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Authors: Adalynn Rafe

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BOOK: Ripple Effect: A Novel
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Sabrina really had a fit now. “No!”

Natasha entered, dressed in a white designer strapless jumpsuit, and hesitantly examined Sabrina. Her wary eyes met her husband’s. After flipping gorgeous blond hair over her shoulder to reveal golden jewelry she said, “Honey, I’m sure it’s nothing.”

“See!” Sabrina pointed at Natasha. “I told you!”

Gordon’s jaw tensed and he stood taller, showing his dominance. “Coat off,” he demanded. “Now, Sabrina.”

Sabrina saw the paternal fire in his eyes and did as told. After shedding her coat, she covered her semi-exposed body. Rips in her clothing appeared all over, exposing purple flesh underneath. Her head dropped, not even bothering to cover herself.

Natasha gasped and anger filled Gordon’s eyes. “Sabrina, who did this?” he demanded.

Sabrina stuttered. “He’s gone, Daddy! It was a one night stand . . . I swear!”

“Are you lying to me!?” Gordon stared at her. “I’m not stupid, Sabrina!”

“No!” She looked around, trying to buy time to create a story. “He said he was kinky and I didn’t know what that meant by his standards!” Her face became stone and she bit back tears. “It was stupid and it’s over.”

Natasha paled, absolutely horrified. “You
willingly
did this to yourself?”

“It was rape!” Gordon shook as a need to kill the man who touched his daughter came over him. “Who did it, Sabrina? Stop covering the sick man’s tracks!” Sabrina shook her head like he was wrong. Gordon’s hands pointed toward his daughter’s battered body. “Bruises like this accumulate with time! He’s been at it for a while, hasn’t he?”

Sabrina screamed out in frustration. For once I could see how torn she was. She had a dark secret but couldn’t tell it. “You don’t understand!” Sabrina looked away as tears welled in her gray eyes.

A look of disgust filled her father’s face. “This—this is the last straw.”

Sabrina flashed him that look, the look that could slice his head off cleanly if she so chose. “I’m fine,” she said quietly.

“You aren’t fine! Look at yourself, Sabrina!” A long pause came from Gordon as he shook his head. Piercing eyes shot through her. “You’re grounded. Go upstairs.”

“Daddy!” She started bawling now, seriously too. “You can’t! I have to go to a party on Friday!” Her hand held her chest as she sobbed. “I have to,” she cried, distraught now.

Gordon shook his head, refraining from grasping her shoulders and shaking the truth from her. “You aren’t going anywhere,” he said. “It’s for your safety, Sabrina. You’ve left me no other option.”

Sabrina’s face contorted in fear. She shook as she cried. “Daddy, if I don’t go––”

Gordon held her face in his hands and stared down at her. His face filled with remorse. Perhaps he saw his wife’s sorrow and heartbreak in Sabrina; perhaps he was just baffled by her fit. Either way, he saw something that ripped at his heart. “Sabrina, this is your last chance to tell me. What has happened to you? Are you forced into this?” Gordon’s concerned eyes met hers. “Do I need to call Sheriff Copper?”

“No!” Sabrina screamed and pushed him away.

“You’re terrified!” Gordon's face became red. “Tell me why!”

Natasha put a hand on his chest to calm him. On that hand sat a huge diamond ring worth more than my house. “Gordon, let her go to the party––then she can be grounded,” she said. “I’m sure it’s nothing, as Sabrina says, so just drop it.”

Gordon’s hands were thrown up in the air, knocking Natasha away from him. He grunted in frustration. “You know what, Sabrina? I have worked so hard to make sure that my other child doesn’t end up dead! If that is what you want––to die––then I won’t stop you any longer! Just leave me like your mother did . . . at least that way I won’t have to bury you as well.” He shoved past the two women and left the kitchen.

“Daddy!” Sabrina yelled as he stormed out of the room. “Daddy!”

“You need help,” Natasha said, before following Gordon.

Crying, Sabrina nodded and stood alone in her kitchen. “I do,” she whispered, barely audible. “I need my daddy to protect me.”

My eyes met with Kelly’s and I felt sort of horrible. Why couldn’t she just tell him? She clearly needed to. I couldn’t believe that I felt bad for the enemy.

Chapter 11

 

Weeks had passed at my high school, or so it looked, and it seemed that people were transitioning into the holiday just fine. Décor filled the walls and mistletoe hung in entrances. Down the main hall was a gathering of candles, which I assumed had something to do with the holidays. But it was not.

Kelly and I moved toward the lit up area hand in hand. He sensed my fear and I sensed his bravery. Together, we seemed to be normal. Maybe. Regardless, he refused to let me go.

Candles surrounded a picture of a girl, a very pretty girl, a girl with auburn hair and hazel eyes. It was a memorial for a lost child. Roses filled the ground, as well as beads and stuffed animals. It really was something to treasure, the memorial. Someone had taken a lot time and effort to keep the memories of the girl alive in the school.

Anastasia (aka Stacy) sat in the corner, watching the flames burn. She was a middle class member who had no enemies, or so she made it seem. She and I had a painting class together. Junior year, if I recalled correctly.

Stacy was a visionary when it came to using hot wax in painting. Once, she took a chunk of an oak log and painted this epic mural of the coal mine on it. Stacy said she was doing it for her father who was working there. Our fathers worked together actually, making Stacy and I acquaintances throughout life.

Hazel stomped to the memorial and started blowing candles out. She was wearing lots of black. Black fishnet stockings, a black miniskirt, and a black lace top. The only thing not black were her crimson red stilettos and matching bra that was visible through her lace top. Golden hair framed her face and she wore black eye makeup with red lipstick.

“Hey!” Stacy protested. Her brown hair was pulled up behind her head and her blue eyes were filled with shock. Her eyes squinted with annoyance, which caused her chubby cheeks to compact towards the outer edges of her face.

“This is ridiculous,” Hazel said snidely. “Really, Anastasia?” She pointed her hand in the direction of the memorial.

“Someone has to care about her––you obviously don’t.”

Hazel’s eyes narrowed into slits as she balled her hands into fists. “You didn’t even know Cecily! You don’t know me!”

“I knew the old Cecily . . . !”

In a fit, Hazel started kicking the candles away from my memorial. Her eyes reddened as her face contorted. “Take this stupid picture down.
NOW!

“Ladies,” Sabrina said, intervening. “Hazel.” She looked at her with warning.

Sabrina’s eyes were sullen and had dark circles around them. Large bruises covered her face, which her makeup failed to cover. A fresh bloodied lip still looked swollen.

Stacy and Sabrina exchanged awkward glances.

“Stacy, I really do think that this little vigil has gotten out of hand. Cecily is dead,” Sabrina reminded her, her voice tired. Then, rage filled her eyes and she appeared to be doing everything she could do to not kick someone in the face. “Cecily, the spineless coward, is dead.”

I gasped. “Spineless coward! Sabrina’s the one behind my death!”

Kelly patted my arm and suggested we continue watching the scene.

Hazel looked as though Sabrina had stabbed her with a knife in the heart. “Sabrina, don’t say that! We might as well have pushed her off that cliff. It’s your fault! You invited her to that stupid party!”

“It was the only hope we had! You know that!” Sabrina hissed.

“You could have called the––” Hazel’s mouth zipped shut as Mr. Leison walked up.

Tall, mysterious, dark, and possessive—Mr. Leison, a younger teacher, was a shocker in the looks department. All the girls swooned over him. Not a good mixture in a high school setting. He looked at Hazel and urged her to continue the sentence. “You could have called the
what
?”

“I forgot,” Hazel said quickly and looked down. She wiped the tears from her face.

Sabrina gulped lightly. “Mr. Leison,” she acknowledged, head held high in the air.

Leison looked at Stacy seriously. “Take this down,” he ordered. “Girls, get to class before I get the principal.”

“Yes, Mr. Leison,” the three of them said in unison. He walked away from them.

Stacy looked at the girls, wide eyed. “You were going to say call the cops,” she whispered. “I have heard rumors about what he’s done, about––it can’t be true––the three girls?”

Sabrina lifted her hand to smack Stacy. “You better watch yourself. Don’t you dare repeat any of this to anyone! You wouldn’t want to be the next victim, would you?”

Stacy looked down momentarily with a pained expression, but persistence filled her and she faced them. “I’m telling the cops! We don’t have to put up with this!” She glared at Sabrina. “Cecily would’ve told!”

Hazel was crying once again, trying to wipe the tears from her face. “Why do you think she’s dead?” She covered her mouth as her eyes widened.

Sabrina smacked Stacy across the face. Stacy let out a cry and held her cheek in her hand. Sabrina stormed off.

“Cecily could have made this right,” Hazel whispered, barely audible. Remorse filled her and she turned her back to her best friend’s photo.

 

While leading Kelly to the art section of the school, my mind raced a thousand miles per hour around what had just happened, and then Kelly asked me something. “Do you think that they know that the man was sent after you?”

“Whoever is behind this must be scaring them with that fact,” I responded. “I’m sure the bad guys had said that Cecily Wolf committed suicide, instead of standing up to her attackers. That’s why Sabrina and Hazel hate me. To them, I ran away when I should have saved them.”

I still felt confused on how Sabrina tied into it.

“And Stacy?” He looked over his shoulder in her direction. She sat there stunned. “Do you think she has any part in this?”

I stared at him strangely. “She would have banded with the others if she were attacked.”

Kelly nodded slowly. “Who do you think is doing this, Cecily?”

“I wish I knew,” I responded. “Why am I seeing this, Kelly? I can’t do anything to help them, I’m dead. I’m done here. I can’t help the ones I love and it only breaks my heart.” I sniffled as tears stung my eyes.

Kelly squeezed my hand, which caused me to glance at him. He gave me a small smile to not worry. “Things will work themselves out, right?”

Without answering, I continued toward the painting room. I was dead. I couldn’t help them even if I tried. And for all I knew, they’d be dead as well.

As we passed a group of girls I heard, “Mr. Leison blames himself for her suicide.”

Another girl giggled. “I can’t believe that Cecily would seduce a teacher. We all know how hot Mr. Leison is, but really?”

“The duchess has always been in bed with Leison. So when Cecily went for him . . . Sabrina was in it to get payback. Maybe she killed her out of jealously?”

The wannabe royals laughed loudly and strutted along their way down the hall.

I sighed loudly and shook my head. Sabrina was in bed with Leison? Or was she forced into it? The bruises on her body suggested that she was not enjoying things as she had hoped for. What was he holding over her head, over their heads? And what about the girls that Stacy and Adie mentioned––the three girls who were kidnapped? Was it all related?

And why couldn’t Sabrina tell her father, Gordon, of all people, that she was being attacked? He was the most understanding father ever––poor guy had to raise the spoiled brat. Things weren’t adding up here.

 

The painting studio was empty. Easels stood at various places of the classroom and the paint supplies were stashed on a table near the front of the room. The place was one of my sanctuaries when I walked among the living.

“I think I’ve found something,” Kelly said loudly. He was near the office of the paint instructor, Iles. He was really cool and laid back––a total art junkie.

As I moved toward Kelly, I ran my hand along one of the table tops. I felt the surface but it didn’t recognize me. I was just an apparition here, as invisible to the paint and pencil shavings on a table as I was to humans. Just another reminder of how dead I truly was.

The picture came into view, the one that Kelly was so eager for me to see. I knew that picture well, being that it was one of my prized paintings. That painting got me my scholarship to the Art Institute.

A beach with curling waves and white sand stood in front of a foggy sky. The cliff on the edge was hardly visible due to the accumulation of fog. The curling waves with white peaks and the untouched white sand stood prominent. It was my masterpiece, the most prized painting in my collection next to the red lily I did for Adie.

 

*              *              *

 

We disappeared from the school and reappeared in Hazel’s bedroom.

Hazel wore the same black outfit. Tears streamed down her face as she stared at a white stick that she held in her hand. I had heard about those sticks, but we had never actually used or held one. Hazel held a pregnancy test in her hand. She was panicked beyond reason.

My stomach lurched. “I can’t watch this,” I whispered sickly to Kelly.

Kelly didn’t want to see it either. “There is a reason as to why we are watching this.”

Hazel started to scream hysterically when her results showed up. After chucking the test across the room, she held her stomach as if she was going to puke. “No,” she pleaded.

“She’s prego!” I yelled, with the same hysteria.

“I can’t have it!” Hazel mumbled fearfully. “I have to get it taken out!”

With wide eyes, I gasped. Hazel did not just say that she was going to have an abortion! She was so against that!

Hazel took a swig from a bottle of vodka. “I can do this . . . It’s just a blob of crap anyway.”

“NO! It’s not, Hazel!”

Taking her fist, she punched herself hard in the abdomen and moaned. “I have to get rid of it!” She took another swig. “What if they kill me?”

I looked at Kelly with apprehension. “I want to leave now!”

“I can’t do anything . . .,” he replied, wishing he could.

Hazel grabbed a bag of cocaine and snorted it. She became less panicky as she went into a state of drug inducement. Smiling, she lifted the pregnancy test off the ground and stared at it once again. “It’s okay. Things will be okay,” she said. She glared down at her stomach and patted it. “It’ll be like you never existed.”

My heart was aching! Hearing her say those words was like hearing my mother say that she loved another man. It’s not right! This was an imposter in my Hazel’s body!

Kelly grabbed my arm as we both disappeared, leaving a high and drunk girl to ruin her life.

BOOK: Ripple Effect: A Novel
7.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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