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Burning Point

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I expelled a scream as my friend Erin and I happened to be standing in my bedroom at the moment. “You can’t do this. I thought we were friends.”

She tugged at the sides of her blazer. “Watch me, Stephanie.”

My heart thumped inside my chest, getting louder with each passing second. “You don’t understand because there’s a lot that you don’t know. There’s no reason for you to do this.”

I rolled my eyes. “Like I give a fuck.”

Erin’s intentions were disgusting because she had a lot of nerve to blackmail me to dump my boyfriend so she could have him. After all, she was supposed to be one of my best friends.

I shouldn’t have been surprised since a theme from one of my previous English classes applied to this situation. The people you knew best were the most capable of betraying you.

“I bet you wish you hadn’t cheated on that test now, don’t you?” Erin asked. “Oh well. I guess you’re one of those people that will never learn a lesson.”

I bit my lip while the drama of my current debacle continued simmering in my mind.

There was no need for Erin to do something so cruel because she was hot and could have any guy she wanted.

But no.

She had to have Connor. I couldn’t completely blame Erin for her actions though. Connor was the perfect boyfriend. It wasn’t just about his superficial qualities such as being attractive, smart, and popular. He was genuine and would take the time to help anyone, even if it was something as simple as loaning someone a pencil.

I crossed my arms at her. “You don’t want to do this.”

“Oh, but I do,” said Erin. “By tomorrow afternoon everyone is going to know what a phony you are, and I’m going to be the most popular girl at school.”

My jaw twitched. “You have no idea what my life is like you stupid bitch. The fact remains you don’t understand the amount of pressure I’m under to do well in school! I mean no offense or anything, but not everyone has a trust fund to protect them. Some of us have to work for what we want.”

The smirk on her mouth expanded. “I’m sorry, but I’ve made up my mind and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.”

I scoffed. “How can you do this to me? Doesn’t the fact that you’re one of my best friends matter to you? It means something to me.”

She shook her head in a vigorous fashion. “Friends? Are you kidding me? You and I both know you don’t consider Ashley, Nicole, or me friends. You only pretend to be our friends so you can feel better about yourself. You just built us up only to knock us down.”

A lump pricked my throat and I was unable to swallow it. “That’s not true, and you know it. You’re the one that always terrorizes people. I mean why do you think people are so nice to you? It’s because they’re afraid of you. So if anyone is a bully, it’s you!”

“Nice try.”

An awkward silence ensued for several seconds while the two of us continued looking at each other.

She wagged her right index finger at me. “You made your bed, and now it’s time for you to die in it.”

People hear about terrible stories on the news all the time and cast judgment without understanding the situation. However, anyone could be capable of doing something terrible even if nobody wanted to admit it.

She started walking away, stabbing the carpet with her high heels.

But I couldn’t let her leave. I unplugged the lamp that was on the table next to my bed and smacked Erin over the head. She collapsed to the ground, making a thumping sound.

The lamp fell from my hand a moment later while I gasped at what I did.

I remained frozen for a few minutes, waiting for the shock to wear off before running over to Erin. I then kneeled on the ground next to her body, discovering she had no pulse.

I did it. I killed Erin.

I stood back up, putting both of my hands on each side of my head. A suffocating feeling returned to my body, and I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed while attempting to force air into my lungs.

It wasn’t like I planned to murder Erin though, as this situation was the perfect example of a crime of a passion.

I paced back and forth in my bedroom, remaining unsure of what to do. On the one hand, I could turn myself into the police. But I didn’t see myself spending the rest of my life behind bars since no jury would ever rationalize what I did. I’d be trading the hell I endured at school for another nightmare. Also, orange wasn’t a flattering color on me.

Erin’s lack of empathy left me flabbergasted because she didn’t even muster up any fake sympathy.

You know that phony behavior. Most people in the suburbs reeked of it 24/7 and didn’t even realize it.

I knew what I had to do even if it meant digging myself a deeper grave. It had to be done. There was no way I was going to let my perfect life fall apart even if it was a façade like everything else.

***

I stood deep in the woods that was behind the back of my house two hours later, and was with Ashley and Nicole.

I forced a smile. “Thank you for helping me drag the body out here. You have no idea how much I appreciate your support.”

The wind whistled in the background, clapping the three of us in the face.

Nicole grabbed a hair tie from her pocket before running her hands through her hair, putting it in a ponytail. “No problem Stephanie. You know Ashley and I would do anything for you because there’s no need to dance around the truth any longer. Erin was a bitch, and it was time for someone to stand up to her.”

“Agreed,” said Ashley, twirling a strand of hair around her finger.

An owl hooted, making the hairs on my back stand up. I guess it wasn’t the best time to think about how I had never liked the outdoors.

Oh well.

There was something else I forgot to mention. I threatened to place drugs in both of their lockers and to call the school administration if they didn’t help me. Blackmailing Ashley and Nicole had to be done even if it was ugly. It was my only chance at survival since I couldn’t cover the “incident” without help.

I averted my gaze, choosing to stare at a squirrel slashing across the ground. “I want you two to know this wasn’t something I wanted to do.”

Nicole’s chest bobbed up and down a couple of times. “We know.”

I poured the gasoline from the canister all over Erin’s body.

“I know this goes without saying, but nobody can know about this.” I lit a match, dropping it on the corpse.

Ashley and Nicole both nodded their heads at me.

A sea of red, orange, and yellow exploded before swallowing the body.

Sweat splashed down my face and I didn’t even bother to wipe it away. “ And this is also the last time we will talk about this night.”

The smell of burnt flesh wafted through air before hitting my nostrils, traveling into my lungs.

Killing Erin was something I would have to live with. I would just have to hope that nobody ever found out what I did.

 

 

Bio

Chris Bedell's previous publishing credits include essays on the

online magazine Thought Catalog. He has also had several stories

published on online literary magazines, which include "Surface

Tension" on Crab Fat Literary Magazine, "A Little Accident" and "The

House That Never Was" on Quail Bell Magazine, "The Wronger Murder",

"Game Over", "Poof and I'm Gone," "The Vanishing Girl," and "Run,

Cecily, Run" on Short-story.me. Furthermore, Pidgeonholes Magazine

will publish one of his stories in December.



 

 

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