“Innocent” by Lauren Hampton
My head rested against the cool metal of the locker. With a loud sigh, I grumbled under my breath about not wanting to take my damn chemistry exam today. I had been up all night studying, but somehow, I felt less prepared than I had yesterday. Slowly, I took a step back from the locker and opened it, just as my best friend practically skipped over to my side. “Morning, Quinn!” Ava Mathews was obnoxiously perky for 7:30 in the morning. Especially on a day like today.
“Good morning, Ava.” My voice held a slight tone of annoyance that the perky brunette quickly brushed off.
“So,” Ava said as she opened the locker beside mine. “I heard that there is going to be someone transferring in today.” I looked up from the fingernails that I had been picking at to give my best friend one of my signature eye rolls.
“Oh really?” I asked, sarcasm heavy in my voice. “And what makes this person so special compared to all the others who have transferred into Greenfield in the past year?” My eyebrow raised at Ava as I waited for her response.
“I have two words for you,” Ava said, her voice lowering as she crept closer to me so that she could whisper in my ear. “Shaun Davidson.” My eyebrows furrowed as I listened to the name that I was apparently supposed to have recognized. When Ava realized that I had no idea who the hell she was talking about, she grabbed my hand and yanked me by the arm, out of the hall, and behind the nearest set of stairs.
“Don’t tell me you don’t know what he did,” Ava said, half whispering, half yelling at me.
“I honestly have no idea what you’re going on about,” I shot back at her. I didn’t understand why Ava was making such a big deal out of some guy who was going to be transferring into our school. She placed one of her delicate hands on her hip and rose an eyebrow in my direction.
“Have you seriously never heard of Slasher Shaun?” Ava’s voice held a tone of disbelief as I gave her a confused look.
“Slasher Shaun?” I asked. “What the hell kind of a name is that? What, are we in some kind of a bad horror flick? Yeah we go to a school with a bunch of mentally insane people, but what could this kid possibly have done to earn the name Slasher Shaun? What did he sacrifice a bunch of goats and sheep for satanic rituals or something?”
The look that Ava gave me sent shivers down my spine. “He killed his younger sister while she was sleeping,” she said. Her voice became quiet, barely above a whisper. My eyes widened at the news. Shaun was the first murderer to have stepped foot in Greenfield since the 50’s. Slowly, I dropped my gaze to the floor and tugged on the cuff of my long sleeve shirt.
“We should get to class before we’re late…again.” I gave Ava a small smile before walking out from behind the stairs and back to my locker to gather my books. She followed close behind, keeping quiet as we grabbed our supplies and walked into our first period class.
Math was my least favorite subject, so I was glad that I was able to get it out of the way. However, because it was my least favorite subject, I usually spent my time doodling in my notebook, rather than paying attention to algebra problems. I sat down in my usual seat near the back of the tiny classroom. Classes at Greenfield were relatively small, each only having no more than ten students at a time. My algebra class only had five students in it, which was nice because that meant that no one sat in the row behind me. Something that I was very particular about.
As the rest of my classmates filed into the room, I turned in my chair to look out the window. The sky was filled with fluffy clouds that made me wish that I was outside, painting, instead of listening to Ava’s psycho-babble about her latest vodka stash that she had scored from some upperclassman. With a sigh, I opened my notebook and began to sketch my view from the window when suddenly there was a collective gasp from my classmates. My brows pulled together in confusion as I glanced up from my notebook.
Mr. Burner stood in front of the white boards with a guy I had never seen before at Greenfield. After a quick glance at the faces around me, I quickly realized that boy standing beside my algebra teacher was none other than Shaun Davidson, or Slasher Shaun as everyone else seemed to know him.
Shaun had sandy, blonde hair that hung off his forehead in a side sweep that barely covered one of his bright blue eyes. He wore a graphic t-shirt with the name of a band that I didn’t recognize written across the chest, and a pair of dark-wash skinny jeans. Ava turned around in her seat to give me a look as if to say “that;’s him.” I gave Shaun another glance, and at first, he looked like someone who could have killed his sister: he had a blank expression and hel his gaze at the back of the room. However, with a closer examination into his icy blue eyes, I didn’t see hate. I saw fear.
Shaun was scared and he obviously didn’t want to be here, and I didn’t blame him. Especially because of the heated stares his new classmates were now giving him. One of the girls, Tara, turned to her friend and whispered loudly, “Yeah, that’s him alright. Slasher Shaun. I heard from Jason O’Neil that he gutted his sister right in front of her best friend.” I kept my eyes on Shaun as Tara talked and saw that he had clenched his jaw slightly.
Mr. Burner cleared his throat and commanded the attention of the class with his booming voice. “Everyone, I’m sure you all know by now that Mr. Davidson shall be joining us here at Greenfield Juvenile Correctional Institution. I hope that you will offer him the same clean slate that you were all given when you first arrived. Shaun, you may take any open seat.”
And with that, Mr. Burner turned towards the whiteboard and began writing an algebraic equation. Shaun looked around the room, searching for a place to sit, but all he found were angry glares staring back at him. I don’t know why, but this made me furious. At that moment, Shaun’s eyes found mine and I froze. Shivers shot down my spine as he slowly walked to the back of the classroom and sat in the empty seat behind me.
As soon as he sat down, I dropped my gaze to my sketch and held my breath. I could feel Shaun’s eyes boring into my back and after a few seconds, I felt his warm breath tickling the nape of my neck. In a low voice, he whispered, “I didn・ft do it.”