Adressing the students - Det.Alder

I sat in my car trying to look as inconspicuous as possible as I waited for the kids to file in to the school. To tell the truth, I was surprised to see so many there before the bell rang - good for them. Cars of all shapes and sizes pulled up around me, though I couldn’t help but give my head a little disapproving shake as a brand new silver Mercedes came to a stop to my left, the soft purr of the engine fading gracefully as a kid no older than sixteen stepped out.

My bemusement faltered as I saw who got out of the car to my right. The same girl I’d seen on the hill that day almost looked straight at me as she hitched her schoolbag up on to her shoulder. Seeing her face properly, I had to admit she looked a hell of a lot like Ally Prior. I was used to coincidences but that was too surreal. I wondered how she’d fare on her first day in a new school where she could easily be mistaken for a murdered student, and thought fleetingly about calling her over. I dismissed the thought quickly though - I might only make her new start even worse.

With the sound of the school bell signalling the beginning of the day’s lessons, I climbed out of my own car and waited for the stragglers to filter in to the main building, then set off to reception myself. I pushed through the double doors, slightly disappointed at having to leave behind the purity of the snowy scene outside.

“Hullo, I‘ve got an appointment to see the principal,” I announced myself to the receptionist, who only stared blankly at me from behind her thick black-rimmed glasses, “I’m Detective Alder - we spoke on the phone.”

“Oh! Yes, yes she’s in her office. Go through now if you like.” She pointed me in the direction of a dark wood door with a bronzed plaque upon it.My knock on the door was greeted with a bored “Come in.”

“Ah, Detective Alder. It’s nice to meet you,” The principal stood up to shake my hand and offer me a seat in front of her desk before settling back in to her own.

“Nice to meet you too, though the circumstances aren’t ideal,” I thought I’d better return the pleasantries.

“Of course,” her expression fell. “Yes, what happened to Ally Prior was truly tragic. She was well-liked here. I understand you want to speak to the students?”

“Yeah, together if possible, with the teachers too. I’d just like to get the message out there that we aren’t giving up on finding the killer and - I know it’s a bit of a shot in the dark - but there’s a good chance someone knows something about it. If just one person comes forward it could really help the investigation.”

The principal considered my words for a moment.
“Alright,” she said, “I could call an assembly if you’d like. That way you’ll be able to talk to everybody at once, teachers included.”

“That’d be great, thanks,” I smiled to show my appreciation.

Twenty minutes later I stood before a sea of expectant students. Some bored already by my presence, others grateful to have escaped their lessons, and a few with worried expressions, eager to hear what I had to say. Probably those closest to Ally.

I cleared my throat.
“Good morning.
As I’m sure you already know, one of your fellow students, Ally Prior, was murdered recently. I’ve heard nothing but good things about her; she was a popular student with many friends, excellent grades and a bright future ahead of her. Her murderer was a callous example of a person with no regard for human life, and I, along with the best police officers and forensic specialists in the area, am working to make sure that person pays for what they did to your classmate. Your friend.
I’ll be in your principal’s office until five o’clock today, and I hope that any of you that might have any information regarding Ally’s murder will come see me. I’m not expecting anyone to know who killed her, but the smallest bit of information could be the most helpful. If we can piece together the events of her last day, discover any motive that somebody might have to end her life, then we’re one step closer to solving her murder and giving some peace to her family.
I’ll be on my own in the office so you can talk to me in confidence. No one will have to know what you’ve told me, so I urge you not to feel embarrassed about coming forward.”

Thanking the students and their teachers, I stepped off the stage and headed for the principal’s office.

The End

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