CLASHED - Chapter 2
IN CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA:
Wow, I was actually in South Carolina. To catch a murderer. With my friends and police officer friend. Wow.
There was no hotel room on Morris Island, the place we had to come to. Officer Borsche actually had a relative who lived here, named Larson. We were all staying at Larson's house for the weeks we will be here.
Yes, I said weeks. Borsche has no idea how long this case could take. So we are enrolled as "temporary students" at Bolton Prep, the high school that kids go to from here.
Since the school knows that we four students are here in South Carolina on a police investigation, we're allowed to be excused any time we want during the day, for good reason. Other than that, we must stay in school and learn. We can't afford to miss more than a week of school, you know.
Today was a Monday morning and Officer Borsche took us all down to this dock that Morris Island has. He was trying to figure out if anyone gave boat rides for money, kind of like a taxi. We needed to cross the bay, and fast. School was going to start without us.
Oh, yeah. Did I mention Bolton Prep has a uniform? And we are the only four students exempt from wearing it while we attend it? Double sweet.
As Officer Borsche searched around, Marissa spotted a bunch of guys waiting around by a boat. "Look, cute guys!"
I looked up. One was sort of short, one had super thick glasses, and one was tall and, actually, really cute.
Casey rolled his eyes and snorted and I said, "Why don't you go talk to them? Maybe they'll give you a ride on their Loooveboat."
She grabbed my arm. "You're right! Let's go!"
"Wait, wait, wait! I only meant you. Not me. I don't have Flirting Rights, Marissa, my boyfriend is standing right there!"
Casey saluted. "That's me."
"Then Casey can come too. And you too, Billy. Let's go flirt with cute guys!"
"Sounds like a blast!" Billy said in falsetto but when Marissa couldn't hear, he muttered, "Pushy, pushy."
I rolled my eyes too and we all headed over to the three guys.
"Hi." I said lamely, because Marissa had suddenly lost her ability to speak. "I'm Sammy."
They all stopped pacing and seemed to be staring at me strangely, as if noticing me for the first time.
"You new here?" the shortish one asked.
"Yes, I'm new." I nodded. "These are my friends. Marissa, Case—"
"Guys, sorry I was so late!" a girl that looked about the same age as me ran down the hill down to where the three guys were. "Are you all ready?" she then noticed us four.
"Oh. Um. Hi." she looked like she didn't know what to say.
"Who are you?" she finally said lamely.
"That's Sammy." the short one said to the girl with a weird expression I couldn't read on his face.
"Oh. Hi, Sammy. I'm Tory. You new?"
"Um, we're new, yes. These are my friends. Marissa, Casey, and Billy." I pointed at each of them as I said their names.
"Hey." Tory said to them. "This is Hi," she pointed to the short one who kept staring at ms win wide eyes. "That's Shelton." she pointed to the boy with glasses who looked like he was analyzing us. "And this is Ben." she lastly pointed to the tall, cute one.
I rolled my eyes. Of course the cute one would have the most normal name. So typical.
The guys all said their awkward "Heys" and Marissa finally croaked out a "We're going to Boston Prep. Do you know a ride?"
Tory grinned. "Hey, we go there too. You can ride with us if you want." she turned to the one named Ben. "Right? They can ride Sewee?"
Sewee? I thought. The boat's name is Sewee? I didn't say anything aloud, though. If I did they'd probably never let me on the boat.
Ben shrugged. "I guess."
Marissa grinned in delight. Billy followed Tory onto the boat, hypnotized, like a lovestruck piranha. I grabbed Casey's hand. "Hey, can you call or text Officer Borsche telling him we got a ride to school?"
Casey pulled out his iPhone and used one hand to text the message. "He replied saying 'cool'." Casey stated. We both stepped onto, um, Sewee.
As the boat took off down the bay, Tory asked, "So, why are four of you kids just suddenly new here on Morris Island? All related somehow?"
It seemed at if I was the spokesperson of our group. "No, we're not related. At all. We're just here with a police officer...on an investigation...for a murder." coming out of my mouth, it sounded so lame. "We're only attending Bolton Prep for couple weeks. That's why we don't need uniforms or anything."
"Ohh, that explains it." Tory nodded.
"Are you single?" the boy named Hi suddenly asked me.
I blinked. Weirdo. "Um...no."
Hi turned deep red. "I was just wondering, because he was holding your hand and...stuff. You know."
"Right." Tory smirked at him. "Get real, Hi."
We spent the rest of the boat ride getting to "know" each other and the place. We learned that no other teenagers besides those four lived on Morris Island, other than that, only adults lives there in the houses. Bolton Prep was a snotty rich-kid school that they hated attending.
Hi seemed to get along well with Billy. They were both major jokers, Hi was more sarcastic and Billy more wacky. Shelton and Marissa really hit it off, just chatting about whatever they were chatting about. Who knew she was into nerds?
Okay, that was mean, just kidding.
Ben didn't really say much. In fact, he seemed to be avoiding Tory altogether. Finally Casey and Ben actually started talking, and hearing Ben talk was a relief. I thought the guy was mute or something. Anyway, Ben seemed to be cool with Casey.
Tory and I talked too. In fact, I learned that right now, she was trying to figure out the murder of Jessie Burrows.
"You too?" I asked. "That's why we're here. To try to figure out who murdered that girl and who kidnapped the three people from back home." I then told Tory all about the diary entry and the slip of paper we had found in the woods and how it led us here, especially after Jessie Burrows had been murdered here too.
Tory then told me about a cigarette she had found and how she had a friend who was having its fingerprints scanned right now.
Hi overheard us talking about that. "By the way, how was your daaate with Jaaason?" he teased. I had no idea what he was talking about.
Ben stopped talking to Casey suddenly and he stiffened, trying to listen to the conversation.
Tory blushed. "First of all, it was not a REAL date. You guys know I don't like him that way."
I didn't say anything, because I had no idea what was going on.
Tory then got up stiffly and walked the other way, the other side of the boat.
The boat finally stopped and we made our way to the school. It was a large, white, rich-looking school. God, I was not going to fit in at all. Especially since I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and high-tops, and the people at this school wore a preppy plaid skirt-and-blouse uniform for girls, and slacks-and-tie uniform for boys.
"We look so out of place!" Marissa whined. "I wish I had the uniform."
"No, you don't." Tory said back to her. "You don't know how lucky you are to not have to wear it."
Billy did a cartwheel, "Well, I'm ready!"
I pulled out everyone's temporary Bolton Prep schedules from my bag. These were the schedules we were using while we stayed here. We all have different ones based on the classes we were taking back in Santa Martina. Casey's was the only schedule I knew I wouldn't have any classes with except lunch. Marissa had two classes with me, Billy had three. I don't think I had any classes with Tory or her friends. They were sophomores like Casey, they had told me on the boat.
As I was thinking this, Marissa asked Tory, "Hey, how old are you anyway?"
"I'm fourteen, but...I skipped a grade, so I'm actually a sophomore this year." she blushed a little.
I shook my head. Ugh, so she was girl genius. Great, made me look so good, huh?
"Let's go." I grabbed Marissa and without stopping to talk to Tory or any of her three guy friends, I pulled her up the steps and into the school.
After that Sammy girl had dragged her friend Marissa up the steps, we all just stood around awkwardly. That Casey guy seemed to get along well with Ben. And the guy named Billy got along with Hi.
And Ben was still pissed at me just because I was associating myself with Jason. Well, if he hated him that much, whatever.
Since Hi and Billy were talking to each other, and the Casey dude was talking to Ben and Ben wasn't talking to ME, I ended up conversing with Shelton.
"So, what do you think of these new kids?" I asked.
He looked at me. "You mean that girl Sammy?"
We walked up the steps. I laughed a little. "Yeah, and the other three...?"
He shook his head, his eyes gazed off into the the distance behind his glasses. "Sammy seems awesome."
"You barely know her." I stated.
He stopped and looked at me. "Ever heard of love at first sight?"
Shelton, who was normally so smart, was sounding like a lovestruck idiot. I sighed. "Yeah, but...but you just met her."
"First sight." he repeated and charged up the steps ahead of me. I was left behind standing there like an idiot. Love at first sight? Come on. She was just a girl. I didn't see him falling in love with ME when *I* first moved here. I scowled. Not that I liked Shelton (no way, he's just a friend!) and not that I want him to like ME, but how come he didn't fall in "love" with ME when I moved here? Am I not pretty enough or something? I sighed and headed inside. Boys. SUCK.
At lunch that day I ended up running into Sammy and her friends Marissa and Casey. Apparently Billy had the other lunch.
Shelton, Hi, and Ben were all for inviting them to sit with us. I was reluctant, only because I didn't like how my friends were treating these newcomers like royalty.
"So did Jason give you the results for the cigarette prints?" Hi asked. "Or was he too busy gazing into your eyes?"
"Shut up. He's not here today." thank God. "Probably sick or something."
"Lovesick." Shelton snorted.
"I wouldn't be talking if I were you." I snapped at Shelton. He shut up immediately.
Sammy and her friends obviously had no idea what was going on. "So... Do you know exactly where this Jessie girl was murdered?" Sammy asked.
I nodded. "Yeah. On Sullivan's Island."
"An island?" Casey cut in. "Can we get there?"
I shrug. "Maybe...it depends on whether Ben here is willing to take us there."
Ben scowled but didn't meet my gaze. "Fine."
Sammy grinned. "Great! So, what, by boat? Like how we got here? Does it take long?" she turned to Casey. "Should we bring Officer Borsche?"
"Whoa whoa whoa." Hi cut in. "An officer? Like a police officer?"
She nodded. "We're here with him. From Santa Martina, obviously a police officer came to investigate."
We all blink at her a bit. What kind of police officer would bring a bunch of kids for a murder investigation to help him? A cool one.
Then I realized that maybe us Virals would have to flare. And that I would NOT want a police officer there to witness it. "Uhh, maybe we should go by ourselves." I said. Ben opened his mouth to protest and I kicked him under the table. I hope he could understand what I meant.
That afternoon when I was back home, I got a text message from Hi. 'Whats up with you and Ben? You guys are not even speaking to each other.'
I replied back after a moment. 'He's mad that I hung out with Jason, you know how he hates the jocks'.
Hi didn't respond. I seriously hoped Ben would get over his grudge. I hated being around my friends when he was mad at me. Finally Shelton sent me a text saying 'We're all at the dock, come on'.
When I reached the dock, sure enough, everyone was there. Sammy and her friends and the three other Virals.
Shelton was over by Sammy, probably trying to "seduce" her with his sexy glasses (sarcasm) but judging by the way that Casey guy was standing so close to her, I was pretty sure Sammy wasn't exactly available to be seduced. She still looked like she was having a normal conversation. Gotta give the girl props.
"Tory." I turned around to see Ben. "You finally here?"
"No." I rolled my eyes. "I'm still home." then I added. "And stop creeping up on me!"
He rolled his eyes too. And didn't respond. Typical him. I decided that if there was any tension between us now, this should be the end of it. "Hey," I said before he stalked away. "Wait."
He turned around. "I'm, uh, sorry that I have to hang around Jason so much. I know you hate those snobby socialites so...sorry."
He didn't say anything. Something in his eyes flickered. An apology, perhaps. He nodded and turned away. In Ben-speak, that meant apology accepted.
Breathing a sigh of relief I clapped my hands together. "Okay, everyone here?" our group had gotten pretty large now that Sammy and her little gang had arrived.
They all nodded and we boarded Sewee. With 8 people, it was actually kinda crowded. I ended up next to Sammy, with that Billy guy squeezed on the other side of her. Hi sat next to me.
"Hi." I said to Sammy awkwardly.
"Yeah?" Hi faced me.
I swatted at him. "No, not you, Hi. I'm trying to make conversation with the new girl."
"The new girl is sitting right here." Sammy said.
"Oh." I blushed. "Right, I obviously knew that, I just...Hi."
"Hi to you too." she smirked. "So, not to change the topic so fast, but do you guys have anything else you know about this murder besides a cigarette?"
I shrugged. "No. Not really. You?"
She nodded. I watched as Ben steered the boat, Casey leaning against the side, talking to him. Whenever that Casey guy was around Ben, Ben actually seemed to talk. I scowled. So this new guy from California flies in and makes Ben actually have a conversation for once, but his three closest friends can't? Why does he talk with Casey and not with me or Shelton or Hi? Are we not good enough? Is our DNA not mangled enough to make us close? Or do we need to inject ourself with dolphin DNA, too, to make us more connected. Sammy spoke, causing me to snap out of my thoughts. "Three people from back home have gone missing. Jessie lived in Santa Martina where I live, and now a girl named Elyssa, a girl named Monet, and a boy named Lyle have gone missing. Elyssa's mom gave us a journal entry from Elyssa that said Elyssa would be in the woods, so Casey, Officer Borsche and I went to the woods. We found a little scrap of paper in the woods by some page footprints. The scrap said that there was a flight to Charleston- which is here, obviously, just recently. It was a lead." Sammy shrugged. "So we took it."
"So you think the same person who killed Jessie took those three other kids and flew them here to kill them here, just like they had to Jessie?"
She nodded. "Exactamundo. Now I have no idea why they would do that. Why would anyone kidnap someone, fly them across the States, kill them on an island and leave the body there? That's odd."
I had to think about it. The idea that three innocent kids were missing made me feel sick, so to get my mind off that, I tried to think of a motive for the killer. Why would anyone...?
The Billy guy suddenly said, "What if there's a torture chamber on the island that the killer uses on the people?"
"Not funny, Billy!" Sammy snapped. It really wasn't funny. I looked up to see Sammy's friend Marissa talking to Shelton. Great, Shelton would probably be in love with two girls now. Sammy's head dropped into her hands. It seemed as if she had a headache.
Hi said, "But that Jessie girl's body didn't show any signs of being tortured in the autopsy, did it?"
Sammy's head snapped up. "What autopsy? They already performed the autopsy?"
I gave Hi a searing look. "The autopsy results haven't come up yet. Last time I checked, anyway. For all I know the results could have come in by now."
Hi squinted. "Oh. So, check, then."
I pulled out my iPhone, ready to check the Internet for Jessie Burrows's autopsy results. Unfortunately I had no bars whatsoever. I sighed and put the phone away. "Why don't we destroy AT&T?" I wondered aloud. "And create a new cell phone server. Called 'We Will Never Fail You When You Most Need Us'."
"Creative." Shelton sauntered over. He snorted. "Except I, for one, think AT&T is the best."
"Ew." Hi snapped. "I'd think that you being the technology geek and all, would know best that T-Mobile is where it's at."
Sammy held her hands up. "Why are you guys having this discussion?"
Sammy has never met us nerds before, has she? Nope. She'll have to get used to our geeky rants eventually. Billy stood up and walked over to where Casey was. It seemed as if those two were close. Kinda of how Shelton and Ben were close.
Hi was close, too. To me. Not in the way you'd think. He was just SITTING too close to me.
"Can you scooch? We have room now." I asked him.
"Ask the fat guy to scooch, huh?" he mumbled.
"You're not fat." I told him. "You're big-boned."
Shelton said, "Not a pound over 200, bro."
"Speak for yourself, Shelton." Hi said. "You're not a pound over 80."
"You too, sister!" Hi snapped at me.
Sammy was obviously very amused at our bickering, but kept quiet. I felt bad for leaving her out so I said, "Back onto to the topic, what are we looking for exactly on the island? We already found the cigarette pack."
Sammy shrugged. Her mind seemed kind of far off. She said, "I have to go talk to Casey. Sorry." she got up and walked to the front of the boat by Ben, Casey, and Billy.
I sighed and looked over at my two idiot friends. "You guys scared her off."
"No," Shelton said, his gaze following Sammy as she walked, "Our amazingness scared her off."
I stood up and stretched. Patted Shelton's shoulder. "Keep telling yourself that, BRO."
I've got to say, Tory and her friends are quite strange. But have it as it is, I actually like them. Its fortunate that we ran into people who are normal and not some idiot like Heather Acosta or Monet—
Oh. Right. Maybe I shouldn't talk bad about Monet while she is possibly being murdered right now. Or held captive, or something.
After listening to Tory and her friend bicker for a couple minutes, I decided to get to know the other guy more. He hasn't said one word to me. Something about him tells me that he doesn't like me very much. I get that a lot, but I at least want to know why he doesn't like.
Casey was standing by him. Billy was with Casey too. "Hey." I said to them when I approach. "So...what's up?"
Casey shrugged. "Uh, not much. Talking about the whole Jessie Burrows thing. I was explaining to Ben about the three other kids who've gone missing."
I made it like I hadn't even noticed Ben before now. "Ohh, hi. You're Ben, right?" I turned to face him.
His hands were busy steering the boat but he gave me a little nod. "Yup."
He nodded again. "Sure." his face was straight ahead looking at the ocean as we passed over it.
"Um.." this guy obviously had no conversational skills. Sighing, I turned back to Casey and Billy. "We were talking about how we still haven't seen the autopsy results." I said to Casey. "Billy had mentioned something about a torture chamber which was just a ridiculous theory of his which is just..."
"Ridiculous?" Casey kinda laughed at my failure to finish the sentence properly.
I scowled. "Yeah. Ridiculous. Anyway, it brought us to think that maybe there is something more to this. After all, why would someone kidnap someone and kill them all the way across the country? Why bother? Maybe there is something about the autopsy that can...you know..."
"Help us find out his motive?" Casey finished for me.
"Exactly." I saw him smirking at me. "Shut up, just because I can't finish my sentences properly doesn't mean I wasn't thinking it."
"Uh-huh." he was still smirking.
Billy then said, "So basically, thanks to Billy Pratt and his genius theory about torture chambers, we all now have a straw to grasp at."
I looked at Billy. Pursed my lips. Ben, behind me, snorted.
"Sure, Billy." I said. "Whatever you say."