Chapter 5

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Isabelle stared at her blank television, mindlessly gazing at her reflection through the dark, tinted screen. She'd been staring at the blank screen for almost an hour and couldn't remember the last time she'd slept for more than two hours. She'd steadily become accustomed to the deafening silence in her home, a common occurrence for the past week. News reporters and nosy neighbors have been swarming their home ever since the news of her sister struck, the memory of that night etched forever into her brain.

A heavy knock on the door distracted Isabelle from her homework as she made her way down the stairs, hearing her parents already in discussion with someone in the doorway.

"I'm sorry to bother you, Mr. and Mrs. Holland, but I need a word with your daughter, Audrey." The man said, and Isabelle recognized him from around town, but she never figured out who he is.

"Audrey isn't home right now; she went out with some friends." Her mother timidly replied.

"Would those friends happen to be Cayla Ross, Madison Rhodes and Ethan Rogers?" He questioned.

"That's them, is everything alright?" Her father questioned, concern evident in his tone.

"I'm afraid that Madison and Ethan's bodies were discovered earlier this morning, and your daughter was one of the last to see them alive."

Isabelle felt her chest tightening as she clutched her silver star necklace firmly in her hand, taking deep breaths to compose herself as several emotions simultaneously swept through her.

"I'm sorry to break this news to you." The man spoke, a genuine look of sympathy flashed across his face. "But your daughter is the main suspect for the murder."

Isabelle ran her fingers through her hair and shut her eyes to stop any forming tears from escaping. She nervously tapped her fingers against her knees, trying her best to soothe her unnerved mind but nothing seems to be of help. She doesn't know what to make of the mess her sister has created, and she doesn't know what to believe anymore.

*********************

Hazel walked into the police department, greeting the officers as she passed them. She'd become familiar with all her brother's colleagues as she would often come down to the station after school to check up on him. Lately he'd been working extra shifts which means she doesn't get to see him as often as she used to, and the desolate home brought her an unwanted feeling of anguish.

She searched through her bag for her cellphone, stopping in her place to ensure she doesn't stampede into anyone on the way. She started to panic when she couldn't find her mobile device, but once she got a firm grip on it, she released a thankful sigh of relief. She scrolled through her phone to search for any new updates when she noticed a new article posted two hours ago. She curiously opened it and started to read through the lengthy article, but the headline is what caught her attention.

Local Teens Wanted for Murder.

Underneath the headline was a picture of two girls, one extremely familiar to Hazel... Aubrey Holland.

"Hey, new girl." The voice captured her attention as she glanced up from her glaring screen and into the familiar hazel eyes of Shaun Green.

"What are you doing here?" She asked in pure curiosity, placing her phone back into her bag.

"Carmen needed a ride, apparently they have more questions for her." He spoke pointing to the door that had the words detective Jared Walker written on a shiny gold plaque.

"How is she feeling?" She timidly asked as she sat in the uncomfortable seat next to him, gently placing her back next to her feet.

"She's been acting a bit strange, but I guess its normal after what she's been through."

She nodded her head in thought before slouching back in the seat and nervously played with the ends of her hair as she waited for her brother to finish up. She still feels uncomfortable around Shawn, like there is something about him that screams trouble.

"Why are you here, new girl?" He asked after a long moment of silence.

"My brother is the detective." She spoke before resuming her nervous habit of hair twirling.

"That must suck." He spoke with a booming laugh which echoed throughout the station. "But it makes sense."

"What does?" She immediately questioned.

"You're a good girl, so it only makes sense your brother is a cop." He spoke leaning forward in his seat. "I wouldn't be shocked if your parents are doctors or something."

His words hit a nerve, and she had to will herself not to collapse onto the ground and turn into a sobbing mess. She willed her tears to vanish and took a few deep breaths to maintain her composure.

"My parents are dead." She replied morbidly, watching as Shaun's reaction turned from mug to distraught in a millisecond.

He opened his mouth to speak, but the sound of the door opening captured their attention. A distraught looking Carmen walked out followed by her brother and she watched as Carmen immediately made her way to Shaun.

"Take me home." She spoke and Hazel couldn't help but think she could have asked that in a more polite manner.

"Of course." He hurriedly spoke and grabbed her bag that was hanging over her shoulder and placed it over his own.

Hazel walked past them, but a firm grip on her wrist faltered her movements. She turned and faced Shaun; an apologetic look written all over his face.

"I'm really sorry- "

"It's okay." Hazel spoke cutting him off, trying her best to muster a smile. "You didn't know." She spoke before pulling out of his grip and walking into her brother's office.

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Isabelle sat on her bed glancing out her bedroom window as the wind blew rain drops against her window. The sound always managed to soothe her, but nothing seemed to be able to calm her rapidly beating heart and tightening chest, her skin feeling like it's on fire.

She hurriedly stood up and felt disorientated for a few seconds before she managed to maintain her balance once again. She nervously paced back and forth, deep in thought with a million different theories swarming her mind.

The doorbell chimed throughout the house immediately capturing her attention, she heard footsteps approaching the door and a few words were exchanged before the distinct voice of her mother called for her. She hastily made her way downstairs, shocked to see Hazel Walker nervously stood at the end of the staircase.

"Hey." Hazel spoke with a nervous smile.

"Hey." She replied in confusion.

She watched as Hazel placed her hand on her opposite arm and nervously dug the tip of her right shoe into the wooden flooring.

"So, I know we've only exchanged a few words." Hazel shyly spoke and nervously bit her lip. "I figured you could really use a friend right now."

Isabelle felt the tears escaping the corner of her eyes before she collapsed into Hazel's arms, trying to catch her breath in between each sob. Hazel held the fragile girl in her arms until her cries started to calm down. A harsh knock on the door pulled them from their moment of bonding as Isabelle hastily made her way to the front door.

"Jared, what are you doing here?" Hazel immediately asked as she saw her brother on the other side of the door.

She immediately recognized the solemn look on his face, the face he makes every time he must deliver some bad news.

"Are your parents home?" He ignored his sister's question and set his gaze firmly on Isabelle.

"Mom, dad!" She called and they immediately rushed, sensing the panic in her tone.

As soon as they spotted Jared standing at the door, her mother speedily made her way towards him.

"Have you heard any news?" She anxiously asked and Hazel noticed how her hands were shaking uncontrollably.

"I do." Jared spoke and cleared his throat, changing his expression and stance to an authoritative one. "I'm sorry to inform you, but your daughter is dead." 

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