Home > Thirteen Reasons Why(2)

Thirteen Reasons Why(2)
Jay Asher

to hide it from my eyes. I wish I’d never seen that box

or the seven tapes inside it.

Hitting Play that first time was easy. A piece of cake. I had no idea what I was about to hear.

But this time, it’s one of the most frightening things I’ve ever done.

I turn the volume down and press Play.

…one: You listen. Number two:

You pass it on.

Hopefully, neither one will be easy for you.

When you’re done listening to all thirteen sides—because there are thirteen sides to every story—rewind the tapes, put them back in the box, and pass them on to whoever follows your little tale. And you, lucky number thirteen, you can take the tapes straight to hell.

Depending on your religion, maybe I’ll see you there.

In case you’re tempted to break the rules, understand that I did make a copy of these tapes. Those copies will be released in a very public manner if this package doesn’t make it through all of you.

This was not a spur-of-the-moment decision.

Do not take me for granted…again.

No. There’s no way she could think that.

You are being watched.

My stomach squeezes in on itself, ready to make me throw up if I let it. Nearby, a plastic bucket sits upside-down on a footstool. In two strides, if I need to, I can reach the handle and flip it over.

I hardly knew Hannah Baker. I mean, I wanted to. I wanted to know her more than I had the chance. Over the summer, we worked together at the movie theater.

And not long ago, at a party, we made out. But we never had the chance to get closer.

And not once did I take her for granted. Not once.

These tapes shouldn’t be here. Not with me. It has to be a mistake.

Or a terrible joke.

I pull the trash can across the floor. Although I checked it once already, I check the wrapping again. A return address has got to be here somewhere. Maybe I’m just overlooking it.

Hannah Baker’s suicide tapes are getting passed around. Someone made a copy and sent them to me as a joke. Tomorrow at school, someone will laugh when they see me, or they’ll smirk and look away. And then I’ll know.

And then? What will I do then?

I don’t know.

I almost forgot. If you’re on my list, you should’ve received a map.

I let the wrapping fall back in the trash.

I’m on the list.

A few weeks ago, just days before Hannah took the pills, someone slipped an envelope through the vent of my locker. The outside of the envelope said: SAVE THIS—

YOU’LL NEED IT in red felt-tip marker. Inside was a folded up map of the city. About a dozen red stars marked different areas around town.

In elementary school, we used those same chamber of commerce maps to learn about north, south, east, and west. Tiny blue numbers scattered around the map matched up with business names listed in the margins.

I kept Hannah’s map in my backpack. I meant to show it around school to see if anyone else got one. To see if anyone knew what it meant.

But over time, it slid beneath my textbooks and notebooks and I forgot all about it.

Till now.

Throughout the tapes, I’ll be mentioning several spots around our beloved city for you to visit. I can’t force you to go there, but if you’d like a little more insight, just head for the stars. Or, if you’d like, just throw the maps away and I’ll never know.

As Hannah speaks through the dusty speakers, I feel the weight of my backpack pressing against my leg.

Inside, crushed somewhere at the bottom, is her map.

Or maybe I will. I’m not actually sure how this whole dead thing works.

Who knows, maybe I’m standing behind you right now.

I lean forward, propping my elbows on the workbench. I let my face fall into my hands and I slide my fingers back into unexpectedly damp hair.

I’m sorry. That wasn’t fair.

Ready, Mr. Foley?

Justin Foley. A senior. He was Hannah’s first kiss.

But why do I know that?

Justin, honey, you were my very first kiss. My very first hand to hold. But you were nothing more than an average guy. And I don’t say that to be mean—I don’t.

There was just something about you that made me need to be your girlfriend. To this day I don’t know exactly what that was. But it was there…

and it was amazingly strong.

You don’t know this, but two years ago when I was a freshman and you were a sophomore, I used to follow you around. For sixth period, I worked in the attendance office, so I knew every one of your classes.

I even photocopied your schedule, which I’m sure I still have here somewhere. And when they go through my belongings, they’ll probably toss it away thinking a freshman crush has no relevance. But does it?

For me, yes, it does. I went back as far as you to find an introduction to my story. And this really is where it begins.

So where am I on this list, among these stories? Second?

Third? Does it get worse as it goes along? She said lucky number thirteen could take the tapes to hell.

When you reach the end of these tapes, Justin, I hope you’ll understand your role in all of this. Because it may seem like a small role now, but it matters. In the end, everything matters.

Betrayal. It’s one of the worst feelings.

I know you didn’t mean to let me down. In fact, most of you listening probably had no idea what you were doing—

what you were truly doing.

What was I doing, Hannah?

Because I honestly have no idea. That night, if it’s the night I’m thinking of, was just as strange for me as it was for you. Maybe more so, since I still have no idea what the hell happened.

Our first red star can be found at C-4. Take your finger over to C and drop it down to 4. That’s right, like Battleship. When you’re done with this tape, you should go there. We only lived in that house a short while, the summer before my freshman year, but it’s where we lived when we first came to town.

And it’s where I first saw you, Justin. Maybe you’ll remember. You were in love with my friend Kat. School was still two months away, and Kat was the only person I knew because she lived right next door. She told me you were all over her the previous year. Not literally all over her —just staring and accidentally bumping into her in the halls.

I mean, those were accidents, right?

Kat told me that at the end-of-school dance, you finally found the nerve to do more than stare and bump into her.

The two of you danced every slow song together. And soon, she told me, she was going to let you kiss her. The very first kiss of her life. What an honor!

The stories must be bad.

Really bad. That’s the only reason the tapes are passing on from one person to the next. Out of fear.

Why would you want to mail out a bunch of tapes blaming you in a suicide?

You wouldn’t. But Hannah wants us, those of us on the list, to hear what she has to say. And we’ll do what she says, passing the tapes on, if only to keep them away from people not on the list.

“The list.” It sounds like a secret club. An exclusive club.

And for some reason, I’m in it.

I wanted to see what you looked like, Justin, so we called you from my house and told you to come over. We called from my house because Kat didn’t want you to know where she lived…well, not yet…even though her house was right next door.

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