Reuben and Naveen had been on the track team together the year prior. Reuben was different from the rest of our friend group. He was a little older than us and might have been going to Dutchess Community College, unless he wasn't going to school at all. I didn't know much for sure about him besides that he was a shady drug dealer. He and Naveen would smoke pot together a lot, but their relationship still seemed rather one dimensional to me.
Since Reuben was the only person Naveen hung out with and knew wouldn't be at prom that night, he called him to smoke. He assumed that I had stood him up and wanted to get his mind off things. He'd mentioned before that Reuben was notoriously late whenever they met up. However, Naveen couldn't have gotten to the park that much earlier than him. He had to change out of his prom clothes and drive from Arlington, which was was at least 20 minutes away from Bowdoin.
However, witnesses from the prom stated that Naveen threw my corsage into the garbage and stormed away. Police suspected that he left the school to murder me, since they couldn't figure out who else had a motive.
I watched Reuben speak with the police about a month after that first interrogation.
"Did you kill Kristin Suzuki?" Roy asked him.
"No," Reuben responded, confidently.
"Do you have anything to do with her death?"
"When you and Naveen saw the fire at the park. What did you do?" O'hara questioned.
"I suggested we call the police and he said 'no.'"
"Why did he say not to call the police?"
"I don't know,” Reuben squirms, not wanting to admit it was because they had been smoking at the park.
"Why didn't you call when you got home?"
"I guess, I didn't want to get involved with whatever had happened." The policemen exchange glances. “Look, I don’t have anything to do with this. But it seems as though you should be looking at the ex-boyfriend instead of me," Reuben retorts. "I mean, she stood him up. His pride had to have been hurt. Wouldn't you agree?”
“That’s all for today,” Officer Roy said.
Reuben quickly got up and left.
"What are you thinking?" Officer O’hara asked his partner.
"A guy ready to point a finger at his friend may not be too trustworthy."
Suddenly, the officers pagers alerted them to a fire at a private residence in New Paltz, a few towns over the Mid-Hudson Bridge.
I entered the house, passing the caution tape that led to what appeared to be a bedroom on the second floor. I felt a pang of fear pass through me.
The bedroom was the only room that the fire reached. An incinerated corpse lay in the brush.
I remembered looking over my own body in Bowdoin park the night I was murdered. The only part of my body unscathed was my face. I was still confused about what was going on, searching around for my parents, Naveen, or even Kyle.
But there were no familiar faces, just the emergency team clearing me away. After all, I was supposed to be at prom, having the time of my life, safe in Naveen’s arms, swaying to "Truly Madly Deeply." I was supposed to sign a bunch of yearbooks of people that I barely spoke to and show off my class ring. Next year, I was supposed to start college and experience the next chapter of my life. I was supposed to find out what it’s like to be independent and free to make mistakes and grow from them. That wouldn’t be happening for me though. My life was cut short, just like this body, I stand over. This body is like me.
An Asian American female, about the same age as me appeared across from me, glowering over the corpse. She noticed me staring at her.
"Is that me?" she whispered, terrified.
"I think so," I told her nervously.
This body is just like me.
“Who would do this?” Her voice shakes, frantically. “What kind of monster? I just—”
“The same person that did this to me,” I told her solemnly, then looked down at the body again. Everything is about to change.