Silently, I followed the two officers into the interrogation room ,handcuffs tight and my wrists. One of the officers, a short plump woman with brown eyes and a stern face, handed me a glass of water as I sat down while the taller officer stood by the door chatting quietly with someone outside. Trembling slightly, my reaching hand grasped the glass of water from the police woman and I nervously took a gulp.

“Ma’am, do you know why we brought you here?” The taller officer spoke once he came into the room, the door shutting behind him with a click.

“No,” I replied, feigning innocence.

“ We’re here to ask you questions about the death of Onyx” he said, eyeing me carefully. I knew what I had to do, the scene played out in my head for months, never once did I think it’d become reality. I shuddered a breath, swallowing the rise of bile as I nodded for them to continue. The next minutes went by in a blur as they asked me for my name and address as well as other personal details that stumbled out of my mouth numbly. They told me their names too but it never stuck. Despite having ended his life myself, a small part of me had hoped that against all odds he had survived my aggression. Wincing,

‘Death of onyx’ the words rang loudly in my head.

“ Through our investigation, we believe that he was murdered and would like to ask you a few questions since you were the last to see him alive, you understand?”

“ yes, sir” my breath hitched as I answered. It wasn’t my fault.

“ would like you to tell us what happened when you two met up”

Tell them the truth. Tell them the truth but just spend it slightly just like I had practised.

“ It was late afternoon when we had met up, I went to his room-” The officer interrupted me as he scribbled onto a sheet of paper opposite me.

“ And is it normal for you to go to his room often?”

“Yes sir” I answered. He wrote a couple more things down before motioning for me to continue. Relaying the events, I made sure to leave out how our time together had ended.

“ So the last time you saw him was when you left his room because he was tired and your time together was spent watching a movie and talking?” He clarified.

“Yes sir” I replied with some more confidence than before, I could actually get away. No one would have to know of all that I have done.

Pausing, he shuffled a stack of papers that had been strewn to the side of the desk, pulling out to photocopies and placing them in front of me.

“Can you confirm that this is you?” He asked, pointing to the blurred figure leaving Onyx’s room and another one of the same blurred figure rushing to the women’s bathroom.

“Yes” I droned boredly.

“ We have reason to believe that Onyx’s murder is related to all the other incidents that have happened in the past year.” He began, my heart raced anxiously.

“We believe that you can help us find who did this” oh, I had nothing to worry about,I chuckled to myself.

“Of course officer, I would love to help” I said enthusiastically.

“Okay so we need as much details from you as possible” and so I began, re encountering every moment spent with them all before their deaths. With each memory my voice grew stronger, these fools, asking about the murderer as if I’m not sitting right in front of them. I layed back into my chair and unclenched my hand.

“ -and with Jasmine, she was all of a sudden so distracted and distant. We wanted to know what’s wrong so when she called us to the tree house, we all decided that we were going to confront her there. We spoke for a bit before I got tired of beating around the bush and I just asked her straight away about what she was hiding and why she was being so secretive.” I told the police. It had hurt us- me that someone so close to me was not telling me the truth and hiding things constantly.

“ Every time I would ask her a question about what’s going on, she would just redirect the conversation and say that she’ll talk about it later which annoyed me and we started arguing” The argument was still vivid in my mind; the insults thrown around, the books and magazines that we had stashed in the treehouse all victims to my fit of rage as I blindly hurled them at Jasmine.

“And that’s when she fell?” The officer implored.

“ Well, she hit her head on the desk first, but yeah, then she fell,” I responded casually.

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that? Jasmine and you were arguing about what she was concealing from you and then she hit her head?” The police woman spoke up, until now she had sat back with her clipboard and left the officer to do all the questioning. Digging my fingers into my palm, my mind raced through everything that I had just said. Why were they so confused? Did I say something wrong? My eyes shifted from one officer to the other as I saw the police woman staring at my hands. I unclenched them and straightened my skirt as I set up straight in the uncomfortable plastic chair.

“I mean wasn’t that in the report?” I asked meekly.

“No, it wasn’t. Can you tell me more about that?” The man said, dragging my attention from the police woman, who was still furiously scribbling, to him. My heart pounded in my throat, I swallowed, trying to push away the dread that was setting upon me. They can’t know.

“I mean I don’t know, I just thought I read that on the news” my eyes shifted from him, to the camera that had never made me feel so small, so vulnerable.

“Right” was all the man said before gathering his papers and leaving the interrogation room, the policewoman following his lead. She had the decency to atleast nod at me before they left me to stew with my thoughts alone.

I shifted nervously in my seat. Looking around the bare walls seemed to close in on me, my breath hastened. This wasn’t enough for them to know was it? After all, I did everything I could to make sure that this secret came with me to the grave. There was no way this one mistake was enough for them to think that I could ever do anything that malicious. Not poor,weak Dahlia who’s so grief stricken after her friend's deaths.

Time ticked by achingly slowly. Bile rose to my throat once more. I was utterly alone. We had been a striking force together and knew everything about one another. Ever since meeting them, there wasn’t a moment where I pondered on my loneliness. I have never felt so empty and there was nothing I could do about it. Wasn’t my fault I did everything in my power to keep us together. When- if I leave this place, I won’t have Aster to hug, or Runa to fuss over me. Onyx won’t be there to shove a sandwich in my hand, Jasmine won’t be there to walk me home. If I leave, I’ll have to walk to the bus, cold and alone. I’ll have to sit in my room, wrapped in my blankets as I stare blankly at my ceiling until my mom walks in, ushering me to take a shower and to join the family for at least one meal that week. I’ll walk into class and the seat next to me will be empty. And it was no one’s fault but mine. I lifted my hands, stinging palms pressing down on my eyes as I wept silently, my whole body shaking with the motion.

After what felt like hours, the officers came back into the room. This time, the policewoman took the seat in front of me and looked at me silently for a moment before speaking up.

“We’d like you to tell us how Jasmine hit her head” I take a small broken breath in as I answered vaguely.

“She fell backwards and hit her head”, my eyes flocked around the room, anywhere but the officers watching my every move.

“Did she hit her head on something?” She implored.

“Yes, the desk in the treehouse” She wrote my words down before handing the clipboard to the policeman. Leaning in, she folded her arms on the desk and stared into my eyes as though she was dissecting me. My skin crawled.

“Dahlia,” she said carefully. I could just about hear her say my name, the lights blinked loudly and my chest heaved with each breath I took. Calmly she spoke again,

“Are you sure she fell?”

I froze. What use was there lying now? The dams broke and all hell broke loose. Crying uncontrollably, my sobs racked my body as I slumped forward and wept into my arms. Finally, I can share my burden, finally my mind can let me rest.

“Dahlia, how did Jasmine fall?” The officer repeated.

“I-I pushed her” I stuttered out. It felt good- liberating almost to utter my sin. Maybe with my admittance I can finally be forgiven. Perhaps I can eventually forgive myself.

“ Was she dead after she hit her head?” She paid no mind to my sobs, asking and asking while I, broken and fragile, spoke word of the secret that I have killed time and time again for.

“No” I responded as best as I could, the lump in my throat making it painful for a single sound to escape.

“How are you sure?” She questioned.

“I saw her chest move and she gasped as she fell” I gasped out, clutching the cup of water and gulping it, as though I had been left in a desert for years. The officers shared a glance with each other. At this, I sprang up manically.

“It wasn’t my fault!” Angrily shouting, I banged my hands on the table. They need to understand. “It was an accident, I would never hurt her!”

“And the others? Runa?Aster?Onyx?” The officer raised her voice at me. Did she not understand? I had to stop them.

“I had to! I had to kill them before they-” From the corner of my vision, I saw the policeman smirk. They had played me and like a brainless fool, I fell into their meticulous, cruel hands. I clamped my mouth shut. I just gave them all they needed.

It was a couple hours later that I finally got to walk out of the investigation room. The stone wall behind me ice cold and unforgiving, the mattress underneath me hard and uncomfortable. I sighed as I gazed out into the moon, my only companion for years to come through the metal bars of my cell.

Again, I wished I could join the stars and the moon, they would understand. They wouldn’t doubt me, they would know.

It wasn’t my fault. I did what I had to do.