Aminta rolled over in bed and stared at her clock; she swore and threw herself onto the floor. She stumbled across the room in the semi darkness and slapped on the light.
"Fuck a duck!" she shrieked, stubbing her toe on the corner of her desk. Aminta pulled on her jeans but got tangled up by trying to get both legs into the same hole; she toppled backwards and landed heavily on the floor. She swore again and righted the jeans before slipping them over her hips and doing up the clasp. Aminta struggled to her feet, yanked on a shirt and stepped into her shoes before grabbing her bag and dashing from the room. She was halfway down the corridor when she realized that Valerie still had her camera.
"Double fuck a duck!" Aminta bounced off the double doors and ran back along the corridor to her neighbour's door. She raised her hand to knock but stopped, she could hear something on the other side of the door. Aminta groaned, Valerie must have a guy in there. But Aminta really needed that camera. She dropped her eyes to the ground and pushed open the door, the room was almost pitch black but the light from the door was enough to see by. Aminta ignored all the grunts from the bed and darted across the room to the desk, scooped up the camera and hurried back out again. Her foot caught in a shirt on the floor and she fell forward, the camera hit the ground and there was a blinding flash as it went off. Aminta blinked but her vision didn't clear, she grabbed the camera and sprinted from the room.
Aminta just made it to her photography class before the lecturer locked the door. She sat down at an empty desk and swallowed almost half a bottle of water in one go. She really needed to get an alarm clock that worked although all this running around was definitely keeping her fit. The lecturer moved to the front of the hall and started with the usual talk on student safety. The Campus Killer still hadn't been caught and they wanted everyone to be extra vigilant about who they let into their rooms.
"Must remember to tell Val not to go cruising at the student union" muttered Aminta. She pulled the camera from her bag and placed it on her desk, there was a half developed photo hanging out of the front. It must be the one from Val's room when it hit the floor; Aminta slipped it into her bag and started scribbling her notes in a little book.
Two hours later, Aminta filed out with the rest of the class and headed for the café. She needed coffee and she needed food, her stomach had been gurgling so much through the class that the lecturer had offered her a banana. Aminta picked up a large coffee and a jacket potato with cheese before finding an empty table and almost pouring the food down her throat.
"I take it you were running late again this morning?" Aminta looked up and quickly wiped bits of cheese from her face as Tad sat down opposite her. He laughed and handed her another cup of coffee and a bar of chocolate, Aminta grinned a thank you and finished her potato before ripping open the chocolate and dunking it in her coffee.
"I need to get a new alarm. What are you up to?"
"Nothing much. I didn't make it to my class this morning 'cause there's police everywhere, I think the Campus Killer has been at it again. I think it was your building too." Aminta nearly choked on her coffee, she stared at Tad and raised her eyebrows.
"My building? Who was it? Val's still there!" demanded Aminta. Tad was about to reply but Aminta didn't wait, she swung her legs out from under the table and took off at a run. She ignored the yelps of protest from the students she barged into and kept going until she reached the outside of her building where she was stopped by two police officers.
"Sorry, miss. You can't go in there."
"I live there! Who was it?" cried Aminta.
"A girl named Valerie Brown. She died about three hours ago" said the policeman. Aminta turned and staggered away from them, she dropped onto a bench and stared at the ground. Tears flowed down her cheeks as guilt overwhelmed her. If she had insisted that Valerie dragged her arse to class this morning, if she had gotten a proper alarm clock weeks ago then she wouldn't have been in such a hurry and she might have seen something.
Aminta's head snapped up, a frown creasing her forehead. She died three hours ago? Aminta checked her watch and looked up at the blue sky. She had been in Val's room three hours ago to get her camera. Aminta jumped as a hand dropped onto her shoulder, she spun around with a little cry and stepped backwards.
"I didn't mean to scare you. I just heard about Val, I'm sorry" said Tad. Aminta nodded and hugged her bag to her chest thinking of the photo inside and wondering if it showed anything useful.
"Can I come to your place? I need to check something" whispered Aminta. Tad nodded and they headed towards to opposite building and away from the police and the gossiping students. As they walked, Aminta told Tad about what had happened that morning and about the photo in her bag.
"Do you think it will show anything?" asked Tad. Aminta preceded him into the room and dropped her bag onto the desk; she rummaged through until she found the photo. After taking a deep breath, she flipped the photo towards the light and gasped. Val was lying on her back on the bed, her face turned towards the camera. The harsh light of the flash had illuminated every ounce of terror on her face; a gloved hand was clamped over her mouth. A man was leaning down towards her with a large knife in his free hand and a grin on his face. It was Tad.
Aminta swallowed as she heard the lock on the door click into place. This time, the hand didn't drop onto her shoulder, it slipped around her neck and squeezed. The photo fluttered to the ground.