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My Guardian Angel
I didn’t look how far I turned the shower knob I just know I turned it hot, almost scalding. The water pooled and burned the soles of my feet. My skin turned red and blotchy from the heat and the steam was so thick that it was almost impossible to see through, but I didn’t care. It just felt good to finally get away from everything,all the pain and hurt, all those things that had been building up for so long. All of it went down the drain with my shampoo gone for good never to see again.
I felt it in fourth period the urge was taking over me, I had to cut. I was too happy, I needed pain, it wasn’t fair to Brooke. What happened to her was my fault, I should have done something to stop them. Now she’s gone and I can’t do anything about it, I can’t take back what I didn’t do, I feel helpless. I raised my hand. Mrs. Keen looked surprised to see me actually participating but her face fell again when I asked to go to the bathroom. She excused me and I hurried out hiding my tool in my sleeve. It was a bent paperclip, not my preferred object but it would have to do. I pushed the paperclip against my skin but all I got was a little scrape and that wasn’t painful enough. I pusher harder until it felt like a was putting a grove in my bone over and over and over again, and then finally i saw the blood first it was just a few drops and then it slowly started spilling on to my skin. I wanted do try again somewhere else where it would be more painful as I moved my hand towards my soft skin I heard voices, the voices of girls I hate the girls that sent Brooke to that place the ones that hurt her enough to risk everything. Dropping and flushing the paperclip down the toilet grabber my bag and ran out of the bathroom. I could here them talking about me in the background but I didn’t care, I just had to get out of there.
My beetle was parked at the back of the lot, I ran to it. I ran until I was out of breath and gasping for air, I ran as if my life depended on it. Then I saw her and fell to my knees right there in the middle of the parking lot. I remember turning around and seeing her run for her life. Their dogs were behind her and getting closer, they weren’t to far behind. I grabbed my knees and hug them to tight. I remember thinking I have to help her and then it was too late. They had her, they were holding her down and the next thing I know she’s gone. They shot her in the side of her head right above her temple. They tried to make it look like suicide and they were so busy making sure they couldn’t be traced that they didn’t see me standing, hiding behind the shadows. I was terrified. I couldn’t move. The cops came and found me that night, my mom had reported me missing when I didn’t show up for dinner, she was that kind of mom. The paranoid one that has to know where you are every second of the day. They found Brooke’s body too. The police wanted to take me in for questioning right then and there, but they couldn’t do it without my parents approval or a warrant so I was off the hook.
Mom wanted to know everything the second dad opened the door for me but I didn’t know how to explain what they did to her and that I could have done something. It was all my fault. I let them hurt her, I just stood there watching it all happen and I was the only one that could tell the cops who they were, who did that to Brooke, but yet I couldn't even bring myself to do that.
“What happened Cara? Where were you?” she screamed “Do you have any idea how worried we were? I thought someone had kidnapped you! And what happened to Brooke? Did you do that?” She just went on and on. “Cara answer me!” She was crying now. I couldn't say anything though, the lump in my throat was to big and I was still trying to put the pieces together. I couldn't think clearly I just kept seeing Brooke lying in a puddle the gun in her hand. Did she do that to herself? I couldn’t remember anything, my mind went blank. Opening my mouth to speak I realized I couldn't tell her anything and closed again as I ran upstairs.
They showed up the next when I was in biology. The guidance counselor show up while the sub was explaining how to dissect a frog. He apologized for interrupting and then said he needed to see me in his office. My lab partner nudged my arm and woke me up and I was about to verbally harass him when he pointer to the big fat guy in the doorway waiting for me. Damn. I slowly gather my things and trudged over to him. Once he closed the door two guys in uniforms appeared behind us. The walk to Mr. Marks office wasn’t too far but it felt like miles especially with the two cops following so closely. I wanted to turn around and tell them to back off and give me some personal space but I don’t know why I didn’t.
When we got to Mr. Marks office one of the cops handed me a piece of paper. I didn’t bother reading it, I just stuffed it in my back pocket and walked in. My parents were waiting for me, my mom in one of the big comfy chairs and my dad in a little plastic one. Mr. Marks motioned for us to sit down so I sat on the stool under the picture of the girl crying. I choose my spot for two reasons, one because it was on the opposite side of the room and farthest from my parents and number two because it was next to the door.
“Alright, Cara do you know why you are here?” I shook my head even though I did. He continued, “You are here so these officers can ask you about what happened the other night.” I opened my mouth and then thought about it what was I going to say I couldn't tell them couldn't tell the cops about or I would be next. “Cara if you are worried that something might happen to you...”
I interrupted him. “I’m not worried!” It came out too harsh, “I just don’t know anything.”
“Ms.? We found you at the crime seen.” It was one of the officers that spoke this time.
“What were you doing?”
“Cara, honey please tell us what happened.” mom begged.
“What do you want me to tell you? I don’t know anything!”
“Why don’t you start with how you got to the alley last night?”
I thought, “I followed Brooke. She said she had to go run an errand and asked me to follow her, she looked worried so I did.”
“What happened when you got there?” the second cop asked.
“We parked on the side of the road and held up her pointer finger telling me to wait. I nodded my head and she walked toward this building with a box.”
“Do you know what was in the box?”
“All I saw were a bunch of papers sticking out.”
“And what did the building look like?”
“Old, like something out of a horror movie, the windows were all boarded up” One of the cops was about to fire another question but Mr. Marks got his words out first, “Officers please let him finish her story. Please continue Cara, what happened next.”
“I called her name as opened the door and she jump, abruptly turning around to tell me to shut up. The look on her face was very worried with a faint sign of dread. She tiptoed over to my car and look around. ‘What do you want Cara do you not know what quiet means? You’re not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be alone so you have to shut up because if they find you they will kill us both. Now just wait here while I go drop this off, then we can get the hell out of here. Okay?’ I watched her walk into the building then looked around the street, there wasn’t much just a few old run-down buildings and a street sign.”
“Do you remember what the sign said?”
“Umm...” I thought. It was hard to remember since I had tried so hard to block that night from my mind. “It was hard to see but I think it said Alecasder.”
“Could it have been Alabaster?”
“I guess they are spelled sort of the same and like I said it was hard to see.”
“There was a street named Alabaster about a block from where we found your cars.” The rest of the conversation was a lot easier than I thought it would be and I managed to tell only the truth until they asked if I knew who killed Brooke. When the words came out of the cop’s mouth I froze, and the lump in my throat returned. I couldn't think and I didn’t even try. In one fluid motion I grabbed the handle and opened the door. As I sprinted down the hall I heard an alarm like one they have in a psych ward when a prisoner escapes. The halls flooded with kids all making their way to the cafeteria for lunch. I tried to but there was no way so I just jumped in to a group of people and tried to blend in and follow the crowd just in case someone was searching for me.
When I entered the cafeteria I cut left and headed outside to the tables then when the teachers of lunch duty weren’t looking I slipped around the back of the school towards the gym. As always there was a door propped open in the corner of the gym. First I stuck my head in then when I was sure the coast was clear slid the rest of the way through and walked casually to the locker room like I was supposed to be there. I knew the girls basketball team would be in coming in any minute so I ducked in the showers and waited. Soon enough I heard shouting and clomping. It wasn’t too surprising the amount of noise 14 seven foot girls could make.
When I heard the last of them trudge into the gym I climbed down from my hiding spot. Since I couldn't go back to class now and I couldn't go home I decided to go to the place I always went to get away. The closest door to the parking lot was halfway across the school but even then I would have to walk in front of the school and someone would surly see me. So I took a longer way instead. The seniors’ lockers were across the hall from the hall entrance to the locker room, I cut through there and since the school wrapped around the side of the parking lot the door opened about three lanes away from where I was parked. Again I decided to go with acting casual, like I was supposed to be there.
I decided to go to the one place where I felt safe. The corner Nicks street and Delphi Avenue, there was a bookstore there, my grandma used to take me all the time before she got sick. We would sit on the big leather couch that faced the big front window. She would have a novel and I would have a picture book and we would just sit for hours. It was a nice escape from home. My house was too chaotic for a five year old, Aunt Josie was sick and Dad was always working, so I spent most of my time with my grandma because she didn’t want me to get in my mom’s way. I didn’t mind I liked staying with Nana, and those few months I spent with her are the only memories left of Nana. After Aunt Josie died we moved and only saw Nana on holidays and stuff like that.
The bookstore looked and smelled just like a remember it. The smell of coffee, old books and big leather couches, it felt safe. Even though this little shop has had multiple owners nothing has change, the big comfy leather love seat was still faced the big front window and the stone fireplace was right behind it. I think that was the reason Nana always loved to sit there, because it was always warm and there was a view of everything going on. She always loved to know about any little thing happening.
I scanned the shelves, even though it was a bookstore it was more like a library. You could just sit there for hours and read and not have to buy the book. Most people did end up paying for them though but a lot put it back on the shelves when they were done with it.
I brought Brooke here once, and she fell in love with it, the way people could be so honest and trustworthy. Back in the eighth grade we came here a lot to study, she wanted to seem more sophisticated and apparently nothing was more sophisticated than study in a bookstore drinking coffee. I thought about her a lot while I sat there with her favorite novel on my lap, unopened. I didn’t have to read it, I had read too many times already, Brooke had read it to me and she was reading it to me now. I heard her smooth voice pronounce each word beautifully and clearly. My eyes followed every word as she spoke it, and as I listened they drifted closer and closer together and I became more relaxed. By the time she finished I was in dreamland, but I didn’t stop thinking about her. I dreamed of the time we accidentally set her kitchen on fire and the summer where we ate nothing but Pop-Tarts. She was still with me, I could feel her. She was looking over me, My guardian angel.