Her body was laying their, lifeless. Drowning in her own blood. New reporters and the police were all over the scene. Yellow tape was everywhere. I was on the side walk, crying my eyes out. I was speechless. The group of girls dragged themselves towards me. “It was him!!!! It was him!! What did he do?!” Nicki was screaming and crying uncontrollably. The other girls were trying to hold her up as she was falling to the ground. The moment was so deep, so depressing. Her parents came over and hugged the girls tightly. My first time seeing her parents and this happens. “Im so, so sorry about this Mr. Johnston and Mrs. Johnston. I hate that we had to meet this way.” I didn’t know what else to say. My body began to tremble. My mind was flushed away. Everything happened so fast. “We will find out what happened. We all need to be strong and come together for Brittney sake.” She was right but how can I tell her I was there that night? “Y’all girls go home, get some rest. Thank you all for coming, we needed that support.” She blew us a kiss with a lonely smile, put her head down and walked away crying in silence. Watching them walk away, that night kelpt repeating in my head. Over and over again. “Com’on, we all going to Nicki’s crib.” Jasmine said sadly. I didn’t look back. I had to call my mom as soon as I could. “Hol’ up guys, lemme call moms and tell her ima be with y’all.” Patiently waiting for moms to answer, her phone went to voicemail. I sent her a quick text saying Please call me ASAP! I wanted her to know it was urgent. *Beep Beep* Nicki’s mom blew the horn for me to come on. The whole ride it was dead silence. No music. No small talk. Just the air flowing through the car. I was looking outside, praying she would come back. Asking God to give me another chance to save her. Part of me felt guilty. Part of me felt angry. The slanderer was to stubborn to listen to anyone.

Unsolved

“Now, tell me right now Maria! Who is that girl? And what she doing here at 3:00 in the morning?” Moms was angry. Eating me alive as she cursed and cursed. She was very disappointed and hurt. “Mom, she need someone to talk to. She needed advice.” I had to lie. If I would have really told her what happened, I’m spending the night in the dog pound. “You think i’m stupid huh? Nice try! We will talk about this after school tomorrow. Go to sleep!” She was pissed. Slammed the door and left me empty inside. All night long I was thinking about Brittney. I texted her to see if she made it home, even though I was still upset. “You home yet🤨?” I put my phone down then turn the tv on waiting for her reply. Flipping through channels, they had nothing on. Ten minutes passed and she still never hit back. I FaceTime her. Unavailable. So I check my message to see if it said delivered and it didn’t. So I called her again and again. No answer.

My eyes were burning. I was so exhausted and school was in a couple of hours. Still no reply. I set my alarm for 6:00am then went to sleep. *Bzzzz Bzzzz Bzzzz* My alarm knocked me out my bed. My body was not functioning. Putting my school clothes on slowly, my mom yelled at me. I don’t have time for this right now! “You hear me calling you Maria, come here!” Dragging my feet towards her angry voice, she was ready to blast at me. “When you go to school make sure you tell her don’t come back! Also, stay away from that girl! She was doing something sneaky. Actually both of y’all and I find out!” I grabbed my lunch bag and walked out. My mind was on asking the slanderer, what the hell happened! When I made it to school, I searched high and low for her. No where in sight. So, I stopped in the bathroom and Brittney’s group were hanging out in the bathroom smoking cigarettes. “Maria, hey.. where is Britt? We all had miss calls from her and now she not answering. No one heard from her!” I told them every detail that happened last night. I also asked if they know anything about her boyfriend. “Her boyfriend? You mean her crazy a** ex. He won’t stop leaving her alone. He don’t want her to be with anyone else but him. He is dangerous M. How did she even get there?” Jasmine said worried out of her mind. She was one of those sweet and innocent girls. Just another girl who wanted to fit in. *Brrrring Brrrring Brrrring* The bell rung but we didn’t pay it no mind. “Y’all we have to find her.” I agree with Jasmine but Im already in deep water with moms. “I have to go to class. I took the bait for her last night!” “Ok well, we will. Com’ on y’all.” Walking after them, I ran to class. Throughout the whole class, I was worried about Britt. Where could she be? I should have ask my mom to drop her home. By the time lunch came, I checked my phone to see if she called or text me back. Nothing. I called her back to back. I text the girls in the group message. “Did y’all find her?” Nicki text back first. She was more like a tomboy. Laid back and very open minded. “Naw, not at all.. we looked everywhere.”Do y’all have her moms num?” Praying they would say yes. “I think I do, hol up.” I waited on Nicki to hit me back. I went to my last class for today. I needed to stay focus in this class for testing. Turning on my high beams to stay focus in class my phone kelpt vibrating. I didn’t answer. Writing down notes, not missing a single word. My phone vibrates again. Still ignoring the group text. My english teacher, Mrs. Hopkins started to ask the class questions about the notes. I raised my hand to answer and didn’t get picked. My phone begans to vibrate non stop, scaring the hell out of me! It was Nicki face timing me. This time I had to answer! “Mrs. Hopkins? Can I go to the bathroom please. “Sure, take the Hall Pass.” Rushing out the door, I raced to the bathroom. “Hey. Ya’ll found her?” “Yes but you need too see this….” When she first answered the face time call, Her face was in distress! She then turn the camera towards Brittney. My eyes were bleeding tears. My mind was spinning, hearing the girls in the background calling her name, moving her body to wake her up. No sound. No movement. Just dead silence.

Overwhelmed

I woke up to check my phone. It was 2:45am and I had several miss calls from the slanderer. What could be the problem at this time of the night? I immediately got up and called her back. After five rings, she answered yelling and screaming in my ear. “MARIA?! Please come get me please!!” “Where are you? You okay?” “Just please HURRY.” I sent my location! Please hurry, the other girls are not answering and my phone is on 5%. Hurry!” She hung up. I ran to my closet to put clothes on. Slipped on my tennis shoes, then went creep in my mother’s room. She was knocked out. I closed the door quietly and left. My bike was behind the house. Locked in the storage room. Unlocking the chain off my bike, I heard the neighbors talking. I knew I had to be more quiet. I Picked up my bike and tip toed out the door. I was free to go. I pedal as fast as I can. Many negative thoughts began to me drown. Thinking, what has she got her self into? Racing down each street I heard music from a dead end, Loud music. I stopped behind a tree where no one can see me. I placed my bike against the tree. I observed around the house. Many of older teens were outside. With beer bottles in there hands. Laughing constantly! I have to get inside. I shoot her a text. “Im here. Where are you?” I waited. I looked around to make sure I’m safe.

My phone vibrated. “Im inside. In a bedroom, but I’m in the closet. Hurry up NOW!” I had to think quick and smart. Walking towards to side of the house, the fence was opened. Allowing me to make my next move. I spotted four girls and five guys. All of them were intoxicated. What kind of party is this? I looked around to see how I can get in. Their backs were faced me. The music held their attention, so I went for it. Slowly walking against the brick house, I see the slide door was open. A couple was sitting there eating, laughing like it was the Fourth of July! My heart pounds and pounds as I crawled in to find the bedroom. I shoot her another text while sitting behind the couch. “WHERE ARE YOU? IM INSIDE?” “Still in the closet, be careful and hurry!” I started to crawl until I found the bedroom. I saw a light. Flashing at the bottom of the door. I followed it. Whispering, “Brittney?” The light shut off. The door opened slowly and I backed up. It was her. She grabbed me tightly. I felt the danger coming off from her cold body. Her face was in deep depression. “Lets go now!” As she tried to open the window, we heard noises. “Where is she! Huh?” the angry voice had no remorse. “Com’ on, MARIA!” We hopped out and ran like it was the last day of living. Running as fast as we can we were spotted. They chased us like wild animals. “What the HELL is going on BRITTNEY?” She didn’t answer me. “Come back here BRITTNEY! You will never get away from ME!” His voice was deep, scary. But, who was he? If felt like I was dreaming. I didn’t feel my heart beating. It was pitch black outside and we were terrified. I got on my bike and she hopped on the handle bars. As she tried to balance herself while I pedal rapidly, the guys were still trying to slaughter us. “S***! S***! S***! Lets go! Com’ on. She cried non stop. My mind went blank for a while, but continue to pedal. I didn’t know what to do. I just kelpt going and going.

Moving on all fours, we got into my room safely. “Tell me what is going on. Now!” I was angry, upset, and scared! I needed to hear the truth! “My ex. He wanted to get back together. But, I said no. He ask me to come to his friends party. I really didn’t want to go but he kelpt asking me.” “What did he do to you?” Look, I really need to get home, I know my mom is looking for me. but thank you so much.” What was she hiding? “No, you need to tell me! You don’t just call someone 2:00 in the morning screaming, come get me!” “Maria! I can’t right NOW OK, please!” My mom came storming in. Turning the lights on, trying to see who is in her house. “Maria, who is this?” She wanted me to answer truthfully. She know when her daughter lies. “Mom, this is Brittney.” “I’m so so sorry, I’m leaving.” She cried while leaving me to die. Leaving me to suffer. I had to take the bait for us. Now, I’m the prime suspect.

Him

The entire time I was in class, He had my attention. I didn’t even remember our conversation. His smile was unforgettable. That smile you want to wake up to every morning. That smile you get when you cook for him. That smile that lives in you forever. “Mr. King and Mrs. Maria? Would you like to share the great conversation y’all two are having?” We giggled. She looked at us up and down, but didn’t say anything. The bell rung, and he wanted to walk me home. Home was about a half of a mile away from school. Wondering what he has to say?

The cool breeze set the mood just right. As we talked and talked, the bright sun began to shine down on us. We laughed like two children playing in the park. Should i grab his hand? I went for it. It was a simple move. He was not surprised which made me even more comfortable. He continued to talk like nothing happened. I wanted to know more about this special soul. “So, whats your plans after high school?” I wanted him to know how serious and firm I was. I wanted him to take me seriously. Im not a joke, periodt. “Play pro ball, and go to a four year college.” More than anything, he had the looks and height for it! “I mean, that’s good but I got to see you play?” “You never come to my games.” He said as he stopped walking. Grabbed my hand a little tighter. I said, “You never invited me.” He laughed, grinning uncontrollably. ” Every Friday we have games. 7pm. Be there.” I was interested into going, but how can I ignore the slanderer?

Unlocking the door, I could smell my mother’s cooking. A delightful smell. “Hey, mom.. how was your day?” “It was ok. How about yours?” “Mines went quite well actually!” I couldn’t hold my smile back. “Y’all must of talked?” As she burst into laughter. I jumped up and down and we laughed non stop. It was that moment, nothing could have ruin that night. After showering and eating, we watched scary movies all night long. I feel asleep first. Dreaming about the cute and chocolate guy.

The Talk

It’s Monday morning, and I received a text message from the slanderer. Wanting me to meet her at the Coffee Spot near the school. I got up brush my teeth, wash my face, got dressed and began to walk out. My mother stopped me on the way. “Why you leaving so early?” She said with a smirk. “Brittney wants to meet up at the coffee shop before school.. why you grinning mom?” She paused for a second and gave me a funny look. “So, you not gone tell me about this guy you admire, right?” I was startled. “Ummm, I dont even know if he likes me mom.. he never says anything.” “Well, you never gave him a chance, I bet.” She was right. When he tried talking to me at the house party, I walked away. That could have been a way to get him too like me, if I would have just stayed and speak to him.

My mom kissed me on the forehead and said, “Ill see you later baby, have a great day at school!” It almost sound like she didn’t want me to go. I blew her a goodbye kiss. *Ding, ding, ding* a text from Brittney. “Hey, are you close?” I sent a quick message back and replied, “I’m on my way.” I made it there within 15 minutes. The whole gang was there except the girl I saw crying at the house party. Something is not right, they are close friends. Or maybe not, anymore.

Walking in the tiny Coffee Shop, the smell tasted delicious. Fresh brewing in the morning. The tables were squared shaped and only four people can sit at each one. The coffee cups were oddly satisfying to look at. It was shaped like a tea cup but had two small handles on each said. An old fashion way. “Maria, we over here!” Knocking me out of my wandering moment, I tread towards the slanderer’s group. They were only two girls remaining. I asked her nervously, “Britt, where is the other girl?” Not even afraid to say whats on her mind she replied, ” Don’t worry about that b****, she did some foul stuff so we kicked her from the group and added you.” Suddenly i felt sick to my stomach. Kicked her out the group? Why? Not because of me? “Well, ummm what did she do to get kicked out?” “Look, Maria.. we are your new friends so get over it. She didn’t follow what she was told to do so she got the boot.” The girls start laughing non stop. I cracked a fake smile and looked the other way. We sat and chat for a while until it was time for school.

First class I had today was math, easy right? WRONG!because cute, chocolate guy switched his math class to mines. I was excited and scared at the same time. Mrs. Bethany, our teacher, introduced him to the class and directed him to sit by me. Not behind me. Not in front of me. NEXT TO ME! Why is she playing with me? Do she know something I dont know? “Hey, new girl.. nice seeing you again.” Cute and chocolate guy said

Lets us all say Amen

I woke up feeling marvelous. It was first Sunday and I got up early enough to cook breakfast for my mom and I. She needed a warm meal to lift up her spirits. Sometimes, the littlest thing you do for a person can change everything. While I was cooking breakfast, something unpredictable happened. I walked slowly down the hall way. Entering my mother’s room quietly, she was sitting on the floor meditating. Her legs were crisscross, sitting straight up with her arms above her head. She was at peace with self. Self love is what I call it. I then tipped toed out her room to finish breakfast.

“Mom, breakfast is almost ready!” I looked at the clock and we only had 30 minutes to eat and get dress. “Hey baby, thank you for the breakfast.” Her voice didn’t match her body language. I could tell something was on her mind, heavy. I couldn’t say or do anything to make her feel better. Then something clicked! “Mom, you coming by the school tomorrow? They’re having a lunch brunch. Family and friends are invited.” She took a deep breath and said of course. Kissed me on the forehead and held my hand. She grabbed my hand tightly like she didn’t want to let go. Like we was the only two people left in this wicked world. I stayed there until she let my hand go. Even tho I didn’t say anything, she felt safe and loved. Our bond was like no other.

For church, I put on my all white dress. Small diamonds covered my cleavage. The dress fit my body so divine. Not to tight, not to big. I twisted and turned in the mirror admiring how beautiful I was. Thanking God for creating me. “Time to go, Maria!” I grabbed my belongings and raced to the car. Pulling up to the church grounds. I spotted him. The cute and chocolate guy! I began to feel butterflies in my belly. Did he know this is where I come to church at? Walking in, I went straight to the bathroom. Made sure my clothes were properly fixed. I pulled the front part of my dress upward to cover any cleavage. Leaving from the bathroom I walked in the sanctuary looking for my mother. As I was searching for my mom more guest was coming in. The church was so huge. The windows had black angels with praying hands their backs. The humongous statue of Black Jesus had everyone on there knees praying and worshipping his name. You can hear the cries from each and every person asking God for a safer route. Asking god to heal their mind and hearts.

Before church even began, everyone felt God’s spirit! Even me. While sitting next to my mom, cute chocolate guy and his mother sat right in front of us. He turned around and introduced his self to my mom. We only said two words to each other and he have the audacity to introduce himself, even tho I liked his confidence. “Goodmorning, How y’all doing?” “Im blessed and highly favored.” My mom said. “Im blessed as well, thank you for asking.” He winked at me and turned around. Why is he playing with my emotions? Or is he really trying to get to know me.