"It has been two months since I, Narcissa Taylor, was almost killed by you, Andre Smith. Although I completely forgive you, I cannot speak for the rest of Marconville..." The rest of the sympathy letter went like that. Andre shook his head at Cissa's polite grammar. She didn't need to keep reminding him that he almost killed her.
He was spending two and a half months in Marconville Juvenile Detention Center. The police were tracking down his mother, who fled at his failure. So far, the evidence showed she was somewhere in Canada. Narcissa visited the Center every other day, and Andre was grateful. She had visited the previous day to give him the letter, a hug, and good food. The food at the Center was horrible.
Andre did not boast to the other minors what he had done. He was not proud as the others were. Toby Reynolds beat his mother with a rock during a psychotic episode. Carey and Ben Robinson shot and killed five store clerks. Mariah Sufenez burned down her cousin's house. Yosef Lee assaulted his girlfriend. Andre Smith murdered two people.
What would he do when he was released? No family would want to take care of him, and he had to be twenty one to live by himself. He was sure his house was under investigation. Maybe he'd ask to stay at the Juvenile Detention Center. ... A few days after she visited the Center last, Narcissa called in another meeting. When Andre walked into the meeting room, she thrust a paper into his hands.
It read: "'SERIAL KILLER' FOUND Mabel Smith, 50, was found in the far away province of Québec, Canada. She is being charged with five counts of murder, including the two committed by her son, Andre, Smith, 18..." "They found her?" Andre mumbled.
"Yes, this was yesterday. I couldn't come by, sorry. It also says that you have to testify tomorrow. If the jury comes up with a guilty verdict for her before your months are up, you'll be free and your charges will be ignored-" "Breathe, Cissa." They both froze then with awkwardness. Andre drove his hand through his dreadlocks.
Not wanting any unwanted attention drawn to him, Andre walked back to his cell quietly, thinking about Cissa. He knew he had feelings for her. When they held hands, or hugged, he felt that surge of energy flow through him. He wanted to kiss her. So bad.
A week later, he was free. Cissa came to break the news. Unfortunately for her, Andre saws the news that morning. Instead of meeting her in the visitor room, he stood at the front of the Detention Center. When she pulled up in her white Mercedes-Benz, Cissa looked at him through the window, slammed on her breaks, and switched on her hazard lights.
She brought her hands to her mouth as she walked over to him. "You know?" she gasped. "I wanted to tell you," she added, setting her hands around his neck. "We're allowed to watch TV." Her blue eyes widened. The awkwardness had returned. He could've sworn she leaned in first before she backed away and tucked hair behind her ear.
Cissa drove the two of them back to her house. She unlocked the front door, and pushed it open. "We're here!" she yelled into the house. "Hello?" No answer. "They must have left," she said more to herself than to Andre.
"Great," groaned Andre sarcastically. "Do you know where they could have gone?" Cissa shrugged. "Could be anywhere, I guess." Then she turned serious. It completely shocked Andre. "Who else were you working with?" He turned to stare at her. "What?"
"I know there's others who were working for your mother. Who?" Andre shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. "Everything was confidential. I just know there were two other people in the Pyramid." "What's the 'Pyramid'?"
"The name my mother gave it. She's the top of the pyramid, and the three of us were her tripod legs, keeping her in power." "And you don't know who each other are?" "I don't. I can't speak for the other two."
"We need to figure out who they are. We need to stop them from killing anybody else." "No," Andre commanded. "There's one person we need to protect." "Who?" "Charlie Tavers. The son of Oscar Tavers." "Why do we need to protect him?"
Andre sat on the couch and rubbed his eyes. "Our goal was to kill the children of the four adults involved in the scandal seven years ago. "Alan and Alexandria Miller are dead, Lisa and Leslie Donaldson are dead, Oscar Tavers is dead. You seeing the pattern?" Narcissa nodded. "Yeah, but what about me and my father?"
"My mother was hoping Nicholas would die in prison, like most of them do. But then you wanted to solve the case, so my mother commanded that I killed you, too." Cissa pursed her lips, thinking. "Well, we could get the police to offer Charlie protection. Then we can let them know the information they need to find the other two-"
"My mother won't give in. Even if that gives her the rest of her life in prison, she won't tell them who they are, and I don't know. So that really doesn't help." "So we rely on the police, who have no information on the case?" "No," said Andre. "We take it on."
"We're eighteen!" Cissa exclaimed. "So? You stopped me from killing you, and managed to comfort me before I sent my mother to prison." "You did fine at the testimony. She can't control you anymore," she said, placing a hand over Andre's.
It was too late. The news loudspeakers came on, and Andre and Narcissa walked outside. Other families followed, wondering what the urgent news could be.
"John Wilson, here," he said, coughing. "More sad news today. I hate to inform you that sixteen year old Charlie Tavers, son of Oscar Tavers, was pronounced dead late last night. Detectives are positive that it was murder, and that the suspect is said to be a friend of Mr. Tavers. You all are encouraged to place extra security on your home, and keep doors and windows locked at all times."
"Dammit!" Cissa yelled angrily, storming back inside. Andre followed her, and shut the door. Narcissa was pacing across her living room, mumbling under her breath. Andre interrupted her path and put his hand on her shoulders. "Calm down, Cissa. It's okay. They don't have anyone else left. Now, it's just finding them."
"I know!" she yelled at him. "I know that, Andre! But now we can't even try because Charlie is already dead!" "What are you saying?" "We could've led the killer into a trap," Cissa said, getting emotional. "Could've pretended that we didn't know anything, and when they came, the police would come out and... and arrest them."
Not as far away as Taylor and Smith thought, the killer smirked at their trouble. They thought they would be able to find the members of the Pyramid? Impossible. The society was so secretive, the killer of Charlie Tavers was quite surprised that Andre was part of it in the first place. The other killer would be impossible to find. They both were. They took it more seriously than Andre ever did.
Andre and Cissa were crowded in Nancy's room, where the young Taylor demanded a tea party to celebrate Andre's release from the Detention Center. They sat around a circular blanket, where they were drinking small cups of herbal tea. It was nice. It calmed Andre's nerves slightly, and he thought it'd be impossible to do.
Turns out, Nancy had a surprise doctor appointment and Mrs. Taylor and Nancy had to rush off. Andre finished his small cup of tea, and tipped his imaginary hat to Nancy. "I'm sorry, m'lady, but Narcissa and I have some things to take care of." "Oh!" gasped Nancy. She winked to Andre. "Yeah, go ahead!"
As they left Nancy's room, Andre laughed in Cissa's ear, "I didn't know your sister had such a dirty mind." "She's not as innocent as you think," she whispered back. Once they were safe in Narcissa's room, they started talking business. "Where do you propose we go?" Narcissa asked.
"Police station. I'm sure Officer Meadowes would let us see the photos of Charlie." "That's good. He did give me the file for my father's case. He might do the same for this." Minutes later, they were standing outside of Marconville Police Plaza, waiting to be buzzed into the building.
They asked the desk boy where Meadowes' office was, and in seconds, they were standing before him. "How can I help you, kiddos?" he asked. Narcissa stepped forward and cleared her throat. "Hi, Officer Meadowes. We wanted to look at the crime scene photos for Charlie Tavers' murder."
He seemed surprised at the request. "That is something I can't have happen, Miss Taylor." "Why is that?" "I gave you the case file for your father, my dear, when the case was closed. This case is still open, and I'm afraid the pictures are rather gruesome."
"No disrespect, sir," Andre intervened, "but I have more information than you do about the case. I can solve this case faster than the entire police force together." "What information?" Officer Meadowes asked, extracting a notebook and pen from his desk drawer. "A little tea about a society called the Pyramid."
"Do go on," the officer said, scribbling in his notepad. "The Pyramid is a secret society comprised of four people: the leader, and the tripod. You've already caught the leader-" "Who is it?" "My mother." Meadowes urged Andre to continue. "I'm part of the tripod, and have served my
sentence. There are two more members, and one of them killed Charlie Tavers." Officer Meadowes finished writing what Andre just recited, and looked up at him. "Is that all?" "The basics of it, yes." "Can you go into detail?" "That's all I really know, sir."
"That's it?" "I think that's plenty of information-" began Narcissa, but Andre cut across her. "Being part of the tripod, I don't know every detail of the Pyramid. All I know is that the killer is under orders from my mother. Since I failed to kill Narcissa and Charlie, now it's someone else's job in the Pyramid tripod. I am done."
Officer Meadowes gulped. "Very well," he said. "I am not supposed to do this, but... if you kids say anything, I'm going to get fired. If I get fired, I'm coming after you two." He smiled. "What the hell? If you can solve this case, go ahead." Meadowes dropped the case file onto the desk. It was tiny. They had no evidence, witnesses, or resources.
"Good luck," Officer Meadowes said mockingly. Narcissa snatched the folder from the desk, and stalked out of the office. Andre followed. When they were a good distance from Meadowes' office, Narcissa burst into hushed and angered speaking. "I can't believe it! We have almost nothing to go on, and the chief thinks we can solve-"
"You wanna know this crazy idea I just had?" Narcissa whipped around so fast, Andre thought her head would fall off. "What?" "I think Meadowes knows about the Pyramid." "What?" Narcissa asked again, this time with more confusion than enthusiasm.
"It's a ridiculous theory, I know, but listen: he wants us to solve the case because he knows we won't get it. He knows we can't catch him, or whoever the other person is." Narcissa's eyes darted back and forth, and she bit her lip. "I had a pretty crazy idea, too." "What's that?"
"It's my mother." Andre was stunned. He didn't answer. He stood in complete shock. Narcissa went on. "She said Nancy had a 'sudden doctor's appointment,' right? What if-" "You think Nancy and your mother are the two remaining people in the Pyramid?"
"It wouldn't surprise me, Andre. It makes sense." "No, it doesn't. Nancy is nine years old. She's not going to kill somebody-" "She would if she didn't know what she was doing is wrong. If my mother told her it was okay, Nancy's going to believe it." "No," Andre said for about the tenth time that day. "No."
Again, the killer smiled. Taylor and Smith were so divided on this case. They'd never be able to find a compromise. Andre was part of the Pyramid. He should've known who the others were. The third member knew it was him... The killer knew who the third member was... So why didn't he?
Andre and Cissa looked at the "gruesome" photos together. It was horrifying. Charlie's body was amputated. Multiple times. His right arm was completely severed from his shoulder, and his left foot was disconnected from the leg. He had a slit in his throat, and there were large bloody marks where his eyes should've been. Narcissa vomited at the sight.
"How could somebody do this?" she asked, choking on her spit. "How? To a sixteen year old?" "Do you think your mother or Nancy is capable of this now?" Andre challenged. "I don't know," Cissa replied, crying. "I don't want it to be, but the evidence fits." "Why not just ask them?"
"Because my mother would lie. She knows I'm very emotional about this case, 'Dre! She'd lie straight to my face." "Then ask Nancy." "No. Not to her." "Then lie straight to your mother." "She knows when I lie."
"Are you trying to keep her going? If you are, you can get arrested for accessory to murder, Cissa." "I'm not trying to protect her! I just know I won't be able to lie strong enough! She'd know we're on to her!" Andre put the photos back in the folder hurriedly when Clarity and Reagan came up to them.
"Hey, guys," Clarity sang. "Whatcha doing?" Andre tucked the folder under his arm, and took Cissa's hand in his. "Taking my girlfriend here for a nice stroll." "What's the folder?" Reagan Vance asked, nodding to the case file. "I was reading Cissa a bit of a story I wrote," he lied.
"Cool," said Clarity. "Hey, Andre. Congratulations on getting released. I completely forgive you for what you've done. I know you didn't want to to do it. I watched your testimony on TV." Andre nodded and looked at Reagan. She was staring at Andre nervously, as though she didn't want to be there.
When they finally walked away, Andre spun to Narcissa. "It's her." "What?" "It's Reagan. Reagan's part of the Pyramid." "That can't be," said Narcissa defensively. "Reagan's too innocent, she wouldn't-"
"How do you know what people we can trust anymore? You said that we can't even trust your own parents." "Oh, right. Like Officer Meadowes and now my best friend. Do you even have reason?" "Not really. Just gut instinct." "Andre, we need to be positive. You don't know that it's her."
"But you don't know that it isn't. Let's ask her." Andre started to pull Narcissa after Clarity and Reagan, but Cissa pulled backwards. "No, Andre! She's my best friend! I'm not going to accuse her-" "Narcissa, come on! Do you want this to go on forever? The Pyramid tripod is still after you! You and your father are the only ones who aren't dead!"
"That's it!" Narcissa yelled so loudly, that Andre had to cover his ears. "You are a genius!" "What exactly did I do?" "We need to visit my father!" "Do you really think they'll let us in?" "I do. Especially if it has to do with getting him out of prison."
Andre went to argue that it probably wasn't a good idea, but she was already pulling him to Marconville Prison. "I demand a visit to Nicholas Taylor," said Cissa sharply to the cop at the front. "How old are you? Sixteen?" "Eighteen, sir. I am an adult, so I have a right to visit whomever I want."
Andre smiled and nodded at the cop. He rolled his eyes and buzzed them in. "One hour." "Probably need less," Narcissa said happily. They walked into the meeting room, as a guard went to fetch Nicholas Taylor. Andre had never met the man, but heard good things about him.
Prison was not a good look for Mr. Taylor. He had the same brown-colored hair as Nancy, and it was growing every which way. A beard was forming on the man's chin, and his eyes were bloodshot. Poor guy. This man was sleep-deprived. There were bruises on his face, neck, and arms. He walked into the meeting room with a look that explained he was very confused.
"Dad," started Narcissa. "I need to ask you a few questions-" "Wait," he said, putting up a hand to stop her. "Who are you?" Cissa looked slightly hurt as she sat down in the chair across from Nicholas. Andre sat next to her. "I'm your daughter Narcissa."
The man's eyes widened and a sad smile spread over his face. He stood up and pulled Cissa into a hug. "I've missed you! Oh, goodness, Cissa! How are you? How's Dora and Nancy?" "They're fine," Cissa said from deep within the embrace. "I need to ask you some questions, though."
"That's what everybody has for me. 'How'd you do it, Nick?' 'Why'd you kill them?' 'I didn't!' I keep telling them. But they don't listen." "I know," Narcissa said, backing up from the hug. "I know you're innocent, dad. But new things have been happening. And we need your help." "Anything, dear."
The teenagers filled Nicholas in on everything they knew, and even showed him the pictures of Charlie Tavers. "That's something, isn't it?" He pushed the pictures back towards Andre. "So Mabel killed Alan, Lisa, and Oscar?" "And forced me to kill Alexandria and Leslie," Andre clarified.
"Interesting," said Mr. Taylor, stroking his bearded chin. "Who are your suspects for the rest of the tripod?" Andre answered first. "I think it's Officer Meadowes and Reagan Vance." Then he explained why. Again. "That's not a bad guess, Mister Smith. Cissa? What about you?"
Narcissa gulped. "I think it's mom and Nancy." Nicholas Taylor stared at his oldest daughter with utter shock. Andre watched as the man drove his trembling hands through his hair. "Dora would not do something like this. Neither would Nancy." "You don't know that. You missed seven years of Nancy's
life. She's nine years old, almost ten, and you haven't seen her since she was two. You know nothing about who she is now. And mom might've changed, too." "How dare you suggest I don't know my own wife and daughter?" "Because I know more than you! After you were arrested, I had to take care of the family!
"Mom was too fragile! She couldn't do anything! She might have joined the Pyramid for vengeance!" Nicholas shook his head. "No. It is not Dora and Nancy. You will look into Cody Meadowes and Reagan Vance. Not your mother and sister. Do you understand?" "No," Cissa fired back.
"Narcissa Cassidy Taylor, do not speak to me that way. You will do as I say. I am still your father." "Fine," Narcissa replied coldly. The guard banged on the gates. "Time's up." Narcissa made it to the door first. She threw a punch at the guard's face, but he dodged it.
"Do not lay another hand on my father. Do you understand?" she scolded. "Excuse me?" "I know you've been beating him, and you better stop! I am good friends with the chief of the police department, and he will have you fired!" The guard tightened his jaw. "Alright."
"Thank you," Cissa said sweetly, and walked to the visitor's door. Nicholas Taylor went reluctantly towards the other end of the meeting room, and shared one more glance at Narcissa, before walking out of sight. Cissa followed Andre into the parking lot.
Before getting into the white Mercedes, Andre grabbed Cissa's wrist and spun her around. "What-" "You really need to calm down," he said, leaning so far in that he almost thought he was going to kiss her. He thought about it, sure. "Why?"
"Because he's right. He is your father, and you can't talk to him the way you did. I know you're stressed about this case, Narcissa, but you need to control yourself." "Okay, I will," she sighed. "Good."
Andre stayed at the Taylor's house for dinner. It was pot roast, with a side of potatoes. "So, what did you two do today?" Dora asked. Andre and Narcissa exchanged a look, and Andre smiled as he looked back at Mrs. Taylor. "Just hung out."
"Ooooh," cooed Nancy, winking at Andre again. The four burst into hysterical laughter. Andre didn't know why Cissa could possibly suspect these people. Dora and Nancy were the most innocent people in Marconville.
The third member of the Pyramid tripod laughed uneasily at the video footage of the Taylor's' house. The member didn't like being a part of the Pyramid, but the third member didn't really have a choice. The third member did not want to kill anybody. The third member didn't want to hurt the Taylor's. The family was so important to the third member.
The killer groaned and crossed their legs. Family time was so annoying. The killer hated seeing families happy. Killing Charlie was going to tear the Tavers family apart. "That's the main goal of the Pyramid," Mabel had said. "Tearing families apart will bring the community closer together." The killer agreed a hundred percent. Now, the only family the killer had left was the Taylors...