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The photographs spread across the table told a gruesome story. They almost made Detective Henson sick, but the girl on the other side of the table seemed entirely unconcerned.

“Honey,” he leaned forward and pushed one of the pictures right in front of her. “Honey, I want you to look at this.”

The redhead rolled her eyes.

“Why?” she asked, ignoring the pictures and looking straight at him.

Henson met her gaze. “Because I want you to tell me why you did it, Honey.”

She laughed. “Isn’t that, like, totally obvious?”

He looked at her, trying to keep his expression neutral. There was nothing obvious about this case. Until a few days ago, Honey Hallam, aged 18, had been a popular student at Johnsonville High School, leader of the cheerleading squad and voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” Now she was sitting in an interview room charged with fourteen counts of homicide, chewing bubble gum and examining her manicure.

“For the record, Honey. We need to have it all on tape.”

She sighed extravagantly.

“Everybody knew Johnny was going to take me to the prom. I mean, that was like, totally obvious, from day one, he’s the quarterback, I’m the cheerleader, it’s, like, totally meant to be. Then she showed up, all glasses and books and “I’m president of the debate team don’t you know” and I guess it must be true what Cynthia said about her being a witch and all, because there’s totally no way he would have looked at her unless she cast some sort of spell on him, and the next thing I knew he was like totally blanking me, which is like, way out of line. Anyway, when I went to the mall to pick up my prom dress, I saw this totally awesome store that had these daggers, and they matched my dress perfectly, so I bought them and these dinky little holders that go at the top of your stockings, and I took them to the prom, because Cynthia lent me this book on witchcraft, I didn’t read it all, but it said that a spell could be broken by, like, killing the witch that cast it, so I figured once Louisa was out of the way Johnny would be totally into me again.”

She stopped speaking to blow a bubble. Henson blinked slowly and thanked every God ever named that the interview was being recorded. He’d probably have to play it back at half speed to keep track of the cheerleader’s story.

“So anyway, I got to the prom like totally fashionably late and all, and they were dancing up at the front and they were completely all over each other and it was totally disgusting, y’know? Somebody gave me a glass of punch, I would never drink that stuff, I mean, everybody knows it gets spiked by some idiot freshman five minutes in, but it was bright red and she was wearing white, so I thought it would be useful, y’know, so I went over and told her I was gonna cut in and dance with Johnny, and she was all “No way!” so I threw the punch over her, then I realised that red was totally her colour, so I pulled my new blades out and gave her a makeover. I thought Johnny would be totally stoked, but obviously the bitch got some other witch to cast the spell ’cause he started totally wailing on me, so I gave him a makeover too. He always did look good in red, I mean it’s just as well since that’s the school team colours, but he wasn’t wearing it that night. Some other people got involved, so I gave them all a makeover in team colours, I guess I was just feeling generous!”

She blew another bubble and looked at him insouciantly. He opened his mouth to speak, but somehow after that torrent of words anything he could say seemed inadequate. She raised an eyebrow. A knock at the door saved him.

“Detective Henson? Miss Hallam’s lawyer has arrived.” The lawyer, standing in the doorway next to the uniformed officer, was a smartly dressed young man who looked vaguely nervous.

Henson leaned over to the tape recorder. “Interview terminated at 13.42.”

He stood up and gathered the photographs together. As he turned to leave there was a pop as Honey blew another bubble.

“Y’know what Detective? I think you’d look good in red, too.”

A shiver ran down his spine. “Good luck,” he whispered to the lawyer, “You’re going to need it.”

© Kari Fay

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