It was a muggy night. The moon hidden away behind clouds that threatened to bring rain. There was no sign of life in front of Saint- Gregory’s church. It was the oldest building in West Valley, built by the first town settlers in the early eighteen-hundreds. It was now considered a historical landmark and could not ever be torn down. There was a bell tower that stretched up into the sky, that rang every hour. The silence was broken by the loud gong of the bell, signaling the time. Eleven o’clock. Most of the town of West Valley were already behind the safe walls of their homes. Suddenly, the sound of footsteps broke the silence as a figure approached the church.
A lone figure. Blonde. Female. Darcy. She looked up at the church, uncertainty flashing in her eyes. Up until twenty minutes earlier, she had been in bed, tossing and turning. Unable to sleep, feeling restless, she got dressed, and almost as if she had no control over her legs, found herself walking out of the house and making her way through the night to St-Gregory’s. It was her second time there this week. A mere four days earlier, she had attended Felicia’s funeral and burial there. It was two weeks later after the heinous crime. Police had come and gone. They questioned everyone, including herself. She answered their questions as best as she could. It was kind of unreal.
She never knew anyone who had been murdered before. She had only seen police interrogations in crime shows and in movies, she never thought she would be involved in one. The detectives were gone for now but the case was still open, a homicide case, they called it. Which means, somewhere out there, the person who killed Felicia is still around. And what are you doing out here in the middle of the night by yourself? she thought to herself, a frown creasing her pretty face. She took an uneasy look behind her, expecting to see someone standing there.
No one. Letting out a relieved sigh, she moved, heading towards the back of the church where Felicia was buried. The town cemetary was full, so new burials were now taking place at the church. At least that’s what Fallon had explained to her. Fallon’s face flashed through her mind. She hadn’t seen the other girl since the funeral. Darcy had decided to give her some space. She, and Owen had been beyond devastated about Felicia’s death. Darcy found it incredibly sad. She didn’t know Felicia, but she liked her from the short amount of time they got to spend together. She could have seen them becoming good friends. But the chance would never come. She and Fallon, however, had become fast friends. Fallon needed someone to talk to, and Darcy was a good listener. She had been there for her, a shoulder to cry on. I’ll give Fallon a call in the morning. she thought to herself as she reached her destination. She stood before Felicia’s gravestone. Reading the engraving.
FELICIA NICOLE KRAUSE TALLEY
1994 – 2016
GONE TOO SOON.
Darcy looked down at the soft earth, imagining a hand clawing it’s way out of the ground. It’s skin peeling, rotting, grabbing her ankle. Trying to pull her down into the ground. Get a grip. Darcy said, shaking away the image out of her head. She suddenly froze, listening. Something WAS moving. Nearby. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked. A warning that she was no longer alone? Her eyes widened, hearing footsteps approaching. She opened her mouth to call out, but nothing came. She stood helplessly frozen in place as her heart thundered in her chest. She sucked in a breath, ready to scream.
“Darcy?” a voice said, a head popping up from the other side of the bushes that seperated the church to the sidewalk. Darcy let out a small yelp, finally moving as she staggered backwards a few steps. And then relaxed when she saw the face that was looking back at her with concern. “Owen! You scared the crap out of me!” she cried, trying to calm the jackhammering of her heart. “I’m sorry. I just wasn’t expecting anyone to be here.” he told her as he came through the shrubbed entrance and stood before her. “You just startled me a little, that’s all.” she said before she eyed him curiously, cocking an eyebrow in his direction.”What are you doing here at this hour?” she asked curiously.
“I’ve been coming here every night since the funeral. I’m having trouble sleeping.” he explained. A pang of sadness hit Darcy. “That makes two of us.” she answered. She eyed him, he didn’t look his best. He could barely manage any words the day of the funeral. She was looking at a man who was broken. She really hoped he could bounce back from this. She didn’t expect it right away, but perhaps in the future. “Any news from the detectives?” she asked. He shrugged, shook his head. “Nothing right now. Can you believe they thought I had done it? I spent hours in that interrogation room. They thought I could do something like..that..to her. I would never hurt her. I know we didn’t see eye to eye at times but I would never do such a brutal thing like that monster did to her.” he explained, his eyes darkening.
“They’re just doing their jobs. They’re gonna catch him..or her. And they’ll make sure he fries for it. We know you didn’t do it. I mean, you have an alibi.” she explained. And she was one of his alibis. There was no way he could have done it. He was still at the party with everyone else while Felicia was murdered. Right in the house across the street from Fallon’s. “They just thought it looked suspicious, there was no sign of forced entry. I mean, the backdoor was unlocked, for christ’s sake. This is supposed to be a safe town, no one locks their doors.” Owen explained. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and then gazed back at her. “It feels good to talk about it, finally. I wasn’t allowed to talk about the investigation for a whole week.” he told her. “You can talk to me about anything. Don’t be shy to come to me.” she said, giving him a reassuring smile.
“Thanks, Darcy. That means a lot. Right before she… I told Felicia I would look for a job and I think I might have found one. I’m going to check it out tomorrow. It’s what Felicia would have wanted.” he explained. A small smile played on Darcy’s lips. “That’s great, Owen! And what a coincidence, I’m going to check out a space tomorrow.” she revealed. “A space for?” he asked curiously. “A space to open a store. A clothing store, strictly for females.” she explained. He nodded. “Best of luck, then.” he told her. “Thanks. I hope it works out.” she told him. “It’s getting late. Can I walk you home?” he asked. Darcy looked up at the sky as a small flicker of lightning lit up the clouds. “Sure! Sounds like a good idea. Let’s get out of here before we get rained on.”she explained as they walked off into the night.
It had stormed the rest of the night. Somehow, Darcy had been able to fall asleep, listening to the raindrops against her window. By the time she woke, the rain had stopped. The buzzing of her phone stirred her out of her slumber. It was nearly dawn and a message waited for her on her phone. An update, that the space she had been interested in was now ready for her to go look at. With a smile on her face, she had gotten dressed in last night’s clothes, left the house and hot-footed it downtown. She liked the fact that everything was within walking distance in West Valley. She didn’t really have the need or desire to drive anymore. Maybe one day she would eventually get a car, but right now she was contempt with how things were.
She found the building easily, checking the address on her phone. It was still early, and she was glad she had time to check out the space without any interruptions. Soon downtown would be full of people and chaotic, so she welcomed the peace and quiet. From the outside, she liked the look of the building. A gray structure with double glass doors and big display windows on each side. She felt excitement welling up within her as she headed towards the doors.
She pushed the door open, letting the early morning light fill the space before her as she took a step inside, the door closing behind her as she did so. She took in her surroundings, scanning the area. The inside was fairly large, the perfect space to put up mannequins, display cases, and decorations. I love it. It’s perfect! she thought to herself with a small smile playing on her lips. Her footsteps echoed off the tiled and wooden floor as she wandered around, mentally picturing what the store was going to look like once it was all done and set up. “I better start making phone calls if I want to be open for business in the next few days.” she said aloud. With one final glance around the empty store, Darcy headed back outside, where West Valley was slowly starting to waken.
At the house across the street from Darcy’s, Meredith Dupree slid into the seat at the kitchen table, a bowl of cereal in front of her. At the age of twenty-one, Meredith shared her home with her best friend, and roommate, Ruby Fleming. They had been friends since high school and nearly inseperable. It only made sense that once she moved out of her parents’ home, Ruby would do the same and they would end up living together. The girls got along great. Meredith, a cheerful brunette and Ruby, an outgoing dark skinned girl. Meredith took a spoonful of cereal, brought it to her mouth and chewed. She was deep in thought, her eyebrows knitted together. She could hear the clicking of a computer keyboard coming from the other room. “Morning, Rubes!” she called out.
“Morning!” the other girl replied, pausing her typing for a moment. “Isn’t it kind of early to be chatting? Who’s up at this hour?” Meredith called out again, letting a soft chuckle escape her lips. Ruby often frequented WestValleyChat, a chatroom where the locals of West Valley could chat with each other. That’s how Ruby knew mostly everyone in town. Someone they didn’t really know, was the new girl, Darcy. They had seen her at Felicia’s funeral and flashed each other sympathetic smiles but that was as far as it had gone. She seemed nice, Meredith and Ruby were looking forward to getting to know her.
“Guess what!” Ruby shouted, running into the kitchen. She sounded excited. Standing up with her now empty bowl, Meredith made her way over to the sink. “What?” she asked, turning on the faucet and rinsing out the bowl of pink colored milk. “I have a date!” Ruby said excitedly, standing in the kitchen doorway. “Must be a pretty hot date, the way you’re all excited.” Meredith said with a chuckle. “So? Aren’t you going to ask me with who?” Ruby said, bouncing on the heels of her shoes. “I was expecting you to tell me by now. Who with?” Meredith asked curiously. “You’ll never believe it. Jeremy Ashford!” Ruby cried out. Meredith’s eyes went wide. “Jeremy Ashford?! He asked you out on a date?!” she said.
Ruby nodded, grinning from ear to ear. “He’s going to be filming a movie in town soon. And he asked me if I would help him read his lines over dinner!” Ruby explained. Meredith was impressed. “But isn’t he dating Everly Martin?” she asked. Ruby had a coy smile on her face now. “Those were just tabloid rumors. Although she’s going to be costarring with him again in this new movie.” Ruby revealed. Meredith’s eyes went wide once more. “Everly Martin is coming here?! To West Valley??” she said in disbelief.
Everly Martin was a popular actress, who didn’t have the best reputation. She was known to be a party animal. It wasn’t uncommon for her to show up on set extremely late, hung over, and had the attitude of a diva. Meredith had read and seen many stories about Everly. Drinking and driving, wearing a dress with no panties on underneath, being carried out of clubs out cold because she had drank too much, getting into fights with costars and fans, sleeping with many, many men, some of them married. The list went on and on. “Isn’t she in rehab?” Meredith asked. That was the latest news she had heard, it had been on the cover of Cool Trash magazine, which Meredith had read while waiting at the checkout line at the grocery store. “She was, for a whole two days. She left, she said the center didn’t meet her expectations and needs.” Ruby revealed, rolling her eyes in annoyance.
A soft chuckle escaped Meredith’s lips. “What needs? Did she expect them to be bringing her cocktails all day long?” she asked, shaking her head. “I know, right? Maybe she thought she was going to be staying at a resort.” Ruby replied with amusement. “I guess the big question is, are you excited to meet her?” Meredith asked. “Heck yes!” Ruby replied with a wide grin. “Me too! Things are going to be getting interesting!” Meredith replied, excitement shining in her eyes.
Elsewhere, at Fallon’s house, the mood wasn’t so light. She sat solemnly on the couch, her housemate Naomi sitting next to her. “How are you holding up?” Naomi asked, concern glinting in her eyes. Fallon shrugged her shoulders in response. “I can’t believe Felicia’s gone. I expect for her to call, and then I remember. She’s never going to call and I’m never going to see her again.” Fallon replied, tears threatening to spill down her cheeks. She let out a small sniffle and stared off into space, deep in thought. Naomi sighed deeply. “I know, I can’t believe it either. But we’re all here for you, Blake, Scott and I. If there’s anything you need, just let us know.” she told Fallon. Fallon looked up, meeting her eyes. “Can you find the person who did this?!” she asked.
Before Naomi could answer, she continued. “Can you make sure they pay for their crime? Or that it doesn’t happen again to someone else?” she said. Naomi frowned. “Why do you think it’s gonna happen again?” she asked, concerned. “Well because they never did find Brandon Covington.” Fallon replied. Naomi’s frown deepened. “Not you too with that. Brandon Covington hasn’t been seen or heard from in five years. For all we know, he could be dead. Just because he dissappeared doesn’t mean he’s come back here.” Naomi tried to rationalize. “West Valley is his home. Where else would he go?” Fallon asked. “Somewhere far away from here. Someone would be bound to recognize him, right?” Naomi said. “No one’s seen him since he was eight years old. I doubt they were taking his pictures in the mental hospital.” Fallon said with concern.
“Well it’s been five years since he dissappeared from there. The cops and detectives were all over the case, you remember. Why would he come back now, and kill a girl he doesn’t even know?” Naomi asked. Fallon shrugged in reply. “That’s why he’s crazy, you can’t rationalize what he’s thinking.” she said. “I think you’re jumping to conclusions. Yes, it’s horrible what happened to Felicia, but it doesn’t mean Brandon Covington is involved. I’m sure the police will find who’s responsible. And they’ll make sure whoever it is spends a nice long time behind bars for it.” Naomi said, standing up. Fallon wasn’t so sure about that. “I hope you’re right.” she said as Naomi walked away. I really hope. she thought to herself with a frown.
The walk back home was pleasant. The sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky. The smell from the lilac trees wafted around Darcy. She took a deep breath in, letting it fill her. She let out a sigh of contempt. As she stepped onto the curb in front of her home, her thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of her cellphone. She fished it out of her pocket and accepted the call. “Hello?” she said. “Hey Darce. It’s me. Fallon.” the voice on the other end of the line said. “Fallon! I was just thinking about you before.” Darcy said. “Sorry I was missing in action for the past few days. I’ve just been trying to process everything that’s happened.” the other girl explained. “Oh I totally understand! I’m glad to hear from you.” Darcy revealed. “I need to get out of the house, would you mind if I came over?” Fallon asked.
“Not at all! I could use some company.” Darcy said with a small smile on her lips. “I was hoping you’d say yes, considering I’m already on my way over.” Fallon replied. A soft chuckle escaped Darcy. “Alright! I’ll see you in a few minutes, then.” she told Fallon, hanging up the phone.
About ten minutes later, there was a knock at the door. Darcy made her way to it and pulled it open, revealing Fallon on the other side. “Come on in!” she said, stepping aside so Fallon could enter. “Thanks.” the other girl said as she stepped inside, closing the door behind her. Darcy took in the other’s girl appearance. She looked better than the last time she had seen her. “You doing okay?” she asked Fallon, who shrugged. “I honestly don’t know.” she replied with a deep frown creasing her face. “I just keep thinking there’s much more to Felicia’s death.” Fallon continued. “What do you mean by that?” Darcy asked curiously. “You never did get to hear the story of Brandon Covington, did you?” Fallon asked with a raised eyebrow. The name sounded familiar to Darcy.
She thought hard. “Someone brought up that name at your party but the conversation was dropped. Who’s Brandon Covington?” she asked Fallon. “Brandon Covington was the son of the ex mayor, Stuart Covington, and his wife, Emma.” Fallon explained before continuing. “It all started on the night of may fourth, twenty years ago. When Brandon was just eight years old.” she revealed. “What happened?” Darcy asked, intrigued.
“A storm was brewing, and Emma had just gotten home with Brandon. She had gone to pick him up at a friend’s house. Well they heard noises coming from upstairs, so Emma put Brandon in front of the tv and went to see what was going on. When she walked into her bedroom, she found her husband in bed with another woman. With his mistress. Well there was screaming and crying and the mistress got the hell out of there. And so did Emma. She ran back downstairs, scooped Brandon up and loaded him into the car. By that time it was raining really hard. Emma could barely see as she sped through the streets.” Fallon explained to the other girl. Darcy’s eyes were wide as she listened. “So what happened?” she asked. Fallon continued. “They had just started crossing over the Valley bridge. That’s the bridge on the outskirts of town that goes over the river, when the car spun out of control. It crashed right through the guardrail, and plunged into the river below.” she explained.
Darcy couldn’t help the small gasp that escaped her lips. “Were they okay?” she asked. Fallon shook her head. “Emma died on impact. Brandon somehow got back onto the bridge where he collapsed. Someone had heard the crash and called the paramedics, they came and found him, took him to the hospital. He was in there for almost a month. He was released into the care of his father, who took him home. This is where it gets scary.” Fallon said, pausing.
“What happened then?” Darcy asked, eyes gleaming. “Well Brandon stopped talking. He would just stare off into space. Mayor Covington didn’t know what to do. He was going to seek help for Brandon but never got around to it, because he died two days later.” Fallon revealed. “Oh my god, poor Brandon! He lost both his parents?!” Darcy asked. “Yeah. But the scary thing is, Brandon killed his father.” Fallon explained. Darcy’s eyes went wide once more. “What?” she asked in disbelief. The other girl nodded. “Creepy, huh?” Fallon said. “Why would he kill his own father?” Darcy asked with a frown. Fallon shrugged.
“No one knows. One night, after his father’s mistress left, Brandon went down to the kitchen. He got a butcher knife, went upstairs to his father’s room and stabbed him to death. He stabbed him nineteen times in his bed. The maid discovered the body the following day and Brandon was sent to Sherwood Sanitarium in Plum Grove.” she explained. “What happened to the mistress?” Darcy asked. “No one knows. Her identity has been hidden for the past twenty years. She could have moved away, or she could still live here in town.” Fallon explained. Darcy frowned. “So Brandon is still locked up at Sherwood Sanitarium?” she asked. Fallon shook her head. “No. He’s not. He dissappeared five years ago.” she explained, a slow shiver of fear running down her spine.
“He dissappeared from the sanitarium?” Darcy asked, her eyes widening. Fallon nodded. “An orderly was doing his rounds one morning, opened the door to Brandon’s room and he wasn’t in there.” she revealed. “He escaped?” Darcy asked. Fallon shrugged. “Or he was sprung out. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.” she explained to Darcy. “That’s totally messed up. But why are you telling me this?” she asked the other girl. “I think Brandon came back to West Valley, broke into Felicia’s house, and killed her.” Fallon revealed. “Oh my god, stop it. You’re really freaking me out.” Darcy said, trying to ignore the quickened pace of her heart. “It’s just a theory I have. I could be totally wrong. But this town has a dark past. My best friend was killed and I just think it’s not randomly. I think it has something to do with what happened twenty years ago.” Fallon said.
Darcy took a deep breath. “Have you gone to the police with your theory?” she asked Fallon. The other girl shook her head. “That’s my next stop.” she explained to Darcy. “Do you want me to come with you?” Darcy asked. “No need. Thanks anyways.” Fallon said with a hopeful smile. The other girl nodded. “Let me know how it goes.” Darcy said. “I will. I’ll call you later.” Fallon said before she pulled the door open and exited. Closing the door behind her, Darcy locked it. She took an uneasy look around, Fallon’s story fresh in her mind. She hoped her friend’s theory was untrue.
Wondering why he was there, Owen pushed the door open and stepped into Surge. Music blasted all around him. He frowned. Surge was open at any time of the day. During the day, people would gather for drinks at the bar. At night, they would come to party and dance. He ticked his gaze around the large room, looking for Ellie. He didn’t see her yet. Am I too early? She did say ten o’clock. Didn’t she? he wondered to himself. He took a few hesitant steps forward. He noticed a few people turned to stare at him before going back to their conversations. Owen felt uncomfortable, self conscious. He moved, heading towards the couches in the sitting area. He fought back the urge to get a drink, sitting down on the couch and staring blankly off into space until someone sat down next to him.
He looked up, into the face of Ellie Jacks. He took in her fiery red hair, her heavy eyelined eyes. She almost seemed out of place. With her tough look, people would deem her the type to be thrashing about to heavy metal, not the owner of a danceclub. “Hey there, O-Face.” she said to him with a coy smile on her dark painted lips. He sighed, hearing the nickname she used to call him back when they were dating in high school. “Ellie.” he said simply in greeting.
“I thought you were gonna change your mind and bail on me. But here you are.” she said, clearly amused. “Well I really need a job.” he clarified. “There’s plenty of jobs out there in West Valley. And yet you come to me for help. Why?” she asked curiously. A sigh escaped Owen’s lips. “Look, don’t read too much into it, okay? I just need a job, and quick. That’s it.” he explained to her. A frown creased her face. He seemed impatient, on edge. “Well I guess we could use another bartender. Do you have any experience?” she asked. “Barely any. But I’m a quick learner.” he told her. “I remember.” she told him with a wink. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. She loved to see him squirm. Even back when they were dating in high school.
She always knew the right thing to say to get him flustered. She was over him though. She only considered him a friend. They had broken up sometime before high school graduation. Owen had gone away to study for college, and Ellie had remained in town where she met someone new. Before she knew it, she was pregnant. Her boyfriend Gage was not ready to be a father, and walked out on her before she gave birth to her son, Tyson. She moved back in with her parents, and raised Tyson herself. She thought she had done a good job. Her boy was very sweet, and outgoing. A normal six year old.
Ellie raised her eyes back to Owen when she heard him clear his throat. He was waiting for her answer. “Right. Okay. Can you be here tomorrow? Around the same time? We’ll start with some training. Paid, of course.” she said. A small, brief smile flashed on Owen’s face. “Tomorrow.” he repeated with a nod. “I’ll let Clay know your coming. He’s the head bartender, he’ll show you the ropes. I should be in later on in the day.” Ellie explained. Owen stood up. “See you tomorrow, then. And thanks.” he told her before heading to the exit. Ellie watched him push open the door and dissappear outside, the door swinging shut behind him.
It was a little past three in the afternoon when Julie Whitlow returned home. The sun warmed her bare shoulders as she approached the house. Julie was a pretty, raven haired twenty year old. She wore a smile on her face when she spotted a familiar figure standing on the curb ahead of her. “Dad? What are you doing out here?” she asked curiously. Harrison Whitlow turned when he heard the familiar voice of his daughter. A broad smile on his face. “Hi, sweetie.” he told her. “I was just out here enjoying the nice weather. You know how much I love the outdoors.” he explained to her. Julie nodded while Harrison continued. “Plus being outside helps me think.” he revealed. “Is something going on, dad? Is it Megan?” Julie asked, concern glinting in her eyes. “No, your sister is fine. I just got an interesting phone call before, that’s all.” he explained to her.
A frown creased Julie’s pretty face. “A phone call. Was it from mom?” she asked in a hopeful tone. Her mother, Christy, had walked out on her family two years prior. Without warning, she had just up and left. She had packed her things, and dissappeared. She had left a note, saying not to go looking for her. That she was suffering From some kind of depression and that she needed to get away from West Valley. That she needed to take care of it herself and not place the burden on her husband and two daughters. Julie always hoped that one day, her mother would return. Her sister, Megan, on the other hand, resented Christy for leaving them.
“Your mother hasn’t called or written in two years. I doubt she would call now.” Harrison said softly. He tried his best to raise his two girls right. He didn’t have to worry about Julie, but Megan was the black sheep of the family. She was technically a good kid, she was just at the age where she was testing her limits. She was a rebel. “So then what was the phone call about?” Julie asked, cocking an eyebrow in Harrison’s direction. “It was the police force. They want me back.” Harrison revealed. He had taken a leave of absence for the past two years, since his wife had walked out. “That’s great, dad! But why are they calling now?” Julie asked curiously. “Because of the Talley girl’s murder. They want their best men working with the best detectives to solve the crime.” he explained. Julie didn’t hesitate. “You should go for it.” she told her father. He seemed surprised about her answer. “But what about you and your sister?” he asked. “Don’t worry about us. I’ll make sure Megan stays out of trouble. This is a great opportunity for you.” Julie answered.
“I guess I’ll call them back and let them know I accept. I told them I’d have to speak to my daughters first.” he explained, a smile on his face. He turned and made his way up to the house, dissappearing inside. With a final glance around, a smile on her face, Julie did the same.
Now, a few hours later, the smile had left Julie’s face. The clock declared it was a little past seven in the evening. And Megan was still not home. Where is she? Julie thought to herself as she stood gazing out the window. She had called her sister’s cellphone a few times, it was off. She tried to stay calm, as she found herself moving to the window that overlooked parts of the neighbourhood. The sun had begun to set, and from the path that ran alongside the river, she could see a familiar face jogging.
Darcy, who she had met briefly at Felicia’s funeral. She focused on the blonde for a few moments, trying to calm herself down. She was worried about Megan. It wasn’t like her sister to not call if she was going to be late. If it had been two weeks earlier, Julie wouldn’t have worried too much. But with the murder, and no one getting arrested for the crime, Julie couldn’t help but worry the killer was still out there somewhere. Megan had promised she would be home before sundown, but now she seemed to have forgotten about her promise to her sister. “I’ll go look for her myself.” Julie muttered to herself. Her father had been on the phone for the past hour, discussing with the police force. If he realized what time it was, he would have gone to look for Megan himself. Julie didn’t want to interrupt him.
About to turn away from the window, Julie spotted her sister. Megan stood in the front lawn, talking to a blonde haired boy. She hadn’t seen them walk up, but now she took a closer look out the window. She recognized the boy. It was Charlie Olsen. He went to school with Megan but Julie couldn’t figure out why he had walked her younger sister home. He was popular and didn’t run with the same crowd Megan did. She would make sure to ask her younger sister about it. Right now, she was just happy and relieved that Megan had finally made it home.
The sun had set, the moon had taken it’s place in the black velvet sky. The town had settled in for the night. It was quiet except for a light breeze that whispered from time to time. The streets were void of any life. The street lamps lit the darkness, lighting the way for whoever would find themselves outside at this hour. The silence was broken by the sound of footsteps. The streets seemed to darken as a lone figure made their way over to Darcy’s home. Whoever it was, didn’t bother to knock or make their presence known. They just watched the house.
A figure clad in black. They knew that Darcy was inside the house. They wondered if she could feel their presence. If she would open the door and stick her head out. But the house remained quiet. Somewhere inside, they heard the running water of a shower. Resisting to peer through a window, the lone figure stepped back, blending into the dark shadows that bordered the perimeter.
Darcy was tired. It had been a long day. After her evening jog, she had returned home and called her parents. They had a lot to talk about and by the time Darcy got off the phone, she was even more tired. All she wanted to do was go to bed. “But first, a nice hot shower.” she muttered softly to herself, making her way into the bathroom. She turned the knobs, found the right temperature, and began to undress. Suddenly, she jumped, startled. A loud noise. A crash. At first she thought it was coming from right inside the bathroom before it took her a minute to realize the noise had come from outside. It had sounded like a garbage can toppling over. With a sigh, Darcy reached out, turned off the shower and made her way out of the bathroom. She moved through the dark house, clad only in a bra and underwear. She stepped up to the window that overlooked the front lawn. She peered out into the darkness, trying to find the source of the noise she heard. Shadows seemed to close in on the house as Darcy stood, feeling a little bit exposed. Is there someone out there? she thought to herself with a frown on her pretty face.
“It was probably just a cat.” she said, trying to reassure herself. Yet she got the impression that someone was out there. She had the faintest feeling that she was being watched. She swallowed hard, fighting back the urge to go outside and investigate. She stood at the window for a few minutes longer, trying to spot something out of the ordinary. But the night was quiet once more. Weird. she thought to herself with one last glance out the window before she headed back towards the bathroom.
The next morning, Darcy found herself once more at her store. It was very early. The sun was just beginning to rise as she stood outside her store. The opening was soon and there were just a few final adjustments to be made. Darcy was excited. She was ready to start making some money and to share her creativity with the town. With a smile, Darcy made her way to the door, unlocked it, pushed the door open and stepped inside. The door swung shut behind her as she took a few steps deeper into the store. Letting the light from outside guide her, she made her way towards a display when something caught her eye. A splash of red on the wall. Slowly, her eyes adjusting, Darcy found herself moving for a closer look. There was something scrawled on the mirror.
SOON. A message, scrawled on the mirror in blood red paint. Or at least Darcy thought it was paint. She didn’t have the desire to check. But it brought a shiver of fear down her spine. Someone had broken into the store, and left her something to find. She knew it was for her, the store wasn’t even open for the public yet and she hadn’t even hired staff. She felt extremely uncomfortable. a sense of dread came over her as she looked at the message once more. SOON.