01 ; Chapter One

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Song of the chapter is Car Radio by Twenty One Pilots


   "Pandora White was anything but what her name would suggest. Pandora was an extraordinarily vibrant girl with a zest for life. I am sure that every single one of you present will feel the same when I say we are all shocked by what cruel acts another person could be capable of. Pandora is not just an example of someone who was much too young to pass, but an example of a young woman who was both beautiful inside and out," Father Alan said from the podium on the altar of St. Patrick's Church. I could hear his words, but I wasn't really taking anything he was saying in because this should not be happening. I was only eighteen and my best friend since primary school was dead. There was no way that this was real. I felt like I was in some weird nightmare as I stood emotionlessly in the Church. If this was real life I would have been crying but I haven't cried at all. I haven't shed any tears since I found out that she was gone.

All too soon, it was my turn to speak. I had been asked by Mr and Mrs White if I would say a few words about Pandora and my mother had basically wrote my speech for me as I refused to believe that she was dead. How could I?

"Pandora was my best friend," I started. My voice was low and I coughed in an attempt to raise it. The paper in my hands shook frantically along with my entire body as I felt every single pair of eyes on me at the podium. "We made friendship bracelets together when we were eight, we had gone to see our favourite boy band together when we were eleven and we had even spent countless nights in each other's houses sharing secrets."

I couldn't help but stumble over the word secrets. God knows Pandora had a lot of them. At that moment, I looked out to the crowded church of mourners. I immediately made eye contact with the two officers dressed in black suits at the back of the Chapel. I had been introduced to them several days ago when I was informed that they would be investigating Pandora's case. The woman in the black pencil skirt had auburn hair which she always seemed to have tied up in a tight up-do and the man beside her wore his stoic expression like it was an accessory he couldn't live without.

Desperate to drop eye contact, I looked over to the other side of the church and made eye contact with him; the man who had singlehandedly ruined my life for the last several months as I tried to uphold my normal self. But how could I look in his green eyes which matched my own after discovering what he had done?

How could I ever trust my own brother when he had forced himself on my best friend?

With a deep intake of breath I looked back at the paper shaking in my hands and tried to continue with the scripted speech. "We had so many memories and plans for the future. I loved her like a sister. She was there for me when it felt like the world was against me and for that I will always be grateful. Pandora's passing will always be a personal loss to me. I will never forget Pandora, and I doubt anyone who knew her will forget her either."

I rambled through the last of the speech before struggling to get down from the Church altar in the black heels which pinched at my toes. Instead of going back down to my seat, I quietly continued to walk down the middle of the Church, passing both my brother Jake and the officers who had stared at me throughout my speech until I was outside in the bitter air.

The weather was appropriate for the day in that the sky was an ominous grey and rain was heavily beating down from the clouds, bouncing on the roof and pavement. I stood under the porch of the Church and searched around in my black pinstripe blazer pocket for a cigarette and a lighter.

I had never been a fan of smoking but Pandora White was nothing if not persuasive. Her bad habits had an effect on me and when she first started to smoke when she was sixteen, I was soon to follow.

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