On a cloudless Tuesday afternoon, I am in my cramped room, cleaning out my overflowing closet. Past the dirty socks and over-loved stuffed animals I find a shoebox. I
didn't know of any shoes that I had put in the closet. I open the box hoping to find something interesting, and to my disappointment, all I find are some dumb, crinkled up newspaper clippings. I
toss the box to the side, and it tips over, spilling out its contents.
I sigh, and reach out my arm, to pick them up. A heading jumps out at me. Unsolved Murder. Being a girl from a curious family, and being in the mood of procrastination, I must investigate. I sit down with clutter surrounding me, and start to read.
On the morning of March 6th, 1982 the body of Shelby Lynn was discovered in her seldom used basement by Kaylee Nugea, a concerned neighbor. Nugea was one of Lynn's good friends, and had noticed some strange behavior. We interviewed Nugea to find out exactly what happened.
What made you first suspicious that something might not be right with Shelby?
“I knew because she goes out for a morning walk every day at 7:00, but that morning she didn't. I thought maybe she wasn't feeling well, or had a late start. So at 9:00 when none of the lights had been turned on, I started to worry. I gave her a call on the telephone, and nobody picked up. After it rang 15 times, I decided to go in her house incase she was sick. I made some soup, and brought it over around 11:00 that morning. I walked in and shouted 'Hello!' but still nobody answered. I set the soup down on the table, and walked into her bedroom. The door was open, and I expected to find her asleep in bed, but she wasn't. I looked in her library, the bathroom, and the backyard. I never thought she would be down in the basement, because it wasn't used. When she wasn't anywhere, I thought that I should check, just in case. I walked down to the top of the stairs and looked down. The stairs were kind of scary, and hard to get down because of my old age, and bad knees. But I went down there anyways and when I reached the bottom of the stairs I saw her face-down on the ground. At first I thought she had fallen, and then I saw the knife in her back. That usually means she's dead, so I scampered back up the stairs and called 911.”
At this point Nugea had to leave the interview due to emotional distress.
The forensics analysts who showed up at the scene could find no evidence to point to a suspect. There were no finger prints, boot prints, or traces of anyone else in the house except for Shelby Lynn.
The only clues we have to be able to find the murderer is that they stole a one of a kind, priceless piece of jewelry. The CSI team has kept an eye on local pawn shops, and is looking out for any more clues. If you have any more information, please call 555-2324.
Attached to the article is a picture of my mom's favorite necklace.
I race to my mom's room and yank open her jewelry drawer. There it is. All gleaming and boasting its brilliance. I grab it, and bring it back to my room. I set it right next to the picture, and it's a perfect match. For a moment a glimmer of hope shoots through me, when I think, it's probably one just like it. Then the words jump up at me “one-of-a-kind” like an arrow to my heart, and I start to panic.
“Hello!” My mom's voice gives my body an electric shock, and I shove the box into my closet, and thrust the necklace behind my back. “What are you doing, hon?”
I shuffle around some socks. “Oh nothing Mom, just uh, cleaning out my closet.” I slide the necklace slowly under my bed. “Actually I'm almost done.” I shove everything in the closet and slam the door. “See! There, all done. Are you hungry? I am, let's go get some dinner.”
“Um sure hon,” She said with a chuckle. “Are you okay, you seem... jumpy.”
I take a deep breath. “Yeah mom, fine.”
“Okay,” she says, and shuts the door. How could my mom, so sweet, be a killer? It's not possible, but I need more clues. I'm going to be the one to figure out this murder. At least figure out that it's not my mother. I couldn't be her. Could it?
I walk into the kitchen, and she is boiling noodles. She smiles sweetly, and hums a little tune as she cooks. “We're having chocolate cake for desert.” My favorite. She knows something's up.
When the noodles are done and smothered in garlic and sauces, she globs it onto a plate, and sets it down next to the carrots and peas. I watch this whole process with vigilance, to make sure she doesn't add a certain extra ingredient to my plate.
I walk over to my seat, and check for a string, that when moved triggers darts. Safe. I sit down, and I see her grab her knife. About to stab me! As I look over she innocently jabs her noodles instead. Sneaky. Sneaky indeed.
I watch her take a heaping bite, let the taste saturate her tongue, then swallow. Making sure it was all down, before I dared a nibble. I took the most minute bite in the history of tiny bites, and slowly swallowed it. I wait. My hands start to sweat. The poison is working already! I run over to the kitchen sink and flush my mouth out with cool water. Wait! She might have tampered with the water supply as well. I spit it out.
“Hun, if you don't like it, you can just tell me.”
“No mom, it's fine.” I sit back down. As she continues to lessen the amount of food on her plate, I hide the fact that I'm not eating any by moving it around with my fork.
“Are you feeling okay, honey?” She asks while concealing a smirk. She's obviously hoping that I've already started to fall ill.
“Just fine,” I say as I clutch my stomach, willing the emerging ache to go away. “I have to go to the bathroom.” I say as I dump the plates contents into the trash, and escape into my bedroom.
I must think of a plan. But what? I can't kill her. I have to get away from her. But how? I grab a backpack from under my bed, and stuff it with clothes, essentials, and a bag of Cheeto's I have hidden in my closet. I open my dust covered window and then realize that I need to take out the screen. As I scramble for a screw driver, I realize the only on in the house is in a drawer. In the kitchen. It's official. I'm doomed.
I tiptoe out my bedroom door, down the picture covered hallway, and into the kitchen where my mom is baking chocolate cake. She pours in a white powder. Aha! I've caught her! She's putting the poison into the cake. Then she licks off her fingers. Suicide? No, it's sugar.
I watch as she innocently slips her innocent cake into the innocent heating oven. She sets the innocent timer, which is probably an innocent bomb, which is set to innocently blow me into innocent smithereens.
My eyes are glued to the changing screen of numbers. 5...4...3...2... I squeeze my eyes shut. BEEP BEEP! Okay, it's a timer. I open my eyes and the light rushes in. As does my mother rushing in to get my death out of the oven.
I want to cry. I want to run and scream and jump and kick something. “Uh I'm gonna go for a walk.” I say with urgency.
“Okay, hon, be back before dark.” She smiles and puts the cake on a rack to cool. I open the door, slither trough it, and close it extremely carefully. When I'm outside I feel the cool crisp air enter my body. I take five small steps down the stairs, then 856 giant leaps all the way into the police office.
“Hello little girl,” Says officer Bernie. “What are you doing here? This isn't a place for little girls like you.”
I think of the words in my head. I watch Officer Bernie's careful eyes and think of the right way to say them. Then as I'm about to spit it out, the words come up to my tongue, then leap back down my throat and suffocate me.
I have a sudden wave of nausea, and I sprint out of the police office and run all the way home. I'm panting when I reach the door, and I wait before I enter, so there is no suspicion. I walk in once I've calmed down, and there is my mother in the kitchen.
“How was your walk hon?” All I can do is give her a thumbs up and head to my room. “Don't you want some cake?” She says. I keep on walking.
I slam my door, and hit the bed, falling face first into my pillows. I can't turn in my mother. She's my mom! I hope she knows that I just spared her freedom, and hopefully she will spare my life.
I stare at the ceiling fan in its relentless motion. The room gets darker with the approaching night, until my room is black. My eyes stay open, as if I have lost the ability to blink. I can barely breath.
In the exact darkness of the night, I hear a single noise. Then footsteps. My mom's in the kitchen. Some noises that I can't make out. The shutting of a cupboard. She opens a drawer. Some metal is clanked. She shuts it. I hear footsteps again. Coming up the stairs.
I quickly grab the backpack out from before. I open the window, and kick out the screen with all my might. It comes out with ease, and falls to the depths below. Falls from the depths of a second story window.
The footsteps are slow and deliberate, getting slightly louder with each rigid beat. I look down out the window, and drop down my backpack. I have to jump. Whether I die or not, I'm going to anyways in a matter of seconds.
As I'm about to slide out the window, my mother walks in the door. It's dark, and all I can see is her silhouette. Something metal in her hand glimmers from the reflecting light, and I know my fate is here. The day that Lisa Harren, age fourteen, lost her life, to an unfortunate discovery.
“What are you doing?” She screams at me. My eyes get heavy and flow a fountain of tears.
“Mom, I don't want to. Mom.”
“What honey?” She grabs my arm. “What don't you want to?”
“Mom, I can't. I can't!” I am in hysterics now.
“Lisa, baby, what's wrong.”
“The necklace. The necklace!” I grab it from underneath my no longer comforting bed. I shove it in her face. “This necklace. Mom, the necklace.” I fall down into a heap onto the floor. My mom turns on the light in my room and holds me in her arms.
“What about it.”
“You stole it mom! You stole it.” I couldn't talk. I could barely squeak out the words.
“What are you talking about?” She gives me a horrified look of shock. “That necklace was a gift from you father.” My parents had divorced a few years ago, because he was abusive. He never ended up in jail, and we hid across the country.
Then she reaches over and picks up the metal, and I think she is going to stab me. When I look over I see a fork, the one she was using to eat the cake that she brought into the room for a midnight snack.
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