B is for Bluff: A Spooky Short Story

Ella Hatcher is the winner of this year's spooky short story contest hosted by the Chieftain Press!

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Ella Hatcher, Contributor

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Sure, I believed in fate. But meeting Bexie Archer was not fate. It was fully my choice. And my fault.

Let me set the scene: A scrawny boy with brown hair and brown eyes in his late teens sits with his jock friends at a table that basically makes them royalty. The boys were doing what they normally did. Talking trash. That’s the first time I saw her. She walked into the cafeteria wearing a white dress, her hair in one of those braid crown things. She looked normal. Her eyes were green and her hair was light brown. There was something about her that intrigued me. I stood up from my table and walked over to her. I threw on my best smile. “Hello! Porter Gracie. Nice to meet you.”

She looked up at me like she was traumatized. I didn’t know then. “Quinby Palmer. Everyone calls me B though.” I beamed and offered her a seat with me. I didn’t sit at my normal table, no, I wouldn’t want B to be tormented by my friends. I sat with a few of my other friends from the track team. 

Kooter and Rothie looked up from their phones as I sat down with B and introduced her. “Hello,” she said simply. 

“So, B, where are you from?” Rothie asked. 

“Uhh, Onalaska, Wisconsin.” She answered after a second. “It’s right on La Crosse.”

“Oh, what’s that?” Koots asked. “La Crosse? Hold on I’m looking it up.” She tapped her Acrylic nails on the cheap lunch table. “It says it’s a city. Is that true?”
B shook her head. “I’m talking about the river. It’s–”

Kooter cut her off. “Hold on I’m looking it up.” This time her white nails tapped her chin. “A river that deltas in the Mississippi. Cool.” 

Rothie laughed. “Amber, you can’t use ‘delta’ as a verb.”

“Whatever. I’m a blond jock.” 

B sat there looking awkward. She didn’t even laugh along like I did when Kooter said this. I should have sensed something was wrong right then. 

“Hey, B, what grade are you in?” Kooter wondered. Koots was a sophomore to my senior, and Rothie was a junior. B was small, but I still wondered if she was a senior. She had an old face, even though she wasn’t taller than five one. 

“Senior,” she responded laconically. 

I was bored in study so I decided to head to the library, to see if they had any mysteries that I hadn’t read yet. I stood a good distance away from the bookshelves, squinting my eyes to read the names of each book sideways. 

“You’re judging a book by it’s cover,” A voice said on the other side of the shelf. I took a step forward and looked over the top to see whose voice those words belonged to. 

To my surprise I saw B squatting in front of me. “I’m not judging a book by it’s cover, I’m judging a book by its title.” 

She snorted, and stood. “Almost the exact same thing.” She didn’t take her eyes off the inside cover of the book she was looking at as she spoke. 

I frowned. “Not really. That’s like judging someone by their name, Quinby.” 

She hit me on the arm with her book.

I laughed a rubbed my arm like she had actually hurt me. “Ow.” Before I could change my mind, I blurted out, “There’s this party at my friend Chad’s house.”

B looked me dead in the eyes and said, “You expect me to trust a guy named Chad?”

I scratched my scruff. “It’s fine, Chad’s good people. The party’s on Saturday, on Greenewood Drive. You know where that is?”

B nodded and I smirked. “You’ll be able to tell which house is having the party,” I informed her. Then I spun on my heel and jogged away.

The party was bumping. I was actually surprised that so many people had come. I bet half of them didn’t even know that it was a going away party for Chad. I sat on the stairs, texting my cousin Campbell. Bell lived all the way in Alaska, where most of my family was. 

Bell: bored. wyd?

Porter: waiting on the girl i invited to get here

Bell: oo future girl?

Porter: idky. I’ll send you a pic

And just like thinking about her had spawned her, B walked in. She was in another white dress, but this one was different. It was silky and the straps were below the shoulders. Her hair was in her signature crown. She smiled when she saw me see her. Before she can say anything to stop it, I snapped a picture of her and hit send. Then I pushed my phone into the back pocket of my jeans.

She frowned and looked away. “What was that for?” 

I smirked. “My cousin wanted to meet you.”

B slipped into the house and I ran to keep up with her. “Hey, what’s your deal?” I tapped her shoulder, standing a respectable distance away from her, should she feel uncomfortable. 

“I just don’t like getting my picture taken,” She said, staring at her feet. 

I shrugged. “Okay, that’s chill. I won’t post it anywhere. I promise.” I shot her one of my trademark smiles and she blushed.

Then the boys showed up. “Ho, ho, ho, look who it is. Little Porty Potty got himself a girl.”

“Shut up Chase,” I sneered at him. “You’re just mad because I didn’t play suck and blow earlier. Just because you make out with a card doesn’t mean I want to.”

Chase laughed. “Yeah, and you wanna make out with your girl here don’t ya?” 

I shoved him away from us and said, “Leave me alone.” I was annoyed. B looked mortified. I retreated to my stop on the stairs and pulled out my phone. Bell was blowing it up. 

Bell: Woah.

Bell: That’s Bexie Archer.

Bell: Dude she’s DEAD.

Bell: I’d get outta there.

Bell: Look up Bexie Archer on your phone dude.

I gasped and took Bell’s advice. I pressed in each letter with shaky hands. The first article was called, “the most interesting thing to happen in Alaska in a very long time,”

The Most Interesting Thing to Happen in Alaska in a Very Long Time

Today, October 10th marks the first time anyone’s ever been murdered in this part of Alaska. Markos Archer, along with his wife Andrea Archer and three of their children, Markos Junior Archer, Andrew Archer and Rosie Archer were found dead in the quarry near their home. Rebecca Archer is missing and presumed dead, somewhere in the depths of the quarry. The police have revealed that it is a homicide, but they have no suspects in custody. Please call this number 555-555-555 if you have any information for us. 

I ran out of the house like a bat out of hell. I called the number on the website, biting my nails, a habit I had outgrown in second grade. “Hello?” I asked urgently. 

“Yes, this is Craig Alaska Police Department. How may I help you?” 

“Hi yeah, Bexie Archer isn’t dead.” I scratched my scruff.

Someone tapped my shoulder. I turned around and there she was.

Quinby Palmer.

Bexie Archer.

“Hey Porter.” Her dress was red and her hair was down. I took a step into the road just as a yellow school bus sped down the street.

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