The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Olivia White is an orphan living at the Bennett Orphan House in Brooklyn, New York. One night, she goes out and witnesses a murder... and the murderer saw her. Will he let her go, or will she have to suffer the consequences of being at the wrong place at the wrong time?

Submitted: April 21, 2011

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Submitted: April 21, 2011

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“Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day,” sings thirteen year old Olivia White, under her breath, as she looks out the window of her room at the Bennett Orphan House in Brooklyn, New York. It is eight o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and Mrs. Bennett, the owner of the orphanage, is very angry with Olivia. Two hours ago, Olivia was downstairs in the orphanage dining room for an adoption interview with Mrs. Bennett and the Smiths, a nice couple from upstate. This is the second interview Olivia has had since her best friend and roommate, Madison, died of cancer a year ago. Every single interview Olivia’s had since she met Madison when she was four has included kicking, screaming, swearing, yelling, and horrible table manners. Olivia and Madison used to do it so nobody would adopt them and they could stay together, but now Olivia does it because she’s too depressed to leave. Her whole life is at the orphanage, and as much as Olivia hates being there without Madison, it would still be too painful to leave all the memories, even if it meant starting a new, better life with the Smiths. 
After the Smiths left, Mrs. Bennett yelled at Olivia for what she did. Olivia ran up to her room and cried. She cried because her parents are dead. She cried because she felt guilty for what she did at the interview. But mostly she cried because Madison is gone. Now Olivia sits at her window and watches the rain. She thinks about her parents. All she knows about them is that her mother died giving birth to her, and her father killed himself of grief a week later. The next day Olivia was sent to the orphanage. The rain is letting up, and it’s getting dark out, so maybe Olivia will go for a walk later. Sometimes, when Olivia feels like she can no longer handle things at the orphanage and needs a break, she will go outside for a long walk. Ever since Madison died, it seems like her walks have become a nearly nightly occurrence. Olivia only goes out for walks at night because Mrs. Bennett won’t let anybody, especially troublemaker Olivia, leave the orphanage without an escort. But Olivia has been breaking the rules for years now. Olivia’s roommate, Cassie, enters the room and breaks Olivia from her thoughts. “You really shouldn’t do that,” says Cassie, speaking of the scene Olivia made downstairs a few hours ago. “I’m going for a walk,” says Olivia. 
“You really shouldn’t do that either,” responds Cassie. Olivia knows this, but for as often as Cassie warns Olivia not to leave the orphanage, she never tells Mrs. Bennett. Despite her sealed lips, Olivia knows that Cassie hates her, and she doesn’t blame her. Ever since Madison died, Olivia has been rude to everyone. She’s a terrible roommate… always leaving her stuff lying around, never making her bed, turning her music up way too loud; basically everything you would expect a bad roommate to do. So, just like any other girl would do, Cassie acts like a brat in return. Olivia is a huge troublemaker, and Cassie is always the one to turn her in to Mrs. Bennett. Except for when Olivia leaves for her walks, probably because she likes the peace and quiet when Olivia leaves. It’s eight thirty, and as Olivia is lacing up her shoes to head outside, Cassie is getting ready for bed. She is such a goody-goody and a complete neat-freak, which makes it all the more difficult for her and Olivia to be roommates. Cassie climbs into her bed just as Olivia is opening the window to climb out the fire escape. Everybody else in the orphanage is probably sleeping by now, even though it’s still fairly early. Olivia climbs down three stories, and as her feet hit the pavement, she takes in a deep breath. The crisp fall air calms her. Everything is wet from the earlier rain shower. Olivia begins her journey. The slight breeze blows her short blonde hair around her face. Olivia is skinny and about five feet tall. She has green eyes and pale skin. Olivia lives in a quiet part of the city, and other than the occasional pass of a car, there isn’t much traffic. The fresh air and the steady rhythm of her steps are calming. It helps her to clear her head and organize her thoughts. Now there is a faint mist falling from the sky, but Olivia keeps walking. She doesn’t think it looks like the rain will pick up. But sure enough, about twenty minutes after Olivia left, the mist grows into a steady rain. Not a complete downpour, but still enough to make her want to search for a warm dry place to sit in and wait for better weather. Maple Park is just a block over, so Olivia heads towards the cover of the trees in the park. Olivia sees the playground at Maple Park. Perfect, thinks Olivia. She climbs up the ladder to the hideout in the playground. The roof keeps her dry from the rain, although she is already sopping wet. Olivia rests her head against the side of the playground wall. Sometimes she wonders if she’s doing the right thing by staying at the orphanage. Lately she’s been having doubts about it. Maybe what she actually wants is to have a family… to have parents and a home. It’s too late for that, thinks Olivia. But she can’t help but think what it would be like to have a real family. With parents, who would pick her up from school every day. They would have jobs, of course. Maybe her mother would be a doctor, or a writer. And maybe her dad would be a salesman, or a lawyer, or a painter. She would probably have siblings, also. Possibly an older brother, who she could look up to. Or a sister who she was close in age with, and they would be best friends. With these thoughts, Olivia’s mind is at peace and her eyelids become droopy. Slowly she falls into a steady sleep.
Olivia awakes from the sound of the heavy rain on the roof of the playground. When she first opens her eyes, it takes her a few seconds to remember where she is. The rain is really loud and it looks like it’s been loud for a while. Olivia looks at her watch. 1:13 a.m. She’s been sleeping for hours. She decides to wait until the rain lets up, but if it hasn’t subsided by 2:00 she will head back to the orphanage. Almost as if the storm heard Olivia wake up, the rain dies down about five minutes later. Olivia climbs down from the playground and heads back toward the orphanage. She is about eleven blocks away. She hears something coming from the alley across the street. Being the adventurous type that she is, Olivia decides to go check it out. As she is walking across the street and towards the back of the buildings she is in front of, she can hear two voices, both belonging to men. One of them is yelling, and it sounds like the other is pleading with him. Olivia peeks around the corner. The two men are arguing about halfway down the block. Both men are in suits. One has short, dark hair, and the other has medium length dirty blonde hair. They both look very business-like, except for the fact that they’re in a fight. Olivia can’t make any sense out of what they’re saying, but it’s something about money and blackmail. The argument is getting louder. Before Olivia can realize what is happening, the blonde haired man takes out a switchblade and stabs the other man in the chest. The dark haired man lets out a small cry as the other man repeatedly stabs him until he is dead. Olivia is too shocked to move. Just as she is about to turn the corner to run back to the orphanage, the blonde haired man looks right at her. They lock eyes for a few seconds until Olivia turns the corner and sprints back toward the orphanage. Olivia runs about five blocks until she thinks she’s lost him. There is nobody else around her. She slows her pace, but is still moving at a fast walk. Olivia can’t help but look behind her every few seconds. After she walks another five blocks, Olivia looks behind her one more time. There was something there… a shadow, but it hid behind a corner before she could get a good look of it. She keeps walking, but looks behind her more often. There, again. Five minutes later she sees something from the corner of her eye across the street. But when she turned to look, it was gone. Another few minutes later, the same thing happened again. When Olivia reaches the orphanage, she climbs up the fire escape and into her window. As she is taking her shoes off to go to bed, Cassie wakes up. “Well, well, well. Look who finally decided to come home,” whispers Cassie. Olivia says nothing. She is still too shocked to even speak. Cassie turns her lamp on.
 “Seriously, you’re going to get in trouble if you keep doing that,” Cassie says, speaking of Olivia breaking the rules and leaving the orphanage. “Not that I care.” Olivia walks over and turns Cassie’s lamp off. As she walks over to her bed, she sees something standing on the ground three stories below her window. She can see the sillhouette of a man. He is looking up, staring right at Olivia’s window. A car passes by and lights up the man’s face for a second. Olivia takes in a sharp breath. She can see who it is now. She can see that it’s the murderer from that night.
 “Cassie,” Olivia says. “Come here, quick. You’ve got to see this.”
“What are you talking about?” Cassie says as she reluctantly gets out of bed.
“Okay, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I fell asleep in the park and when I woke up I saw a murder and then ran back to the orphanage. The murderer followed me home and now is standing right outside,” explains Olivia. Cassie peers out the window. When she sees the man her eyes grow wide. 
“Oh my gosh,” she says. “I didn’t think you were serious.”
“Of course I’m serious, why would I joke about something like this? What are we going to do? What if he tries to murder me?”
“I’ll get Mrs. Bennett,” says Cassie, as she turns toward the door.
“No!” says Olivia. “You can’t. If we tell her about this, she’ll know that I’ve been sneaking out.”
 “Well what are we supposed to do?” asks Cassie. Olivia says nothing. She doesn’t know what to do. “Here,” says Cassie as she walks toward the window. She stares at the man in the alleyway three stories below. “We’ll lock the door and close the drapes. We’d hear if he tried to break in. We’ll just call for Mrs. Bennett if he tries anything.” Olivia is too exhausted to argue, although more mentally than physically. She takes a deep breath and crawls into bed without even changing her clothes. What am I going to do? This can’t be happening to me. Why did this have to happen to me? Thinks Olivia. No. Relax. You don’t know that he’s going to do anything. She looks at the clock. Two twenty. She knows she won’t be able to sleep. She can’t believe that just an hour ago she was witnessing a murder. Olivia lays sleepless for about an hour. She gets up and walks to the window. She peeks through the drapes. The man is no longer standing there. This worries Olivia and makes her more nervous at the same time. Either he decided that she wasn’t going to say anything about what she saw, or he’s planning on doing something to Olivia... something like murder. Olivia lays awake for another minute, listening for the sounds of someone breaking in downstairs. But she hears nothing, and at five o’clock she finally falls asleep.
When Olivia wakes up at seven thirty, she can smell bacon and eggs. Cassie is already up, and her bed is already made. Typical Cassie. Olivia walks downstairs for breakfast and morning chores. Five other kids at the orphanage are sitting at the kitchen table, eating breakfast. The television is on. “A local man was found dead on a Brooklyn street this morning with several stab wounds to the chest. Officials are investigating. There are currently no suspects. An autopsy of the body is planned for sometime later this week. Watch the evening report on News 12 tonight for more information. And now for the weather,” says the TV reporter. There are no suspects. That means that they have no idea who the murderer is. Maybe I should turn him in. But no, I can’t. What if he comes for me? And nobody at Bennett’s takes me seriously anyway. “Good news!” says Mrs. Bennett as she walks in the dining area. “I got a phone call today and someone is interested in adopting a girl around the ages of 12 to 14. I think you would be perfect, Olivia!” This is great! thinks Olivia. If I can leave the orphanage as soon as possible, the murderer won’t be able to find me! “That’s fantastic!” says Olivia. “When’s the interview?” 
“Two days from now, on Wednesday,” replies Mrs. Bennett.
Olivia is very happy. The sooner she can leave the area, the sooner she can stop living in fear. The next two nights Olivia barely gets any sleep. The man doesn’t return to her window, but Olivia can’t help but worry he’s going to try... something. She’s not sure what she’s expecting, but the man can’t have forgotten about her. He must be planning something. 
On Wednesday morning, Olivia gets up early and showers and dresses in her nicest clothes. She makes sure she looks perfect. She straightens up her room and does her hair. Finally, it’s 10:00. It’s time for the interview. Olivia waits in anticipation in her room for Mrs. Bennett to call her downstairs. After the five longest minutes of her life (other than when she was running from the murder scene) Mrs. Bennett finally tells Olivia that her possible future parents are there. This is so great! Thinks Olivia as she walks down the stairs. I never really wanted a family before, but for once it seems like the better choice to start a new life. I’ll finally have a mom and dad. People I can look up to and talk to. When she reaches the bottom of the steps and walks into the living room where Mrs. Bennett is sitting, she is surprised to see just a man. And when she looks at his face she is even more surprised. Olivia screams when she sees who is sitting on the couch. It’s the man from the other night. The murderer. “Olivia, this is Mr. Watson,” says Mrs. Bennett. “He’s here to take you to live with him!”
“No,” says Olivia.
“No?” questions Mrs. Bennett. “What do you mean no, I thought this is what you wanted.”
“No! Don’t let me go with him! He’s dangerous, Mrs. Bennett! He’s a murder!”
“I’m terribly sorry,” says Mrs. Bennett to Mr. Watson, “She does this sometimes. I don’t know what-“
“No! This isn’t like before! He’s really a murderer, Mrs. Bennett, you have to believe me!”
“Olivia!” says Mrs. Bennett as she stands up. “Be respectful! Why on earth would you think that Mr. Watson is a…a murderer?” 
“Because! Because I saw him the other night! I saw him murder a man! And then he was standing right outside my window for hours, just waiting to… to… to kill me or something!” Olivia can’t believe this is happening. She never in a million years thought that the murder, Mr. Watson, if that was his real name, would try to adopt her! I can’t let them do this. Thinks Olivia. I can’t let them send me away with him! There’s got to be something I can do to get them to believe me... “Cassie!” shouts Olivia. “Cassie, come here! You’ve got to tell them about the man at our window!” A few seconds later Cassie appears in the living room. “Hello,” she says to Mr. Watson. He nods back. 
“Cassie, tell them that you saw this man,” Olivia gestures to Mr. Watson, “right outside our window on Sunday night. Tell them!”
“Olivia, what are you talking about?” says Cassie.
“You know what I’m talking about! The man outside our window! I told you about the murder! Tell them!” shouts Olivia. Olivia looks around at everybody. They’re all looking at her like she’s crazy. Even Mr. Watson.
“Olivia, listen to me. I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about,” says Cassie.
“Mr. Watson, I’m so sorry for this, I understand if you’re no longer interested in adopting—“
“Oh, I’m interested,” says Mr. Watson.
“Oh really, that’s wonderful!” says Mrs. Bennett. “Olivia has had a hard time finding a home for the past year or so. Ever since her close friend, Madison, died a year ago things have been… hard for her. She’s been somewhat mentally… well, she’s been sort of…delirious.”
“I am not delirious!” screams Olivia. She can’t believe that Cassie is pretending not to remember what happened. She’s making Olivia look like she is delirious. She always knew that Cassie hated her, but never would have imagined that she would do something like this.
“All right, well, I’ll gather her things now,” says Mrs. Bennett. Olivia is on the floor screaming… pleading for everyone to believe her. Kicking and screaming… very much like all her other adoption interviews. Ten minutes later Olivia’s bags are packed in the back of a taxicab. Olivia is sobbing and still begging for everyone to listen to her. But nobody does. The car door closes and she is sitting in the back seat with Mr. Watson. “Hello, Olivia,” he says.  Olivia is still crying. “I’m so very happy that I finally have you here with me,” he says with a grin. Olivia can see the madness in his eyes. She can see the evil. Olivia knows that Mr. Watson will make sure that she will never be able to tell his secret. She doesn’t know how much longer she will live, but she does know it won’t be as long as she expected. Olivia turns around and looks out the back window. She sees Mrs. Bennett and Cassie, and some other kids from the orphanage watching her leave. She can almost see a slight smile in Cassie’s face.  Olivia can’t belive she actually thought she was going to have the perfect life she imagined. Olivia knows her fate. She knows she will be the next murder victim of the man she is sitting next to. 
 


© Copyright 2017 ashleyesanbock. All rights reserved.

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