Wednesday. One more day. One more difficult day in school for Eve, a fifteen-year old girl who lived in a small town. Everybody was looking at her strangely. Most of her fellow students were avoiding her. She was something like a foreign body in the school. The reason can be explained in two words: rape victim.
Some weeks ago became known that Eve had a traumatic experience: She was coming back home during the night, when a person she never recognized beat and raped her. Since she hadn’t come back home on time, her family reported to the police that their daughter was missing, and she was found a little later on, injured and abused, on a pavement. The incident was investigated, Eve recovered successfully from the physical abuse, but the behavior of people often made her feel uncomfortable. Many people showed her pity, but most of the students in her school were cold towards her.
Consequently, this Wednesday was one of these days that Eve was having lunch all alone. She needed to speak with somebody, though she could not stand that isolation. Suddenly, she heard a voice:
“Can I seat at your table please?”
Eve looked above and saw a boy with huge glasses, holding the serving tray with his food, waiting patiently for her answer. It was the first person that was talking to her after several days.
“Er…yes, take a seat! I’m Eve.”
“Nice to meet you Eve, I’m Damian. I’ve noticed you a few days ago, and I saw that nobody was talking to you, so I decided to get to know you.”
“I’m so happy that somebody wants to talk to me these days, thank you…”
“Why somebody wouldn’t want to be a friend of such a pretty girl?”
“It’s a long story…anyway, it’s good that you’re here. But tell me something: How did you decide to talk to me? Is your best friend absent or something?”
“What best friend? I’m the black sheep in this school, Eve. Just look at me: I’m not the type of the popular guy that anyone would like to be friend with.”
After a quick glance, Eve noticed that his appearance indeed wasn’t very attractive. He looked like a typical ‘nerd’. But Eve was not a person who would judge someone by their appearance.
“So what? I don’t really care about such things…what matters to me is one’s personality as a whole, not just the way he or she looks like.”
“I knew you were special. I have a feeling that breaks will be lonely neither for you nor for me anymore.”
They spent the break together, talking. That happened again and again. Eve was happy that she finally found a friend. It was all she needed. However, she didn’t know something about her friend: Damian had a secret.
Eve had two very close friends, Celia and Marion. Unfortunately, they were not in the same school with her, but she was often meeting them at their homes, or they were all going out together for food or coffee. Eve’s friends were really caring for her, especially after she was abused. They were both very angry as well, because the one who did such a thing to their friend didn’t get arrested. Eve met Celia and Marion, in order to tell them about her new friend at school.
“You cannot imagine how happy I am that there is a person who is my friend there. After the incident, everybody is almost hostile to me. I got through something really traumatic, and I couldn’t stand such a rejection for too long.”
“That sounds great, Eve. Of course you need somebody as a company…along with us, of course!” Celia said.
“It’s important to have a friend who is a nice person. Is he a nice person, Eve?” Marion asked.
“Yes, he is very kind and understanding. His personality is interesting, as well. He likes poetry, he plays the piano, and he is a talented painter.”
“What’s his name?” Marion asked again.
“Damian. He is also two years older than me, we’re not in the same grade” Eve replied.
“Damian? And I can see that he’s seventeen…how does he look like?” Celia asked. “Oh, he’s not handsome, but he’s cute, in his own way…he looks like a ‘nerd’, with his big glasses and his old fashioned clothes, but these are not making him ugly.”
“A nerdy, seventeen year-old Damian…I don’t like this at all. You’d better be careful, my friend” Celia said, looking at Eve with a worried expression.
“What do you mean by this, Celia?” Eve asked.
“Yes, do you know this guy?” Marion asked.
“I am not sure, but in my neighborhood people talk about a nerdy schoolboy who is really aggressive…and I think his name is Damian.”
“So what? His name is Damian, but this doesn’t mean that it’s the same person! Plus, he’s very kind to me!” Eve said, obviously annoyed.
“Well, she isn’t sure, but if there’s even the slightest possibility of this boy being dangerous, you should be very careful,” Marion said.
“You’re trying to recover from something awful. This is not the right time to take the risk of having a potentially violent friend” Celia said.
“I don’t know, girls. I cannot judge him without any evidence.”
“I can find evidence, if you want. I’ll do it as soon as possible” Celia said again.
One day at school, during the break, Eve was waiting for Damian at the table, when her phone rang:
“Hello? Celia! How are you? How’s your day?”
“I’m fine Eve, thanks. I called to tell you something really important. Make sure that nobody is listening to you. Do you remember the discussion we had about that Damian?”
“Sure. What happened?”
“I was right to be concerned about him…I’ve asked lots of people in my neighborhood, in order to find out something about a hot-tempered guy called Damian …they told me about a girl who reported to the police that her boyfriend, Damian Sundew, a seventeen-year old boy, violently beat her when she asked him to break up with her. The police questioned him, but there were not enough evidence to prove him guilty. It was said that he didn’t give the impression of a violent guy; he seemed to be too “nice” to behave that way.”
“Do you mean that Damian can be dangerous?”
“Well, I’m not totally sure. First of all, is his last name “Sundew”?
“I don’t remember…let me think a bit. He once told me that his last name is like the name of a flower…a flower that is also known as drosera.”
“Then it’s him! Droseras are sundews. It seems quite logical to me that his last name has to do with the particular plant.”
“Why are you saying this? What’s special about sundews?”
“Sundews seem to be beautiful. Their bloom has a kind of tentacles, and at the end of each tentacle there is a reddish drop of liquid that looks shiny and attractive in the sunlight, like morning dew. This enchants insects that approach a sundew, which sit on the reddish drops. But these drops are sticky, and the insect cannot leave. It remains trapped on the flower, until it closes and swallows the insect.”
“Gosh! That sounds violent! But what Damian has to do with a carnivorous plant?”
“Think about the way a sundew attracts and traps its victims. Anyway, that was all I wanted to say, just be careful with that guy. Since he was accused of beating a girl, you never know what he is capable of doing!”
“You’re right. Thank you for looking up to the whole thing and letting me know!”
“Oh, come on! We are friends, aren’t we? Bye-bye!”
“Bye Celia! Take care!”
Eve kept waiting Damian, but he never appeared. She lunched by herself and returned to the classroom, but she didn’t know that she was not alone when she was talking with Celia on the phone. Damian happened to go there, he didn’t interrupt her, he hid himself behind a wall and heard a part of the conversation. When he found out what Eve learnt about him, he decided to avoid meeting her for as long as he could, and to try to find out more about Celia…Eve had talked him about Celia and Marion, that they were her best friends outside school, and he had heard about a girl named Celia, who lived in his neighborhood…
Some days later, Eve went out with Marion for coffee. Marion asked that, because she wanted to tell Eve something really important.
“Have you heard from Celia recently?” asked Marion.
“No,” Eve replied, “and I worry about her. Is she alright? Have you heard from her?” “That’s what I am here to tell you. Celia is dead.”
“Celia is what?! How? What happened?”
“Nobody really knows. She has been found shot in the head, near trash bins. The investigation has no results yet.”
“That’s horrible! I cannot believe it! Who would do that to Celia?”
“I don’t know. Whoever it was, he would have some issues with her. It could probably be a guy who liked her, but she didn’t like him back...”
“Or it could be that monster, Damian! If he was the one who beat that girl back then, he has probably done something to Celia! They lived in the same neighborhood!”
“Well, what if Celia was lying to you about Damian?”
“Why? Why to me?”
“Because you found a new best friend, probably. She couldn’t stand that another person would enjoy your friendship as much as she did, so she decided to give you the impression that Damian was dangerous and you should stay away from him.”
“Celia would never do that! She wasn’t jealous!”
“Oh, come on! Did you believe that she learnt all those things about him from her neighbors?
Eve didn’t talk.
“Why…there was no reason…” she was saying, talking to herself.
“I told you, she was jealous of your friendship with Damian. I am sure that Damian has nothing to do with Celia’s death. Celia was unlucky. That’s all.”
“It is probably the case…” Eve said, looking at nowhere.
“I am sure that this is the case. Also, I was wondering…have you spoken to him recently?”
“No, I haven’t seen him at school and he doesn’t pick up the phone when I call him.” “Well, I suggest you send him a text message, asking to see each other outside school. He’s your friend, it’s not good at all not to speak to each other.”
“You’re right, Marion. I will try to see him again. Maybe this is better for both of us.”
That night was very strange. When Marion returned home, she found an envelope by an anonymous sender for her. When she opened it, she found a folded paper with the following text: Well done girl…you were really close to lose everything. From now on, I’m taking over. Of course you’ll reveal nothing to no one, right? Marion’s eyes were full of tears… “I’m sorry my dear, I’m really sorry…” At the same time, Eve was writing a message to Damian: Hi Damian! How’s everything? We haven’t talked for a while! Would you like to see me tomorrow, Sunday, 6:00 PM, on the hill? Eve. Some minutes later, she received a message from Damian: Hello sweetheart! I’m fine, and you? Sure! See you there and then! Damian. Eve was happy, because she would meet again her good friend. However, deep inside, she was feeling a little bit uncomfortable. After all those things that have happened, she didn’t know what to expect from Damian.
Sunday. Eve arrived at the hill, in the small “nest”, as local people were calling it: a small place that was suitable for people to gather, since there were picnic tables. Eve sat at one of the tables, waiting for Damian to arrive. Suddenly, she heard a voice:
“Nice to see you, Eve.”
It was Damian. He was sitting at another table, behind Eve.
“Damian! Nice to see you, too. Why are you sitting back there? Come here, with me!” “I’d prefer to take a walk around with you. What do you say?”
“Of course! Let’s go!”
Eve and Damian got up, left the “nest”, and went towards a cliff: a small, but dangerous cliff. Damian wasn’t talking.
“Why are you so silent? Say something. Where have you been all those days?”
“I’d prefer to ask you something. Where is your friend, Celia?”
Eve stopped walking.
“Celia? This is so sad…Celia was murdered. She was shot, actually. Nobody knows who did that, or why. I’m really sad about her.”
“I see. Can you imagine what Celia should have done in order to keep being alive?” “What…what do you mean?”
“I mean that the sad thing you told me happened to Celia after she did something really impolite.”
“I still don’t get you.”
“Well, Celia would be alive now if she had kept her mouth closed.”
Eve couldn’t say a thing. After a while, she looked straight to his eyes, saying: “You…you shot her.”
“I should save myself, somehow.”
“Save yourself from what? Oh, I knew it! I knew you were related to this…and Marion told me you were innocent!”
“Marion was just doing the right thing for herself. If she had spoken, she would have the same fate as Celia.”
“What did you just say? You’ve threatened Marion too?”
“It was the only way to save myself, Eve. If one of the girls had revealed something about me to the authorities, I would be in big trouble now.”
“Tell what? About the girl you beat once? You were arrested about that, but you were lucky enough to get released!”
“No, not about that girl…let me put it this way: Why doesn’t anyone talk to you at school recently?”
“That’s none of your business!”
“Well, you are marginalized because somebody raped you…do you know who this person is?”
“No, I don’t, and that’s none of your business!”
“Well, it is actually, because I am this person…”
Eve was speechless. She could not believe that it was Damian.
“You…why…why? Why did you do that? Why did you do that to me?”
“You cannot imagine, sweet Eve, where rejection from the opposite sex can lead a boy…”
“I don’t care! I don’t give a damn! You do all these things because you can’t find a girlfriend! You hit that girl, you raped me, you killed my friend! Why did you kill my friend?”
“I heard your conversation on the phone with Celia that day, at school…I understood that Celia was suspecting me of raping you. She could have reported me…Celia lived in my neighborhood; it wasn’t hard for me to find her and protect myself. I found Marion’s telephone number on Celia’s phone, I called her and threatened her to change your opinion about me, the opinion you’ve formed after Celia’s findings, or else, she would go to find Celia.”
“And why did you approach me, in the first place? Why did you want to become my friend, after what you have done to me?”
“Because I regretted it, Eve. I honestly regretted it. There was nothing I could do to fix it, though. The only solution was to be your friend, a good friend who is always there for you. I thought that this would make you happy, and that you would forgive me, maybe…I’ve also harmed Celia, but she could have destroyed me. Anyway, I’ve done too much already. Everything is up to you: you can either forgive me, or report everything I have done to the police. Do what you feel is the right thing to do.”
Eve did nothing but looking at him. Until now, the truth behind a series of crimes has been revealed to her. She had the right either to forgive the criminal and try to forget about everything, or punish him…but not by reporting his crimes to the police. Damian was standing in front of the cliff. Eve was watching both Damian and the cliff. Her hands were about to decide whether they would push Damian Sundew away or hold him back. She knew that the most reasonable punishment for him would be to go to jail, but she felt that his crimes deserved something more than that. She knew that she didn’t want to kill a person and become a criminal as well, but she also knew that a butterfly could never trust a sundew…