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The water rolled down my back and pooled around my feet. With each drop that hit me, my body began to relax more and more. I was tense with anticipation and nervousness because of the party tonight. When I got out of the shower, I walked into my room. Everything was in the exact place where I wanted it. I clean a lot when I get nervous. My leopard print bedspread was perfectly in place, just the way I wanted it.
I got dressed, did my makeup, and I walked by my mirror I took one final look. We were all going to Disney World in February so the party had a Disney theme. We were all supposed to dress up as Disney characters. I was supposed to go as Megara from Hercules. I was wearing a beautiful, white, Grecian dress with gold trim. My hair flowed flawlessly over my shoulders in a cascade of golden waves. I had a gold head piece and on the right side of my head was a fully bloomed white rose with leaves that had been painted gold.
I looked out my window just as the lightning struck a tree outside my house. This storm had started in the early morning and had yet to stop.
I looked at the clock. It read 6:39. I had six minutes until John was picking me up to take me to Jacquie’s party. John was Jacquie’s boyfriend and she was my best friend. Jacquie had a kind of mousy brown hair with blonde highlights when the two of us were next to each other, one would say we could pass for sisters. The only main difference between the two of us was that Jacquie was always really tan, but I could only get tan during the summer time.
John on the other hand was slightly creepy looking. He had blonde hair and huge masses of pimples covering the majority of his face. I had never really understood why in the world Jacquie would date someone like him when she could have someone so much better. He was a nice guy. However, I never felt very comfortable around him but I didn’t want to drive to the party in my dress and Jacquie’s parties were always incredible.
I looked out the window again, just as the lightning struck the tree across the street from my house. It drove me wild how lighting could strike so close to where it had just minutes before. Lighting had been striking the trees, light poles and buildings like crazy today. I had even heard that a man had gotten struck. He was fine but they were keeping him in the hospital for observation. I always loved thunderstorms for some reason. They had always seemed to relax me, even since I was really little.
I could hear a car horn sounding from outside my house. When I glanced out my window I could see John’s fire-engine red sports car. I grabbed my jacket and ran out the door. When I reached the car I had to plug my ears before I even got into the car because of the volume level in his car. I turned the volume of the music down as I eased myself into the leather passenger seat.
“What the…” said John.
“Get over it and drive.” I interjected. I wasn’t going to be putting up with this crap tonight. We were already late and we still had to pick up my latest boyfriend. The new guy’s name was Phil. We had only been dating for a week or so but I figured I should probably invite him to the party of the year. Usually people like Phil weren’t invited to these parties. Phil wasn’t like a lot of the guys I had dated in the past. In the past I had dated guys who were muscular, on the football team, and every girl wanted them. But all of those guys were typically after one thing, and since I wouldn’t give them what they wanted, they would move on to the next girl. Phil was different. He played the saxophone in the marching band and he wasn’t very popular. I found his glasses and red hair to be oddly sexy and I didn’t expect the relationship to last very long. I didn’t know how long it would take for word to spread across my high school and once that had happened my reputation would’ve been ruined. However, that was exactly my plan. I wanted to get out of the spotlight. I couldn’t stand people watching my every move and tonight was my way of speeding up the process by inviting Phil.
John and I drove in silence until we got to Phil’s place. It was a pretty decently sized house which I found surprising. Phil didn’t seem like the type of person who grew up with a lot of money. He was extremely modest when it came to that. When we arrived, Phil immediately came out of his house. He was dressed as Hercules since we were going to this as a couple.
We were already really late. I tended to be the life of these parties and Jacquie was going to be super ticked that we were so late.
The storm started to intensify around us. Lightning was striking down so much that you couldn’t even tell how dark it really was outside. Each strike lit up the town like it was daytime. I had never seen a storm this bad before and unlike many people, I was as thrilled as a kitten with catnip.
I put my head on Phil’s shoulder and he immediately took my hand to intertwine our fingers. He then leaned down, kissed the top of my head, and said, “You look beautiful.” With one of my old boyfriends this would have make me feel extremely giddy and happy, but this was different. I tensed up and looked out the window to avoid looking him in the eye.
I feared that if I wasn’t careful, I would end up falling for him and then he would turn around and break my heart just like the others had. My reputation was going to be ruined by the end of the night, and I felt my face go cold from being so nervous. I was confused as to why I was nervous. This was what I wanted wasn’t it? To just get through the rest of my senior year with no more guy drama? Instead I found my eyes drifting from watching the storm brew to looking at Phil’s deep green eyes. I couldn’t help but get lost in them. Then I did something that the old me never would have done. I kissed him and for once, I didn’t regret it. I felt different around Phil.
We came to a sudden stop. I had been so lost in my thoughts that I hadn’t even realized that we were already at Jacquie’s house. The entire house was decorated to the nines with Halloween décor. I couldn’t believe the transformation the house had made since I had left a few hours earlier to get ready. “There you are!” Jacquie exclaimed as she burst out of the house. “You were supposed to be here half an hour ago!” I could tell she was pissed. She practically had smoke coming out of her ears like you see in cartoons.
I stood up straight to face my best friend. I knew the only way to win her over right now was with an overused and extremely corny joke. “I’m sorry J, but you know I’m always fashionably late!” I replied with a sense of confidence. Instead of the two of us holding hands with our respective boyfriends, we swaggered confidently into the house holding hands with each other, just like we usually did but I felt differently tonight. When we got inside I stopped to take in the beauty of the decorations. I had the opportunity to decorate the entranceway and the living room. The spider webs were in all the right places, the giant bat was absolutely perfectly hung, and I couldn’t help but feel an intense feeling of accomplishment.
When I felt someone putting their arms around my waist, I was taken out of my head and thrown back into the reality of the party. I must have jumped about a foot in the air when I turned around since I was so shocked. No other guy had been sweet enough to put their hands around my waist. Right then I changed my mind about Phil. I knew I would have to stay with him even after my reputation was ruined. I wanted to see what would happen. I was curious to see if he was being genuinely sweet or if he was only acting this way to try to get into my pants.
Had I not turned around when he scared me, I wouldn’t have seen the girl who walked in behind him. She was unremarkably beautiful with pin straight, dark brown hair that flowed like a river to the small of her back. Even her costume was incredible. She looked like a goddess, but she was the exact opposite of me. Whereas I wore white and gold, she was the anti, with black and silver.
“Hey, um are you supposed to be here?” I said to the girl. I felt slightly threatened by her odd beauty.
“I’m Kelsey. My family and the hostess’ family both go way back.” Her tone was so cold that I got goose bumps. I didn’t this girl or her attitude towards me at all but I needed to get her away from me before I freaked on her for being so rude and I figured the more pretty people we had at the party the better. I could tell that Jacquie was already upset with my choice in a new boyfriend.
She had had several boys lined up for me that she thought I would like. I just couldn’t keep going out with the same kind of guy over and over. But if I let pretty people come to the party, I had a feeling it would help her get over the fact that I had brought band nerd Phil instead of some hunky looking football player named Jeff.
“Well I’ll see you around I guess,” I said with a smile. I had to get away from her because she was really scaring me. The bad felling I had had about her from before returned and increased ten-fold.
“Something about that girl gives me the creeps.” I said to Phil when I turned myself from where Kelsey had been standing to where he was sitting awkwardly in the one chair in the entranceway. This wasn’t his usual scene and I could tell he was very uncomfortable. I sat down in his lap and kissed his cheek to try to get him to loosen up a little bit so we could try to have a little fun tonight. We had only been at the party for six minutes and I think we could both tell that the other wanted to leave already.
“You’re not the only one,” replied another voice. It was Jacquie with john in tow. “I’ve never seen her before.”
“She said her name was Kelsey.” Just as I finished the last syllable, Jacquie got a frightened look on her face and her body crumpled to the floor. John awkwardly rushed to try and catch her in a panic. I quickly got up from Phil’s lap and ran to my best friend’s body. I knelt to the ground and touched the back of my hand to her forehead. I motioned for John to go get some water to wake her up. She had only passed out but she was going to be fine. I was just confused as to why she had passed out in the first place.
Once John had reached us with a glass of water, I sprinkled a bit on her face to wake her up. When she came to, I asked her why she passed out and her only reply was to tell me that she needed something to eat, that she was extremely hungry, and start to walk away from me.
Just then, we heard a distinct shriek coming from the living room. It was our friend Erin. She was one of very few people at my high school who could make the bridge from being popular and being in the marching band. She had long, dark, curly hair and no one could seem to say no to her. However, for some reason, whenever she screamed, her voice seemed to go about two octaves higher than a normal person’s scream. “Ahh! Help! Help! Someone get some f***ing help!”
Phil was closer to the living room so he got there before I did and he couldn’t move by the time I reached him. Upon entering the room, I almost crumpled in the same fashion as Jacquie when Phil caught me. The decorations I had put into place just hours before were thrown all over the floor and covered in beer. That was to be expected but when I looked closer I saw that in the center of the room was Kelsey, standing over the ghostly white body of what looked to be Alex, Erin’s new boyfriend. No one really knew anything about him, but everyone else in the room was either cowering in fear or seemingly passed out on the couch from the large amounts of alcohol they had already ingested this early into the night.
I gasped as I noticed all of the blood. It was everywhere. It was on the walls where I had had more spider webs hanging before. It was on the floor where I had set up a Twister board for everyone to play drunken Twister. It was on the ceiling where I had put a creepy looking chandelier that looked like it belonged in the foyer of a scary haunted house. To my most ghastly surprise, there was blood all over Kelsey’s face. Erin passed out right next to me. Had never really liked her so I threw the rest of the glass of water all over her face.
As I turned my head from Erin back to the room, I realized something was missing. Kelsey had disappeared just as quickly as she had come. The blood was still everywhere and no one knew just quite what to do. Although Kelsey was already gone, everyone in the room seemed to be immobilized by fear. We all stayed where we were before anyone thought to get John. John was a certified EMT and he could tell us if Alex was going to be okay, if he was going to die, or if he was already dead.
While John was checked Alex’s vitals the look on his face gave everything away. Alex was dead, we were all witnesses to his horrific murder, and all of this was entirely my fault. If I hadn’t let Kelsey into the party none of this would have happened. I had gotten bad vibes from her from the beginning and I had done nothing about it. I was ridden with a kind of guilt I thought I would never get rid of.
I heard a knock at the door and screamed, expecting it to be Kelsey coming back for the rest of us.
“Police, open up!” said a deep voice.
I had Phil go to the door to answer it.
“Is everything okay here? We got a call from one of the neighbors that there was a lot of screaming coming from this house.”
“No!” I screamed when Phil couldn’t seem to form the necessary words since he was still terrified. We had witnessed a murder just minutes before, and aside from that one syllable answer, that was all I could give at that moment myself.
The police sent for more cars to pick up everyone that had attended the party. When we reached the police station we were still stricken with fear. All of my hairs stood on end wondering if I was going to cause some other terrible thing to happen tonight. I sat in the waiting room with everyone else as the police started to question us one by one.
The police were saving Jacquie and I for last since it was considered to be our party. Phil went in first with some random partygoer since he didn’t really know any of the people who were involved besides Erin since she was in the marching band with him and me.
I sat in the waiting room for a good hour before Phil came back to sit beside me. We sat there in an awkward silence for the next five or six hours, holding hands off and on, but mostly with Phil sitting with his head between his legs, and his hands on his head, shaking it in disbelief of everything that had happened that night. Whereas I sat in a chair curled up in a ball, not speaking to anyone, not moving, for hours at a time.
Soon enough, it was time for Jacquie and I to go into the interrogation room. They asked us a few questions like “Where do you live”, “What is your phone number?”, and “How much did you drink tonight?” to make sure that we were lucid enough to be going through this questioning. We both knew that we had nothing to fear since neither of us had murdered Alex so neither one of us had a need for a lawyer.
They questioned me first and I told them exactly what had happened that night, starting with me leaving my house and ending with where I was, being questioned. They believed my story and moved on to Jacquie.
Jacquie told almost the exact same story that I had, minus getting to the party and the few minutes when she had been passed out on the floor.
“I knew I shouldn’t have had a party. The last time someone had a Halloween party from my family, it was my mom. She told me that the reason she no longer had Halloween parties was because when she was my age, a beautiful, yet mysterious girl named Kelsey from school showed up to her party, and killed my mom’s best friend’s boyfriend. My mom later found out that supposedly her best friend had set all of it up as a joke to freak everyone out since it was a Halloween party. The supposed joke went really wrong and everyone thought it had been a joke. When they realized that the boy was actually dead everyone freaked out for real. The police didn’t get to the party fast enough and Kelsey had already disappeared before they could apprehend her.”
“This case was never followed?” said the officer.
“No one believed my mom and her friends. Ever since that night, everyone just thought they were a bunch of insane teenagers. Insane teenagers who had seen a boy get murdered. The fact that she or who we thought was Kelsey came back tonight no longer surprises me. Especially since I had my two best friends help me to plan the party. At first I kind of thought that Erin had invited Kelsey. Which kind of makes sense, don’t you think Emina?”
I couldn’t believe my ears. It was entirely my fault. Because of me, Alex was dead, and everyone else was scarred for life.
“I’m so sorry.” I said to Phil as I began to cry. “This was entirely my fault. If it wasn’t for me you would still be an innocent little band kid.”
In response, Phil took me into his arms and let me bury my face into his chest as I started to sob. He whispered reassuring things into my ear, telling me that everything was going to be okay.