A/N: Please Read and Review!

Lyrics of "The Last Rose of Summer"

'Tis the last rose of summer left blooming alone
All her lovely companions are faded and gone
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes and give sigh for sigh

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one, to pine on the stem
Since the lovely are sleeping, go sleep thou with them
Thus kindly I scatter thy leaves o'er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden lie scentless and dead

So soon may I follow when friendships decay
And from love's shining circle the gems drop away
When true hearts lie withered and fond ones are flown
Oh who would inhabit this bleak world alone?
This bleak world alone

The Last Rose of Summer

None one had taken notice to Caroline Winters before the murder, and no one really took much notice of her after it, either. People did know her name, though. It was an improvement from her life before.

Caroline was a plain girl; there was nothing really remarkable about her. When put beside the other thousand or so students at her high school, there was nothing to distinguish her from the rest. Her dirty-blonde hair was always kept back in a sloppy ponytail, and her gray eyes always seemed to off in another world. She had decent grades, mostly Bs (with a few As thrown in there occasionally). Whenever she got to class, she would sit somewhere in the middle of the sea of desks, far enough away from the front not to be considered to be one of those "teacher's pets" and far enough away from the back to be away from the hooligans.

Even though she often faded into the background, she had two good friends, Lora and Ruth. They were girls much like her, with nothing particular about them to make them stand out. All the same, the three girls were as tight as glue. They sat together at one table during lunch. Their conversations were always conducted in hushed tones, and no one ever knew what they were actually saying. Those three lived in their own private little world, but they were happy there.

Then there came that fateful day: April 15, 2005. The three had been walking home from school together, as they did every day. Suddenly, a man came running up behind them. He was clutching a brown leather briefcase in a death grip and had a panicked expression written on his face. At the moment he was passing the three girls, shots rang out. Caroline turned her head and saw a man in a blue van firing at the man. The marksman's aim was not on, though, and he hit both Lora and Ruth. The man with the brown briefcase kept running, and, when the marksman realized his mistake, he sped off after his intended prey.

People flooded out of shops and homes to see the two local high school girls who had been gunned down in a drive-by shooting. Someone whipped out a cell phone and called 911. Within one minute sirens were heard coming from the other side of the small town, and soon the marked police cars and ambulances pulled up at the scene. Lora and Ruth were carried into the ambulances on stretchers, barely alive. Acting of primitive instinct, Caroline went to follow them, but a police officer stopped her.

"Did you witness the shooting?" he asked. Caroline nodded. "Can you come with us down to the station and answer a few questions?"

Slightly recovering from shock, Caroline murmured, "I… I have to call my parents first."

"Of course. Do you need a phone?"

"No, thank you." Caroline reached her shaking hand into her purse and retrieved her cell phone. Her parents had said to use it only for emergencies. This most certainly qualified as an emergency. She dialed her home phone number and held the phone up to her ear.

"Hello?" her mother's voice said.

"Mom, it's Caroline."

"What is it, honey?"

Caroline gulped back tears. "Ruth and Lora were sh… shot just now. The police, they want me to come to the station and answer some questions."

"Oh, lord! Go right ahead with them. We'll meet you at the station." Click.

Caroline shut her cell phone. "I can come with you."

"Good." Caroline climbed into the back of the police car.

The police car pulled up at the station, and the officer escorted Caroline into a blasé room. The hard gray carpeting and plain beige wallpaper reminded Caroline a lot of herself. She sat down in one of the two wooden chairs that sat opposite each other at a black table. A different police officer sat in the other chair and began to ask her questions such as "What exactly happened?" and "Can you give us any details about the killer?" Caroline answered the questions to the best of her ability, and then she was permitted to leave.

Caroline's parents were waiting for her in the station's lobby. They hugged her and kissed her, glad that the killer's bullets had missed her. She took their affection with indifference and allowed herself to be led to the car.

When she reached home, the first thing Caroline noticed was that the TV was on in the living room. It was turned to the local news, which was covering the story of the shooting.

The reporter, looking amazingly neat and prim amidst all of the chaos, said, in a grave voice, "I have just received word that both Lora Greene and Ruth Flanagan were just declared dead by the doctors at Hartford Hospital."

"I'm so sorry, honey," her father said, coming up behind her. Caroline just ran up to her room and locked the door behind her. All night, the sound of her sobs could be heard whenever someone passed her door.

The high school was granted a day off to attend Lora and Ruth's joint funerals. Since barely anybody had really known the two girls during their short lifetime, most of the students took advantage of the day off. Only some of Lora and Ruth's family members, Caroline, and a few members of the student body and the school staff attended the funeral.

The priest had suggested that Caroline give a speech in memory of her dear friends, but she wasn't much of a public speaker and wasn't about to start now. Instead, Caroline stood closest to the coffins, crying. It was an odd sight for her classmates, because most of them had just seen her vacant shell. They had subconsciously believed that Caroline Winters was incapable of feeling emotion, or, at the very least, showing it.

The coffins were lowered into the holes dug into the ground and covered with dirt. People began to leave, but Caroline stayed. One girl, very much like Caroline, named Penelope strode up to her.

"They wouldn't want you to be so worked up about this," Penelope said softly.

"That is what everyone says," Caroline sobbed, "but I find it so hard to believe them."

"I know that it feels as if a part of you has been cut away, but the wounds will heal in time."

"There will still be scars."

"No one expects any less." She put her arm around Caroline. "Come on, it's time to let them rest in peace."

"I suppose so." As Caroline and Penelope walked together out of the cemetery, Ruth and Lora watched, glad that their friend wouldn't be alone.

A/N: I promise that these all won't be as tragic as this one.