Young Readers: Could I have prevented this murder most foul?

As I stepped out of the Highgate School Library I instantly felt the cold wind’s blast against my numb body.

I crossed the road, stopping when I saw a 50p piece on the ground. On the other side of the road I cracked my hand-warmer, which I had been saving all day. The warmth aided my bitter cold hands.

When I pressed it up against my flushed cheeks I felt the heat being restored. Perfect! I was by school now, but I could hear nothing except silence. Which is unusual compared to the normal shout of builders, or the deafening sound of a drill.

I decided to slip through the school cemetery because I was late and mum wouldn’t have been happy if I missed tea for a second time this week. Once I had sneaked into the cemetery I could see car headlights driving up Highgate Hill through the gap between the black rails.

I then saw something which caught my eye: a suspicious looking man following a helpless looking woman. The street lights lit the woman’s face, she looked nervous and paranoid. She must have seen the man too. The street lights then lit the man’s face, I was shocked, I recognised him! My friends and I had just been harmlessly mucking about in Costa when he said: ‘‘If you don’t shut-up I’ll kill the lot of you.’’

Remembering the incident I started to panic; he could be dangerous! I fumbled in my blazer pocket for my mobile. I held it, trembling, pressing the on-off button numerous times.

Suddenly light projected from my phone’s screen, it said: ‘Battery dead. Recharge your phone immediately.’ I didn’t know what to do, if I tried to help the woman I could end up hurt, or even killed. But if I didn’t she could end up hurt or killed.

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I caught a glance of the man again; his face was deformed. His cheekbones were sunken which made his eyes bulge. His face had what looked like burns on it and a scar on his nose. And then I remembered seeing him previously again. I was by myself going for a run through Waterlow Park, when I saw him sitting on a bench holding a flower, but the flower wasn’t a beautiful rose, or a bright daffodil. It was a dead tulip.

All of a sudden, a cold wind shocked me. I looked at the Chapel Clock: 19:50. 20 minutes late. I started to bite my nails. Then I started to sweat. Then I started to shake. I thought I was going to have a panic attack, but I was able to calm myself down my breathing slowly.

The man was now walking along the closed-up Nero, while the woman was walking by Costa. Suddenly, the man began to speed up. The woman was approaching Oxfam and he was only five paces behind her...

Then four.

Then three.

Then two.

Then one.

The man started to talk to her. Yet the woman didn’t seem to be too stirred, to my surprise. Because I was standing far away I couldn’t understand what he was muttering to her, but he was pointing at her wrist. Maybe he was trying to steal her bracelet? I couldn’t bear not doing anything any more. I decided to run over to the woman and confront him.

Maybe I would be able to scare him away. I dropped all my school bags and started running. I was about to slip out of the cemetery when I saw it. A knife. It gleamed in the moonlight like a shiny coin on a dirty, gum-plastered street, before it plunged into the unsuspecting victim. The body crashed down onto the street. I could see a pool of blood forming underneath it.

The woman smiled and walked away.

The day after, I was in the police waiting room when I saw the headline: HERO MURDERED. I looked at the picture and it was him. The man.

Apparently a few months back his family died in a house fire and he was serveley injured trying to save them. The last couple of times he was spotted out in public was when he sat on a park bench holding a tulip which he had meant to give his wife the day she and their children died. Supposedly he was still grieving and when people annoyed him, he snapped.

He was only asking the woman for the time because he couldn’t see the Chapel Clock since his injuries from the fires left him with impaired eyesight.

I felt like crying: everything made sense. He shouted at us in Costa because he was still grief-stricken and he was holding the tulip in rememberance of his family who died.

I could have saved the man. The man who was murdered in Highgate village...