Shot Dead

Daniel stared fearfully at the greyish-white page. It was the local newspaper. Girl brutally shot in the chest five times. Daniel was horrified. He reread the words over and over again, staring at the inky black words out of terror. While he was filled with fear because of what he was reading, he was also terrified because of who the girl actually was.

The girl’s name was Cate. She was going into 7th grade, just like Daniel. She was a fairly nice person, and wasn’t much of an aggressive girl. She wasn’t a popular girl, nor was she an unpopular girl. She was known by everybody, and she knew everybody back. She had a pretty loyal and fun group of friends. One thing Cate was very good at though, was running. Everyone was suprised at her speed, and she was even able to make it to sectionals for track and field. She was also not a bad looking person. She was fairly tall, with dark blonde hair and greenish-gold eyes that seemed to look straight through you. She had dark eyebrows that were placed just right, and was a fairly skinny girl. All of these factors contributed to her being your average middle school girl.

Daniel was in a couple of classes with Cate, and their time together in those classes were… interesting, to say at the least. One of those classes, Science, was a particularly special class with her. They got to sit next to each other in that class, which was neither a bad thing, nor a good thing. Daniel would always playfully tease her, or do something strange to her. She usually would respond in a strange look, or say something that would actually get him to stop. Throughout all of this though, he always noticed one thing about her. Though she always seemed annoyed of him, she would always… laugh. If he did something funny, like say a joke, she would of course laugh, and it always sounded like a genuine, normal laugh, too. He didn’t really know what to think of her, but he decided to just go along with it. Besides, she always was annoyed of him, so she couldn’t of actually enjoyed sitting next to him, right?

Daniel decided to stop thinking about it. Besides, he was too busy thinking about other things, like the fact that school started in two days. Aughh, yeah, I forgot. Schools starting up in two days, he thought to himself.

Just then his older brother, Kenny, came crashing downstairs.

“Dude, mom says it’s time to go to bed or whatever. She’s saying it’s because of getting enough rest for school or something, not like I’d care anyways.”, his brother said.

Daniel suddenly snapped back into reality. He was stuck in place for a couple of seconds before realizing what just happened.

“Uh-oh, yeah, I’ll be up in a couple minutes, okay?”, Daniel replied.

“Make it quick then, punk. I don’t want mom thinking I told you that you could stay up forever or something.” his brother said.

His brother then surged up the stairs like he was in a marathon, and he was slacking behind. Rude, Daniel thought to himself. He picked up the newspaper again, and scanned for the part that explained more about the girl’s murder. Girl was recently found dead, having several bullet holes in her chest. The girl’s name was Cate, and her last name will not be shown in request of her family. Her body did not show any signs of decay, and was believed to have died just yesterday. She was found inside her local public school, in the front office. The front office doors were open as well, and investigators believe that whoever committed the murder didn’t have a chance to run, since there was an alarm system installed, and the police were alarmed right away. The murderer has not yet been found, but the police promise that eventually someone will turn up, and justice will indeed be served.

Daniel just couldn’t stop staring. He didn’t know why he was so suprised, nor why he was so interested. It felt as if he was being hypnotized into a trance, and that was causing him to continue to stare at the page. Eventually questions started to form in his head. What do her parents think? How shocked are her friends? Are the police really close to finding who committed the murder? Why haven’t th- Daniel’s thoughts were suddenly cut off by a familiar crashing noise coming from the stairs. His brother stood there with a face that looked so angry, it could kill a person by staring at it for too long.

“Mom says to get to bed, now!” his brother said in a booming voice.

“Fine Kenny, you don’t have to be a jerk about it though.” Daniel said as he sprinted upstairs faster than a cheetah.

Daniel hopped into bed, tired from all the drama. He quietly fell asleep, and stayed asleep. During his rest though, something strange happened. Daniel awoke in a strange and unfamiliar room. He walked out of it to see that he was standing in his school’s cafeteria. At first he was confused, but then he realized he was all alone, in an eerily darkened room. He walked around a bit, and looked at some of the school posters on the wall. He then decided to head up the stairs leading to the main lobby room.

Daniel dashed through the cafeteria and up the stairs, but stopped in his tracks when he heard a loud BOOM coming from the upstairs, followed by silence. He stayed there for minutes, with no sound but the repeated heart beats he felt in his chest. After a while, he gathered up enough courage to see all the commotion that was going on upstairs. He quietly leaped up the stairs and into the lobby. He looked around a little, until he noticed the door that lead to the front office.

“O-oh, wow. This must be a dream, a realistic one at that. I don’t want to check out the front office, but it’s not like anything bad would happen, right?”, Daniel quietly whispered to himself.

He neared the front office, and took a peek inside. What he saw made his blood run cold. There, sitting on the ground, was Cate. Her shirt was soaked in crimson red blood, and her hair was dripping a color so red, you could easily mistake it for hair dye. He couldn’t even think straight. He just busted open the door and tried to rescue her, but the second he was about to grip her hand, he woke up.

Covered in hot, sticky sweat, Daniel immediately sat upright. Confused and in a haze, he jumped out of bed, and downstairs. Time didn’t even seem to pass as he was running, and the only thing he could remember was him getting to the last step, tripping, and smashing his head against the ground, hard.

Daniel awoke in bed, surrounded by his mother, father, and brother.

“Son, are you alright? You fell downstairs and passed out!” his father exclaimed.

“Yes”, said his mother, “We were all worried about you.”

“I passed out? What time is it now? How long have I been out. Did I need to go to th-”, Daniel was suddenly cut off by his mother.

“Sweetie, it’s only 5 PM, but you’re fine. We did take you to the hospital, and thankfully the doctors said you just hit a nerve in your head that caused you to pass out.” his mother explained.

“O-oh ok. Wait. Does that mean I have school tommorow? Shoot. Well, heh, can’t wait for that.” he sarcastically said.

“Oh well, we’re all just happy that you were okay. However, since there is indeed school starting up tommorow, you need to get a good night’s sleep. You have two hours until bed got it?” his dad said.

Daniel nodded his head in agreement, and walked outside to go for a bikeride. While getting his bike out, he remembered the dream from last night. That was… quite the dream… he thought to himself. However, he brushed it off as his overactive imagination playing with him. After getting back from his bike ride, he walked into his house, and wished goodnight to his brother and parents. That night he slept peacefully without any strange nightmares.

Daniel awoke to the beep of his alarm clock. After clicking it off, he got dressed and went downstairs to have breakfast. While walking downstairs, he saw his father with paper in his hands.

“Daniel, you know about the murder that was committed, right?” his father said in a serious voice.

“Uh, oh yeah, yes I do. Why?” Daniel said meekly.

“Daniel, do not listen to anybody, even teachers, if they want you to go somewhere that’s not occupied by someone else. You never know who you can trust, and I don’t want ANYTHING happening to you, got it young man?” his father said.

“Yes, yes I do dad.” Daniel said before heading off out the door and walking in the direction towards his school.

He arrived into school with all of his friends awaiting him. After talking with them a while, they were all called down to the gym, where they were met with their principal. His stern eyes followed each and every one of them, and told everyone to take a seat. After going over some rules, he eventually brought up the murder.

“As all of you 7th graders may know, there was a murder committed here, the murder of Cate. While we all respect and honor her death, we would highly suggest not talking or gossiping about it here. This is a serious matter, and any talk about the situation can result in an immediate detention, understood?” the principal grimly said.

The whole gym was suddenly filled with the words yes, and understood. The principal walked off, and everyone was dismissed into their new classes.

Daniel was fairly enjoying his new classes, in which he always had at least one of his friends in. It was all going well until last period, Science. Daniel got a seat next to Delaine, which was one of Cate’s friends. He just sat there in total awkwardness, trying to ignore the fact that he was sitting next to a dead girl’s friend. After a while of the teacher chatting, she finally decided to let them walk around and talk to new people. Daniel got up, and started towards one of his friends, when he suddenly remembered Delanie. Wow, I shouldn’t be asking her, but… but I’m curious… Daniel thought to himself. Almost immediately, he whipped around and walked towards her. She seemed to be busy with a different friend, but he didn’t care. He got a couple feet away from her before speaking.

“Hi Delanie, I uh, want to talk to you. Is that ok?” Daniel said.

Delaine only nodded her head in response, and they both walked to a corner far away from most of the students.

“I don’t want you to get upset with me asking, but, I-I wanted to know what exactly happened to Cate.” Daniel said, brushing his dirty blond hair aside.

“O-oh gosh. Oh well… it’s a long story. She was shot, and…. Well, that’s really it. Sorry I don’t have any more information.” Delaine said quietly.

“Oh, well, that’s fine. Thanks for telling me.” Daniel said, and turned around before he was stopped by Delaine.

“A-actually, there was one thing I think you should know. Sh-Cate probably would’ve told you this anyways.” Delaine managed to stutter.

Daniel turned around and looked her in the eye. “Okay, what is it?”

“W-well… Cate… she… always kind of… lik-liked you… She was just too shy to say it in person. Actually, one of her friends hated the idea of her liking you, so they told someone that she liked someone different. Y-yeah… that turned out to be a horrible idea, but I’m sure you already know it was a lie… I just… thought I’d tell you this, f-for her.” Delaine said in a voice so quiet and soft, that you could easily mistake her voice for your imagination.

Daniel’s eyes lit up. “Sh-she liked me?!?!?”

Delaine suddenly grew red with embarrassment. “Y-yes, are you not happy about that, or are you just shocked?”.

Daniel said “Oh, oh no. She’s fine, I just thought she… hated me.” and with that he walked off.

Daniel was in utter disbelief. I can’t believe it. She liked me? How? Why? Is that bad? I must have never noticed… he thought to himself. Right then and there the bell rang, and in a heartbeat he was outside and talking with his friends. He decided not to tell everyone about what he had heard out of fear that they’d tease him about it.

Daniel walked home and went inside. He was indeed tired, and he was looking forward to going to bed right then and there. He greeted his parents, walked upstairs, and jumped straight into bed. He immediately passed out, and slept on from there. However, just like the two nights before, he awoke in a strange and unfamiliar room again. This time the room lead straight to the front office in his school, but Cate’s body wasn’t there. He walked throughout the building only to come to a strange realization. The school in his dream matched exactly how the school looked when he left school today. He was creeped out by this, but continued on anyways. After a while of walking, he found a poster on the wall. The thing about the poster was that it was completely blank. It was as if somebody took an eraser and erased everything off of it.

“This is strange.” He whispered to himself, but before he could say another word, he heard something.

“Daniel? Why are you here?” said an unknown voice.

Daniel nearly screamed out in terror before waking up in his bed again. Just like last night, he was sweaty, upset, and tired. However, he couldn’t contemplate what was happening this time. Who’s voice was that? Why do I keep having these strange dreams? Is there a purpose for all of this? He continued to question what was happening before deciding it was too late out to even worry about anything, and he fell asleep.

Daniel awoke in the morning to the same beeping alarm clock. He continued to do his morning rituals until setting off for school. Just like the last day, his friends greeted him, and they talked until the bell rang, signalling them to go to their first period classes. Throughout the whole day, he continued to learn more stuff about his classes, and he was even given homework in one class. However, the second the bell rang to get out of school, he sprinted through the halls and out the door, not even greeting his friends on the way out.

Daniel made his way home, and greeted his parents just like normal. He completed his homework, ate dinner, took a shower, and headed off to sleep. This time though, he didn’t fall asleep right away. He was worried that he would have another one of those… nightmares. However, he only lasted a couple hours before he couldn’t take it anymore, and he fell sound asleep. Just like the night before, Daniel awoke in an unfamiliar room. The room led him to the P.E. Center this time, and just like the night before, he walked around, searching for nothing. This time seemed… different though. As Daniel was walking towards a hallway, he started to feel… sad. This sadness turned into an unknown emotion, but it was a strong one. He continued through the hallway until he heard a muffled sigh. Then he heard someone speak.

“Daniel, please… help me.”

And then he woke up.