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-XI Part II

Chapter XI Part II

-Nowhere to Run-

Ⓒ 2023

We made it back to the hotel without so much as a pause to catch our breaths. It didn’t seem like the killer would follow us back, but it wouldn’t matter either way because he already knew where we always would be. It was as if he had some sort of power that gave him leverage over us in every aspect. Even in the situation where he found us back at the restaurant; how would he have even landed a job so easily in preparation for our arrival? There had to be someone or a bigger party he was working with to make all of this happen. Either that, or he knew about something that we didn’t. 

“I didn’t know where else to go.” 

I looked up and to Sharifa, who was equally gasping for air after our run. “It’s not like it matters anyway.” 

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She cracked a smile and began heading up the stairs and to our rooms. “Yeah..”

The air between us grew dry and silent. There wasn’t anything either of us could say, no assuring words that could comfort the other, and no plans to escape the reality of our situation. We were toast. 

After an awkward goodbye, we both parted ways and returned to our rooms. I would have asked if we could stay together, just to make sure that one of us wasn’t killed without the other’s knowledge, but I couldn’t. For some reason, I felt that it was better to just get it over with instead of constantly dreading when each breath would be my last. 

Even though I was woken up with maybe three hours of sleep, including last night, I lay on my hotel bed without sleep ever creeping up on me. My eyes burned for sleep, but my heart raced with anxiety. I stared up at the ceiling, thinking about anything and everything that came to mind. All of the seven had been killed in some morbid way, so I began to wonder what kinds of plans the killer had for me. Would it be quick and painless? Would he make it drag on until I eventually bled out or passed out from the pain? 

Then, I began to think about his motive behind all of this. It couldn’t be explained how seven people, all located in different parts of the world, shared consciousnesses.

Similarly, it didn’t make sense how the killer knew everything about us, even where we would go to eat the next day and what hotels we would be staying in. We didn’t stand a chance in any way. I kept going around in circles with open-ended questions that wouldn’t be answered no matter how many times I thought about it. 

I tried distracting myself by turning on the TV, flipping through every channel but the news, or reading old magazines from 2011 left on the dresser, but none of it could pull me away from that uneasy feeling that was rooted at the base of my stomach. There weren’t any hobbies that I could indulge in since the last time I had freetime like this must have been when I was on my last summer break before senior year of high school. The only thing I had close to a hobby nowadays was looking at places I could move to that would forgive me for the pathetically low income I received after paying off my dad’s debt. At one point, I debated calling Martial and Phoebe, just to give them one final conversation before I potentially was killed in the next moment. 

By the time I had regained a concept of my surroundings, the light outside the window was gone. I flipped over my phone to check the time. 20:03. Great. There was nothing left to do in my room, so I decided to pull on a hoodie and head down to the hotel lobby to see the situation. I would have checked on Sharifa in the room across, but I could hear from the other side of the door as she talked on the phone with someone, so I decided against it.

The area right at the entrance was still blocked off with caution tape and some police officers were loitering here and there, which led me away from the suspicious gazes I got and to the hotel’s cafe. It wouldn’t make sense to have coffee this late at night, but I figured I wouldn’t want to sleep any time soon anyway. If something were to happen, I needed to be awake and aware, not on the brink of sleep and hallucinations. 

I sat down at the mini-bar they had, also far away from cops and detectives that I assumed to be taking a break with a few shots of espresso and donuts to boot. It wasn’t a sight I wasn’t familiar with, but it still made me unnerved to see something so similar to what I was used to while working at The Swan

The barista behind the counter walked up to me and asked me what I wanted. I figured that nothing better than whatever the officers behind me were having, so I ordered just that. A moment later, a cup of coffee and a plate with a bagel were placed in front of me. 

Before I could bring the cup to my lips, the TV somewhere off to the side faded into my line of earring. Although the news reporter had a thick Russian accent, I couldn’t bite away the feeling of uneasiness as I listened in a still silence.

“–it has been discovered that the victim who was pushed off the sixth floor of St. Petersburg’s second most famous Hotel Astoria was Rodion Raskolnikov, a forty-three year-old former scholar to Saint Petersburg State University. We were unable to gather his identity due to the mutilation of the man’s face after the fall, and what the forensics assume to be, prior traces of torturing on his hands and feet.” 

The image of the man flashed on the screen, but nothing happened. It was just a person that was somehow roped into the mess that the killer wanted to make for Sharifa and I. The man had a stubble beard and a weary look in his eyes. There was no denying that the poor man looked somewhat like me. This was a warning, or a promise that the killer didn’t forget. He wanted me to know that there wasn’t much time left for me, except I didn’t know what to do with this information anymore. I already came to accept that there was nothing that I could do to stop him, not even giving myself out to the police to be the killer and being brought into custody would protect me–I knew of it. The killer had money, time, and information from the future; we were outsmarted in every aspect. 

I brought the cup to my lips and downed everything at once, the hot contents burning on the way down to my stomach and settling in along with all of the anxiety and misery I had sitting at the pit of my stomach. The simple act earned me some looks from the officers and the barista, but I just glared them down like a drunken man. 

“Can a man not enjoy his coffee?” I grumbled and turned back to my empty cup. “I need a refill.” 

Off to the side of me, a voice interrupted my temper tantrum, “Hey.” Lovely. 

Without looking over at the person that sat down in the stool next to me, I knew it was Sharifa. “Hey.”

The tense silence between us was quickly filled by the laughter of the officers behind us, noise from the coffee machine, and the mumbling of the news on the TV. She ordered a coffee as well, but with a side of a white-iced cupcake. 

Once she had taken two sips of the coffee, she started again, “Couldn’t sleep?” 

I traced my thumb over the handle of my cup. “Yeah. Feels wrong to sleep when I could be spending my last moments doing something.” 

Sharifa sighed for me. “Like what? There isn’t much of anything that you want to do anyway, right? Not when you’re financially unstable.” Before I could glare at her for her bold statement, she continued, “But I’m the same. I was on the phone with my aunt. She wants me to go back to living with her and the rest of my dad’s side of the family in Dubai, apparently before a wedding one of my cousins is having. There’s plenty of things that I want to do, ‘ts the reason that I moved to Egypt to do what I wanted, and far.”

It was interesting how we both wanted escape from our family, even when it was the closest we had to an attachment to human life. “What about your friends? Don’t you have some you can go to?” I found myself asking. 

“That’s a tough thing for me to say. I was friends with that celebrity, one of the seven among us that shared consciousnesses,” she replied without looking at me. There was a weight in her words and a sadness in her eyes as she stared into the coffee. 


She took a short breath in. “Yeah. Charlotte.” Another draw of silence fills between us before she speaks up again, “If there was one thing that you would wish for before you die, what would it be?” 

“A death wish? Geez, that just makes me feel like it’ll be any second before we drop dead now.” I found myself laughing at the idea, then I drew in a breath as well and began to think. I brought my head to rest on my arm. There were plenty of things that I would want as solace before dying. I could wish for my dad’s debt to disappear, for my mom to not worry about me anymore that it steals her sleep, for Martial and Phoebe to carry on with their lives without a deadbeat like me in the way, or something as simple as one day where I wouldn’t be stressed about anything. 

“Another trip to Switzerland with my graduating class.” 

“Excuse me?” She laughed and nudged my elbow. “I thought you said they were a headache to deal with. Aren’t you exhausted from travelling so much too?” 

Recalling the memory, my classmates, or at least people that I would call friends before we distanced after graduating, were a headache, but I still had fun. Over those two weeks of my trip, I didn’t think about anything but all the things that were open for us to do, none of my thoughts wandered to what I would do after graduation or trying to make my parents proud; all I had to worry about was whether or not I would be able to string together a sentence in German to get a beer or to ask for directions. 

“You’re actually serious. You’re smiling!” she exclaimed and set down her cup with a clunk

My smile was wiped from my face once she pointed it out. “What’s so wrong about wanting something simple like that? What do you wish for then?” I gave her an accusatory glare. 

“Me?” Her brow raised and she let me off the hook. For now. “I’d want something like a rich man professing his undying love for me.” There were practically hearts in her eyes as she envisioned whatever perfect man was in her mind’s eye. 

I brought my cup to my lips with a scoff. “And what would the point of that be? Wouldn’t that make the both of you miserable after you die?” 

“Yeah, but, imagine how romantic that would be. Just how it would be like to be told by someone that is perfect for you that you matter the world to them right before your untimely death.” She cupped her cheek with one hand and jabbed a finger at my arm. “What about you? You’re not interested in romance?”


“At all?” 


Sharifa was beginning to show her childish side to me, or at least, the childish side of me in which we both shared. “Well, I guess going back to a memory from the past would be nice too.” In a way, she reminded me of Phoebe, or maybe just the part of me that Phoebe had rubbed off on. “If I could do that, I would want to go back to art school.” 

“What for?” I glanced in her direction with a skeptical eye.

She hummed and bit into her cupcake with etiquette that I couldn’t say belonged to my personality. “Painting. I loved watercolour. Always so faded and distant, but like a familiar memory belonging to someone else.” Her lips curved up in a smile. “Although it could be that case. I’ve reciprocated some memories from you, and you have too, but you just haven’t realized it yet.” 

I was doubtful of her statement until I remembered the dreams and vague familiarity with certain scenarios, places, or emotions. Sometimes, it really would feel like I was remembering something of a past life, though I never believed the idea it wasn’t all just in my head. “That explains a lot. You’re not a little stalker after all.” 

We continued talking like that for longer than I was aware of. A handful of people had come through the cafe before ordering and leaving, but none of it was picked up in my peripheral. I was too engrossed in the conversation, the kind that I had been waiting for since I came back home from that trip to Switzerland with news of my dad’s growing

debt. It was nice to open up, to be myself; ironically, I became comfortable with myself, because that was who sat beside me in a hotel cafe in Russia for hours and the one that walked back with me to our separate rooms in a daze. 

We stopped in the hallway, feet apart and each of us exhausted. The coffee may have kept me awake for the first few hours, but it was well into the early morning now. Last time I checked, it was around two in the morning. Even so, there was still so much I wanted to say, to hear from her too, but I didn’t have that time. Neither of us did. 

“So, what now?” she broke the silence between us, although it wasn’t an uncomfortable one now. It was just the kind of silence where you would acknowledge each other but wouldn’t speak–a comfortable silence, to it simply. The look on her face wasn’t as foreboding as when I first met her. Now, it was the face of a friend. 

“That could mean lots of things, like the near future now or now now.” I crossed my arms and looked down both ends of the hall. Empty at this hour. “Could mean if we stay here and wait for our killer like sitting ducks or if we go do something fun like renting out an Airbnb by the ocean. Have to be specific.” 

Sharifa frowned, but her lips were quick to curve back into a smile. “I mean like future now then.” She lifted her chin up to look right at me. “As in where we should go and what we should do tomorrow.” 

I shrugged and closed my eyes for a moment to think, but nothing came to mind. “Dunno. You’re the one that’s supposed to know what to do in these situations. I didn’t go to college.” 

“Not yet, anyway,” she muttered whilst fishing out her room key and unlocking her room. “I guess we’ll figure it out tomorrow then, once we have proper rest.” 

I watched as she closed the door behind her, waving a bye before I went into my room myself. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for sleep to settle in on me after I lay down. Now that I had made amends along with Sharifa that we would just accept our fates, avoiding the idea that the killer probably wouldn’t be merciful with how he killed us, nothing really fazed me. I dreamt of a trip to Switzerland but with Phoebe, Martial, and even Sharifa. That would be the last time I got a full night of sleep before the next few days to come. 


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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Ortiz
Elizabeth Ortiz, 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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