Fiction

Mystery Club: Part Two

The Bandleader.

Illustration by Ruby A.

The audio/visual lab. Monday, 10:30 AM.

Skylar Jones sat in the dark, blinking back tears. He was in the equipment closet, watching The Lion King on Mr. Rashid’s laptop. The circle of life—it was so beautiful! Skylar swiped a match against his pant leg, preparing to light up for the third time since breakfast. On a day like this you really couldn’t be too high, Skylar figured. Everyone was talking about how Brittany Carnegie jumped off the bridge in her mascot suit. About a hundred people had seen her do it. Skylar shuddered, not wanting to think about it. He turned up the volume on Mr. Rashid’s computer. Hakuna matata, right?

Ding ding! It was the little bell at the front desk. Skylar considered ignoring it. The school was barely functioning today. Half the student body hadn’t even shown up, and the other half was crowded into “grief circles” in the Guidance Hall. Ding ding! The bell rang again. Skylar sighed and paused the movie. He poked his head out of the closet to see who was there. Great: it was that Scooby-Doo guy, and that god-awful Virginia Leeds. Just being in the same room with Virginia was a buzz kill. She’d had worked at the A.V. desk for a few weeks at the beginning of the semester, and she’d driven Skylar crazy. The A.V. lab had always been Skylar’s place to chill out, but Virginia’s vibe was anything but chill. She’d talked incessantly, and she was incredibly nosy. He’d even caught her going through his backpack once. When he asked her what the hell she thought she was doing, she’d said, “I’m just trying to get to know you!”

And now here she was, leaning across the desk and holding a small digital camera. “Skylar, tell us who checked this out,” she demanded. “We found it, uh, on the ground. It has a library barcode…. Are you crying?”

Skylar wiped his eyes. “Shut up.”

“It’s OK to be one with your emotions,” Virginia said.

The Scooby guy looked impatient. “Yes, yes, everyone’s upset. So can you tell us who checked it out?”

“You just found it on the ground?” Skylar asked. “Why do you care who checked it out?”

“Why do you care that we care?” Virginia said.

“I don’t,” Skylar said, scowling, wishing he’d never left the equipment closet.

“If you could just check,” the Scooby guy persisted.

Skylar sighed loudly and scanned the barcode on the camera. He squinted at the computer screen. “Um… nobody checked this out. Well, not a student anyway.”

“Well who, then?” Scooby said.

“Let me do a full scan. OK. Here it is.”

“Who, who, who?” Virginia demanded, leaning over the desk to see the computer screen for herself. Her elbow bumped a cup full of pens.

Skylar swatted her away. “Quit, you’re knocking things over.”

“Patrick Choi,” Virginia said, reading the scan result. “Mr. Choi? The pep band conductor? Mr. Choi?”

“Mr. Choi?” Scooby repeated. “Mr. Choi?”

Now Skylar really need a joint. “Let’s say ‘Mr. Choi’ five hundred more times.”

Virginia grabbed the camera and started walking off with it, followed by her nerdy friend. “Thanks, Skylar.”

“Hey, you have to give that back,” Skylar shouted after them. They ignored him. He sighed and returned to the equipment closet, resolved not to come out again until he was high enough to tune out this entire day.

The girls’ bathroom. 11 AM.

Virginia stood at the mirror, spritzing herself with perfume. I can’t believe I used to think Skylar was cool, she thought. She’d applied to work at the A.V. lab in September because Skylar Jones had seemed like the most mysterious boy in school. He was a senior, he wore sandals, and he had a bumper sticker on his car that said “The Tao of Chill.” Virginia had started the school year determined to be his girlfriend. She spent every free period in the A.V. lab, probing Skylar’s mind for the mysterious, philosophical thoughts that she was certain must be in there somewhere. But after a few weeks, Virginia learned the important lesson that some people who seem mysterious are actually just incredibly stoned.

Virginia eyed the camera in her backpack. Mr. Choi? she thought for the hundredth time. It still seemed too weird and random to be true. Why would Mr. Choi have been videotaping the bridge? Had he known, somehow, that Brittany was going to jump off?

“That smells really nice,” came a girl’s voice from inside one of the stalls.

“Thank you,” Virginia said, taking a final spritz of the perfume.

“It smells like…I dunno. Like a rose.”

Virginia frowned, annoyed. She didn’t want to smell like a rose. She wanted to smell like yearning or eternity.

“Can I use some?” The stall door swung open, and a tall blond girl stepped out, dramatically wobbling on a pair of high heels. One glance at her face and it was obvious that the girl was way on drugs. But for once Virginia reserved her snotty judgments, because this wasn’t just some druggy lowlife skulking in the girls’ room. This was Angie Carnegie.

Virginia’s mouth hung open stupidly for a moment. What is she doing here? Half the school was missing today, and Angie was the last person anyone expected to show up. And who could blame her for wanting to drug out—only why was she doing it at school?

“Uh, sure,” Virginia managed to say finally, holding out the perfume bottle.

“Thanksss,” said Angie. She reached out and swiped the perfume, then immediately dropped it. The glass bottle shattered on the filthy bathroom tiles, and within seconds the air was thick with the pungent smell of perfume. Angie looked at her hand confusedly, as if she expected the perfume bottle to rematerialize. Then she burst into tears.

“I’m so sorry!” she cried out, crumpling to the floor. The perfume’s smell wafted up from a puddle on the floor.

“Whoa, it’s OK,” Virginia said, coughing a little from the smell, and wondering if she should go get a guidance counselor.

“I’ll pay you back!” Angie said, sobbing into her knees. “How…how much was it?”

“Um, 40 dollars,” Virginia said. “But don’t worry about it, really.”

“Forty dollars?” Angie gasped. “Jesus. Where am I going to get 40 dollars?” Then she collapsed in tears, burying her face in her hands.

Virginia felt her lip curl in irritation. She’d been prepared to excuse Angie’s histrionics, but this was just insulting. Where was Angie Carnegie going to get 40 dollars? She could probably just reach up her ass and pull out 40 dollars.

“I said don’t worry about it,” Virginia said icily. “It’s 40 dollars, it’s not like I care.”

Angie snapped her head up, a ferocious look in her eyes. “Well isn’t that your privilege?” she shouted. “NOW GET OUT OF MY FACE!”

Virginia stumbled backward, startled by Angie’s outburst. “Sorry,” she muttered. The heavy perfume was making her dizzy. She turned and ran out the door, taking a deep breath of the fresh air in the hall. The door was whooshing shut behind her. Virginia looked back for a second—and immediately wished she hadn’t. It was possibly the saddest thing she’d ever seen: Angie Carnegie weeping on the filthy bathroom floor in a puddle of perfume.

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24 Comments

  • Skatapus September 11th, 2012 7:31 PM

    So much suspense! So great! Enough with the cliffhangers though, it’s frustrating! ;D

  • MissKnowItAll September 11th, 2012 7:37 PM

    OHMYGOD
    THIS IS GLORIOUS

  • RainingMiceAndMen September 11th, 2012 8:05 PM

    This was excellent! The break-points are excellent, there’s so much suspense. When does the next part come out?

  • jill September 11th, 2012 8:36 PM

    SO CREEPY OMG THIS IS PERF

  • raggedyanarchy September 11th, 2012 8:44 PM

    WHAT IS HAPPENING? I must see the third installment right now!

  • kruisin September 11th, 2012 9:11 PM

    So good! No more cliffhangers! I can’t handle it! We Rookie readers need it all now! Instant gratification!

    • Graciexx September 13th, 2012 6:38 AM

      #firstworldproblems :D

  • bugaleeto September 11th, 2012 9:11 PM

    Are there going to be three parts?!? I cant decide if that would be a good thing or a bad thing.. on one hand I want to know the concluio but its SO GOOD

  • azultardis September 11th, 2012 9:35 PM

    wow Virginia I like you,the shoe details and everything omg

  • angusyoung4eva September 11th, 2012 10:10 PM

    Such a great story and I cannot wait to read more! It’s so suspenseful and the characters are really relatable. Reading this is the highlight of my week, followed by Roller Derby practice! :D

  • Cerise September 11th, 2012 11:10 PM

    So. Much. Suspense. I love it.

  • Abby September 11th, 2012 11:30 PM

    OOOOHHHH…. CREEEPPY…

  • daisyparakeet September 11th, 2012 11:31 PM

    Can’t wait for part 3, but may wish there were more chapters to come when it ends.

  • unicorn September 11th, 2012 11:59 PM

    SO MUCH SUSSSSPENSSSSSSSSSE.
    You are killing me, Maggie and Rookie posting schedule.
    Also, Brittany, who thinks she’s alive and who thinks she’s dead?
    Any thoughts?

  • ivoire September 12th, 2012 1:58 AM

    EVERYONE LOOKS COOL IN SUNGLASSES

  • Susann September 12th, 2012 2:57 AM

    Oh my gosh, this is soo good! Can’t wait for more!

    Fashion in Pepperland

  • farawayfaerie September 12th, 2012 10:36 AM

    Mystery Club = BEST

  • emine September 12th, 2012 11:06 AM

    ASKDSKDJSKASKDKSDSJDJDS I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS
    THIS IS SO WELL WRITTEN I WANT TO CRY

  • SiLK September 12th, 2012 11:14 AM

    Yay! I’ve been waiting for this impatiently! I am really enjoying it, I also have a feeling maybe it was Mr. Choi in the costume… I hope to find out soon!

  • angusyoung4eva September 12th, 2012 12:21 PM

    I totally think that someone else was in the mascot suit. It makes the story THAT much more suspenseful!

  • Harley September 13th, 2012 10:00 PM

    I really like how Virginia notices details, like the cheerleaders running on their toes while the mascot was stomping around.

  • unicornconnect September 15th, 2012 2:15 AM

    This is so amazing!!!!!!!!!
    I sooooooooooo badly want to find out what happens!!!!

    To be continued…. Arrrrrr
    Carla:)

  • Cutesycreator aka Monica September 20th, 2012 1:56 PM

    This is soooooooooo good!