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Casey’s POV

                “So..” Red drawled, “did you hear about the murder at the park?”

                I choked on the banana smoothie I had been sipping, coughing and sputtering.

                “What?” I asked once my throat was clear.

                She played with her hair, the ends now dyed a light green. She purposely hesitated, and I could see mischief in her eyes.

                “The murder,” she repeated finally.

                “What murder?” Just that word made my throat feel as if it was closing up, although I couldn’t fathom why. I’ve read murder mystery novels before, hell, I love shows like Castle, which is all about murder. So why did I feel like my  heart was starting to pound, my chest starting to ache?

                Red shrugged, taking a long sip of her strawberry smoothie. Then she looked around the food court warily, as if she was expecting people to be listening in to our conversation. She leaned closer, beckoning for me to do the same.

                “I heard,” she began, filling the air with suspense, “that a murder happened yesterday in the park.”

                Murder. Yesterday. Park. Those three words made the back of my head feel a physical pain, and I could already feel a headache coming on. But why? Why was I reacting like this?

                “Who? When?” I managed to say almost normally. My throat felt a bit scratchy, but I needed to know. I needed to know. It was as if my entire body was burning for an answer.

                Red shrugged again, sitting back in her seat. “Some jogger, I think her name was Jennifer? Jamie? Joan? I don’t know, I can’t remember. But my dad was reading the newspaper this morning and he told me all about it. I think the coroner person said the time of death was like 3:30 yesterday afternoon.”

                I felt my blood run cold.

                “Was… was her name Johanna?”

                Red’s eyes lit up, and she sat upright. “Yeah, that was it! Oh, so you did know about the murder.”

                I shook my head, gulping.  “N-no, I d-didn’t,” I choked out, starting to hyperventilate. Why did I know her name? What is this panicky feeling that’s consuming my chest? Why can’t I breathe? What’s wrong with me?

                “Hey,” Red said tentatively, “are you alright?”

                I shook my head again, my brown hair flying. I saw an electric blue blur from where I got the ends of my hair dyed swish around before I forced my eyes shut. I felt a scream welling up inside of me, felt the need to just let it out if only to relieve some of the hysteria.

                “I- I need to go,” I said quickly, standing up and leaving the table. I just felt the need to run, to just not be here right now. I didn’t know where I was planning on going, or what I was even feeling.

                I heard the door clang against the wall as I rushed into the mall’s bathroom, hurling myself into a stall. I leaned against the door, and the world seemed to spin.

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