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Sophie stared at the detective in front of her, unsure of what to say next. What could she say anyway? Her best friend was dead and when this was all over with, when Mary’s death was nothing more than gossip, she would have no one. Eventually she would forget her completely. Every day after her death, with each passing week, Sophie felt less like her friend was there. The once solid image of her face blurred more every day.
“Do you remember how long it has been since Mary died?” said the detective. He was young, probably not even thirty. Sophie thought he was attractive with his boyish looks, and grey eyes. Mary would have thought so too. She turned to Kat; the lawyer the court had appointed her. Kat pressed her thin lips together and nodded, giving her consent to answer.
“It’s been two months, one week, and four days.” She said. She thought he would look impressed at her amazing recall, but instead his reaction was so neutral it almost wasn’t present.
“How close were you and…” he checked his chart, “Stacy was it…”
“Mary,” she whispered, “her name is Mary and we are best friends forever.” She closed her eyes, willing herself to remember the way Mary always smelled like her favorite lip gloss and watermelon shampoo.
The detective’s frown became even more etched in his young face when he heard her words. He rose out of the chair he was sitting in, which was identical to hers, and paced around the dingy interrogation room. Sophie wanted to go home, but she felt that this might be the wrong time to ask.
“You just told me that you and Mary were best friends, right?”
“Yes.” She nodded.
“And you would never think of hurting her, right?”
“Then why did you do it?” he pounded his fists on the table in front of her, causing Sophie to flinch away. He scared her so badly the only answer she could give him was a small mouse-like squeak. “Answer me!” he yelled again.
“You cannot talk to her that way, Detective Towers.” Said Kat calmly. “If you would like to continue this session I suggest that you keep your temper in check.”
“I didn’t kill Mary!” Sophie sobbed, letting her tears overflow like the steady river behind a broken dam.
“I don’t think I believe that Miss Langston. Everywhere I look there is more evidence that is telling me that you are the one responsible for Mary Heartly’s death. I could probably work something out for you, if you just told me the truth, Miss Langston. Maybe, since you’re only a minor, we could get you just a few years in Juvenile Detention.
Or, the harder you make this for me, the harder I’m going to make it for you to ever see the light of day outside your prison cell. What is it going to be Miss Langston?” She did not answer him. She wanted this to just be over with.
Sophie was not sure how long they had been in the tiny room. There were no clocks, and she could not check her phone because they had seized it as evidence. Nothing would have made her happier than go home to her parents, but even they seemed to have alienated her. Everyone, her friends, neighbors, and classmates, thought that Sophie killed her best friend. The only thing Sophie had to ever say for herself was that no, she had not. Apparently that would never be good enough.
For the last three years, since Sophie had moved to Riverview, Mary had been her everything. She was so lost in a new town, and new school. With her father’s new job had come a lot of change in her family’s life and eleven year old Sophie had never experienced as much of it as when her parents decided to drop her whole life to move two states away.
She could still remember how heartbreakingly painful her first several weeks were at her new school. Every day she was teased because she was new and because of her frizzy hair, and small stature. It of course didn’t help that she had a mouth full of braces and glasses practically the size of dinner plates.
Mary approached her one day, only about a month after her arrival at the new school, and sat with her at lunch. They had been inseparable ever since.
Mary was tall and had hair so blonde it was almost white. Sophie always thought of her as an angel. Now she was sure that she was. Sophie was never sure why Mary had been excluded like herself, but she had a feeling that it had nothing to do with Mary herself, but rather the fact that her mother left when she was only a baby. In a small town, everybody knew everything.
They spent weekends at the mall, and stayed at each other’s houses more than their own. After a year of friendship Mary made Sophie a bracelet with rainbow colors and cute little beads that spelled out each other’s names. She made herself one also. They truly were best friends.
Detective Towers sat back down in his chair where he proceeded to stare down Sophie and her lawyer.
“I can’t help but feel as if you are withholding information from me Miss Langston. What if I believed you? What if you gave me your side of the story, the truth, and I gave into every single word that you said. But that won’t happen will it? Because you haven’t said a single god damn thing except that you didn’t do it sense we stepped in here!” Sophie stared at her bare wrist, where Mary’s bracelet should be.
“Even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. I’m just a kid.”
“So was Mary. Mary was just thirteen years old, with her whole life ahead of her, and you took that away didn’t you?”
A single tear escaped Sophie’s eye. She looked up at the detective, then at Kat with desperation.
“It’s okay, sweetie. You can tell Detective Towers and me what happened. Wouldn’t Mary want it that way?” She placed a reassuring hand on Sophie’s shoulder. “Take as long as you need.” Sophie didn’t want to be here anymore. She didn’t want to have their accusing eyes upon her, tearing her apart and blaming her for everything. If they only knew, then this wouldn’t be happening.
“I did it.” She whispered. “She was going to leave me, so she told me to do it. The real Mary, the one that would never leave me alone, told me in my dreams. She whispered for me to put my hands around her lying throat.” She eagerly looked up, into the eyes of Detective Towers. “You see? It wasn’t really my fault. It was what she would have wanted. She told me so after she was done flailing around. She said thank you, Sophie. Thank you for putting me out of my misery.”
The sick smile that creeped across Sophie’s youthful face erased all hints of innocence from her features. Detective Towers stared at her, his hardened mouth stretched into a surprised ‘O’.
“You killed Mary?” he said. “I uh- well then you are under arrest Miss Langston.” The detective walked around the table, pulling out his handcuffs as he did so.
“What? Why? I just told you that it wasn’t my fault!” Sophie jumped out of her chair and stomped to the corner of the room. “Mary told me to do it! Why won’t you tell him Kat? Tell him that Mary told me to kill her, don’t just sit there!” With one quick move Sophie had her hands on the approaching detective. “Don’t you dare say that it was my fault, Detective Towers. You know that it wasn’t because they talk to you too Don’t they?” The smile that had sent chills down the detective’s spine returned on Sophie’s lips. For the first time he looked into her eyes. All he saw was emptiness.
“Don’t make this hard on yourself Sophie.” He said hesitantly. Just come quietly.”
At that moment something changed in the young girl. Sophie’s face rippled with rage and her jaw clenched into a set line of fury.
“You don’t listen very well Detective Towers.” She said as she wrapped her hands around his neck. The Detective grabbed at her, thinking that she would be easy to push off, but her grip was firm and unyielding. Kat stood up quickly, and pulled at Sophie from her waist. She could not be moved.
Detective Towers’ vision became blurry as he gasped for air against Sophie’s steel grip. In his head he knew that no thirteen year old should be that strong. He only struggled for a few more moments before collapsing on the floor, dead, leaving Sophie standing over him, smiling.
“I don’t know why he looked so surprised,” Said Sophie to a sobbing Kat, “He told me to do it.”