Saturday morning at eight O’clock I knocked on Dr. Joshua Hastings’s house. I took a step back and waited for it to be answered; I leant against the porch fence and began to whistle.
“What are you doing there boy?” Mr. Jamison came shuffling up the path, “Don’t you know whose house that is?!” he grabbed me by the collar and pulled me down the porch steps. The front door opened and Joshua stepped out,
“Thanks Ed, I’ll take it from here,” he said calmly, Mr. Jamison dropped my collar and shoved my head down.
“Scum,” he muttered under his breath, “murderous scum!” We both watched as he hobbled down the path, the gate closed and I turned to Joshua.
“Why are you here Tyler? If you need medical help I’ll be out on the green all day and…”
“I’m not sick,” I said flatly, I couldn’t meet his eyes, “I came about something else,”
“Let’s hear it,” Joshua folded his arms; he looked down at me from height of the porch.
“Mind if we go inside?” I asked quietly,
“Whatever must be said, can be said here,” Joshua sat on the porch step and patted the space beside him; I sat next to him and swallowed. “I haven’t got all day, I really do need to be on that green at nine sharp,”
“Do you think I did it?” I asked him, suddenly our eyes met and he stared at me, as though he was reading my soul. Moments passed and then Joshua coughed,
“I don’t know Tyler,” he muttered, “I don’t see why you would but all the clues point towards you…”
“I didn’t,” I told him strongly, “I swear on my life, I did not kill your wife,”
“Is this why you’re here?” Joshua asked standing up,
“Not completely,” I said getting up too, this time I was taller than him. Joshua took the last two steps up and walked to his front door, “I’d like to find out who did!” I called as Joshua was about to close the door. He opened it again slowly and raised his eyebrows,
“Don’t.” he whispered, “It’s taken me so long to bury these feelings, you’re just going to dig them all up again and I don’t think I could take it, not again.” His eyes brimmed with tears, I clenched my teeth and my jaw flexed. “Promise me Tyler; promise me you’ll drop it…”
“I can’t promise anything Doctor,” I said quietly, “it wasn’t just you who got hurt four years ago, it wasn’t just you who wishes life could return to how it was four years ago…”I trailed off as Joshua closed the door. “It’s not just you.” I whispered to myself.
“Joshua is that you?” came a voice from the path, I turned round to see Josie Greene standing by the gate. “Oh Tyler, you look strangely similar to Joshua from the back.” she told me. I jumped off the porch and over the gate, “What were you doing…?” she trailed off as I evidently didn’t want to speak. I ran across the road and headed over the town green to my house.
“Mr. Hanson!” my name was being called, I stopped and looked around, the vicar’s wife was waving at me to come over. I sighed slowly and obeyed, “It’s nice that you’ve decided to show up,” she smiled,
“Not like I had a choice,” I muttered under my breath,
“Shall we reconvene at nine O’clock when it starts?” she asked,
“Sure,” I nodded and turned,
“So you can watch the stall while I’m checking up on the others?” I turned back, she was smiling silly,
“I really need to…” I trailed off, I couldn’t think of anything. Before I knew it, I was watching the white elephant stall, people walked passed but they were also setting up and no one noticed me. I sat in the chair and plugged in my iPod, the heavy beats filled my head and I let the lyrics wash over me and drown my boredom.
Suddenly the music stopped and I opened my eyes, Meghan was stood in front of me with the earphone jack in her hand, she waved it in my face and then threw it onto my lap.
“So you do listen to music…” She said it as a statement, not a question,
“Yeah, I do,” I replied answering anyway.
“You’re not doing a very good job on the stall,” she told me,
“The festival hasn’t started yet,” I retorted,
“Still…I’ve found my first bargain,” she winked and ran her hands along a guitar strap which was sat on the table. “You won’t tell if I just take it, will you?” she asked smiling.
“I can’t promise anything,” I sat up in my seat.
“How much?” she sighed,
“Five dollars and it’s yours,” I bargained, she threw me a bill and took the strap. “Nice doing business with you,” I commented putting the five dollars in my pocket,
“You can’t keep the money, it’s going towards the town,” Meghan told me,
“You won’t tell if I just take it, will you?” I winked impersonating her,
“I can’t promise anything,” she retorted. I took the money out my pocket and put it in the pot. “I think as time goes on, you’re starting to show your bad side even more. It’s like you want people to think you killed her…” Meghan didn’t seem to realise the depth of the accusation she had just thrown at me, I stood up off the chair and leaned across the table towards her.
“After everything we’ve been through, I thought at least you’d understand!”
“I don’t understand why you have to act all dark and mysterious…” she muttered,
“Why do you always have to act like this?” I hissed pointing at her,
“Like what?” she asked airily,
“Like you’re a frickin’ stranger!” I burst, “We used to be best friends!” I yelled,
“Keep it down,” she said putting her hand on my arm; I pushed it off and breathed out through my nose. “We were best friends, four years ago, things change, people change…”
“I just don’t understand,” I spoke slowly and calmly, although my rage was boiling, “why you don’t drop your façade, I dropped mine four years ago…”
“No, no Tyler, you’re the same old ‘bad boy’ you always claimed to be,”
“I never claimed to be anything,” I snapped, “I was given this reputation and there’s nothing I can do to change people’s mind, nothing apart from finding out the real murderer…”
“You promised you wouldn’t…”
“No, I promised I wouldn’t reveal your alibi but your alibi is mine Meghan Tate, and if that’s what it takes for my name to be wiped clear, then so be it!” I smiled triumphantly. Her hand collided with my cheek and made a loud slapping noise, I stumbled back,
“You’re going to ruin me Tyler; you’re going to ruin yourself. I would prefer to be called a murderer than a…”
“How much?” Ellen Kirtle asked fingering a parrot cage, she jumped us both and we didn’t know how long she’d been standing there.
“Twenty bucks,” I muttered, Meghan glared at me,
“I’ll catch you later,” she said sternly before walking off, Ellen Kirtle handed me twenty dollars and took the cage.
“Oscar will like this,” she smiled, “thank you Tyler Hanson.” With that, she walked off.