Death walks faster than the wind and never returns what he has taken. Bridget couldn’t quite figure out where she had heard that quote before. It had come to her suddenly as she pushed open the front door. She stepped into the house, closing the door behind her as she did so. Her eyes scanned the room, all was quiet. She wasn’t sure where the other girls were. Bridget got along with most of them, except for Robin. She wasn’t a fan of Robin. She had her reasons. Out of all of her housemates, Robin liked to bully and intimidate Bridget the most. She wouldn’t admit it to the other girls, but she was scared of Robin. She always tried her best to stay out of the other girl’s way.
This was why Bridget spent a lot of her time out of the house. To the common person, it would seem cowardly. But avoiding Robin was the best course of action. She hated confrontations. She felt out of place sometimes when she hung out with the other girls. She didn’t really have anything in common with them. Everyone else was hip, and dressed stylishly. Bridget was more of a geek, and dressed more conservatively. She thought maybe it had to do with her upbringing. Her parents were strict, old fashioned. They had immigrated to the states from China a year before she had been born.
After much begging and pleading, once high school was over, Bridget had moved out of her parents home. While searching online one day, she had come across an ad from someone who was looking to share her home with other girls. The ad had piqued Bridget’s interest, and she had gone to meet with Ivy. They had hit it off well, so the other girl had offered her to move in. Bridget had been estactic and not only hit it off with Ivy, but also with Hayley. They seemed to be interested in the same things, even though Hayley was much more hip, and was more of a bookworm than a geek. The last person to move into the large house, was Robin. From the first moment she had laid eyes on her, Bridget knew Robin was going to be trouble.
It took a few weeks for Robin to zero in on Bridget. It had started with Robin rolling her eyes every time Bridget would speak. Robin had thought she hadn’t noticed. Bridget was a very observant person, she just didn’t say anything about it. They were all new, getting to know each other and she didn’t want to start any problems. So she kept her mouth shut, and tried her very best not to let Robin get to her. Then, the comments started. Bridget thought maybe she had done something to upset the other girl. She just couldn’t figure out what it was. Robin was fairly friendly with everyone else. She seemed to have an answer for everything, but she wasn’t downright rude with them like she was being to Bridget.
Dropping her purse to the ground, Bridget made her way across the floor. She ticked her gaze over to Robin’s closed bedroom door. It didn’t seem like she was home, which was a relief to Bridget. Yet she couldn’t shake off the feeling of unease that seemed to wrap around her. Perhaps it was because she had spent the whole morning visiting Fallon. They had sat outside in the sunshine, speaking about what had happened to Thomas. It was a week since his murder. His funeral had taken place two days prior. Bridget and all her housemates had attended. Even Robin, which was surprising. Bridget figured the other girl had gone out of regret. Robin had recently caused a rift between Thomas and his brother, Campbell.
Bridget replayed the events of the funeral in her mind. She had walked into St-Gregory’s church with Ivy, Hayley, Lilah and Robin in tow. Campbell stood at the front of the aisle, crying over the closed casket where Thomas’ body lay inside. Darcy stood at his side, which made Bridget turn to look over at Robin. The other girl was silent, but the look on her face said it all. She was staring daggers at Darcy. Darcy had looked up, spotting Robin. Her eyes had widened in surprise. As if Robin was the last person she was expecting to see. She had turned to Campbell, and whispered something in his ear. A deep frown had creased his face as he ticked his red-rimmed gaze to Robin. Campbell’s face contorted with rage as he stepped away from the coffin, and closer to his ex-girlfriend.
Bridget had tensed as Campbell approached Robin, who remained cool as a cucumber. In fact, it had looked like Robin had a small smirk playing on her lips. Campbell’s voice echoed off the high ceiling of the church as he began to shout. Directing his anger towards Robin, who blinked hard in surprise at his sudden outburst. Bridget had turned to look nervously over at Lilah, who was shifting uncomfortably on her feet. Everyone seemed to be, watching the scene unfold before them. Campbell had ordered Robin to leave, that she was not welcome there. He called her out on having the nerve to showing her face. He had called her a bitch, that it was her fault that the two brothers had been on bad terms.
He blamed Robin for Thomas being dead. That if it weren’t for her, Thomas would have never gone to Sherwood Sanitarium to try and fix things between them. Bridget didn’t say anything, but she thought Campbell was right. Then again, there was no possible way to know that the killer would have been there, skulking in the dark shadows of the abandoned sanitarium.
I can’t believe they still haven’t caught this monster. Who could it be? Bridget thought to herself with a frown as she went over to sit down on the couch. She felt a little uneasy. It was because she was home alone. The silence of the house seemed to loom down over her as she went back to thinking about the funeral. After blaming Robin for his brother’s death, Campbell had yelled once more for Robin to leave. His face was red, the veins at his temples looking like they were about to pop out of his head. With one last icy look at Darcy, Robin had turned, nose high in the air, and had strutted out of the church, her heels clicking against the floor. Bridget had let out a sigh of relief, not noticing that she had been holding her breath. The rest of the funeral had gone smoothly. It was sad, and Bridget had cried, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Suddenly, the silence of the house was broken by the sound of the front door. Bridget turned to look as the door opened, and in stepped Robin. Bridget must have looked like a deer in the headlights, because Robin looked over at her with a frown creasing her forehead. Robin closed the front door and stepped deeper inside the house. A blank expression on her face now as she looked over at Bridget.
“Oh. Nobody’s home.” Robin spoke.
Bridget knew she was being sarcastic. Or just plain mean. She cleared her throat. “Hi, Robin.” she greeted the other girl with as much cheer as she could muster.
“Is anyone else home?” Robin asked with a frown.
“No, just me.” Bridget replied.
Robin rolled her eyes in annoyance. “Yay.” she said sarcastically.
Bridget wondered if she could escape to her room, or maybe leave the house before Robin really started sticking it to her. “I was just..” she trailed off as the other girl interrupted her.
“It looks like you were just being lazy. Sitting there on the couch.” Robin replied. “Why don’t you do something productive with your life? Like get a job? I heard the university is looking for a new janitor.” she told Bridget with a mean chuckle escaping from between her lips.
“I..umm..” Bridget stammered nervously in response.
“Are you searching for the words? I know english is not your first language and all.” Robin asked with a sneer.
Bridget was frozen in place, she couldn’t seem to get up from the couch. Not with Robin standing over her, an icy glint in her eyes. Bridget laughed, pretending to be unphased by the other girl’s words. “You should be a comedian!” she told Robin.
Robin frowned in response. “I’ll stick to music.” she told Bridget.
The front door opened again, and Ivy stepped Inside. She closed the door behind her as she looked over at Bridget and Robin with an arched eyebrow. “I’m home!” she declared.
Distracted, Robin turned her attention to Ivy. “Where have you been?” she asked curiously before continuing. “I’ve been bored to death!” she explained to Ivy.
The other girl ticked her gaze over to Bridget before turning her attention back to Robin. “I went to visit my grandmother at the old folks home.” she explained to Robin.
“Ugh. That’s depressing! All those old people shitting and pissing themselves, gross.” Robin replied with a shudder.
With Robin’s attention off of her, Bridget jumped to her feet and hurried across the floor for her bedroom. The two other girls barely noticed she had left the room. She pulled her bedroom door open, entered, and closed the door behind her, shutting Robin out.
Ellie had woken up early enough. The house was still quiet as she headed downstairs to the kitchen. She had pulled the refrigerator door open, pulling out various items and prepared Tyson’s lunch for the day. By the time he bounded down the stairs and into the kitchen, not only was his lunch ready, but so was his breakfast. Scrambled eggs, toast with butter and a few apple slices, topped off with a tall glass of milk. They sat together at the kitchen table, talking about their plans for the upcoming weekend. A movie after school on friday, with a trip to the carnival the day after. Tyson was excited, bouncing in his seat, and Ellie couldn’t help the smile that touched her lips.
Once Tyson was safely on the schoolbus, Ellie headed upstairs to her room to get ready for the day. She was off to work early, saying goodbye to her mother before she headed out of the house. The walk to Surge was pleasant, the sun shining high above in a clear blue sky. Once she reached the club, she pushed open the door and entered. She couldn’t help but tick her gaze towards the restroom area. It was a habit now everytime she entered. Looking towards the spot where Owen had been killed a few months prior. She missed him. She shook her head, clearing the thoughts away as she made her way over to the bar.
The bartender greeted her with a smile. Ellie smiled back as she made her way behind the bar. She counted a wide variety of bottles of liquor, making a mental note to order what she was running low on. She made her way back around the bar, moving across the empty dancefloor. She made her way to the restroom area, and pushed open the door to the ladies room. It was clean. Stepping out, she made her way over to the mens room, hesitating at the door before pushing it open. She didn’t know why, but she expected to see Owen lying on the floor in a pool of blood. But the mens room was empty, and also clean. Ellie exited, the door swinging shut behind her.
She made her way over to the stairs, ascending them until she reached the second floor landing. The upper floor of the club consisted of a storage room and her office. She made her way over to her office door, pulling out the key and unlocking it. She locked the door for safety reasons. The safe with the money made was inside the office, which is why she was the only one who had the key. She pushed the door open and entered, going over to her desk. She peered down at the phone. No messages. She pushed the chair back and sat down, turning on her computer. She drummed her nails on the desktop, waiting for the computer to load. She gazed briefly at a picture frame on the desk, a pang of sadness hitting her.
It was a photo of her and her father, taken when she was about ten years old. They stood side by side in the garden, Ellie holding a plant that she had grown herself, a big smile on her face. A sigh of sadness escaped Ellie’s lips as she took her attention off the picture. She also missed her father, missed him so much it hurt. He too had fallen victim to the killer, just like Owen had. Just like many others had. The town of West Valley had a body count, people were dropping like flies. No one knew when the killer would strike next, who the next victim would be. A slow shiver of fear snaked down Ellie’s spine as she ticked her attention back to her computer.
Before she could bring her fingers to the keyboard, the computer chimed. An instant message. She pressed a key, and the message came up. She stared at the screen, a frown creasing her forehead.
WESTVALLEYKILL: Did you hear about Thomas Roe?
ELLIEJACKS: Who is this?
WESTVALLEYKILL: You didn’t answer my question.
ELLIEJACKS: Of course I heard about what happened. Everyone has.
WESTVALLEYKILL: Do you think the killer will be caught?
ELLIEJACKS: I sure hope so. Who is this? If you don’t mind me asking?
WESTVALLEYKILL: I mind. You just might be talking to the person responsible for all this madness.
Ellie’s eyes widened in surprise. Is this the killer I’m talking to? Why is he contacting me again? she thought to herself.
ELLIEJACKS: You’re bluffing.
WESTVALLEYKILL: You wish. Do you want to die, Ellie?
ELLIEJACKS: Listen, asshole. They’re going to find you. And you’ll be the one dying, not me.
WESTVALLEYKILL: That’s the wrong answer. I’m not going to get caught.
ELLIEJACKS: Don’t be so sure.
WESTVALLEYKILL: They tried getting info on me and look what happened. Poor Thomas got skewered like a pig. He sure sounded like one when I stuck my blade into his flesh. You should have seen the way he bled out, the expression on his face as he realized he was dying.
ELLIEJACKS: You’re sick! You hide behind a computer screen and behind a phone. There’s a word for people like you. LOSER!
WESTVALLEYKILL: Are you still mad about what I did to your father? Get over it.
ELLIEJACKS: I never will. Not until YOU’RE the one getting stabbed. In the heart!
WESTVALLEYKILL: You act all tough, looking like something that stepped out of a punk rock band. When I know deep down inside you’re just a scared little wannabe.
ELLIEJACKS: Go to hell! And tell them I sent you.
WESTVALLEYKILL: You and I, we’re going to have a confrontation. And you won’t like the way it ends. You won’t like it one bit.
Without warning, the instant message window was closed. The killer had logged off. Ellie was surprised at how fast her heart was beating in her chest. She sat back in her chair, sucking in a deep breath of air. Her mind was racing. That was the second time the killer had contacted her. She wondered if there was a way to find out where the location of the killer’s computer was coming from. Maybe that could be a way to catch this sick son of a bitch. she thought to herself. She didn’t have the knowledge how to trace an IP address, but she knew someone who did. His face flashed through her mind. Someone she hadn’t seen in years. She reached for the phone on her desk when it suddenly rang, echoing through the office.
Ellie let out a small yelp of surprise, almost jumping out of her skin. She looked over at the phone warily, and then picked it up, bringing the receiver to her ear. “Hello?” she said uncertainly. Expecting to hear the killer’s voice on the other end.
It was just the bartender downstairs. She explained that there was someone there to see her. A woman. Telling the bartender she would be right down, she hung up the phone. She pushed her chair back and got to her feet. She headed out of the office, closing the door behind her as she headed to the stairs. She descended, reaching the main floor and heading towards where the woman stood. She recognized her. It was Christy Whitlow. Julie and Megan’s mother. A thin smile played on Ellie’s lips as she wondered why Christy was there. She knew she was back in town, after a two year absence. She had returned when her husband had been killed.
“Ms. Whitlow? It’s a surprise to see you here.” Ellie said, extending her hand. Christy took her hand and shook it.
“Please, call me Christy.” she replied, a small smile on her lips.
“Alright, Christy. What brings you to Surge?” Ellie replied, cocking an eyebrow in her direction.
“Well, as you know, I’m back in town. Permanently. But I have no job. I heard Owen Talley was working here?” Christy asked.
“You want Owen’s old job? As a bartender?” Ellie asked with a frown on her face.
“Not at all. What I meant is, I want to buy shares in this place. It’s popular, it’s downtown, and it’s the only club in West Valley.” Christy replied before continuing. “What I’m trying to say is, I guess I want to co-own Surge with you. I’m very good when it comes to making business. And maybe I can help you ease the workload off of yourself. We can share the profits fifty-fifty and you can have more time at home with your son.” Christy explained.
Ellie’s frowned deepened. She liked the sound of that. But she couldn’t come up with a decision on the spot. “It’s definitely something to think about. Give me your number and I’ll let you know as soon as I come up with a decision.” she told Christy. She pulled out her phone, and let Christy enter her number.
“I hope to hear from you soon. Take care.” Christy said with a smile, extending her hand. Ellie shook it, before Christy turned and made her way for the exit.
A few hours passed, the time on the clock reading ten minutes to noon. If you were participating in the Miss Teen West Valley pageant, you had been let out of school early. School was over for the day for Skye. Once she had gotten the okay from her teacher, she had zoomed out of math class, hurrying for her locker. As she put her books away, she checked her phone. A message from her mother, explaining that her dress for the pageant was waiting for her at home. A broad smile had played on Skye’s lips, excitement shining in her eyes. Down the hall were a few other girls who were also putting their things away. As Skye breezed past them, she didn’t give them a second glance.
May the best girl win. Being me! she thought to herself with a smirk as she headed out of the school and hurried home. She tried walking as fast as she could, not easy to do in five inch heels. Her heels clicked against the pavement as she walked, the sun shining high above her. As she walked, she found the image of Brad running through her mind. He was supposed to be in the crowd at the pageant, she had reserved him a seat. But he wouldn’t attend. She’d never see him again. He was dead, the image of his bloody body flashing through her mind. It was only a few weeks since his murder at the Peachtree Motel.
She replayed the events of that evening in her mind. After she had found him on the pavement in the parking lot, stabbed to death, her screams had alerted the motel manager. He took one look at Brad and had gone running for the phone, calling the police. Skye had bent down by Brad’s body, tears streaming down her cheeks as she held his limp hand in her’s. The sleeve of her top had been stained with bright red crimson, but that was the least of Skye’s problems. Once the police came, she had to give them a statement. Tell them what she had seen. They brought her down to the station to ask her a few questions. Once they were done, she had to call her parents to get them to come pick her up.
Her parents faces were pale as they walked into the police station. An officer explained to them what had happened. Skye’s father shook his head in disbelief while her mother gasped loudly and shed a few tears, dabbing at her eyes with a kleenex she had pulled out of her designer bag. Her father asked the officer a few questions, worried about her safety, while her mother fretted over her. They were about to leave when they had heard a commotion from outside. The doors had swung open and Brad’s family entered the police station. Brad’s father had his arms around his wife and daughter, all three of them crying loudly. Skye felt so uncomfortable, not sure what to say to them.
Before they headed into an office to speak to a detective, Brad’s mother had pointed at Skye and screamed that it was all her fault that her son was dead. Before she could utter a protest, her parents had ushered her out of the police station. The drive home was quiet, and Skye went straight to her room. She got into her pyjamas and crawled underneath the covers of her bed. Her mother had come in with a sleeping pill and a glass of water. Skye took the pill and swallowed it down before settling into her bed, where she fell asleep. The next day, Skye had stayed home from school. Hanna, Karina, Matt and Ashley had all called to check up on her. Even the school guidance councellor had called to see how she was doing.
Skye pushed those troubling thoughts aside as her house came into view. She couldn’t wait to see the dress, to try it on. She headed up the walkway, fishing out her keys. She put the key in the lock, and unlocked the door. She pushed the front door open, stepping inside. The house was quiet. Her father was at work, and her mother was at the community center, preparing things for the pageant. Skye closed the front door behind her and locked it, dropping her purse to the floor as she made her way to the stairs. She ascended, hurrying up to the second floor landing. She made her way over to her bedroom door, pushing it open and stepping inside the room.
There, on the bed, was the dress. Pink and silky. It’s gorgeous! Skye thought to herself, a huge smile playing on her lips. She went over to the bed and picked up the dress, holding it in front of her. She just had to try it on. She undressed quickly, slipping out of her clothes and into the dress. She tried it with her shoes, and did her makeup. The finishing touch was a few accessories. It all took a matter of a few minutes, and soon Skye was staring at her reflection in her mirror. She twirled, the dress billowing around her as a small giggle escaped her lips. She looked amazing. There was no doubt that she would win the title of Miss Teen West Valley. Those other basic bitches don’t stand a chance. she thought to herself.
From downstairs, she heard the front door open. “Skye? Darling?” she heard her mother’s voice call out.
“Up here, mother! I’ll be down in a second!” Skye replied.
“Did you try on your dress?” her mother asked.
Smiling to herself in the mirror, Skye headed out of her bedroom and down the stairs to the main entryway. Her mother was fussing with some flowers on a table. She looked up, and took in Skye’s appearance. She let out a gasp of surprise, her eyes widening.
“Does that answer your question?” Skye asked her mother with a smirk.
Her mother clasped her hands together. “You look so beautiful!” she told Skye. Her mouth was trembling a little, and Skye knew her mother was trying not to cry.
“Well duh!” Skye replied with a chuckle escaping her lips.
Olivia cleared her throat, looking over the dress. “Darcy did a great job!” she praised.
“Hell yeah! She’s the shit!” Skye replied.
“I can’t wait to see the rags that the other contestants will be wearing!” her mother giggled.
“I got this, mother. I’m two hundred percent sure I’m going to be crowned the winner! I’m not worried about the other girls.” Skye explained.
“Confidence, I always told you that it would take you far.” Olivia answered.
“What do I get if I win?” Skye asked curiously.
“What would you like?” her mother replied.
“An entire new wardrobe. That, or a car!” Skye revealed.
Her mother laughed in reply. “I’ll talk to your father when he gets home from work. You can get an entire new wardrobe anytime! I think a car would be better.” her mother said with a wink.
Skye’s eyes widened in surprise. “I know I don’t tell you this often, but you’re awesome, mom! Thank you thank you thank you!” she said with a wide smile.
Her mother laughed once more. “Go change before that dress starts to wrinkle. We’ll go over your winning speech one more time.” she told her daughter.
“Will do! Be right back!” Skye said before she turned and bounded up the stairs.
Blake stepped outside from the building, the door swinging shut behind him. He ran his hand over his forehead, it came back wet with sweat. He had just finished his workout at the gym. He liked going there, not only could he workout, but he could also think about things. Lately all he could think of was what had happened to Thomas. He couldn’t believe he was dead. What was supposed to be a hunt for information had ended in murder. After the events that had happened at Sherwood Sanitarium, Blake had been the one to call Campbell with the news. He had to tell him his brother was dead. He could barely get the words out but somehow he managed to.
Campbell was stunned, he had whispered a thank you before he hung up the phone. That was the last time he had spoken to Campbell until the day of the funeral. Walking into the St-Gregory’s with Fallon, Scott and Naomi, Blake had went straight over to Campbell and pulled him into a hug. He would never forget the look on Campbell’s face as he stared down at the coffin where the body of his brother lay inside. Maybe if I had acted sooner, maybe I could have saved Thomas. Blake had thought to himself with a frown as the funeral continued around him. Blake snapped back to reality, realizing he was just standing there on the curb in front of the gym.
Since he was sweating already, Blake decided he would jog home. He began moving, jogging down the sidewalk, passing the shops and restaurants of the downtown area. Passing Surge, he waved to Ellie Jacks, who was sitting outside smoking a cigarette. She raised a hand in greeting, a smile on her lips. Blake kept moving, his feet pounding against the pavement as he made his way out of downtown and into the residential area of town. A dog chained in a front lawn barked wildly as he ran past, Blake couldn’t help but let out a small laugh. He slowed down to a walk as his house came into view. He couldn’t wait to get inside and into a hot shower.
He reached the front door, pulling it open and stepping inside. “Anyone home?” he called out as he closed the front door.
“In here!” called a voice from the living room. Blake walked in to see Naomi sitting on the couch. She was looking down at her phone but then slid it into her pocket, looking up at him as he entered.
“Eww. You’re all sweaty!” she told him.
“The gym will do that to you.” he replied. “Where is everyone?” he asked curiously. The house was quiet.
“Fallon went to see Marco and Gwen. And Scott went for drinks with Adam.” Naomi explained.
Blake nodded, his eyes scanning the room.
“What are you looking for?” Naomi asked curiously, arching an eyebrow.
“My headphones. I thought I left them here on the table.” Blake explained with a frown.
“I thought they were broken! I threw them out in the trash outside. Ooops!” Naomi said, her cheeks reddening.
Blake shook his head, but smiled. “I’ll go get them.” he told her.
He made his way out of the living room and over to the front door. He pulled it open, stepping outside into the warm sunshine. He headed across the front lawn to where the trash can was placed. He pulled the top of the can open, and peered inside, trying not to breathe in the stench that escaped from it. Blake wrinkled his nose as he stuck his hand inside. His hand closed around the earphones, and with a smile, he pulled them out. Along with it came a piece of paper. Blake was about to throw it away when he noticed writing on it. Curiously, he peered down at the paper, reading it to himself. As he read, his eyes widened in shock.
“Naomi! Naomi, come here!” Blake cried.
Naomi came hurrying out of the house a few moments later. “What’s the matter?” she asked, going over to stand by Blake’s side.
“Look what I found in the garbage! Read it!” he said, handing over the letter.
Naomi cleared her throat, and began to read out loud.
I still can’t believe how easy it was for me
to work my way into their lives.
They’d die if they knew the real reason why
I’m in West Valley!
Some of them have died already, hahah!
Your plan was genius and they have no clue
that I’ve been right under their noses for years.
Everyone is going crazy, trying to figure out
who the killer is!
You know what else is crazy?
Your beloved Rose is right here in town!
I see her almost every day.
She doesn’t suspect me, no one does, but she
looks around like she is suspecting SOMETHING
If only she knew what we have in store for her!
For this whole town.
I promise you’ll get to be with her again soon.
Your friend, …
The paper was torn off where the name would have been. There was no way to find out who had wrote the letter.
“Oh my god! And you found this in the trash?” Naomi asked, eyes wide.
“Anyone could have tossed it while they were walking past the house.” Blake reasoned.
“This is crazy! We need to show this to someone!” Naomi explained.
“We found some info at Sherwood concerning Brandon Covington and some girl he was obsessed with, her name was Rose!” Blake told her.
“And she’s here in town? Right now? We need to find out who she is!” Naomi replied.
“I agree. Before they get to her! Or the rest of us.” Blake said, his face serious.
Charlie bounded down the steps of the school. The final bell of the day had finally rung. He was finally free for the rest of the afternoon. He couldn’t wait to get home, play some videogames before doing his homework. After supper he had plans to go meet some of the guys at the basketball court. He had told Megan about it earlier that day, and she had said she would pass by to watch. Charlie smiled to himself, he and Megan were growing closer. They were basically dating, without being official. Charlie liked Megan. She was unique. She was witty, had a great sense of humor and he thought she was really down to earth. He knew the popular crowd, which he was a part of, liked to give her a hard time.
He couldn’t understand why. The Whitlow family had money, probably as much as some of his friends who made fun of Megan. She just didn’t flash it around like they all did. Charlie had been to the Whitlow residence and he knew they were well off. So what if Megan didn’t dress in short skirts and high heels like the other popular girls. He found them to be boring. Megan was interesting, and Charlie hoped everyone else would realize that soon enough. He hoped they would accept her when the time came for them to be official.
He waved to a few of his classmates as they ran past him. He slid his hand into his pocket and pulled out a ticket. He peered down at it. It was a ticket to attend the Miss Teen West Valley pageant. Skye had given it to him earlier on in the day. She had said she hoped to see him there. It was only one ticket, so he knew he would have to go alone. The pageant was mere days away, and Charlie still hadn’t decided if he was going to go or not. He was still peering down at the ticket in his hand when footsteps approached from behind him. A hand came down on his shoulder. He turned to see Megan standing behind him, a small smirk playing on her lips.
“Hey you!” Charlie said to her, flashing his signature smile that the girls seemed to love.
“What’s that?” Megan asked, leaning in to get a better look at the ticket in his hand.
“It’s a ticket. For the Miss Teen West Valley pageant.” Charlie explained.
“You’re judging the pageant?” Megan asked with a frown.
“Hah! No. I got invited. By Skye.” he replied, looking down to the ground as he shuffled his feet. He seemed embarrassed.
“So that’s why she wasn’t in spanish class. There was no reason for me to call her a puta.” Megan replied with a fake pout.
Charlie burst out laughing. “I don’t even know if I’ll go.” he told her.
“If you don’t go, you’re going to break poor Skye’s heart!” Megan explained, sarcasm dripping from her voice.
“I do feel kind of bad, with what happened to her and Brad.” Charlie revealed.
“Maybe it’ll make her feel better if you were there.” Megan replied.
“You’d be okay with it?” Charlie asked curiously, gazing at her with a cocked eyebrow.
“You didn’t let me finish.” Megan replied with a smirk. “You go, get in with your ticket. I’ll meet you there. I’ll sneak in. No way am I going to miss Skye making a fool of herself!” she explained with a giggle.
Charlie chuckled, shaking his head. “That’s a wicked idea! But if she sees you she’s going to kick both of us out.” he told Megan.
“She won’t see me. I’m a ninja!” she replied, pretending to chop the air with her hand.
Charlie thought about it. “Hmm..Ok! Let’s meet at the pageant tomorrow!” he told Megan, who jumped up and down in excitement.
“Awesome! Don’t worry, I won’t get caught!” she told Charlie.
“I hope. Or else we’ll have to experience more of Skye’s wrath.” Charlie said.
“We should be so scared!” Megan said again sarcastically.
“She’s ruthless!” Charlie warned.
Megan laughed. “She doesn’t scare me!” she revealed to Charlie.
“She terrifies me!” Charlie revealed.
“Aww poor baby! Do you want your blankey?” Megan teased.
“You can be my blankey.” he told her.
Megan smiled, and looked down at her watch. “Shit! Gotta go! My mom wants me to come home straight after school.” she explained before continuing. “All this killer crap is making her paranoid! But I’ll see you tonight at the court.” she told him. She smiled, gave him a peck on the cheek, and hurried off.
He watched her go. He smiled to himself before he turned and walked off, heading home.
Music played from a cellphone, Spirits by The Strumbellas. It blared through the phone speakers of the lone woman who walked down the sidewalk. It was Amy, and she was returning home from downtown. She had gotten bored, had left the house after locking the front door, and had made her way through the suburbs. She had soon found herself downtown, and she had decided to browse for a little bit. Shawn was still at work and she planned on getting home before he did. I can have supper almost ready by the time he comes home. she thought to herself. While downtown, she had walked past Darcy’s store.
She didn’t want to get slapped again, so she had decided against going into the store. Through the glass she could see Darcy ringing up a sale, smiling and laughing with the customer. She looked happy, and Amy didn’t want to ruin her good mood, so she had kept walking. On the next block she had found a baby store. She had rubbed her belly. Her baby wasn’t coming for another several months. Yet she thought it was always good to be prepared, so she had headed inside the store. She browsed aisle after aisle of baby items, but after a few minutes she became overwhelmed. She had left the store with nothing, deciding now was a good time to return home.
Amy fished out her keys as she headed up to the house. She unlocked the door, and entered, closing the front door behind her. The house was quiet. She didn’t hear the television, which meant that Shawn had not returned home yet. Amy made her way into the kitchen, fixing herself a glass of water from the fridge. She wandered over to the kitchen table where she had left a recent issue of Cosmo. She flipped the magazine open, scanning through the pages. She was still leafing through the magazine when the phone rang. She couldn’t figure out why, but as she stared at the phone, an uneasy feeling wrapped itself around her.
She grabbed the phone and answered the call. “Hello?” she said.
“Hey big sis!”a cheerful voice came from the other end of the line.
“Hey little sis! It’s so good to hear from you!” Amy said into the phone, her eyes shining with excitement.
“I just got home and I thought I should give you a call! How’s life in West Valley?” Amy’s sister asked.
“It has it’s pros and cons! How’s school? You’re almost done sophomore year.” Amy said.
“Almost? There’s a few more months left! But school is good! I’m passing all my classes.” her sister revealed.
“That’s great! Mom must be so proud.” Amy replied with a chuckle.
“You know her, proud parent of over-achievers.” her sister replied on the other end of the line.
“I miss you! You should come visit when school is done!” Amy said.
“Maybe I will! I miss you, and Shawn too.” her sister replied.
“So come visit! You’re more than welcome to spend as much time here as you want.” Amy told her.
“Well, maybe a few days. I heard all about that craziness going on over there. They call West Valley Murder Valley…” her sister replied.
“Clever name. It’s not so bad, actually. I guess we’ve been lucky that none of that craziness has affected me or Shawn.” Amy explained.
“But aren’t you living in a house where someone was killed?” her sister asked curiously.
A cold shiver of fear snaked down Amy’s spine. “You would never be able to tell, looking at this place.” she replied.
Before she could reply, Amy heard the front door open. “I have to go. Shawn is home. I’ll call you back!” she told her sister.
“Say hi to him for me! Talk to you later, love you!” her sister said before hanging up the phone.
Amy smiled as she put the phone away. Suddenly, Shawn came hurrying into the kitchen.
“It’s about to happen!” he told Amy.
“What is?” she asked him curiously, arching an eyebrow in his direction.
“She’s on her way to Darcy’s right now!” Shawn replied with glee.
“Who? What have you done?” Amy replied in concern.
“Just trust me. This will really shut Darcy up!” Shawn told her.
“Shawn! What have you done?” Amy asked again.
Amy’s good mood suddenly faded away, a frown replacing her smile as she watched Shawn turn, ignoring her question, and hurry out of the kitchen. Oh Shawn, what have you done? she thought as she hurried out after him.
It had been a good day for Darcy, work-wise. People had constantly came into the store, which she loved. Everyone who came out had a bag in their hand. Business was booming, and Darcy was glad. Life in West Valley wasn’t cheap and it worked to her favor that money was always coming in. She had definetely thought she had done a wise choice. The store was popular now, and not only did townspeople come in, so did people from nearby areas. They had heard about Darcy’s Closet through word of mouth and advertising, and also online. With the money she was making, maybe eventually she could start looking for a bigger house in town. Maybe with a swimming pool. she thought to herself, a hopeful glint in her eyes.
Once five o’clock came around, she decided it was time to close up the store for the day. That was the good thing about being the owner, she was her own boss and didn’t have certain restrictions on the store. Like she could close the store when she wanted. Whether it was all day, or after a certain hour. She didn’t have anyone to answer to. Once the store doors were closed and locked, she passed a broom along the floor. She then put clothes back onto their proper racks. She didn’t mind picking up after the customers who left things were they weren’t supposed to go. As long as they left the store happy and had bought something.
Once that was done, she went to check the latest inventory. She put aside a few pieces that she wanted to put out for the following day. She counted the money in the cash register, made a few notes about how much there was before locking it up. She was finally done after straightening out a few knick knacks on the counter. She got her keys out, flicked off the lights, and made her way outside and locked up the store. Her eyes scanned down the street, people were coming in and out of buildings. She saw Wendy Elliott and Derek Vance heading inside a restaurant, probably going for drinks. She shook her head with a small smile playing on her lips as she headed down the sidewalk, heading home.
She and Campbell were supposed to go out to eat as well, but he had cancelled earlier on in the day. Some relatives were passing by that evening, they hadn’t been able to make it to Thomas’ funeral. Darcy understood. They could always go out to eat another night. This was more important. She still couldn’t believe Thomas was dead. And how it had affected Campbell so deeply. After he had gotten the news about the murder, he had called Darcy. She could barely understand him as he had sobbed over the phone. Once the words came out, Darcy felt like she had been submerged in ice cold water. She felt numb. Someone else she knew had been killed.
She had gone with him to the morgue. He had to go identify the body. Darcy had waited outside, sitting in a chair while Campbell had gone in with the morgue attendant. There were a few moments of silence and then a wail that she could hear from out in the hallway. Silent tears trickled down her cheeks, Thomas was indeed inside that room, lying on a cold metal table. She was by Campbell’s side the whole way through as they planned the funeral, called relatives, announced the death in the newspaper. Darcy was sick of funerals. She had gone to many since she had moved to West Valley.
The funerals will stop once they find the killer. she reminded herself as she made her way home. She crossed the street, looking both ways before making her way over to the curb on the opposite side. Somewhere in the distance she heard the ringing of a bike bell. That was a noise she hadn’t heard in a while. It reminded her of a bike she had when she was little. It was shiny and pink with a white basket on the front and a bell. Times were simpler then. She didn’t know about death, or how people came in and out of your life. Sometimes she wished she could go back to that.
Reaching her home, Darcy pulled out her keys. And stopped suddenly. Realizing there was someone standing on the front porch. She blinked hard. Once, twice. Thinking maybe her eyes were deceiving her. There, wearing her sunglasses that hid her blind eyes, was Tammy Coleman. Darcy couldn’t think of a reason why she was there. Why she was waiting for her to come home. What is she doing here? Darcy thought to herself, a frown creasing her pretty face. She took a few steps closer. Tammy turned towards the sound, her face serious.
“Darcy?” she called out.
Darcy almost didn’t answer her. She cleared her throat. “I’m home. Tammy, what are you doing here?” she asked the blind girl.
“I was sent for.” Tammy replied.
Darcy frowned again. “Sent by who?” she asked.
“That doesn’t matter. I’m here because I have something to say to you!” Tammy explained.
What is going on here? Darcy thought to herself. Why was Tammy suddenly here, after a few months of not talking. Last time she had seen her was when she was in the hospital after getting doused with acid. She was blind because of it, because the killer had attacked her in the restroom of a restaurant. Darcy had been there too, they were having dinner together, getting caught up after years of not seeing each other.
“What do you have to say to me?” Darcy asked.
“That you’re a selfish little bitch! You think the world revolves around you. Look what happened to me because of you!” Tammy hissed.
“That wasn’t my fault.” Darcy said, stung by Tammy’s harsh words.
“Oh really? Well the killer was trying to send you a message! Look at me! I’ll never see again! My wedding was called off because of what happened to me!” Tammy explained.
“I’m sorry!” Darcy said.
“Sorry isn’t going to fix things! It’s not going to get my vision back. Or get my fiancee back! He left me. He doesn’t want to marry a blind girl!” Tammy replied.
Darcy swallowed down the lump that was rising in her throat. “Tammy, what do you want me to say?” she asked quietly.
“How about you don’t say anything for once? You and your big mouth.” Tammy replied angrily.
“What more do you want me to do? I rode with you to the hospital. I came to visit you. I called to see how you were doing and you didn’t want to talk to me. Why are you attacking me?” Darcy asked.
“Attacking you? You’re lucky I can’t see. I’d slap you out.” Tammy replied, her face red with anger.
Darcy sputtered, she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “I think you should leave.” she told Tammy.
“And I think you should kill yourself. Because sooner or later, this killer is going to get you!” Tammy replied.
Again, the harsh words stung Darcy. She felt like she really had been slapped. She didn’t understand why Tammy was so mad at her. She had no idea the killer was going to attack her friend. “Please, just go.” she told Tammy.
“I’m going, don’t worry. Just know that YOU ruined my life!” Tammy replied before she turned and walked away.
Darcy watched her go. Tammy headed down the walkway and stopped at the curb where a car came to a screeching halt in front of her. She watched Tammy grope for the back door before finding the handle and pulling it open. She slid inside the backseat, closing the door after her. Darcy ticked her gaze to the front seat. And her eyes widened in surprise. I should have known! she thought to herself. There, in the drivers seat, was Shawn. And he was looking right at her, a smug expression on his face. Sitting next to him in the passenger seat, was Amy. She looked nervous and tense. As if she didn’t agree with what had just happened.
The car pulled away with a honk before it sped off. Darcy’s blood boiled, she bit down on her bottom lip, holding back a string of curses that wanted to escape her mouth. She made her way over to the front door, stuck her key in the lock and pushed the door open. She entered the house, turning on the lights as she closed the front door and locked it. She kicked off her shoes before she made her way into the kitchen. Dinner was a microwave meal, and after eating she had sat down on the couch, watching television as the hours passed. Or attempted to, at least. She kept thinking of the conversation with Tammy. She kept seeing Shawn in the driver seat of the car, gazing at her with a smug look of satisfaction on his face.
Darcy surprised herself by jumping to her feet, grabbing the television remote and throwing it across the room with all the force she could muster. It hit a vase, and sent it toppling to the ground, shattering in what seemed like a million pieces. Darcy’s chest heaved up and down in anger. She made her way to grab a broom and after making sure every glass piece was picked up, tossed the remains in the trash. She picked up the remote, turning off the television. She made her way into the bathroom, peeling off her clothes as she got into the shower. Maybe this will calm me down. she thought to herself as she turned on the shower, adjusting the water temperature.
She was under the shower for a good twenty minutes before she finally turned off the water and stepped out onto the tiled bathroom floor. She grabbed a towel, wrapping it around her as she stepped out of the bathroom and made her way to her bedroom. She had the sudden urge to call Campbell and tell him what happened, but decided against it. Instead she changed into her pyjamas, suddenly feeling tired. All she wanted now was to sleep, and her bed. Maybe that would help her forget Tammy’s unexpected visit.
Darcy pulled down the covers and slid into the bed. She pulled the sheets up over her, closing her eyes. Resting her head on the pillow, it didn’t take long for her to fall into a deep sleep. An hour passed, and then another. The house was silent. It was nearly three in the morning when the silence of the house was broken. A noise. Outside at the backdoor. The doorframe shook before the lock was disengaged. The backdoor slid open quietly. A shadowy figure entered the house. Footsteps on the floor as the figure moved deeper into the house. Darcy’s bedroom door which was slightly ajar opened. The shadowy figure dressed in black glided quietly into the room. Darcy didn’t stir, unaware of the presence. Still sleeping soundly. The figure moved over to Darcy’s bedside, looking down at her as she slept.
The figure remained still for a minute before reaching their hand out towards Darcy.