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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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It’s one of those dreams that’s really a memory.

Mia and I are on her couch, our eyes glued to her television as we watch coverage of Lacey’s funeral from the day before. We’d been there, of course, but we couldn’t tear ourselves away from reliving it on-screen.

Meli Dinglasa, an Echo Ridge High grad who’d been toiling in obscurity at a local news station until someone got the brilliant idea to put her in front of the camera for this story, stands on the church steps clutching a microphone. “Yesterday, this shattered New England town came together at Lacey Kilduff’s funeral, mourning the loss of such a promising young woman. But amidst the sorrow, questions continue to whirl around those who knew the teen victim best.” The camera cuts to video of Declan leaving the church in a badly fitting suit, tight-lipped and scowling. If he’s trying to look the part of “Disreputable Ex with a Chip on His Shoulder,” he’s doing a great job.

Mia clears her throat and leans forward, clutching a pillow. “Do you think whoever did it was at the funeral yesterday?” She catches sight of my face and hastily adds, “I don’t mean any of her friends. Obviously. I just mean— I wonder if it’s somebody we know. Right there with us, in the middle of the crowd.” “They wouldn’t show up,” I say, with more certainty than I feel.

“You don’t think?” Mia chews her bottom lip, eyes flicking over the screen. “They should give everybody there the killer test.” “The what?”

“I heard about it at school,” Mia says. “It’s a riddle about a girl. She’s at her mother’s funeral, and she sees some guy she doesn’t know. She falls in love with him and decides he’s her dream guy. A few days later, she kills her sister. Why’d she do it?” “Nobody would do that,” I scoff.

“It’s a riddle. You have to answer. They say murderers always give the same answer.” “Because she …” I pause, trying to think of the most twisted answer possible. I feel comfortable about doing that with Mia, in a way I wouldn’t with anybody else right now. She’s one of the only people in Echo Ridge who’s not staring accusingly at Declan—and at me, like I must be a bad seed by association. “Because the sister was the man’s girlfriend and she wanted him for herself?” “No. Because she thought the man might go to her sister’s funeral, too.” I snort. “That doesn’t even make sense.”

“Do you have a better way to tell who’s a cold-blooded killer?”

I scan the crowd on-screen, looking for an obvious sign that somebody’s not right. Something twisted lurking among all the sad faces. “They’re the most messed-up person in the room.” Mia curls deeper into her corner of the couch, pressing the pillow tight against her chest. “That’s the problem, though, isn’t it? They are, but you can’t tell.” I startle awake so violently that I almost fall out of bed. My pulse is racing and my mouth is cottony dry. I haven’t thought about that day in years—Mia and I sneak-watching news coverage of Lacey’s funeral while I hid at her house because mine was already bubbling over with angry tension. I don’t know why I’d dream about it now, except … Katrin would either have to be so desperate that she lost all sense of right or wrong, or be a cold-blooded criminal. Even after catching Katrin doing nothing worse than looking for a quiet place to puke, I can’t get Ellery’s words out of my head.

I run a hand through sweat-dampened hair and flip over, trying to sink back into sleep. No good. My eyes keep popping open, so I roll over to check the time on my phone. Just past three a.m., so it’s surprising to see a text from Ellery that’s time-stamped ten minutes ago.

Sorry I didn’t reply sooner. Stuff happened.

It only took her fifteen hours to get back to my I had fun last night text. Which was making me paranoid for a different reason.

I prop myself up on one elbow, feeling a twinge of worry. I don’t like the sound of stuff, or the fact that Ellery’s awake at three a.m. I’m about to message her back when a sound outside my door makes me pause. The light tread of footsteps is almost imperceptible, except for a tiny creak from the loose floorboard in front of my room. But now that my ears are straining, I hear someone going downstairs and opening the front door.

I push my sheets aside, climb out of bed, and make my way to my window. The moon’s just bright enough that I can make out a figure with a backpack walking quickly down our driveway. Not Peter-sized, and the confident stride doesn’t look anything like my mother’s. Which leaves Katrin.

Katrin would either have to be so desperate that she lost all sense of right or wrong, or be a cold-blooded criminal. God. Ellery’s words are like my brain’s very own Fright Farm Demon Rollercoaster, circling in an endless, horrifying loop. And now, watching the figure below me disappear into darkness, all I can think is that it’s pretty reckless to wander around Echo Ridge at three in the morning with Brooke still missing.

Unless you know there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Unless you’re what people should be afraid of.

I root around on my floor for sneakers. Holding them in one hand, I grab my phone with the other and slip out my bedroom door into the darkened hallway. I make my way downstairs as silently as I can, although with Peter’s loud snoring I probably don’t need to bother. When I reach the foyer, I jam my feet into my sneakers and slowly open the front door. I don’t see Katrin anywhere, and all I hear are crickets and rustling leaves.

I look both ways when I reach the end of the driveway. There are no streetlights on our stretch of road, and I can’t see anything except the shadowy shapes of trees. School is toward the left, and downtown is right. School, I think. Where homecoming was last night. I turn left and stay at the edge of the road, walking close to the tall bushes that line our nearest neighbor’s property. Our street feeds into a bigger one that’s more well lit, and when I turn onto it I can make out Katrin a few blocks ahead of me.

I lift my phone and text Ellery. I’m following Katrin.

I don’t expect a response, but she answers within seconds. WHAT???

Why are you up?

Long story. Why are you following Katrin?

Because she left the house at 3am & I want to know why.

Solid reason. Where’s she headed?

Idk. School, maybe?

It’s a good twenty-minute walk to Echo Ridge High from our house, even with both Katrin and me moving at a quick pace. My phone vibrates in my hand a couple of times as I walk, but I keep my eyes on Katrin. In the hazy moonlight there’s something almost insubstantial about her, like she might disappear if I stop paying attention. I keep thinking about our parents’ wedding reception last spring, when my new stepsister wore a brittle smile and a short white dress like some kind of bride in training. While Peter and Mom circled the floor for their first dance, she grabbed a couple of champagne glasses from a passing waiter’s tray and handed one to me.

“We’re stuck with one another now, aren’t we, Mal?” she asked before downing half of hers in one gulp. She clinked her glass against mine. “Might as well get used to it. Cheers.” I liked her better than I thought I would that night. And since. So I would really fucking hate for Ellery to be right about any of this.

Katrin stops a few hundred feet short of Echo Ridge High, at a stone wall that divides the school from neighboring property. The streetlights in front of the school throw off a yellowish glow, enough for me to see her put the backpack down and crouch beside it. I kneel behind a bush, my heart beating uncomfortably fast. While I wait for Katrin to rise again, I look down at the last text I received from Ellery: What’s she up to?

About to find out. Hang on.

I open my camera and flip it to Video, hit Zoom, and train it on Katrin as she pulls something square and white out of the backpack. She unfolds it like a map and steps toward the stone wall. I watch as she fastens one corner of what she’s holding to the top of the wall with duct tape, then repeats the process until a sign with red lettering is prominently displayed.




My heart skips a beat and I almost drop my phone. Katrin puts the duct tape back in her backpack and zips it up, then slings it over her shoulder, turning and striding back the way she came. She’s wearing a hoodie with her hair tucked up beneath it, but when she passes within a few feet of me I get a clear shot of her face.

When I can’t hear her footsteps any longer, I move forward so I can record the sign up close. The bright-red letters are splashed against the white background, but there’s nothing else—no dolls, no pictures, none of the creepy gleefulness of her previous work. I text the video to Ellery and write, This is what she’s up to. Then I wait, but not for long.

Oh my God.

My fingers feel numb as I type. You called it.

We have to give this to the police, Ellery replies. The receipt, too. I shouldn’t have hung on to it for this long.

My stomach rolls. Jesus, what’s my mother going to think? Will part of her be relieved that it takes the focus off Declan and me, or is it just the same shit show, different channel? And Peter—my brain seizes trying to imagine how he’ll react to Katrin being mixed up in something like this. Especially if I’m the one bringing it to light.

But I have to. There’s too much piling up, and all of it points to my stepsister.

I start walking and texting at the same time. I know. I’m going to make sure she’s headed home & not someplace else. Should we go to the station tomorrow morning?

I’d rather show Officer Rodriguez first. Do you want to come by my house around six & we can go together?

I blink at the screen. Ellery has spent weeks telling anyone who’d listen—which, granted, is mostly Ezra, Mia, and me—that she thinks Officer Rodriguez is sketchy. Now she wants to show up at his house at the crack of dawn, handing over stuff we’re not supposed to have? I glance up and see that I’m gaining a little too quickly on Katrin; if I keep up my pace I’ll end up walking right past her. I slow down and text, Why him?

It takes a few minutes for Ellery’s message to appear. She’s either writing a novel, or taking her time figuring out what to say. When her text finally comes through, it’s not what I was expecting.

Let’s just say he owes me one.

“So you got this receipt how, again?”

Officer Rodriguez hands me a cup of coffee in his kitchen. Early-morning sun streams through the window over the sink, striping the table with gold. I’m so tired that the effect reminds me of a pillow, and all I want to do is lay my head down and shut my eyes. I left a note for Mom and Peter saying I was going to the gym, which is only slightly more believable than what I’m actually doing.

“The recycling bin was unlocked,” Ellery says, twisting a curl around her finger.

“Unlocked?” Officer Rodriguez’s eyes are ringed with dark circles. Considering what Ellery told me on the way over about the picture of his father, I doubt he slept much last night either.


“But everything was still inside?”

She meets his gaze without blinking. “Yeah.”

“Okay.” He rubs a hand over his face. “Let’s go with that. Regardless of whether the bin was locked or unlocked, its contents weren’t your property to take.” “I didn’t think discarded items were anyone’s property,” Ellery says. She sounds like she really, really hopes she’s right.

Officer Rodriguez leans back in his chair and regards her in silence for a few seconds. He and Ellery don’t resemble one another much. But now that I know there’s a chance they’re related, the stubborn set of their jaws looks exactly the same. “I’m going to treat this as an anonymous tip,” he finally says, and Ellery visibly exhales. “I’ll look into the car situation. Given Brooke’s state of mind when you saw her at Fright Farm, it’s an interesting thread to follow.” Ellery crosses her legs and jiggles one foot. She’s been full of nervous energy since she got here, constantly shifting and fidgeting. Unlike Officer Rodriguez and me, she seems wide awake. “Are you going to arrest Katrin?” Officer Rodriguez holds up a palm. “Whoa. Not so fast. There’s no evidence that she’s committed a crime.” She blinks, startled. “What about the video?”

“It’s of interest, sure. But there’s no destruction of property involved. Trespassing, maybe. Depends on who owns the wall.” “But what about all the other times?” I ask.

He shrugs. “We don’t know she was involved with those. All we know is what you saw this morning.” I grip my mug. The coffee is already cold, but I drink it anyway. “So everything we gave you is useless.” “Nothing is useless when someone goes missing,” Officer Rodriguez says. “All I’m saying is that it’s premature to draw conclusions based on what you’ve shared. That’s my job, okay? Not yours.” He leans forward and raps his knuckles on the table for emphasis. “Listen up. I appreciate you guys coming to me, I really do. But you need to stay out of this from now on. Not only for your safety, but because if you are circling around someone who played a role in Brooke’s disappearance, you don’t want to tip them off. Okay?” We both nod, and he crosses his arms. “I’m going to need a verbal confirmation.” “You’re better at this than I thought,” Ellery says under her breath.

Officer Rodriguez frowns. “What?”

She raises her voice. “I said, okay.”

He juts his chin toward me, and I nod. “Yeah, all right.”

“And please keep this between us.” Officer Rodriguez levels his gaze at Ellery. “I know you’re close to your brother, but I’d prefer you not share what we’ve discussed outside this room.” I doubt she’s planning to honor that request, but she nods. “Okay.”

Officer Rodriguez glances at the clock on his microwave. It’s almost six-thirty. “Does your grandmother know you’re here?” “No,” Ellery says. “She doesn’t know anything.” Officer Rodriguez’s eyes flick toward me at the emphasis, and I keep my face carefully blank. It’s a little surprising, maybe, that nobody in Echo Ridge made the connection between his father and the twins before now. But Mr. Rodriguez was one of those private family guys that nobody saw much of. Even when you did, he didn’t resemble the photo Ellery showed me on her phone. He’d been wearing thick glasses as long as I could remember, and had gotten a lot heavier. And balder. Ezra better enjoy his hair while he can.

“You should get home, then. She’ll worry if she wakes up and you’re not there. You too, Malcolm.” “Okay,” Ellery says, but she doesn’t move. She jiggles her foot again and adds, “I was wondering something. About you and Lacey.” Officer Rodriguez cocks his head. “What about me and Lacey?”

“I asked you once if you were friends, and you wouldn’t answer me.”

“I wouldn’t?” His mouth twists in a wry smile. “Probably because it’s none of your business.” “Did you …” She pauses. “Did you ever want to, you know, ask her out or anything?” He huffs out a small laugh. “Sure. Me and most of the guys in our class. Lacey was beautiful, but … she wasn’t just that. She cared about people. Even if you were nobody at school, she made you feel like you mattered.” His expression darkens. “It still tears me up, what happened to her. I think that’s half the reason I became a cop.” Ellery’s eyes search his, and whatever she sees there relaxes the tense set of her shoulders. “Are you still looking into her murder?” Officer Rodriguez shoots her an amused glance as his phone buzzes. “Give it a rest, Ellery. And go home.” He glances at the screen, and all the color drains from his face. He pushes his chair back with a loud scrape and gets to his feet.

“What?” Ellery and I ask at the same time.

He reaches for a set of keys on the counter. “Go home,” he says again, but this time not like it’s a joke. “And stay there.”

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