Editor’s Note: This is the third of a five part series. Look for part three Jan. 12, 2005.

At school Peter had a hard time concentrating and decided to leave school secretly. The only place he could think to go was the lake so he could figure out if the man’s body was still there. He hoped someone had found the body or got rid of it so he wouldn’t have to be the one to go to the police. During fifth period lunch Peter snuck out through the side door of the cafeteria, down the hall and out the back door of the gymnasium. He bolted out the doors like a mouse being chased by a cat and disappeared into a hole in the forest. The woods remained as quiet as the night before and all he could hear was the sound of dead leaves crunching beneath his feet.

When Peter reached the water’s edge his stomach became queasy and the secrets he was hiding slid down his throat in a lump so thick it was hard for him to swallow. The faint smell of decaying flesh crawled up his nostrils to his brain screaming, “Run away,” but his feet held a firm attraction to the ground.

That day I decided to skip school too. No one noticed I left because no one ever noticed me. No one noticed my huge crush on Peter either, or how I watched his every move like a hawk watching his prey. When I saw Peter leaving school I decided to follow him and find out where he was going. I just hoped he wasn’t going to the lake, which would ruin my surprise. But sure enough, that’s where he went.

The lake was calm during the breezy, autumn day and the wind howled with each step I took. I hadn’t thought to bring my jacket but I wished I had. I had followed Peter before but today it seemed harder to remain quiet behind him. I felt more anxious as to what he was going to do. Once or twice he glanced back and I had to quickly hide behind the trees to make sure I wasn’t caught. My mind played with the idea of standing in the clearing and still remaining invisible to him.

When he approached the body I watched with careful eyes his reactions and pretended I could hear his thoughts. I wondered if he knew who it was or who killed the man. When Peter looked as though he came to a decision, I walked out from behind the large oak which to that point had been my hiding partner. At first his face became frightened that he had been caught and seemed to try and find the right words to say but all that came out was, “I can explain this.” I laughed at the irony of the statement and added, “SO can I.”

Peter looked at me with confused eyes and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. I hated seeing him in a state of disarray and spoke first. I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to explain this but felt no choice left. I cleared my throat and anticipated before saying, “Peter, I’m sort of embarrassed you had to find this.”

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