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Tell Me No Lies
I cannot believe my mom got me a summer job! And I’m not even being paid! So I went to a party. So I got drunk. Big deal! I’m in high school, this stuff happens. I guess she wouldn’t know that though, she never has fun. She wouldn’t even know what fun is if it flew down and slapped her across the face. Granted, most people don’t get arrested at parties, but still… I’m a good kid; I got off with a warning. She didn’t need to volunteer me to clean out Old Man Gregory’s attic all summer long. Yeah, he’s been through some hard times lately, and I’d have to be a stone cold you-know-what to not feel bad about his wife dying, but I’ve got my own problems to deal with. I don’t need to add his on top of it. My boyfriend got shipped off to Iraq last week for crying out loud! Then there’s what happened at the party…
“Toby? Toby! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, Toby, what did you do? What did you do?!?”
“I know, I know! Shut up would you? Just shut up! Let me figure it out. Nobody saw anything, did they?”
“No, nobody. At least, I don’t think so. Caleigh might have, though…”
Oh god Caleigh, oh god, why did you have to see? Why did you tell him? I swear, I never thought he’d kill you, but you should have known better!
Day one of operation attic cleanout = NOT FUN. Let me tell you, he didn’t want me there as bad as I didn’t want to be there. He also doesn’t have the same ‘just make the best of it, sweetie’ attitude that my mother has. Neither of us have much of a choice in the matter, not with her calling the shots. I do have to give him some credit; Old Fart McFart Pants is smart enough to figure out that complaining to my mom about it wouldn’t do any good. She’d just make me help him clean the rest of his stupid, old house. I’d never get out of there! At least El Ancient One and I agree on one thing: I need to get out of there as soon as possible.
“Why don’t you just leave him? He’s- He’s a-“
“I’m not blind Caleigh! I saw him! You wouldn’t get it though. It’s just not that simple”
“It can’t honestly be that hard! He knows we know. What if we’re next?”
“NO! He’d never do that! He loves me! He’s leaving soon. We’ll be fine. I promise.”
Caleigh, I’m so sorry. I broke my promise. I told you, though. You should have listened. You should have listened to me.
The days are all starting to blur together. I guess that’s what happens when they are all exactly the same. Take down box. Look at junk in box. Throw away most of junk in box. Put box in different spot. Fast forward to next day: get yelled at for throwing away “priceless antique” or “important memorabilia”. Repeat. Today… Today was different. I found an old photo album, and when I say old, I mean OLD. I’m talking from the ‘30’s and ‘40’s, old. I started looking through it and saw a whole new side to Sir Gregory (was there an actual knight named that? It sounds legit enough) that I hadn’t thought I’d ever see. He looked happy, and while that alone was enough to totally shock me, I also saw he had a brother. Toby had a brother… Maybe I’ll try to cut the McGregory Man a little slack.
“Why don’t you just tell the cops? What if someone else tells them first?”
“Like who? Your stupid friend Caleigh? I’ll take care of her.”
“Toby! Don’t talk like that! Why don’t you just tell the cops it was an accident? It was an accident, right?”
I should have taken him seriously. I should have taken my own advice. I’m so sorry.
Today was so scary! I went to Gregory’s house like always, and when I got there the door was all busted open like it always is on the cop shows my mom watches. I guess I watch them too much because I started worrying I was about to find a dead body. He wasn’t dead, but he was beat up real bad. I called 911 and I rode with him to the hospital in the back of the ambulance. Pretty soon my mom was there and totally freaking out on me because I forgot to call her. I think she was just worried that whoever beat up Mr. Gregory was still there when I was, even though the police checked it out and said it was clear. That isn’t the reason I’m still shaking like a leaf, though. The doctors said that he was just delirious and in shock, but I believe him. Mr. Gregory told me that after he got beaten up the assailant took his key, but then he put it back. I don’t think everybody gets that ever since ‘Night at the Museum’ came out, everybody knows how to make an impression of a key. If you can get an impression, you can get a key. Even though nobody else believes him, I do, and I know that whoever broke in this time can now stroll through the front door whenever they feel like it. I might get Mr. Gregory an alarm system, just in case.
“It wasn’t an accident, was it Toby? You’ve been planning this for a while. I know you, I can tell. Is this why you joined the army, so you could get away from the investigation?”
“Of course that’s why! What are you, stupid? I’m so sick of Sam getting everything! He was always everybody’s favorite, the golden child. I got sick of it, so I took care of him.”
“That’s sick, Toby. He was your brother…”
Now was not a good time for me to learn that Mr. Gregory’s first name is Samson, Sam for short. Sam was Toby’s brother’s name. The brother that Caleigh and I saw Toby kill out of jealousy. I haven’t told anybody. Not my mom, not the cops, not even Sam (who I’ve gotten really close to since I found him almost dead in his living room. It was a real bonding experience, let me tell you. I’m actually just hanging out in his attic for fun, now that summer’s over and I’m done cleaning). The only person I ever talked about it with was Caleigh, and look what it got her. A plot right next to Sam at the local church graveyard and a double memorial at the high school gym. She would have hated that; she was really selfish. She was my best friend and I didn’t listen to her. If I had listened she might still be alive, and Sam(son)’s house might not have gotten broken into. It was all because I connected the dots and-
A noise. I heard a noise on the stairs. It can’t be Sam, he can’t get up the stairs to the attic; they’re too steep and narrow. He’s also supposed to be at the doctor’s for a check-up. This can’t be good. I turned just as he walked through the door.
“Hey there, little girl. It’s been a while. How’s your friend? What was her name? Caleigh?”
“You know damn well what her name was Toby, you killed her because she saw what you did to Sam. What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in Iraq?”
“That’s the thing honey, I never actually enlisted. I realized I still had some loose ends to tie up, because even though I took care of one, there was still one more running around this town…”
Ohmylanta he’s talking about me. He thinks I spilled! He’s going to kill me, just like Caleigh!
“Toby, babe, what are you talking about? You don’t honestly think I’d spill, do you?”
“Yes I do. I really do. After all, you did bring up telling the cops. Never trusted you anyway. Just kept you around for fun.” He started to point his gun at me. I’m going to die. Ohmylanta, I’m going to die! Is this how Sam and Caleigh felt when they saw the headlights coming? I’m so sorry Caleigh, you have no idea how sor-
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Sam. I’d never been so happy to see the geezer. He had a slightly ancient looking rifle pointed at the back of Toby’s head.
“Mind your own business, buddy. This is between me and that lady over there.”
“Actually, you’re pointing a gun at her in my attic, so the way I see it, you’re making t my business. Now put the gun down and don’t make things worse before the cops get here.”
It was Kelly’s annual end-of-school party. There was always lots of drinking and… Well, it was a high school party… I’d gone with Toby and Caleigh went with Sam when she had a nasty last minute breakup. It was about one thirty in the morning and the party was just starting to wind down. The four of us were heading out of the woods back to the road where the cars were parked.
“That was some party, eh? Some party… Oh s***, that tree root was one huge-“
“SAM! Yes, that party was fantastic, but I think you enjoyed it a little bit too much.”
“Oh come on Caleigh, don’t be a party pooper. I only had four beers! Five max. Or maybe six, I kind of lost count.”
“That’s exactly my point, losing count is probably the point that you should stop!”
“Babe, I’m flyin’ so high right now a damned freight train couldn’t stop me.”
“You are so irresponsible! I don’t know why I came to this stupid party with you! You know what, this is my car, but you are not getting in. You can walk home.”
Toby was pulling me in the other direction.
“Toby? You’re hurting my arm, Toby, let go!”
“Now is not the time. We have to go right now!”
“Just stop pushing me, I can get in the car by myself thank you!”
“You move too slow! Can you not tell when I’m in a hurry?”
“Obviously it’s not hard to tell, look how fast you’re driving!”
“I told you I’m in a hurry, now shut up!”
“Toby its Sam, watch out!”
Sam and I were even now, I saved his life and he saved mine. He had been coming back from the doctor’s office when he saw Toby using his stolen key to get in through the front door. Sam called the cops then found an old rifle he had sitting around (who else besides him…?) and headed up to the attic to help me. It took him a while, but I was sure glad that he got there at all. The police got there and they got Toby to go down without a fight. They assure me that I’m safe; that I’m never going to have to worry about Toby again, but I know better. I’ve mastered the art of sleeping with one eye open. Toby has a way of getting out of things.