Murder and Girl Scout Cookies

9 Sep

By Emma Davis
7th Grade

 

I knew something was wrong. It smelled like something died in there. Maybe something had. Maybe…I walked in. Everything was normal. Except for the body lying on the floor.

He was a big man, six-food-seven, broad-shouldered. He was sprawled out on the floor, a spilled cup of coffee lying next to him.

Lily ran in. “Okay! I’m getting—” She stopped, seeing the corpse lying on the floor.

“Told you something was wrong,” I said.

Lily is my weirdo friend who always has the beautiful smell of mothballs, hair products, mascara, and wood shavings—I always thought she spent a lot of time in her garage, but actually she spends a lot of time with her pet ferret, who also smells like, well, wood shavings.

“I’ll call the cops,” she said, wide-eyed with fear. She pulled out her phone, which for some reason unknown to mankind, also smells like wood shavings.

I opened a window, casting a light on Lily. A five-foot-tall, lanky, thirteen-year-old girl with icy blonde hair, sea-blue eyes, and skin as white as milk. In Lily’s opinion, the moon is a hunk of cream cheese orbiting earth, and the zombie apocalypse is liable to happen twenty years from now. I don’t believe either of those things, but you know, that’s just Lily.

“Okay. Don’t worry,” she said into her phone. “We’re not panicking…Yes, he’s dead…We wouldn’t do that…Okay, the address? Hold on a sec. Hana, what’s the address?”

“7598 North Barrel Court.”

“Thanks. 7598 North Barrel Court…Yeah, the yellow one…Okay, thanks.” Lily pushed a button to end the call, and turned to reassure me, “He said he’ll be right over, Hana.”

Five minutes later two police cars were parked on the street. An average size man stepped out of one. “Okay, kids. Where is this so-called corpse?

“It is a real corpse, y’know,” I said. “I live across the street from him—”

“No need for explanation, young lady.”

I kept going. “—and he usually is a very social man. But he hadn’t been out of the house in three days, so Lily and I went to check it out.”

“Young lady, you—”

I cut him off, “I’m sorry, officer, sir, but we’re not tricking you.” I stood up straight and tall, hoping to make myself look less like a scrawny teenager. I looked him in the eye. “Sir, there is a dead man in that house.”

It wasn’t what I thought. My eyes were playing tricks on me.

“Okay, young lady. Where is this corpse now?” the officer asked.

“Well, I don’t know! It was there a second ago. Look, the coffee’s still there.”

“What coffee?”

There was no coffee anywhere on the floor.

“Sir, I swear, there was a dead man in this house. There was also a spilled cup of coffee. It was right here.” I pulled up the rug and saw a brown stain on the carpet underneath. “Sir, I told you.”

“You’re right. That is coffee. Then where did the body go?”

SLAM! Just the angry next-door neighbor.

“What was that?” the officer said.

“Probably just our angry next-door neighbor,” I replied.

“But it sounded like it came from in the house.”

“Whatever. I gotta go see if Lily’s okay.”

I walked around the house, the yard. No Lily. I started worrying. Lily is a bit of a door-slammer though, so it was probably her. I tried to call her. No answer. That was weird. Lily always answers her phone. I blew it off as just her weirdness. I went back inside the house.

“Sir, I forgot to tell you that this man’s wife was on a trip and is coming home today. She’ll be picked up by her niece, from what I heard.”

It had rained the night before. It always does in Seattle. There was fresh mud on the ground.

The officer walked outside, soon coming back in with a look of shock on his face. “There are two sets of footprints outside. One coming and one going,” he said. “I guess I’m gonna have to believe you. You don’t wear size seven-and-a-half men’s shoes.”

“Um…yeah, no…”

***

A flock of birds sang in the winter trees, voices white, sweet, and airy as whipped cream. Even though there is no winter air this winter and there never is, Seattle’s just like that. As I stepped up the front porch, a tingling in my spine appeared out of nowhere. Mr. Willoughby had been dead for two days. His body still was not found. Neither was Lily. And now the police thought I would be of help? Obviously they were on the wrong track.

I banged the old-fashioned wolf-head doorknocker. A short, balding, middle-aged man with glasses opened it. “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?” I asked.

“Of course, young lady. How much?”

“Five dollars.”

“Okay. Here you go.”

“Thanks.”

He placed a crisp five-dollar bill in my palm. I left, hopeful that this time the fingerprints would match.

***

For the last week, Lily had been missing. I was scared, not knowing if I’d ever find her, not knowing where she was or what had happened. I stormed upstairs to my room, slamming the door. I slid spinelessly off the wall and onto the cold, hard, linoleum floor. I felt like I was drowning, my limbs falling off one by one, the deep, blue, rolling waves of the ocean engulfing me, wrapping me in an infinite black blanket of emptiness, of sadness, of despair, of Girl Scout Cookies.

Cold, slimy tentacles wrapped around me, dragging me down to the endless depths. I struggled as much as I could to get away, but…

“Hana! Hana! Calm down! Calm down!” I opened my eyes to see my mom standing over me.

My pajamas were clinging to me with cold, clammy, sticky sweat. When my mom left, I peeled my clothes off and got dressed in my Girl Scout uniform.

I sat down at the table to eat my breakfast, then I went to the bathroom to brush and floss.

“Really? Finally?” I asked, hopeful that our little army of Girl Scouts was finally done with our task.

“No. We’re just out of cookies,” the police chief said.

“Mmff,” I replied, slumping into an egg-shaped chair. “Look, do you know how many stupid boxes of Girl Scout cookies I’ve sold this week?”

“Four hundred.”

“Yes. And look at the soles of my tennis shoes. I stuck my shoe in his face, revealing the worn soles and gaping holes in them.

“Mmff,” I said again.

“Yeah, well, it’s an mmff to us too. Do you know how much those cookies cost?”

“Mmff.”

“Well do you?”

“Mmff”

“Come on, do you know?”

“Yeah.”

“How much?”

“Dunno.”

“Come on.”

“It’s three dollars a box, and that—a”

“—adds up really fast, I know. How many times have you had to tell me that?”

“A lot.”

I kicked off my shoes and started rubbing my sore feet. “Mmff.” I threw myself back in the chair. “Listen. Thirty a week is too much for me. I…”

But I was never able to finish because a thin, gangly dark-haired man in a lab coat rushed in right then. “We found the fingerprints matching those on the windowsill of the Willoughby house,” he said, dropping a folder on the chief’s desk and then bustling out.

“Really? Finally?”

“No. Just out of cookies again,” he said, flipping through the papers. “Just kidding. Girl Scout soldier #230 came back with the money this morning.”

“Sir. Where were you on the night of the thirteenth?”

“Watching TV at home, I told you.”

“Tell me the truth.”

“Okay,” he said, his voice shaking like a leaf. “I was at the home of Winston Willoughby.”

“What were you doing there?”

“Hana!!!” my mother’s voice interrupted me.

“Yeah?”

“What are you doing in that bathroom?” she asked.

“Interrogating the floss.”

“What?”

“Forget it,” I said

After flossing my teeth, a packed a small tote bag with a flashlight, some rope, a few snacks, my book, phone, and wallet. When everyone was asleep I tiptoed downstairs, slid open the window and snuck out.

I think it looked kind of weird to see a thirteen-year-old girl sitting in her pajamas reading To Kill a Mockingbird on the midnight train to Eugene, but who cares?

I stepped onto the platform in Eugene and instantly saw a B-cycle station. I dropped twenty bucks into the payment slot and was soon off to 1298 Michigan Lane, Eugene, Oregon. I biked for about thirty to forty-five minutes until I dropped my bike on the green grassy lawn.

As I crept up the steps, a familiar and unwelcome tingling crawled up my spine. I shivered as I rang that cold, silver doorbell. No one answered. I started to body-slam down the door, but found it unlocked. You could have practically heard me blink when a tall, lean man with dirty blonde hair stepped out of the murky shadows with the stealth of a cat. He was holding a knife. I stared for a moment. Then, having decided not to bite his ankles, I pulled out my phone and took a picture of him.

“I’d better get going now. Bye!” I said nervously and ran across the lawn, not giving another thought to the man with the knife.

I pedaled as fast as I could to the nearest Eugene Police station.

“You’re telling me that some guy committed a murder and he’s still in the house?”

“Yeah.”

“And you’re asking for a warrant for his arrest?”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll give you the warrant, ‘cause you’re probably completely wrong, and I’ll also give you a police escort.”

“Okay. But when I’m right don’t let this go public, okay?”

“Fine.”

He drove me back to the neighborhood in a police car and parked on the street by the house. We stepped out, breaking the ominous silence that seemed to hang in the air around the house. We found the middle-aged man hiding in the closet. “I have a warrant to arrest you, sir,” I said. We took the man back to the police car, grumbling and handcuffed.

The investigation conducted by the Seattle Police was completed, and the results were that this man had committed murder because he wanted revenge on both of the victims, my neighbor and the guy in Eugene. He wouldn’t admit why.

“So, case closed,” said the police officer on the phone.

“But you still haven’t found Lily?”

The doorbell rang.

“One sec,” I said to the cop. I ran over to the door. To my surprise, on the other side was…Lily? I gaped. “Come in here!”

She walked in, rolling a suitcase behind her.

“Where were you?”

“I was trying to tell you. I had decided to take a train to San Francisco.”

“What?”

“I was tired of daily life, so I grabbed a little money and went to San Francisco for a few weeks.”

“I never will understand you, Lily,” I said, walking to the phone. “I’ll call you back. I just found Lily.”

 

 

 

 

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