The first half of the school day flies by. A blur. I can't look back and remember anything we did. Maybe because I've been sleeping in classes again today. Maybe it's because my mind is elsewhere, on the bloody scene I may have witnessed, or may have only imagined. The lunch bell shatters my trance-like sleep and I wake, shuffling out of my chair, almost falling to the floor, at the amusement of many other students. I'm tired, and I can't concentrate. Damned voices.
Among the student body, I'm more or less an outcast. I don't believe I have any true friends, save Lloyd. But he's everyone's friend, your typical class clown. He always makes everyone laugh, and has even moved some of us to tears once with his antics. Other than him, I don't have many friends. I just sort of hang around Lloyd's group. A black sheep in a fold of white. There's this girl that's a friend of his, Felicity. She's very tom-boyish, but she's cute. Not that she'd ever notice me...
I hear people whisper in the hall about me sometimes. Nobody really likes me, because they're all afraid of me. I have explosive anger problems. I've gotten in numerous fights this year, and though I don't always come out on top, I manage to put the scare into everyone watching. I'm only like that because they all treat me like dirt. It's their fault, not mine. The only reason I haven't been expelled is because my mom is constantly bargaining with the principle. Like she has to fight my battles for me...
So, with a heavy sigh and a foggy mind, I enter the lunchroom, grab my tray, letting the cooks slop bits of mystery meat and the occasional cookie onto it, and take a seat next to Lloyd at his table of five, excluding me. I pan my gaze across the table, and my eyes rest on Felicity. She looks my way, I blush, and immediately look away. Don't look back to see what's surely a look of disgust. Everyone's talking and laughing together, Lloyd spurting jokes and gossip, everyone at the table hooked. I simply look to my feet and slowly pick at my food. My mind's other places; Felicity, sleep, the bloodshed from last night. I consider telling Lloyd about what I think I saw. Afraid he'll think I'm crazy. Hell, doesn't everyone already think I'm crazy? Why should I worry?
I catch him after school, talking to Felicity. My eye twitches a little at the sight of them together. Not sure why, best to ignore it. Seeing her there, I want to turn and skulk away, but I can't bring myself to. I have to tell somebody about what I saw, or what I thought I saw, or maybe what I dreamt, I'm still not sure. But someone has to know, I can't keep it to myself, and Lloyd's the only person in the school that will actually talk to me without a mocking tone. I decide I'll try to separate the two, get Lloyd alone, and explain.
I slowly walk up, my head low, half whispering when I address him. “Lloyd, can I talk to you for a minute?” At first he doesn't respond, so I don't think he's heard me. Just as I'm about to repeat myself he turns and gives me an odd look, followed by a wide, goofy smile.
“Saxophone! What's up, guy?” I wince at the nickname. He's always coming up with them, and they always stick like glue. Felicity looks curiously at me from the other side of Lloyd. I feel my face flush.
I tug lightly on Lloyd's arm. “Come with me for a minute, I really need to talk to you about something important.” I'm talking low, and through my teeth, trying best to keep Felicity from getting too curious. I'm beginning to regret addressing it at all. I feel eyes all over me, though there are very few other people in this part of the hall.
Lloyd's face changes, though he's still chuckling a bit. “What is it that Felicity can't hear too?” He knows I like Felicity, and he's always prodding at the idea and hinting at it when she's around. I grit my teeth discretely. He's trying to tip her off, or get me to admit in front of her that it's something about her, even though it's not. I shoot him an evil eye, though my voice remains relatively low and calm.
“I'm serious Lloyd.” Is all I say, followed by a sigh, a nod, and concession from Lloyd, who allows me to pull him away from Felicity reluctantly.
I lead him across to the other end of the hall. When we stop, he quickly retracts his arm, chuckling a bit at my uneasiness. “Good grief, Sax, what's got you all bent outta shape?”
My eye twitches again, but I put a cap on my urge to shout at him and resume a calm tone. “Next time I try and get your attention, come with me you twit!” Maybe not as calm as I had intended, but hey, a lot easier on him than initially planned.
He lowers his eyes at me in return. “Stop being so melodramatic, what is it?” The most serious I've seen him in awhile, I've obviously struck a nerve here. I chuckle a little to myself, but only on the inside. I sigh and begin to explain myself.
“Did you see the news this morning? About the man that went missing?” I want to see what Lloyd knows first, how much I need to explain.
Lloyd shrugs. “Yea I guess. Poor guy, his family was going ballistic and-”
“I think he's dead.” I cut him short. “I...I saw it happen last night...I think...”
He gives me a funny look and then bursts into laughter. “Yea right...a murder, here in our town? You've got to be joking me Saxon, you almost had me, man.”
“I'm not joking!” Anger flares in my stomach. Of all the times I needed Lloyd to be serious, he had to choose this time to act like a goofball. “I really saw something last night, and I think it maybe that was what I saw.” I say that last part quieter, I don't want to attract too much attention.
It's obvious Lloyd is starting to take me a bit more seriously, as wonder and worry begin to fill the contours of his face. “Whoa, you actually saw someone kill him didn't you?” His eyes are wide, he's really starting to soak all of this in now that he knows it's not a joke.
“Well, I think I did...” Was it someone that killed him...or something? The little red lights appear in the back of my mind again, like bright, evil little eyes. Something inside me tells me that's exactly what they were, sending a chill up my spine. I discard the thought, nothing I know of on this earth has eyes like that. Yet it keeps coming back. I reluctantly continue. “It may have been a dream... I'm not sure...but when its a pretty strange coincidence, don't you think?” Lloyd sighs and gives me an annoyed look. “Aah, I knew it, you aren't even sure if you really saw anything. I knew it couldn't happen, not here.” He starts to walk away when I grab his arm again.
“Look, I really don't think this was a dream...I pray it was, but deep down, something tells me I really saw this man die. If I'm right, and we don't tell someone, or do something, and more people get killed, then we're responsible, Lloyd. You and me.” I hope putting it this way will scare him into taking me seriously.
Lloyd turns back to me, his expression one of confusion and a little anger. “What do you mean 'we'? I didn't see anything.”
I scoff. “You're right you didn't, but we're not even sure that I did.”
Lloyd stands there for a minute than pulls his arm away from me. “Then what exactly do you propose we do about it? No one will believe us, not until they find a body.”
I stand there thinking for a minute, and then get a faint glimmer of hope, hope of finding out the truth, of proving myself I'm not crazy, and that it wasn't a dream. “Well...” I start, knowing that the idea I'm going to propose will sound very strange. “They don't know he's dead yet right? There's still a chance his body could be where I saw him die at, in the alley that runs behind my house. If you come stay with me tonight, we can go and look after my mom goes to bed, and-”
Lloyd's eyes go wide, “No way, no!” He waves his hands in a fashion that shows how much he opposes the idea, and takes a step back. “Me and you are not going to go hunt for this body. If you're right, I don't want to be the next one on the chopping block.” He's frantic, but he too keeps his voice moderately low, he knows the importance of keeping this between us, for now. I step toward him. I don't want to do it either, but something inside me is pushing me, telling me to go, and see for myself. Without meaning to, I find my self negotiating with him, as if this is something I really want to do.
“Come on, I'm probably not right, and if I am, there's probably nothing back there anymore. If we go and look, we can at least say we tried to help, and clear both of our consciences.”
Lloyd stares at me in disbelief for a second, his face red with all the stress of the situation, then he relaxes, his color comes back, and he places a hand over his face. “Fine. Have it your way. But after this, I am done, no more crime-solving with you, you little turkey.”
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