Why do people hate me? Is it because I'm not pretty enough? No, that sounds stupid. Is it because I'm not smart enough? But I guess that's not a good reason to hate someone, is it? Wait, I've got it! It's probably because I lie too much. Yes, that has to be it! So, from this day onward, I won't tell a single lie to anyone! That way, people won't have to leave me!

I strode gaily into my homeroom that Friday with a smile on my face. I was so excited to begin my new, lie-free school life! I took a seat next to my two best friends (well, my ONLY two friends). I glanced over and noticed they were whispering about something that sounded pretty interesting. I asked them what they were talking about, and they told me they heard there was going to be a new girl in our class starting that day. When I heard that, I became ecstatic. PERFECT! A new student who didn't know that I (used to) lie all the time! I was sure we would be best friends!

Just then, the teacher walked into the classroom, a small, frail looking girl trailing close behind. He told us all to rise from our seats. He then gestured towards the petite girl and nodded. The girl nodded in response, and she began to introduce herself. Apparently, her name was Maribelle, and she was an exchange student from New Zealand. I thought that was a little strange, considering that she didn't have any kind of accent I was aware of. It also became known that she had recently been released from the hospital (she was there because of some heart disorder that she had developed). Well, that explained her appearance. There was something about her eyes that I noticed right away, though. They had a dull, sort of glazed over look to them. I didn't care how she looked, though, I was just happy I was going to have a new friend!

I didn't have a chance to talk to her until lunch because we didn't have any classes together. Once I was out of the line with my plate of food, I began to scan the lunchroom for that girl, Maribelle, was it? I finally spotted her sitting at a small, round table in the far corner of the room, staring straight ahead. I'll never forget those dim gray eyes that seemed to stare into another world.

I decided that it was now or never, and decided to make my way over to her. As soon as I sat down next to her, she looked down at her feet, squirming anxiously in her chair. I told her that I wasn't there to make her feel uncomfortable, but rather to get to know her better, to be her friend. As soon as I said this, she looked up at me, a sweet, soft, meek smile on her face. Being that close to her, I realized that her skin was a pale, ivory hue, and her eyes weren't grey at all, but rather a soft baby blue. She began to tell me about herself, and when she was finished, I told her everything about me (I left out my past lies, of course).

A couple of weeks passes, and each day, me and Maribelle's friendship grew stronger and stronger until we were virtually inseparable. One day, I decided that I was going to walk home from school (something I was usually too afraid to do, since I lived in a bad neighborhood). I then figured I would invite Maribelle to walk home with me. So, I tracked her down after the final bell had signaled the end of school and told her of my idea. At first, she was reluctant, worrying about the possibility of being kidnapped. I reassured her that we would be fine, and that would be perfectly safe all the way home. So, she initially gave in to the idea, and before we knew it, we were halfway to my house. However, fifteen minutes into the stroll, Maribelle spotted something suspicious out of the corner of her eye. She turned her head slowly and, upon further inspection, made out what looked like a small black van at an uncomfortable distance from us.

She knew that she had to warn me about the possible threat to our safety, so she gently nudged my elbow with hers, just forceful enough to gain my attention. I turned to meet her cool eyes, which quickly flashed to my right and came back to meet mine, a nervous look on her face. Taking the hint, I nonchalantly glanced to the right. That's when I saw exactly what she wanted me to see: that small black van, now even closer to us. I tried to keep my cool, but in my mind, I was beginning to panic. I started to gradually lengthen my stride, however the van gained speed in return. I was sure of it; that van was definitely following us. That's when my panicking mind began to take over.

I transitioned from speed-walking, to jogging, to running, and eventually into an all-out sprint. I couldn't think about anything but getting away from our pursuer. I kept running until I felt as though my legs would shrivel up. I finally reached my porch. Panting, I shoved my way through the front door, closed it behind me, and locked it tight.

I leaned back against the door and breathed a sigh of relief. Safe and sound at last. That secure moment lasted only for a split second as I saw the van parked across the street. I ran throughout the house, locking all of the windows and closing all of the curtains. Then, I grabbed the home phone, rushed to the basement, and secured the door firmly behind me. I frantically called 911. A friendly female operator picked up on the other line. I quickly told her of the distress that I found myself in, and began to sob into my arm. The woman assured me that help was on the way, and that everything would be fine. However, right after she said this, the call ended.

The battery in the phone had died. I continued to cry, paralyzed with fear. That's when I heard a faint, muffled voice from outside the front door upstairs. That's when I came to the horrifying realization that I had completely forgotten about Maribelle. I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn't believe I had locked her outside with those stalkers. I sprinted up the stairs, unlocked the basement door, and raced to the front door. I could still hear Maribelle on the other side, screaming and wailing desperately for help.

I tried, to no avail, to pry the door open. Something was blocking it, but I didn't know what (I had already unlocked the door). Finally, the door swung open, sending me stumbling forwards. When I looked around... to my horror... Maribelle was nowhere to be seen. The only thing that remained was a single tennis shoe and a small black van, doors wide open, and with no one inside.

My heart skipped a beat. I couldn't believe what I had just done. I was responsible for my best friend's death! Me! I didn't know what to do. There was nothing I could do. I began to think that Maribelle's killers were still out there, watching me. I grabbed the shoe, locked the doors, and returned to my lonely solitude in the dark and dank basement. After what seemed like forever, the police finally pulled up outside. I went upstairs to let them in. They began to ask me questions about what had happened and if I was hurt. I told them that I was okay, and then explained to them what happened. For some reason, though, I left out Maribelle. Another group of officers then entered the room, their faces gloomy and terrified all at once.

They told us that, while investigating the van, they found the remains of a young girl. The part that was enough to give me nightmares was when he stated that every one of her appendages, organs, tissues and clothing were all cut out and placed in separate boxes. The only organ missing was the stomach. They searched high and low for any sign of those deranged criminals, but they found no one. Not even any footprints leading away from the van. The officer then looked at me. He told me the victim's name (as if I didn't know who it was already), then he asked if I knew her or was related to her in any way. I told them no.

A couple of days passed. The police contacted my parents, who both came home right away. They were hugging me and kissing me and scolding me about walking home alone. Our reunion was interrupted (thankfully) by the chief officer. He said that, even though I said I was okay, that I had to be brought to the hospital for examination. After a couple of unnecessary hours spent in hospital, I returned home. That night, all I dreamt about was what happened to Maribelle. I dreamt about her screaming and kicking and crying and bleeding as those monsters cut off her arms and legs, and then began to rip out her internal organs. I woke up multiple times with tears on my face and sweat dripping down my arms. Other times, I woke up for no reason. Whenever I tried not to sleep, I would hear strange noises, like footsteps or voices. I would dismiss them as my overactive imagination. That didn't make them go away, though.

About a week later, my parents said I was ready to back to school. I tried to argue, but my efforts were futile. I sat in my regular seat next to my two friends. As soon as I did, I was bombarded with their questions. Strangely enough, they never asked about Maribelle. When I tried to tell them about her, they both grew a confused expression on their faces. I figured that they must have forgotten about her. But when I tried to remind them, they began to look at me strangely. One of them, Teressa, told me that there never WAS an exchange student from New Zealand. There was no Maribelle. I froze. I felt chills spread across my body. I was incredibly confused. How could they have forgotten about her so fast? And what did they mean by that? Of course there was a Maribelle. There was, and always will be, a Maribelle. But the weird occurrences didn't cease there.

All day during school, I would see things moving out of the corner of my eye. Shadows, perhaps. But whenever I tried to catch them with my gaze, there would be nothing there. My paranoia kept increasing all day, to the point where I thought I would lose it. But, finally, the day ended with a bell, and all of the students were set free from their prison. The ride home was the only normal thing about that day. When I got home, I immediately went upstairs and slept till nightfall. Luckily, I didn't have any homework. I also didn't have any nightmares for the first time since that day.

I woke up at 3:37 am. My throat was super dry, so I left the comforts of my bed and went downstairs to get something to drink. A flash of lightning stopped me dead in my tracks. I thought "Oh, great, of course it's storming on a night like this." and continued to the fridge. It was pitch-black in the room. I tried to turn on the lights, but the power was out. Just GREAT! I decided to put up with the darkness and reached out and grabbed the handle of the fridge. I swung the door open, and gasped in horror.

The contents of the fridge consisted of small cardboard boxes, each filled with the appendages, organs, and clothing of my parents and little sister. I couldn't take it any more. I leaned over the trash can and vomited. Just then, the lights flickered on. I spun around to find my self staring face-to-face with Maribelle. Her flesh was rotting and falling off. Her eyes were dark and staring blankly at the ceiling. Her mouth was distorted into a hideous, blood-curdling scream. Her clothes were tattered and covered in blood.

The mere sight of her filled me with dread. I backed away from her quickly, but she filled the distance between us in the blink of an eye. She shoved her fingers into my eyes, sending intense pain all throughout my body. I shout out in agony and fear. She continued to gouge out my eyes until there was nothing left but blood and empty eye sockets.

I felt cold and darkness enveloped me. I heard children laughing and mocking my pain. I tried to yell at them. That's when I realized that my mouth was sewn shut. I couldn't speak, I couldn't see, and I couldn't think. All I felt was pain and misery. And just when I thought I would fall into darkness for eternity, I heard a voice. Maribelle spoke to me. She told me something I should have realized all along. I pray you will never lie the way I lied. You will regret it.

"Don't you see, my friend? This is what happens... when you lie."