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Story from an Unintentional Killer
I remember it so distinctively, although I wish I didn’t. I couldn’t believe that I had played a part in someone else’s death. I, Naomi Rodgers, played a leading role in the death of Megan Walker.
I had always been one of the more popular girls in my class. That is until Megan moved here. It was the beginning of our freshman year and, going to a small school, we were all excited by the fact that we would be getting a new girl in our class. Someone else we could hang out with, play sports with, and just be friends, I guess. That is until Megan walked into our school on that first day of ninth grade and acted like she owned the place. Suddenly, I was the underdog along with the other girls who had been at the top of our class. She had perfect hair. Perfect teeth. Clear skin. As far as we knew she came from a good family and had a good home life. She drove a nice car. She was athletic and had been the basketball cheer squad captain at her old school. She played volleyball and ran in track as well as many local 5Ks. She was great at flirting with all the popular boys, but didn’t have a steady boyfriend. She got straight A’s in school. She was as close to perfect as any teenage girl could hope to be, and the girls who were affected, hated her for it.
The only good thing that came out of this was that I grew close to two very important girls that year; Teagan and Sadie. We had always been friends, but never this close. They had also been pretty and popular going into their freshman year and weren’t extremely happy to have it ruined by Megan.
We put up with it that year. At first, we tried to accept Megan, hoping she would accept us in return. However, after a little time, we felt that she didn’t want anything to do with us. So we sat at our own table at lunch. Stayed away from the boys she was talking to. Didn’t go to a lot of parties. We pretty much just stayed in the shadows of our class.
The summer passed and Teagan, Sadie, and I tried to hang out as much as we could. Through many days of swimming, biking, and hanging out, we had decided on one thing: we were not going to let Megan ruin our sophomore year. We were going to have the best year we could. No one could stand in our way. We were determined to find a way to get Megan out of the picture.
Looking back, it was a really stupid plan. I can’t believe that we thought anyone would believe what we were going to say. I can’t believe that I would go through with the plan, just because I thought it would make me popular.
We were a week and a half into the new school year when we decided to start our plan: knock Megan down with no way to get back up. So we came up with the nastiest, dirtiest, meanest rumor we could… and we spread it.
“Did you hear about Megan?”
“ She did what?!”
“Wow, I can’t believe we all fell for her act.”
The hush voices bounced through the halls.
“They actually did it?” one girl asked.
“Yeah,” another said, “in the back of his truck. Neither one of them used any protection and now she has, like, all sorts of disease. Some people even say she was pregnant and got an abortion just so she wouldn’t ruin her ego.”
“Do you think it’s working?” Teagan asked Sadie and I as we walked from fourth hour history to lunch.
I shrugged my shoulders and looked at Sadie. That’s when I saw her. Megan Walker, sitting in the corner of the lunchroom, alone. Her eyes were red and the hood on her perfectly fitted sweatshirt was up.
Sadie elbowed me and nodded towards her. I thought bring her down would bring me up, not just in popularity, but also in confidence. But, at that moment, I didn’t feel confident. I felt like a loser. A liar. A jerk.
“It’s fine,” Teagan told me later that night on the phone. Just think of all the mean things that she has done to us. She deserves it. Anyways, we decided that this was going to be our year, Naomi. Not hers.”
“I know,” I said back into the phone, “but what if this isn’t right? What if someday we regret this?” I asked.
“Why would we regret being popular? Besides, unless someone is tapping this phone line right now, no one will ever know that we started the rumor.”
“I don’t know, Teagan,” I skeptically said back.
“Come on, Naomi. What happened to being the best? Don’t you want to sit at the cool table at lunch and be able to talk to whoever we want?”
“Yeah, I guess,” I said.
Talk of the rumor was still buzzing around the halls the next day. I was feeling a little better. I had convinced myself that maybe she did deserve it. After all, what had she ever done nice to me? She just walked in and took over. It was my turn to show her who was boss.
As we walked into lunch later that day Megan was sitting in the same spot as yesterday, this time no hood or red eyes, just hair pulled into a messy bun and a depressed look as she stirred her mashed potatoes around her tray.
We went through the line and were walking to our regular table when someone said, ‘Hey, Naomi!’
I turned around to see Rich Kennit, the quarterback or the football team, looking at me. “You guys can sit here if you want,” he continued, “Looks like the whore won’t be sitting with us anymore,” he finished, eyeing Megan.
First, I was shocked by the fact that Rich Kennit had just asked me to sit at his table. It had been such a long time since anyone paid attention to us, especially such a popular guy. More than anything, however, I couldn’t believe that he had just called her a whore. Is that what she was now? As unfair as it was, we had earned her that nickname and our plan was working. I took Rich up on his offer.
Things didn’t get better for Megan as time went on. More and more people started to whisper ‘whore’ or ‘slut’ or even ‘baby-killer’ when they passed her in the hall. Eventually, it got to the point where everyone mocked her. Even Teagan. Even Sadie. Even me.
Megan had basically become part of the lowest rank of our high school. She had no friends, she stopped going out for sports, she was removed from the A honor roll and didn’t even make the B honor roll. We had completely ruined her life. We didn’t care, though. We were getting our pleasure from her pain.
So I guess you could say that when I walked into the school that Friday morning of my junior year with Teagan and Sadie, it wasn’t really different from any other day. We grew quiet as we approached Megan; standing by her locker, gather her books and loose papers. As we passed behind her we all mumbled ‘slut’ under our breath and continued to first hour. It wasn’t the first time that we had made fun of her, but I didn’t think it could possibly be the last either.
Then, I got the text from a senior friend. It was Friday night, 11:17. MEGAN is dead… she committed suicide after school today. Can you believe it?
I read the text over and over again. I couldn’t believe it. I had just seen her at school eight hours earlier. She was there, in good physical condition. Now she was dead? Gone? Forever?
I got in my car and took the short 15-minute drive to Megan’s house. The drive seemed like it lasted forever. My hands shook as I tried to keep my car on the road. Tears brimmed at the corners of my eyes and it took everything I had to contain them. It was dark out, but as I approached Megan’s yard I could see bright lights. There was lots of cars and CAUTION tape separating the crowd from the Walker’s house and barn.
As I made my way towards the crowd something in the dim distance caught my eye. There was a white sheet of paper neatly folded under a rock at the base of a nearby tree. I don’t know why, but I felt that it was really important for me to pick it up. As I made my way over to the tree, my heart beat faster. I slowly unfolded it:
I’m not sure if I am supposed to leave a note or not. I don’t even know if this is the right thing to do, but it seems like the only way out… the only way for me to escape the torture my life has become. I put this note in a visible spot, but nowhere really obvious. I figured if someone was meant to find it, God would lead them here.
So I would first like to say that Mom, Dad, and my wonderful sister, Brooklyn, you had nothing to do with this. In fact, thank you for always being so supportive towards me. You were the only ones that I could rely on.
Second - to the people who started that rumor way back in our freshman year, none of that was true. I am sorry if I ruined your lives or whatever, but I hope you’re happy now. I hope you get everything you ever wanted.
To all of those fellow students back at my school in Denver, thank you for accepting me for who I was. It was a mistake to move here and I would have done anything to be able to come back and graduate with you guys.
I find this as the only way to stay out of other people’s way… I am sorry for intruding. I am sorry for taking over. I am sorry for being me.
Don’t worry about me; I will see you all again someday… miss you all!
With all my love, MEGAN
Tears poured down my face. She wished that we would get everything we ever wanted. We had made her life so miserable, and she still wished the best for us. I had been a main reason for her death and I couldn’t even accept myself anymore.
Someone touched my shoulder. I whirled around to see an officer carrying a flashlight.
“M’am,” he said, still holding my shoulder, “we are asking everyone to please return home. We don’t want to pressure our officers or stress the family.”
“Okay,” I said, pulling away from his hand.
“And, if you don’t mind me asking,” he said, “what’s the note?”
“Umm….” I debated about even telling him. “Ahh… I think it is Megan’s final words to her family.”
“A suicidal note? I will have to take that for our investigation,” he said as he snatched it from my hand. “What’s your name, young lady?”
“Naomi,” I told him. “Naomi Rodgers.”
“Alright, Naomi, you go home and get some sleep. I have a feeling you and all of you fellow classmates will have a long road ahead of you.”
The officer was right. The funeral was held. Long weeks turned into longer months. People cried, fights broke out about whose fault it was, and Teagan, Sadie, and I laid low. There were serious consequences for the bully in a suicidal case. After all, we had started the rumor, but it wasn’t us who started the name-calling or the tormenting.
But to me, it doesn’t really matter. I could have turned myself in and gotten a hundred life sentences, for all I care. I would still feel the same, because now, I have to live with that fact that I had unintentionally killed Megan Walker. And it is something I can never take back.