I groggily arose from bed, glancing around. The reason I had awoken myself from my sleep, I was unsure of it exactly, however there had been a strange and insistent sound that kept coming from downstairs. It sounded like knocking, but every now and then a whimper could be heard. I grabbed a robe, wrapping it around me. Cautiously, I walked down the stairs and approached the door, where the sound continued to come from. There she stood, with a tear stained face and wearing nothing but a simple tee and some shorts. She spoke softly, between her whimpers, but I was able to make out exactly what she said. ‘I killed her’.
***“Skailyr, c’mon! This will be fun, I promise. It’s a bonfire, at the beach! How can you not want to go?” Isabel said; her voice smooth and clear. The two girls stood leaning against lockers, watching as students passed them. Skailyr doubted her friend. Isabel was known for her tenacity, how she never accepted no for an answer.
Skailyr was doubtful, most of the things Isabel promised were to be good, however in the end they actually ended up getting them into some sort of trouble. Skailyr, biting her lip, let out an exasperated sigh. As much as she didn’t want to go, she knew her friend wouldn’t allow her to not go either. Nodding slowly, Skailyr allowed a faint smile to form on her face.
“Fine! I’ll go, but you have to promise me that nothing bad will happen, got it?” Skailyr stated, looking at her friend. Putting on an English accent, she began to speak slowly, elongating all of her words. “I am expecting an innocuous evening, miss. No buts’ about it, do we understand?” She said, pulling her hair over her top lip to create a false mustache.
Isabel laughed at this, chuckling slightly. Shaking her head she grabbed her friend’s shoulders and shook her slightly. “Trust me! Nothing bad will happen. I promise! Plus, I heard that Ry is going to be there!” She said, her words tinted with a flirtatious tone.
Skailyr nodded happily. “Well then I’m definitely there!” The two girls laughed, turning to walk towards their own classes.
***The night was cool, crisp. I was stuck once again in my office, the same dull and boring place that I spent my weekdays at. Swiveling around in my chair, I turned to face the door to my office, where knocks could be heard. Suddenly, the head of my secretary appeared as the door began to push open.
“You’ve got a call on line one, sir.” She said slowly. Her name was Margaret, and she was somewhere in her late twenties. Most of the time you would expect a man, who’s single, to go after his secretary who was still young. But for some reason, I just couldn’t. Margaret was like a little sister to me, so there was no way I would try chasing her around. It would be considered ludicrous, by not only me, but her and all of my fellow officemates.
“Okay, thank you.” I said, grabbing the phone to answer it.
“Aubrey, we’ve got a new case. A girl, fifteen, was murdered down by the beach last night. Witnesses don’t know what happened, but they say they were at a bonfire. Her name’s Skailyr Duncan, according to one of the witnesses. We haven’t confirmed the identity with her parents yet.” The officer said, I nodded while he spoke. It was, once again, another death of a young girl at a party.
“Address?” I asked, preparing myself so that I could leave and head to the scene of the crime. The officer gave me the address and name of the beach they were at quickly before hanging up.
I stepped out of the car and walked across the sand onto the crime scene. There, near a large boulder was the body of Skailyr Duncan, a fifteen year old girl. Her body was surrounded by assorted detritus, from the wood, sand, and rocks that were in the ocean. Another girl was behind the crime tape, sobbing into the arms of a taller boy.
“The girl was hit with a heavy object, which probably caused the death,” the speaker reached down, turning the girls head so that the large imprint was visible, “they probably tried to dispose of the body in the ocean, but it floated back ashore.” I looked up, seeing my boss standing over me. Recently, he had been trying to get into more crime solving, so he had been interacting more often in the cases, hence why his appearance here didn’t surprise me in the least.
***I sat down on the plush leather blue couch; awaiting the arrival of one of the family members so that way I could gain some more insight on the case.
Finally, a young teenage girl sat down on the chair opposite me. It was obvious that she had been crying, her cheeks stained with tears. I decided to speak first. “Isabel – that’s your name, correct?” She nodded in response. “Okay, Isabel, can you tell me everything that happened last night?” The girl opened her mouth, and began her story.
“We were driving to the beach. I had asked Skailyr to come along, she didn’t want to go at first, but I was able to convince her. When we got there, we saw Ry, he’s – or he was – Skailyr’s boyfriend. Anyways, Skailyr was having a great time, but then she sort of just… disappeared? All of us looked around for her, but we couldn’t find her. So we got scared, and after calling out for her name a lot, we gave up. I didn’t want to leave, but Ry said she probably went home, ya’know, because she didn’t actually want to go? So I agreed, and we all left.” Isabel finished her story quickly, using her sleeves to wipe her eyes. Almost as if she didn’t want to relive the memory, which, of course, I could understand why.
I nodded and thanked the young girl for her time. I suspected something, mainly because she didn’t sound so upset when retelling the story. It sounded rehearsed, like it had been practiced multiple times before. However, the girl’s tears – her emotions – they were genuine. So I prepared myself for this contingent story, open to hearing each and every one of these practiced versions – until I finally heard one that sounded true. I did have a feeling however, that Skailyr Duncan didn’t just disappear.
***The coffee shoppe was lonely again, nothing but the sound of jazz and the smell of freshly brewed coffee that stuck to the air like gum to hair. Sitting opposite of me was Skailyr Duncan’s single father. After visiting the house and seeing the parent was absent, I scoured the town trying to find him, and finally, I did.
“Skailyr was a precious girl. Smart, beautiful, successful. I guess I could see how people would be jealous of her. But I never thought my own little girl would have to deal with something like this. She was so beautiful; on the inside and out. Sure, she did some bad things, getting in trouble at school and doing stuff I asked her not to, but deep down, Skailyr was honestly one of the nicest girls you would ever meet…” Mr. Duncan said, tears dripping into his coffee.
There was no way for me to answer this. Even if I knew how, I just wouldn’t have been able to manage it. I shook my head slowly, “I’m very sorry for your loss, sir. Do you have any idea who might’ve done this?”
Mr. Duncan nodded. It was a regretful nod though, because he looked up with a face of pure disappointment and sorrow. “Isabel.”
***I knew something with the story was strange; however, I hadn’t suspected the girl of killing her own friend. When Mr. Duncan told me his guess, I was shocked. So I asked him to explain further. He told me about the more recent fighting going on between the two girls. Skailyr was trying to focus more on her studies, and all Isabel wanted to do was rebel. They had gotten into a larger fight a few weeks ago over some boy, Ry was his name, and had stopped talking to each other for a few days. I took note and recorded everything he told me. It was time to go chat with this Ry character.
The house was only a mile or so from the coffee shop, and I pulled up next to the small blue house. I walked up to the door and knocked gently.
A frail woman opened the door, her hair pulled back into a messy ponytail. “Yes?”
“Hello, ma’am. My name is Johnathan Aubrey, I’m working on the Skailyr Duncan murder case, may I please come in so I can speak with your son, Ry?”
For a minute, the woman was confused, puzzled. However, she soon gasped and nodded. “Oh! You mean Ryan? He’s not home right now, why do you need to talk to him?”
“I have reason to believe that he may have information on the Duncan girl’s murder.”
“Well, Ryan came home at a reasonable time last night…he went out to pizza with friends, and then to a movie. Skailyr was with her friend Isabel, right? At least, that’s what Ryan told me last night.”
“Miss, Ryan was with Skailyr and Isabel on the night of the murder. They were all participating in a bonfire at the beach. Did you have any prior knowledge of this?”
The woman was shocked. “No, no I did not. Do you need anything else?”
“Do you know the current location of your son?”
“I’m sorry, but I honestly don’t know.” The woman shook her head, before bidding me goodbye and shutting the door.
It had begun to get late, so I went to head home. It was there where I got the answer to this mystery.
***I brought Isabel into the station; where she sat huddled in a blanket, tears still on her face. I looked at her seriously, before saying anything. But as if she could read my mind, she looked up at me, her eyes red from the harsh sobbing, and nodded. I went and sat her in the interrogation room, looking at her quietly. We stared for a while, until I was able to manage a statement. “Tell me what happened.”
Isabel wiped her eyes before speaking, “I told you earlier, that Skailyr was persistent on going. She didn’t want to go. But I got her to go anyways. The party was great, the bonfire was big and everyone was having a blast. But I was having an affair with Skailyr’s boyfriend, Ry. She didn’t know, obviously. We kept it a secret. Anyways, me and Ry snuck off during the party, so we could make out and stuff. But Skailyr found us, and she began throwing this huge fit. She was really, really mad. So, we got into a fight. That’s when Skailyr started going on about how I just throw myself at guys, and she started calling me all the bad names and whatever.
“Telling me that because she said that I knew no guy would have me just because, but that I had to help them cheat and that was the only way I’d ever get a guy. By helping the guys cheat on their girlfriend or wife. So, I looked around and I saw this piece of drift wood. I picked it up and she began to mock me. Saying ‘what are you going to do with that?’ She kept running her mouth, and I couldn’t handle anymore! I took the drift wood and I slammed it against her head.
“At first, I didn’t know what happened. I thought she just got knocked out. So I waited, and Ry did too; but when she didn’t wake up after twenty minutes, and blood became more visible. We freaked out. Ry helped me throw her body into the water, and we hid the drift wood in a bush that was a mile or so away from where we left her. I didn’t mean to hurt her; I didn’t mean to kill her. I was upset and angry. But… but I couldn’t live with the guilt. I needed to pay for what I did.”
I nodded, looking back at the window. “Thank you.” I knew her actions were fortuitous, and I knew she didn’t mean to harm her friend. However, you can’t just let a killer go loose because you feel sympathy for them. It’s not how things work.
After the interrogation, a team found the drift wood, with Skailyr’s blood still stained onto it. No one was able to find Ry, who had apparently fled in hopes of not going to jail. Isabel was charged with murder, and sent to the juvenile hall, where she would stay until she was eighteen, and then she would be moved to prison for three years.