Samara’s body shook with the force of the electric pulse. The EMT pulled the defibrillator paddles away. The EMT’s partner felt for a pulse on Samara’s wrist.
“Nothing,” he said.
“Clear!” The EMT shouted and shocked Samara again. Her body contorted and convulsed. The second EMT tried for a pulse on Samara’s neck.
The EMT turned up the voltage, shouted once more, and shocked Samara’s body, but Samara’s lips were turning blue.
Cara looked on from the sidewalk, her view of Samara obscured by the back of the EMT. The second EMT shook his head. The EMT pronounced the time of death.
Cara’s world drained of color. Silly plans for marrying hunky twin brothers and real plans for rooming together in college both burned to ash.
Cara stood there aghast.
Marissa sidled up to Cara and put her arm around Cara’s shoulders. “Come on, Cara. Time for us to go.”
Cara let Marissa guide her. Marissa walked her back into the house and sat Cara down in one of the overstuffed, comfy chairs. Cara’s mom had brought them back from a yard sale two towns over. Samara had always loved them. Marissa sat on the footstool. Cara slumped down.
Cara’s Mom came in carrying a tray with warm milk, cookies, and Benadryl laced pudding, “to help her get to sleep, the poor thing.” She set the tray on the end table nearest Cara. Cara shifted away from it.
Cara’s Mom opened her mouth to protest, but the doorbell rang. “Who’d come at this hour?” she mumbled as she walked toward the door. Cara and Marissa both knew.
“Ma’am, I’m Detective Chu. This is Detective Peters. May we speak to your daughter?”
“What’s this all about? I already spoke with an officer.”
“We’re with the N.D.I.P. unit, Ma’am.”
“You can’t think—”
“I’d like to be certain.”
“Well, I can tell you, she—”
“Pardon us, Ma’am,” Peters said, “but we’d like to hear it from her.”
Cara’s Mom backed up. Chu pushed past her into the house. Peters followed.
“Are you Cara Stevenson?” Chu asked.
Marissa had disappeared.
“We have a few questions we’d like to ask you.”
“Am I in trouble?”
Chu frowned. “Your friend Samara, she was in trouble.”
Cara looked away.
Peters put his hand on his partner’s shoulder. “Can you tell us what happened tonight?”
“We were watching a movie—”
“Who’s we?” Chu asked.
“Me and Samara,” Cara said.
Cara’s Mom opened her mouth to speak, but closed it again when everyone looked at her. “Nothing,” she said then mumbled to cover herself, “Grammar…”
“About what time did you start the movie?” Peters asked.
“I don’t know. Ten?”
“Kind of late start for a school night,” Chu said.
“Tomorrow’s senior skip day and I don’t have gymnastics. We were going to sleep late and hang out or something.”
“Okay. About what time did things happen?”
“Samara choked on popcorn or something. I tried mouth to mouth, but—you know the rest.”
“So we won’t find any substances in her body?”