Every time he saw Zach’s hollow eyes and slumped shoulders, Aidan Salman’s dead body flashed into Devin’s mind. Every time he saw the red of Zach’s shirt, he saw the blood of the boy’s father that had taken hours and hours to scrub off his hands. Anxiety gnawed at his stomach. He wanted to talk to Zach, say hi, anything to make it okay. Instead, he shifted his focus to the girl in front of him and resumed biting his nails down to the quick. Counting the flecks of paint in her hair proved a perfect distraction.
It was exactly 11:20 am when the police came. They called Zach’s name and to his surprise the name of the girl sitting in front of him: Nova. He held his breath, waiting for his name to be called next but the police just nod politely and ushered the two outside. He was relieved, but questions plagued his mind. What if they were talking about him? What if they were asking if they knew what he had done? Maybe they could hear his pounding heart trying to break free from his chest. He thought he might vomit. He had to leave, right now. He raised his hand.
"Yes, Devin?" the teacher says.
"May I go to the bathroom?"
She nodded and he rose up, wiping his sweaty palms on his jeans. He sprinted down the hall, rushing to the nearest trashcan and–
“Nova, Zach, follow me.”
He looked down at his feet and continued walking as the police pull the two into the office behind him. Once they were inside, he snuck back, watching through the slightly open door.
“What’s happening officer?” Zach asked as Devin pressed himself against the wall for a better view.
“How are you doing Zach?” the police said.
“How do you think?” he replied bitterly.
“Why are we here?” Nova pitched in.
“Please be patient Ms. Grey,” the officer said, pointing to two chairs in front of him. Zach and Nova sat down, glancing awkwardly at one another. “I suppose you are aware that Mr. Salman’s father was murdered two nights ago?”
Devin’s stomach dropped.
“No, I didn’t know my father was murdered,” Zach snapped. Nova put a hand on his shoulder as if to calm him.
“Yes, we do officer, but what does that have to do with anything?” she inquired.
“We’re currently rounding up suspects, we’re determined to find the murderer.”
Devin could hardly breathe as he heard the final damning words fall from the officer’s lips.
“For various reasons, we have concluded that you, Nova and Zach, are the prime suspects in this murder.”