My right thumb twitched. That's how I woke up. Then my eyelids twitched, my mouth opened for a gasp of fresh air, and the rest of the muscles in my right hand, clenched so tightly around some kind of handle, suddenly spasmed in release.
I was now just barely aware of my surroundings. My groggy sense told me that I was face down on a cold, wooden floor, probably alone. There was the odd ringing in my ears, the kind that follows a noise on the threshold of pain that was just heard. And my body was oh so sore, as if I had engaged in a football game without the protective padding.
I groaned, then flipped my hair out of my face.
My mind was very firmly ordering my body to uncurl and pull itself up, but my body did not feel like acquiescing to such a request. I, in my warbled state, decided to interfere before a war broke out. I rose to my knees and tried to place my hands flat on the floor to stand up. But something in my right hand, the hand that started it all, prohibited such a movement.
It was a knife, and it was covered in a red substance.
_Please, be raspberry jelly_, I silently pleaded as I examined it closely. It wasn't. The red mess on this huge, black knife was definitely blood. Even now, I could see little brown flakes where the blood began to dry. I could smell the sharp scent of blood, the scent of death.
Death? _Oh, no._ Now I ignored my body's painful protests and staggered to my feet. The knife clattered to the floor, causing a hollow clattering noise. My breathing hiked up a few notches, and I slowly spun on my heel, surveying the room I was in. It was a quaint, wooden cabin. Grey curtains shadowed the windows, but they were useless. Bright light filtered through the glass, anyway. An old-fashioned stove stood in one corner, still lit, warming the room. There was also a bed, a rickety, wrought iron bed. And there, on the bed, was a girl, still and senseless.
I edged closer, afraid of what I might see, but knowing I had to look anyway. Yes, it was definitely a girl. Yes, she was definitely still... and senseless. I hesitantly reached out. Her head lolled, and blonde hair fell away from her face. Her eyes were wide open. I jumped back. No, she was definitely dead... but what was the cause?
Then I saw it.
There was a deep gash along her neck, that almost split it in two, save for the skin at the back. Blood was still oozing its way down, staining her bright blue shirt a most unholy purple. Disturbing her neck only made it worse. Seeing such a great amount of blood, seeing a dead person for the first time ever, just waking up after who knows how long... it made me sick. The typical, inevitable wave of nausea passed over me. I took a few deep breaths, a few deep swallows to regain control.
Now there were so many questions. Who was that girl? Did I really kill her? But why? How could I?
I sat on the floor to sort things out. Not far away, where I dropped it, lay the knife. I turned my eyes away. Although I didn't know where I was or what I was doing before I woke up, I knew that I couldn't have killed. I knew that wasn't my personality.
Then I noticed a purse on the floor. I was sure it was mine and I reached for it. Hurriedly, I thumbed through the wallet. I had a driver's license.
My name was Marie Dugham. I got my license when I was seventeen. My birthday was in June. I had brown eyes, black hair, which I could verify just by looking down. I had six ones, two fives, and a ten in my fold. But it wasn't enough. What was Marie Dugham's life like?
I dug deeper into the purse, noting it was made of light material scrawled all over with creative doodles, probably in permanent marker. I discovered a pack of Juicy Fruit gum, a movie theater ticket stub, and a ring of keys. The car name in the center of the fob was a Ferrari. I was surprised; I didn't remember much, but I did know Ferraris were elite cars.
This bit of information was encouraging. I quickly plunged my hand in deeper.
Next I drew out more promising items: an old receipt, a tiny notebook and pen, and a wrinkled photo. I took in the photo first.
There were three people in it, me being one of them. Squished next to my face was the girl on the bed, smiling widely with her blue-green eyes sparkling. On her other side was another blonde, a boy, with bright blue eyes and dimples. The three of us all smiled upward, and a bit of my arm in the frame told tale of me snapping our picture. I flipped the photo over and found the caption:
"Me, Beth, and her boyfriend Nick at the beach. July 16, 2009."
What year was it again? Oh, right, May of 2010. I hung out with these people last summer and was apparently still hanging with them.
I took another long look at the photo, at the three of us smiling so happily.
Then he flashback hit me.
Beth and Nick were still in a relationship. We decide to go on an adventure the summer after our senior year, before we split up and went to different colleges. It was Nick who suggested suggested his grandfather's old cabin. So we took my fancy Ferrari up the mountain to just sit up here and chill. But now I remembered another crucial detail. Beth was in the front seat beside me, Nick sprawled across the back. They constantly bickered about stupid things the whole ride up, and I had tried to be the peacemaker. It hadn't worked, and they were still yelling as we walked into the cabin. After that, my memory blanked again, but I could imagine what happened. The thought shocked and horrified me.
I turned back to my purse. If I were rich enough for an Italian car, I had to have a cellphone. And there it was, in the pocket. It had reception, too. I flipped open the small notebook and pulled off the pencap with my teeth. Then I entered 911 into my phone and held my breath, waiting for direction.
There wasn't even a ring. "This is 911, what is your emergency?" asked the operator.
I released my pent-up breath in a rush. "I'm up on a mountain, in a cabin, with a murdered girl with a slit throat, I just woke up, and I'm suffering from amnesia."
That sick urge came again, and my vision blurred. I took another deep breath and focused on my hand, poised to write.
"OK, ma'am, can you give me your location so I can send units up?" she asked.
"Poky Ridge, on the far side of town," I answered. As I said it, I wrote it down as a piece to this puzzle.
"Ma'am, do you know who did the murder?" asked the operator.
I grew instantly nervous. I woke up to the knife in my right hand, all stained with blood. But Beth and Nick were fighting. I had no cause to attack Beth. Plus Nick had disappeared. So was this him? I as scrawling nervously all over the notebook page.
I looked down at my nervous hand, willing it to stop. Then, with a jolt, I realized a fact that would be crucial to my survival of this nightmare.
I was left handed.
"Yes," I answered. "It wasn't me."
"Then who do you think it is?"
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