Laura Parker Hill 2020

Quiet Alice

A detective/romance story

“When atoms approach one another closely, the electron clouds interact with each other and with the nuclei…Ivy, are you listening? This will matter once you finish high school.” Mr Bolognese said. God I hated science. It was by far the worst subject. Except for maths.

“How is hearing your voice ramble on about atoms actually going to help me get a job?” I said. Mr Bolognese turned red.

“Young lady that is not tolerated in my class. Get out and go to the principal’s office.” He said.

I rolled my eyes and stood up. “Anything to get out of this fascinating conversation about atoms.” and with that, I walked down the aisle and accidently bumped a girls books off the desk. Papers from within the books scattered everywhere. They had symbols and lines everywhere all over them. I didn’t want to deal with it so I kept walking. Stupid teachers. They didn’t know anything. The walls to the end of the hallway where the principal’s office stood were made of brick. Normally I ran my hand along them and counted how many bricks there were in that line. 1...2...3. I was walking very slowly. No one is ever in a rush to get to the principal’s office.

7...8...9. I wondered how many times I had been in that room. 15…16…17. Surely more than 20 times in the past three months. 19…20…21. I was almost there. I saw the waiting seat outside the door. My name should probably be carved in that thing. 27…28…29…30. Huh. That was funny. I had reached the end of the hallway and I had only counted 30 bricks. Normally I would be up to 45 by now. Oh well, I probably just miscounted.

I sat on the chair and rang the bell to notify the principal that I was waiting. I heard movement coming from inside the room. The door swang open and my maths teacher Mr Pesto stormed out looking quite furious. He stopped and fumbled with his notebook he always had on him. The one covered in the weird symbols. He glared at me as he walked past. Okay. That just happened. I walked in. The principal sighed as he saw me.

“Again Ivy? Really? What did you do this time?” He asked me. I took a seat and explained what I did.

“Ivy, Ivy, Ivy. Look, you’re going to be given a detention but if this happens again, you will be suspended. Understood?” he said. I nodded.

“Yes principal Fettuccini.” I replied. Stupid boarding school. Where would I go if I was suspended? Live in my dorm? I walked out and headed towards the detention room. I opened the door and sagged. “Of course.” I said. Ollie was already sitting inside. Ollie was the ‘bad boy’ in this school and not to mention, he had a huge crush on me. His face lit up when he saw me.

“Hey Ivy! Come sit next to me!” he said.

“Do I have a choice?” I muttered and took a seat. He gave me one of his looks.

“What are you in her for sugar lump?” he asked.

“I told you to stop calling me that…I spoke to a teacher rudely. How about you.” I asked annoyed.

“I broke a window on purpose. I don’t know why. I just felt like it.” He said coolly. Of course. Always trying to impress. We sat in silence for a few minutes. I waited for the teacher to come in and make us write lines but he didn’t come.

“What is taking Mr Pesto so long?” I asked Ollie. He shrugged.

“Like I would know. Maybe he had a meeting or something.” Ollie replied. I nodded and crossed my arms. We both were getting inpatient. Then, I heard something horrible.

“AHHHH!” someone screamed. It came from another room. I instantly stood up. I knew a real scream when I heard one. I walked out of the classroom and Ollie got up and followed.

“Where are you going? That wasn’t a real scream…was it?” he asked. I ignored him and kept running down the hall. I stopped at the library where I heard the scream came from. I opened the door and to my horror I saw a girl lying on a table dead. I recognised her. She was the girl whose papers knocked off the table as I walked past her.  I covered my mouth in shock when I realised why she was dead. There was a knife sticking out of her back.

“Ollie…get help.” I said to him, my voice shaking. I walked over towards her and I noticed some blood dribbling down her arm. I rolled up her sleeve carefully and saw a symbol carved of her forearm, dripping with blood. I froze. I knew this symbol. Where had I seen it before? I heard Ollie run out of the classroom with a quick “Ah hell”. I tried to remember, but I couldn’t. Maybe this symbol was from a book I’d read or something. I walked around the body to see if I could find any clues. About 2 minutes later, when I heard Ollie coming back with some teachers, I noticed something in the girl’s pocket. I snatched it out and opened it. It was a riddle.

“Ivy! Are you all right? What exactly happened here-” my English teacher said from behind me. She stopped dead in her tracks as she saw the body. I quickly shoved the riddle in my pocket.

“Oh my goodness. Alice.” she reached in her pocket and pulled out her phone. I saw her type in 911.

Everything was a blur after that. The police and ambulance arrived, school was cancelled for the day because of all the commotion, and all the students thought I had something do to with this murder, because I was ‘witch girl’. Only Ollie and I knew that we both had nothing to do with the murder.

From what I’d heard, the girls name was Alice. She was in a lot of my classes. I came up with a nickname for her when I first saw her. Well, I had made a lot of nicknames for a lot of different people. I called her quiet Alice. She was always on her own, like me and she never, ever spoke. We could’ve probably been friends. I could’ve even made the effort to say hi. Even if I wanted to, it was too late now. But she wouldn’t have wanted to be my friend. No one wants to be witch girls friend. Well, except Ollie. But that was completely different.

I was sitting in my dorm. My dorm-mate wasn’t here yet. She probably knew I was in here. I pulled out the slip of paper in my pocket. I read it.

When red and white meet on the right,

There is one light that will always shine bright,

On October 29th,

A sad sudden cry,

Will signal the end of Nye

 

What on earth? What was this supposed to mean? Was it just something Alice liked to keep in her pocket? I didn’t think so. The killer may have planted for us to see. This could be a clue. I jumped up and raced to the library. There where policemen everywhere. I went to enter the library but a hand stopped me.

“Sorry Miss. No one can enter here.” a policemen said. I scoffed.

“Look mister, I have something that could contribute to this murder and I think the detective would want me to show him. Now would you please let me through to go speak with him?” I asked in a sort of rude way. The policemen sighed.

“Fine. Go.” He said. I nodded in appreciation and raced to the table Alice was lying on. There was a guy inspecting it and was holding a little notepad. Now that was a detective.  

“Excuse me detective, I think I have something you might want to see.” I said to him. He looked up at me.

“What is it?” he asked. I pulled out the slip of paper and showed him. He read it carefully.

“And where’d you find this thing kid?” he asked.

“In her pocket. I was the student who found her and I saw something in her pocket and this is it.” I said to him. He didn’t say anything for a while. He just looked at me. Finally he spoke.

“Look kid. This isn’t something to joke around about. Now go and put your fake riddle in the bin and leave.” he said. I couldn’t believe it. How dare he speak to me like that and accuse me for making something up.

“No.” I said back to him.

“Excuse me?” he replied.

“No! Look, I didn’t know this kid and I didn’t even bother to say hi to her. I didn’t come here where I’m not allowed to be just to get told that I’m making this all up. You need to trust me. I…I think this killer is planning to kill someone else and if you just dismiss it, their murder will be on your hands and you don’t want that.” I said firmly. The detective looked quite shocked. It wasn’t every day that someone came up and retaliated against his wish.

“I, uh fine. Just give me a second.” he said. He read the paper again.

“Alright, I’ll take this and you can go back to your dorm or whatever.” he said. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to solve this case. Maybe it was because I felt so guilty of not speaking to her, and if someone else was going to die, I wanted to at least make sure I was nice to them.

“I…I can help! Please, just give me one chance, we could be a team, I can help!” I pleaded to him. He sighed.

“You’re not gonna stop are you?” he said. I nodded.

“Fine.” he said. I grinned.

“Oh! There was a symbol, carved on her arm when I found her, did you see it?” I asked. He nodded.

“We’ve seen this symbol before. We’ve had a couple of other murders that have the same symbol carved on the arm. Those cases haven’t gone anywhere though.” he replied. I looked at the clock on the wall. Dang. Afternoon tea already.

“Well I’ve got to go. Will you be here tomorrow?” I asked him. He nodded so I skipped out of the library feeling quite happy.

After food, I went straight to my dorm and lay in bed. I kept thinking about the poem. What did it mean? Who was Nye? All I knew is we’d have to figure it out soon. October 29th was tomorrow. I wondered what Alice was even doing in the library. She was meant to be in class at that time. She probably ‘went to the toilet’ and ditched. That symbol seemed so familiar to me. I wished I remembered. It reminded me of the symbols all over Alice’s papers…wait that was it! The symbol was drawn on her papers! I jumped out of bed and raced to the library. Hopefully the detective was still there. Unfortunately, no one was their except Alice’s body but lucky for me her books were lying on the floor next to her. I would need to be sneaky, no one was allowed to be here. I carefully made my way there and I picked up the books. I pulled out the loose papers inside and took a good look.

“Oh my god.” I stared at the papers. She knew about everything. All the past murders with the symbols. According to her research, there was a gang called Symbol Slayers. They killed innocent people and messed with the police. Apparently one of the gang members where at the school! They must’ve killed her because she was getting so close to figuring it out! But who was it?

“Oi! You’re not supposed to be in there!” a sharp voice said. Dang it. I quickly shoved the papers up my jumper and turned around to see Marven, the schools janitor standing in the doorway. He beckoned me with his finger. I slowly walked up to him.

“Detention for trespassing in a crime scene. Don’t come here again!” he yelled. I shuffled past him and walked towards the principal’s office…again. This time I just walked there not bothering to count the bricks. I rang the bell and waited. I looked at the door and froze.

Nye Fettuccini’s office

Nye was our principal! That meant that he was the next victim! I needed to warn the detective. I ran towards the staffroom, hoping that he and the police would be there. I heard Nye’s door open but I was too far away for him to stop me now. I skidded into the staffroom, and looked up. Bingo! He was standing next to the sink sipping a cup of coffee.

“Detective! I found Nye! He’s the principal!” I told him. He choked on his drink,

“What? That’s great! Now we just need to find the killer.” he replied.

“About that, I think I understand part of the riddle. Sometime after 3:00, there’s a bird that cry’s. It’s been living here for a while and every night, it gives this sudden cry that scares me every time. I think it’s called The Screaming Piha and I think that it’s from the riddle!” I exclaimed. He raised his eyebrow, impressed.

“Great job! Now we just have to catch that killer.”

I sat down on an empty table. The dinner hall wasn’t as busy as normal. I kept thinking about the riddle. What did it mean?  I didn’t even notice Ollie sitting down next to me.

“Hey, you alright?” he asked.

“Yeah. How are you?” I replied. Ollie could be caring sometimes.

“I’m good. Are you sure you’re alright? You kept on frowning before.”

“Ollie, I’m good. You should probably head to bed soon. It’s almost curfew.”

Tick, tock.

“You should too. Don’t want to annoy old Marven. He’ll keep that clock going for ages.” Ollie said.

 Clock. Marven. Clock. Ticking.

“Oh my god. Ollie you’re the best!” I said. I jumped up and sprinted out of the hall. Ollie ran after me. I ran outside to the courtyard. The clock. Of course! There was a huge clock outside the main building. It signalled when to go to classes and everything. The middle hand was red and the hour hand was white. Of course!

“When red and white meet on the right…that would be…3:15. Which points in the direction of the maths building.” I said to myself. I ran towards the maths building with Ollie behind me, struggling to understand what on earth was happening.

“There is one light that will always shine bright.” I paced down the hallway, looking at all the lights on the ceiling. I stopped.

“Got you.” I said. I was standing outside an office, the light just above the door shone brighter than all the other lights. I looked at the door and saw the label. It read;

Drake Pesto’s office

 

Of course. Why didn’t I think of that! He wanted to replace Nye as the new principal. What other way to do it other than kill him?

 

“Haha, I did it. I cracked the code.” I said.

 

“I’m so confused. What do you mean?” Ollie asked.

 

“I’ll tell you on the way. Come on. We need to get to the detective.” And with that I ran back to the staffroom. The only problem was that no one was there.

“Are you kidding? He was here like 10 minutes ago!” I complained. I guess it would have to wait until the morning. I just hoped nothing bad would happen overnight.

 

 

“What!? How could he be dead?” my voice wobbled.

 

“I’m sorry, he was leaving the premises and he was stabbed.” the police said. I couldn’t believe it. How could the detective be dead? We were so close! I just needed to tell this police who the killer was.

 

“I know who the killer is. I was coming to tell him but I couldn’t find him anywhere.” I said.

 

“Who is it?”

 

“Mr Pesto. He left a riddle behind and I solved it. It’s him. If you need proof, I’ll happily show you.” I said. The policeman nodded and I lead him to the clock.

 

I watched Mr Pesto get handcuffed and dragged out of his office.

 

“Imbeciles! Let me go!” he yelled. I saw his book he always carried lying on the floor. The symbols from Alice’s book and arm where drawn all over it. So that’s where I’d seen them. I loved seeing him being taken away. I never trusted him in the first place. I quite liked doing the detective work. It was fun. Maybe I could become a detective when I grew up. Then I would have to listen to Mr Bolognese’s talk about atoms after all.