Darcy was floating. She wanted to awake, but couldn’t seem to open her eyes. Her body felt like it was falling through a vast sea of darkness. Yet something tugged at the back of her subconsious. She knew she wasn’t dead. That she hadn’t died in the bathroom of the store she owned. That she had somehow escaped what seemed like endless amounts of smoke, pumping into the small room through a vent in the wall. She had been locked inside, struggling with the door that didn’t want to open. The last thing she remembered was screaming, and then everything went dark. Now, her senses began to return to her as she stirred. A soft moan escaping from her lips as her eyelids fluttered.
The first thing she felt was the soft night breeze caressing her face. And then her hearing, distorted at first but becoming clearer. She could hear a voice calling her name. A male’s voice, unfamiliar. And then her eyes fluttered open, her vision blurry. She blinked hard, once, twice, clearing her vision as she realized she was lying down on a hard surface. With a groan, she sat up, taking in her surroundings. She realized she was sitting out on the bench in front of her clothing store. Her throat burned, a hacking cough escaping her lips. She wondered just how much smoke she had inhaled, locked in the bathroom. Darcy heard her name being called again, and she looked up, realizing someone was standing before her. A guy, tall with dark hair shaved close to the scalp. He had dark eyes that were peering at her with worry.
She had no idea who he was, she had never seen him before. Her eyes widened as he reached out for her. Darcy jerked back, letting out a small gasp. Sensing her fear, the guy raised his hands in defense.
“Hey! It’s okay! I’m Campbell. Campbell Roe. I know Scott and Blake, Fallon’s roommates?” he explained to Darcy.
Another hacking cough escaped Darcy’s lips before she spoke. “What are you doing here?” she asked, a frown creasing her forehead.
“I came by to introduce myself. I could hear you screaming for help from upstairs.” Campbell revealed.
The events of what happened flashed through Darcy’s mind like a broken picture show. “I couldn’t get out.” she said softly, fighting back tears.
“I know. Someone had wedged a chair under the doorknob. You’re very lucky I came by when I did. You must have passed out by the time I got the door open.” he told her.
“What about my store?” Darcy asked with wide eyes, her voice dripping with worry.
“Just some minor smoke damage to one of the storage rooms. I heard the firemen talking, the fuse box was tampered with. That’s what caused all the smoke. They just left, and the ambulance and the police are on their way.” Campbell explained.
The realization hit Darcy hard. “Someone tried to kill me.” she found herself blurting out.
Campbell had a serious glint in his eyes as he nodded softly. “They would have if I hadn’t come along. Are you sure you’re okay?”he asked her, staring at her with concern.
“My throat feels like it’s on fire. And my head is pounding.” Darcy revealed.
“You must have hit your head when you passed out. You have a little..” he trailed off, motioning to her face.
That’s when Darcy realized there was a small trickle of blood that seeped out from her nose. She wiped at it quickly.
“Can I give you a ride home after we deal with the calvary?” Campbell asked her.
“That’s nice of you. Thanks.” she replied. They waited in silence, listening to the sirens approaching in the distance.
The rest of the night passed uneventfully. Hours passed, and the town of West Valley went to sleep. The streets were silent, void of life. In front of the Olsen house, the soft stridulating of the crickets was the only sound that could be heard. Despite all it’s residents, the house was silent. Inside, was the matriarch, Regina. A widow of fifteen years when her husband had died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Sharing the house with her was her eldest daughter, Dawn. A single mother of two boys, Charlie, a teenager, and Finn, a child. Also sharing the house with them was Dawn’s younger brother, Michael, and his girlfriend, Claire. It was a full house, with the house being so large, they all had their own space. Each family member had his or her own room, with the exception of Michael and Claire, who shared a bedroom. The basement had been turned into a little apartment, which they called their love nest.
It was dark in Dawn’s room. The only source of light was the faint green glow of her digital alarm clock. She lay on her side under a mountain of covers. She was breathing shallowly, asleep until suddenly, with no warning, her eyes snapped open. What had woken her, she couldn’t pinpoint. With a sigh, she sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She turned to look at the alarm clock, wondering what time it was. The faint glow of the clock revealed it was four fifteen in the morning. A groan escaped Dawn’s lips as she pushed the covers aside and got to her feet. On bare feet, she padded across the room, not bothering to turn on the light. She reached the bedroom door and pulled it open. Not wanting to wake anyone, she quietly made her way out of her room and into the hallway. She made her way through the dark, and descended the stairs to the main floor of the house.
Since she was up, Dawn figured she might as well grab a bite to eat or even a glass of water. She made her way through the dark, heading towards the kitchen. That’s when she stopped suddenly, something catching her eyes. There was someone there, in the dark. A frown creased her face when she saw that it was her mother, asleep on the couch. This wasn’t the first time Dawn had came across this. And yet she still rolled her eyes in annoyance. She was about to go over and wake her mother up, when a shadowy figure slinked up behind her. Dawn felt the presence, and spun around with a soft gasp.
“Oh, god. What’s up with your mom medicating herself and downing eight gin and tonics before she goes to sleep?” the other figure asked. Dawn realized it was just her sister-in-law, Claire. She saw the blonde bombshell was dressed in a thin, short nighty. Dawn wondered if Claire could see her rolling her eyes in response.
“It’s because the anniversary of my father’s death is coming up.” Dawn explained.
“Why is she still dwelling on that? It happened fifteen years ago.” Claire said.
Anger flared in Dawn, as she fought back the urge to throw her hand out and slap her sister-in-law. “Maybe because he was her husband? And he died without warning? And there was nothing to do to save him in time?” Dawn said through gritted teeth. Her father’s death had been very traumatic for the whole family. Dawn felt like it had happened just yesterday, even though many years had passed.
“I still think she shouldn’t be passing out on the couch like a drunk.” Claire said with a sneer on her face. “Anyway, why are you up? Did Michael and I wake you? I swear, your brother is a freak in bed.” Claire said with a smirk.
That’s not what Dawn wanted to hear. “First of all, eww. Second of all, too much information! And third, you didn’t wake me.” she explained to Claire. Michael had had girlfriends before, but Claire was the first one that got under Dawn’s skin. She was too cheerful, too open and too much of a party girl for Dawn’s liking. She had no idea what Michael saw in her. And the fact that Claire was living under the same roof as them didn’t help either. Dawn’s boys, Charlie and Finn, thought Claire was so much fun. It really boggled Dawn’s mind.
As Claire went to sit down at the kitchen counter, another figure came into view. Dawn’s oldest son, Charlie. He was dressed in athletic attire and Dawn found herself frowning when he walked into the room. It was a little too early for him to be awake. It was a school day, but class didn’t start for another four hours. He took in the two female’s choice of sleepwear.
“Eww! Mom, Aunt Claire, put some clothes on!” he told them with a grimace on his handsome face.
“Oh please, Charlie! Like you haven’t spied on me changing before, you big perv!” Claire joked.
“Why are you awake? And where do you think you’re going dressed at this hour?” Dawn asked, crossing her arms over her chest as she glared accusingly at her son.
“I’m heading over to the track field. Gonna run some laps before football practice this morning.” Charlie answered.
Dawn softened, seemingly pleased with Charlie’s explanation. “Oh. Okay.” she told him.
Claire stood up from her seat. “Since I’m already awake, why don’t I drive you? Just let me change into something more decent.” she told Charlie.
“Thanks, aunt Claire.” Charlie said with a smile.
“No problemo. And Dawn, why don’t you try waking up your mom? Sleeping on the couch probably isn’t doing wonders for her back. Maybe you can get her into bed?” Claire asked before dissappearing to change her clothes.
Dawn didn’t want to admit it, but Claire was right. “I’ll be outside. See you later, mom!” Charlie said as he headed to the front door. He unlocked it, pulled it open and stepped out onto the porch, closing the door behind him. With a sigh, Dawn made her way over to the couch where her mother was sleeping.
“Mom? Mom, wake up!” Dawn whispered, giving her mother’s shoulder a gentle shake. The older woman stirred, opening her eyes. She looked up at the worried face of her daughter. She sat up quickly, alert.
“Dawn!? What is it, dear? Is everything alright?” her mother asked in alarm.
Dawn smiled softly in return. “Everything’s fine. But it’s not comfortable sleeping on the couch like that. Wouldn’t you rather sleep in your own bed?” she asked her mother.
“Well now that I’m awake, I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to sleep.” her mother revealed.
“Is everything alright, mom?” Dawn asked.
A sad look came over her mother’s face. “I just miss your father. With the anniversary of his passing coming up, it’s tough.” she explained to Dawn, who nodded in agreement. “Everything here reminds me of him. Our bed, this couch, especially this spot.” her mother explained, patting the empty space beside her. “Even this house! We bought it at quite the bargain, considering what happened here..” she explained, and then she tensed, a frown playing on her face. As if she had said too much.
Dawn frowned. “What do you mean, what happened here?” she asked curiously.
A nervous smile curled the corners of Regina’s lips as she let out a chuckle. “Oh, don’t mind me, my brain must still be in sleep mode.” she told Dawn, looking away uncomfortably.
“Mom?” Dawn pried, a feeling of unease coming over her.
Regina sighed deeply in response, turning to meet Dawn’s gaze. “Do you remember the house we used to live in?” she asked her daughter.
“You mean that shack you called a house? That had five rooms in total?” Dawn remembered, thinking back to her youth.
“Right! Remember how happy you and your brother were when we moved into here?” Regina asked.
“Mom! Just get to the point, would you?” Dawn said impatiently.
“Well your father and I got this house at such a bargain because this used to be the house where the Covington’s lived.” her mother explained.
Dawn’s eyes went wide in surprise. “As in Mayor Covington, his wife Emma and their son, Brandon?” she asked. Regina nodded slowly in reply. “As in the house where Brandon killed his own father?” Dawn asked. Regina nodded again, embarrassed. “Oh my god, mom! How’d you keep a secret like that from us for all these years?” Dawn cried.
“It never came up! We never spoke about it and you and your brother loved this place so much!” her mother answered, blushing.
A memory suddenly came back to Dawn, and she felt like she needed to ask about it. “All those weird looks people gave you when they came over to the house? They were about living here, wasn’t it?” she asked, fearing she already knew the answer.
Dawn was still surprised when her mother nodded in response. “I thought so.” she said to her mother. Her eyes widened again as another thought came to mind. “Brandon Covington stabbed his father nineteen times in his bedroom. Whose bedroom is that now?” Dawn asked warily.
“You loved that bedroom.” her mother said simply, indirectly answering the question.
Dawn felt sick to her stomach as she jumped to her feet. “Are you fucking kidding me? It happened in my room? No way! We have a few vacant rooms, I’m moving my stuff into one of them.” she cried before she stormed away. Her mother remained seated on the couch, watching helplessly.
It was another beautiful day in West Valley. The sun was shining in a clear blue sky. The adults were off to work, young adults off to classes, and the teenagers and children were off to school. The town was in a seemingly good mood, trying to move past the recent death of Richard Jacks. At the home of Jeremy Ashford, every day started the same. He would be woken by the ring of his alarm clock, which he would turn off with a heavy hand. He would then lay in bed for a few minutes longer, staring at the ceiling, listening to the world outside his bedroom window. Lawnmowers ran, people walked and talked along the sidewalk, children would board the schoolbus. It always brought a smile to Jeremy’s face. West Valley was very different than Hollywood, where hearing noises like that were rare, if not nonexistant.
Jeremy would then rise from the bed, usually only dressed in a pair of tight boxer briefs. He was very comfortable with his body. You had to be when you were an actor, like himself. You had to stay in shape, certain roles required some kind of partial nudity. It wasn’t uncommon for him to have to take his shirt off in a casting session. Or to strip down to his skivvies. It had made him feel exposed at first, but after having to do it so many times that he lost count, he became indifferent to it. He would then drop to the bedroom floor, proceeding to do two hundred push-ups and two hundred sit-ups. Even if he wasn’t acting, he would have used this routine to stay in shape.
After his workout, Jeremy headed out of the bedroom and towards the bathroom. He liked the house he had bought in West Valley. It was on the small side, the perfect size for one person. He also liked the people he had met so far. The image of Ruby came to mind and he couldn’t help the small smile that played on his face. She interested him and he couldn’t wait to get to know her more. Once in the bathroom, he made his way over to the shower. He turned it on, finding the right water temperature before he stripped down, and hopped into the shower, closing the glass door behind him. He let the warm water rain down on him, thinking about what errands he had to do that day. He had to call his agent, who was in Hollywood at the moment. After that, he had an audition to do over Skype. And for later on in the day, he had to learn more lines and meet with the director of Following Lust, Dalton White.
I hope I can find some time to get together with Ruby. Jeremy thought to himself once he had gotten out of the shower. He got dressed, and made his way to the kitchen. His stomach rumbling, he stepped over to the fridge, pulling the door open and peering inside for something to eat for breakfast. He saw yogurt, bread, cheese, and eggs. Jeremy reached for the eggs, when the ringing of the doorbell distracted him. He closed the fridge and made his way over to the front door, wondering who was ringing his doorbell this early in the morning. Unlocking the front door, he grabbed the knob and turned it, pulling the door open and looking out to the figure on the front porch.
“Everly?” Jeremy said, breaking into a wide grin as he stepped outside. Standing on the porch, looking somewhat bored, was Everly Martin. His co-star, and friend. They had known each other for years and this was their sixth movie that they were working together on. She was a knockout of a beauty, clad in a short dress, that had it been any shorter, would have been deemed inapropriate. She was known to the world for her wild, party girl ways. It wasn’t uncommon to find a story of her latest antics in all the tabloid magazines. Throwing tantrums, sleeping with married men, wearing no underwear, being carried out of clubs dead drunk, showing up late for scenes. You name it, Everly did it.
“Oh my god, sweetie. Is this where you’re living?!” Everly said in greeting, not bothering to say hello. A grimace played on her face as she studied the outside of the house. “This is a four hundred percent downgrade of the house you used to live in back in Hollywood.” she said to Jeremy. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you can do better! What is this shack?” Everly asked, her nose in the air.
Jeremy shook his head in reply, used to her bluntness. “I like it. It’s good enough for me.” he told her.
“Does it even have electricity?” Everly asked, cocking an eyebrow in Jeremy’s direction. “God forbid if you have to walk around with one of those oil lanterns, like they did in the olden days.” she said.
A laugh escaped Jeremy’s lips. “You’ll get used to West Valley.” he told her with a smile.
“I didn’t realize it was out in the middle of bumfuck nowhere!” she told him. “Like I’m pretty sure the theatre downtown is playing Showgirls, on first run!” she said with another grimace on her face. “It’s a good thing that I’m working with you, and that I’m getting payed a ridiculous amount of money for this movie. Or else I wouldn’t even DREAM of setting foot in this town!” Everly explained with her nose in the air.
“Do you want to come in?” Jeremy asked.
“I catch a cold by just walking into a room, sometimes. If I walk into that house, pretty sure I’ll catch leprosy or something like that.” Everly replied warily. She ticked her gaze back to Jeremy and gave him a playful wink. “I wish I could stay, but my assistant just dropped me off to say hello. She should be back any second now to pick me up.” Everely explained, peering down the street.
“Your assistant with the coke habit?” Jeremy asked, arching an eyebrow.
“She went to find someplace to do some lines. I’d say something about how often she does it, but she’s pretty much my slave, so.” Everly explained, shrugging her shoulders.
As they spoke, Everly and Jeremy were unaware that they were being watched. Across the street and at a distance, someone watched the two actors talking. A figure dressed all in black. Someone who was planning, and plotting. Someone who had caused two deaths, and who would cause many more.
Owen found himself downtown. It was mid-day, and Main Street was a hubbub of activity. It was his day off from work, and it was so nice out, Owen didn’t feel like staying in the house. Everything there reminded him of Felicia. The kitchen, where she cooked, and where she was found dead with a knife stabbed in her eye. The living room, where Felicia would watch television, cooking shows, talkshows, the news. It was hard for him to sleep in the bedroom. Felicia’s side of the bed would remain vacant. Sometimes, Owen would reach out for her, and then the harsh reality of feeling the empty space beside him would hit him like a ton of bricks. His wife was dead, brutally murdered. He felt a great sense of guilt, that he would have to live and rebuild his life, while Felicia was buried six feet deep in the ground.
Owen wasn’t sure what had led him to Surge, the club that he worked at, owned by Ellie. Maybe somewhere in his subconcious, he hoped to run into her. They now had more in common, they both had lost someone they loved. The murder of Ellie’s father, Richard Jacks, had come as a great shock to Owen. It was all over the news and it had left Owen numb. As if he had been submerged in icy cold water. With Felicia’s murder, he thought it had been an isolated incident. But two weeks later, Richard had been killed, and Owen wasn’t so sure anymore. He hadn’t seen Ellie since. She had a lot on her plate, so much that she hadn’t come to work in a few days. Which Owen understood. She was probably experiencing what he had. The interrogation from the detectives, visiting the body in the morgue, planning the funeral. Owen had done all that, something he never wanted to do again.
Owen made his way to the door, pushing it open and stepping inside the club, the door swinging shut behind him. During the day, people would come to drink and relax and socialize, while at night, it was all about the dancing and the partying. There weren’t many people inside Surge that day, which was fine by him. He waved to the bartender working behind the bar, and made his way over to the seating area. He plopped down on the couch, his eyes scanning the room. Owen himself was a bartender at Surge. He had lost his job as a sous-chef and needed to find a job quickly.
Since he had a past with Ellie, and she owned the club, he asked her if she could help him out. Which she did, and before he knew it, he was the newest employee at the club. The first few days were challenging, but now he had gotten the hang of it. He had had a few mishaps in the short time working there. Giving the wrong drinks to the wrong people, and accidently setting off the fire alarm, which Ellie wasn’t too happy about. Remembering it now, it brought a faint smile to Owen’s face. That’s when someone crossed his line of sight. Standing near the bar, was Ellie. It was hard to miss her with her fiery red hair. Owen was surprised to see her, and found himself jumping to his feet. He hurried across the floor, over to where she was standing.
“Ellie? What are you doing here?” Owen asked her.
She turned to look at him, a brief smile on her lips. “Just here to pick up some cheques.” she explained.
“Ellie, I don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry about your dad! He was a wonderful man.” Owen told her.
Owen could tell she was trying not to cry. She bit down on her lip and nodded. “Thanks. That means a lot.” Ellie told him. “I have to run. I have a funeral to plan. And I shouldn’t leave my mom alone. She’s really fragile right now.” she explained to Owen.
“No need to explain. Go. And take care of yourself, okay?” Owen told her with a warm smile. Ellie nodded, gave a little wave and headed off for the exit. Owen watched her go, before turning to the bar. I need a drink. he thought to himself.
Very rarely did Julie lose track of time. But she had been distracted, so which is why she was confused when she saw Megan come in from a long day of school. Julie had been worried about their father. The murder of Richard Jacks had sent the police force into a frenzy. It was the second murder in a matter of weeks, with the first murder still not resolved. Harrison was stressed, working hard to come up with something substancial. A witness, fingerprints, the murder weapon that had gone missing, anything that could lead them to the killer. But there was nothing. The killer was a genius at covering his or her tracks. That’s what Julie’s father had said. Julie had spent the morning being domestic. Cleaning the house, picking up a few groceries, baking some red velvet cookies that she knew Megan loved. Now, she was tired, and to relax, she plopped herself down on the couch.
She didn’t bother turning on the television, as the silence of the house was a comfort to her. But now, with Megan walking in, Julie snapped to attention as her sister sat down in an arm chair.
“Home, sweet home.” Megan said.
“How was your day?” Julie asked, ticking her gaze to the clock to see what time it was.
“It was long. Six hours of my life I’ll never get back.” Megan replied halfheartedly. “If only they could reduce the school day to three hours, that would be great!” she continued.
Julie chuckled in reply. “Wanna switch?” she asked Megan. “I’d love to be the one going to school. And you can be the one stuck at home.” she told her sister.
“I don’t know how you do it. I’d go mad if I were in your situation.” Megan said, sympathetic.
“Well someone’s got to do it. And you’re still young, you shouldn’t have to worry about that stuff.” Julie explained.
“I just wish mom would get her shit together and come back.” Megan said. Julie could tell her sister missed their mother. Julie missed her too, she was getting tired of being the mother figure.
“Who knows, maybe one day!” Julie said hopefully.
“Yeah, not holding my breath on that one.”Megan answered softly with a scoff.
“With the murders and all, maybe it’s a good thing mom’s staying away.” Julie explained. She caught the icy stare Megan gave her. “I mean, wouldn’t you be worried about her? They still haven’t found the killer. And dad’s working nonstop, he’s so stressed to solve the crimes.” she explained to Megan.
“Whose to say there’s going to be more murders?” Megan asked. “For all we know, that could be it. They could find evidence tomorrow, and find the person responsible, and everything would go back to normal!” Megan said, a hopeful glint in her eye.
“Mom’s been gone for two years, Megan. If she wanted to come back, she already would have. She hasn’t even tried to reach us! It’s not that hard to pick up a phone. You need to realize that maybe mom doesn’t want to come back.” Julie told her sister.
Megan was about to respond when the ringing of the phone cut her off. It took Julie a moment to realize the ringing was coming from her phone. She found it, and clicked it on.
“Hello?” Julie said into the phone.
There was a moment of silence, and then someone spoke. A distorted voice. “Hello?” the voice replied. Julie raised an eyebrow, while Megan looked on curiously.
“Yes?” Julie asked.
“Who is this?” the voice on the other end of the line asked. Julie frowned.
“You called me, who’s this?” she asked. She turned to Megan and silently shrugged her shoulders.
“Who is it?” Megan whispered.
“This is someone who’s done a very bad thing. Two very bad things, actually.” the distorted voice said with a malicious laugh.
Julie didn’t have to think too hard at what the caller could have meant. She could feel her heart racing in her chest. “Is this some kind of a sick joke?” she asked.
“You wish it were a joke. I can’t stop doing bad things. More people are going to die. Maybe you, maybe your sister.” the voice on the other end of the line said.
Julie’s eyes went wide. Not only was the caller threatening her, he was threatening Megan as well.
“Listen asshole, our dad’s a cop. And you sure as shit can believe we’re going to have this call traced!” Julie said, her fear turning into anger.
“You try that. It’ll lead you to a nice, confused elderly woman named Yvonne who lives with her twelve cats.” the voice said with another omnious laugh.
“What do you want?” Julie asked angrily.
“I want you to choose. Who dies first? You, or your sister?” the distorted voice asked.
“You leave my sister out of this, you sicko!” Julie seethed into the phone.
“That’s not the answer I was looking for. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to do the choosing. See you soon, Julie!” the voice rasped before hanging up.
Julie hung up, her anger turning back to fear. “Who was that? What’s going on?” Megan asked anxiously.
“Are the doors locked?” Julie asked before she moved, making her way over to the window to peer out into the sunny afternoon. Megan stepped up beside her.
“They are. Who was that??!” Megan asked again.
“I’m not sure. And I don’t want to find out.” Julie answered, staring out the window.
Isabel Marcus slammed the door shut behind her. She needed to get out of the house. Usually, she didn’t mind the fact that she shared a house with four of her friends. But today was different. She was angry. It all started innocently enough. She and her housemate Wendy Elliott were sitting watching television. Their eyes glued to the screen at a reality show about women giving birth. It was fascinating, and horrific at the same time. Wendy watched with a frown on her face, while Isabel winced at the scene unfolding on the screen. Their housemate Adam Raines had wandered into the room, drawn by the noise on the television. Isabel didn’t make eye contact with him, which Wendy noticed with a silent look. She didn’t say anything as all three housemates watched the show. That was until Adam made a comment about how painful childbirth looked.
Wendy scoffed, and turned to look at Isabel with a smirk. Isabel knew what she was thinking, and before she could stop her, Wendy blurted out about how she had found a home pregnancy test in Isabel’s room. Adam paled, turning to look at Isabel with wide eyes. She knew what he was thinking. A while ago, a night of innocent drinking had lead to Adam and Isabel hooking up. Wendy had seen them go upstairs, Adam leading Isabel to his bedroom. The day after, Isabel had confided in Wendy, giving her the details about their night together. They had a good laugh and thought nothing of it until Isabel began experiencing morning sickness. She and Wendy had promised to keep it between themselves, and Isabel had gone out to buy a pregnancy test. It wasn’t before long she had her answer.
She was pregnant with Adam’s baby. Isabel was shocked, so she stayed quiet. She didn’t want to believe it. But now, the secret was out and she needed to be alone. To have time to think about what she was going to do next. She stalked down the sidewalk. The late afternoon sun shone down on her as she made her way downtown. She ignored her surroundings, her eyes set and determined as she walked. Anger coursed through her veins as the image of Wendy telling Adam flashed through her mind. She and Wendy usually got along just fine. Isabel thought Wendy was pretty fun. A little hot-headed, but outspoken with a sense of humor.
Isabel wondered what her family would say when they found out. They lived in Redwood, which was about an hour away from West Valley. Isabel would go visit them once in a while, her parents, and her older brother, Chad. With a sigh, Isabel found herself downtown. It was busy, people coming in and out of stores and restaurants. Standing infront of her favorite lounge, Isabel found a vacant table outside. She pulled the chair back and sat down, lost in her thoughts.
I should go see a doctor as soon as possible. she thought to herself. She sat at the table, watching people run about around her. She was one of those people just weeks before. She was always keeping busy, out doing something. But life had different plans for her. It had come suddenly, unexpectedly. Isabel shook her head. She was twenty years old, what did she know about babies? She knew nothing about being a mother. She wanted to cry, tears threatening to overflow from her eyes. But she blinked them back, willing them away.
“Isabel?” said a voice.
Isabel recognized that voice, looking up to see Adam standing by the table.
“How’d you find me?” she asked with a frown creasing her pretty face.
“Lucky guess. I thought maybe you would head downtown, I was right.” Adam revealed. Isabel noticed the serious glint in his eye.
“Why are you here?” she asked.
“You know why. Is it true? Are you carrying my baby?” he asked.
“We should have been more careful. We should have never hooked up.” Isabel said softly in reply.
“You’re right. I’m not ready to be a father. I don’t even think I want kids!” Adam revealed as he sat down at the table.
Isabel wasn’t surprised by his answer. She knew Adam enough to know that children wasn’t something he cared about. He couldn’t even commit to a single girl. He liked playing the field and liked having casual sex. Isabel knew that’s all she was to him. A one night stand. Looking back, she remembered enjoying it, but now the consequences were far too serious. When she was a little girl, she couldn’t wait to grow up, get married and have a family of her own. But now that the opportunity was here, she was terrified.
“Are you going to have this baby?” Adam asked her with a frown.
“I don’t know yet.” Isabel replied.
“I don’t think you should.” Adam replied quickly.
Isabel shot him a disgusted look. “Let me go see a doctor first, okay?” she asked.
“I can drive you to your appointment. But maybe you should make it sooner than later.” Adam explained.
“I will. Okay? I just need time to think.” Isabel said with a frown.
Darcy sighed as she locked the door to her store. She ticked her gaze to the sign in the window which read ;
SORRY, WE ARE CLOSED.
REOPENING IN A FEW DAYS.
Darcy felt like she needed some time to herself. She had decided to close the store for a few days. It was an ugly reminder of what had happened there the night before. She thought a few days away to gather her thoughts and keep her mind off of things would help. The thought had come to her while she was at home, sitting on the couch watching the television. So she rose from the couch, left the house, locking the door behind her and walked to Main Street. As she approached the store, the events of the night before flashed again through her memory. It came involuntarily, and made her shudder in fear. Someone out there tried to kill her, she had no idea who or why.
Once she had reached her store, she let herself in, the afternoon light flooding in from behind her. Her eyes scanned her surroundings, nothing seemed out of place. Everything seemed just the way she had left it. Another shudder of fear racked her body as she let the door close behind her, and she headed for the stairs. She stopped at the bottom step, looking up to the second floor with her heart beating a little faster in her chest. She sucked in a deep breath of air, and ascended. Once she reached the second floor landing, Darcy found herself moving towards the door of one of the storage rooms.
Darcy hesitated at the doorway of the room, taking another deep breath before stepping inside. She wrinkled her nose, it still smelled like smoke. There were a few black streaks on the wall, and the fusebox was smashed, but that was the only damage done to the room. Darcy bit gently on her bottom lip before exiting the room. She took a quick glance in the bathroom she had been locked into. It didn’t look any different from the night before, she made her way back down the stairs to the main floor of the store. She made her way behind the counter where she stood there for a few minutes, making a sign to inform customers the store would be closed for a few days.
Once she had put the sign up, Darcy walked out of the store and locked it up. She took one final glance at her workplace before she continued moving. Dusk was drawing close, yet Darcy didn’t feel the need to go home right away. I’ll browse for a bit. she thought to herself as she moved down the sidewalk. As she walked, Darcy thought about Campbell. He had saved her. She was thankful, and lucky he had shown up when he did. If she had been in that bathroom any longer, she would have suffocated and died. Darcy rubbed at the goosebumps on her arms. Trying to will away the chill that ran down her spine.
Campbell had waited for her while she answered questions from the police and the detectives. He looked on in concern while the paramedics checked her over. Once they told her she was clear to go, Campbell gave her a ride home. She didn’t want to be alone, so she invited him in. They sat on the couch, drinking hot tea and talking, losing track of time. It was almost two in the morning by the time Campbell left, giving Darcy a goodnight kiss on the cheek. She had watched from the window as Campbell got into his car, and drove off into the night. Making sure the windows and doors were locked, Darcy headed to bed after.
Darcy stopped to peer at some outdoor plants when someone called her name.
“Darcy? Darcy Adkins?” the voice said. Darcy looked up to see someone approaching. A female. There was a slight look of confusion on Darcy’s face before the corner of her lips curled up in a smile.
“Tammy? Tammy Coleman, is that you?” Darcy asked.
“It is! Darcy, what are you doing here?” Tammy asked.
“I live here now. What are you doing here?” Darcy asked the other girl.
“I’m just coming from work! I was substitute teaching at West Valley High!” Tammy explained.
“So you finally became a teacher?! That’s great! I haven’t seen you in years!” Darcy said.
Darcy and Tammy had known each other in high school. They were both on the student council commitee. Tammy had been class vice-president, while Darcy had been treasurer. They had a few classes together and had become close. After graduation, Tammy had left to attend college in Oasis Springs. They had kept in touch through email, but after a while they had drifted apart. Darcy was surprised to see Tammy now, standing before her. She hadn’t changed much since the last time Darcy had seen her, she was a little older now.
“So last I heard you were living in Newcrest. What happened?” Tammy asked curiously.
Darcy didn’t feel like talking about things she was trying to forget, so she shrugged in reply. “I just needed a change. I needed to be out on my own. I’ve been here for about three weeks now.” she explained to Tammy.
“Well I live two towns over in Rocky Brook, and let me tell you, I was so surprised to see you walking down this sidewalk. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me!” Tammy replied with a chuckle.
Darcy chuckled back in response. “Since we’re standing in front of this restaurant, do you want to do dinner? Catch up?” she asked Tammy.
“I would love to! I’m famished!” Tammy said with a smile.
Darcy motioned for Tammy to follow her as they made their way to the door leading inside. Pulling the door open, Darcy stepped inside, Tammy following close behind. After being assured they didn’t need reservations, a host guided them to a table. The two girls sat down across from each other.
“So, are you married?” Tammy asked Darcy.
It was another question Darcy didn’t want to answer. “No, I’m not married. How about you?” she asked Tammy.
“Soon to be. I’ll be tying the knot next month.” Tammy revealed proudly, her eyes shining with excitement.
“Oh wow, that’s great! Is it the same guy you were dating in high school? What was his name? Alex Young?” Darcy asked.
A laugh escaped Tammy’s lips. “You remember that! Yes, Alex and I are getting married! You should come to the wedding!” Tammy said.
A slight smile played on Darcy’s face. “Well, if you still have my email address, email me the details. I’d gladly come!” she told Tammy.
“Before we order drinks, I need to use the restroom. I’ll be right back!” Tammy said as she got up from her seat, pushed the chair back and headed for the restroom.
Now that she had a moment alone, Darcy frowned. Tammy’s innocent questions about her life had Darcy remembering why she had come to West Valley in the first place. Her engagement was off, catching her fiancee in bed with her best friend. She had left Newcrest to get away from that. She knew Tammy had no clue about what had happened, yet it had brought up memories Darcy was trying to forget. She let out a soft sigh, waiting for Tammy to return from the restroom. The sound of glass breaking met Darcy’s ears. At first she thought someone had dropped a glass or a plate in the restaurant’s kitchen. But then another noise was heard. It was loud, and it made Darcy’s hair stand on end. She looked around with a frown creasing her forehead. And then she heard it again. She realized it was a scream.
Darcy found herself standing up, sliding her chair back. She followed the sound, hearing more blood curling screams. Her heart pounded wildly in her chest as she found herself approaching the restroom door.
Suddenly, the restroom door slammed open and Tammy staggered out. Darcy took in the other girl’s appearance and couldn’t help the scream that escaped from her lips. Tammy looked like something out of a horror movie. She had blood splattered on her face, along with black streaks of mascara. The outside of her eyes were rimmed with bright scarlet. Darcy thought she was going to pass out when she saw Tammy’s eyes. They were covered in bright red veins. Darcy grasped the wall while Tammy let out another bloodcurling scream.
“What happened?!” Darcy cried.
“HELP ME! I can’t see! HELP!” Tammy screamed in response.
“Tammy, please! What happened?! Did someone do this to you?!” Darcy asked.
“Someone came into the restroom right behind me! He was dressed all in black! I couldn’t see his face, it was hidden!” Tammy was able to say before letting out another scream, horror mixed with pain. “I’M BLIND! I can’t see!” she shrieked.
“What did he do to you?!” Darcy cried.
“He..he smashed something in m-my face! A bottle, I think. There was something inside it! It went all over my face and it burns! Oh god please! IT BURNS!” Tammy screamed in reply.
“Someone call 911!” Darcy shouted.
“He t-told me to give you a m-message!” Tammy said. Darcy felt her blood run cold.
“A message? For me?” Darcy said with wide eyes.
“He t-told me to tell you ‘you’re going to w-wish you died in that bathroom.'” Tammy explained.
Darcy felt like she had been punched in the stomach.
“What d-does that mean?” Tammy asked before letting out another scream.
Darcy couldn’t answer. All she could do was stare in silence.