When they say time heals everything, it doesn’t always mean right away. It could take days, weeks, months, sometimes even years. Megan didn’t believe in that saying. Especially not now. She wasn’t sure if she would ever believe in it again. At this point, everything seemed hopeless. Even the return of her mother wasn’t helping. If anything, she resented her even more. She had walked out on her family. She had been gone for years. Two years, to be exact. Megan had so many questions, but couldn’t bring herself to ask them. She wanted to confront her mother about abandoning them. To let out two years worth of worrying, sadness, and anger. But now wasn’t the time to be doing that.
There were more serious matters at hand. While Megan and her older sister Julie had regained a parent, they had also lost one. It was a week since their father had been killed. The funeral had taken place two days earlier. Megan barely remembered it. It had passed in a blur. She faintly recalled thanking the people who had gave her their sympathies. She had felt like she wasn’t actually there. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, she had shut off. Staring blankly ahead as the funeral service went on around her. She couldn’t exactly pinpoint the exact moment she snapped out of it, but the remainder of the day, she remembered clearly.
She had watched, blinking back tears as her father’s coffin was lowered six feet into the ground. She remembered Julie’s arms around her as the grave was filled up with dirt. She remembered glancing over to her mother, who was dabbing her eyes with a kleenex and sniffling loudly. Megan had looked past mother to see a crowd of familiar faces. Isabel Marcus, Darcy Adkins, Fallon McQueen, Campbell Roe, Warren Biggs, Charlie Olsen and his entire family. Megan had looked around, expecting to see Skye Cosgrove and her family, but they were nowhere to be found. They weren’t there, which Megan was relieved about. She wasn’t sure if Julie had kept her word and kept them away from the service, or if they simply had not bothered to show up.
Megan had gone to school that day, had crossed Skye several times in the hallway, but the other girl had completely ignored her. She had been too busy giggling and gossiping with some of her loyal followers to even notice Megan was there. It was at the end of the day, when Megan had been at her locker, that a few of the popular girls had walked up. Megan had been on the defensive, eyeing the other girls warily. Riley Kinsey, Lori Caliente, Mariah Alston and Zoey Fox all gave her their sympathies before hurrying away. Megan hadn’t known what to make of that. Why hadn’t they said anything earlier? Was it because Skye had been around? Megan wasn’t sure.
Sitting in an armchair in the living room, Megan missed her father’s presence. He would no longer come into her room, sit at the edge of her bed, and ask her about her day. He would no longer help her when she had a question about homework. He would no longer ask her about what music she was listening to these days. She missed him so much. Sometimes, when she thought about him, it felt like she couldn’t breathe. As if all the air had gone out of her body. She’d find herself gasping for air, her chest heaving up and down. She would dream about him, she’d wake up, remember that he was gone, and curl up in a ball under her covers.
The tears would fall quickly, and silently. She didn’t want Julie or her mother to hear her. She’d pick up the family photo on her night table, and stare at her father’s smiling face. She never would have thought that he would fall victim to the West Valley killer. He was part of the police force. They were supposed to protect the citizens of West Valley. They weren’t supposed to die at the hands of someone they were working very hard to find. How are they going to find this psycho now? Megan thought to herself with a frown creasing her pretty face.
“Meggie?” a voice said from the other side of the room. Megan looked up to see her mother standing there. Christy Whitlow still had a look of sadness on her face. The same look she had since Julie had found her standing on the doorstep. Megan had briefly wondered why she didn’t just use her key to come into the house. She had rang the doorbell as if she was a stranger. She might as well be. Megan thought to herself. Despite being gone for two years, her mother looked exactly how she had remembered her. She even still wore her wedding ring.
“Hi.” Megan said simply.
“Do you mind if I sit?” her mother asked, arching an eyebrow in her direction.
“It’s your house, too.” Megan replied coldly.
Her mother blinked softly, but made her way over to sit down on the couch. She wrung her hands nervously in her lap as she looked over at Megan.
“How was school?” her mother asked.
“An absolute thrill.” Megan replied sarcastically, rolling her eyes.
Her mother frowned. “I heard the Cosgrove girl still gives you a hard time. Is there anything I can do?” she asked curiously.
Megan turned to look at her mother, anger flashing in her eyes. “I can take care of myself, alright? With you gone for two years, I kind of had to!” she cried.
Her mother looked like she had slapped her. Her eyes widened at Megan’s sudden outburst. “I just..” she trailed off, as Megan interrupted her.
“You just what? Think you can come back here after two years? Come back after dad was KILLED?! Where were you up until a week ago? You didn’t even bother contacting us!” Megan seethed.
“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry I left you all! But my depression, it got the best of me. I had to leave. I just had to!” her mother replied, fighting back tears.
“But where were you? We didn’t even know if you were alive!” Megan cried.
“I was in Copenhagen, Denmark. I just ended up there and I dealt with my issues! I’m fine now, I promise!” Christy replied.
“They have phones in Denmark, mom. You could have at least called!” Megan replied.
“I’m sorry, Meggie. Can you forgive me?” her mother asked, sadness in her eyes.
“It’s going to take some time.” Megan replied, rising from her seat and walking out of the living room. Her mother watched her go.
A key slid into a lock, turned, and the front door of the Jacks’ home was pushed open. Faye entered the house, closing the door behind her. She locked the door before she dropped her purse to the floor. The house was silent. Ellie was at work, and Lynn and Tyson were already in bed. Faye felt reassured knowing that she wasn’t alone in the house as she made her way into the kitchen. She had just came from Darcy’s home. Fallon had been there as well, and Faye had interviewed them, questioned them about the recent events. Word in town was that someone, presumably the killer, had dug up the grave of Felicia Talley.
Darcy had found the coffin on her front lawn. She and Fallon had gone to investigate, pulling open the coffin to reveal Felicia’s decomposing body inside. A cold shiver of fear snaked down Faye’s spine as she thought about it. The girls had ran inside the house and had called the police. Squad cars arrived in record time, as did the groundkeeper of St-Gregory’s to return the coffin back to the cemetary. The police had questioned the two girls before heading back to the station. The following morning, Faye had seen it on the news. She had listened in surprise before she picked up the phone and called Fallon.
Faye had asked Fallon if she could meet her and Darcy. She wanted to interview them for the podcast. To get their side of the story. They had agreed, but with everything going on, Faye had to postpone the interview until that night. She had walked over to Darcy’s home, where she and Fallon waited. Faye brought her sound recorder, recording the interview, which she would place into her podcast later on once she got onto her computer. The girls were clearly shaken. Darcy wrung her hands nervously while Fallon wouldn’t stop shaking her knee. They kept glancing towards the window, as if somehow Felicia’s coffin was going to reappear on the front lawn.
The interview was short and sweet. Faye just wanted a few words from them. She didn’t want them to dwell on it more than they had to. Once she was done, Faye thanked them as Darcy walked her to the door. The moon shone high in the black velvet sky as the front door was closed behind her. Faye had taken a deep breath, and headed home, walking through the night. She couldn’t help but feel nervous. She stole a few glances behind her as she walked. The sidewalks were empty, void of life. Everyone had retired for the night, safe inside their homes. Faye was a little on edge walking back to the Jacks’ home, her footsteps echoing around her.
When the Jacks’ home had came into view, Faye already felt better. The walk back was uneventful. Nothing had happened, no one had lunged out of the thick shadows at her. Just being paranoid. she thought to herself as she moved around the kitchen. She pulled open the fridge, pulled out a carton of lemonade as she set it down on the counter. She went over to a cupboard, pulled it open and pulled out a tall glass. She made her way back to the counter and poured the drink into the glass. She grabbed the carton of lemonade and put it back into the fridge before moving back to grab the glass. She brought it to her lips, chugging it down in quick gulps.
Once the glass was empty, she put it into the dishwasher. She had just closed the dishwasher door when she heard footsteps in the hall. She turned, looking to see Ellie enter the kitchen. The other girl looked flawless, despite having just finished work. She smiled when she saw Faye. “How was your night?” Ellie asked, arching an eyebrow in Faye’s direction.
“Productive. Yours?” Faye asked.
“Same. Threw out two douchebags who were looking to pick a fight!” Ellie explained, excitement flashing in her eyes.
Faye giggled. “Isn’t that the bouncer’s job?” she asked.
“It is. I just wanted in on the action.” Ellie explained. “How are Fallon and Darcy?” she asked Faye curiously.
“Still freaked out.” Faye replied, shrugging her shoulders lightly.
“That’s so horrible, finding Felicia’s body like that?” Ellie said, shuddering.
“I wonder why the killer did that. Assuming it was the killer.” Faye said with a frown creasing her forehead.
“No sane person would think of doing that. I think it’s the killer, too.” Ellie revealed.
“I just wish Shannon Wiles would have given me an answer.” Faye said, dissapointment in her eyes.
“I can’t believe she just freaked out like that! She could have at least told you if Brandon was alive or not.” Ellie replied.
“I know, she was my only lead.” Faye said.
“Don’t give up. You’ll get to the bottom of this.” Ellie reassured her.
“Thanks. That’s nice of you to say.” Faye said, smiling briefly. That’s when her phone rang. Faye slid her phone out of her pocket.
“Who’s calling you now? It’s late.” Ellie said with a frown.
Faye looked down at the phone screen. “I’m not sure.” she replied before accepting the call. “Hello?” she answered.
“Is this Faye Abernathy?” a familiar voice asked from the other end of the line.
“It is. Who’s this?” Faye asked.
“This is Shannon Wiles. I hope you don’t mind, I still had your number in my call history.” Shannon explained.
Faye’s eyes widened. “I didn’t think I’d hear from you again.” she said.
“I’m sorry about last time. I overreacted. And you also caught me by surprise.” Shannon explained.
Faye turned to look at Ellie, and gave her a thumbs up sign.
“That’s alright. I really need to talk to you.” Faye told Shannon.
“Right, about Brandon. Why don’t you come by my house? We could talk in person.” Shannon told Faye.
“That would be great!” Faye replied excitedly.
“Why don’t you come by tomorrow? My address is four-nine-two Birchview Drive. In Oasis Springs.” Shannon explained.
“I’ll be there! Thank you so much!” Faye said before she hung up. She turned to look at Ellie, who was looking over at her curiously.
“Good news?” Ellie asked.
“GREAT news! We might finally get some answers!” Faye replied, excitement shining in her eyes.
Another beautiful day dawned in West Valley. After waking up to the sound of her alarm, and hopping out of bed, Darcy got ready for work. She took a quick shower, got dressed, and had a quick bite for breakfast before she was out the door. She made her way downtown, keeping her eyes down on the concrete as she walked down the sidewalk. Once again, she had been in the news. Both times had been involuntarily. The first time was when she was locked in the bathroom of her store, and the most recent time was when Felicia’s coffin had been left on her front lawn.
Walking to the store, Darcy replayed the events in her mind. Pulling the coffin top open, peering inside to Felicia’s decomposing body. Her skin had been tinged with green, the skin pulled tight over her skull. She was missing some hair in spots, it had fallen out. And the smell. A putrid smell which seemed to seep into Darcy’s clothing. Darcy had gazed over to Fallon and they screamed. And screamed. Screaming their throats raw before they were able to grab the phone and call the police. It had taken Darcy three or four tries before the police had understood what had happened. She had been hysterical, and was babbling incoherently.
At some point, Darcy had suspected Shawn was behind the cruel prank. She had thought maybe he was trying to intimidate her. But the more she thought about it, the less she suspected him. He was a cheater, but he wouldn’t do something like that. He wasn’t insane. It wasn’t until she thought about it again that she realized perhaps it was the West Valley killer’s doing. But what was he, or she trying to prove? Were they just trying to scare her out of her mind? Was it a threat? Could it have been a little bit of both? Those thoughts kept running through Darcy’s mind as she made her way to work. She soon found herself downtown, fishing out her keys.
Making her way to the doors, she unlocked them, and pulled them open. She entered, the doors swinging shut behind her as she turned on the lights. She tossed her keys onto the counter as she made her way around and turned on the sound system. Music blared from the speakers around the store as Darcy made her way back around the counter. She rearranged a few nail polish bottles on the countertop before she took a step back to admire her work. A slight smirk of satisfaction played on her lips as she did so. She moved on, heading over to a mannequin. She smoothed out the outfit it wore.
She moved over to another mannequin. Maybe I should put it in another outfit. Darcy thought to herself. She ticked her gaze around the store, at the numerous mannequins that stood silently. Darcy felt as if their eyes were on her. A slow shiver of fear snaked down her spine. She frowned. She had no clue why she felt that way. It was the first time that the mannequins were creeping her out. Darcy shook her head, and moved on, a sigh escaping her lips. She had gone to rearrange some purses when she heard the door open behind her. She smiled, turning towards the customer who had just walked in.
“Hello! Welcome to..” she trailed off, her eyes widening in surprise at who stood before her.
“Hi, Darce. Nice store you got here.” Amy said, scanning her surroundings.
“What the hell are YOU doing here?” Darcy asked with a deep frown creasing her face.
“I came to spend money?” Amy replied, a puzzled look on her face.
“You mean Shawn’s money?” Darcy replied, anger glinting in her eyes.
“No. I mean my money.” Amy explained.
“You have some nerve coming here! What, Shawn coming to see me wasn’t enough?” Darcy replied angrily.
“I heard you opened a store. That the clothes were nice and the prices were affordable. I thought I’d come by.” Amy told her.
“There’s other stores like that in town, too.” Darcy replied.
“But I know you. We used to be friends.” Amy replied.
“Used to be. Until you hooked up with my fiancee!” Darcy said.
“I thought you’d be over that by now.” Amy said, glancing down to the floor.
Darcy scoffed. “Not with you and Shawn in town. Not with his baby growing inside of you!” Darcy replied.
“Look, I’m sorr…” Amy trailed off, letting out a loud gasp as Darcy’s hand flashed out, and slapped her across her face. The slap echoed through the store, and Darcy’s palm stung.
“Don’t you dare think you can apologize to me!” Darcy seethed. Amy stared at her in shock.
“Y..you slapped me!” Amy cried in surprise.
“You’re lucky that’s all I did!” Darcy replied, her gaze cold.
“I guess I deserved that.” Amy explained.
“Hell right you did! That’s been a long time coming!” Darcy answered.
“I guess I should go.” Amy replied.
“You think? Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!” Darcy said.
Amy turned around and slunk towards the doors, looking like a dog with it’s tail between it’s legs.
“Amy?” Darcy called to her. Amy turned around and eyed her warily. “You and Shawn, you better stay away from me!” she told Amy.
The other girl frowned, and then nodded lightly before she pushed open the doors and stepped out of the store.
There were footsteps on the stairs as Meredith came down from her room. She had slept in later than expected. She had gotten in late from the library the night before. Instead of going straight to bed, she and Ruby had sat down on the couch and talked. They talked about Ruby’s relationship with Jeremy, which was going well. Meredith was happy for her friend. And to be in a relationship with a celebrity! Meredith had to admit, she was a little jealous. I wish I had a boyfriend. she had thought to herself as she listened to Ruby gush about Jeremy.
They had then spoke about the murders. Meredith didn’t think it was such a good idea, sitting in their dimly lit living room, but Ruby had brought it up. Meredith couldn’t help to be on edge. She kept glancing to the window, as if she expected the West Valley killer to be staring in at them. There had been no one outside as Meredith gave Ruby her full attention. She spoke about things they already knew. The killer hadn’t been caught, Harrison Whitlow was dead, and Adam Raines had been attacked. Meredith had tried to keep it cool as she listened, even though she was frightened.
Now, it was mid-morning. Having woken up on her own, Meredith was surprised at the time. She got out of bed, got dressed, and now stood in the living room. The house was quiet. Too quiet. “Ruby?” she called out. No reply. “Ruby?” she called again. “She probably went out.” Meredith said to herself. A frown creased her face as she went to check the front door. She let out a sigh of relief when she found out the door was securely locked. She had grown paranoid ever since the killer had stood outside on the back porch of the house. The events of that night still played through her mind from time to time.
Meredith made her way out of the living room and into the kitchen. Her stomach grumbled hungrily as she made her way towards the fridge. She pulled the fridge door open and pulled out a bowl of strawberry cheesecake flavored yogurt, and closed the fridge door. She brought it over to the table, sliding into a chair. Maybe I should have turned on some music. she thought to herself with a frown. The silence was making her uncomfortable. She brought the spoon to her lips. She ate in silence, ticking her gaze around the kitchen.
A few minutes after, the bolwl of yogurt was done. She stood up, and brought it to the dishwasher. She pulled the dishwasher door open, inserted the bowl inside, and closed the door. She made her way over to the sink, Grabbed a sponge from inside, and went to wipe down the kitchen table. As she cleaned, the silence was broken by the shrill ring of the telephone. Meredith jumped slightly, but let out a small laugh at her nervousness. She pulled out her phone, and clicked it on, bringing it up to her ear.
“Hello?” she answered.
She heard some static coming from the other end of the line. She frowned. “Hello?” she repeated again.
“Hello, Meredith.” an unfamiliar voice answered. It sounded distorted.
“Hi, who’s this?” she asked curiously.
“Someone who’s still watching you, Meredith.” the voice replied.
“Excuse me?” Meredith said.
“Do you think I forgot about you? I’ve just been busy. But I haven’t forgotten.” the caller replied.
“Who is this?” Meredith demanded, trying to keep calm.
“Remember that night? I followed you home. You were so scared!” the voice replied with a cruel laugh. It sent a shiver of fear down Meredith’s spine.
“How did you get this number?” Meredith asked.
“I can’t tell you that, can I? It’ll take the mystery away.” the voice said from the other end of the line.
“You better not call me again! I’ll go to the police!” Meredith cried.
The killer laughed in reply. “The police? I’m so scared. They can’t stop me. I killed Harrison Whitlow, and it was so easy!” he told Meredith.
“I’ll change my number!” Meredith protested.
“But I still know where you live! As a matter of fact, are you alone in the house, Meredith?” the killer asked omniously.
Meredith’s heart began to beat quicker in her chest. “My roommate’s here.” she lied.
The killer laughed again. “You can’t fool me, bitch! I just saw your roommate and her C-list celebrity beau. Nice try! You’re boring me, maybe I should go after Ruby instead.” he told Meredith, who’s eyes widened in fear.
“Leave her out of this! Please!” Meredith pleaded.
“You’re no fun. You better be ready to play my game when I call you again.” the voice said before suddenly hanging up.
Meredith listened to the dial tone in her ear before she slid the phone back into her pocket. I can’t believe he, or she, threatened Ruby. Do I tell her? she thought to herself with a deep frown creasing her face. That’s when, suddenly, there was a knock at the front door. A gasp escaped Meredith’s lips as she walked slowly out of the kitchen and towards the front door. “Who’s there?” she called out. No reply. Something in the back of her mind told her to turn around and ignore it, yet she couldn’t keep her legs from moving towards the door.
Her heart beating fast in her chest, she reached out. She unlocked the door, grabbed the knob, and turned, pulling the door open. When she saw who was standing on her front porch, she frowned. At first she thought maybe he had got the wrong house. Adam? What is he doing here? she thought to herself.
“Adam! Hi.” she said.
He smiled in reply. “Hey there, cutie. How are you?” he asked.
“I’m okay. How are you? I heard about what happened.” Meredith said, stepping outside onto the front porch. She closed the front door behind her.
“Crazy, huh? I’m alive and kicking. Which works in your favor!” Adam replied.
Meredith frowned. “How so?” she asked him curiously.
“Well, I was wondering if you’d like to go out sometime?” he replied.
Meredith’s eyes widened slightly in surprise. He’s asking me out? Did someone dare him to do this? she thought to herself.
“Did someone put you upto this?” she asked with a small smile.
Adam frowned in reply. “I put myself upto it. I was just thinking that I’d like to get to know you better.” he told Meredith.
“Oh! Umm… well, sure! We can go out sometime. It’d be nice!” she replied with a smile on her lips.
“Great! How does friday night sound?” he asked her.
“I don’t have plans.” she told him.
“Great! So friday it is, then! Around seven?” Adam asked her.
Meredith nodded. “Friday at seven!” she told him.
“See you then!” he told her with a wink.
Meredith stood on the front porch, waved, and watched as he turned and walked away. Suddenly, she remembered the phone call. She took a glance around her surroundings. She wondered if the killer was watching her right now. Could he be lurking, despite the fact that the sun was shining high above in the blue sky? I’m not going to stick around and find out! Meredith thought to herself as she pulled the front door open. She went inside, closing the door and locking it securely behind her.
Campbell pushed open the doors to the gym and stepped outside onto the concrete. The doors swung shut behind him. He’d been working out inside for about an hour. He felt energized, a spring in his step. It was a little past lunchtime. Bored, he had left the house and made his way downtown. He had found himself in front of Darcy’s store. With a smile on his lips, he had gone in and surprised her. She had been happy to see him. She had explained how Amy had gone to see her earlier. Campbell had listened, frowning deeply.
He hadn’t met Amy, or Shawn yet. He knew what Darcy had told him. They were new in town, recently moving into the Talley house. Shawn had been Darcy’s fiancee who had slept with her best friend, Amy. Campbell couldn’t fathom why Shawn had cheated on Darcy. She was attractive, funny, and down to earth. In his eyes, she was the perfect girl. Shawn was clearly an idiot for giving her up. But, on a plus side, Campbell was glad to have met her. To have her in his life. They had sat on the bench outside the store, having lunch. He had listened to her as she spoke about her complicated past with the newly arrived couple.
In a way, Campbell was glad he hadn’t crossed paths with Shawn. With the way he had treated Darcy, Campbell had the urge to punch the other man in the face. He had reassured Darcy everything would be fine. They finished up their lunch, for Darcy had to get back to work. They said their goodbyes, Campbell giving Darcy a soft kiss on the cheek. She had blushed, waving as she made her way back into the store. With a smile of contempt on his face, Campbell had walked next door to the gym. He headed upstairs, running the treadmill before going to lift some weights. He had finished with a few laps around the swimming pool.
While he swam, he found it a little bit odd that there was a security guard in the room with him, watching. The gym was taking extra precaution after the attack on Adam Raines. Campbell couldn’t help but feel a little safer. After he had gotten out of the pool, he had thanked the guard before making his way to the locker room to change. Dried and dressed, he made his way out of the building. He was thinking about dinner, which was only a few short hours away. Maybe I could order something and invite Darcy over. he thought to himself.
“Campbell?” a familiar voice called out to him.
Ticking his gaze up, Campbell saw his brother Thomas standing on the sidewalk.
“Oh great, it’s you.” Campbell replied coldly as he made his way to the sidewalk.
“How are you doing?” Thomas asked curiously.
“I was doing fine up until now. What are you doing here?” he asked Thomas.
“I’m just going for a coffee run. I was passing by when I saw you coming out of the gym.” Thomas explained.
“Oh. I thought maybe you were on your way over to sleep with Robin again. I heard she took you in?” Campbell rudely replied.
Thomas frowned in response. “Seems like you’re still mad at me?” he asked.
“I’ll always be mad. I don’t think I can ever forgive you.” Campbell explained to his brother.
“But.. you’re the only family I have!” Thomas said.
“You should have thought of that before you slept with Robin. Did you think I’d never find out? You betrayed me! My own brother.” Campbell cried in disgust, anger flashing in his eyes.
“I’m sorry! How can I prove it to you? I did what you said! I moved out when you told me to.” Thomas replied.
“I made you move out so I wouldn’t kill you! I almost did.” Campbell explained.
“I’m going to make it up to you. I’m going to make things right again between us, I promise! If you just give me a chance.” Thomas told him.
“It’s going to have to be something good.” Campbell said coldly.
He turned, and stepped off the sidewalk. That’s when the speeding car smashed into him. There was a loud crack as Campbell’s feet left the ground. His eyes widened as he sailed through the air before hitting the blacktop with a thud as he rolled a few times, finally coming to a stop. The car zigzagged crazily before coming to a screeching stop. The driver side door opened, and a young guy stepped out, his eyes wide. He ran towards Campbell, who lay on the street. Thomas couldn’t seem to move, he was frozen in place. Shocked at what had just happened to his brother.
“Campbell!” Thomas cried, finding his voice, as he finally found himself moving. He hurried to his brother’s side. The young guy who was driving the car looked up, fear glinting in his eyes.
“He came out of nowhere!” the young man said, his voice trembling.
Thomas ignored him. “Campbell? Can you hear me?” he said in concern, kneeling down next to his brother.
Campbell’s eyes were closed, a loud moan of pain erupting from his mouth. He held his left arm with his other hand. “My arm. I think it’s broken!” he explained weakly. A grimace of pain played on his face. Thomas took a step back, stepping back onto the curb as he pulled out his phone. He clicked it on and dialed 911, bringing the phone to his ear.
“Hello? Yes! I need an ambulance please!” Thomas said as the operator picked up on the other end of the line.
“It’s my brother! He was hit by a car. We’re in front of Movers & Shakers Gym! We need help, right away!” Thomas cried into the phone.
He nodded, listening to the operator talk before hanging up the phone and sliding it back inside his pocket. He ran back to Campbell’s side. “They’re on their way! Try not to move!” Thomas told his brother, concern glinting in his eyes.
Heels clicked against the cracked concrete. A lone female figure appeared, staring at the building looming over her. This is the Peachtree Motel? Skye thought to herself, crinkling her nose in disgust. The building had definitely seen better days. It had once been popular among travellers who came to visit West Valley. But now, years of neglect had run it down. A few cheap looking cars were parked out in the lot. Skye looked down at her phone. This was where Charlie had asked to meet her. She had been sitting in english class, bored, when she had gotten a text. It was from an unknown number and when she had asked who it was, the text had said it was Charlie.
A smile had played on Skye’s lips as he asked her to meet him at the Peachtree Motel so they could talk. Skye was estatic. After the last bell of the day had rang, she had hurried into the girls’ restroom so she could make sure she looked flawless. Satisfied with her reflection, she hurried out of school, and walked to the motel. Now, standing in front of the building, she wondered why Charlie had wanted to meet her there. The door to the motel office swung open, startling Skye. She turned to look at who she guessed was the motel owner. He was unshaven, his hair a mass of dirty curls, with a fat belly sticking out from underneath a wifebeater.
He arched an eyebrow at Skye, as if trying to find a reason as to why she was standing there. She sneered at him, and he shrugged, heading back inside the office. A sigh escaped Skye’s lips as she looked down at her phone again. The text read that the room was room eleven, which would be upstairs on the second floor. Skye pushed a few stray locks away from her face as she moved, making her way for the stairs. Once she reached the second floor landing, she headed for room eleven. She found it easily, reached out and knocked on the door. She waited a few moments, but the door did not open. Skye frowned and knocked again.
No one came to the door. Skye reached out, grabbed the knob, and turned it. The door opened easily. She stepped inside the room, and pulled the door closed behind her. She scanned the room. It was empty. Another sigh escaped her lips as she walked deeper into the room. She didn’t know why, but a feeling of unease came over her. She went over to the bed, and sat down. She bounced a few times, testing it. It didn’t seem very comfortable. Rolling her eyes in annoyance, she got back to her feet. Her high heels clicked on the wooden floor.
I should have chose where to meet. Skye thought to herself as she peered at herself in the grimy mirror. She smoothed back her hair, tugging the bottom of her top down so that her ample cleavage was exposed. She was unaware of the door to the room slowly opening behind her. A figure stood in the doorway, silent. The figure stepped into the room, closing the door behind them. With her back to the door, Skye was still unaware of the figure that glided closer. She looked down at her nails, thinking it needed a fresh paint of nail polish. The figure was now right behind her, reaching out and wrapping his arms around her waist.
With a small cry of surprise, Skye broke free, and spun around. A familiar face stared back at her, a smile on his lips. Skye frowned deeply.
“Brad?! What the fuck? What are you doing here?” she asked.
“Surprise!” he told her with a smirk on his face.
“What are you doing here? I didn’t agree to a threesome. You better get out of here, Charlie is on his way.” Skye explained.
Brad chuckled in response. “You’re so dumb. That was me the whole time!” he told her.
Skye’s eyes widened. “That was you? Not Charlie?” she asked.
“I knew you were going to fall for it! Didn’t you think it was weird you were getting texts from an unknown number?” he asked, laughing again.
“Oh my god! I hate you! Why would you do that?” Skye asked angrily.
“Because I knew it was the only way to get you to talk to me!” Brad revealed.
“Is this about me breaking up with you?” Skye asked.
“Yeah, it is.” he told her sheepishly.
“How pathetic are you? God! You had to trick me into coming here to this.. fleabag motel!” she told him, anger flashing in her eyes.
“Look, before you rush out of here, you should know I have a bottle of your favorite champagne. It’s in the bathroom sink. I just need to put it in ice.” Brad explained, grabbing the glass ice bucket off the dresser.
Skye’s face softened. “Well, I do love that champagne..” she said.
“Please don’t leave! I’ll be back in less than a minute! Be right back!” he told her, hurrying across the room.
Skye watched as he pulled the door open, and dissappeared outside. He didn’t bother closing the door. Skye rolled her eyes but made her way over to the bed. She sat down, inspecting her nails. By the time she glanced at the clock on the night table, she saw that two minutes had already passed. As she got to her feet, she heard the shattering of glass somewhere in the distance. Skye frowned as she made her way over to the door. She poked her head outside. No sign of Brad. She rolled her eyes and stepped out onto the walkway.
“Are you seriously making me wait?” she called out. No reply. She looked over the railing to the ground below. “Brad?” she called out again. Shaking her head, she made her way towards the stairs, cursing under her breath. She peered warily down the stairs before she descended them. Reaching the cracked concrete, she looked around, scanning her surroundings. Brad has a death wish today. she thought to herself with a frown creasing her pretty face. Her heart picked up it’s pace in her chest as she took a hesitant step forward.
“Brad? Where are you?” Skye called out, her voice echoing around her. She peered up at the setting sun. “If you’re trying to trick me again, I’m going to cut your balls off!” she shouted. She took a few steps forward, and then stopped in her tracks. She blinked hard, her brain processing what she was looking at.
“Brad? What are you..” she trailed off, her eyes growing wide in fear. She saw him lying on the floor, bright red paint splattered around him. No. Not paint. Skye thought to herself. Her heart now thundered in her chest as she moved closer, a sense of dread wrapping itself around her. It wasn’t paint, but bright red blood that was splattered on the floor. And Brad wasn’t sleeping, he was dead. His eyes were wide open, staring off into space, unblinking. Skye let out a gasp, wobbling on her feet.
“Oh my god!” she cried, gasping for air. Her chest heaved heavily up and down. She thought she was going to faint. Yet she couldn’t help but lean over Brad’s body. The blood was gushing from four wounds in his torso. Skye noticed a stab wound to the heart. She took a step back, and screamed. Screamed again. “Somebody please help!!” she cried, looking around helplessly.
She heard heavy footsteps, she looked up to see the motel manager run over. He skidded to a stop when he saw Brad on the floor, a pool of crimson blood around him. “Whoa! What happened? Is he hurt?” the manager asked with wide eyes.
“Call an ambulance!” Skye cried.
“D-did he fall?” the manager asked, ignoring Skye’s plea.
“I don’t know what happened! Just call a fucking ambulance! Now!” Skye cried.
“Oh god, there’s so much blood!” the manager said, covering his mouth. He turned and ran back inside the office, the door swinging open loudly. Skye hoped he was doing what she had asked. She turned back to look at Brad, who’s body lay limply on the concrete.
“Oh god. Brad!” she cried out, burying her face in her hands as hot tears cascaded down her cheeks.
A car screeched to a halt in front of the curb of a house. The engine turned off, and the driver and passenger side doors opened. Out stepped Faye, and Fallon. They looked over at the house, and then to the piece of paper clutched in Fallon’s hand. She nodded to the other girl as they closed the car doors, and they made their way around to the curb. They were no longer in West Valley. They had just driven an hour to Oasis Springs. The house belonged to Shannon Wiles, Brandon’s aunt. And she was expecting them.
Faye thought the house was nice. You could tell that whoever owned it, had money. A hot breeze ruffled their hair as they made their way up the walkway towards the front door. The house lights were on, spilling out into the night. Fallon felt oddly calm. She thought she would have been nervous. She stole a glance over at Faye, who also seemed at ease. Faye turned to give her a small smile. Reaching the front door, Faye reached out with a finger and pressed on the doorbell. From inside the house came the sound of a small dog barking. It yapped excitedly, which made a smile play on Fallon’s face.
The door was pulled open, and a friendly looking woman looked out at them. She ticked her gaze to each girl. Studying them. “Faye? Fallon?” she asked. The girls nodded. The woman smiled briefly, standing aside so they could enter the house. Stepping inside, the woman closed the front door and locked it. She turned to face the girls. “I’m Shannon Wiles.” she explained, shaking their hands.
“Nice to meet you.” Faye replied.
Somewhere inside the house, the dog kept barking. “That’s Mimi. Our dog. She’s a pomeranian. She’s locked inside my bedroom, in case you’re afraid of small dogs.” Shannon explained.
“We won’t take much of your time.” Faye explained.
“That’s alright. I don’t get much visitors coming to ask about my nephew. At least not anymore.” Shannon replied, a frown creasing her face.
“When was the last time you saw Brandon?” Fallon asked curiously.
“When he was about fourteen.” Shannon explained.
“At the sanitarium?” Faye asked. Shannon nodded in reply.
“I visited him at least twice a month. Since he was admitted when he was eight, but I stopped visiting when he was about fourteen. So I visited him for many years.” Shannon told them.
“Well if my calculations are right, he was in there up until five years ago. That would have made him twenty three years old.” Faye replied.
Fallon frowned. “Why did you stop visiting him?” she asked Shannon.
Shannon shrugged. “My career as a lawyer was beginning to really take off. I didn’t have much time to visit after that.” she explained.
“So no one else visited him for nine years?” Fallon asked.
“I don’t think so.” Shannon replied.
“What was Brandon like? Before his mother died, I mean.” Faye asked, intrigued.
“Like any other little boy. He was sweet. He loved exploring and learning new things. He loved playing at the park. He was particularly fond of his bicycle, he loved riding that thing everywhere. He loved his parents.” Shannon remembered.
“He survived the car accident that killed his mother.” Fallon stated.
“Yes. My late sister, rest her soul.” Shannon said, smiling sadly.
“Did you know about your ex brother-in-law’s affair?” Faye asked.
“I had my suspicions something was going on. The way he would look at me sometimes. It was like he wanted to eat me alive.” Shannon frowned.
“You know they found out who his mistress was? Just recently.” Faye asked.
Shannon nodded. “Regina Olsen. I also heard she was killed. Quite gruesomely.” she explained.
“Did you know her?” Fallon asked.
“The Olsen family were friends of my sister’s family.” Shannon nodded.
“We believe that Brandon might still be around. But we’re not really sure. He could be dead.” Fallon told Shannon.
“Well I’m his next of kin. If he was dead, they would inform me.” Shannon replied.
“Right, you’d get a call. Or they’d come here and inform you in person.” Fallon explained.
“Well no one has called or informed me of such, actually.” Shannon told them.
“So that means….” Fallon trailed off, eyes wide. She couldn’t seem to bring herself to say the words. As if saying them would change everything. She looked over to Faye, who’s expression mirrored her own.
Shannon shrugged. “I guess that means Brandon’s still alive.” she told the two shocked looking girls.