"Her dad is a murderer," whispered a tall girl with brown hair tied back in a braid.
I froze, my heart leaping into my throat.
"I heard he got out on a technicality," another girl said in a hushed voice.
A third girl joined in the conversation, speaking just loud enough for me to hear. "I heard the police are looking at him for that dead girl they found in the woods."
My mouth went dry and my stomach flip flopped.
With a flip of her braid, the brunette rolled her eyes. "I bet he did it. It's only a matter of time before he goes back in. You know what they say, 'Once a criminal, always a criminal.'"
Ducking my head, I tried to walk out of the cafeteria in a slow, calm manner, but as soon as I turned the corner, I ran as fast as my legs would carry me.
My sneakers squeaked under my feet as my footsteps echoed through the empty halls of the senior wing of my high school.
"Calla, stop!" called a familiar voice.
I wanted to, but I couldn't. I had to get away from the horrible gossip, the rumors, the intolerable people in my high school.
A hand slammed down on my shoulder and pulled me backward. "Calla, slow your roll!"
I spun around with tears streaming down my cheeks. "Rowan, please, just leave me alone."
"Who was it this time?" he asked, furrowing his brow.
I dropped my gaze and wiped my wet cheeks with the backs of my hands.
Rowan reached forward and tipped my chin up. "Who was it, Calla?"
"Freshman," I said, pausing. "I don't even know their names."
My best friend slung his arm over my shoulders. "Do you want me to take you home?"
Fishing a tissue out of my oversized backpack, I blew my nose. "No, I have to get to chem class. If I miss too much more, I'm going to fail."
Concern flashed through Rowan's eyes. "Did you eat anything?"
I shook my head.
Rowan sighed and dropped his backpack. He bent over, unzipped it, and dug around for a few seconds before producing a squished granola bar. "Here," he said, shoving it toward me.
"Thanks," I responded, knowing better than to disagree with him.
"I'll walk you to chem, okay?" he said, giving me a lopsided smile.
I stared into Rowan's deep green eyes. "Thanks, Row."
He zipped up his backpack and straightened up his lanky form. "Any time, Calla. Any time."
As I followed my best friend through the hallways of Jackson High School, I tried to make myself as small as possible. I wanted to fade into the lockers. I wanted to disappear. Anything to erase my identity as, "The Murderer's Daughter."
Thank you for reading the first chapter of my new book, CRIMINAL!
Let me know what you think in a comment below!
Hearts and Daggers,
Kelly Anne Blount xoxo
P.S. This novel was on hold, but is back! I'll be updating regularly from this point forward.
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CRIMINAL (Back On)Horror
"The Murderer's Daughter." That's how Calla Vinson is known around the halls of Jackson High School. Unable to hide from her father's past murder conviction and prison stint, Calla does her best to avoid the relentless bullies and survive the final...