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10 Minutes 2 Late
Laurie couldn't be dead! She just couldn't. Amy Stevenson pressed her hand to her mouth, her eyes wide with physical shock. She had just returned from a concert and she had a bad feeling in her stomach that she had to check up on Laurie, who had strangely refused the invitation to the concert: so strange, since she was so ecstatic about going last weekend. She had arrived to find the house pitch black. Her stomach bounced up and down nervously as she realized the front door was unlocked. 'Laurie, Laurie!' she had called. But there had been no answer. Swiftly, she had raced up the stairs to Laurie's room, but it was empty. Then, she had smelled it: foul blood. Glancing down, she had seen the trail of blood on the unique beige carpet, and she would have screamed aloud had she not been so very dizzy. Slowly, Amy had staggered to her feet, pinched her nose, and followed the trail which had led her into Laurie's enormous 'party room'. Now, she really did scream. A long silent scream that made no sound. She caught her breath, her face becoming chalk white. She felt the blood drain out of her face, she felt the pounding of her ears.
There lay Laurie- her beautiful, best friend Laurie- layed out on the floor, the carpet around her deeply stained with the blood that had long since poured out from a gap in her chest. Her famous, curly red hair was tangled and messy, her open blue eyes contained a look of fear and terror. Two silver tears were frozen on her high cheekbones. An empty medicine bottle lay by her feet. Amy could see the label: Tylenol. But Amy KNEW Laurie would never, ever even think about harming herself. She had just ordered her prom dress and, despite her mom having surgery and nearly dying, Amy knew Laurie's life was going great. She was the star soccer player of their high school, Amazing Grace, and one of the richest kids on the block. She was already accepted into Yale, even though she was a junior, while Amy -who had straight A's and had dreamed of going to Yale since she was seven- was on the waiting list. Amy knew Laurie wanted to become an actress-in fact, the best actress Hollywood had ever seen since Marilyn Monroe, and she had a good chance, too. No, Laurie Thompson would not kill herself. No way.
As the tears pouring out of her eyes formed rivers on the floor, Amy knew she had to help find the person who was responsible for robbing her best friend's life. She stammered out of the room, still feeling dizzy, and ran downstairs to use the telephone. She wanted to first call the police who she knew would already inform the FBI, and then Laurie's family, practically her sister, Prosecutor Kellie Thompson. She could already imagine the look on Mrs. Thompson's face. And she just came out of surgery, poor thing.
She reached for the shiny, silver telephone, hanging so neatly in between the Hollywood calendar and Laurie's car keys.
'Amy.' It was HIS voice. What was HE doing here? 'Oh my God,' heard herself thinking, ' Did he already find out? Did Laurie DARE to-'she couldn't even finish the thought. It gave her shivers just to think about ending THAT sentence. Her hand froze on the buttons of the phone. Weakly, she turned around and screamed, her entire body numb with cold and confusion. 'No, please-' she didn't get farther as he closed his hand furiously over her mouth. With his other hand, he drew out a long, shiny object from underneath the sofa cushion. A knife. Amy just finished dialing Kellie's cell phone number when he cut the cord. She saw the sharp, pointy knive slowly edging toward her heart, and the evil grin of the person behind it.
' I'm so sorry, Amy. You know how much I loved Laurie- how much I loved you.' His voice was soft, almost pleading with her. 'You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And you promised NOT to tell Laurie about our little discussion. You didn't believe me when I said there will be consequences if you dared.' He laughed, a slow, hollow laugh.
'Now, do you believe me, angel? Wait, just let me touch your soft hair once more. But as God as my witness, you WILL die today, Amy Stevenson. Don't even start pleading. It will just make it harder for me to finish you off. I'll rather remember you as you are now- beautiful and peaceful and quiet and perfect. ' He gently ran two perfect fingers through her long, silky blond hair. But Amy didn't care. She HAD to plead.
' No, please, please! I love you- I swear I do! I didn't tell Laurie! She figured it out!' She cried hysterically, pressing her hands together like in a prayer.
'No, Amy. No, darling, no beautiful . I'm sorry. Well, take a deep breath and say goodbye.' Amy knew she needed to fight. With luck, Kellie will soon be home. She had to keep fighting.
'They'll find you, you know. Soon enough everyone's eyes will be open,' she threatened him. He laughed again, delighted at a challenge. 'So go. Try to escape me, Amy.' He looked down at his weapon. Amy used this time to bolt out of the kitchen and out the door, but he was still standing there, eyeing her. She just stepped out when he was already in front of her, dragging her back it. Crying, she ran back into the house and prepared to jump through an open window. She heard his loud breathing just inches away. In a second, he grabbed her legs and pulled her back into the living room. 'I always win, sweetheart.' he whispered. The last thing Amy remembered before she passed into unconsciousness was the long, pointy bloody knife coming toward her heart.
Kellie was driving home from the main office when her cell phone rang. She grabbed it just before the message came on. But, when she answered, there was no one there. Frowning, she looked at the number. Amy Stevenson, calling at this hour? It was past midnight. Maybe something happened. She and Laurie could have crashed on the way back from the concert and she needs help. Kellie felt herself shudder. Not her little sister. There, she was finally driving into her neighborhood. Gently, she parked her new BMW neatly in front of the house, then frowned again. Amy's blue Porsche was there. So they were home. She felt herself sigh a sigh of relief. She took her house keys out, but was astonished to find the door unlocked. She hoped Amy had not gotten Laurie so excited she had forgotten to lock the door. Or tipsy. Laurie had sworn to their mother she had quit drinking a few months ago, but Kellie only half-way believed her. She knew Amy still drank champagne and wine often, and she knew Laurie knew where their mother kept the liquor barrel. Maybe the two sillies got drunk and are having a party right now- with lots of trash and disappointment crashing later on. Switching on the hallway lights, she dumped her briefcase and Louis Vittion purse on the nearest chair and walked into the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea. Suddenly, she stammered and clung to the kitchen table. There was Amy, just a few feet away from her, covered in blood. A shiny knife lay next to her. 'Dear God,' Kellie screamed. She ran up to Amy, but it was no use. She was cold, lifeless, so still, so white. Her blond hair was sweaty. It frightened Kellie. She grabbed a fistful of her black hair and raced upstairs, tripping at least twice. Laurie' She saw the blood on the hallway carpet and she knew she was too late. She followed the trail into the party room, and there she was. Her baby sister, her beautiful baby Laurie, dead. She was as beautiful and perfect as any actress who was demonstrating a chilling performance of death. But Kellie knew Laurie wasn't acting. Her hands and feet were purple, her still, unblinking eyes were filled with panic, her capped lips seemed to be begging something she will never again get to say. Kellie knelt besides her sister and began to cry. Her fingers trembled as she called the police, begging them to come as soon as possible, but to keep her mother uninformed. She just knew her mother would have a heart attack. She closed her eyes and lay besides Laurie as she waited for the wailing of the serins. She held on to Laurie's hand, although it was so cold and purple. This was still her baby Laurie. The clock struck two.
She must have fallen asleep. The next thing Kellie knew, her friend Carl Dominos, and local chief police, was gently tapping her awake. Still sleepy, she glanced at the clock. Four o'clock. Then, she felt the coldness of Laurie's hand and remembered what had happened. Another officer handed her a handkerchief, but she refused. She saw a doctor examining Laurie, another one hurrying down the stairs to Amy. Another officer was taking notes. Two men in FBI uniforms were taking pictures and holding samples of Laurie's clothing.
'Miss Thompson, we need some information.' Chief Dominos spoke. His voice was soft, understanding. 'But, if you rather some other time, that's perfectly alright.' 'You look tired.' He added. He knew her so well, knew the long, bone-breaking hours she spent bent over her desk and examining endless court papers. Sometimes he brought her coffee. Sometimes he would buy her dinner, or even take her out.
Kellie rubbed her eyes one more time, completely oblivious to the streaks of mascara running down her cheeks. ' No, no Carl. I have to get it out now. While I can still speak.' She explained. ' Amy Stevenson called me while I was driving back from work, around 11:50. But there was no answer. I was already too late, I guess. I walk in the kitchen and boom- she dead, a knive besides her. I rush upstairs and there's Laurie in the party room, still as a rock, skin- what's left of it- white as snow.' She nodded toward Laurie's still form.
'Any suspects, Kellie?'
'No. I can't imagine anyone ever wanting to hurt my sister. She was a social butterfly at the high school- talented, beautiful, friendly with anyone and everyone.'
'No enemies? No past boyfriends who might be looking for revenge? Nobody who would be jealous of her or wanting to cause her harm?'
' No. Trust me. Laurie tells me everything. While she is popular, she's not the type of girl who'll go out with twenty guys! She wanted someone who was special, and she found Rob Hayes, chemistry genius. Van you believe it? Last time I heard, they were still together.'
'Kellie, I hate to ask this. Please don't take it personally. I have to have all sides.'
'I understand. Please feel free.'
' Is there any, any chance Laurie would have been' you know, suicidal? Depressed maybe? Friend trouble? Or something secret she may not have been telling you?' he asked.
'No! Laurie would never, ever THINK about putting me and my mother through that pain! And she would tell me anything. Besides, how would this theory' - she spat out the words- 'explain the look of terror in her eyes?'
' Now, now, Kellie don't get your feathers ruffled. But, I have to sadly admit, this is a greater possibility than anything else, you saying she had no enemies. And that look, she could have drank the sleeping pills, realized what she'd done, and tried to throw them up, spit them out, I don't know- but it was too late. The majority of it had entered her body and it was too late.'
' And the blood?' Kellie asked, forcing herself to look away from Laurie's body.
' I don't know. It looks like what killed her was the same knife lying besides Amy Stevenson.' He didn't meet her eyes.
'Wait, Carl. Are you saying? THAT THE POLICE BELIEVE MY SISTER KILLED HERSELF BECAUSE HER BEST FRIEND THREATNED TO KILL HER AND STILL DID SO ANYWAY?' She was practically screaming. ' You have no evidence.'
' Kellie! Calm down, you're a lawyer for heaven's sake! You have to hold yourself together. And look, Amy was the last one here. She has Laurie's blood on her, Laurie's hair fragments on her. She was holding - or almost holding- the same knife that had perfectly stabbed her in the chest. We could easily detect her fingerprints on it. Didn't you also say she was jealous of Laurie getting into Yale and her being on the waiting list? Of Laurie stealing her talent and dream of becoming an actress? Or did you just skip this information?' His brown eyes were puzzled.
' Carl, that's not enough evidence! Someone could have come in BEFORE Amy did, killed Laurie, then her, and planted the evidence on HER. I don't think sweet Amy Stevenson, the intelligent violin player and environmental lover would kill her BEST FRIEND. She doesn't care about Yale. She was actually thinking Harvard next year.'
'Kellie, stop protecting Amy. Your hiding something from me, and I don't like it. But for the time being, we have no choice but to consider Amy Stevenson a suspect in the murder of your sister, Laurie Thompson.'