In a cold sweat, my eyes busted open as I flung myself off of the bed and into the dark. My alarm clock read, ‘Six A.M.’
I slowly looked down at the palm of my hands. They shook uncontrollably and my vision blurred in and out. I felt sick to my stomach and my head filled with pain.
“It happened again.”
Having woken up before seven, I wasn’t even allowed to leave my room yet. My head throbbed as it was stormed with memories. I couldn’t manage to sit stationary in this lonely room anymore, so I practiced my daily routine.
Shower, change clothes, brush teeth.
The familiar motions calmed my breathing and gave me something to remember instead of that.
I took a long shower and practiced thorough cleaning motions to waste as much time as possible. The goal was to finish brushing my teeth around seven, so I would need to use as much time as possible.
While still in the shower, I heard a knock at the door.
Mary’s voice rang out through the walls, ‘It’s seven-twenty! Let’s get going.’
While still on the first step of my routine that I had started at six, I was forced to begin rushing to get ready.
‘I must’ve been in the shower for over an hour.’
After quickly finishing my routine, I tried my best to not keep anyone waiting.
‘Sorry to make you wait!’ I exclaimed, out of breath from rushing, as I swung open my door.
‘No problem,’ Amelia spoke a little hesitantly.
Mary looked irritated but continued on, ‘Let’s go eat, shall we?’
As a group we all moved down to the dining room. We had to take the stairs again due to our group size. Nobody spoke as we walked, they must’ve been too nervous.
Arriving in the dining room and taking our seats, Mary led the discussion, ‘So, who’s cooking today?’
‘Well, if the rest of my group doesn’t mind, we could cook again,’ Offered Amelia. ‘I had fun last time.’
Alex immediately shot her down, ‘I object. I don’t want to do that again. Can’t the other group do it this time?’
‘I don’t really want to either, though,’ Lilah frowned and puffed out her cheeks while poking the table.
‘How about this, let’s mix up the groups,’ I proposed.
Marcus looked a little concerned, and for good reason, ‘What do you mean by that?’
‘Well, I guess it would raise the odds that, if the murderer is actually a group, they’d be in the same one, but if you’re just staying in the kitchen to cook then it won’t be a big deal. We’ll know who did it if someone goes missing.’
Alex looked deep in thought but nobody refused. Marcus looked slightly sad, as it was obvious that everyone was valuing safety less now that Marcus was the probable target.
‘Great,’ I continued. ‘If you don’t mind, Ro- Mary, could you switch groups with Alex? Then everyone should be happy. Is that arrangement good?’
‘I suppose that works,’ Said Alex. Mary nodded hesitantly in agreement.
Mary uncharacteristically gave me a wave and a smile as she walked to join her temporary new group.
‘I’m bad at gauging relationships, but maybe we’re starting to get closer too?’
‘Well then,’ Alex took charge of our group. ‘Want to bounce ideas off of each other while we wait?’
‘For the murder investigation?’ I asked.
‘Rude,’ I thought.
‘Well then,’ he continued. ‘Let’s talk in the living room.’
I had been to this room before. It was the same room that I may have accidentally convinced William to investigate Marcus.
We all took a seat and made ourselves comfy on separate couches. Lilah kicked her feet gleefully as she laid her stomach on the couch. She propped her chin up on the back of her hands and smiled. It looked like we were going to talk about crushes at a middle school girl’s slumber party, despite the fact that we were discussing a murder. On the other hand, Alex sat down with the same professionalism that he had come to this island with. He seemed to have completely gone back to how he used to be.
‘Pardon me for asking,’ I hesitantly speak up and Alex turns to me seriously. ‘What was with your little bout of depression?’
‘Oh? Hmph. That’s all you wanted to know?’ He spoke monotone like the event was long behind him, like it was irrelevant. ‘I had my dreams crushed by Marcus.’
‘Oh- It was then. When Marcus told him not to strive for the same kind of success that he had.’
‘That’s right… You looked up to him a lot, didn’t you?’
‘Of course! In my life, there has only been one short period of time where surpassing the richest man of all time didn’t matter to me anymore. Only during my small depression on this island.’
‘So you’re back to dreaming of surpassing Marcus? Even though you know the price he paid?’
‘It’s because I know the price he paid!’ Alex raised his voice impatiently. Noticing his excitement, he adjusted his glasses and took a deep breath. ‘I thought that I wanted to become him, but then the man who was the greatest in my eyes shot me down. He made it sound like he had made some kind of huge sacrifice for his business. It was seeing him break down and cry that made me realize, he’s just weak. I never wanted to be Marcus. I just want to be the idea that I had of him. But, it wasn’t my ideal that shot me down, it was that weak and cowardly man. I mean, he never even got caught! He wouldn’t have either! He made a fortune, only to give it all up! And then he finished his legacy by groveling in front of children.’
Alex took one more deep breath with a disgusted look on his face.
Lilah chimed in happily, ‘So you’re saying that murder is a small price to pay?’
‘And just to confirm, you would have done the same thing in his position?’
‘Of course. I would do anything to reach my dreams. For my future I would sacrifice anything.’
She laughed, ‘Wow! You’re a funny guy, you know? You just admitted to be willing to kill someone, even though you’re a suspect in a recent murder!’
‘Heh. Unless you can prove that I did it, then I’d say I’m safe. Not to mention, I wouldn’t murder for anything petty. Killing Marcus wouldn’t help me succeed. Actually, it only hurts my career when taking into account his proposition to us!’
‘Not saying you’re guilty or anything… but he didn’t make that offer until after his life had been targeted. You could have easily done it before hearing the offer.’
Alex began to look impatient, ‘But, that still wouldn’t have helped me succeed at all. I had no motive.’
‘Well~ Isn’t it odd that he shot down your dreams, sent you spiraling into depression, and then just so happened to have his life targeted? Also, you’ve seemed a lot more stable after the murder attempt…’
‘Tch. What’s with this? Are you just going to attack me now?’
Lilah smiled at him childishly in response.
I didn’t want to look like I was defending him so I wouldn’t say it out loud, but I thought to myself, ‘His condition was improving before the murder attempt even happened. He gradually got better until he was finally back to normal. Learning that the person who turned him down so harshly was actually “weak” probably helped too. It doesn’t make him the murderer… but I still can’t deny the possibility.’
Alex pointed his finger at Lilah, irritated, ‘Accusing someone else doesn’t look good either, you know. You’re just as big of a suspect! You had plenty of time to set up the trap because you came to the pool late.’
‘It’s certainly possible. But, do you know who I think really did it?’ Without giving anyone time to respond. ‘Amelia!’
‘Huh? How could she have done it?’ I asked. ‘She was at the pool on time.’
‘I don’t know where you got the idea that only late people could be suspects! Marcus and William were setting up the pool for a little while. Since you found Alex and Amelia in their rooms, they could have committed the crime before you found them. Nobody was with them so they don’t have an alibi.’
My eyes widened in realization. I hadn’t considered that before. Perhaps I simply wanted the case to be easier on myself. This was a murder that could have truly been commited by anyone.
Still though, I had no intention of getting too involved.
‘But, I don’t think it was her.’
‘Then who do you think it was?’ Asked Alex.
‘… I don’t know.’
Everyone sat silently in thought for several moments.
‘I’ll be right back. I’m going to the bathroom,’ said Alex.
Lilah stood up, ‘Well, we’ll come with you to be safe.’
‘Eh? Do you really have to? What do you think I’m going to do? If I come back and one of you is dead then it was the other. It’ll be fine.’
‘I’m with him,’ I added. ‘It’s not a big deal. It should only be a few minutes.’
Lilah’s eyes bounced between our faces before she sighed and flung herself back onto the couch.
‘One second,’ He said as he left.
‘Why do you still trust everyone so much? That’s a dangerous game you know,’ Lilah sneered.
‘It’s not that I trust them. I just don’t know who to believe. Though I do know not to trust you.’
I glanced at her, unamused.
A few moments passed and I broke the silence, ‘By the way, where did your beret go?’
Snickering, she replied, ‘Well, there was no more point in it after my successful prank.’
‘So that is all it was for…’
Laughing again she took off her glasses and began polishing them.
‘I still don’t get it,’ I continued. ‘Why do you pretend to be someone you’re not? Just be yourself. You’re the world’s best actor, but it’s not like you should have to “play the role” of yourself.’
She suddenly tightened her grip on her glasses, snapping them into two. The sharp crack startled me and signaled her sudden mood change. With an enraged voice, ‘You’d be surprised…’
Taken aback, I stuttered, ‘Wa-was that okay? That’s got to be expensive!’
‘It’s alright,’ Her anger immediately returned to chuckles as she held up her broken up glasses. Then she casually poked her finger through the lens, or lack thereof, ‘They’re fake.’
Unable to hold myself back, I gave her exactly what she wanted. My jaw dropped and I couldn’t bring myself to speak.
‘The look on your face~’ she laughed hysterically and childishly.
‘This whole time… they were-?’
‘It was all for a three second joke?’
Lilah immediately cleared her face again as footsteps approached the room. Alex stepped through the doorway as I struggled to control my surprise.
It didn’t take him long to finish, but Lilah made her suspicion clear.
‘If another trap is found tonight…’ Lilah looked at him as though she were a disappointed mother.
He proudly raised his chin, ‘Ha! As if I would try to kill Marcus. Didn’t I make it clear? That’s only bad for me.’
‘Whatever you say~!’
He sat back onto the couch with noticeably good posture.
‘At least for me,’ I started. ‘All this discussion has done so far is add more possible suspects to the list. I thought only Lilah, Mary, and Marcus could have done it but…’
Lilah giggled, ‘Of course not! This wasn’t done on impulse. Someone planned it out thoroughly. Although, they didn’t expect that someone would try to break into Marcus’ office!’
I jumped slightly at the sound of a knock at the door. Sadly, the grin on Lilah’s face meant that she must've seen my surprise.
‘Excuse me,’ Mary said while slowly opening the door. ‘The food’s done. We just made some sandwiches.’
My group all stood up and began to head to the cafeteria. Mary followed close behind us. As we passed her, Lilah gave her an obvious stink eye.
‘Welcome back. I hope you enjoy,’ Marcus set down a platter of sandwiches. Mary followed behind him with a salad bowl, before sitting down as well.
We all grabbed a plate and took our chairs. The loneliness showed through on Marcus’ face with breakfast reminding him of William.
Mary grabbed several sandwiches and directed a question towards me, ‘Did you guys think of anything?’
The sandwiches were very bland and visually unappealing. I could tell that everyone had tried their best but in comparison to what we ate before, it was disappointing.
We ate silently while continuing to try and process our situation. It was still hard to believe that one of us was a murderer.
Aside from Marcus, that is.
The tension had seemed to calm down ever since Marcus was determined to be the target. Although it may have been selfish, it was hard to worry on his behalf. The relief of believing that your own life is safe is overwhelming. Rose is probably the only one who could worry about another person in this situation.
Breakfast wrapped up quickly. No one spoke a word so they chewed faster instead.
After everyone finished, Mary spoke again, ‘How does a party sound?’
‘Pardon?’ Marcus raised a brow. ‘Now hardly seems like the time.’
‘Yes, but I think that means we need one now more than ever. Everyone’s been tense since the murder, so how about we let loose a bit?’
Marcus folded his hands with a difficult expression.
‘That sounds like a great idea!’ Exclaimed Lilah.
‘Tomorrow would be good, right?’
‘Sounds good to me,’ I cut in. ‘Is that fine with everyone else?’
Everyone nodded in approval happily, except for Marcus who seemed reluctant but not willing to fight.
‘Then it’s settled,’ Mary folded her arms. ‘And before we go, how are we handling our next groups?’
‘Let’s go back to our groups before breakfast,’ Amelia said. ‘But also, I don’t really want to make meals for the rest of the day, so how should we handle that?’
Mary folded her arms, ‘Fine, then we can all just make our own. Whenever a group gets hungry the kitchen will be open.’
‘Alright, sounds good.’
After a quick ‘thank you,’ we got back into our groups and separated. I followed behind Mary and Lilah as they left the diner.
‘Where do you want to go?’ I asked.
‘Can we go to the pool?’ Mary proposed. ‘I want to get some exercise.’
‘Yay! Sounds good to me!’ Lilah cheered.
I nodded along as we made our way to the changing rooms. I was forced to separate with them there as they went into the girl’s room.
Swiftly changing so as not to make them wait, I entered the pool room to see that I was the first one there. I didn’t want to look too excited for the pool so I didn’t hop in before them. I simply pulled up a chair and waited.
‘I know women take longer to change but I've been waiting for several minutes now…’
Shuffling noises and Lilah’s giggles could be heard through the wall. It was impossible to tell what exactly they were doing in there, and the ambiguity of the sounds invited a mixture of feelings.
‘Come on~’ I heard Lilah’s muffled voice through the door.
‘Really…? Do I have to?’ Mary sounded embarrassed.
‘Come. On!’ Lilah’s voice made it clear that she was exerting a lot of physical force as the door swung open.
Lilah was pulling Mary by her arm out of the changing room. Lilah was wearing the same childish one-piece swimsuit as last time, but Mary wore something surprising. She was wearing a matching swimsuit with Lilah along with red cheeks exposing her embarrassment. It was a larger size, but they were the same in design. It was a cute pink one-piece covered in childish frills. Compared to her last swimsuit that was much more mature, it drove home the cutesy nature that much more.
Lilah put both her arms out pointing towards Mary like she was on display, ‘How does she look?’
Last night’s nightmare, or memory, was still fresh in my mind. Mary’s long black hair, slender body, and cute face forced me to double take. She was even blushing with more emotion than I’ve seen from her in a while. She looked just like…
‘Rose…?’ I couldn’t help but mutter.
Immediately realizing it, I placed my hand over my mouth and hoped they didn’t hear. Mary’s embarrassment subsided a bit and was replaced by a look of confusion.
Lilah looked disappointed as she puffed out her cheeks, ‘What’s with that reaction?’
‘N-nothing. You both look great.’
‘Thanks!’ Lilah laughed.
Suddenly, my stomach began to churn and I wasn’t in the mood to swim any longer. Seeing what must have been Rose’s doppelganger acting embarrassed and even wearing what Rose would have worn- my heart couldn’t take it.
Lilah ran and then jumped into the pool swimming down to the bottom. Mary slowly walked towards the edge to let herself in, but she stopped and turned to me.
‘Aren’t you going to join us? You’re wearing swim trunks.’
‘W-well,’ I stuttered with nervousness. I knew that she wasn’t actually Rose, but- ‘I’m not really feeling well anymore.’
She studied my face and then shrugged, ‘Suit yourself,’ as she slid in.
For the whole time we were in the pool room, I never entered the pool. Lilah attempted to get me in a few times, but I refused.
Mary immediately began to do laps across the length of the pool. Lilah raced her a few times but Mary never stopped. The entire time we were there she only did laps. Lilah cycled between races, diving, and aimless paddling.
Eventually, we were all hungry and went to make our own food.
I waited outside the pool room for them to change back into their clothes.
Lilah yawned as she exited the changing room, ‘Would you look at the time? We really spent a lot of time there. We completely skipped lunch!’
It was nearly dinner already so we hurried to the diner. Along the way we ran into the other group so we ate with them. It was another simple meal of sandwiches but we all made our own.
All of us decided to go to bed at the same time so we walked together towards the rooms. I stayed in the back of the line while following a small distance behind everyone else.
Amelia slowed her speed and started walking alongside me, ‘Hey… you’ve seemed a bit off today. Is everything all right?’
‘It’s probably because of the nightmare…’
‘Nah. I’m fine. Thanks for asking. But, there’s a lot going on, you know?’
‘Yeah,’ She sighed. ‘I know what you mean.’
Amelia seemed genuinely concerned for me. Not that I really needed it, but it was nice. We hadn’t really gotten much of a chance to see each other, being in different groups, but she noticed my odd behavior fast.
Lilah was the first one to throw open her door. She seemed as awake as ever despite cheering, ‘Goodnight!’
Everyone else followed her queue as they went into their rooms.
Mary and Amelia both looked at me while saying their goodnights.
I entered my room and locked the door behind me. I slid my hand against the rail on my bed anxiously. My hand shook with fear of having another nightmare.
Marcus’ loud voice called out to us through the walls, ‘Emergency.’ Despite what he said, he didn’t yell.
As we all gathered around, he stood in his doorway with his door opened.
Marcus pointed at the back of his door, ‘I tried to lock my door, but as you can see-’ he tugged with a bit of force and the bottom of the slide lock pulled loose. He continued, ‘Someone tore off my lock and glued it back on.’
‘I see…’ Mary put her hand on her chin. ‘They must have planned to kill you in your sleep. On the other hand though, this means that they don’t have any other way to kill. This was their last ditch plan.’
Alex joined in, ‘This confirms Marcus is the murderer’s target. So we’ll watch you extra carefully from now on. Tomorrow we can try to find out who did this. For now though, sleep in one of the extra rooms. I’m tired. Everyone else, check your lock too, just to be safe.’
After that quick interruption we said goodnights once again and went to sleep.
Luckily for me, I woke up the next morning without recollection of any dream I may have had.
Immediately, Mary woke us up at seven A.M. and we gathered in the diner.
‘To start us off,’ Mary broke the silence. ‘Who are our suspects?’
‘From memory,’ I began. ‘Alex went to the bathroom alone and… Mary notified us of dinner alone. Is that everyone?’ I was hesitant to throw Mary out as a suspect.
Amelia raised her hand politely, ‘I went to the bathroom alone in my group as well.’
‘Is that everyone now?’
‘Not exactly,’ Lilah grinned. ‘When we went to the pool, we were in the changing room for quite a long time, leaving you alone.’
‘So I’m a suspect too, huh?’
‘How long exactly did you leave him?’ Alex scoffed. ‘Do you really think he could have run to the workshop to grab supplies, head back to the second floor to rig the lock, and then run all the way back up in the time it took you two to change? We all saw how those stairs treated him on our first day.’
‘Well…’ Lilah pouted.
Mary reiterated, ‘That means our current suspects are Amelia, Alex, and I. That’s half of us…’
I added, ‘Although it doesn’t narrow the list at all, it is also clear that the glue used in the crime was taken from the workshop.’
Then suddenly it was silent. Nobody else had anything to add. We were no closer to figuring out who was doing this than day one.
Mary slapped both of her hands on the table and then stood up, ‘Let’s throw the party now. I think we all need to get our minds off of the current situation.’
Lilah’s eyes glowed with excitement, ‘Yay!’
Marcus placed his hand on his head sadly.
‘Sounds good to me,’ Alex said.
‘Me too,’ I added.
Mary smiled, ‘Then let’s do it like this. Amelia and Marcus make fun food. Alex and Lilah set the table. Daniel and I will prepare the drinks.’
Amelia tilted her head, ‘What constitutes “fun” food?’
Alex tilted his head as well, ‘Will setting the table be a big enough job for two people?’
I added in, ‘What kind of drinks do you need to prepare? We can’t have alcohol…’
Mary’s smile faded and her eyebrow twitched, muttering, ‘And I tried to do something nice…’ Catching herself she spoke louder, ‘I mean, “fun food” is food fit for a party. Get creative. You can decorate the table too for a more accurate party feel. And we can make non-alcoholic cocktails, perfect for a party.’
Most of us seemed skeptical that it would turn out well, but Lilah cheered.
Marcus sighed and headed to the kitchen to begin preparation.
With everyone on board we headed to our places. My group and Marcus’ were on opposite sides of the kitchen and Alex’s stayed in the diner.
I followed close behind Mary as she got out all of the ingredients in the kitchen.
Mary moved carefully and swiftly as she prepared the individual ingredients and set the workspace. The precise but fast movements revealed that she must have had a lot of practice. From behind, she looked just like Rose. I could imagine the smile on her face, even if it wasn’t there.
Mary turned to me with a look like she had something to say, but stopped as she saw my face.
She spoke in a gentle tone unfamiliar from her, but fitting well with her voice, ‘You’ve been acting a little strange lately. Are you alright?’
‘Yes… I’m fine. You just remind me of someone.’
‘Rose?’ She asked while tilting her head.
My heart nearly stopped at the familiar name being spoken by the familiar face, ‘H-how did you?’
‘You said the name yesterday, remember? Of course you do.’
‘Oh… yeah. It’s just that,’ Mary didn’t seem as stern as usual, her resemblance to Rose made her look almost like a clone. It made me want to open up to her. ‘You look just like someone that I knew. But, they’re dead now.’
Mary stared into my eyes. Her face sunk and she started to look broken up, ‘Oh… Sorry.’
‘Reminding you of her. That must be tough.’
‘No-no it’s alright. You don’t have to be sorry. It’s not your fault.’
She cast her gaze downwards.
Quickly trying to make up for ruining the mood, I tried to change the subject, ‘C’mon. Let’s get those party drinks ready! Alright?’
With Rose’s face, she looked up and smiled at me. She really did look great with a smile.
With her leading the way we made three different drinks in large bowls. There were serving ladles in each of them.
We looked at our work proudly as it was finished. Although, admittedly, she did do most of the work.
Mary added, ‘I’ll go grab cups. I’ll put our names on them so nobody accidentally steals someone else’s drink.’
‘Good idea. Want to go check on the other groups afterwards?’
We walked to the cupboard to grab the cups, though it was more of an extra room than a cupboard. Mary opened the door of a room filled with all kinds of cups and dishes. She walked in and swiftly came out with a stack of cups. I had never been in the room so I didn’t know where anything was located, but Mary cooked with her group before so I left getting the cups to her.
She had them all stacked inside of each other so she took them out and wrote everyone’s name on their own cup with a marker, then re-stacked them.
I grabbed a bowl of punch and we both took trips carrying the bowls and cups to the table.
Alex and Lilah had been done for a while and looked bored, so we left organizing the cups and bowls to them. Marcus and Amelia were nearly done cooking so everyone else took their seats for the time being.
Soon, it was all prepared. Marcus and Amelia carried out large platters. On one was a clearly homemade pizza and on the other was a cake.
The table was set with a pretty red cloth and everyone had a plate, napkins, and silverware set out at their chairs. The napkins were folded like origami into various animals. I took my seat next to Amelia and Mary. We weren’t separated by gender at the table anymore. I sat next to Amelia and Mary almost instinctively as they were the ones I had connected with the most.
‘Let’s party!’ Lilah exclaimed while reaching for the pizza.
With Lilah’s signal, everyone began to dig into their meal. The food wasn’t presented as well as William’s, but this time it tasted way better than expected.
‘Eating together like this… isn’t so bad.’
Halfway through the meal, everyone was happy and chatting to their heart's content. Even Alex and Marcus were having fun. Though I’m sure that I still didn’t look as happy as them, I tried my best to indulge in the moment.
For the first time in years, I began to forget about the past for a little bit. Having the presence of Mary made me calmer. I was able to focus on just the moment, on just Mary, happily. Things felt ‘back to normal.’
‘So, what kinds of things are you famous for, Mary?’ Amelia asked.
Mary suppressed a smile from the joy of showing off, ‘Well, I’ve fashioned numerous discoveries in various sophisticated sciences,’ With her display of vocabulary over, she continued. ‘But for real though, I specialize in chemistry and medicines while dabbling in some physics. I’ve made discoveries in medicine but mostly learned a lot of physics.’
‘I see!’ Amelia smiled. ‘That’s a lot better than me already.’
‘That’s not true!’ Mary asserted. ‘I’m a legitimate fan of your art. Not a lot of people talk about the actual worth or meaning of your art, just that you were young for being skilled. I had a similar problem while I was starting off my career so I was very interested in your work!’
‘Really?’ Amelia smiled with surprise. ‘I never thought someone like you would enjoy that type of art. I made a piece while I was here, so I could show it to you if you’d like.’
‘That sounds lovely!’
While the two of them talked, Marcus waved for me to come to him.
I grabbed my drink and slipped away from Mary and Amelia. Marcus was by himself while Lilah and Alex were chasing each other around the room and bickering.
‘What’s up?’ I asked.
‘The drinks you and Mary made were excellent. We’re almost out already.’
‘What,’ I scoffed playfully. ‘Do you want us to make more? Mary did most of the work though.’
‘No, no. It was just a compliment.’
‘Thanks. Your food was great too. The cake and the pizza are almost gone as well.’
‘Well, thank you also. I guess that makes us even,’ His smile faded a bit and he got a little more serious. ‘Um. Are you having a good time? You seem a little out of place. I’ve thought about it since the day we met. You never really smile or seem happy. Lately you’ve seemed to be a little happier, but I’m worried for you.’
‘Oh,’ That surprised me. By the look on his face and the tone in his voice, he was genuinely worried for me. It was hard to believe he’s a serial killer. ‘Thanks for your concern. I’m doing good, I just don’t invest a lot of emotion here.’
‘I don’t really get it, but I’m glad you’re alright. Even if you don’t feel comfortable talking to me, know that there are plenty of people that are here for you. Talk to someone if you ever need it. I know I’ll be here for you at least.’
We both went silent for a moment, but then I saw my opportunity. Finally alone with Marcus, I asked the question that had been on my mind since day one, ‘Why me? Why did you choose me out of the millions of other kids that showed potential for changing the future?’
‘Well,’ Marcus smiled. ‘With an ability like yours, you have the potential to do anything. But, most notably, you can teach. Being able to remember- to learn anything would make it much easier to teach the next generation. You could teach whatever you want and make a huge impact on the future. Not only that, but with a great memory you could also specialize in any field and make improvements. Your potential is infinite, just like the future.’
‘That’s nice to hear, but- I’ve already given up on the future,’ I thought to myself.
‘Thanks for saying so.’
Suddenly, Lilah tripped while running from Alex. A painfully loud thud resounded through the room. Everyone stopped chatting and immediately looked up.
‘I’ve got you now!’ Alex laughed, taking advantage of the opening.
He slowed down as he approached her, but she didn’t get up.
‘Hey… are you alright?’ Alex tried to hide the worry in his voice. He poked her several times but she didn’t move.
I couldn’t help but mutter to myself, ‘You’re just lying again… right?’
‘What’s going on? Are you alright?’ Marcus shouted.
Amelia stood up abruptly and called, ‘Lilah?!’ before losing strength and face planting into her plate.
Marcus’ eyes grew large as he stood up and he grabbed at his chest desperately, only to fall to the ground.
Mary looked uncomfortable before gently allowing herself to collapse like everyone else.
Alex put his hand up to his face as his whole body trembled, ‘P-poison…?’
Then he fell just like everyone else.
‘So suddenly…’ I whispered as I looked around the room at the sudden attack.
There I stood. Surrounded by everyone’s bodies.
‘This can’t be happening.’
I was the only one left.