THE SHADOW, a short story by Apolline Guérin
Murder at school
I take charge of the boarding school like every Thursday. It’s late, dark and cold, I’m alone. I remember that today I had got a very nice mark in biology, suddenly I hear branches’s cracking. I glance back, nobody, however I have a feeling that I’m being followed, I hurry. He says ‘Kerry!’ I don’t know who he is, I just see a shadow, a man of normal height, normal dressed, I don’t recognize his voice. At this moment I’m afraid, completely at a loss I don’t know what to do. Running? Staying? Speaking? Crying? Hiding? The man stretches out his arm, I see a gun, he tells me with a monotonous tone ‘Sorry Kerry….’
When I know that I will die, I remember my last moments as a living girl.
I was a very talented student, in science studies because I wanted to become a doctor. I had most of the time nice marks and all the school knew that I was the best student girl, some of them called me the clev’ . Every term I get my name on the merit list, moreover my mother is the principal of the school. She had divorced two years ago and her new boyfriend is Peterson my history and geography teacher. First I didn’t like him a lot, he spoke to me nicely, slowly as if I was a little girl and moreover he gave me better marks than the others since I was his stepdaughter. I wanted to see him and her as rarely as possible so I decided to go to the laboratory club which takes place twice a week, on Monday evenings and Thursday evenings. We could train and do our experiments.
Most of the time we were two, Kyle and me. He had my age but at school he was known as the dunce. But he had a secret, he told it to me because we ended become particularly friends. Just I knew why he went here, Kyle dared not to assume his secret. I shouldn’t tell anything to anybody! The more I went to the lab, the more I hated my family. During my free time, I undertook some investigations about Peterson. I had investigated for one month, I followed him, I heard his conversations, I searched his pockets and his diary. I found that he had a strange relationship with the sport teacher. One day I decided to tell him. I said that I discovered a secret about him, that he had an affair with another woman, and I didn’t want my mother to be sad if she discovered his lover. I threatened my history teacher, on the one hand it was exciting because I could believe that I was superior to him but on the other hand it was frightening. At any moment I could divulge the information to my mother. I blackmailed my mother’s boyfriend my teacher, Peterson. It was incredible.
All the time Kyle supported me. In the lab we became close fellows, we loved staying together, speaking about our life, our parents. We felt in love. Our love was hidden; it was an exciting and a highly strong relation between each other. Despite Kyle didn’t work any more at school. I would say his secret, disclose that he was a genius in science but he didn’t want to. I, daughter of a school principal, always on the merit list couldn’t have Kyle, a dune as a boyfriend, but as a scientist. So I decided to betray him, I said that Kyle was a genus, but nobody believed me. Kyle was angry, we decided to break off in spite of our feelings.
I didn’t speak with Kyle and Peterson, I didn’t go to the lab club. Kyle was furious and now I always had bad marks in history. I don’t know why but I had a new boyfriend, I think that it was because I was so sad to forget Kyle. He was called James, he wore very strict glasses, he had a lot of spots on his face and commonly people didn’t like him very much because he was on the list of merit with me. Kyle was jealous of James even if Kyle was angry, he still loved me. Moreover I noticed that he watched us everywhere and every time, he was never far from us. This evening James spoke with me. ’I know that you stil love Kyle and he loves you too.’ He declared roughly. ‘Why did you play with me? Why me?‘ James became nervous. I had been sad because I realized that I had been nasty to him these last days. So I left him and returned to the bordering school.
Now I’m menaced by a man with a gun, he wants to kill me. Who could he be? Peterson? Kyle? James? The shadow repeats ‘sorry Kerry’. He is shooting at me, I’m seeing the bullet which is coming. I’m running in his direction. It’s Peterson…..and just behind him, behind trees there is Kyle, who is used to keeping an eye on me. Kyle saw everything, I hope that he will go to the police to denounce Peterson after my death. The bullet is touching me in my stomach, I’m dying.