Excerpt from She Was the Quiet One
They locked her in the infirmary, and took away her phone, and anything she might use to harm herself — or someone else. The school didn’t tout this in its glossy brochures, but that’s how it handled kids suspected of breaking the rules. Lock them in the infirmary, isolate them, interrogate them until they cracked. Usually you got locked up for cheating on a test, or smoking weed in the woods. In the worst-case scenario, hazing. Not murder.
She lay on the narrow bed and stared at the ceiling. They’d given her sedatives at first, and then something for the pain. But her head still pounded, and her mind was restless and foggy all at once. A large lump protruded from the back of her skull. She explored it with her fingers, trying to remember what had caused it. At the edge of her consciousness, something terrible stirred, and she pushed it away. If she turned off the light, she would see it, that thing at the edge of the lake.
That thing. Her sister. Her twin.
All across campus on this cold, dead night, silence reigned. She was being accused of a terrible crime, and there was nobody to speak in her defense. They’d called her grandmother to come defend her. But her grandmother believed she was guilty. Even her closest friends suspected her, and she had to admit, they had reason to. She and her sister had been close once, but this awful school had changed that. They’d come to doubt each other, to talk behind each other’s backs, rat on each other for crimes large and small, steal from one another. Mere days earlier, they’d gotten into a physical fight so intense that the girl who interceded wound up with a black eye. That girl hadn’t told – yet. But she would now.
It wasn’t fair. Just because they’d had a fight didn’t mean she would kill her sister. How could she? Her sister was the only family she had left. Everybody else had died, or abandoned her. Why would she hurt her only family, her only friend? But every time she closed her eyes, she saw the blood on her hands, the stab wounds, the long hair fanned out. Her sister’s face, white and still in the moonlight. She was there when it happened. Why? It couldn’t be because she was the killer. That wasn’t true. She was innocent. She knew it in her heart.
But nobody believed her.