PROLOGUE

"Welcome to Old Main," I said, waving my hand energetically toward the oldest building on campus. The high school seniors glanced up politely, not very interested in the tour, but rather their cell phones. It was time to spice things up a little. "You know, there is a cool story that goes with this building." A few heads turned to me, curiously. "There was a beautiful girl named Christine who helped to make the bricks for this building. A jealous lover pushed her into the furnace, scratching her arm on the way in. Her blood and ashes spilt onto these very same bricks. In 1948 when the building burned down, only one person died: Christine's lover." I paused to see their reaction, and I was pleased to have grabbed everyone's attention. "It's said that Christine's ghost was the one who set the fire to trap her lover in a fiery death, just as he had done to her."

"A ghost?" one of the girls asked skeptically.

"Yes. I've seen her myself. She stands up there in a white dress, her hems black from burning. Her eyes are dark, and her hair reflects the fire that killed her. But she only visible at midnight during a full moon, and you have to be in the circle to see her." I pointed toward the circle of bricks in front of Old Main, some of them with black scorch marks and white wax drips from the countless candles that had been burned there. "Legend has it that the bricks that were in the furnace when she died will bleed as well. But that's probably just a rumor."

Some of the girls shuddered, while a few of the boys started making plans for the night first full moon. I smiled and let them trade their stories for a bit. We had five minutes before heading over to the library.

As the students, who had shown interest in the "ghost", began to go back to their technology, my phone rang. I looked at it, thinking about how I'd have to tell them the dolphin in the library fountain story as well. It was a 435 number, the area code for Southern Utah. I answered it, "Aaron ---- tour guide extraordinaire! How may I be of service?" The skeptical girl scoffed slightly, and was elbowed by the girl next to her. Great, I thought, a high school crush. The person on the other end continued in a very serious tone.
"You are Aaron --- then?" "Yes," I answered, growing more concerned. "What's up? Is something wrong?"

###

The phone dropped from my fingers. Distantly, I heard the high school students milling around behind me, texting or chatting with each other. Only the two girls were still watching my every move. The second one picked up my phone and handed it back to me, giving me a coy, flirtatious smile. I gripped the plastic again and brought it back to my ear.

"She's… dead?" Instantly the seniors around me stopped talking, a few gasped, and I had all eyes looking at me attentively. More alert than they'd been the entire tour, including during the story.

"Yes," said the voice on the line. "You'd better get down here. Your number is on the suicide note."

I closed the phone, already beginning to go into shock. How could he have been so calm on the phone? Did he not understand what was going on?

I realized then where I was standing: in the center of the circle. The clock tower had just struck noon. I looked up at the window above the circle, expecting to see a ghostly face looking back at me.

Jenny agreed to take my group. I didn't tell her what was going on; only that something had come up. The whole time I was explaining what we had toured, she showed concern and threw questioning looks. I left her as fast as I could without seeming rushed.

As I turned the corner of the ELC, I flew down the stairs. I saw a pillar of smoke over near the Centrum. I sprinted past the business quad, the library, and stopped as I passed the multipurpose building. There was the source of the smoke, surrounded by yellow police tape. The Centrium, the memorial containing statues of some of the greatest minds in history, had gone from its white stone to a charcoal black.

MURDER

Where We Kissed

BY: D.G. Weber