It was the perfect day. The sun shone high above, an orb of burning gold in a cloudless blue sky.On this certain street, it was peaceful. Silent except for the occasional light breeze that whispered through the tree leaves. The town of West Valley was where you came to settle down. A charming, upper class community. You had the quiet suburbs, where even if you were one, or a full family, you could have peace and quiet. And then there was the bustling chaos of the downtown area, where businesses thrived and people rushed about, getting errands done.
The silence in front of 8 Murray Drive was suddenly broken with the loud roar of a motor. A yellow taxi screeched to a stop in front of the modern, small house, the engine idling for a moment before the back passenger door swung open and a pleasant looking blonde stepped out onto the curb. She leaned back into the taxi and handed the driver a few bills. “Keep the change.” she said, straightening up and closing the car door behind her. She turned back to face the house before her. The movers must have just left. she thought to herself as she headed up the walkway. At the curb, the taxi sped off with a roar. She stopped at the front door, rummaging through her pocket until she pulled out a key. She hesitated for a moment before she stuck the key in the lock, and unlocked the door, pushing it open.
Entering the house, she closed the door behind her and took in her surroundings. “Home, sweet home.” she said softly to herself. She made her way over to the couch and sat back. At 23 years old, Darcy Adkins was starting over. Up until a mere few hours before, she had lived her whole lifein Newcrest. And up until four months earlier, she had been engaged to be married. That was until one fateful day, she returned home to find her fiancee in bed with her best friend. There was a lot of crying and screaming. She even went the cliche way and tossed her fiancee’s clothes out the bedroom window like as if it was straight out of a scene from a bad drama movie. She had been so mad, she hadn’t been thinking straight and let the rage take control of her.
For a few weeks, it was easy to avoid Shawn and Amy. That was until they both came crawling back, begging for forgiveness. Darcy had slammed the door in both of their faces. She could never forgive them for what they had done. And she knew that she would never forget, either. The image of them clutching the bedsheets to their naked bodies, eyes wide like deer in headlights would forever be burned into her memory. For the next two months, it had been easy to avoid them. Until one day, Darcy’s mother delivered shocking news. Mrs. Adkins worked as a doctor in the obstetrics unit at Newcrest Hospital, and had seen Amy coming to an appointment. All it took was a quick look at her chart to reveal she was pregnant with Shawn’s baby.
Something in Darcy snapped. That was the last straw for her. She had sat down at her computer and searched homes for sale in nearby towns. It took some searching, but she felt like she had finally found a place that caught her attention. After that was taken care of, she sold her loft, quit her job in human resource, and moved back in with her parents until moving day. They were sad to see her go, until she reminded them that Newcrest was just a two hour drive away from West Valley. They seemed to accept that, for a whole five seconds, it seemed. For when the taxi pulled up, both her parents scooped her up into a big three person hug. For a split second, she considered staying but then broke that off by pulling away from her parents. Promising she would call every day, she hurried down to the waiting taxi, not looking back.
Now there she was, two hours later in her new home. In a new town, where no one knew her and where she could have a fresh start. Making herself comfortable on the couch, she slid out her phone from her pocket and dialed her parents phone number. Might as well let them know I got here okay. she thought to herself. The phone was on its second ring when someone answered. “Darcy?” her mother’s voice asked hopefully from the other end of the line. Darcy found herself rolling her eyes. “Yes, mom. It’s me.” she said. “I was just starting to get worried.” her mother said, sounding relieved. A small smirk tickled the corners of Darcy’s lips. “I just got in.” she told her mother. “How’s your new place?” her mother asked. “Good, the movers and the decorators did a good job. They knew exactly how I wanted it to look. ” Darcy explained. Her mother chuckled on the other end of the line. “Well you were always such a stickler for detail.” she explained. “I just know what I want. Unlike some people..” Darcy trailed off.
Her mother was silent on the other end of the line, and then cleared her throat before speaking again. “Speaking of, Shawn came by the house about ten minutes after you left.” she revealed. A frown creased Darcy’s forehead. “Shawn? What did he want?” she asked. “He found out you were leaving. He wanted to come say goodbye, and to apologize.” her mother explained. “You didn’t tell him where I was going, or give him my contact info, did you?” Darcy asked anxiously, her eyes widening slightly. “No, of course not! I just told him it was too late, that you were going to live your life, and he should do the same.” her mother explained. “Good. Thanks, mom.” Darcy said, relaxing. “Of course, dear.” her mother responded sympathetically.
“The taxi drive got me kind of tired. I think I’m going to take a nap before I start the job search.” Darcy explained to her mother. “Understandable. Alright then, I’m glad to hear you got in okay. Dad and I love you, honey.” her mother said. “Love you both. We’ll talk soon.” Darcy said before hanging up the phone. She placed it on the table and settled herself down on the couch, closing her eyes. Thoughts swirled around in her head for a few minutes before she took a few deep breaths, willing them away. In a few moments, she drifted off into a peaceful sleep.
Elsewhere, a few blocks away at the Talley household, a spectacled brunette hurried up the walkway and knocked eagerly on the front door, her eyes shining with excitement. A few moments later, a short haired raven haired girl opened the door, a wide smile playing on her lips. “Fallon! I thought I recognized your knock.” Felicia Talley said to her friend Fallon McQueen. Fallon smiled in return. “Well I have news.” she replied. Felicia raised an eyebrow in curiosity. “What kind of news?” she asked. “Someone moved into that house on Murray Drive.” Fallon said, her voice rising slightly in excitement. “Oh really?” Felicia said, her interest piqued. Fallon nodded. “Blake was on a run earlier and he said he saw a girl moving in. She seems to be about our age, and she lives alone, from what he saw.” she explained. “Cool! A new neighbour.” Felicia said.
“I was thinking, maybe we should go over there and introduce ourselves.” Fallon suggested. “That’s a good idea. I doubt she knows anyone yet.” Felicia said in agreement. She turned back into the house. “I’m going out for a while!” she called out to someone. “Okay!” a voice replied from inside the house. Felicia closed the door and turned to Fallon. “Let’s go.” she said, as they headed to the sidewalk. “I didn’t realize Owen was home.” Fallon said. Felicia made a face. Her husband was home a lot these days. “He’s still job hunting.” Felicia explained. It had been a month since her husband lost his job. He had been a sous-chef at a restaurant that had suddenly went bankrupt. There was now a pub where the restaurant once stood, but the business already had all it’s staff. He didn’t show it, but Felicia knew Owen was discouraged. He would just sit on the couch watching tv most of the day, occasionally checking online for any job openings.
“I’m sure he’ll find something. Why doesn’t he ask Ellie if she has any openings at her club?” Fallon suggested. Felicia cocked an eyebrow in Fallon’s direction. “Because they used to date back in high school. Before Ellie turned goth and had her son with that other guy. I think Owen feels I’d feel threatened if he went to her for help but really, they dated a long time ago and we’re married now, so I’m okay with it. Ellie is actually pretty interesting once you get past her hot headed-ness.” Felicia said with a chuckle. “She never makes us wait out in the line when we go to Surge.” Fallon replied. “Yeah and everyone else who have to wait always give us dirty looks.” Felicia said, another chuckle escaping her lips. Fallon giggled as their footsteps echoed off the pavement.
A few minutes later, the two girls stood in front of 8 Murray Drive. I hope she’s friendly. Felicia thought to herself. She followed Fallon up the walkway to the front door of the house. Fallon extended her hand and pressed her finger on the doorbell. Inside, they could hear the doorbell chime. They took a step back and waited. A few moments later the door was opened. The blonde who looked out at them had an uneasy look on her face. “Can I help you?” she asked, eyeing the two girls who stood in front of her. “Hi! We heard someone just moved in and we just wanted to come by and say hi, welcome to the neighbourhood!” Felicia explained. The blonde seemed to relax, a pleasant smile on her face. “That’s awfully nice of you. Please, come in.” she said, stepping aside so they could enter the house. She closed the door behind her. “I’m Darcy. Darcy Adkins.” she told them, extending her hand and they both shook it.
“I’m Felicia Talley and this Fallon McQueen.” Felicia explained. “It’s nice to meet you both. I must have looked stuck up when I opened the door but new town and all, I don’t know anyone here.” Darcy explained. “Oh it’s no problem. You don’t have to worry though, it’s a friendly and safe neighbourhood. Everyone looks out after each other.” Felicia explained. Behind Darcy, Fallon shot Felicia a look. Their eyes met, and for the briefest of moments, they shared a look. If Darcy caught on that there was something they were keeping from her, she didn’t seem to notice. “Well that’s good to know. I’m looking for a fresh start and West Valley seems like the perfect place to do it.” Darcy explained. Behind her, Fallon pulledout her phone and was texting quickly. Felicia thought Fallon was being slightly rude but focused her attention back to Darcy. “Where did you move from?” she asked curiously.
“I was living in Newcrest. I had some problems with.. an ex, so I decided to get away from it all and start over.” Darcy explained uncomfortably. “Ex’s are the worst. But there are a lot of elegible bachelors here in West Valley. Like Jeremy Ashford.” Felicia said with a smirk as she and Darcy sat down on the couch. Darcy’s eyes widened. “As in the actor Jeremy Ashford?” she asked excitedly. “Exactly. THE Jeremy Ashford. He got bored of Hollywood and moved to town about six months ago.” Felicia explained. “A real life celebrity right here in town. That’s amazing! The Activity Book is my all time favorite movie.” Darcy said with wide eyes. “Ours too! Right, Fallon?” Felicia said, trying to get Fallon into the conversation. “Absolutely! My housemate is friendly with him, maybe I’ll get him to invite him to our party tonight.” Fallon replied.
A frown creased Felicia’s pretty face. “You didn’t tell me you were having a party?” she said to Fallon. “I was just texting Naomi, getting her to plan it.” the other girl replied. “Last minute party, cool.” Darcy said with a small smile on her lips. “And you’re the guest of honor, Darcy. It’s nothing big. Just a few people for you to get to know.” Fallon explained. “That’s a great idea, Fallon!” Felicia replied, her eyes shining. “Well I think it’s too soon to meet some elegible bachelors but I am all for meeting my new neighbours!” Darcy said. It looks like things are looking up, it was a good idea to move here. she thought to herself. “We should get going then. We have a party to get ready for.” Felicia said. “Right. The party starts at eight, Darcy. Don’t be late! Oh and also, my address is 728 Willowbrook. See you later!” Fallon said as she pulled Felicia towards the door. “See you soon!” Darcy called out as the girls pulled open the front door and exited the house, closing the door behind them. She glanced at the time on her clock. “It’s only 2pm. Enough time for me to start looking for a job.” she said as she headed deeper into her new house.
It was a few minutes after eight. Darcy found herself at Fallon’s home. The house was much bigger than hers, enough room to accomodate Fallon and her three housemates. There was Naomi, Blake and Scott. They seemed nice enough, but mostly kept to themselves. I’ll have plenty of time to get to know them. she thought to herself before snapping back to attention as Fallon came to join her. “So now you know where I live. Wasn’t hard to find, right?” she asked Darcy. “I have a good sense of direction… actually thank goodness for the maps app on my phone.” Darcy replied with a smirk. The two girls shared a laugh. “This place is impressive.” Darcy told Fallon as her eyes scanned her surroundings. “It is, isn’t it? Naomi inherited it from her grandfather.” the other girl explained. “He must have really loved her to leave her a house. All I inherited from my grandfather was his cat, Mittens.” Darcy said, rolling her eyes. A soft chuckle escaped Fallon’s lips.
“Miss? A word, please?” called one of the bartenders Fallon had hired for the party. “I’ll catch up in a bit, go mingle!” Fallon told Darcy before walking away. Darcy made her way out in the backyard. There was a group of people sitting around the patio table. She spotted Felicia, her husband Owen, and Fallon’s housemate, Scott. Felicia spotted her and waved her over. “Darcy, come join us!” she said. Smiling, Darcy slid into a free chair. “Are you having fun?” Felicia asked with a smile. “I am! You really didn’t have to go out of your way to throw me a welcoming party, though!” Darcy said. “Oh, it’s nothing. We just wanted to make you feel welcome. You chose the right town to move to!” Felicia said. “Yeah! Just don’t let the stories of Brandon Covington scare you!” Owen replied with a chuckle. Felicia turned and gave her husband an icy look. “She doesn’t need to hear those stories.” she said. Darcy glanced at Owen, and then to Felicia. “Who’s Brandon Covington?” she asked curiously. “It’s just a local spook story. It’s better to hear it during the day.” Scott said with a chuckle. “I just moved here, and you guys are already trying to scare me!” Darcy said with a smirk playing on her lips. “I’ll tell you about it tomorrow, Darcy. But for now, I’m afraid I’m going to cut the party short.” Felicia said.
“You’re leaving?” Owen asked with a raised eyebrow. “You boneheads gave me a migraine.” Felicia replied, standing up from her chair. “Do you want me to walk you home?” Owen asked. Felicia gave him another icy stare. “We live right across the street. I think I can manage.” she told him. “Alright. Well I won’t be much longer.” he told her. “You can stay another hour. Darcy, I’ll pass by tomorrow. Goodnight.” Felicia said, heading out of the backyard. She looked up at the darkening sky, crossing her arms over her chest as she went around to the front of the house. Across the street, she could see her home looming omniously in the dark. A slow shiver of fear snaked down her spine as she stepped off the curb and hurried across the street. Suddenly, she stopped in her tracks. She looked uneasily around. Silence, all around her. The shadows seemed to tighten closer around her. Finally, Felicia found herself moving and hurried up the walkway.
Fishing out her keys, she unlocked the front door, pulled it open and stepped inside the main entryway. She flicked on the lights and closed and locked the door behind her, letting out a sigh of relief. From the kitchen behind her, there was a hint of movement. Felicia was oblivious, trying to calm herself down. Trying to find the source as to what made her so uneasy. “Brandon Covington.” she muttered softly to herself. Dropping her purse, she headed for the kitchen. I need an aspirin. she thought as she entered the kitchen. There was a moment of silence, and then Felicia’s horrified scream echoed through the empty house.
Fourty minutes had passed before the front door opened. Owen stepped inside the entryway, closing the door behind him. “Honey, I’m home!” he called out. There was no reply. “Felicia? Are you pissed at me?” he called out again. His breathing was the only sound breaking the silence of the house. His eyes ticked down to the floor where Felicia’s purse had been set down. Owen rolled his eyes. “You know I hate it when you give me the silent treatment!” he called out. Silence, still. Owen frowned and then noticed the kitchen light was on. He found himself moving, heading into the kitchen. “What are you doing in..” his voice trailed off as a grisly sight met his eyes. His breath caught in his throat, his heart jumped.
“Felicia? Baby?” he managed to choke out. This isn’t real. This is not happening. he thought. On the floor, Felicia lay. Eyes closed, unmoving. There was something sticking out of her face. No, out of her eye. A knife handle. A knife had been stabbed into her left eye. Owen wobbled, trying to keep steady on his feet. From where he stood, he knew Felicia was dead. There was no way someone could have survived that. “FELICIA!” he screamed, hot tears pouring down from his eyes. Heavy sobs racked his body as he stared down at the body of his dead wife.