Uh, well, this is my first time posting something on this site, so hi! This story needed to be done for an English assignment, and I figured I might as well post it here. I have no idea how this idea formed in my head, it just did.
Oh, and please check me out on FanFiction (A Beautiful Oblivion) if you like Assassin's Creed, Warriors, or Kingdom Hearts!
"How did you find the test?" Lucy muttered.
"Hmm?" Peyton looked up. She'd been doodling on her desk, but now she turned to her friend, sitting next to her in the wide amphitheatre for teaching lessons at Washington State University. "Oh, it was simple. I studied all last night."
Lucy nodded, but didn't say anything about how she felt.
"Okay," their biology professor, Mr Hunter, said as he descended the stairs, tests in hand. "When I finish grading these, I will give you updated marks for this course. Right now, however—" He reached his desk and replaced the tests with another pile of papers. "This is the class list, by grade. You will each get a copy, and there will be an additional one posted on the bulletin board outside this room."
A hand went up near the back. Peyton craned her neck, but she couldn't quite see his face. He had short, dark hair. She was never good with names. "But what if we don't want other people knowing our grades?"
Mr Hunter smiled. "Well then you shouldn't have come to this university, young man."
Laughter rippled through the room. The student at the back shuffled lower in his seat, and his friends sitting around him were practically howling.
Peyton could care less. She wanted those grades. Her eyes never left Mr Hunter as he explained about an assignment they had due the next week.
Then, finally, class was over. Peyton practically ran down the stairs to get her copy of the list.
"Where's the fire?" Lucy asked as she appeared behind her friend. Peyton didn't answer, yanking a list off the pile. Lucy hung back with her; she could get hers later. "So, how're you doing?"
Peyton just stared. There was her name: Second on the list, with a 97. She had to read the name above hers a few times before it registered.
"Lucy Clarke," she whispered. How was this possible? How did Lucy have a 98?
"Let me see." Lucy snatched the paper out of the blonde's hand. She scanned it, then her eyes widened. "Wow."
Peyton opened her mouth, but shut it as Mr Hunter made his way over. He nodded and smiled kindly at Lucy. "Good job, Miss Clarke."
Lucy beamed. Peyton glared after their professor as he walked away, then rounded on her friend.
"You slept with him, didn't you?" she hissed.
"What?" Lucy yelped. Several students around them turned their heads, giving the two women puzzles looks. Lucy grabbed Peyton's wrist and led her away from the crowd.
"I'm sorry, what are you talking about?" Lucy demanded once they were at the other end of the room, away from prying ears.
"That's how you got that mark." Peyton's eyes were narrowed into slits.
"You are unbelievable, you know," Lucy whispered fiercely, exasperated. "If you're so smart then why didn't that genius brain of yours remember last week's assignment?"
Peyton blinked. Well, that made sense, didn't it?
Lucy, seeing the blonde's look of recognition, rolled her eyes. "Now she remembers!
"Yes, it was that one. The one that you got an... 84, was it?"
Peyton looked away. Of course she remembered. She had gotten an 84 while Lucy somehow scraped a 99. Peyton should've been thankful that her mark didn't go down.
Seeing no imminent answer, Lucy shook her head. "Whatever. I'm going home."
Peyton watched her ascend the stairs, cheeks burning. She felt humiliated.
But that wasn't the real problem, was it? The real problem was in Peyton's hand, staring her in the face:
1. Lucy Clarke, 98
2. Peyton Sharp, 97
Peyton averted her eyes and stuffed the paper in her textbook. Hurriedly, she exited the amphitheatre before anyone could see the tears.
She had to do something. Peyton practically ran to her car, barely feeling the chill of the February air.
Once inside, Peyton slammed her forehead against the steering wheel, face scrunched up, forcing herself not to cry. Eventually, however, sobs began to work their way up her throat.
How could this happen? Peyton was ahead of her classmates in every other course. Why did it have to be biology?
Something snapped inside of her and the sobs stopped instantly. Peyton raised her head, staring out the frost-covered windshield of her car with teary eyes.
A plan was already forming in her brain. It was absolutely insane; there was no doubt in her mind about that.
But she would do anything she had to to get to the top of that list.
Peyton stared down at her plans for the next day. It all seemed so absurd. Something a psychopath would write. She told herself she wasn't doing it, that she can't do it, but then she looked up at the class list posted to her bedroom wall. There was her name, right under Lucy's. Lucy didn't deserve to be at the top of the class.
Lucy was always better everything. She was prettier than Peyton, her freckled nose seemed to attract every guy that her friend ever liked, her parents had more money than Peyton's did, and, to top it all off, she was a hell of a lot funnier than her. Peyton had always been better at school, though, and now Lucy was trying to take that away from her as well.
She wouldn't let her. The next day, she was going to lead Lucy into the woods and make her beg for her life. Peyton was going to hold a knife to her friend's neck until she wanted to fail the course.
She wasn't going to kill her. She couldn't. Lucy was her best friend, the only true one she'd had since high school. But what if Lucy screamed? Ran? Threatened to call the police? Peyton couldn't let that happen.
She stared at the knife on her desk. She imagined it sinking into Lucy's flesh, her blood spurting onto the snow...
Peyton didn't know what she felt at the thought. She was pulled too far in both directions. But then she imagined that, once Lucy's gone, she, Peyton, would be at the top of the class. Her future employer would look at the class list and hire her on the spot because of this.
I need this! Peyton thought to herself, gritting her teeth.
If things played out badly, this time tomorrow, Lucy would be dead. If things went well, however, Peyton still wouldn't have a friend. Because who stays friends with someone who holds a knife to their throat?
That had never occurred to her before. She would have to live with Lucy's scared and guilt-inducing looks for the rest of her life, at least for the rest of university.
Even if she never saw Lucy again, Peyton know those looks would be implanted in my brain. But it would all be worth it! Peyton Sharp would get the better career.
I deserve this, Peyton told herself firmly, sweeping all her feelings under the rug until all that was left was a vague nervousness for the next day.
Those grades are as good as mine.
Peyton reached for her phone. There was just one last thing to do.
Lucy's phone rang three times before she picked it up. "What?" she asked, sounding exhausted. Peyton glanced at the digital clock next to her bed and blinked. No wonder Lucy was tired; it was almost midnight. She must've been sleeping.
"Listen," Peyton began, trying to get the sincerity she didn't feel into her voice. "I'm really sorry about today. I was an idiot."
"Yeah, you were." Lucy wasn't too impressed.
"I want to make it up to you." There was a desperate hope in the back of Peyton's mind that Lucy would say no, but she snuffed it out quickly.
A pause. "Okay." Lucy's tone held suspicion.
"I thought we could hang out tomorrow, just the two of us. There's something I want to show you." Peyton's fingers caressed the knife's blade as she said this, watching the way the light from her lamp danced over the metal.
"What do you have in mind?"
"Oh, there's this great spot I used to go to when I was a kid," she lied smoothly. "It's about a twenty minute drive from the university."
"Where, though?" Lucy sounded curious now.
"In Capitol State Forest, near Lake Summit."
"A forest?" Peyton could practically hear Lucy raise her eyebrows.
"Yeah. It's this really fantastic place... There's a waterfall and you can see right off the mountain."
"Isn't February a little too cold to be going for hikes in the middle of nowhere?"
"Come on Lucy, it'll be fun!" Peyton thought her excited tone was so convincing that she even started to believe herself.
Another pause. "You're crazy, you know that?" Peyton felt her anger growing, until Lucy began to laugh and the blonde realized she was joking.
"So you'll come?"
"Sure, why not? What's the worst that could happen?"
"Come on, it's this way."
Peyton glanced behind her as she headed farther into the woods. She and Lucy had ventured off the path five minutes ago, and now the brunette was starting to fall behind.
"How much farther?" Lucy asked, pulling her coat closer around her. "February is a bit of a weird time to go for a hike, you know."
"It'll be worth it, I promise," Peyton said to the trees in front of her. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
No, she had to do it. Her whole life was at stake! If she wasn't at the top of the class, she would never be hired.
Peyton forced her way through some bushes growing between two trees. They were taller than her, and as she went through she felt a branch dig into her right cheek, from the edge of her lip to her earlobe. It stung, but she pushed through the bush, despite it cutting deeper every time she moved forward.
"Coming?" She leaned against a nearby tree, desperately trying to stop her body from shaking. The weapon in her pocket felt heavier than a truck. Or perhaps it was just reminding her of what she was about to do.
No time to dwell on that now. Lucy emerged from the bushes, leaves stuck to her coat, gloves, and hat.
"Ugh, where exactly are we going?" she demanded, irritated, as she brushed leaves off of herself. Then she looked up. "Oh—you're bleeding!"
Peyton didn't touch her face. The less of her own DNA that got on her gloves, the better. Instead, she looked into her friend's eyes. "Are you proud of your grades right now, Lucy?"
The brunette blinked. "Of course I am." Then a smile grew on her face. "Top of the class, one above you. Never thought I'd see the day."
It was meant to be a joke, Peyton knew that, but her rage and jealousy grew. She, Peyton, should have top of the class; she deserved it! She'd worked tirelessly all through high school, acing her SATs, while Lucy just barely squeaked by and still got into Washington State!
Peyton had had enough. Suddenly, an inhuman sound came out of her mouth, a sound of pure rage, and she leapt forward, taking Lucy to the ground with her.
"What the—?" Lucy struggled under her. "What are you doing?" she demanded.
"Are you enjoying sitting at the top of the class?" Peyton screamed in her face, pinning Lucy's arms down with her knees. "Are you having a good time, being 'one above' me?" She was so angry it felt like someone was grabbing her heart in a fist. The crushing pressure just made it worse.
"This is about grades?" Lucy tried to pull her arms away, but Peyton was too heavy. "Are you insane?"
"Maybe," Peyton withdrew the knife from her pocket. Even though the leaves of the trees blocked out most of the sunlight, the knife's four-inch blade still glinted.
"Oh my God." Lucy froze and her eyes suddenly went wide. She seemed to shrink further into the snow. "Peyton, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry—"
"Shut up," Peyton hissed.
"Shut up!" she hollered, then her voice dropped. "All my life I've worked my fingers to the bonefor my marks! And you just think you can slack off in high school and then get it all done in university?" The knife got closer to Lucy's throat. "I'm not letting that happen."
Lucy never took her eyes off the blade. "Can't we talk about this?" she pleaded.
Peyton narrowed her eyes. "Afraid not."
The knife went up, glinting in the dim light. Lucy's eyes stretched wide until the whites were visible above and below her iris. Tears began to fall.
"No, Peyton, please! No!"
Peyton grasped the knife with two hands and thrust it straight into Lucy's exposed windpipe. The brunette's scream caught in her throat, replaced by a choking sound.
It stuck. There was no blood at first; the knife was blocking it all. But after about a second, thick, red liquid began to seep out.
Lucy thrashed under her and Peyton scrambled to the side, trying to get away. The brunette followed her with her eyes, and Peyton had to look away.
Her eyes said it all. How could you kill me? I was your friend!
The gurgling got louder as Lucy's hands scrabbled at her neck. She finally ripped the knife out, and blood spurted in the air like champagne out of an uncorked bottle. Three quick bursts of scarlet, then it slowly lessened, until blood was barely oozing out.
Lucy tried to reach toward her friend with her blood-stained glove, but Peyton scrabbled backwards; Lucy had nowhere near enough strength to reach her.
Fear registered in Lucy's eyes for the first time since the knife entered her. But it quickly died as her blood pooled over the thin dusting of snow. Finally, her hand thudded to the ground and with one last whimper, she was still. Her blue eyes stared straight at Peyton, their light gone.
Peyton just sat there for a long time, staring. Blood continued to pool, but that was the only thing that moved. It was as if the very wind had stopped.
That was ridiculous, of course. Peyton stood, feeling the last of the adrenaline drain from her bloodstream. It then fully hit her what she had done. Peyton Sharp had just killed her best friend, over a piece of paper. But didn't people kill others for money all the time? Grades were like money, at least to Peyton they were.
Instead of feeling how she supposed normal people should - sadness, shock, grief - Peyton just felt like she'd done something right.
Realizing this did wonders on Peyton's brain. She was able to stare down at Lucy's body with nothing more than a look of contempt. She was able to check the brunette over for any DNA traces before retrieving the knife, picking a direction at random, and go. And she was able to walk away without looking back.
Peyton walked in a straight line for about ten minutes, then stopped under a tree. She removed a small cloth from her pocket and wiped down the knife and its handle, making sure no fingerprints were left anywhere on it. The blood was nothing more to her than cherry Kool-Aid would be. It just didn't feel like blood; it wasn't real to her. It was like she was watching a very realistic TV show that happened to star her best friend.
Peyton stuck the knife into the frozen ground and kicked some snow on it. She walked another fifty or so feet in another direction and hid her cloth and gloves in a small nook between two roots, kicking more snow over them.
It would take weeks, even months, to find Lucy's body. By then the police could never get an accurate enough time of death to pin anything on anyone. And the snow over the evidence would hide its scent from any dogs.
It was perfect.
The rest of the weekend was an absolute hell. Four times Peyton almost broke down and called the police to turn herself in. She stopped herself in time, though, knowing that if she got caught, none of this would be worth it.
She went to class on Monday with bags under her eyes and so much uncertainty stuffed in her heart it must surely rupture. It never did, of course, but Peyton herself was nervous and jittery around people. In fact, the only class she actually went to was biology. She had to. That way she could cross Lucy's name out on Peyton's own grade list.
She sat two rows from the front, trying to isolate herself. As she stared at her books, she felt a tap on her shoulder, from behind.
It was Chris, a skinny man who usually sat at the back of the class with a couple friends. Peyton blinked. "What is it?"
"Do you know where Lucy is?" he asked, tilting his head. "I was trying to text her Saturday night..."
His voice faded away in her head. Peyton was too busy panicking. Her phone. Of course she'd forgotten something! She was so stupid, not realizing that Lucy's phone was a direct way to figure out the timeline of her death. If anyone saw she hadn't answered her texts Saturday night, that would mean she'd died sometime between Friday, when she'd last been seen alive, and whenever she stopped answering her texts.
"Uh, Peyton? Did you hear me?" The world jolted back into focus. Chris was looking at her, concerned. But his tone gave away his suspicions.
"No, I don't know where Lucy is," Peyton snapped, wanting him gone. "What am I, her keeper? She's probably skipping class or something."
Chris just looked confused. "Oh okay." That was all he said before leaving. Peyton watched him join his friends in the back corner. He whispered to them. As if on cue, all three of them turned their heads and stared at her. Peyton dropped her gaze, burning a hole through her textbook.
The rest of the class dragged by. Peyton hardly paid attention, very unusual for her, and instead found herself staring at the empty seat next to her. Homework was assigned, tests were given back. When Mr Hunter called Lucy's name and she didn't come up, he addressed Peyton. "Could you give it to her, Peyton?"
Peyton gulped. "Sure." Slowly she stood and made her way to Mr Hunter's desk. He handed her the test, giving her a quick once-over with his eyes. He frowned, and looked to be about to say something when Peyton turned around and scurried back to her seat.
At first she didn't want to look at the test. When her name was called, she went to get hers, then sat back down. Seeing she had only got one mark wrong made her want to compare the two. She turned Lucy's over...
And gasped. There were red marks scrawled all across every page. Lucy had gotten a 69 on a biology test she claimed had been easy.
Lucy would never fail a test like this. So why...?
Suddenly it dawned on Peyton. She did this on purpose. Maybe Lucy had guessed how much that 84 on an assignment had done to her friend, or maybe she somehow knew that her mark was going to be higher than Peyton's. Either way, she had purposely bombed this test to make Peyton feel better.
A deep hole opened in Peyton's chest as she realized this. Saturday had been a mistake; the whole thing was.
She tried to stop herself from hyperventilating. It's okay, she tried to tell herself.
But it wasn't! Lucy had purposely failed a test for her friend, and what did Peyton do in return? Kill her!
It took all Peyton's self-control to stop from yelling out what she'd done at that very moment. But it just wasn't worth it to confess.
Class ended, and, as promised, Mr Hunter had their updated marks on his desk. Peyton practically dragged herself to the front, trembling. She left her books behind and went up empty-handed, refusing to look anyone in the eye.
Not really wanting to, Peyton maneuvered through the crowd and took a copy of the list. She deliberately turned her eyes away from it until she was sitting down in front of her books again.
Peyton finally shot a quick glance at the first name and moaned in despair. Praying she'd read it wrong, she turned her gaze to the first two names.
1. Peyton Sharp, 98
2. Lucy Clarke, 97
She couldn't help it; tears spilled out of Peyton's eyes and a deep and utter hopelessness entered her heart.
"Miss Sharp?" Mr Hunter was addressing her formally. That wasn't good. Peyton looked up. Mr Hunter and the entire class' eyes were on her.
"What's wrong?" Mr Hunter asked, standing at the front of the room. Talk a little louder sir; I don't think everyone can quite hear you yet."I thought you'd be happy about your mark."
Peyton realized something. She looked Mr Hunter dead in the eye, shaking, tears still streaming down her face. "I am happy," she told him with a straight face.
It wasn't a lie.