15 | Roland

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Roland woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, his eyes squinting against the sunrise peeking in through his window and his mind replaying the events of the night before. Specifically, the words of the other seniors warning him against going to the police.

"We don't go to the cops until we have tangible proof of what we know."

But the events of the previous night were ingrained in Roland's mind, just waiting for him to let them out. To tell someone. He didn't want to go against the group—but at the same time, he didn't want to end up with worse injuries than Lindsey and Michael had suffered.

He didn't want to end up dead.

He rolled over to see a text from Jordan waiting, probably one that she had sent to the entire group. Roland wasn't going to get his hopes up about the secret love of his life texting him personally.

 Roland turned off his phone and sat up, wondering what had made Jordan so sick when she had appeared to be fine just an hour before she sent that text

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Roland turned off his phone and sat up, wondering what had made Jordan so sick when she had appeared to be fine just an hour before she sent that text.

He shook his head and got up, preparing for the day ahead of him. It may have been a weekend, but he was about to do more work than he had ever done before in his entire life.

Or, at least, he was going to do something far braver than anything he had ever done before in his entire life.

He was going to go to the police. Screw what everyone else thought; they were kids. The cops were professionals who could help.

At least, they were supposed to be professionals who could help.

***

"Hi. I'm looking for an Officer Hayden Barlow."

Officer Barlow was the only name that Roland could remember, and he felt nervous and sweaty with the precinct receptionist peering at him over her wire-rimmed glasses as if he were a bug stuck on the bottom of her loafers. He figured that asking for a specific officer would be more impressive and lead to him being taken more seriously than if he just asked to speak with anyone.

"One moment, sir." The receptionist stood and teetered away in the direction of at least thirty uniformed officers milling around, sipping coffee and chatting animatedly about their plans for the night after they got off of work.

Roland wasn't even sure if Barlow would be working on a weekend.

"Mr. Green!" Roland spun around to see the receptionist returning to her desk with Hayden Barlow right behind her. "What can I do for you this morning?"

"Officer Barlow, thank you for seeing me." Roland nodded politely, "I—"

"It's Detective Barlow now, but no problem." Barlow nodded, "Why don't we go into my office?"

Roland nodded and followed the detective through the precinct until they reached a small office in the back of the building. Barlow closed the door behind Roland and took a seat behind a large wooden desk, inviting the high schooler to sit across from him.

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