A bedroom door in the upstairs hallway of the Workman home opened, and Hanna stuck her head out. She listened carefully for the noise that had disturbed her sleep. It was almost four in the morning. Hanna had been asleep for almost five hours now, but the constant noise coming from the other room had woken her. Pulling the covers back, she stepped out of the comfort of her own bed and had gone to the door. She stepped out into the upstairs hallway, clicking on the light as she did so. A deep frown creased her pretty face.
It was the third night in a row that she heard the noise, the third night that it had woken her from her sleep. She knew where it was coming from, and she walked quietly on bare feet down the hallway. She blinked back tears as she made her way over to another bedroom door. Seeing it was open, she poked her head into the room. Her little brother Quintin sat quietly on his bed, dressed in his pyjamas. The noise had woken him too, and he looked over sullenly at Hanna as she stepped into the room.
“Mommy’s crying again.” he said matter of factly.
“I know, she woke me up too.” Hanna said with a sympathetic smile.
Three nights had passed since their father’s murder. They had been woken by the doorbell at nearly one in the morning. Stephanie had gone to answer the front door, two police men standing on the other side. They broke the news to her, that her husband had been the latest victim of the West Valley killer. His body had been discovered by a jogger who had taken the path behind the restaurant. The sounds of Stephanie’s cries of anguish woke Hanna and Quintin up, and they had traipsed downstairs to see what all the commotion was about.
Hanna felt numb, like she had been submerged in icy cold water when one of the policemen broke the news to her. All she could do was stare blankly off into space. Quintin had begun sobbing next to her. The policemen asked their mother to come down with them to the morgue to identify the body. It only seemed to make Stephanie break down more. Hanna didn’t know how she mustered up the courage, but her mother had agreed.
They loaded themselves into the family car, Hanna behind the wheel, as they followed the police to the hospital. On any other day, Hanna would have been excited to be driving, since she had recently gotten her driver’s permit. But with her mother in no shape to be driving, Hanna had to accept responsibility and make sure they all got there in one piece. Once at the hospital, Hanna and Quintin had waited in the waiting room while their mother went into the morgue to identify the body. Hanna wished that maybe it had been some kind of mistake, and that their father wasn’t actually dead. That someone else’s body was lying on the cold metal table.
They heard their mother’s scream, and Hanna knew it was no mistake, their father was dead. And he had been murdered. A few minutes later their mother returned, her eyes red rimmed, a stark contrast against the paleness of her skin. Hanna and Quintin had hugged her, squeezing their mother tight. The drive home was silent, uncomfortable. No one spoke, not knowing what to say. Once they got back inside the house, behind the safety of the locked front door, Stephanie had dissappeared into her bedroom. Closing the door behind her.
“Will mommy ever stop crying?” Quintin asked, snapping Hanna out of her thoughts.
“I don’t know, buddy. Maybe not right away. She’s very sad.” she explained to her little brother.
“Why did the bad man kill daddy? It’s not fair!” Quintin asked, rubbing his eyes, trying to hold back the tears that threatened to cascade down his cheeks. “Daddy didn’t do anything wrong!” he explained.
A wave of sadness came over Hanna at her little brother’s words, but she tried to keep a brave face.
“There’s crazy people out there, Quintin. We don’t know what makes them act the way they do.” she tried explaining.
Hanna wondered what had been her father’s last thoughts as the killer strangled him. Had his life flashed before his eyes? Had he thought of his family and how he would never see them again? And what had the killer been thinking as he strangled her father to death? Was he overcome with a sense of happiness? Did he feel powerful taking away another life, and adding to the body count he had already started? Or did he feel nothing at all? Hanna choked back a sob, turning away from her little brother.
“I’m going to miss daddy so much. I liked it when he watched cartoons with me, and made me my favorite banana pancakes.” Quintin revealed.
“I’m going to miss him too. He bought me everything I always wanted.” Hanna said with a deep sigh.
She thought to how she and father had bonded while he was helping her practice her driving. He made it fun, they would listen and sing along to music. Dad won’t see me go to prom, or graduate, or go off to college. He won’t see me get married and have kids. she thought to herself. Hanna struggled to keep her heart from shattering into a thousand pieces.
“Try going back to sleep. We have school in the morning. I’m going to go talk to mom.” Hanna told her little brother. Quintin nodded, and she waited for him until he got back inside the covers of his bed.
Hanna walked out into the hallway, closing Quintin’s bedroom door. A deep sigh escaped her lips, as she made her way towards her parents’ bedroom. Her father was soon going to be sleeping in a coffin buried six feet deep. The funeral was a few days away, and Hanna was absolutely dreading it. Her mother would sleep alone now. Hanna wiped away a few stray tears that ran down her cheek as she grabbed the doorknob and pushed open the bedroom door, stepping inside the room. Her mother was sitting in an arm chair, staring blankly off into space, her face streaked with tears. She didn’t even look up when Hanna entered.
“Mom?” Hanna said softly as she stepped up closer to the armchair.
Her mother raised her head, looking over at her daughter. “Hanna, what are you doing up? It’s late.” Stephanie asked with a frown.
“I..came to check on you.” Hanna replied.
“Did I wake you? I’m so sorry, honey. I just… I can’t believe he’s gone!” her mother said with a sniffle.
“Me too.” Hanna said simply.
“His own parents outlived him. They couldn’t even talk when I called them and told them. They’ll be here for the funeral.” Stephanie revealed.
She was doing all the planning for her husband’s funeral, refusing to ask for help. Olivia Cosgrove, Skye’s mom had reached out to help, which Hanna found weird. The two women were usually competing against each other and didn’t get along very well. Under different circumstances, Hanna would have been thrilled that her grandparents, her father’s parents were coming to visit. They were down to earth and fun, just like their son. Hanna couldn’t imagine what they were feeling, discovering that their son had been killed.
“Oh, honey! What are we going to do?” her mother asked, her eyes overflowing as tears ran down her cheeks once more. She looked so helpless as Hanna bent down and hugged her tight. Stephanie held on to her daughter as sobs racked her body. Hanna wished she had an answer for her.
Thomas stifled a yawn as he made his way down the stairs to the main floor of the house. It was morning, and he had been up for quite some time already. He made his way over to sit down on the couch. Picking up the remote control, he turned on the television. The news, WVNC, was still talking about the murder of Frankie Workman. Thomas was still in disbelief that Frankie was dead. That the killer had not been caught. It was a little bit past a month since the murders had started.
Thomas sighed to himself as he turned off the television. He stood up, and made his way into the kitchen. He made his way over to the counter, and turned on the coffee machine. This will wake me up. he thought to himself while waiting for the coffee to brew. He gazed out the kitchen window, to another beautiful day outside. He didn’t have much planned for the day. He wondered what Campbell would be up to. His brother was still upstairs sleeping. He had come home late from spending time with Darcy.
Despite what Robin had asked of him, Thomas wasn’t able to keep Campbell and Darcy apart. He just couldn’t do it. His brother was happy. Thomas liked Darcy, she was down to earth and outgoing. Would Robin actually go through with her threat if she didn’t have a second chance with Campbell? Thomas frowned to himself as he poured himself a cup of coffee and gulped it down. He was going to fill up his cup once more when the doorbell rang. Who could that be? he thought to himself as he put the cup down and walked out of the kitchen.
Thomas made his way over to the front door, unlocking it and pulling it open. His eyes widened slightly in surprise as he saw who was standing out on the front porch. Was it a coincidence that the person he was just thinking about was now standing before him? A deep frown creased Thomas’ forehead.
“Robin? What are you doing here so early?” he asked her with a curious glance.
“Good morning to you too!” she replied with a soft chuckle. “Aren’t you going to invite me in?” she asked, arching an eyebrow.
“Umm.. sure. Come in.” Thomas said, standing aside so she could enter. He glanced nervously at the stairs. Had Campbell heard the doorbell? Thomas closed the front door as Robin went to sit down on the couch.
“Robin, what are you doing here?” Thomas asked her again.
“Well, it occured to me that you never kept your promise. I was out for a walk last night, and I was passing by the park, when I saw Campbell and that girl.” Robin said, narrowing her eyes.
“Her name’s Darcy.” Thomas reminded her. Robin flashed him an icy stare.
“I don’t care what her name is. What I care about, is that they’re still together. You were supposed to get her out of the picture, remember?” Robin said with a frown.
“It’s not that easy.” Thomas explained, once more glancing nervously towards the stairs.
“Tsk tsk. I’m dissapointed in you, Thomas.” Robin replied, shaking her head.
“Look, I don’t know why you had to involve me! You can do this on your own!” he explained, sitting down on the couch next to her.
“I guess I’m going to have to. But what will Campbell say when he finds out?” Robin answered.
Suddenly, Robin and Thomas looked up at the sound of footsteps on the stairs. Campbell had come down, and had heard what Robin had said. A deep frown creased his face when he saw Robin sitting on the couch. Thomas looked extremely uncomfortable while Robin just smiled.
“When I found out what?” Campbell asked. He shot Robin an icy stare. What is she doing here? he thought to himself.
“Campbell! Hi!” Robin said, her eyes shining.
Campbell ignored her. “When I find out what?” he repeated, his gaze on Thomas, who looked ready to bolt.
“Do you want to tell him, or should I?” Robin asked, turning to Thomas.
“Tell me what?” Campbell asked warily.
“I.. uhh..we.. I mean..” Thomas stuttered in response.
“Thomas, it’s no big deal! We just slept together.” Robin explained with a shrug.
Thomas paled as he turned to look at his brother. Campbell’s eyes widened in surprise at Robin’s words.
“You slept together? When?” Campbell asked, anger welling up inside of him.
“It’s true. We slept together. When you two were still together.” Thomas explained, looking down, ashamed.
Campbell’s eyes widened as he glared at his brother, and then turned to look at Robin. She was silent, looking up at him curiously. “Get out.” Campbell told Robin.
“Campb..” she said, cut off by Campbell’s sudden shout.
“I said GET THE FUCK OUT!” he yelled at her. She got up, surprised at his sudden outburst. With her nose in the air, she made her way to the front door, opened it and stepped outside, closing the door behind her.
“Campbell, I’m so sorry!” Thomas cried, jumping up to his feet.
“You’re my brother. How could you do this to me?” Campbell asked, seething.
“I’m sorry! It just happened!” Thomas replied, his eyes glinting with regret.
“Were you ever going to tell me?!” Campbell asked, balling his hands into fists.
“I couldn’t! I was scared you were going to hate me.” Thomas explained.
“You’re right. I do hate you! I don’t care if I’m not with her now, you slept with Robin when we were together. My own brother!” Campbell replied.
“She came onto me!” Thomas tried justifying himself.
“I don’t give a shit! You betrayed me. I want you out of this house.” Campbell said, his cheeks red in anger.
“What? Out of this house?” Thomas repeated, his eyes widening.
“You’re not welcome here anymore. You have a week to get rid of your shit and find your own place. If you don’t, we’ll see who the next dead body is.” Campbell threatened as he turned and stalked up the stairs. Thomas watched him in disbelief.
The shrill ring of the alarm clock had woken Fallon. She reached over with a hand and slapped the off button, silencing the clock. With a groan escaping her lips, she sat up. She felt like she had just gone to sleep. She had tossed and turned in bed for hours before she succumbed to a restless sleep. Now, she was wide awake, shielding her eyes from the bright sunshine that lit up her bedroom. She got to her feet and went to peer out the window. It was friday, and the weekend was officially here. She wondered what Darcy was upto, and reminded herself to give her friend a call later on in the day.
Getting dressed, Fallon made her way out into the hallway. As she passed Naomi’s closed bedroom door, she knocked on it before continuing to head towards the kitchen. Her stomach rumbled as she made herself a quick toast and orange juice. She ate quickly, putting the plates in the dishwasher. She caught sight of a note on the fridge, and went over to read it. It was from Scott and Blake, saying they had already woken up and had gone to work out at the gym. They seemed to be doing that a lot these days, so it seemed to Fallon. She made her way out of the kitchen and over to the living room, sitting down on the couch, lost in her thoughts.
Fallon was tempted to turn on the television but she was sure all she would hear about were the murders. She didn’t need to be reminded that four people had lost their lives so far. She was only now starting to think less about Felicia and Owen. They were constantly in her thoughts. She even found herself dreaming about them. Some dreams had been pleasant, some had been nightmares. Fallon would wake up gasping for air, drenched in sweat. The nightmares had seemed so real, as if they were actually reality. Fallon had heard about the death of Frankie Workman. She had seen it on the news, and she had ran to lock herself behind the door of her bedroom.
It was insanity what was going on, and Fallon hadn’t come out until coaxed by Naomi. She didn’t think the murders were ever going to stop. Whoever the killer was, he or she was getting pleasure out of tormenting the town. Fallon thought to how she had heard about Gwen being called by the killer. They played some sick game with her, which had ended with Owen’s murder. Fallon had gone to see Gwen once she had heard about what happened. They had hugged each other, sobbing into each other’s shoulders.
Fallon glanced towards the living room window. Just across the street was the house where Felicia and Owen had lived. Now it was empty, and it was up for sale. There so many good memories from that house, and now if someone new moved in, it was like those memories were being wiped clean. A deep sigh escaped Fallon’s lips. She glanced up at the sound of footsteps. Naomi came into the living room, a small smile on her lips as she sat down next to Fallon.
“Thanks for waking me up. Or else I would have probably slept till noon!” Naomi revealed with a chuckle.
“Well the boys are gone already, off to the gym.” Fallon explained.
“They should just go buy a gun instead of going to work out.” Naomi said, rolling her eyes in annoyance.
Fallon frowned at her friend’s words. “A gun? What do you mean?” she asked curiously.
“You didn’t know? They go to work out in case they ever come across the killer.” Naomi explained.
“WHAT? Do they think it’s smart to take the killer on? Whoever it is, is deeply dangerous!” Fallon cried.
“Hence why they should buy a gun!” Naomi replied.
“I’m going to give them a piece of my mind when they get back!” Fallon revealed.
“They’re guys, they’re hard-headed.” Naomi explained to her friend.
“Unless the killer is a little kid, they should NOT be looking to fight him..or her, if it comes to that! He or she has killed four people already.” Fallon reminded Naomi.
“We’ll talk to them when they get back. Don’t worry.” Naomi said, trying to calm her friend down. “How about we get out of here? A little retail therapy?” she asked Fallon with a smile.
Fallon shrugged in reply. “Sure. I think Darcy’s working today. Let’s go see her at her store.” she told Naomi as they got to their feet and headed for the front door.
They grabbed their purses, pulling the front door open as they stepped out into the warm sun, locking the door behind them as they headed for Naomi’s car.
Darcy smiled softly to herself as she finished placing some cosmetics on the counter top. She took a step back, admiring her work. It had been a busy morning, customers coming and going. Naomi and Fallon had even come to visit, and to shop. Darcy thought it was nice to see Fallon out and about. She was worried about her friend and how the death of the Talley’s had been affecting her.
Darcy didn’t know Frankie Workman, but she had heard about this death. Just thinking about it sent a slow shiver of fear down her spine. Frankie had been found just a few doors down from the store. Darcy had heard that he had been strangled to death. She just wished the killer would be apprehended. If she would have known about the murders, she probably would have moved to a different town. West Valley was small, and nice enough, but every once in a while, something crazy would happen. Her parents had called her many times, worried for her safety. Darcy assured them she was fine. She didn’t bother mentioning that she herself had almost been killed.
It had happened just upstairs, on the second floor of the store. Darcy was over it now, it had happened, and she just wanted to get past it, and move on. There was a plus side, she thought. It’s how she had come to meet Campbell. She liked him. He was caring, and down to earth, and made her laugh. They were spending a lot of time together lately. They were taking their time, getting to know each other. Darcy wasn’t looking to rush into anything, considering her last relationship had ended badly. It was why she had moved to the town of West Valley in the first place.
Darcy’s stomach rumbled hungrily. She ticked her gaze to the clock on the wall. It was a little past noon. I should grab some lunch. she thought to herself. She locked the cash register, straightened out some clothes on the displays as she wondered on where to go for lunch. The closest restaurant was where Tammy had been attacked, and where Frankie’s body had been found. A frown creased Darcy’s pretty face. Further down the street were more restaurants and lounges. She’d have to walk a few blocks, but she didn’t mind. The weather outside was beautiful and downtown was full of people.
Darcy headed for the door, going to click off the lights when the ringing of her phone stopped her in her tracks. A soft sigh escaped her lips as she took her phone out, answering the call.
“Hello?” she said.
“Hello, Darcy.” a voice said from the other end of the line. Darcy frowned, the voice sounded distorted, she didn’t recognize it.
“Hi. Who’s this?” she asked curiously.
“Your secret admirer.” the voice replied with a seductive chuckle.
Darcy cocked an eyebrow. “My secret admirer?” she repeated.
“Why do you sound so surprised? I’ve been watching you, Darcy.” the voice replied omniously. Darcy swallowed hard.
“Campbell, is this you?” she asked.
“You don’t know me, Darcy. But I know you. I know you’re at your store, right now.” the voice said with a chuckle.
With a soft gasp escaping her lips, Darcy turned to look out the large window that faced the street. Despite the sun shining in the sky, a slow chill snaked down Darcy’s spine.
“Are you watching me?” Darcy asked with a deep frown.
“Ever since you came to town. I even tried to warn you. Blinding your friend, locking you in that bathroom. You think you can come here and build a life? I am the taker of lives.” the voice hissed from the other end of the line.
“Who are you? What do you want?” Darcy cried.
“Isn’t it obvious? I want to kill you!” the voice said, turning menacing. Darcy’s eyes widened, a small shriek escaping from her lips.
“And I will kill you. I’m going to take great pleasure in hacking you to pieces!” the voice continued with a gleeful laugh. There was a click, and then the dial tone rang in Darcy’s ear. She clicked the phone off, putting it away. The voice on the phone echoing in her mind. She sniffed, blinking back tears of fear as she stood frozen in place. Was that actually the killer? she thought to herself. She took an uneasy glance around the empty store, her hair standing on end.
“Screw this.” she said to herself, walking to the door. She pulled it open, and stepped out into the nice weather. Closing and locking the door behind her as she did so. She felt safer out in the open where people walked up and down the sidewalk. She headed down the steps, stepping onto the blacktop as she moved, her high heels clicking on the pavement.
“Darcy?” a voice called out to her, stopping her in her tracks. She had a sense of deja-vu from a few weeks earlier. Hadn’t Tammy stopped her on the street as she was coming out of her store? Darcy turned to see a girl approaching. She had a serious look on her face, her eyes set with determination.
“Hi?” Darcy said, arching an eyebrow. She suddenly recognized the other girl. She had seen her at Owen’s funeral. The one who was staring holes into Campbell and I. she remembered.
“I’m Robin. Look, I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Actually, just short.” she corrected herself. “Stay away from Campbell.” Robin told Darcy, who frowned in reply. “If you don’t, you’re going to be so very beyond sorry.” Robin threatened.
It didn’t take much guessing to figure out Robin was the ex-girlfriend Campbell had mentioned to Darcy. She eyed Robin warily.
“Have a nice day!” Robin said, flashing Darcy a fake smile before turning and walking away. Darcy stood dumbfounded on the sidewalk, watching the other girl dissappear from sight.
A few hours passed, sunset was approaching. After what had seemed like a long day of school, Skye was happy to be home. It was friday, and she didn’t have to worry about school for another three days. Brad had asked to see her after school, explaining he had rented a motel room so they could have privacy. Skye had rolled her eyes, she knew what he had on his mind. She text him back explaining she had already made plans with Hanna. She couldn’t believe Hanna’s father had been the killer’s latest victim. She had found out in homeroom, the teacher explaining why Hanna wasn’t in school that day.
When she heard the news, Skye was in shock. She liked Hanna’s dad. He was funny and goofy and always seemed to make her laugh. If only he realized she was laughing at him, and not with him. She liked giving him a hard time. She knew exactly what to say to get him flustered. She and Hanna would laugh about it for hours. When lunchtime had come around, Skye had left school on her hour break and walked over to the Workman house. She would have called before, but Hanna was her best friend and she needed her. She had rang the doorbell and Hanna had answered, looking worse for wear.
Hanna had taken one look at Skye, and broke down, sobbing uncontrolably in her friend’s shoulder. Skye had never seen her friend like that, she had felt awkward and all she could so was pat Hanna on the back. She wished she could find the words to make things better, but couldn’t. How could things get better when you lose someone so tragically? It made Skye think about her own parents, and how she was happy that they were both still around. They had gone to sit in Hanna’s bedroom, her little brother Quintin joining them. Usually they would shoo him away, but that day their minds were elsewhere.
They ended up talking for hours. Hanna’s mother had shown her face, and Skye was startled by the woman’s appearance. She looked broken, a shell of her former self. Skye had offered her sympathies, but she wasn’t even sure if Mrs. Workman had heard her. She went back to her room, where they could hear her wailing with grief. For a while they sat in silence, listening to Mrs. Workman sobs. Skye wondered to herself if she would ever stop crying. Feeling like she had overstayed her welcome, Skye headed home, promising Hanna she would call her to check up on her.
Now, it was three days later. Skye stood on the front porch of her house, waiting for Hanna to arrive. Hanna had come back to school that day, and Skye thought she looked a little bit better than the last time she had seen her. She asked Hanna to come over to her house for a while, just to get her mind off things while her mother planned the funeral. Hanna had agreed, explaining she had to go home first to check in with her mom. Skye understood, Hanna’s mother was probably worried about her and Quintin. The killer was still out there, yet to be apprehended.
Skye looked up at the sound of footsteps on the walkway. She smiled. “I thought you bailed on me, bitch.” she told Hanna, who headed up the steps to the porch.
“No, I didn’t! Sorry, I was on the phone with my aunt Rose. She wouldn’t stop talking!” Hanna explained to Skye, rolling her eyes in annoyance.
“Aunt Rose? Is that the one who’s as big as a minivan? Owns a place in the Hamptons?” Skye asked.
“That’s her. She’s in Tokyo on business, and won’t be able to make it back in time for the funeral. She wanted to know where she could send flowers, and she invited us to spend the summer with her in the Hamptons!” Hanna revealed, her eyes shining in excitement.
“That’s amazing! I’d be jealous if I wasn’t going to Italy for the summer.” Skye replied with a soft chuckle.
“I’m surprised mom already said yes! I think with everything that’s happened, she just wants to get away from West Valley for a while, you know?” Hanna said.
“Did you hear about Megan Whitlow’s attack? I’d wish she would get out of town so I can have a shot at Charlie.” Skye said, rolling her eyes in annoyance.
“That’s so scary! They’re saying it was the actual killer!” Hanna replied, concern glinting in her wide eyes.
“I think she made it up! A classic case of crying for attention.” Skye explained to her friend.
“I don’t know. You saw what happened to all those other people, to my dad. She’s lucky she’s okay.” Hanna replied with a frown.
“She had Charlie there to rescue her.” Skye said scornfully. Both girls turned to look as the front door was pulled open. Olivia, Skye’s mom, poked her head out.
“I thought I heard talking.” she said with a soft smile aimed towards Hanna.
“Yay for you, mom! You don’t need a hearing aid!” Skye quiped in response.
Olivia ignored her daughter as she wrapped Hanna in a hug. “How are you doing, Hanna?” she asked sympathetically. She pulled back, taking a step back to inspect her daughter’s friend.
Hanna shrugged in reply. “It seems like a bad dream, you know? Like I expect dad to call and tell me to get home for supper, but he won’t. He never will.” she replied with a sniffle.
“I’m so sorry, Hanna. How’s your mom? I offered to help her plan the funeral but she refused.” Olivia explained.
“That was awfully nice of you to offer, Mrs. C. Mom’s not doing good. I’m really worried about her.” Hanna confided in the older woman.
“Well why don’t you come in for dinner? I just made my famous sheperd’s pie. You can bring some home to your mom and you brother.” Olivia offered with a warm smile. Hanna wasn’t used to seeing this side of Skye’s mom. Olivia was usually so preoccupied that she didn’t even notice Hanna being in the room.
“Sure, that sounds nice. Thanks.” Hanna said with a smile. Olivia lead the girls into the house, closing the door behind her. Unaware that they were being watched.
Scarlett parked the car in front of the house, killing the engine. She pulled the keys out of the ignition, pushing open the driver side door as she stepped out onto the blacktop. She closed the door with her hip and went around to the trunk. She popped it open, grabbing the grocery bags inside. Balancing the paper bags in her hands, she closed the trunk and locked the car. She made her way to the front door. Hoping Warren had remembered to leave it unlocked it for her. There was only so much she could do carrying the bags inside the house. Surely the bags would drop to the ground if she went to reach for her keys. She wished Warren would come help her, that he could hear her out on the front porch.
No help came, and Scarlett frowned to herself as she got the front door open. She walked inside, closing the door shut with her foot, making her way into the kitchen. It had been another busy day, and Scarlett was running on fumes. She had started her morning by driving the girls to school. After that, she had gone off to the gym where she spent almost an hour on the treadmill. After showering, she was off to the police station. Harrison Whitlow had called, asking her to come in. It was a follow-up with a few more questions concerning the murder weapon she had found at St-Gregory’s.
She had cooperated, but felt a little uneasy considering the killer had not yet been caught. He or she had struck again, and most of the force was now dealing with that case while a few officers were still looking into the first three murders. Scarlett had caught word about the high school girl who had been attacked. She had been surprised to discover that it was Officer Whitlow’s own daughter. Maybe that’s why he had seemed a little distracted at their meeting.
It took Scarlett a few minutes to put the groceries away. After she had finished at the police station, she had received a call from her daughters’ school. Kaitlyn had gotten in trouble again, and the principle asked for Scarlett to come down right away. Those types of calls seemed to be coming more and more often these days. Scarlett had sped over, hurrying quickly into the building. She got sympathetic looks from the secretary who lead her into the principle’s office. Kaitlyn was sitting in a chair across the desk from Mr. Burr. She looked bored, looking up at her mother as she walked into the office.
Mr. Burr explained he had called her there because Kaitlyn was scaring her classmates with talk about the murders. She had even gone so far to demonstrate, pretending to stab a classmate with a pair of plastic scissors. He made Kaitlyn wait outside as he and Scarlett discussed. He had asked her if everything was okay at home. If they let Kaitlyn watch violent tv shows and movies. Mr. Burr asked what her behavior was like at home, how her relationship was between her and her sister. Scarlett had answered honestly.
As they finished up the meeting, the principle dropped a bomb on her. He explained either Kaitlyn should see a child psychologist, or they’d have no choice but to kick her out of the school. She was just too much of a troublemaker, he felt like the school and it’s staff weren’t equipped enough to deal with her. Scarlett felt like it was a slap in the face. There was nothing wrong with her parenting skills. It was a mystery to even herself and Warren as to why Kaitlyn acted the way that she did.
The events of the day flashed through Scarlett’s mind as she puttered around the kitchen, wondering what to make for dinner. With a sigh, she walked out of the kitchen and into the dining room where her other daughter, Taylor, sat.
“Hi, mommy!” Taylor said, looking up as Scarlett walked into the room.
“Hi, darling. What are you doing sitting here by yourself?” Scarlett asked curiously.
“Finishing up my homework! We have to write numbers all the way up to twenty!” Taylor declared proudly.
“You didn’t want to do your homework in your room at your desk?” Scarlett asked, running her fingers through her daughter’s fine blonde hair. Both her daughters had their father’s features.
“Kaitlyn said I couldn’t! She’s on the computer talking to her new friend.” Taylor explained with a pout.
“What new friend?” Scarlett asked with a frown. Taylor shrugged in reply. “I’ll be right back, okay?” she told her daughter. She walked out of the dining room, down the hall and ascended the stairs to the second floor. Once she reached the second floor landing, she could see her daughters’ bedroom door was closed. With a sigh, Scarlett turned the knob and pushed the door open. Kaitlyn sat at the desk, typing away. She stopped and turned to look at her mother.
“Hi, mommy! You’re home! Did you get me something good at the grocery store?” she asked curiously.
“Who’re you talking to, sweetie?” Scarlett asked, stepping up to the desk.
“My new friend.” Kaitlyn said matter of factly, before going back to typing.
“What’s her name?” Scarlett asked curiously.
“His name. At least I think it’s a boy.” Kaitlyn corrected her mother.
“What do you mean you think it’s a boy?” Scarlett said with a deep frown creasing her face.
“When we webcam, he never shows his face. He always wears these silly masks!” Kaitlyn said with a giggle. “He say his name is Mr. X.” she revealed to her mother.
“Does he go to your school?” Scarlett asked, trying to shake off the uneasy feeling that swept over her in waves.
“No. He’s big. Like you and daddy!” Kaitlyn revealed.
“What do you talk about?” Scarlett asked, shifting uncomfortably.
“We talk about school. About the people in this town. We also play games!” Kaitlyn explained.
“What kind of games?” Scarlett asked.
“Guessing games! Like who we think is going to die next.” her daughter replied proudly.
Scarlett let out a gasp, bringing her hand to her mouth. Kaitlyn looked at her curiously. “What’s the matter, mommy?” she asked.
“Are you sure you don’t know who he is?” Scarlett questioned, her pulse picking up speed.
“No, I don’t! But he said he’ll see me in person real soon!” Kaitlyn replied with a big smile. Scarlett felt dizzy, as if she had been punched in the stomach as she let out a shaky breath. She reached over, and pulled the computer cord of out of the wall socket. “Hey!” Kaitlyn protested.
“You’re not allowed to go on the computer anymore until I say so. Do I make myself clear? Mr. X is dangerous, and I don’t want you talking to him anymore. Okay?” Scarlett ordered, shaking her finger at Kaitlyn.
The little girl must have sensed the urgency in her mother’s voice, she nodded in reply. “Okay, mommy. I promise.” Kaitlyn replied.
“Good. Now come downstairs and help me with dinner.” Scarlett said, leading the way out of the bedroom.
Jeremy laughed at something Everly said as they walked in together into Surge. They had skipped the lineup out front, passing everyone waiting behind the velvet rope. The first week of filming Following Lust was done, and they were going to kick back and have fun. Jeremy had invited Ruby to come along, but she had politely declined. She explained that she was going to stay in with Meredith tonight. Jeremy had been a little dissapointed, but he understood. Ruby’s roommate was still a little nervous after what had happened to her.
They had wrapped shooting scenes for the day. That day’s scenes were intimate. It was a closed set, with just Jeremy and Everly under the sheets of a bed, wearing practically nothing. They had both had a few shots of vodka before starting to film. Although Everly consumed double of what Jeremy had, and as they kissed, he could taste the vodka on her lips. The director and the cameraman joined them, the director yelling action as they pretended to be into it. Everly seemed she was really into it, so much that the director had to call quit twice.
They had finally filmed the scene, got dressed, and left the movie set seperately. Jeremy had gone home. He showered, ate, and was watching television when his phone rang. It was Everly, complaining she was bored. She asked him to come out with her later on that night. She wanted to go experience the nightlife of West Valley. After all that hard work, Jeremy agreed, he was keen to the idea of just letting loose and having fun for the weekend before they returned to set on monday morning. Now, under the flashing strobelights, Jeremy was glad he had agreed. The soundsystem boomed, Bangarang by Skrillex blasting out of the speakers as they made their way to the bar.
“Where’s your girlfriend?” Everly asked with a smirk as they sat down at the bar.
“She’s laying low tonight.” Jeremy replied as the bartender came over to take their order. Jeremy ordered a brave bull, while Everly went for a dirty martini.
“And she left you at my mercy? This is going to be fun!” Everly said with a playful wink. Jeremy laughed in reply.
“I think you’ve had enough fun for today! What was up with you on set?” he asked her with a smirk on his lips.
“Your hard-on was poking me in the thigh! So I got a little carried away!” Everly replied with a giggle as the bartender brought their drinks. Everly gulped hers down quickly, Jeremy watching in amusement.
“You’re really liking this place, huh?” he asked her, his eyes shining.
“It has its perks!” she replied, taking in her surroundings. “If I meet someone, get lost, okay?” she asked him.
“Your wish is my command!” Jeremy replied. He frowned when Everly got to her feet. “Going somewhere?” he asked her.
“To dance! Come on, shake it with me!” she told him with a wide smile. She reached out, grabbed his arm, and lead him away from the bar. Jeremy was a little disoriented at first under the flashing lights, but soon lost himself to the rythm of the music blasting from the speakers. Everly danced seductively around him, tossing her hair about, running her hands down her body. Jeremy shook his head, laughing. All eyes seemed to be watching her. The males eyeing her with bedroom eyes while the woman glared at the attention she was getting. She seemed to be enjoying the attention, a large cheshire-cat like grin playing on her lips as she ran her fingers through her hair.
After the song was done, they moved to a side, Jeremy pulling him out his phone. “I want to capture this moment! Picture?” he asked her, cocking an eyebrow in her direction.
“I live for pictures! Selfie!” she cheered, as they moved in close, Jeremy snapped the picture. They looked at it for a moment. “It came out awesome!” Everly said with a happy smile. She hugged Jeremy.
They headed back to the bar, where Jeremy’s drink still sat on the countertop. Everly eyed it, turning to Jeremy. “Are you gonna finish that? I’m parched!” she explained. Jeremy smiled.
“Go ahead!” he told her. She grabbed the glass, and brought it to her lips. She downed it in one chug. She slammed the glass down on the countertop, a smile on her lips. Suddenly, she frowned. Coughed. Coughed again. Everly let out a gasp. “You okay? Did it go down wrong?” Jeremy asked curiously. She let out another gasp, her eyes widening. What the.. Jeremy thought to himself. “Everly? What’s wrong?” he asked, concern glinting in his eyes. She gasped for breath, clutching at her throat as she swayed on her feet before she dropped to the ground with a thud. Jeremy’s heart jumped, his eyes widening in fear. “Everly?!?” he yelled.
Around them, people yelled out in concern. “Someone call 911!” Jeremy shouted over his shoulder. He bent down, grabbed Everly’s wrist. A gasp escaped from his lips as he dropped her limp arm to her side. He felt like he had been submerged in icy cold water. He got to his feet, swallowing hard. His stomach swirled, and for a moment he thought he was going to be sick. He shut his eyes tight, praying it was just a dream. Opening his eyes, he ticked his gaze back down to Everly’s body.
“Isn’t that Everly Martin?” someone asked.
“Is she okay? Did she hurt herself?” someone else asked.
Jeremy looked up, blinking back tears. “She’s dead.” he said simply, ignoring the screams of horror ringing out around him.