friend would betray us and put us on an emotional roller coaster, we decided to go by Libby’s home. We thought we would check on her parents and comfort them with our memories of her. However, as we drove near her street, police cars were everywhere. We parked and began walking up to Libby’s home.
“OMG!” Phoebe let out a cry.
There was Libby. She was being escorted into her home by the police. We couldn’t believe our eyes! Could it be? Was she okay? Had someone returned her? Had she escaped from her kidnappers? Had she been found in the wilderness after surviving all this time?
As we stood, speechless in Libby’s street, Libby turned and looked our way. A sly grin spread across her face, and she winked.