David quickly found Sarah in the hall. Sarah was a girl with saddened blue eyes, yet they always shined with a glimmer of hope. She dressed in black with long dyed black hair. The black she wore only emphasized the beauty in her face, yet most people didn’t see this. They couldn’t get past the dark style of dress, and her lack of socializing with others. Many titles were pinned to her; such as “gothic witch,” “Hell’s maiden,” and even “Satan’s bride.”
Sarah had begun her “dress in all black” style five years before. Even though the insulting comments hurt her, she refused to change. This wasn’t the only thing that separated her from other people. The fact that she was a practicing Wiccan in a school whose population was generally Christian, further distanced her from her peers. She was often ridiculed for her beliefs and treated as an outcast by students, parents, and teachers alike.
She boldly wore her necklace with a Pentacle on it, which she said represented the elements of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and most importantly Spirit. Her other necklace she referred to as the “Triple Moon,” which was a symbol of the Triple Goddess. She always explained the Triple Goddess as being three aspects of the Goddess. There was the Maiden, which represented youth and purity. Then there was the Mother, which represented fertility and growth. Finally, there was the Crone aspect of the Goddess, which reflected wisdom, old age, and even death. David didn’t really believe the same as Sarah, and never took the time to understand her beliefs on a deeper level.
The halls were full of students getting things for their next class and talking at their lockers. David could sense the sadness that hung in the air. He hoped the murders would end. There had been times between classes where a few people would break down and weep because they were close friends with a victim, a murderer, or both in some cases.
“So how was your visit with the ‘shrink’?” Sarah asked; not hiding her distaste for the counselor.
David shrugged, “It was OK…I guess.”
“What did he have to say this time?” Same Sarah; always straightforward and to the point.
In all honesty, David did not want to answer this question, so he tried to give a vague answer. “Not much. Just talked about the murders,” he said, as he shrugged his shoulders trying to pass it off as if it was no big deal.
“David, I know when you are hiding something. Just come out and say it.” She stated, but with a smirk as if to say, “ha-ha, nothing gets by me.”
David hesitated for a minute and cast his eyes on the ground. He knew there was no getting past her; she knew him too well.
At last he responded, “He thinks that I should stay away from you.”
“And…what do you think?”
“I think he is full of crap!” The smile on Sarah’s face put him at ease. The two of them spent the next few minutes telling jokes about Dr. Loran.
It was then that David noticed a bruise on Sarah’s jawbone. To see Sarah with a bruise of some sort was not unusual. However, to get an honest answer from her about how she received such bruises was like trying to set ice on fire. She would always make up a story of how it was some accident, or how she tripped, but David knew that she wasn’t that clumsy. He never liked her dad from the moment he met him. Something just didn’t set right. Sarah’s mother seemed as harmless as a dove, and David believed she would never harm Sarah in any way.
Ever since David knew her mother, she seemed rather melancholy. He didn’t see her parents very often, but she also rarely got to see his mother since she was not allowed in their home. His mother was troubled ever since Sarah started practicing Wicca, and thought that if she was allowed in the house, she would bring demons in with her. David stood by her though, not because he had a crush on her, but because he knew her for who she was: a caring person who hurt inside. David never really understood why people would completely reject others based on faith, especially Christians like himself, who should be showing compassion rather than rejection.
He knew deep down that Sarah was abused by her father. He once anonymously notified Child Protective Services after Sarah came to school with a black eye and a welt on her cheekbone. Yet, they couldn’t prove where the black eye came from, and David guessed that Sarah had been forced to lie. He decided that he was not going to bring it up today because he knew it would only upset Sarah more.
David’s attention was instantly distracted away from Sarah. Lauren, a girl David had a crush on for years, walked by. Her hazel eyes caught his eyes. She walked past him, and her light brown straight hair seemed to fall perfectly, reaching slightly past her shoulders.
David held his breath, wishing he could muster up the courage to talk to her. As she reached her locker, another male student met her there. They gave each other a quick kiss, and David could feel the jealousy well up inside. He knew the guy she dated; Mr. Jock himself. His short brown hair was spiked with gel. He always walked the halls like he expected everyone to bow down to him and worship him. David sometimes wished that Evan would be choked by his own turtleneck sweaters he always wore. He was a football and basketball player. His father was a physician and his mother was a surgeon, so David knew they were quite well off. He knew he didn’t have a chance with Lauren with Evan in the picture.
“Do you want me to grab some paper towels to wipe your drool off the floor?” David snapped back to reality, and it took him a minute to register what Sarah had just said to him. “You’re pathetic to continue to chase after that girl. You’d be lucky if her brain is bigger than a pea. She is so snotty that I feel like wiping her with a giant tissue.”
“Hey, go easy on her.”
“I am.” Sarah had that defiant look in her eyes. David decided not to press the issue, and changed the subject.
“Oh, and Dr. Loran told me that I can’t help with the investigation.”
“That’s dumb, you probably could do better than our clueless police force can. You’re not going to listen to Dr. “Know-it-all” Loran, are you?”
“Of course not. You know me better than that.”
“Yes I do, and I’ll help as much as I can.”
“What do you think you could help with? I mean you research conspiracy theories and alternative viewpoints of history. How could that possibly help?”
Sarah looked offended, “You don’t think there’s some kind of conspiracy here?”
David was never keen on conspiracy theories. They were theories, and that was it. In fact, there wasn’t enough evidence in David’s mind that the Illuminati still existed, or that the Fraternity known as the Skull and Bones are trying to control the government. Sarah needed to stop reading that crap as far as he was concerned. “Conspiracy is never the logical place to start an investigation of this sort.”
“But many murders take a conspiracy to some degree.” Sarah shot back.
“Yes, but you tend to look at larger conspiracies, like it is some secret society or something of that nature.”
“You have to admit; these murders are…um…rather bizarre!” Sarah made her sarcasm obvious.
“True, but that doesn’t mean there is a conspiracy…but I’ll get off your case and let you do your own research.” He knew there was no winning an argument with her.
“Thank you,” Sarah said with a smile. “As long as we can combine research.”
“Sure, anything helps I suppose.” David sounded doubtful.
Just then, another student by the name of Luke Dilton and some of his buddies walked up. Even though Luke was only eighteen, he was a youth pastor at a local church. He always carried a Bible with him along with a stone face. His blonde hair along with his icy blue eyes, sent chills up and down a person’s spine that had just met him. His attempts at being hip and trying to fit in seemed rather “fake” next to his fire and brimstone Old Testament attitude. He looked over at Sarah and said, “Hey witch, will you be having some snake stew tonight?”
Sarah was quick; “I’d rather save them, so they can bite you. I want to see if your holy flesh can handle it.”
“At least when I die, I’ll be in a better place…unlike you!” Luke taunted.
“Unlike me? I’d rather not enter Heaven if people like you reside there!”
“Ha, you’ll be burning as the maggots eat through your body; for eternity.”
“That’s why I don’t follow your god. He is cruel. The words of Thomas Paine, ‘belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man.’”
David decided to step in. “Come on Sarah, don’t go too far.”
“Yeah Sarah, why don’t you listen to David?” Luke and his buds walked away. David looked at Sarah and was taken back by her angry glare.
“What did I do?” David retorted.
“Isn’t it obvious, or are you too stupid to realize it?” With that Sarah turned around and stormed off.
“Well, looks like I’m alone on the investigation.” David said aloud, but Sarah was already too far away to hear him. He just wanted the arguing to stop. Luke was the one attacking her, not him. She shouldn’t be mad just because he asked her not to go too far. David felt Luke was a poor excuse for a Christian with his bullying tactics. Perhaps if he actually read the Bible he carries around, he would realize that loving others and doing good was at the top of the list of things Jesus taught.
* * *
David was sitting in physics class, not paying attention to anything the teacher was saying. It was easy to drown out Mr. Jenkins’s monotone voice. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for some students to fall asleep in this class. Sometimes one of the students, named Jake, would start to drift off to sleep. David would get his amusement out of watching Jake’s head tilt down and suddenly jerk up to wake out of his sleep, only to repeat the process. David was thinking about the murders and trying to see a pattern. He wrote down all the dates that the murders occurred, and just stared at them blankly.
“David, who invented the electroscope?” David snapped out of his daze at the sound of his teacher calling his name. He hesitated trying to recall what exactly the question was. Once he did that, he recalled the answer, “Michael Faraday.”
“Correct.” Mr. Jenkins said, and continued his lecture. David sighed in relief, as he was able to return his focus to the dates he was gazing at.
As he looked at the murder dates, he saw a pattern: April 24th, May 7th, and May 20th. Then it occurred to him…all the murders took place exactly thirteen days apart.