Next Victim – A Short Story

I covered her mouth with my hand, using the other hand to quiet her with a finger to my lips. “You mustn’t make a sound!” I said as we crept along the hallway making our way toward the kitchen. A small candy wrapped in shiny gold wrapping sat in the drawer of an old dresser and we were determined to get it. Each step we took was calculated and rehearsed repeatedly in our room before finally getting it right. I stepped first, she stepped second, and we held on to each other tightly with our grip growing strong as we made it towards the shining beacon of hope, a chocolate drop wrapped in paper planning to be split in two ways between the both of us with the hopes of getting a grain of sugar into our bodies.

Upon finally reaching the drawer I slid my hand within the drawer clawing the candy and sprinted quickly back to our room. With the door shut, I raised the candy before her eyes, they lit up with delight begging me to open it. “I have a confession to make to you Sarah,” I said, lowering the candy down to my lap.

“What is it? Come on, let’s eat it!”

“I already ate the candy that was given to me in class so, I want you to have this one.”

“Are you sure?” she whispered.

“Of course, here.”

I raised the candy toward her, letting her unwrap it like a present on Christmas day. A maniac she was shoving it into her mouth, letting it melt on her tongue for a few seconds before gulping it back down. “Yum!” she whispered back to me.

Seconds later she fell to the floor, her body began to shake in convulsions with her eyes rolling to the back of her head. Once reaching the floor she released the metallic wrapping from her hand before finally perishing. I gazed solemnly at her body without a tear towards her name. I felt no shame or sadness. Her cold body chilled my hands as I dragged her out to the backyard and laid her to rest. That night we both Left home for good.

In search of asylum, across a field of grass, I spotted a small house on a hill secluded from the busy town below it. A nice-sized home with a bright red car in the driveway. A strong smell of barbeque flowed through the wind urging me to follow it toward the home’s front door. Without having to knock, the door was opened by a tall scrawny man wearing glasses and a shirt that was too big for his shoulders.

“Can I help you, young lady?”

“Hello sir my name is Ray, I was wondering if I could have something to eat. I’m awfully hungry, and I could smell your delicious food from a mile away.” He looked around making sure I was alone.

“Is it just you?” he asked bewildered.

“Yes sir.”

“You may come in,” he said, opening the door wider allowing me in.

Giant clouds of steam came spewing from the kitchen as a short, plump woman walked out fanning away the humidity from her face. “Shawn!” she yelled out towards the tall scrawny man, “Come deactivate the smoke alarm, Reagan is filming a video and I don’t want the sound to ruin it!”

“I’m on it!” he yelled, sprinting towards the kitchen to unscrew the alarm.

“Who are you?” The woman inquired walking over to me whilst wiping her sweaty face with her apron.

“Hi ma’am my name is Ray, I asked Shawn if I could participate in your dinner ritual and he said it would be alright.”

“Do you not have manners, girl?! It’s Mr. and Mrs. Road to you,” she shouted, creating more sweat to wipe.

“I apologize, Mrs. Road, I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“You needn’t mind, go and sit down and be quiet because my little Reagen, which I’m sure you have heard of, is on live right now so please don’t interrupt.”

Upon her departure back to the kitchen to assist Mr. Road with the fire alarm, I walked up the stairs toward a large organized bedroom. Peeking through a crack in the door to peer at the girl talking to a camera: “All you have to do is apply the skin cream on your eye bags just like so, and in the morning you will look more fresh and beautiful than ever!” she announced trying to convince more people to invest in her sponsor.

Wanting to make it back before getting kicked out, I hastily ran towards the dinner table awaiting the Roads to make it back. Reagan was dressed in school uniform as she walked toward the dinner table holding her camera towards her face, “That’s all I have for you today guys, and remember don’t forget to eat. Love you!” she yelled, ending the live stream to sit down neatly at the table.

“Hello! May I ask who you are?” she asked politely with her head tilted toward me across the table.

“My name is Ray, I just came to eat dinner with you and your family and by the looks of your uniform I will be seeing a lot of you.”

“Nice to meet you, Ray, I’m–”

“Reagan? I’ve heard you are incredibly talented and nice from your mom who I met ten minutes ago.”

“I try to show kindness to all of those around me, it’s just common decency.”

“Kind and smart you must be quite popular at school.”

“I wouldn’t say popular, If you’d like, I can show you around school tomorrow?”

“Wow, helpful too! Well, if you don’t mind the trouble.”

“Of course not!”

Suddenly, large platters of food containing duck, rice, and pork were carried in by Mr. and Mrs. Road.

“My, this looks wonderful!” Reagan announced.

“Don’t get too excited.” Mrs. Road mentioned. “Here is your food, you have to keep your figure.” She said whilst placing a plate of boiled chicken, broccoli, and brown rice in front of her.

“Ray you may eat whatever you’d like, we can’t all be like darling Regan,” she said, gazing at my body sourly.

The ringing of the school bell opened a new day for learning, or at least that is what we are made to believe. A sea of people flooded through the hallways as I stood silently awaiting Reagan’s arrival. As she walked through the hallway the crowd of people dispersed to different ends of the room allowing her to walk through as if she was parting the red sea. Her ponytail swished in the wind at every step she took, she walked confidently down that hallway as people in the crowd cheered and yelled her name. Many wanted her signature for some kind of souvenir or memory they could keep having some kind of elite status. Everyone just wanted to reach the top and they felt that Regan could help them get there.

She kept eye contact with everyone she talked to, making them faint in awe. on her way to me she locked her eyes on me. Upon reaching me she grabbed my hand, softly asking if I was ready for the tour. The crowd moved closer to us awaiting the answer, some were still in awe, and others were jealous, wanting me to say no but to their dismay, I responded with yes, allowing her to trail me away to another section of the school.

“So you aren’t popular?” I asked as we walked through the garden towards the library.

“Well I might have a bit of status, but I’m not as much as people make it out to be,” she said cheerfully, still holding a smile. We made it to the library when another person came up to her thanking her for answering her question in the live stream last night. “Of course! Anything to help!” she stated before walking me toward an awards room connected to the library building.

“This is the crown jewel of the school!”

“What is it?”

“This is where, if you receive an award, it will be displayed with a shiny gold nameplate.”

“Where are your awards?”

“Well, I don’t have any at the moment,” she stated still holding a gleaming smile

“Wow, I’m surprised Ms. Popular.”

“Well, I want to be class president this year. I’ve run for three consecutive years, but I’ve always lost to Victoria Moss,” she mentioned walking towards Victoria’s award case. Over twelve trophies for sports, art and presidential elections were held behind a glass case with golden name plates drilled into each one of her awards. “If you think I’m popular, you should talk to her.”

“She is pretty isn’t she,” I said gazing at a large picture of her hanging on the wall next to her case.

“Yeah, much prettier than me,” she stated, letting go of her cheerful smile and replacing it with a doubtful smirk.

“You’re right she is prettier than you, and she has a lot more awards than you. I don’t know how you would be able to beat her this year; you would need a miracle!”

“That’s what my parents tell me all the time, I probably shouldn’t run huh?”

“Well if Victoria wasn’t your competition you would have a much higher chance of winning.”

“You’re right, but she runs every year there is no way she would just stop this year.” she paused doubtfully gazing at the ground.

“So, just get rid of her,” I said.

“What do you mean Ray?”

“Listen, the only way to get what you want is to go against the rules a little bit. If you can’t do that, there is no way you could be a good president for the school.”

“You’re right Ray. I need to get rid of her, but how?”

“However you want,” I said smiling, “I best head to class, thanks for the tour darling Regan,” I said, mocking her mother on my way towards a class two doors away from the library. The group of students chattered and suddenly stopped when I entered. “Are you our new student…Ray?” Ms. Lao said, double-checking her attendance sheet. “Yes ma’am,” I said bowing toward the classroom before sitting down.

“Hey! Hey! You.” a boy called from the back of the classroom.

“Don’t pay attention to him,” a girl beside me mentioned.

“I wasn’t planning on it.”

“Where are you from? I haven’t seen you around before.” She asked, “I’m not from here, I just moved here yesterday.”

“Oh, well I’m Lindsay, nice to meet you!” she said, turning her head and wanting me to shake her hand.

“Nice to meet you,” I said declining.

“Is that a tattoo?” The girl asked, gazing at my wrist.

“No, it’s a scar.”

“From what?”

“You are nosey aren’t you, I mean all you do is ask questions.”

“I just want to get to know you all, I thought you might be in need of a friend since it’s your first day here.”

“I’m ok. Why don’t you talk to those girls over there? It seems they really want your attention,” I said, turning around to look at a group of girls giggling at me, motioning to Lindsay to come and join them.

“Don’t mind them Ray, I don’t talk to them much anymore,” she whispered before turning to smile and wave at them. Her dimples pierced her cheeks making her eyes scrunch in masked fear. She yearned for acceptance from her peers–it was written all over her face even though she just didn’t admit it. Upon discovering this I was immediately intrigued. “Do you have any friends, Lindsay?” I asked in the hopes that I could finally get my revenge.

Mackenzie Smith

Mackenzie Smith ’25 is a sophomore at Blair Academy. She has just started writing for The Oracle. She will mainly write short stories about horror or mysteries, and occasionally book reviews as well.

Blair Academy