Nia: Chapter 1 by Anhaar

By Anhaar, Year 9

Written as part of Factory Feedback

The content below contains mature content and adult themes. If you have any concerns or if you are below 13 years of age please do not continue reading. If you are above 13 years of age and wish to continue reading, please scroll down the page. You can read our publishing approach here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were three of us. Including me. I tried to make mental notes of everything that was going on – although there wasn’t much. It would’ve been a lot easier if I knew where I was, or anything of what was going on. 

 

My hand is throbbing and I raise it to my face, to see shards of glass poking out of a bandage and blood seeping through. I suppose whoever bandaged my palm, hadn’t done a very good job. I look around the room. White walls, white chairs, white floor, white lights. 

 

Then red? 

 

A red pool of… blood.

 

A person sitting in a chair, with their head cocked to the side. My hand flutters to my mouth in panic. Someone is dead? Do I know them? 

 

Who had killed them? I measure out the two people I share the room with (excluding the dead one in the corner.) They appear to be asleep? Unconscious? Neither are talking, but they’re breathing, they’re alive.

 

It crashes on me, like a shower of glass- oh god. What if I’m the murderer? I’m the first one awake. I have blood on my hands. 

 

No. I can’t remember anything, so it can’t be me? Can it? I don’t seem like the kind of person to be a murderer, right? I know who I am, some flashbacks of me, maybe a few years ago? Just bits and pieces of myself like fragments of a shattered plate.

 

My name is Nia, I am seventeen years old. There’s a little more, that seems irrelevant. 

 

I’m walking home from school in a blue and green uniform.

 

I’m eating a burger at a restaurant with friends.

 

I try to dive a bit deeper into that memory, a girl sits next to me, with bright pink hair. Across there is someone who wears glasses. There’s a flash of a face, with dark brown eyes. I shut my eyes tight, hoping the memories will keep coming. But it’s like a cheap pen that’s running slowly out of ink, there’s nothing left.

 

I know that I’m the kind of person who is lazy, who doesn’t do any sport, who is weak and panicky and certainly not a murderer. I don’t have any memories that tell me I hate someone, not enough to murder them. But then again, I don’t have many memories at all.

 

When I open my eyes again, I wince, expecting maybe another person dead. Maybe, I will be arrested. Maybe the two others will figure out it was me. 

 

It has to be me. But then why do I have no memory? I don’t even know who the dead person is. 

 

Perhaps that’s because they’re unrecognisable, blood covered over their face, hands tied behind a chair, wearing all white.

 

I scan the room again, there’s not much to describe. The room smells like an ugly mix of mould and antiseptic. Tasting like a hospital but smelling like a wrinkled old shirt. No windows, no furniture. Just the chairs and a little corner in the room. A toilet, with a bucket and some toilet paper, sanitary pads, soap. Maybe whoever did all this actually cares. Was that me? Who drugged everyone? Put us in a room with just a few necessities. Did I kill that person in the corner?

 

What if my next destination is prison? With a dead person and blood on my hands, I’ll be suspected for sure.

 

The thought fills me with dread, I have friends, a life. I want with all of my heart to be out of here.

 

My hands are cuffed at the wrists, with a few centimetres between the edge of the cold metal shackles and my wound. My feet are bound too. It couldn’t have been me, how could I do that to myself?

 

I take a deep breath, not too loud in fear of waking up the others. Although they’re probably drugged and won’t wake up for a while. That’s probably my fault. 

 

I can’t deal with them being conscious, not yet. There is question to whether I’m the murderer, but to them, there’ll be no question that I did it. 

 

I try to stay calm, folding my fingers in one another, cracking my knuckles, biting my lips. I think I’m going to go crazy.

 

I weigh the options in my head. Either I’m the murderer (most likely) or the boy next to me is the murderer (unlikely, he’s still asleep) or the girl across from me (unlikely, she’s also asleep.) I think those are the main options and the scales certainly aren’t weighing in my favour.

 

Except, maybe the person killed themselves? That kind of injury seems pretty hard to self-inflict though, not that I know much about murder.

 

Or maybe I do. A memory. An old man is staring at me with unblinking, milky eyes. He has grey hair with streaks of red. There’s so much blood.

 

“Who did it?” I demand, but no one answers, I sob into my sleeves.

 

Thoughts are racing in my head. He was old. My grandpa? My teacher? Who had killed him? Did I kill for revenge?

 

My heart pounds like a skipping rope. I squeeze my eyes so hard I think they might explode. 

 

I’m only seventeen. I want to get out. I’m not a murderer. I swear. Please.

 

Tears are rolling down my cheeks but I can’t even wipe them away, my hands are cuffed and my palms are throbbing. 

 

I rock myself back and forth, hugging myself. It’s okay, you’ll get out. It’s okay.

 

As I lean forward, the chair gives a loud creak. I’m afraid I might fall and crash, but what happens next scares me more.

 

A pair of dark brown eyes stare at me, from the chair on my left.

 

***

 

NEWS1: TEN TEENS GO MISSING

11 am, Thursday the 12th of May, 2023

Author: Casy Singh

 

News1 can confirm that ten teenagers did not arrive at their school, Laguna High School on Wednesday morning. The school sent out alerts to parents, presuming all ten were absent. However, the parents and guardians were shocked, as all students had walked to the school that morning.

 

A News1 exclusive interview with father, Mr Gardiner, found that the parents were first suspicious of the children skipping school. 

 

The distressed father spoke with News1 this morning saying, “It was a shock. It certainly was. I thought, well perhaps they jigged, you know, that age [chuckles] some of them were friends. We were mad at them at first, but then, well they never came home. The police came knocking [at our door] and…[wipes away tears] sorry. Can we-uh-take a break

 

News1 understands that the students were aged between sixteen and eighteen, either in grade eleven or twelve. Police are quite stunned at the number of students that have disappeared.

 

Police commissioner June Horsfield spoke to News1 last afternoon, when it was confirmed all ten were missing. “It’s unusual for such a large number of, well quite mature students to go missing like that.”

 

Police say they haven’t ruled out abduction, but think it would be difficult to kidnap such a large group of people. The options left – runaways? It seems uncertain but News1 will be here for our readers, to provide more updates.

 

For our viewers who are unfamiliar with this escalating case, here is a brief overview:

 

9.15 am, Wednesday the 11th of May: the ten students do not arrive at school

 

12 pm, Wednesday the 11th of May: parents confirm they are unknowledgeable of students’ absence

 

5pm, Wednesday the 11th of May: families are interviewed by police

 

7 am, Thursday the 12th of May: search begins

 

9 am, Friday the 13th of May: News1 conducts exclusive interview with father

 

Thank you to all of our viewers reading this, News1 is soon to publish more exclusive reports! You can also watch some special interviews with victims families on our website, News1.com

Factory Feedback was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.

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