Chapter Twenty-Four

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When the Party's Over


The majority of the human population have one. Whether it's from your first fishing trip with your dad or a scrape on the knee from the playground. Scars are like roadmaps of our history, hidden diagrams of pain long forgotten.

You see, most of our wounds heal and the scars on our skin are left as the only reminder of the tears we shed.

Except, some scars stay. Sometimes we carry the pain on our shoulders until the weight is too much to bare.

But, what happens then? What happens when the pain is too heavy to handle? Honestly, I've yet to find the answer.

I have three scars on my body.

The first one is on my ankle. Elliot and I were climbing trees at the back of Crystal Lake and, if I close my eyes, I can still feel the bark beneath my hands, still remember how my stomach flipped as I lost grip and fell to the ground.

On the way down, my ankle caught on a stray branch and tore wide open. One trip to the hospital and five stitches later, I suddenly had a scar I'd carry for the rest of my life.

But I kept my skin pretty clean after that, like an artist's blank canvass. I was too scared to see the hot, red blood that poured from my skin again, so I became cautious, weighing many options in my mind before making a decision.

That is, of course, until the crash.

My second scar is surgical.

I didn't know it at the time, but my right lung collapsed as the car flew into the water; the doctors said it was from the impact of the airbag crashing into my chest – which is funny, when you think about it, because I thought they were meant to save your life, not make you sicker.

And my third scar? My third scar is on my wrist.

I grit my teeth and try not to pick at my scab. It's been twenty-four hours since Eden went missing and, here I am, sat in the lounge, doing absolutely nothing.

The police say I can't do any more than they already are, but maybe they're not looking in the right places – maybe, if they'd just let me out for half an hour, then I already would have found her and Woodcreek wouldn't be the media's main attraction of news outlet.

I sigh, throwing my phone on the sofa next to me. Its screen blares with the caption: Student Missing in Woodcreek – is this the third victim of Colorado's Killer?

God, it's stupid.

If they'd just let me go looking when Eden disappeared in the first place, then maybe I'd have my best friend right here beside me and none of this would be happening. Maybe I'd be able to tell her all the things I haven't gotten the chance to – maybe we'd have the time to know each other outside of this place we call hell.

I'm not stupid, though. I know what the officers see when they look at me with their narrowed, grey eyes. They see a suspect, with all three possible victims linked. They see a girl overcoming a mental breakdown – a girl who's liable for another.

Perhaps that's why they've refused to let me out – maybe they're scared I'll try to run away. Hell, they wouldn't even let Amy in when she came to visit.

I could hear her high-pitched protest from the common room: I am her senior mentor, she said. Haley needs me now more than ever – do you know what that girl's been through? Have you seen her file? If anything bad happens to her – and I mean anything at all – it's your fault for not letting me in.

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