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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Review Chain

A modern witch hunt story that follows a young man who is convicted for a crime he didn't commit.



My bed felt old and used as the night air bit at my toes.  I was daydreaming, staring at the red numbers illuminating from my alarm clock. Thinking of how every day was the same pattern over and over again. My eyes grew heavy and slid closed as the clock hit nine-thirty.  Sleep always seemed to comfort me, it was the only thing that was unpredictable in my life.

 I jerked awake as my alarm clock blared its voice into the small Manhattan apartment. Slowly I slid out of the bed to get a better view, “Shit!”

I was late for school.  I ran to the closet and got ready for the day. It was weird, every day I would wake up at six so I would have enough time to shower. I looked at the small screen of the clock one more time before I left, seven thirty.  I barely had enough time to walk to school, considering I live alone and don’t have a car. I pulled on the left sleeve of my coat as I rushed out of the main door and ran down the street to school.  

I was almost halfway to school when it happened.  She came from around the corner and hit me, making us both drop to the ground.  Afterwards, a few boys came around the corner. They saw me and mumbled something as they walked away. She looked about my age, though I was never really good at telling those things about people.  She had blonde hair and green eyes that were almost oblivious to the world.  I quickly apologized for not looking where I was going, but she didn't hear me. She was pulling a notebook from her bag and just as she opened it the title sparkled in the sun, shining into my eyes. Conversations.  She slid her pencil out of her pocket and started to scribble.  The way the pencil ran on the page was elegant, almost peaceful.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to bump into you so hard, I’m Lily, by the way.

She ushered her notebook in my direction and jabbed the pencil in my hand, I knew she was embarrassed.  Her face looked red hot  and she couldn’t face me either.  “I’m David, and it was no problem, really.”

She stared at the words and I could see some of the embarrassment fade away. I placed my hand on the notebook and slowly she let go.

“I’ll walk you to school, that way those kids won’t bother you anymore.”

I stood and ushered my hand to her, she nodded slightly and reached for it.  It just felt weird to me having someone hold onto my hand so tightly, like she was still scared.  

I talked to her through the notebook every day for a few weeks after that, learning that we were similar in a lot of ways.  I started taking classes to help me with communication.  I didn't tell her about them though, I wanted it to be a surprise.

That Sunday I had received a card to Lily’s birthday . The card was small and simple, it had the date, time, and the address of where it was going to be. But what stood out the most was the big bold letters that said NO PRESENTS on the back.

That night, I decided to get her a small bracelet. It was a string with little jewels and a silver heart pendant hanging off of it. Though it cost all the money I had, I felt it was worth it. The cashier gave me the bag and I walked out into the first snow of the year. It was a beautiful sight, watching the flakes float passed the orange street light gave me a sense of contentment.

Walking home, I looked up and felt the cold flakes melt on my face.  I reached the main door to my building, stomped off all the snow I could from my shoes and went inside. That night I stared out the window and thought of Lily, how she could describe everything so well.

The day came, Lily’s birthday, I put on the nicest outfit I had, even thought it was a t-shirt, some jeans, and an old, beat up jacket. I felt nervous, the walk had seemed silent without Lily there. I remembered all the days that we had together, and the  laughter we both shared the day we met. I looked at the steps to her house and felt the bracelet resting in my left pocket. My thumb ran over the pendant and a rush of embarrassment came over me. After I reached the top of the steps I could hear someone yelling and something falling to the ground from the other side of the door.  I took a deep breath and knocked. There was a long pause of silence echoing, throughout the street, and to my relief Lily answered.She was wearing a pink shirt and a knee length skirt. I smiled and waved to her as she ushered me in.  Her parents shook my hand and greeted me in with a sense of carelessness.

We sat down to have dinner, four bowls of microwaved ramen and a half-hard cake was strung across the table.  

“If you don’t mind, is there anyone else coming to the party?”

“No,”  All of their answers were never  more than a few words at a time.

“Also, I brought a present for Lily, is there a specific place you want me to put it?”

They looked at each other in disbelief, “We didn't get her anything, it said on the card, she doesn't get any presents.  Lily has no need for presents.”

I stood,letting my anger get the best of me, “ What? Giving people presents shows them you care, do you not ca--”

I was interrupted by a gentle hand on my back. Lily.  She must've seen me stand up.  She was pushing her notebook in in my direction. I slipped it from her hands and read the black pen ink.

“I don't want to interrupt anything, but can we go for a walk?”

I nodded and reached for her hand as we walked through the door. She held my hand so tightly as we walked  through the snow, falling slowly.  The silence of the park ringing in my ears.  Lily was clenching her fist, telling me she knew what had happened.

I slipped her notebook from her hand.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have yelled, that was uncalled for.”

She looked at it for a moment and shook her head. Sitting down under the tree, I could see a bruise on her leg where her parents had been hitting her. I knew how she was feeling, there was no need to ask about it. I stood up as the last part of the sun hid itself behind the mountains, wrapped my old jacket around her shoulders, and started to walk home.  Her parents probably wouldn't have let me in again after that.

Soon afterward, I felt a tug on my shirt and turned around to see Lily standing there pushing the only jacket I had back into my arms. Smiling, I worded out “keep it” in sign. She smiled and started home.

A loud banging startled me awake. I hurried to the door, and impatiently swung it open. Two cops were babying their holster, I must've startled them when I opened the door.  They relaxed after they saw me.

“Are you Nathan Black?”

“Yeah, what’s wrong?”

“We got a call this morning from Lily’s parents, have you seen her at all?”

I stood there, silent for a moment.

“She isn’t with me.”

He stared at me in disbelief as his partner pulled out the jacket I gave to Lily. It was covered in blood and still wet from the snow.

“Her parents said she never came home a few nights ago, and that you were the last one to see her ali--”

He was interrupted by his partner.

“We also found this jacket, which I believe to be yours.”

" Where d-did you get that?"

I couldn't believe it. She couldn't be gone. What was my only friend was now sitting in my arms, the only jacket I ever had. Overwhelmed by grief I slammed the door and ran for the fire exit. The door being kicked open as I climbed down the frozen ladder.

Why, why was I doing this, it only made me seem more guilty.  I couldn't help it, the feelings that had come over me made me run.  The cops yelling after me as I climbed down the last steps of the fire escape. I couldn't stop now.  

I was in the alleyway where we first bumped into each other, it made me even more emotional. It wasn’t like I could go anywhere, the cops would be posting my name  all over the city right now.  I tried to think of a place I could go, someone I could talk to. No. I knew with all the publicity in this now, nobody would want to help to me. The evidence was clear, they had my jacket and my fingerprints on the table, there was nothing I could do.

 I had found a safe haven in the school, though I had to hide when ever school was in session. I hid in the schoolyard trying to blend into the students,though I couldn't socialize much.  I knew I wouldn't be able to.  For a few days I had to stock up on school lunches so I could live out in the street. If I stayed at the school much longer the cops would eventually find me.

 The whole time I was able to think about the murder, who committed it, and why did they want to frame me. Why I had lost my best friends, my only friend.

I went to Lily's house that day and hid under a bridge nearby, the cops were still there.  Two of them were talking about the evidence that they had. I knew being there was going to get me caught, and a part of me knew that no matter what I did I was going to go to prison for what had happened. I sighed, mentally preparing myself, and stepped out from underneath the bridge.  Slowly I lifted my hands to my head. One of the police officers ran over to me and started to clamp the handcuffs on my wrists.

From then on it was all a blur, they took me to the police station, and soon afterwards transferred me to the county jail. The court date went by fast. I was sentenced to life in prison, the news surprised me more then i thought it would, as the judge spoke to dismiss the court and I looked at him, looking for glimpse of hope, yet all I could see was my capture replaying in his mind. He thought I was guilty, just as much as everyone else did.

A few days afterwards I got a letter, the guard slipped it underneath my cell door, creasing it in the process. I shot up in my bed, not sure if I should open it up. Silently I walked over, opened up the envelope, and pulled out the small folded piece of paper.

Dear David,

I never got the chance to say thank you for the other day. Those boys, they were trying to steal my notebook and throw it into the river. You gave me a sense of security that day, and now looking back, I feel like I've been taking advantage of it. Yesterday on the way to the store I had to walk by the school, and just being curious I looked through the window and saw you taking a sign class, At first I felt angry, thinking  why wouldn't you tell me.  Then after thinking about it for a while, I figured you wanted it to be a surprise for me...

I chuckled, she always had a way of reading me like an open book.

I know this letter isn’t very long but I wanted to give it to you anyways as a kind of  thank you for showing me what life is really about. The memories of all the adventures and talks we had, I will treasure them forever. I love you.


   Sincerely Lily.


A rush of emotions filled me.  Blaming myself for her death would only make things worse.  The letter made it almost worth it to be in the situation I was in.

From then on I lived my days in the lonely, cold cell of the prison, counting down the days until I could finally be free.


Submitted: January 31, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Fishytime-3. All rights reserved.

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