Happy Tuesday! We’re one day closer to the weekend, which is always great news.
The challenge for today’s story is that each sentence contains at least five instances of the letter that ended the previous sentence. I’m feeling quite thankful there are no common words that end in Q!
I walk up onto the stage and I’m prepared to admit everything. Mr. Green gives me a pat on the shoulder as the whole school nervously giggles at the word etched in Sharpie on my forehead. To say I’ve dreaded this day is an understatement. It’s worse than the incident with the super glue, far more humiliating than prom night, and dumber than the prank I pulled on the school security officer.
The students’ faces disappear under the barrage of overhead lights. I know they are all still there from the hiss of their whispers. If they think this scribble on my skin is bad, they’ll be shocked to hear why it is there.
I can’t tell them anything unless I look down at my feet. Even though the lights have blurred their faces together, my dignity pulls my head downward. “Yesterday I did something bad…like, really bad,” I begin.
Now I close my eyes and pretend my friends aren’t out there watching me. “I can guarantee I won’t be allowed to come back to this school. It’s all good, because most of you treat me like a real loser anyhow.”
It’s weird that this whole time, I got to know only a few of the kids at Whitmore High. The faces hiding in the lights belong to the most familiar strangers I’ve ever known. Now I’m confessing to them as though they matter—as if I can salvage any of the twisted life I’ve spent with them.
“So, um, many of you might have seen the stories on the news about Mrs. Mulligan’s horses.” The whispers grow like a soft breeze that morphs into a sudden gust of wind. The stories had spread like wildfire and everyone was dying to know which student was so sinister. It won’t be long now that I’m on this stage with this ink on my face.
“The police think the kid that did it was messed up on drugs or drunk or something. But I’ve never done drugs and the only thing I drank that night was Gatorade, so they were wrong about that.”
The whispers erupt into gasps that shake the room. My admission blows them away, but it explains the word “MURDERER” my father made me write on my own forehead.
“Yeah, I did it, but do you know why I did it?” The students have traded their whispers for full, hearty cries of protest and disgust. To them I’m the same monster I was to the detectives when they found me out.
As loudly as I can I shout, “I was dared by some punks at this school who threatened to beat me to a pulp if I didn’t kill Mrs. Mulligan’s horses.”
Voices fall silent, one by one, until the room is still enough to hear each breath, each blink, each slight shuffle of a foot on the floor. I step back from the microphone and cover up the accusation on my forehead with my left hand. I suffered the hatred, the disrespect, and the loneliness, and now I am nothing more than a murderer.