I stood frozen in both fear and disbelief in my parent’s bedroom doorway. My lips quivered as the realization of what had happened began to sink in. There, only a few feet away from me, laid my parents covered in a bloody white sheet as the coroner and the police officers stood around them. “Get her out of here,” an officer ordered one of the many other cops in the room, but I didn’t move. I couldn’t move no matter how much I told myself to get out of there, instead I began to scream and cry while pushing against the officers so I could get to my parents.
This can’t be happening. This can’t be real. I thought. Just six hours ago, we were celebrating me graduating from high school. I was valedictorian and had just gotten into the University of Pennsylvania with a full ride. We talked about spending my last summer before college on a cruise or in Egypt because I had always wanted to see the pyramids since my name was that of an Egyptian queen. Then my friend Beth called and invited me to this stupid party that Liam, a boy I had been crushing on forever, who didn’t know I existed or at least pretended like I didn’t exist, would be and he would also be attending my university in the fall, so I went. Why did I go? If I had been here, they would still be alive. I thought to myself, as the tears began to pour down my face like a geyser. Suddenly, my knees went weak and I felt numb. The entire room began to spin and before I knew it, it was dark.
“Neffi? Neffi,” A voice that I recognized as my roommate Taylor said, shocking me back to the present. It had been five months since my parents were murdered and the police still didn’t have any leads; instead, they blamed it on some wild animal attack. Yes, there were wild animals in Canada, but there was no way a wild animal got into our house, climbed to the second floor, murdered my parents, leaving their bodies whole and lying side by side in their bed. Then there were the claw marks on their necks which were too clean. If anything, the only wild animal would have been Wolverine, but since he was a made-up comic book character, that left the entire town and, as far as I knew, no one had a grudge against my parents. They were the sweetest people in the world.
“Neffi?” Taylor said, which I was grateful for because I felt the urge to cry.
“Sorry, Taylor, what were you saying?” I asked, softly. We were sitting in a large auditorium with about a hundred other students, listening to the instructor talk about a murder case that took place 50 years ago. After my parents’ murder, I changed my major from business to criminology, because I was sure that if my parents’ killer was going to be caught, I would have to be the one to do it.
“Are you coming to the party tonight?” Taylor asked. Taylor was a short petite girl who changed her hair color as often as she changed clothes, and that was often. She was a party girl who had come from a large city somewhere in the states, but I couldn’t remember where because I stopped listening after she told me her name. When I talked about college with my friends back in Dawson City, I told them that I would be the life of the party. I had spent all my life with my head in the books, because I was determined to go to the same college that my parents had met. After I got in, I was determined to go to at least three parties a week; however, now the very idea of going to a party reminded me of that night. My aunt told me that I should take a year off and clear my head, but the last thing I wanted was to stay in a town that I no longer felt safe in, with people I no longer trusted. So, the moment classes started I high tailed it out of there without so much as a goodbye.
“No thanks,” I said, politely. She had been trying to get me to go to a party ever since I got there, but my response had always been the same. It wasn’t like I studied; in fact, I did nothing but spend my days learning as much as I could about animal attacks and staged animal attacks.
“Come on, Neffi. This is freshman year. A college party is your birthright. Besides, there are always a lot of hot guys at these parties and this one is supposed to be at the old abandoned mill,” She said, just as the bell rang and we were dismissed from class.
I sighed, then grabbed my books and stood to leave, “That’s nice, but I’m not really interested in meeting any hot guy,” I retorted.
“Okay, there are girls there too if they are more your spend,” she teased.
“Funny, but no, I just don’t feel like being around people. I have a lot of work to do and midterms are next week,” I reminded her, as if I actually cared. It wasn’t that the assignments were hard, if I truly applied myself or even cared about anything but the deep depression I felt in my heart, I would have aced all my classes by now, but I didn’t care and there was nothing anyone could say or do that would change my mind.
“Ms. Hill, may I have a word with you?” Prof. Young said, from beside me. He was a tall man with salt and pepper hair and quite handsome for a man who was probably approaching 50. He had a lean figure and always dressed in a suit. The girls in class called him professor hottie and would fight over the chance to be called down to the floor as a volunteer, Taylor included. I didn’t even know he knew my name nor what I looked like, considering I hadn’t turned in an assignment since the first day of class.
“Sure thing, Taylor, I’ll catch you later,” I said, happy to have escaped the conversation, but at the same time afraid of what the professor had to say.
“Okay, and we can talk about this later,” Taylor said, smiling stupidly at the professor before following the rest of the student body out the classroom, leaving me alone with the most sought-after professor in the entire school.
When everyone left, I followed the Prof. out of the large auditorium and into an office space just a few feet away. The office was a nice size with a desk in the middle, with a computer monitor on top of it, and photos on every wall. There was also a bookshelf full of books that I would expect a criminology professor to read. The room itself smelt of lavender with a mix of vanilla, which was unexpected, but who was I to judge a book by its cover? “Please,” he said, ushering me towards a seat in front of his desk as he sat behind it, while straightening his tie in the process. I then flopped in the seat and stared at him waiting for the normal questions to come from a professor whose student wasn’t doing any of their assignments. “Ms. Hill, do you truly want to be here?” He asked, unsurprisingly.
“Yes,” I said dryly.
“Are you sure, because over the past couple of months you have done nothing to prove that and your scholarship is pending on you passing all your classes. So far you are failing everything,” he said, with a concerned look in his fiery blue eyes.
“Then I can pay for it out of pocket,” I said, with a shrug. Before my parents were murdered, they left me everything, which totaled to over $100 million dollars. Granted, I couldn’t touch it until I was 21, but I still had money from selling the house to help pay for college.
“Ms. Hill, is this a game to you? Do you know how many students would kill to go to this school and you aren’t doing anything,” he said, shaking his head disappointedly and I laughed cynically. “Ms. Hill this is not a joke, this is serious. Your actions could have you suspended or expelled. What would your parents think?”
“My parents are dead,” I said, glaring at him as if he were the killer and not a professor I’d just met three months ago.
His expression changed from one of disappointment to that of pity and sympathy, a look I hated more than anything. It was the same look people back home had given me when they found out about my parents. Even Liam had given me that look and attempted to talk to me, but I pushed him away. I didn’t want their sympathy; I wanted the murderer to pay for what he did.
“I’m sorry to hear about that. When did they die?” He asked, a lot less hostel than earlier.
“They were murdered five months ago in their bed. Is there anything else you want sir?” I asked, as I grabbed my bag and rose to my feet.
“Murdered?” He asked, staring up at me with those stupid sympathetic eyes.
“I will do my work and turn in my assignments, now if you’ll excuse me, I have a class to get to,” I said, with the same hostility in my voice, before walking out the room, leaving him sitting there looking stupid.