Footsteps. Heels clicking on the sidewalk. It was morning in the town of West Valley. The day had dawned hot and sunny for the second day in a row. The downtown area was silent, void of any life. Until Hayley came into view. She made her way down the sidewalk, passing by stores and restaurants. Doors were just beginning to open for the day. Soon, business would be booming and there would be people filling the sidewalks. But right now it was quiet, peaceful. Something Hayley needed. She headed towards her destination. She crossed the street, not bothering to check for any cars. The roads were empty. Stepping onto the opposite curb, Hayley stopped. The newspaper vending machine on the street corner had caught her attention.
FAMILIES OF THREE GIRLS MOURN, KILLER STILL AT LARGE. the headline read. An icy cold shiver of fear snaked down Hayley’s spine. It was two days later after the horror that had happened at the Workman’s house. The West Valley killer had struck again. Ashley Fox, Shanice Newberry and Heather Sharp were dead. Only Jillyan Rayburn and Hanna Workman had survived. Their slumber party had turned deadly, the three teens falling victim to the killer. Hayley had heard about it on the news the following day. She and her housemates had sat around the television, listening in horror at the news report. Stephanie Workman had returned home the following morning, and had found her house crawling with police.
They were conducting their investigation, their hands already full with the recent murder of Adam Raines. Yet again, there were no suspects, and they were nowhere near catching this new killer. His or her’s identity was a mystery to all. It was like the killer was a ghost, appearing out of nowhere, claiming a victim, and then dissappearing. It was like deja-vu all over again. Haven’t enough people died already? she thought to herself, shaking her head in sadness as she kept moving down the sidewalk towards the cafe. In a way, Hayley could relate to what Jillyan and Hanna were going through. She had lost a friend as well. Robin was dead. She had fallen victim to Scott.
Hayley missed her, her absence was definitely felt in the house. There was one person who didn’t miss Robin, though. Bridget. She seemed almost relieved that Robin was gone. Robin had gone out of her way to torment her. She wasn’t just rude to Bridget, she was downright mean. Hayley never had the time to ask her why. But now, she would never know. Since Robin’s death, Hayley had grown closer to Ivy. That’s who she was on her way to meet that particular morning.They had made plans to get together for breakfast. Ivy had left the house first, having to make a stop before she was supposed to meet up with her housemate.
So Hayley had taken her time to get ready, and then she had walked downtown. A few moments later, she found herself standing in front of the cafe. She made her way over to a table, pulling back the chair and sat down. A waitress came out, walking over to the table and taking Hayley’s order. She ordered a cappucino and a bagel, the waitress made her way back inside to prepare the food. Hayley drummed her manicured nails on the tabletop. Come on, Ivy. she thought to herself. As if on cue, a car pulled up to the curb in front of the cafe, music blaring from the soundsystem.
The engine was cut off, the driver side door opened, and Ivy stepped out onto the blacktop. She looked flawless, as always. She flashed Hayley a small smirk as she spotted her. She closed the driver’s side door with her hip. She made her way around the front of the car, heels clicking as she stepped up onto the curb and made her way over to the table. She sat down in the chair across from her friend, a soft sigh escaping her lips. Hayley could tell something was on Ivy’s mind. There was something clearly bothering her. She’ll talk to me about it when she’s ready. Hayley thought to herself, concern glinting in her brown eyes.
“Have you been waiting long?” Ivy asked, arching a perfectly plucked eyebrow at Hayley.
“Oh, no. I just got here a few minutes ago.” Hayley replied.
“Great. So what’s good here?” Ivy asked curiously.
“Their bagels are to die for! I already ordered.” Hayley explained.
“You couldn’t wait, huh?” Ivy said with a soft laugh.
Before Hayley could answer, the cafe door opened and the waitress came back. She placed Hayley’s food down on the table in front of her. She then turned to Ivy, who ordered a bagel and tea. The waitress nodded and scurried back into the cafe. Ivy watched her depart, and then ticked her attention back to Hayley.
“Sorry for ordering already, I was hungry. So where did you have to go so early?” Hayley asked curiously.
“I went to see Renee Fox.” Ivy replied.
“Ashley’s mom?” Hayley asked with a frown.
Ivy nodded. “Remember, I worked for her?” she said.
“At the call center, you only lasted two days.” Hayley remembered, a soft giggle escaping her lips.
“Why work, when my grandfather left me his fortune?” Ivy replied.
Hayley giggled once more, her face then turned serious. “How is she?” she asked.
“Devastated! The whole family is just devastated.” Ivy replied, sadness glinting in her eyes.
“You know, I thought all these deaths were over once Scott was killed.” Hayley explained to her friend.
“I can’t believe he killed all those people. He killed Robin.” Ivy said, a deep frown creasing her pretty face.
“Didn’t you date him?” Hayley asked, arching an eyebrow.
Ivy frowned. “We went on two dates. I would hardly consider that dating.” she replied.
“I just don’t understand why he did it.” Hayley said.
“I guess it all comes back to Brandon Covington.” Ivy answered.
“I hope they catch him.” Hayley replied.
“If they can even find him! He could be hiding out in a cave somewhere, miles from civilization.” Ivy said.
“There’s a rumor going around town that Faye Abernathy is going to go look for him.” Hayley explained.
“Is that such a good idea? She better have the police with her when she does find him. He’s dangerous.” Ivy replied, blinking softly.
“When they do find him, it’ll all be over! People can go back to living their lives!” Hayley said.
“When they find him, I hope they throw him in jail to rot for the rest of his miserable life.” Ivy confessed.
Hayley was about to answer when the waitress came back out with Ivy’s order. She placed it down on the table with a smile, and headed back inside. The two girls sat in silence, digging into their food, Brandon Covington on both their minds.
Sunlight poured through the window into the bedroom. There were clothes strewn across the floor, not bothered to be picked up. The room was silent, a body underneath the sheets was the only evidence that the room was not empty. Suddenly, the alarm clock on the night table went off, breaking the peaceful silence with a shrill ring. A hand poked out from underneath the bedsheets, and reached blindly around to stop the alarm. Fingers found the off button, cutting off the ringing of the clock. A soft groan came from the mound of sheets as the figure in the bed sat up, blinking hard against the harsh sunlight that lit up the bedroom.
What time is it? Julie thought to herself, rubbing her eyes. It felt like she had just gone to bed. Her vision clearing, she saw it was half past eight. She’d been asleep for nine and a half hours. She stifled a yawn as she pulled the sheets back, and swung her legs out of the bed. She had class that was starting in an hour. There was no time to lounge around, she had to get herself ready. Julie stood up, making her way over to her dresser. She pulled out some clothes before making her way out the door and into the upstairs hallway. She stopped and peered into Megan’s room. It was empty. Her younger sister had gone off to school for the day.
Julie kept moving, making her way into the bathroom. She closed the door behind her, putting her clothes down on the counter. She gazed at her reflection in the mirror. Her hair looked like a bird’s nest, and her eyes were half open. A shower would wake her up. She undressed, turning on the water in the shower. Finding the right temperature, she hopped in, letting the water rain down on her. She tilted her face upwards, lost in her thoughts. She didn’t know why it came to her, but she thought about what had happened at the slumber party. Three of her sister’s classmates were dead. Murdered. Megan had told her the news at breakfast the morning after it had happened.
Perhaps Julie was just relieved that Megan was alright. Maybe it was a good thing that her sister was not popular. That she wasn’t friends with Hanna Workman. Megan hadn’t been invited to the slumber party. If things were different, maybe Megan would have been there. Maybe she would have been one of the victims. Despite the warm water cascading down on her, Julie shivered. Whoever this new killer was, he or she was adding to the bodycount. Julie was afraid, not just for her family, but for everyone else. Innocent people were getting killed. They didn’t deserve it. Her father sure didn’t. Julie washed her hair, closing her eyes as she lathered shampoo, imagining her father’s smile.
A few moments later, she shut off the water, stepping out of the shower. She reached out and grabbed a towel, wrapping it around her body. She padded over to the counter. She wiped the fog off the mirror with her hand, looking at her reflection once more. She missed her father, it had been a few weeks since she had last gone to visit his grave. It was Julie’s mother who went to visit him every few days. I’ll go visit after class today. Julie thought to herself as she got ready. Minutes later, she was dry and dressed, makeup and hair done. She pulled open the bathroom door and made her way out into the upstairs hallway.
She made her way over to the stairs, descending them to the main floor of the house. She could hear someone puttering in the kitchen. Julie made her way through the archway and into the kitchen, where her mother was loading some dishes into the dishwasher. She thought her mom looked great, she was dressed for work. Christy smiled at her daughter as she went to grab a glass of water. Julie wasn’t hungry, she planned on grabbing something to eat once she got to school. Her mother came around the kitchen counter, and hugged her. She was off to work, she’d be at the club all day until Ellie showed up sometime before dinnertime.
Julie said goodbye as her mother headed out the door. The front door closed, the house now silent. Julie tried to ignore the fact that she was alone. She took a sip from her water, going over to look out the kitchen window. A breeze ruffled the leaves of the trees in the backyard. She watched a bird hop along the top of the fence that bordered the property. A small smile found itself playing on her lips. She turned away from the window, putting her glass in the sink. She made her way into the living room, gathering her things that she needed for that day. She was out the door and locking it when she heard the phone ringing from inside the house. Julie rolled her eyes in annoyance.
I’m not going back in to answer that. she thought to herself as she headed down the walkway to the sidewalk. She hoped the call wasn’t important. Whoever it was could leave a message on the answering machine. She could check it later on from her own phone. Julie walked along, the sun’s rays shining down on her. She walked by the Cosgrove house, waving at Olivia who was getting into her car. Olivia frowned in response, starting her car, the engine roaring loudly. It startled Julie, who jumped slightly at the sound. She kept heading down the sidewalk, listening to the sound of a lawnmower running somewhere nearby. She crossed the street, stepping onto the curb on the other side.
She threw a casual glance over her shoulder, stopping suddenly in her tracks that she almost tripped over her own feet. She had been so lost in her thoughts that she hadn’t realized she was being followed. Julie’s eyes widened slightly. She just knew it was the same guy from the other time. Why is he following me? she thought to herself. She moved down the sidewalk, walking faster. She looked over her shoulder. The man was at least two blocks away, a hat covering his head. She felt his eyes on her. he walked slowly, casually. Julie wanted to stop, to wait for him to catch up. But for some reason, she was scared. Who was he? What did he want? Her pulse picked up its pace as she hurried towards her destination. Maybe he would give up once she got to school.
Almost there. Julie thought to herself. She glanced over her shoulder again. He was still following her. This time, Julie did trip over her own feet. She stumbled, fell to her hands and knees. Chest heaving, she turned to see where the man was. For a brief moment, she thought he would be right there, looking down at her. But no, he was still about half a block away. With a light whimper escaping her lips, Julie pushed herself up to her feet. Why wasn’t there anyone else around? Was no one seeing what was happening? She raced around the corner, seeing the school building in the distance. Relief washed over her as she hurried across the grass. Once she reached the other students heading into the school, she would be safe.
Julie spun around, her wide eyes scanning her surroundings. The man was nowhere to be found. She sucked in a few deep breaths, trying to get her racing pulse back to normal. She turned, heading towards the school when someone blocked her way. IT’S HIM! her mind screamed at her. Julie stumbled a few steps backwards, a scream escaping her throat. She didn’t know how, but somehow he had gotten ahead of her. Her gaze ticked past his shoulder to the students heading into the school. They were so close, yet so far. They were oblivious to the fact that she could have been in danger. She brought her wide eyed gaze back to the man who stood before her.
“Who are you??! What do you want!??” Julie cried.
“Hey, calm down! I’m not going to hurt you!” the man replied.
“Why are you following me?” she asked.
“I wasn’t sure it was you. You’re Julie Whitlow, right?” he asked.
Having a closer look, she saw he must have been close to her age. He didn’t look much older than she did. She nodded. “I’m Julie. Who are you?” she asked curiously.
“I’m Aiden Greene. Sophie Greene’s son.” he explained.
A frown creased Julie’s forehead. Her psychologist, Dr. Greene, who had been killed by Scott. “I didn’t even know she had a son.” she told Aiden.
“I’ve been living with my dad in Sunnydale.” Aiden explained. “She told you she was divorced, right?” he asked curiously.
“She did mention that once, I think.” she replied.
“She had me really young. She was only seventeen. She ended up marrying my dad three years later. And then they divorced eleven years after that.” Aiden explained.
“But what does that have to do with me? How’d you even know I was her patient?” Julie asked with a frown.
“I had heard you..found her. I was going to come find you sooner, but I was really busy with school.” Aiden replied.
“I’m really sorry for your loss. She was really nice.” Julie said.
“Thank you.” Aiden replied, sadness glinting in his eyes.
He’s actually pretty good-looking. Julie thought to herself. She played it cool, pretending she didn’t notice. “So what are you studying in school?” she asked him, trying to keep the conversation going.
“I just finished my first year of pre-med.” Aiden explained.
“Oh, a doctor!” Julie replied.
“An actual doctor, not a head doctor like my mom.” Aiden replied with a soft chuckle. He gazed over his shoulder at the building behind him. “Do you go to school here?” he asked.
“Oh, I’m just taking art classes here for the time being. I plan on going back to school in the fall.” Julie explained. She glanced down at her watch. She still had a few more minutes before she had to head inside.
“Let me guess, you’re going to study… education?” he guessed.
Julie chuckled. “I’m going to be studying law. I took some time off from school to help my family.” she told him. She was looking forward to going back to school. She’d been out for two years while her mother was away.
“Ah! A lawyer. I could see you as one of those no-mercy types.” Aiden replied with a soft wink.
Julie felt herself blush. A soft giggle escaped from her lips. “I guess we’ll see!” she told him. She looked down at the time. “I gotta run. Class is about to start. My friend Gwen is probably wondering where I am.” she told Aiden.
“Of course. Sorry for scaring you. Maybe I’ll see you around?” he asked.
She smiled. “Maybe.” she said simply. She didn’t know why she had been so afraid of him. He seemed to be a really nice guy. He waved and walked away. Julie stood there for a moment, watching him leave. She then turned and headed towards the building.
Naomi pushed open the backdoor and stepped out onto the back patio. She closed the door behind her, tilting her head towards the sun. She padded across the patio on bare feet, making her way over to a lawn chair. She was dressed in a two piece bathing suit that showed off her perfect figure. She sat down in the chair, sitting back and getting comfortable. It was nice to have some time to herself. Blake was working, and Fallon had gone to see Darcy. They were planning Darcy’s wedding, which was coming up in a few weeks. At least something good is happening in between all this bad stuff. Naomi thought to herself, a small frown creasing her pretty face.
She stared into the blue water of the swimming pool. A lot of houses in West Valley had a swimming pool in the backyard. While it was a small town, the people living there came from middle to upper class families. Wealth was common in the town. You’d have to venture out of the town limits to find a rough neighbourhood or low income housing. Naomi pushed those thoughts away, letting the warm sun rays fall on her exposed skin. She relaxed, closing her eyes. This is the life. she thought to herself with a small smirk. A dip in the pool would be nice. But first, Naomi wanted to work on her tan. She didn’t get to do this as much as she wanted to.
Eyes closed, she felt herself dozing off. Slipping out of conciousness. Her breathing soft and even. Her eyelids fluttered at the sound of a phone ringing. She grimaced, opening her eyes and scanning her surroundings. It was then that she realized the ringing of the phone was coming from her own house. Muttering under her breath, Naomi got to her feet. Made her way across the patio to the backdoor. She pulled it open and entered, hurrying into the kitchen. She ticked her gaze to the wall clock. It was almost noon. Who’s calling at this time of the day? she wondered to herself as she picked up the phone and brought it to her ear.
“Hello?!” she said, a little too gruffly.
“Naomi?” a voice said from the other end. A male voice.
“Hi? Who is this?” she asked curiously.
“It’s Warren.” he told her.
A smile played on Naomi’s lips. “Oh, hi! I didn’t recognize your voice.” she told him.
“I need your help.” he told her.
“Is everything alright?” she asked, her smile fading.
“I just got a call from the girls’ school. I have to bring Kaitlyn to the hospital.” he explained.
“What happened?” Naomi asked, concern glinting in her eyes.
“Apparently she and a few kids were playing with spray bottles. One of them had bleach in it and she got it in the eyes.” Warren explained. “But Taylor is at home with the stomach flu. Could you come stay with Taylor while I bring Kaitlyn to the hospital?” Warren asked.
“Let me just change and I’ll be right over.” Naomi told Warren.
“You’re a lifesaver. Thanks!” he told her, relief in his voice.
Hanging up the phone, Naomi hurried out of the kitchen and into her bedroom. She went to her closet, pulling it open and taking out some clothes as she stripped out of her bikini. A few minutes later, she hurried out of the bedroom, dressed. She made her way to the front door, pulling it open and closing it and locking it behind her. She hurried down the walkway, heading for the sidewalk. Blake had taken the car for the day, so she had to walk over to Warren’s. It would only take her a few minutes, but if she had the car she would have gotten there faster. A few moments later, she was walking across Warren’s lawn. She hurried to the front door, and knocked. The door was pulled open, Warren smiled, worry in his eyes.
“That was fast. I’m off to get Kaitlyn. Don’t worry about Taylor, she’s sleeping and I doubt she’ll be waking up anytime soon. She spent the whole night throwing up.” Warren explained to Naomi.
Naomi nodded. “I’ll take care of everything. Go get Kaitlyn.” she told him.
“I’ll be home as soon as I can. And Naomi? Thanks.” he said. Before she could reply, his lips were pressed against hers, and then Warren hurried off to his car.
A small smile played on Naomi’s lips. Did he even realized he kissed me? she thought to herself as she went into the house. She closed the door, looking around. The house was quiet. For a moment she contemplated sitting outside in the backyard, but decided against it in case Taylor woke up and needed something. So Naomi headed into the kitchen. There were dirty dishes in the sink, so she went over, turning on the faucet and grabbing some dish soap. It didn’t take long, soon the dishes were drying on the counter. Spotting an overflowing garbage can, Naomi went and pulled the bag out from the can. She tied it and tossed it outside by the backdoor. Any other girl would have rolled her eyes, but Naomi understood.
Warren was doing the best he could. He was a young widower with two young daughters. He would have never thought that his wife would have been murdered in cold blood. Naomi closed the backdoor, and locked it. She made her way out of the kitchen, and into the living room. There was more tidying up to do. She grabbed a Barbie doll off the floor. In the corner of the room, there was a pile of childrens books. Naomi was making her way over to pick up the books when the phone rang. With a sigh, she tossed the doll on the couch. Reached into her pocket, and pulled her phone out. She accepted the call, bringing the phone to her ear.
“Hello?” she said, expecting to hear Warren on the other end of the line.
“Hello, Naomi.” a distorted voice replied from the other end.
“Hi, who is this?” she asked.
“Someone who knows what you’re doing.” the voice replied.
Naomi frowned. “What do you mean?” she asked.
“I mean about the fact that you’re fucking a dead woman’s husband.” the caller replied.
Naomi blinked hard. “What?” she said in disbelief.
“They say the dead see everything. I believe that Scarlett knows what you’re doing with her husband.” the voice said.
“It’s not like that. We’re not..” she trailed off.
“You mean he didn’t kiss you? It looked like a kiss to me.” the caller chuckled.
An icy cold shiver of fear snaked down Naomi’s spine. “How do you know that?” she asked.
“Scarlett’s not the only one watching you.” the voice replied omniously.
“That’s not funny.” Naomi replied with a frown.
“It wasn’t meant to be.” the voice told her.
“What do you want?” Naomi asked, clutching the phone tighter in her hand.
“For you and Warren to stop what you’re doing. Before someone gets hurt, or worse.” the caller chuckled before hanging up without warning.
With the threat echoing in her ears, Naomi hung up the phone, standing helplessly in the middle of the living room.
Joanna couldn’t help but smile as she walked along the sidewalk. It was such a beautiful day and she had gone for a walk. She was in a great mood. She had no complaints so far about her family’s new life in West Valley. A fresh start was what they had all needed. Sure, the murders were the only downside. But Joanna tried not to dwell on that too much. She chose to ignore it. It was hard to do lately, with the murders of the three teenage girls. As long as my kids are okay, that’s all that matters. she thought to herself. What happened was tragic, but it was upto Joanna to look after her own family. Their safety was most important to her.
Reaching her home, Joanna moved across the lawn to check the mail. The mailbox was empty. She headed up the steps to the porch, pulling out her keys as she unlocked the front door. She pushed the door open, stepping into the house. She closed the door behind her, but didn’t bother to lock it. Carly and Travis would be home from school soon. Joanna hummed to herself as she made her way into the kitchen. On her way back from her walk, she had encountered Lynn Jacks. The older woman had been outside her house, watering her garden. They had got to talking and Lynn had invited Joanna in for some tea. It had been a pleasant visit.
They had talked about their families before Lynn told stories about when she was growing up. Joanna loved hearing stories from before her time. Lynn was probably the same age as her mother, and Joanna always enjoyed the stories her mother told her. Everything was so different than how they were now. Joanna had listened with interest, sipping her Earl grey tea. It didn’t seem like Lynn had many visitors. She seemed kind of lonely even though her daughter Ellie was around a lot more than she used to be. While they sat at the kitchen table, Joanna thought she was going to meet Faye Abernathy. She was a fan, she listened to Faye’s podcast religiously. But Faye wasn’t around, she was putting the finishing touches on her book.
I can’t wait to read it. Joanna thought to herself. She was planning on attending the book release party. It was coming up in a few days, and would be held at Surge. She’d never been to the club yet. It had been years since she had last gone to one. Before Travis and Carly were born. She had been a pretty big club kid and had gone out every weekend once she had gotten her fake ID. She was fourteen at the time. Joanna would tell her mother she was sleeping at her best friend’s house. When actually they would get dressed up in short skirts, tight tops and high heels. Hair and makeup done, wearing too much perfume.
They’d look older, and they had no problem getting into the different clubs they went to. They never once got caught. Looking back at it now, Joanna could laugh about it. Her teenage years had been a blast. Once she met Barry, she had calmed down. And once she got pregnant, her priorities changed. She had to put her teenage years behind her, she was a mother. Her first pregnancy, with Travis, she was so sick. She had horrible morning sickness and had a difficult delivery. With Carly, she knew what to expect. Her second pregnancy was smooth sailing, even if her daughter was born three weeks before her due date.
Joanna snapped back to the present when she heard the front door open and close. Someone was home. With a smile on her face, she headed out of the kitchen and into the main entryway. Standing there was Travis. Joanna’s eyes widened in surprise when she took in her son’s appearance. A soft gasp escaped from between her lips.
“Travis! What happened to your face?” she cried.
“Nothing.” her son replied, his face scratched up and bloody.
“That’s not nothing! Were you fighting?” Joanna asked.
“I didn’t start it!” Travis cried.
“Well then who did?” Joanna replied, shaking her head.
“Some douchebag jock.” Travis muttered.
“Want to tell me what happened?” Joanna asked.
“Mom..” Travis trailed off.
“Tell me.” she replied firmly.
“I was leaving school and I got outside, when I heard that douchebag make a comment about Carly to his friends. So I went over to tell him to shut his mouth. He got all in my face, and then he punched me. A few times.” he explained, wincing in pain.
Joanna let out a deep sigh. “Travis, you should have just ignored him.” she told him, shaking her head.
“He was talking shit about Carly! I was just protecting her!” Travis cried.
“Do I need to call the principal?” Joanna asked.
“Doing that is just going to make things worse!” Travis replied.
“We’ve only been here for a few weeks and you’re already getting into fights!” Joanna cried.
“This isn’t like at my old school, mom. I’m not running with the wrong crowd! I’ve barely made any friends here!” Travis explained.
A sigh escaped Joanna’s lips. “I just don’t want it to become a replay of how it was at your old school.” she told Travis.
“I don’t want that, either. I want this fresh start just as much as you do.” he replied.
She stared at him, wondering if he was telling her the truth. “Go get cleaned up and come help me in the kitchen.” she told him.
“Alright.” he said, turning and heading up the staircase to the second floor.
Shaking her head, her eyes glinting with dissapointment, Joanna turned and made her way back into the kitchen.
The day went on, uneventful. It was late in the afternoon now, dinnertime approaching. Work was done for the day as people started heading home to their families. At the moment, Preston was alone. His fingers flew over the computer keyboard as he sat at the desk. Beth was out somewhere, and he wasn’t expecting her to come back until later on that evening. That was fine by Preston, he liked having his privacy. He hadn’t done much that day. In the morning, he had searched the internet for any jobs, but found none. For the rest of the day, he had just lounged around the house. No one was there to tell him to lower the music he had blasted, or had seen him dancing around like a fool.
A small smirk played on his lips as he continued his job search. Maybe there’s something now. he thought to himself. The clicking of the keys was the only sound in the quiet house. Preston wasn’t picky with what kind of job he wanted. As long as it payed well. He planned on taking the first thing that caught his attention. So far, there was nothing. Delivery boy, Stock clerk, jobs that he couldn’t see himself doing. He let out a sigh, maybe there would be better listings tomorrow. He clicked off the page, deciding to check his email next. It had been a while since he had last checked it and he worried he would have a ton waiting for him to read.
Opening his inbox, he was surprised to see there was just a few emails to be read. They were mostly special offers. Except for one. He read the recipient’s name. ALEXANDER KLINE. A frown creased Preston’s face. What does he want? he thought to himself as he clicked on the email, opening it. His eyes scanned the message. He hadn’t spoken to Alexander in a long while. He didn’t think he would hear from him again. For the last time they had spoke, they had argued. Alexander hadn’t even crossed Preston’s mind since he had moved to West Valley. Preston bit gently on his bottom lip. He wanted to answer, to reply to the email, but wasn’t sure if it was the wisest choice.
He was about to close the email when he saw the attachement file. Another frown creased Preston’s face as he opened the file. His eyes widened in surprise at the video that played on the computer screen. He’d never seen it before, he wasn’t aware such a video even existed. His pulse picking up speed, Preston swallowed hard as he closed the email, and dragged the message into the trash bin. Why would Alexander send this to me? he thought to himself. He cleared the trash bin, erasing the email for good. If this was Alexander’s idea of a joke, Preston didn’t find it funny at all. He turned the computer off, pushing the chair back and getting to his feet. He made his way across the floor, walking out of the study.
He was on a mission. His destination; his bedroom. He ascended the stairs to the second floor landing. He made his way down the hall to his bedroom door. He pushed it open, entering the bedroom and scanned his surroundings. Looking for something. He spotted it on the bed. He made his way over and picked up his phone. Do I still have his number? Preston thought to himself as he went through his phone contacts. Finding the number he was searching for, he clicked on the call button, bringing the phone to his ear. It rang once, twice. By the sixth ring, the phone was picked up. Preston was about to speak when he heard the message. He realized voicemail had picked up.
“Hey, this is Alex’s voicemail. I’m either busy or avoiding you. So leave a message after the beep!” said the voice from the other end of the line.
Preston rolled his eyes in annoyance. “Alexander? It’s Preston. I need to talk to you. You better call me back.” he said after the beep. “I just saw your email, and I don’t think it’s funny. Call me as soon as you get this!” he said before he hung up the phone.
Dusk was coming. The sky was tinged with pink, as if it was on fire. In the suburbs, the streets were void of any life. Not a person or car. People were safe inside the safety of their own homes. Something hung in the air, an uneasy feeling that something was about to happen. If only the people of West Valley knew what it was. Was the killer going to strike again? Would someone else fall victim to him or her? Or was the killer prowling around somewhere out there, skulking in the blue shadows that would soon run black? Faces peered out the windows of their homes, wondering if they would finally catch a glimpse of the West Valley killer.
If he or she was out there, they didn’t show themselves. Feeling relieved, but still unable to shake off that feeling of unease, the people would walk away from their windows. At the Rayburn house, the lights were off. No one was home. Yet at the edge of the property, a light shone from inside the tool shed. The sound of hammering filtered outside into the backyard. Along with the occasional curse. A woman’s voice, clearly working on some kind of project. The door to the shed remained shut. A few moments later, silence. The light flicked off inside the shed, plunging it into darkness. The door swung open, and Amy stepped out onto the grass, wiping her hands.
She closed the shed door behind her, scanning the sky. The sun was setting. She blinked softly. I didn’t realize that much time passed. she thought to herself. She looked towards the house, saw it was dark. No sign that Jillyan was home yet. A slight frown creased Amy’s pretty face. Her stomach swirled with nerves, upset. She knew where Jillyan was. She had gone shopping with Hanna Workman and Cassidy Landgraab. She had made Jillyan promise her that she would stay in public places for the time being. After what had happened at the sleepover, Amy wasn’t going to take any chances. She had responsibility for her younger sister as long as she was staying with her.
Amy replayed the events of that night in her mind. She had been fast asleep, dreaming of Shawn. It had been a pleasant dream, they had been walking down the sidewalk pushing their infant daughter in her carriage. That’s when the ringing of the phone had woken her up. She had looked over at the clock, wondering who had been calling the house at one o’clock in the morning. She was surprised to find out it was the police department on the other end of the line. They had explained to her what had happened. Jillyan was at the police station, waiting for her to come pick her up. Amy had jumped out of her bed, throwing a robe over her pyjamas, not bothering to get dressed.
She had jumped into the car, and had driven down to the police station. She had double parked as she hurried into the station, her heart thudding in her chest. Stephanie Workman had walked past her, ushering a sobbing Hanna by the arm. Up ahead, she saw Jillyan sitting on a bench, staring off into space. Her younger sister had an angry bruise on her forehead. Jillyan had ticked her gaze down the hall, spotting Amy. She had jumped to her feet and hurried down the hall to her sister. They had hugged each other tightly in relief. Jillyan had tears trickling down her cheeks as she explained what had happened. Amy had listened in stunned silence.
Jillyan had almost been killed. That thought raced through Amy’s mind as she drove them home. Once they were safe inside the house, Amy had laid down next to Jillyan in her bed. They had fallen asleep and Amy had woken up first the following morning. Once she had hopped out of the bed, she had gone downstairs to the kitchen. She had picked up the phone and called their mother. This was something that was not to be kept from her. She had to know how close Jillyan had been to danger. Their mother was very worried, but Amy reassured her she didn’t have to come to West Valley. Jillyan was fine, just a bit shaken up.
Making sure the shed door was locked, Amy headed for the sidewalk. She didn’t want to go into the house just yet. She knew where she wanted to go, and she was in the mood to walk there. She walked through the quiet neighbourhood, passing by lit up houses. Passing by the Whitlow house, she saw Julie through the window. Julie spotted her and they waved at each other. Amy kept moving, listening to the light wind blow through the leaves on the trees. She crossed the street, stepping onto the opposite curb. She glanced over her shoulder, the sidewalk behind her was empty.
She too could feel the unease in the air, as if it was closing in on her. She frowned, shaking her head, ignoring the feeling as she kept walking. She could see the twinkling lights of downtown in the distance. In the sky, the sun was almost completely gone. Shadows danced in the Wind. Amy stopped suddenly in her tracks. She stood at the mouth of an alley between two houses. The shadows were thick there, but she had heard a noise. If she was scared, it didn’t show. She was more curious as to what the sound was. A soda can came rolling out, pushed along by the wind, stopping at Amy’s feet. She couldn’t help but laugh. She nudged at the can with her shoe as it went rolling away.
Calm down, Amy. she thought to herself. She kept walking, soon finding herself at the edge of town. Her destination was off in the distance. She walked, rubbing her belly. The baby wasn’t due for another few months. If there was anything she was worried about, it was the delivery. Hopefully she’d have an easy one, that it didn’t last hours. She didn’t do too well with pain. She wished she could have Shawn by her side, but he was gone forever. That’s why her mother would be standing beside her in the delivery room. A pang of sadness hit Amy, she wished Shawn was still alive. He would never see the life they had created together. A sigh of sadness escaped Amy’s lips.
Just ahead of her was her destination. St-Gregory’s Church. It towered over her omniously. She made her way across the grass, heading for the gate that lead to the graveyard in the back. She couldn’t help but tick her brown eyed gaze to the steeple as she did so. Adam Raines was murdered up there. she thought to herself. I’m probably walking on the exact spot where he landed. she thought with a small frown playing on her face. She picked up her pace, pushing open the gate, it creaked loudly, almost as if it were a warning. She thought nothing of it, closing the gate behind her and making her way along the side of the building until she reached the graveyard.
Most of Scott’s victims were buried there. Amy looked at the rows of tombstones. She shook her head. It was a tragedy that so many people had died. She wished Scott had been stopped sooner. Maybe some of those people buried here would be alive today. Maybe Shawn would have been. A soft sigh of sadness escaped Amy’s lips as she made her way through the tombstones, finding Shawn’s. She stopped in front of it, placing a hand on the top of it. She bowed her head and closed her eyes for a moment. Respect for the dead. She opened her eyes, and took a step back.
“Hi, it’s me.” she said softly.
Did he know she was there? Could he see her? Was he trying to reply back to her? All those thoughts swirled around in Amy’s head. What happens when you die? she thought to herself. It was a question that people had been asking for the longest time. Maybe for thousands of years. The soft breeze tickled her arms, she crossed them over her chest as she kept her eyes on Shawn’s tombstone.
“I miss you. Things have been rough lately.” Amy said, a glint of sadness in her eyes.
“I almost lost Jillyan. Who would have thought that a slumber party could turn into a funeral?” she said.
“But she was lucky. But you, not so much. You’re not going to be here to help me raise this baby.” Amy continued, blinking back tears that threatened to overflow from her eyes.
“Just a few months left.” she explained, rubbing her belly.
“I’m working on a project for the baby. I’ve actually been doing it in the tool shed. You should see me, making blueprints and hammering, I think you’d be proud of me.” Amy continued.
No reply. Somewhere in the distance, a car horn honked loudly. Amy ticked her gaze in the direction of the sound before turning back to the tombstone. “I just needed to come see you. I’ll visit soon.” she said. She put her hand on the top of the tombstone before turning and making her way back towards the gate.
Storm clouds. Threatening to bring rain. Dusk had finally fallen on the town of West Valley. A crescent moon hung in the sky, trying to peek out from the large clouds. Off in the distance, lightning flashed. It was a little past midnight. Inside the Adkins house, it was quiet. In the bedroom, Campbell slept soundly under the covers. Not Darcy, she was tossing and turning for the past hour. She couldn’t seem to fall asleep. She looked over at Campbell, and then she sat up. She pushed the covers aside as she swung her legs out from the bed and got to her feet. She padded across the floor to the closed bedroom door. She gripped the knob and turned, pulling the door open slowly.
She didn’t want to wake Campbell, who had fallen fast asleep once his head had hit the pillow. She stepped out into the main room of the house, closing the door behind her. She padded on bare feet over to gaze out the front window. A storm’s coming. she thought to herself as she looked up at the sky. It had been a busy day for Darcy. Besides working all day, she had also put the finishing touches on her wedding dress. She was extremely happy with how it came out. It was hanging in a plastic garment bag in the bedroom closet. She forbid Campbell to go look. The only people who had seen it other than her, were her mother, and Fallon.
Earlier that evening, she and Campbell had gone to look for a new house. With a listing of houses for sale, they went to visit a few. And had liked all they had seen. Since the wedding was approaching, it was time for them to find a bigger house. Darcy’s home was fine for one person, but now they were about to become two. And Campbell thought they would become three in the near future. She had yet to tell him that she couldn’t have any children. The opportunity had come up many times, yet she couldn’t bring herself to tell him. You should do it before the wedding. she scolded herself. She was just scared of his reaction. How would he take it?
The only options now were a surrogate, or adoption. Darcy sniffled as she moved away from the window. She contemplated turning on the television, but decided against it. She made her way into the kitchen. There was a plate of ice cream cake in the fridge, and she felt like pigging out. Maybe that’ll put me in a good mood. she thought to herself as she made her way over to the fridge. She opened the door, and was pulling out the plate, when the phone suddenly rang. It startled her, she almost dropped the plate. She put it down on the counter, wondering who was calling the house at this time of night.
She had a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach as she went to answer the phone before it woke Campbell up.
“Hello?” she said into the phone.
She could hear a commotion from the other end of the line. “Darcy Adkins, please. It’s urgent.” said a man’s voice.
“This is Darcy.” she said with a slight frown on her pretty face.
“This is William Taggart, the fire marshall. I’m downtown at your store. There’s been…a situation.” he explained.
“What kind of situation?” Darcy asked, holding the phone tighter.
“I’m sorry for the bad news, but, it seems there was a fire at your store. We’re fairly certain it was arson. Your store burnt to the ground. I’m afraid there’s nothing left.” he told her.
Darcy went numb. “My store.” she muttered into the phone.
“We’ll need to meet with you in the morning. At the store. At nine?” he asked.
“Nine o’clock.” Darcy repeated softly.
“I’m sorry for the bad news.” he told her before hanging up the phone.
Darcy hung up, she couldn’t believe it. Her store was gone. Burnt down to the ground. On purpose. Suddenly, outside, the rain began to pour.