It was my first day at a new school. My big brother, Arthur, was leading me down the 5th grader hall to my class room. I was looking around excitedly. When we got to my class room, I looked around at everyone, noticing they were staring at me. I guess they knew I was the new kid here. I noticed a little girl sitting in the back by herself. She had (h/l) (h/c) hair and (e/c) eyes. She looked lonely, so I walked over and sat beside her. She didn't even glance at me.
"Hi, my name is Alfred. What's your name?" I asked, but she didn't reply. Soon, class started, so I couldn't ask her again. I sat beside her at lunch and followed her around at recess. She kept giving me curious looks.
"W-Why are you following me?" she asked in a whisper. I smiled at her, happy she actually talked to me.
"Well, I want to be your friend! I'm kind of new and everything," I said and she gave me a soft smile.
"Well, okay. My name is ____."
"It suits you," I said. We began to play together. At one point, I grabbed her arm gently but she winced and pulled away. I tilted my head. She looked away.
"S-Sorry... My skin is sensitive," she said, but I could sense the lie. The teacher called us in before I could say anything about it.
When school let out, my big brother came to walk me home. I noticed that ____ was following us, but no one had come and got her.
"Do you go this way too, ____? And why didn't one of your siblings come get you?" I asked and she glanced at Arthur warily before answering.
"Yes, I do go this way, but I don't have any siblings," she said in that same quiet whisper.
"Then why didn't your parents come get you?" Arthur asked as he gave her a worried look.
"Ah... M-Mommy and Daddy are very busy... They can't come get me," she replied, looking away. Another lie. I looked up at Arthur and I could tell he noticed it too. We walked past a nice little house and ____ stopped.
"This is my house," she said, giving me a cute smile. "I'll see you tomorrow Alfred."
"Alright! See ya tomorrow!" I called as me and Arthur continued our way home.
A few days later, I was watching her draw a picture of a cat. I was wondering if I could spend the night, so I decided to ask.
"Hey, ____, do you think your parents would let me spend the night?" I asked as I watched her draw. She looked up at me sadly and shook her head.
"My parents don't let anyone come over. They don't want to be responsible for someone else's kid," she said and I frowned. I was a little sad and disappointed, but I couldn't do anything about it.
"Then... How about if you came and spent the night with me?"
"I... I'd have to ask," she said as she continued to draw. I smiled and sat down as the teacher began class.
As we walked home that day, I told Arthur we have to wait while ___ asked her parents if she could come spend the night. She ran up the driveway and disappeared into her house. We waited for about fifteen minutes before she came running back out, with her backpack still on. She had a bright smile on her face.
"They said I could!" she exclaimed excitedly and Arthur smiled.
"Alright then. Let's go."
We played most of the day. She seemed more carefree and relaxed than she did at school. At one point she asked me where my parents were.
"We lost our parents a few monthes ago," I said with a sad smile. "That's why we moved here."
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked," she said, looking down.
"No, it's fine," I said as Arthur walked in.
"It's time for bed. Go change into your pajamas," he said and ___ got her bookbag and headed to the bathroom. When she came back, me and Arthur stared at her in utter surprise. She had dark purple bruises lining her arms. She noticed we were staring and she looked away.
"I-I'm clumsy... That's how I got these," she said. Yet another lie. I frowned, but decided not to call her on it. We laid down and Arthur tucked us in. He turned the light off and left my room. We were both quiet.
"Good night, Alfred," I heard ____ murmur sleepily. I smiled.
"Good night, _____" I said.
---Few Months Later---
I sighed and looked back over to ____'s empty seat. She hasn't been showing up to school, so I was beginning to worry. I looked at ____'s house as we walked passed. I tugged on Arthur's sleeve.
"Can we please go check on _____? I want to see how she is doing," I asked, looking at Arthur with puppy dog eyes. He just smiled.
"Well, alright," he said and we walked up the driveway. He was about to knock on the door, but we heard ____ scream. He tested the doorknob and he ran in when he saw it was unlocked. I followed him and froze at the sight. ____ was laying on the ground, a pool of blood around her. Arthur had her father pinned against the wall.
"You bastard! How could you do this to a child!" he snarled. I never seen him so angry. I ran over to ____ and kneeled down.
"____!" I cried and she turned her head to me weakly.
"Alfred! Get the phone and call 911!" Arthur yelled at me, struggling to keep ____'s father pinned against the wall. I looked around and ran to their phone when I saw it. I called 911 and after telling them the things they needed to know, I ran back over to ____. I couldn't stop the tears that poured from my eyes.
"Alfred... I'm so tired..." she whispered. I could tell she was having a hard time keeping her eyes opened.
"J-Just a bit longer... They will be here soon," I said. Her eyes closed and I couldn't stop the scream that forced its way from my throat.
____ died that day. Her parent's were arrested for murder and abuse. Me and Arthur never talked about her and I cried myself to sleep for months, waking up from nightmares. I couldn't believe that I had lost my best friend.
---9 Years Later---
I walked to the cemetery, carrying a bouquet of flowers. I walked over to a particular grave and kneeled down. I sat the flowers down and stared at the headstone.
"Hi, ____," I whispered. "I'm going to start college soon. It's so hard to believe. I'm going to study to be a cop, so I can help kids with abusive parents. I... I was inspired by you really."
I felt the tears well up in my eyes. I let out a soft sob as I rubbed my eyes.
"I'm so sorry, ____. This is my fault. If... If we had checked on you sooner... You would be alive. I could have saved you!"
"Don't blame yourself, it's not your fault," I heard a soft voice. My eyes widened.
"Please don't blame yourself. I'm fine now." she said, her voice fading away. I smiled sadly and got up.
"Don't worry, _____. I'll make sure kids don't have to go through the same things you did," I said as I walked away.