Cheerleading Can Be Murder
by Carissa Ann Lynch
Release Date: April 5th 2016
For Harrow High freshman Dakota Densford, life should be easy. All she has to worry about is talking to cute boys and remembering her locker combination. But when cheerleading tryouts draw near, she learns the cards are stacked against her—spots on the varsity team are limited. Dakota faces her competition head-on, but when her life is threatened, that takes the competition to a whole new level.
High school is never easy, and freshman year is off to a rough start…
Between Dakota’s uniform being ripped up and masked vandals trashing another girl’s house, everyone is suspect. To complicate matters further, Dakota has a thing for Andy McGraw, but she finds him locking lips with another girl.
The harassment continues, and when Dakota finds suspicious flyers inside her best friend’s locker, she doesn’t know what to think. The principal’s unfeeling, overachiever daughter, Brittani Barlow, will do anything to secure her place on the team. But Dakota’s neighbor, on the other hand, definitely fits the profile of a sociopath.
Cheerleading has become a game of life or death.
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Do you want to know what death smells like? What it really smells like?
Take a pound of raw meat—I recommend ground chuck. Stick it in a vacuum-sealed container. Place the container in the fridge and leave it there. A few months later, take it out.
Remove the lid.
Nothing can prepare you for the brick wall that smacks your face, filling every orifice of your body simultaneously.
That smell…not only will it blow you away, but smells like that, they stick with you.
Lifeless meat in a tight, confined space produces a smell sharp enough to burn the lashes off your eyelids.
So, for the rest of the day you’ll be moving along…and then some small thing reminds you— little Tommy’s Happy Meal or a dump truck rolling by on garbage day—and your nose twitches, remembers, and the hairs inside your nostrils stiffen. Your throat tickles in the back, bile rising, and your belly rolls uncomfortably. You try to push the thought aside, to forget that smell, but…you can’t.
Like I said, smells stick with you. Even months—maybe years—later, you’ll be walking along, minding your own business, when something—anything, really—reminds you of that smell.
I know what death smells like…
The house is empty, silent. The quiet consumes me, a welcoming blanket…a sign that it’s finally time.
The mini-fridge was my grandma’s idea. A teenager now, she thought I deserved my own little space for drinks and snacks.
I squatted down in front of it, listening to its hum. My heart pumped, excitement building.
Today was the day.
It’d been nearly six months now since I started my little “experiment.” I’d kept a journal, taking notes on my observations regarding the specimen. A disciplined endeavor.
I’d done a lot of monitoring, but today was the day to really observe, up close and personal.
I opened the fridge, enjoying the sticky “smooch” sound of the rubber seals on each side separating. A couple cans of soda sat on the top shelf. Generic cola, probably expired. On the bottom was my Tupperware container, its red cap securely fastened in place. Keeping all the smells inside…
Carefully, I slid the container off the shelf, carrying it to the center of my bedroom floor, tiptoeing like a gymnast on a balance beam. I plopped on my belly, burning my bare knees across the carpet. I pressed my face to the plastic, looking inside like it was a tiny window. I made a funny face, pressing my lips to the side and blowing, exposing my teeth.
Two eyes, wide and frozenly frightened, stared back at me through the plastic container. The eyeballs mushy now, there were tiny bits and pieces of egg-white eyeball chunks floating in the fluids surrounding its face. The once shiny black coat faded now to a murky brown color.
Excitedly, I lifted the lid. Taking in the smells of death. “Meow.” I grinned at my stinky friend.
It was a smell I’d never forget…hopefully.