This story is by Sally Carroll and was part of our 2020 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I am a freak. At least that is the way others see me. I cannot go anywhere without people whispering. If you didn’t know my history and were just looking at me you’d think me normal. I could be like any other teenage girl hanging out at the mall, flirting with boys. My name is Becky. I’m fourteen, tall and slender, my honey colored hair is pulled back into a ponytail. I’ve been told (prior to the incident) that I am pretty. I have a dusting of freckles across my nose. The all American girl. Or so they thought. I am going to share with you a sequence of events and you can tell me what you think.
Two years ago on my twelfth birthday I was beyond excited. My mom had booked a spa party at the Beauty Boutique. Me and five of my friends got mani’s and pedi’s. We also had our hair done in fancy up doo’s. Everyone dressed up (no jeans) and when we were done my mom took us to Simply Delicious for lunch. It’s one of those “girlie” places that has quiche and soups and yummy sandwiches. We looked fabulous walking into the restaurant. Our table had purple and pink balloons with the number “12” in silver glitter. The waitress came over, wished me a happy birthday and took our orders. We decided to go wash our hands before we ate. The restroom was small so we went in two’s. My best friend Ellie and I went together. We’ve known each other since kindergarten. Inseparable. Two peas in a pod. We did everything together…played softball, watched movies, played video games. All the things that tween girls do. But something had changed. She had changed. We spent less time together and she would say mean things to me. She also was spending time with Amy Nelson. Amy was new to our school. Her mother was a former fashion model and her father had just been hired as head coach for the Babylon Tigers, the local minor league baseball team. Let’s just say that everyone wanted to be Amy’s friend. One of those people was my dear friend Ellie. Amy had it all…beauty, wealth, tickets to the Tigers games. I hadn’t invited Amy to the party. She wouldn’t have come anyway. On our way to the bathroom Ellie was quiet and seemed bored.
Here’s when things became complicated.
In the restroom I was chatting and laughing. She just looked at me in total disgust and said, “Are you ever going to grow up? You act like such a freak. Try acting like a normal person.” I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Seeing the smirk on her face I started to cry. “See, you are nothing more than an ugly cry baby.”
I could not believe my BFF was being so horrible to me. I felt like I was going to puke. Rage was rising in me. My head hurt and my anger swelled. My mom had told me my bad temper was due to changing hormones. She told me that I needed to learn to control it.
Too late! I pushed Ellie. Hard. She fell backwards into the stall and bashed her temple against the toilet paper dispenser. Blood was everywhere. Ellie’s eyes were rolled back in her head and she was making some odd gurgling noises. I stood there in shock. Had I really just done that?
“Ellie, Ellie…I’m so sorry!” Flustered I tried mopping up the blood with toilet paper. There was just too much. She wasn’t moving.
I ran out yelling hysterically, “ Help! Ellie fell! It’s really bad.” My mom ran into the restroom, saw Ellie and screamed at the manager to call 911. Ellie died on the way to the hospital. Everyone was looking at me. They wanted to know what happened. I told them she had slipped. It was a horrible accident.
Oh my God what had I done?
Five days later they held her funeral. Everyone felt so bad for me to have witnessed the horrible accident that killed my best friend. Except for Amy. She walked up to me after the service and said, “You did this Becky. I know it. She told me you’ve been acting really weird…angry all the time” I felt a bit dizzy. I tried to steady my shaking hands.
“What are you talking about? She slipped on the wet floor.” I whispered.
“I don’t think so, and get ready because payback is a bitch, Bitch.” She smiled and walked away.
I was terrified. Should I confess? I kept waiting for the doorbell to ring. It would be the cops and they’d take me into custody. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I lived in fear. But the police never showed up. My paranoia was so great I could barely function. I kept waiting for Amy to make her move.
School started again. A few months went by. I think I had even convinced myself that the whole thing was an accident. I started to relax. The school year passed. Everyone pretty much left me alone. No one wanted to be around me because I was a reminder of the tragedy. That was OK with me. I was lonely but I kept thinking about what Amy had said. Hopefully she would keep her big mouth shut.
It was my fourteenth birthday…two years since Ellie had died. She was constantly in my dreams, sometimes with Amy saying “your time is coming.” I’d wake up…my heart pounding. I could hardly breathe. Something was about to happen…I felt it. I avoided everyone and stayed in my bedroom, much of the time under the covers. My parents were worried about me. They wanted me to go for therapy, maybe get some meds to help with the depression. I just wanted to be left alone. Someone was tapping lightly on my bedroom door… mom poked her head in. “Something came in the mail for you. I think it’s a birthday card.” I told her to just leave it on my dresser. “Why don’t you come down for a bit. It’s a beautiful day. Dad and I are worried about you. Please come and sit in the sun with us.”
“Maybe in a little while mom.” She seemed happy with that…the possibility I might actually leave my room. When she left I got the envelope. There was no return address. My skin tingled and the hair stood up on the back of my neck. I threw the envelope down and grabbed my pillow. Who would send me a card? I picked the envelope up again and held it up to the light. I smelled it. Nothing was out of the ordinary. I slowly pulled up the flap. Inside was a card. On the front was a picture of two women having their nails done.
The inside read, “Here’s to another year of being fabulous.” There was no signature but someone had written,
“Tick Tock Becky.”
Obviously I knew who it was from. Why hadn’t she told anyone? It had been two years. Who would believe her at this point anyway? The more I thought about it the more confused I became. She was playing with my mind. Why was she doing this to me? She didn’t have proof of anything. I went downstairs and sat outside with my parents for a bit. They seemed relieved. I was actually feeling good. We sipped iced tea and watched the hummingbirds hovering around my moms feeder. Closing my eyes I went back into the memories of the day of the party. It had started as such a happy day. And then Ellie ruined it. She had said some horrible things to me. I could feel my anger returning. It was all because of Amy. Amy was the reason that Ellie was dead. I told my parents I needed to take a walk and get some air. None of what had happened was my fault. No wonder Amy had not said anything. As I rounded the corner to go up to the nature trail I saw her. Amy was riding her bike. I almost turned around and left but then realized I had no reason to. She had stopped at one of the scenic overlooks taking in the beauty of it all. I quietly walked up behind her. “Hi Amy. Thanks for the card.” She turned around startled. “What are you doing here?” She seemed nervous. “It’s a beautiful day. I decided to go for a walk. Clear my mind.” There was no one there but the two of us. She went into her usual “blah blah blah you’re a murderer blah blah. I just smiled at her.
Oh, and then I gave her and her bicycle a hard shove off of the scenic overlook and watched her roll head first down the steep hill before landing in the river.