“Erica, hi. How are you feeling?”
Erica made her way around a group of laughing kids and walked over to Melissa’s locker. It was a few days later, Friday after school, and the hall was clearing out quickly.
“I’m better,” Erica said, adjusting her backpack. “I—I had a couple of bad days,” she admitted, lowering her eyes to the floor. “The doctor made me stay home. It was all such a shock. The news about Dave. The police suspecting Rachel. It was all so upsetting.”
“Have the police come up with a lead?” Melissa asked, leaning back against a ANOTHER BROKEN HEART locker. “Anything at all?”
“I don’t think so,” Erica told her, sighing. “Of course, after they talked to Rachel for a few minutes, they realized that she couldn’t have killed Dave. They realized immediately . . .” Her voice trailed off sadly. She chewed hard on her bubble gum.
“I can’t believe they haven’t turned up anything,” Melissa said, tugging nervously at a strand of her hair. “It—it’s so horrible. Right in my driveway. I—I just don’t know what to think.” She took a deep breath and lowered her hand. “Where you headed ANOTHER BROKEN HEART?”
“Guys and Dolls rehearsal,” Erica replied. “I tried out for Adelaide, but I didn’t get it.” She sighed. “But at least I’m in the chorus. Are you going to the skating party on the lake Sunday night?”
“Yeah.” Melissa nodded. “I don’t really feel in a partying mood. But Luke is insisting we go. He says otherwise we’ll just sit around and be morbid.”
“Morbid.” Erica repeated the word, frowning. “Yeah. Morbid. I’m going too.”
“Oh, yeah?” Melissa replied, pushing herself away from the locker, standing up straight. “Who’s your date?”
Erica made a ANOTHER BROKEN HEART face. “I don’t have one. I just thought I’d go to get out of the house. It’s pretty morbid at my house too, you know.” A dry, mirthless laugh escaped her lips. “Got to run. I’m already late.”
Melissa watched Erica hurry down the long corridor.
Poor kid. She doesn’t have it easy, Melissa thought.
Josie’s face flashed into her mind. It would be so horrible to lose a sister, Melissa thought with a shudder.
So horrible to have a sister murdered.
One sister murdered. One sister stabbed. One sister’s life ANOTHER BROKEN HEART ruined forever by a stupid accident.
The McClains don’t have it easy, Melissa realized. Poor Erica.
She turned to her locker and began to spin the lock. Finishing the combination, she lifted up on the handle and pulled the door open.
And uttered a startled cry.
On the inside of the locker door, someone had painted a large, broken valentine heart. Smeared dots of bright red blood dripped from the heart. Scrawled in thick red paint at the bottom were the words: YOU’RE DEAD.