The Official Newspaper of Porter High School

The Spartan Oracle

The Official Newspaper of Porter High School

The Spartan Oracle

The Official Newspaper of Porter High School

The Spartan Oracle

I Who Killed Me-Chapter X


Chapter X

-Nowhere to Run-

Ⓒ 2023

By the time we reached the lobby, there was already a large crowd of people peeking over each other to catch a glimpse of the scene. Many of the hotel’s workers tried to keep everyone from taking photos and returning to their rooms, but there was hardly any effect when a potential murder had just taken place at one of the richest and infamous hotels in Russia. 

“Over here,” Sharifa called as she pulled me through the crowd and outside. 

The scene was situated at the direct entrance of the hotel, most definitely not a coincidence. There was caution tape already surrounding the scene with the police and EMS talking amongst each other. The body itself was draped over with a white cloth, the person’s shoe lost somewhere along the way down and lying a few feet away. 

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One of the officers called and instructed us to head over right before one of the hotel workers could snatch us back inside. I couldn’t understand what the man was saying, but it must have been a few questions relating to any information we may have. 

Sharifa did the speaking for me while I couldn’t help but stare at the corpse itself. Although covered with that cloth, I could see the blood that seeped through, and all the disfigurements that the man could have suffered upon impact with the pavement. 

“Let’s get out of here. He is close by. I can feel it,” she yanked me through the crowd once more, but I wasn’t complaining; I didn’t want to be near the body of someone who could have been me. 


We had walked a good way away from the crime scene and ended up at a restaurant. There was already a good amount of people who were out and about with their lives, but it didn’t feel the same anymore. Before all this began to start, it felt like I had the smallest amount of things to worry about. Sure, I was miserable with all of the debt that I had to pay off and what little I got paid with to scrap by, but I wasn’t constantly worrying about when I would be killed. 

“It’s pretty late for me to ask, but do you want to get something to eat?” Sharifa looked over at me, already walking into the restaurant before I could reply. Even if she was the one to make the suggestion, it didn’t seem like she was all too interested in having brunch. 

“I’m not too hungry after all of that, but I guess it would be better to get my mind off of things for a bit,” I replied in a short breath, now realizing the only thing I wore was a half-unbuttoned dress shirt and jeans. I was just glad I had some sense to remember not to run out of the hotel with only a robe on. Nonetheless, I was severely underdressed after I looked up at the restaurant itself. 

Just like the hotel that Sharifa somehow caught reservations for, the restaurant was expensive with only the most polished individuals seated at clothed tables. In comparison to The Swan, it felt as if this was an entire dining hall. 

The next thing that came to my senses was the smell of the food in the air. Normally, I would wince back and try to hold my breath until I could get to fresh air, but this time, it was a little different. 

As a waiter guided us to a table, I caught glances at the dishes which were being carried from the kitchen and to the patrons. There were all sorts of foods I wasn’t familiar with, but I could tell by the smell alone that they were savoury. I did catch some whiffs of meat, but nothing like the unbearable weight of oil and alcohol. In a certain sense, it was refreshing to be exposed to something other than what I would now call the ‘lower-classed’ dining experience of The Swan. 

After we sat down, the waiter placed two leather menus on the table, “My name is Xuesong. I’ll be your waiter today,” he looked between us with a smile. “What would you two like to drink today?”

I looked over hesitantly at Sharifa, who began to order first, “I’ll just have sparkling water.” She looked over at me and nodded over at the waiter, encouraging me to make up my mind. 

“Oh, uh. I’ll just have iced tea. Thanks.” It felt weird to be talking to someone other than people that I already knew. The last time I must have dined out like this, especially at such a high-class restaurant, must have been when I had first moved into my apartment back in Washington. 

“I’ll get that right for you,” the waiter replied and left us to ourselves. 

Now that we were relatively alone in our thoughts again, I realised how this might appear to anyone; it almost looked like we were on a date, except we were both severely underdressed for the occasion. I did my best to button up my shirt while Sharifa looked through the menu without knowing how awkward it had quickly become. 

I picked up my menu as well, looking through it and searching for pictures that could help explain what interesting dishes were being served. I glanced back up to Sharifa, her attention stuck on the menu as if she had planned a reservation beforehand. 

From the corner of my eye, I swore to have made eye contact with a woman I knew, but strangely enough, didn’t. She was seated by the windows by herself, just sitting there and completely out of place. Then, I realized it was Charlotte Moon.

Before I could say anything to Sharifa, a waitress passed through my line of sight, and the woman was no longer there. 

“You decided what you’re getting yet?” Sharifa waved her hand in front of where I was looking, pointing back down to the menu. “Or do you need help deciding? I can recommend a few things.” 

I had to look between Sharifa and where I swore to have seen Charlotte a few times before I gave up on the celebrity ever being in the restaurant with us. It wasn’t possible that she would be here, especially given the celebrity had been dead for over a week now. 

“Uh, yeah. You can just order for me. I’m not too much of a foodie to know much about this,” I tried to look back down at my menu, but I couldn’t help but continue taking glances at where I thought I had seen Charlotte. 

The waiter returned with our drinks, placing them on coasters and pulling out a notepad and pen. “Now what can I get you two to eat? I can recommend a few things.” 

I looked up at the guy, realizing he had just quoted Sharifa’s last sentence. Now that I got a good look at the waiter, it almost felt as if I had heard him from somewhere. 

Sharifa didn’t seem to realize and began to point out what dishes she would be ordering, “I’ll have the beef stroganoff and smetana, while he’ll have the syrniki and orkroshka without meat.”

“Alright. I’ll get that all ordered up for you,” the waiter said before leaving. 

I looked back to Sharifa, waiting for her to say anything along the lines of, “Is it just me, or do you feel something off about him too?”, but she didn’t. She just sipped on her water and began to start up a conversation while we waited. 

“Since we weren’t able to stop this murder, there are only three of us left, excluding the killer.” She didn’t bother giving slack to the pensive topic on hand. She began to stir the straw in her drink, watching as the bubbles rose to the top of her glass. “I can figure out where the other person is, but the killer is always one step ahead. For all we know, he could already be on his way there.” 

Sharifa sighed, sharing a sense of frustration with me. Up until then, she was always prepared for just about anything, that was just the kind of witch she was. But now that she was outdone by one of the ‘seven’, all hope seemed to be crumbling down for both of us. 

I wanted to say something to ease the anxiety out of the moment, but there is only so much someone can say to another who is aware their death is looming. 

Before I was given the chance to think of anything to say, my phone began to ring. I wasn’t sure if whoever it was that called me was saving me from the awkward moment until I checked the caller ID. My mom. 

I turned my phone screen over to her and she nodded, allowing me to take the call. I brought my phone up to my ear, looking out the tall windows that lined one wall of the restaurant at the clear sky that reflected through into the place. 

“Hey, Lennon. How are you doing? I tried to call you earlier, but you didn’t pick up,” my mom spoke first on the other line. 

It was difficult to make a decision on how I would respond to her question, so I decided not to answer it and skip over to answering what she last said, “Yeah, sorry. I was dealing with some work. It’s been pretty busy at work lately since we’re getting closer to around the time when everybody is starting to take time off, y’know.” 

When I looked over at Sharifa, she raised an eyebrow at me and smiled. I had to lie about what was going on, just for the sake of my mom and for whoever was listening in on our conversation. 

“Oh, well. I just wanted to let you know that Phoebe called me the other day. She said that she’s been pretty worried about you and wanted to tell me a bit about what you’ve been up to. I didn’t know you were on vacation, dear. I wouldn’t have bothered you so much since I know you need that time to just relax.” 

I began to chew my lip subconsciously as I listened to her. I was just waiting for her to bring up anything relating to what kinds of things I might have told Martial that would have passed onto Phoebe and to my mom. “It’s fine. I get you’re just worried about me.” 

“Oh, bless your heart. I’ll leave you to it then. I’m still on the lookout for those flights for next month, so just tell me what week works for you once you get the chance,” she continued, seemingly distracted by something for a moment. “Be sure to give me a call once you can. I have to go to work now. Bye-bye.” 

“Yeah, I’ll let you know. Bye.” I set my phone face down, ready for Sharifa to scold me about how I was too dry with my own mother, but the waiter came back with our food just in time. 

The food was strong in the air, and most of the dishes still steaming. Whatever Sharifa had ordered for me didn’t seem all too different from what I would order if I knew what I was getting; I suppose that was one of the bonuses of sharing consciousness with someone. 

“Please enjoy,” the waiter said before walking off to another table. I couldn’t help but get the creeps from the guy, but I directed my attention back to the food in front of me. 

“Go ahead and try. Promise you’ll like it,” she said as she unwrapped her napkin to place it over her lap. If she said I would like it, I guess she would be right. There was no one else that understood me as well as she did. 

Once I took my first bite, I was surprised by the food. Yet again, she seemed to read my mind–or maybe that was the case. Even if I had said I wasn’t hungry, I had cleaned everything off my plates and washed it all down with the iced tea. 

“And you weren’t hungry?” Sharifa said, glancing at me from the corner of her eye with a small smirk. 

“Oh, shut up.” I felt myself ease up after a good meal. 

Not long after, the waiter came back to clean up our plates and refill our drinks. “Was everything to your liking?” He looked between us. 

Sharifa patted off her lips with the napkin and set it on the table, “Yes. We’ll have the check now. I’ll be paying.” 

“Of course,” the waiter said before leaving back to the kitchen. 

The food was better than I had expected–the kind of cuisine that I would expect to have if I had the money for it. “You know, it doesn’t feel right to have you pay.” I felt a little better compared to before, but just by the fact we just witnessed a murder just about 2 hours ago, it wouldn’t be possible to totally forget what had just happened. 

“Just think of it as treating yourself,” she tried to crack a joke, a bad one, but still it made me smile too. 

“Your check,” the waiter returned within a few seconds as if he had already known we were ready to pay. 

Sharifa took the check before I was given a chance to pay, and slid back the receipt with her signature and the payment in full. She already had Russian rubles, whereas I hadn’t even gotten the chance to go to an ATM to exchange my cash from the US for the proper currency. 

“Guess we should head back and rest up then,” she said as she stood and gave a small smile to the waiter. “I left a tip in for you. Thanks.” 

The man returned the smile and bid goodbye to us, “Thank you. Have a nice day.” 

I followed Sharifa right after she stood, almost desperate to leave the setting and out of sight of the waiter. I couldn’t put words to the feeling, but something was off about the waiter. 

Just before the glass doors closed behind us, I glanced back at the waiter, and I realized why I felt so uncomfortable around him. 

He stared back at us right from where he still stood by our table, that smile ringing a toll in my consciousness. It was him. 

I stumbled into Sharifa’s back, losing my breath and all sense of safety. It almost felt as if I was dreaming again because of how clearly his smile clicked in my mind, but I knew this was all real. 

“Hey-!” Sharifa turned around and looked at me with confusion, “What’s wrong? Did you see something again?” She took hold of my shoulders and guided me away from the restaurant and to the sidewalk where there were fewer people to bump into. 

I opened my mouth to speak, but I couldn’t muster a single sound past my throat. It felt as if everything was coming to an end, and I was next. I tried to calm down, but all I could think about was the smile of the killer. We were standing so close to him without a clue as to who he was, talking as if it was a mere conversation that was meant to be normal. 

“Lennon, tell me what you saw,” she continued to press me for answers, but all I could do was look at her while I was frozen in place. 

Everything around us felt so loud–the beeping of cars, the conversations between passersby, the footsteps of people, and even my own breathing. All I could think about was that smile, that twisted smile and all of the insanity that lay behind it. 

“It was him,” I started but couldn’t finish. 

“Did you see him? Where?” she looked up and around us at all of the people that were passing by us, but came back without a clue. 

“He spoke to us. It was the waiter.” My hands began to shake and it felt as if he was right over my shoulder at that moment, waiting and listening for when he could kill me in the most brutal way yet. 

Sharifa finally realized and began to get us out of there. Nowhere was safe at that point. “So his name was Xuesong,” she breathed out as she manoeuvred through the crowd and farther away from the restaurant. I didn’t know where we were going, but it didn’t seem to matter at that point. 

“The nerve of him,” she seethed and began to run, dragging me by my sleeve as if I would run away at any point, but I didn’t even have the courage to run away from the situation; everything would just follow me wherever I went–even in my dreams. 


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About the Contributor
AKA Xueyun
AKA Xueyun, Creative Writer/ Staff Writer
Avete! My name is Elizabeth Ortiz. This is my first year writing for the newspaper, but I've been writing literature for more than five years. I love all forms of art ranging from sketching and drawing to playing piano and reading poetry. I am the Literature Club President with Farah Shahzad as my Vice President. I aspire to publish my own novels one day and eventually become a neuroscientist.
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