Booms echoed. The sound of missed basketball shots hitting the gymnasium wall pounded the hallway. Like a drunk playing drums; irregular and heart stopping loud.
Tucked between a pair of offices laid a smaller office piled with paperwork and sports memorabilia. The man moved some applications for transfers to the declined pile. Greenwood Academy was displayed on every surface and trophy, even dotted his shirt covered in pizza crust crumbs. He dusted his chest off. A knock echoed in his office. He glanced up. Eyes inflating as his voice weakened.
The man paled even more. His hand froze, hanging dumbly over the G of his shirt like a raptor claw.
The tall man in a generic black t-shirt stared back. The portly man squinted up at him, trying to rationalize why he was here. His heart raced.
Stony silence met him. "Right. I'll call the ringleader himself."
A raised hand paused him. "I'd rather speak to his teammates before he does."
The man chewed his lip like a doughnut filled with jelly. He gave a brief nod. "Office to the left. The three are there waiting for him."
Fletcher left, footsteps silent as a ghost. Color slowly returned to the man's face. He whipped out his cellphone. "Martha. Hey... do we still have my resume on the home computer." He glanced back at the hallway.
"I'm going to need it. Tonight."
"What a pussy. I bet he set us up for something." Hairs pricked on the boy's neck. In the doorway stood a man. Large bulky arms crossed. Inspecting them like a butcher inspects a slab of ribs. His friends followed his eyes and equally tensed up.
He studied them quietly before the redhead blurted out. "Who are you?"
The man dragged a chair in front of them. Staring at them. They all had jerseys on judging by their numbers it was a QB, WR and a lineman.
He glanced back and forth watching them squirm. He fixated on the one to the far left with braces and sat down.
"Tell me about James Luca."
The boys looked around at each other. "He was a loser. Cried when we lost and he was on the bench."
The other boys nodded. "I get if you played but he was too slow and clumsy to be of use."
Fletcher's eye flickered to the redhead. "Yea he was a waste of space. Totally useless. Too skinny to even warm the bench for us. All bones."
Fletcher leaned back. "So why was he on the team?"
The boys shrugged. "Coaches felt bad for him. Even babied him at practice because it hurts him to run. This is football."
Fletcher glanced to the one in the middle. Quiet as the grave. "You like him?"
The boys face flushed with anger. "Hell no. He's a total waste of breath I don't know what he told you but he's just a distraction and-."
The voice boomed. "These boys have spoken enough."
He turned in his seat. Eyes locking with the speaker. The man's eyebrows raised. "Tom?"
He collected himself after a few awkward seconds. "As I was saying these boys have commented enough on the issue." Fletcher nodded. He stood up and exited the office, leaning briefly on the door frame. Turning back towards them watching the kids as he spoke. "A dead kid is only an issue now?"
The principal flushed.
Fletcher scanned their faces.
The principal stood between them as the boys reacted. He whispered through gritted teeth. "I swear to Christ if you don't leave I will have someone throw you out. I might even." Fletcher did something he didn't expect. He smiled.
"Like old times 'Captain?' "
His ring-finger shined in the overhead lights of the office.
Packson City Crusaders class of '99.
Fletcher backed up and left quietly like a slasher movie villain.
Principal Colton Wilder grimaced.
He looked over covering his own ring as he spoke.
"After this conversation. Not even your preachers and Nanas will know anything. Got it?"
The boys nodded emphatically. He closed the door. A loud echo that rippled down the hallway.
This is part one of my murder mystery. I was stuck on what to write the last day and I knocked this out in 20 mins. Comments are appreciated.
Thank you for your support future readers!