Chapter 1 available here.
June 6th. 8:30 A.M. Kreese High School.
The crew had gotten to the school at around 7 A.M. They met the principle, Mr. Shaner, who Cora and David had previously contacted before setting up today’s interviews. After some awkward small talk, he escorted the rest of them to a small back room, it wasn’t much larger than their study room from just a couple days ago, but David and Cora insisted it would be okay.
After an hour of cleaning and hastily placing the large dark gray screening against the adjacent wall as Sam quickly put together audio equipment on the other side elf the room. Only David, Cora, and Sam would be able to fit inside, along with the interviewee. The others would be relegated into the parallel room, which they had also been given access to.
“We’re not interviewing Shaner yet?” Sam asked as he and Cora ran an audio test through the microphones.
“Nope,” Cora replied as she clipped the mic to the front of her shirt. “We’re sure he’ll leave stuff out. We want to approach the students first, develop some dirt, and then confront him with it when we interview him.”
“Catching him off guard is our best bet. He thinks of us as simple college kids covering a local news story, he’s underestimating us, and that’s exactly what we want,” David replied as he fiddled with the camera.
“Besides, he’s not our current concern,” Cora said as she removed the microphone, the reading coming up clear, “Amanda Williams, class president, 4.0 GPA, earned a full ride scholarship to UCLA on a volleyball scholarship.”
“Sounds like she’s got somewhat of a chip on her shoulder,” Sam replied as he played back the audio and checked for any hiccups. “Guest microphone is cleared.”
“Her talents not a question, we just want to see whose side she’s on,” David replied. “Let’s get to it then.”
Amanda Williams looked much like to be expected. Long brown hair, flawless skin, and makeup. Her dark eyes examined her surroundings with childlike interest as if she was memorizing every detail of the room. She was confident. So much so that Sam found it intimidating, but Cora and David were both intrigued.
“What’s with the camera?” she asked suddenly.
“Transcription reasons, and the possibility of the creation of a documentary with our work” Cora replied. “It should’ve been explained in the form you had to fill out.”
“I read it, just wanted to make sure you weren’t trying to pull a fast one on me,” she said and gave a friendly smiled.
David and Cora smiled back. “We know better than to try to outsmart someone of your… caliber,” Cora replied.
Possible manipulation David wrote in his spiral notebook, Advance carefully. “So, Ms. Williams, who do you think Holden is?”
“Someone intelligent, smart enough to cover their tracks. Calm enough to not brag about it. Definitely a student, or former student maybe,” she replied as she became more serious, the playfulness draining from her face and replacing itself with the fierceness David and Cora expected.
“I’m confused, Ms. Williams, do you have a theory about who Holden is?”
“Gary Kennedy,” she said with a huff. “Nerd. Psychopath level of friendliness. Used to get the shit bullied out of him in middle school and the first couple years of high school. That sure calmed down after Holden so he might be the man behind that account.”
“Sounds like you don’t like Gary too much,” Cora stated.
Amanda hesitated for a moment. “There are always those people who give off the vibe they cannot be trusted. That’s how Gary is. You can tell that smile is fake, that he’s hiding something.”
David wrote down Gary’s name in his notebook.
“Ms. Williams, you’ve stated who you believe Holden is, but how do we know you aren’t the person behind the screen,” Cora and Amanda locked eyes, “You were, after all, one of the few prominent members of the school that were not targeted.”
Amanda laughed, not a small giggle, but a giant belly laugh. “I have too much to lose and nothing to gain from being Holden.” Her face then became stoic, “Holden’s little war with the hierarchy has created much more problems for me than I’m happy with. He’s dragged the reputation of our school through the god damn mud and has taken a lot of decent people with simple mistakes down and left them with destroyed reputations. He almost cost me my scholarship. Turns out prestigious schools want to avoid controversy, so I’d much rather send them up the river. They’re a plague on this town, and that’s why I’m here, working with strangers because I want justice.”
Strong moral compass, David wrote, but is possibly disillusioned. Motivation may be more personal than righteous.
“So you want Holden to be exposed to the public?” David asked.
“I want the issues he’s caused everyone to be answered for. I’m not sure much of what you believe, but I believe that Karma will inevitably arrive and set things right. Who knows, maybe you’re who karma sent.”
“Maybe we are,” Cora said.
“Okay, Ms. Williams, we have just one more question for you. Do you believe the investigation performed by both the school and local law enforcement was one that was performed reliably and without bias?” David asked.
She let out another loud laugh. “The moment that Holden went after Gardeners, everyone could give two shits about the police reports. It’s probably sitting on some desk somewhere, collecting dust while Holden laughs at us because he pulled it off. He beat every single one of them, and the people here cheer his name like he’s some kind of hero,” she shook her head, “what a coward.” Cora and David asked a couple more mundane questions, as well as got some of her personal information down as they approached the end of the interview.
Sam was entranced by Cora and David as they worked as if they were using the same brain. He was almost positive they had gone over every possible scenario for the interview and found a way to communicate their reactions without even saying a word.
“Thank you for your time, Amanda. There’s a chance we’ll be back in touch, we might have some more questions for you sometime soon,” David said as he and Cora stood up and shook her hand.
After she took her leave, Cora, David, and Sam quickly convened. “You think she actually knows who Holden is?” Sam asked.
“Not likely, that seemed to be genuine anger and frustration. If she does have a clue about who Holden was, she would’ve spilled without us ever asking,” David replied.
“She’s valuable. We should try to stay on her good side,” Cora confirmed. “Are we going to talk to Gary next?”
“He seems to be the next piece we should address. Amanda’s intelligent enough to not make an accusation without having some sort of supporting evidence. I’m interested to see what he has to say for himself,” David replied as he circled Gary’s name.