Sunday, May 15, 2016
1st 5 Pages May Workshop - Alexander Rev 1
Name: Sarah Alexander
Genre: YA Mystery/ Suspense
Title: Clueless Academy
Deep in the mountains of Maryland stood one of the most elite preparatory high schools. It was home to the children of the nation’s most influential politicians, celebrities, elite military operators, and foreign dignitaries.
Normally, the school was a haven where students could learn away from the stressors and dangers that came with their family’s prestige. But today, Indigo Plum was a material witness in a murder investigation.
“You have all been called here because we have proof that you attended a party at Hunter Green’s suite last night. At around twelve thirty Miss Waddington called to inform me that she was headed over to shut said party down. An hour later, her body was found dead.” Headmaster Pratt seemed to be barely holding it together. His voice wobbled on the word dead and he took a minute to get control of himself again.
“I will be questioning all of you to determine what happened when you left the party. One of you might have seen something that could be useful in determining who the killer is. We have some suspects in mind but I am not at liberty to discuss it with you.” Pratt stood up a little higher as if to show how superior he was. Indigo rolled her eyes.
“Miss Plum, eyes up here. This is a very serious matter!” Headmaster Pratt was glaring at her and she returned her light eyes to the front of the room. “The police have been notified but until they get here, the school’s investigators will be analyzing the remaining evidence. I can say that we do have evidence that each of you was in the hallway around the time of the murder.” He said this a little harshly and Indigo’s guard flew up.
“I thought that we were just witnesses. You are making it seem like we are suspects.” She could hear her heart beating but she refused to show him any sign that he was affecting her. Any type of weakness may be deemed an omission of guilt. Indigo squared her jaw and looked him dead in the eyes.
“As I said, we are just looking to get a time line to figure out exactly what happened. One of the armed guards here will be escorting you to my office for questioning.” He turned to leave the room but Pearl White stood up. She must have missed the memo about being strong as she was a sniffling mess.
“The guards are here for our protection right? The killer, he could still be out there.” Pearl was currently seeing Hunter, Indigo’s ex-boyfriend, so Indigo hated her. But she had to admit that Pearl made a valid point. The very real killer was still out there. It had never crossed Indigo’s mind that the killer might still be in the school. Sure, she was sad for Miss Waddington’s death but it had never occurred to her that her safety may actually be at risk.
“The killer, he or she, is definitely still out there. It is the guard’s job to protect us. I have called in every one on our payroll so there is extra protection in case anyone tries anything else.” He gave all six of them a pointed look and Indigo could not shake the feeling that Pratt knew a lot more than he was letting on. It was Hunter who spook up next.
“Shouldn’t we have an attorney present? Aren’t we being questioned in a criminal trial?” His father was a high powered attorney so Indigo was not surprised he brought this up. But she was glad he did. Nice to know he was good for something.
“I will be questioning you, not the police. At the beginning of the school year, your parents authorize me to act as your guardian if anything were to happen. So really, think of our talk as one with paternal motivations.” Pratt smiled but it was not pleasant. He looked like the Grinch before he stole Christmas.
Hunter looked like he wanted to say something else but quickly quieted. It was actually Magenta Scarlett, Indigo’s half-sister, who felt the need to add her two cents.
“How was she killed?”
“She was bludgeoned to death with at least two weapons. At this point, we have not identified or found them. Does anyone have an idea what they could be?” He looked around again accusingly. “I mean, did any of you see anything on your way back to your rooms last night? Anything out of place?” Nice recovery, thought Indigo.
“Headmaster, if we saw a bloody hammer on the floor, I think one of us would have said something before now.” She tried to make light of the situation but this only infuriated him.
“Do you think this is funny? A teacher has been killed! She was young, beautiful, smart, and caring. Where is your compassion Miss Plum?” She figured this was a rhetorical question and kept quiet. Luckily her best friend, Sapphire Peacock chimed in for her defense.
“Indigo is just grieving. She doesn’t know how to handle this much emotion so she made a joke. I’m sure she understands the travesty ahead of us.” Indigo smiled at her friend. The truth is, she had locked up her feelings. Sitting in the middle of the floor and rocking back and forth was not going to bring Miss Waddington back. Besides, Pearl was basically doing that already. No, she would keep her emotions together and look back on them in a private space.
“Well this is not the place for any of this. I want all of your cell phones. We need to keep your stories pure so we don’t want you talking to any of the students outside.” He walked down the aisles of the classroom and took each phone.
“What about our parents?” Hunter was back to being the lawyer of the group.
“They have been contacted and are on their way but they may not be able to get in. It is still a crime scene you know.” Indigo must have imagined it because this would not have been the time for Pratt to snicker. No, he must have sniffled or something like that.
“What about my father? He actually works on campus?” Indigo asked. Professor Plum taught psychology.
“And my mom?” Pearl chimed in after her. Mrs. White was just a maid.
“Both of them are busy attending to school matters. They have been alerted of your predicaments and have given me permission to speak to you.” Red Flag! After the dinner party where her father was framed for murder, there is no way Professor would have given anyone permission to speak to her without him. He did not trust anyone in authority.
“Headmaster, you and I both know that I had nothing to do with this. My father probably doesn’t understand the state things are in. I know he never would have allowed you to question me without his presence. Could I just speak to him?” She gave him her most innocent smile and fluttered her lashes a bit. The headmaster walked over to her and spoke very quietly.
“Miss Plum, are you insinuating that I am a liar?”
“No sir, just that he must have misunderstood something that…” Pratt cut her off.
“Because it sounds like you are and I do not like that tone. You will sit in this room until we have been granted permission by the police to let you leave.”