Darcy’s eyes fluttered open, the bedroom slowly coming into view. Warm sunlight poured through the window, lighting up the room. Darcy sat up in bed, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She turned to look at Campbell who was asleep beside her. He was snoring softly, which brought a small smirk to Darcy’s lips. She pushed the bed covers aside and swung her legs out from the bed, getting to her feet. She didn’t know why, had no reason to believe otherwise, but she felt like today was going to be a good day. Perhaps it was because today she and Jane Porter were finally going to meet. It had been four days since Jane had called her. She had tracked Darcy’s phone number down. She had asked her to meet with her over a cup of coffee. Darcy hoped that Jane would offer her a job.
That’s what she made it sound like. I think. Darcy thought to herself as she went over to the bedroom window. She pushed back the curtains, looking out at the beautiful day beyond. There wasn’t a cloud in the bright blue sky. Birds chirped happily in the trees. She spotted Mrs. Grundy, her new neighbour, working in her front garden. It was days like this that made Darcy forget that she lived in West Valley. When things were calm, it was easy to forget that there was a killer out there. Darcy stepped away from the window, letting the curtains fall back into place. She went over to her closet, pulling it open to peer inside. If she was going to meet Jane Porter today, she had to dress up. Not that she didn’t. Darcy thought herself to be quite fashionable. She did own her own store, made her own designs.
The store was gone now. Just thinking about it left a lump in Darcy’s throat. That’s why Jane had reached out to her. She had heard about the fire that had destroyed Darcy’s Closet. As if killing people wasn’t enough, the West Valley killer had been the one to strike the match. He, or she, had something against Darcy. Against the whole town. While the killer wasn’t claiming any victims, they would make their presence known. The killer liked to toy with the townspeople. Liked to cause them misery. Darcy shook her head as she found an outfit, crossing the floor and out of the bedroom. She made her way towards the bathroom, taking in her surroundings. She loved the new house. She and Campbell had recently moved into a bigger house.
Their wedding was coming up, it was only a few days away. Darcy was beyond excited. After all that planning, the big day was almost there. She couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle in her dress. She couldn’t wait to call Campbell her husband. As she headed into the bathroom and slipped off her nightgown, she flashed back to that night Campbell had proposed. She had come home to find a bottle of champagne and a ring box on her kitchen counter. Considering she had just had a confrontation with the first killer, Scott, Campbell was afraid at the thought of losing her. And so he had proposed. Despite the night of horror she had, she had said yes. Remembering now, as she stepped into the shower, she couldn’t help the smile that played on her lips.
She took a quick shower, got dressed and did her makeup. She looked at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Presentable. she thought to herself as she made her way out of the bathroom. She made a quick stop back to the bedroom to put on her engagement ring and some jewelry. Campbell was still sound asleep. He usually liked to sleep in late on the weekends. Darcy headed down the stairs to the main floor of the house and into the kitchen. She refrained from making herself a cup of coffee, since she and Jane were going to meet at the café. So she puttered around the kitchen, making herself some breakfast which consisted of yogurt and fresh fruit. After she was done eating, she grabbed a piece of paper and a pen. She wrote Campbell a note, reminding him where she was going.
She stuck it to the fridge where Campbell would see it. It would be his first stop once he got out of bed. She didn’t want him worrying. He had done a lot of that lately. Instinctually, Darcy brought her hand to her stomach. She had healed from her stab wound. Now all that was left was a scar as a reminder. Fate seemed to be on her side. She was still alive, but it came with a price. She couldn’t have kids. It had been hard to tell Campbell, but she had finally did it. With a sigh, Darcy pushed those troubling thoughts to the back of her mind. She headed out of the kitchen and into the front entryway. She found her purse and her keys, making her way to the front door. She unlocked it and pulled it open, stepping outside into the warm sunshine. She closed and locked the door behind her as she made her way down the walkway. For a brief moment, she thought of driving downtown.
But it was too much of a beautiful day, she decided to walk. It wouldn’t take long. Downtown West Valley was just a few blocks away. She had plenty of time to get there and wait for Jane Porter to show up. So she headed down the sidewalk, her heels clicking as she did so. She waved to Mrs. Grundy, who looked up from her gardening as Darcy walked past. Mrs. Grundy was older, probably her parents age. She was retired, she was once a teacher. Her husband was also a teacher, he was about to retire once school ended, which was in a few weeks. They had come to welcome Darcy and Campbell to the neighbourhood with a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Darcy had one or two, but Campbell had mostly eaten them all. Thinking about that now, Darcy rolled her eyes in annoyance. Campbell loved to eat. It was a good thing that they both knew how to cook.
Darcy kept moving down the sidewalk. She listened to the cheery chirping of the birds in the trees overhead. She headed around the corner, almost colliding with a dog. She smiled. Everyone knew Hubert, a large sheepdog. His owner, Nick Perrin was gripping his leash, walking him down the sidewalk. Darcy stopped to pet the dog, and spoke briefly with Nick before continuing on her way. She liked animals. Dogs were her favorite. Maybe one day she and Campbell would get one. She kept walking, unable to supress the small smirk playing on her lips as she did so. Soon, she found herself downtown. She walked around the large crater in the road, they were doing construction. This must have been where Gwen got attacked. she thought to herself. She couldn’t stop the icy cold shiver of fear that snaked down her spine.
Darcy stepped up onto the curb, and made her way over to the café. She looked around, no one was standing outside. She wondered if she was late, or too early. She made her way over to the door, pulling it open and stepping inside the building. The door swung shut behind her as she took in her surroundings. Unless Jane was in the restroom, Darcy seemed to have arrived early. She was relieved, making her way over to a free table. She noticed there were plenty of free tables. Not many people were up and about yet. That was fine with Darcy. She stepped up to the table, pulling the chair back and sitting down. She listened to the music coming from the speakers in each corner of the room. “London Bridge” by Fergie. Darcy tapped her nails to the rhythm on the tabletop. A few moments later, someone was sitting down in the chair across from her.
“Darcy?” the dark skinned woman asked her with a smile.
Darcy smiled in reply, recognizing her voice from when she had spoken to her on the telephone. “Jane! Hello!” she said.
Jane extended her hand, Darcy shook it. “It’s great to finally meet you!” Jane told her.
“It’s great to meet you!” Darcy replied. Jane was dressed in a colorful short dress that fit her body just right.
Jane gave Darcy a look-over. It was quick, taking in the other girl’s appearance. “I see your wearing something from my collection.” Jane said, a smile on her lips. She pointed to the top Darcy was wearing.
A soft chuckle escaped from Darcy’s lips. “I didn’t even realize! I love your clothes.” she told Jane. She felt her cheeks blush.
“I love your clothes, too. I saw the dresses you designed for the Miss Teen West Valley pageant. They were exquisite.” Jane replied.
She saw those? Darcy thought to herself. She felt her cheeks blush again. “Thank you.” she told Jane.
“So you’re probably wondering why I asked for us to meet.” Jane said.
“The phone call was sort of out of the blue.” Darcy said, nodding.
Jane laughed. “Well then I’ll just cut right to the chase! I want you to work with me.” she explained to Darcy.
Darcy’s eyes widened in surprise. “Really?” she squealed.
Jane nodded. “I heard what happened to your store. And I think your designs are truly great. You have talent. And I could use someone like you on my team.” she said with a smile.
“But your business is nowhere near here.” Darcy pointed out, frowning slightly.
“True. But here’s the thing. I’m in the process of moving to San Myshuno. That’s a fourty-five minute drive from here. And I’ll be moving my company to right here in West Valley.” Jane explained.
“And you want me to work for you?” Darcy asked excitedly.
“Not FOR me. WITH me. What do you say?” Jane asked, cocking an eyebrow.
“When can I start?” Darcy replied with a big smile playing on her lips.
“It’ll take about three weeks to have everything set up. So how about then?” Jane asked.
Darcy did some calculating in her head. The wedding was a few days away. They would leave for their honeymoon two days after that. They would be gone for almost two weeks. They’d be back in time for Darcy to start her new job. “Sounds great!” she told Jane.
“Wonderful! So, how about that cup of coffee?” Jane asked with a smile.
A while later, they pushed the café door open and stepped out into the warm sunshine. “It was great meeting you!” Darcy said.
“Likewise! I’m looking forward to working with you! Unfortunately, I have to run! We’ll keep in touch.” Jane replied, pulling Darcy into a hug.
“Bye!” Darcy said with a wave as she watched Jane hurry to her car, which was parked in front of the curb. Whoa. That’s her car? Darcy thought to herself as she watched Jane hop into a convertible and speed off. Darcy felt a wide smile on her face, she was smiling she much her cheeks hurt. She couldn’t wait to tell Campbell what had happened. She’d be working with Jane Porter, designing clothes together. Darcy wanted to jump up and down in joy, but supressed the urge. She didn’t want to look like a fool in front of whoever drove or walked by where she was standing. She looked up when she heard someone calling her name. She smiled when she saw Fallon hurrying towards her.
“It is you! I saw you as I was coming out from the pharmacy. What are you doing here?” Fallon asked curiously.
“I just had coffee with Jane Porter.” Darcy explained.
“Jane Porter? The designer? I didn’t know you knew her!” Fallon replied.
“I just met her. Guess what? She wants me to work with her!” Darcy revealed.
“Oh my gosh, Darcy! That’s amazing!” Fallon said, pulling her into a hug.
“I start when we come back from the honeymoon.” Darcy explained to her friend.
“Speaking of, are you ready for your bachelorette party tonight?” Fallon asked with a smirk playing on her lips.
Darcy sighed. “Not really, but do I have a choice?” she asked Fallon.
“Nope! You don’t. It’ll be fun! We’ll dress up all sexy and hit up the town!” Fallon explained.
Darcy shook her head, a chuckle escaping her lips. “Fine. Let’s do the bachelorette party for yours truly.” she told Fallon.
“Great! We’re going to have a blast!” Fallon replied as the two girls headed down the sidewalk.
Megan stifled a yawn as she pulled open the front door and stepped outside. She blinked against the bright sunlight. It had been dark outside when she had woken up. It was the weekend, and Megan tended to sleep in. But today she had to wake up early. She had a project to finish for school. It was due on Monday, but she didn’t want to spend the whole weekend working on it. She wanted to enjoy what was left of the weekend before it was back to school in two days. So she had set her alarm early, had settled herself at her desk and worked away. The project was finally done. She could start enjoying the rest of her day. After breakfast and a quick shower, Megan made her way outside. There was nothing to do at home. Her mother, Christy, was already at work. Julie had gone to meet Aiden for breakfast. Megan usually didn’t mind being home alone, but today she wanted to go out and do stuff.
There was so much she could do. She could head over to the park. She could go to the mall. She could head over to the high school. She could go and fish by the West Valley river. She could head downtown and browse. I’ll go see Charlie. she thought to herself with a small smirk playing on her lips. After making sure the front door was locked, Megan made her way to the sidewalk. The Olsen house wasn’t very far. It was just a few blocks away. Megan’s heels clicked on the pavement as she made her way down the street. People were taking advantage of the weather. Megan saw people gardening, walking their dogs, kids zoomed by her on their bicycles. She couldn’t wait for school to be over. There was only one more week left. She would then have three whole months to do whatever she wanted. She could sleep in, go to bed late, and have fun in between.
And spend lots of time with Charlie. she thought to herself as she looked both ways before crossing the street. Sometimes, Megan would pinch herself. She couldn’t believe Charlie liked her. That he considered her his girlfriend. Megan was never popular, she was the exact opposite. Yet Charlie didn’t care about that. For someone just in his teens, he was mature like that. While he was considered popular, he was also the most down to earth in his clique of friends. Megan smiled to herself as the Olsen house came into view. She headed across the lawn, walking up the porch steps to the front door. She pressed her finger on the doorbell. She waited a few moments before the door was pulled open.
Dawn, Charlie’s mom, looked out at her with a smile. Megan’s good mood was slowly fading when she had asked if Charlie was home. Dawn explained that he had gone out to do something with Jillyan. She wasn’t sure where he had gone. Megan couldn’t help the frown that creased her pretty face. Charlie hadn’t mentioned he had plans with the other girl. He hadn’t even told Megan that he was planning on doing something with Jillyan. Megan felt stupid. She smiled thinly, thanking Dawn as she turned and headed down the porch steps. Dawn closed the door behind her. Megan swallowed hard as she made her way back over to the sidewalk. Where could he be? she thought to herself, her frown deepening. Charlie had a lot of hangouts in the small town. He could have been anywhere.
A sigh escaped Megan’s lips. I’ll try the gym first. Maybe he’s showing off. she thought to herself as she headed down the sidewalk. She didn’t want to admit it to herself, but maybe there was something going on between Jillyan and Charlie. That was the second time Charlie hadn’t informed her that he had plans with the other girl. Could he have grown bored of Megan? Could he have finally realized that perhaps he should date someone popular? While Jillyan didn’t go to their school, she did run with Hanna Workman. She had taken over the throne of being the Queen Bee after Skye Cosgrove had been killed. Hanna was as popular as you could get. She had her own boyfriend, Paul Hathaway. Perhaps she had set Charlie and Jillyan up, despite the fact that Megan was still in the picture.
While Hanna wasn’t as mean as Skye had been, people were still afraid of her. She wasn’t on the same level of bitchiness that Skye had been, but she was getting there. If that’s the case, I’ll slap that smug look off her face. And I’ll slap Jillyan. And Charlie too. Megan thought to herself, her eyes narrowing. A few moments later, she found herself downtown. She headed down the sidewalk, weaving her way through the throngs of people who walked from store to store. Megan headed up to the gym, pulling the door open and stepping inside. The door swung shut behind her as she took a look around. The main entry was empty. There was no sign that someone was even there. She spotted the double doors that lead to the pool. She headed in that direction, pulling the doors open and stepping inside.
The air was thick and heavy. The smell of chlorine filled up her nose. Megan made a face, scrunching up her nose. Her eyes scanned the pool. It was empty. Charlie wasn’t there. Megan turned, pulled open the door and walked out. She headed back towards the way she came, but instead of walking out the door, she headed up the stairs. Reaching the second floor, she looked around the large spacious room. No Charlie. Just Joanna Stanton who was running on the treadmill. With a sigh of defeat, Megan headed back downstairs. She was out the door and back into the bright sunlight. Where else could he be? she thought to herself. She spotted the park on the next block. Maybe he was there. If he wasn’t playing basketball on the court, Charlie could sometimes be found lounging on the swings.
Megan headed down the path, stopping by the fence that bordered the basketball court. There were a bunch of guys playing. Megan scanned their faces. None of them were Charlie. She recognized Liam Alston, Austin Boswell, Matt Snow, Noah Shipp and Sebastian Murray from school. All the popular boys. she thought to herself. Austin looked in her direction and made a face at her. Megan sneered back, raising her middle finger at him before she turned and walked away. She kept heading down the path, stopping at the swings. A whole bunch of little kids were running around, but no sign of Charlie. Megan shook her head, trying to hold back the anger that welled up inside of her. She kept moving, staring straight ahead, her gaze icy. She circled the park before heading out onto the street once more.
A few minutes later, Megan found herself standing outside the West Valley mall. The popular kids loving hanging out here. she thought to herself as she made her way for the glass doors. As she walked in, she was blasted with a wave of cold air. The air conditioning was going full force. Megan rubbed her bare arms as she scanned her surroundings. There were some people sitting by the fountain, throwing pennies into the water. None of them were Charlie. She stopped to peer into the perfume store. The worker behind the counter looked up at her. She was the only one in the store. Megan frowned and kept walking, glancing towards the escalators that lead up to the second level of the mall. She thought she caught sight of a girl with long sandy blonde hair. Same hair like Jillyan. Megan thought to herself.
She hurried over to the escalators. She hopped in, riding upwards, keeping her eyes peeled for Jillyan and Charlie. As she reached the second floor landing, she spotted them going into a toy store. Stay calm. Don’t make a scene. she told herself as she hurried for the store. She peered through the window, watching as Charlie and Jillyan laughed over a stuffed animal. As if he felt her watching, Charlie turned and looked right at her. Megan didn’t have time to hide. She watched Charlie’s face. It grew bright red. He was blushing, clearly embarrassed. He said something to Jillyan, who also looked over at Megan. She smiled sheepishly as Charlie headed out of the store and over to where Megan was standing.
“Megan? What are you doing here?” he asked her.
“Funny, I was about to ask you the same thing.” she replied.
He blushed again. “Jillyan and I are just hanging out.” he explained.
“And you forgot to invite me? Again?” Megan replied sarcastically.
Charlie shrugged in reply. “I didn’t think you liked Jillyan very much. Since she hangs out with Hanna.” he explained.
“Oh, so you popular kids hang out on your own now, huh? And forget about your girlfriend?” Megan asked accusingly.
“Come on, don’t be like that.” he told her.
“Like what? What is going on between you two?” Megan asked.
“Nothing! She’s just a friend.” Charlie replied.
“I was kidding myself. I thought you weren’t like the other popular kids.” Megan told him.
“I can’t be friends with them? I’ve known them longer than I’ve known you.” he pointed out.
“And yet you’ve known me longer than you’ve known Jillyan.” Megan reminded him.
“Look. I’m sorry I didn’t invite you, okay? Can we drop this?” he asked, looking back towards the toy store.
“Yeah. It’s done. We’re done.” Megan blurted out.
“What?” Charlie said in shock.
“I was a fool to think this was going to work out. You’re popular. I’m not. We don’t belong in each others worlds. We’re done. I’m breaking up with you.” Megan told him.
“Megan, hold on…” he said, trailing off as Megan brushed past him.
“Don’t keep your other girlfriend waiting!” Megan shouted as she hopped onto the escalator leading down. Charlie was stunned, rooted in place. He wanted to chase after her, but all he could do was stand there and watch her go.
“Alex! Alex, don’t you dare hang up on me!” Preston cried into the phone.
There was a click, and then the dial tone in Preston’s ear. He let out a cry of frustration. He had the urge to launch his phone across the room. He imagined it hitting the wall and shattering into pieces. Instead, he put the phone away. He got up from the couch where he had been sitting. He couldn’t believe Alex had hung up on him. The nerve of some people! Preston thought to himself. After a few weeks of trying to get a hold of Alex, he finally had. Alex had finally answered his phone. But instead of talking, they had mostly argued. And Alex was mocking him. Preston could tell just by the sound of Alex’s voice. He could just imagine him on the other end of the line, a cruel smirk on his face. He was taking the email he sent Preston as a joke. It was hardly a joke for Preston. He just didn’t find it funny. With a sigh, he headed out of the room.
He made his way into the kitchen. He went over to the coffee machine, turning it on. So what if this was going to be his second coffee of the morning. He glanced at the clock. It was approaching lunchtime. With his lips a thin line in his face, he puttered around the kitchen. Soon enough the smell of fresh coffee hung in the air. He went over to the machine, clicking it off and pouring the dark brown liquid into a cup. He drank his coffee black. No milk, cream or sugar. He took a sip, closing his eyes in contempt. It was a quick distraction, but soon he snapped his attention back to what was happening. He didn’t need the contents of that email to get out. The video attachement was something he was ashamed of. What was worse, was that the video was taken without his knowledge.
Preston downed the rest of his coffee until there was nothing left. He placed the cup in the kitchen sink before he headed across the tiled floor. He made his way over to the backdoor, unlocking it and pulling it open. He stepped outside, closing the door behind him. As much as it was a beautiful day, he didn’t want to venture out too far from home. What if someone had already seen the video? What if it was online? What if the whole town would recognize him? Preston’s heart beat faster in his chest. He took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves. It was a good thing Beth wasn’t home. She had gone out for a few hours, he wasn’t sure where. She’d be able to take one look at him and know that something was bothering him. What will she think if she finds out about the video? Preston thought to himself, a deep frown creasing his face.
Maybe instead of confronting Alex on the phone, it was better to talk face to face. Could I even look at him in the eyes? Preston thought to himself as he paced along the back patio. He didn’t even know how he would find Alexander. He didn’t know where he was living. They had met at a party about a year ago or so. They had spent some time together, getting to know each other. Come on, think. Did he ever mention where he lived? Preston thought to himself as he continued pacing back and forth. If he did remember, it wasn’t like he could go right away. Beth had the car. His mind was blank. A sigh of defeat escaped from Preston’s lips. He lost himself in his thoughts, staring blankly off into space as he did so. He only snapped back to attention when he heard someone call his name. A familiar voice. He looked up into Beth’s face.
She was looking at him with curiosity glinting in her eyes. “Preston? Are you alright?” she asked.
“Beth?” he replied, confused. “When did you get back?” he asked her.
“Just now. I came inside and saw you just standing out here like a statue.” she explained to him.
He didn’t know why, but he found that funny. He laughed. “I was just..thinking.” he said.
“Yeah you seemed deep in thought. Everything okay?” she asked, cocking a perfectly plucked eyebrow at him.
“I..Well.. there is.. there’s something.” he replied, trailing off.
“What’s going on?” Beth asked.
“Do you remember Alexander Kline?” Preston asked.
Beth frowned, trying to remember. “Wasn’t he a friend of yours?” she asked.
Preston took a deep breath. “He was. Actually, he was more than just a friend…” he trailed off.
“Oh. Oh! He was?? I mean, I know you’re gay. That’s not news to me. But I didn’t know there was something going on between you and Alex!” Beth explained.
“We umm… well, we got together. Like in an intimate way.” Preston revealed, his cheeks blushing.
“Well that’s great! Wasn’t it?” Beth asked curiously.
“It was… at the time. Until I found out he videotaped one of our..umm.. intimate moments.” Preston replied, looking down at the floor.
Beth raised an eyebrow. “He did? That’s.. weird.” she said.
“I didn’t know he taped it. Until recently. He sent me the..footage.” Preston explained.
Beth had a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach. “And?” she pressed Preston to continue talking.
“And he threatened to leak the footage.” Preston replied.
“He’s blackmailing you? What an asshole!” Beth cried.
“I’m scared he’ll actually do it. How can I show my face again?” Preston asked. He licked his lips nervously.
“We’ll take care of it. I promise!” Beth reassured him.
“I sure hope so.” Preston replied. He was glad he had told Beth. But he had this weird feeling that everything was about to blow up in his face.
Carly turned right, and then turned left. Looking at her reflection in the mirror above her dresser. She seem pleased with her appearance. She had spent most of the morning studying at the kitchen table in her pyjamas. She was excited. She had one more exam on Monday, and then school was done for her. She was fairly certain the exam would be easy. For someone who had arrived at a new school well past the middle of the school year, Carly had been able to catch up. She was doing well in all her classes. She had been a little worried, she had her doubts when her parents had told her and her brother that they were moving to the town of West Valley. She thought she’d be behind in all her classes, that she wouldn’t make any friends. She thought she’d have a hard time fitting in. Yet she tried to remain enthusiastic about it all.
Surprisingly, the curriculum they were teaching at West Valley High was the same as her old school. It was as if it was the same classes, just taught by different teachers. The teachers adored her. She paid attention in class, she would participate in discussions, and her grades and test scores were high. She loved the school itself. There were so many fun subjects she was taking, like art and history. There was also a ton of clubs and athletics to choose from. There was cheerleading, basketball, soccer, track and field, football. There was also art club, music club, band, student council, and theater. Because she was a late arrival to the school, she was only able to join the art club. But once the new school year started, she planned on joining a few. She would rejoin art club, but she also wanted to join cheerleading, student council and maybe theater.
As for the friends she left behind, she missed them. It was a little odd not seeing them everyday. Madison Conners was her best friend. They had known each other since first grade. They’d stuck together through it all. Even upto Carly’s move. They promised each other they would keep in touch every day. So far they had kept that promise. They text each other most days, sometimes they would Skype together. Madison had talked about coming to visit Carly in West Valley. It was just talk so far, no definite plans. Madison’s parents were kind of on edge after hearing about everything that had happened in West Valley. But Madison was trying to change their minds. I hope my parents say yes. Carly thought to herself as she made her way out of her bedroom. Carly’s parents didn’t seem to be a fan of Madison’s. Perhaps it was because the other girl was always around.
Not that Madison was the only friend she had in her old town. She was part of a close knit group of friends. Madison was part of that group, but there were also others. There was Kirby O’neill, Johnny Murphy, Gregg Hanson, Camille Lopez, Tara Flowers, Christina Walsh, Jenny Soto. And then there was Joshua Wood. Just thinking of Joshua made Carly’s cheeks blush. He wasn’t exactly her boyfriend. They’d gone to the movies a few times, had gone for dinner together as well. She liked him. A lot. And he seemed to like her too. She could just picture him. He had amazing bright blue eyes in a high cheek boned face. He had unruly black hair that seemed to have a mind of it’s own. He was fairly tall, with broad shoulders. A thousand watt smile that could light up any room he walked into.
Carly also kept in touch with him. She missed him. She hoped he would also come visit her sometime. She knew her parents liked him. Perhaps they would say yes to him coming to visit. He could even stay here in the guest room. she thought to herself as she headed down the stairs to the main floor of the house. Her parents were sitting on the couch, watching a documentary about jungle wildlife. Carly stood there, watching the television for a few moments. Her mother turned to her father, mentioning something about an obscene phone call. Before she could continue, she spotted Carly standing there. She suddenly stopped talking, flashing her daughter a smile. Carly arched a perfectly plucked eyebrow in curiosity. She hadn’t heard about an obscene phone call. Before she could ask about it, her mother was speaking to her.
“Don’t forget we’re going out for brunch in half an hour.” her mother told her.
Carly frowned. “But Travis isn’t home.” she explained.
Her mother frowned in reply. “Where did he go?” she asked.
“I think he mentioned something about going over to the school. To watch the football practice.” Carly replied.
“Well call him and tell him to head back home.” her father said.
“He left his phone here.” Carly explained.
“He always does that.” Joanna replied with a deep sigh escaping her lips. “Do you mind going to get him?” she asked.
“Can I take the car?” Carly asked, excitement shining in her eyes.
Her dad chuckled. “Nice try. You know you don’t have your license yet.” he told her.
“Just checking.” Carly replied with a fake pout. She let out a sigh. “Fine. I’ll walk over to the school and get him.” she told her parents.
“Hurry back. Our reservations are for one thirty.” her mother called out as Carly headed out of the room.
She stepped out into the sunshine, closing the door behind her. She didn’t bother locking it, since her parents were home. The walk to the school wasn’t long. On her way, she had crossed paths with Megan Whitlow. She was going to say hi, but the other girl had the most intense look on her face. As if she wanted to kill someone. Carly decided to keep her mouth shut, but she did wave to her. Megan did wave back, but with a sneer on her face. She knew Megan from school. They didn’t really run in the same crowd. Megan was friends with the more nerdy, and artsy kids. Carly didn’t really have a specific crowd that she was in. Sure, she was friends with Noelle Perrin, who was one of the more popular girls in school. But Carly liked to hop from crowd to crowd. She didn’t limit herself to one basic group of friends.
She had met Hanna Workman, who was the Queen Bee of the school. But Carly didn’t really consider her a friend. She was just someone who was friendly with her. Perhaps Hanna was still trying to feel her out, to decide if she should belong in the popular group or not. Either way, it didn’t matter to Carly. She was more than fine with how things were going. She headed down the sidewalk, making her way towards the school. She approached the building, looking up as it loomed over her. She never realized how creepy the school was when there wasn’t any classes. But now, as she looked up at the blank windows that stared down at her like dark eyes, she felt a shiver run down her spine. She remembered hearing about how Megan had been attacked in the school by the first West Valley killer. She had escaped, had been lucky to be alive.
Carly pushed those thoughts aside as she made her way towards the school parking lot. Suddenly, the sound of a commotion met her ears. She frowned, taking a few steps closer. Across the parking lot, she saw three figures standing off with a lone figure. She noticed the three guys. They were her classmates Malcolm Kinsey, Tim Steinwedel and Ethan Seymour. And the lone figure was Travis! It was her brother. And if she didn’t interfere now, it looked like the three boys were going to attack her brother. She ran as fast as she could, hoping she would make it there in time before Travis got beaten to a pulp. Four pairs of eyes turned to see her approaching. Ethan sneered at her, while Travis seemed to be signaling for her to get out of there with wide eyes. She ignored him, turning her attention to the three boys.
“HEY! What’s going on here?” Carly asked.
“Oh look, he called his sister to come help him.” Ethan said with a laugh.
“I don’t have my phone on me. Moron.” Travis replied.
Ethan took a step closer, raising his fist. “I’d watch my mouth if I were you, Stanton.” he said.
“Why don’t you leave him alone?” Carly said.
“Nobody asked you, bitch!” Malcolm replied.
“Don’t talk to her like that!” Travis replied, seething.
“What are you going to do about it?” Malcolm asked with a laugh.
“You’re going to find out.” Travis threatened.
The three boys laughed. “Who’s going to stop us. You? You can barely carry your own weight.” Tim said.
“I can handle myself just fine.” Travis replied.
“You’re asking for some deep pain, man. And your sister, well, I’m sure she likes to ask for it while she’s on her knees.” Ethan said with a laugh.
BAM! Travis was a blur of motion, and before he could utter another word, Ethan was punched across the face. His eyes went wide as he was knocked down onto the pavement. Carly’s eyes widened in surprise as Travis grabbed her by the hand and began pulling her along. Soon, they were both running. They ran as fast as they could, away from the high school. Away from the three boys, as Ethan got his feet. His bottom lip was split, blood trickling down his chin.
“You’re dead, Stanton! This isn’t over!” Travis heard Ethan yell.
Travis didn’t look back. All he and Carly could do was run.
Dawn’s parents looked up at her with wide smiles. Her mother wore a beautiful white gown with a veil. Her father looked dapper in a black tuxedo. They seemed so young back then. So full of life. But they were both gone now. Dawn’s father had died years ago. And her mother had been one of Scott Emerson’s victims. A sigh of sadness escaped Dawn’s lips as she closed the photo album and put it down on the table in front of her. She was home alone. Michael and Claire had gone off somewhere. She wasn’t sure where. Charlie had taken Finn to the candy store. Something seemed to be bothering her older son, but she wasn’t sure what. It wasn’t like he was talking to her about it. Perhaps he would tell her eventually. That would be a first. she thought to herself with a scoff.
She had made her way into the living room. She had found herself staring at the bookcase. Almost as if she had no control, she had pulled out a photo album. She had gone over to the couch, sitting down before turning the photo album open. It was a collection of photos. They were mostly of her parents when they were young. There was a picture of her father as a child, dressed in a baseball uniform, gripping a bat over his shoulder. He was looking directly into the camera, a wide grin on his face. A sad smile had played on Dawn’s lips as she ticked her gaze to another picture on the page. There was her father again, this time standing tall next to a bicycle. There was a picture of her mother on a stage, doing her best Shirley Temple impression. Dawn had seen this pictures before, but seeing them again had made her happy. In some way, it helped with the fact that they were both gone, and never coming back.
Sitting on the couch, she flashed back to the night of her mother’s murder. Her mother had gone to bed. She had disappeared inside her bedroom, closing the door behind her. A few moments later, Dawn had heard the shattering of glass. She had gotten to her feet and had hurried over to the bedroom. She had pulled the door open and stepped inside. And had wished she hadn’t. For she had come across a grisly scene. Her mother’s body lay on one spot on the bedroom floor. And her head was in another spot. The older woman had been decapitated. There was a river of blood on the floor. Dawn remembered screaming, and screaming. Feeling like she would never stop. The killer had been in the house with them. He had escaped through the broken bedroom window. What would have happened if someone else had walked into the room?
Like Dawn herself. Or Finn? Would they have been killed either way? Would they have been also decapitated? She imagined Finn’s decapitated head on the bedroom floor. His little body lying some feet away in a pool of blood. A startled cry escaped from Dawn’s lips. How could she think of that? It was too morbid. She’d never thought she would lose her mother like she had. She thought her mother would die of old age. That she would go peacefully, surrounded by loved ones. Not having her life suddenly snuffed out by Scott Emerson. She got to her feet, standing up from the couch. She grabbed the photo album and put it back in the bookcase. She made her way out of the living room, making her way through the quiet house. Having her mother on her mind, she made her way over to the closed bedroom door. Her mother’s bedroom. She reached out with a hand, gripping the doorknob.
She sucked in a deep breath, and pulled the door open. She stepped inside the room. Her eyes scanned her surroundings. She could almost imagine the room soaked in blood, her mother’s head lying a few feet away. But no. There was no grisly sight. The room looked normal. It was hard to tell that a horrible murder had been committed there. The room had been repainted. The floor had been stripped and replaced to get rid of the blood that had soaked into the carpet. Everything else was just the way it had been when her mother had been alive. She didn’t want to touch the room. It was almost as if changing it would erase the memory of her mother. She knew that was a silly thought, but she couldn’t help thinking it. Dawn made her way across the bedroom floor, over to the window.
She pulled back the curtains and stared out to the sunshine beyond. I miss you so much, mom. she thought to herself. She missed her even though her mother had kept secrets from the family. Dawn had been shocked when she had found out that her mother was Mayor Covington’s mistress. They had been sleeping together for years. But it was that fateful night when they had gotten caught. Emma Covington had walked in her husband and Regina in bed. That’s why she had taken her young son Brandon with her. They had gotten into the car and had driven off as a storm hit West Valley. They had been crossing over the Valley Bridge when the car spun out of control. It smashed through the guardrail and plunged into the river below. Emma was killed, but Brandon was able to escape. He was never the same after that night. It turned Dawn’s stomach that her mother was somewhat responsible for what had happened twenty years prior.
Suddenly, the ringing of the phone snapped Dawn out of her troubled thoughts. She stepped away from the window, letting the curtains fall back into place. She made her way across the bedroom floor, closing the door behind her as she stepped out into the hallway. She made her way into the kitchen. Her eyes scanning for her purse, where her phone was. She spotted it on the floor by the fridge as she went over and pulled the phone out. She frowned, looking at the screen. UNKNOWN NUMBER flashed on the screen. She didn’t think much of it as she pressed the talk button, bringing the phone to her ear.
“Hello?” she said.
There was a burst of static on the other end of the line. And then someone spoke. “Hello, Dawn.” a distorted voice greeted her.
“Yes?” she said with a frown.
“Did you think I forgot about you?” the voice asked.
“Who is this?” Dawn asked.
“Someone who hasn’t forgotten about what your whore of a mother did.” the voice answered, seething.
Dawn’s eyes widened in surprise. Had she heard right? “My mother?” she repeated.
“That’s right. Do you think it’s fair that people are dying because of her sins?” the caller asked.
“My mother is dead.” Dawn replied.
“That’s right. She got what she deserved. She’s worm food, six feet under.” the voice said with glee.
Dawn felt like she had punched in the stomach. “How dare you talk about her like that?” she replied, anger flashing in her eyes.
“How dare SHE ruin a family like that? The Covington’s.” the caller said.
Dawn didn’t have an answer to that. “It was a long time ago.” she finally replied. As if that justified everything.
“She died because of what she did to the Covington’s. She destroyed them by her infidelity.” the voice explained.
“Mayor Covington wasn’t any better. He knew what he was doing was wrong!” Dawn replied.
“And it wasn’t long before he got what he deserved. Killed by his own eight year old son.” the voice replied with a chuckle. “Your family is going to get what they deserve too. You’re all going to pay for your mother’s sins. I promise.” the killer said ominously before suddenly hanging up.
Dawn listened to the dial tone for a few moments. She then hung up the phone, worry etched on her face.
A car sped to a stop in front of the abandoned train station. The engine was killed. There was a brief moment of silence before the driver side door opened. Faye stepped out onto the street, closing the car door behind her. She pressed on the key, the car doors locking automatically with a chirp. She made her way around the front of the car, looking up at the building. She stepped onto the sidewalk, getting a closer look. Talk about rundown. she thought to herself with a slight frown creasing her pretty face. She took a look around, hoping there were no people nearby. She hoped no one would see her. That’s why she was dressed all in black. She hoped she could make her way inside the train station under the light of the setting sun. She felt like a cat burglar. She took another glance around.
Seeing that no one was in plain sight, Faye hurried into the building. She was thankful that she didn’t have to look for a way in. Part of the front wall was collapsed, and she could step right through. She suddenly tripped, almost falling face forward. She regained her balance, looking down. Part of the ground was jutting up. Faye rolled her eyes in annoyance. Don’t get hurt, you’re alone. she thought to herself. Her footsteps echoed around her as she walked over some broken glass. The walls inside were grimy, overrun with grime, leaves and mold. And a lot of dust. Faye sneezed, she couldn’t control it. The air smelled like stale cigarettes and something else. Had something died in there? Faye wouldn’t be surprised if she came across the carcass of some dead animal.
She kept her eyes on the ground just in case. If she was to step into the carcass of some dead animal, she wanted to see it coming. But the floor was bare. Very dirty, but bare. She would have ended up at the train station sooner, but she had been contacted by the local news. They had asked her to come in and talk about her book. But she was there now, had found the abandoned train station by the address Shannon Wiles had given her. Could this be where Brandon was hiding? Was he there right now, watching her as she walked slowly across the floor? With a startled gasp, Faye spun around. Expecting to see someone standing there behind her. There was no one, she was alone. She peered into a dark corner where the light of the setting sun didn’t touch. Her eyes adjusted, and she relaxed. It was empty. Stop scaring yourself. she thought to herself with a frown.
She looked around for any signs that someone had been there. There were some empty beer bottles on the ground. Faye bent down to take a closer look. Something caught her eye, just a few feet away. She made a face. Yuck! Is that dried up vomit? she thought to herself. She kept moving, walking past what was once a payphone. No sign that Brandon was there. She spotted stairs that lead down to a lower level. She took a deep breath and headed for them. She gripped the railing, which was loose. She pulled her hand away and slowly descended the stairs. Soon enough she found herself in the shadows of the lower level of the train station. Her heart picked up its pace in her chest. She wished the setting rays of sun reached down there. But they didn’t. She took another deep breath. Trying to keep herself calm.
Something skittered in the darkness ahead. Faye jumped out of her skin, letting out a small shriek of surprise. Please don’t let that be a rat! she thought to herself. She almost turned and ran back up the stairs. But no. With another deep breath, she made her way deeper into the labyrinth that was the abandoned train station. She stepped over some more empty beer bottles. She took a few steps closer when she saw the pile of clothes on the floor. A frown creased her forehead as she moved in closer. It was men’s clothes. Faye’s eyes widened in surprise. Was she getting close? Were those clothes Brandon’s? She straightened up, spotting something else. She hurried over to it. It was a cot. Someone had been sleeping there. It could have been a homeless person, or it could have been someone who was hiding out.
Someone like Brandon. Faye thought to herself, her eyes shining in excitement. There was a door off to her left. She headed towards it, her heart thumping in her chest. She wondered what was on the other side of the door. She reached out with her hand, gripping the doorknob. Unaware that there was someone standing behind her. A black clad figure, slinking out of the darkness like a phantom. Faye turned the knob, pulling the door open. Behind her, the figure raised something in their hand. Not a knife. Some kind of bat. Which flashed down against the back of Faye’s head. Her eyes widened in surprise before they closed. She crumpled into a heap on the dirty ground, unconscious. The killer stared down at her for a moment, tossing the bat aside. Gloved hands reached out, grabbing Faye by the wrists. And dragged her away into the darkness.
Darcy laughed at what Fallon had said. She looked around, taking in her surroundings. At the moment, they had ended up at Surge. Darcy’s bachelorette party was well underway. She was surprised that she was actually having a good time. Maybe it was because she was in good company, but she had forgotten all about her problems. Fallon had been right, a night out is what they had needed. There were several girls celebrating with her tonight. Besides Darcy and Fallon, there was also Naomi, Julie, Ruby, and Meredith. The boys were at home. Campbell was having some of his friends over to watch the football game on the television. She wasn’t exactly sure who was coming over, but he assured Darcy he would be fine. He told her to go enjoy herself for the night.
He too knew that she needed this. To forget all the craziness that had happened to her lately. So after she had gotten dressed up, she had made her way over to Fallon’s. Soon, the other girls arrived to meet them there. They headed out to their first destination. A restaurant for dinner. They took up one long table, eating and talking over glasses of wine. It was on her second glass that realization hit Darcy. She was actually enjoying herself. The girls talked about the wedding. They were just as excited as she was. No one had gotten married in a few years, and they were all waiting for the next one. The last wedding they had been to was Felicia’s. Darcy sat back and listened as they reminisced about their friend who was dead for months now. Felicia Talley had been Scott’s first victim in his murder spree. Darcy had gotten the opportunity to meet her briefly before she was killed.
Darcy wished Felicia was still around. She could have been there that night, celebrating with them. So could have other people, like Scarlett Biggs. Darcy had felt a pang of sadness as she listened to the conversations going on around her. After dinner, which the other girls paid for her, they had headed out into the night. The moon shone brightly in the dark canopy that was the sky. They walked down the sidewalk, cheering and making noise, getting people to honk for Darcy. That was a little embarrassing, she had blushed the whole way through. The next thing that made her blush was when the other girls stopped in front of a certain building. They all turned to look at her, wide grins on their faces. Darcy looked up at the sign over the building’s door, her eyes had widened in surprise. A strip club?! A MALE strip club?! Darcy had thought to herself.
It took some reassuring and some tugging on her arm to get her inside the strip club. Darcy was so embarrassed. She was sure she was red like a tomato. She’d never been to a male strip club before. She knew it was something that was done for bachelorette parties. She just didn’t think her friends would have planned that for her. They were doing it in good fun. They were able to find a booth where they could all fit into. Soon enough, a dancer came over. The girls started pulling out bills from their purses, waving them in their hands. They had explained to the dancer that Darcy was getting married in a few days. She almost died when he starting dancing in front of her, gyrating his hips as he began taking his clothes off. Darcy wanted to run out of there, but she was outnumbered.
She couldn’t help burst out laughing when she had stuck a bill into the waistband of the dancer’s underwear. She covered her eyes and screamed once he began sliding his underwear down. After that, she couldn’t look directly at him. She was way too embarrassed. Instead she watched her friends hollering and hooting and throwing money at the dancer. It must have lasted half an hour before they all got up and headed for the exit. Darcy was quick, she couldn’t wait to get out of there. Soon they found themselves outside. She thought the night was over. But her friends just grabbed her by the arm and brought her along. Darcy had wondered where they were bringing her next. She let out a loud sigh of relief once they reached their next destination, Surge. This is more like it. No naked guys shaking their junk in my face here. she had thought to herself.
Now they were inside the club, enjoying themselves. Darcy looked around for Ellie, but didn’t see her. I guess she’s not back to work yet. Darcy thought to herself. Ellie was still mourning the death of her mother. Darcy did spot Christy, who came over to them. She congratulated Darcy, and then handed her a free drink on the house. Darcy thanked her and took a sip. Whatever the drink was, it tasted amazing. Darcy watched Christy go over to her daughter Julie, who was telling her about the night so far. Darcy felt her cheeks blush as she saw Julie demonstrate to her mother how the male stripper had been dancing. Darcy shook her head, a wide smile playing on her lips. She brought her attention back to Fallon, who was telling her about Felicia’s bachelorette party. Darcy listened to her friend, laughing again.
Darcy finished her drink, placing it down on the tray of a bartender who came walking by. Fallon saw someone she knew, telling Darcy she would be right back. Darcy nodded, watching her walk away. She turned to look at the doors as more people were entering the club. With the flashing lights and the music booming, Darcy felt like dancing. Not by myself though. she thought to herself. She’d wait until everyone was back together. They were all doing their own thing, drinking, mingling. Darcy bopped her head to the music. “Chasing Highs” by Alma was playing.
“Having fun?” a voice asked, startling Darcy.
She looked to see Naomi standing before her. She smiled. “I am, actually!” she told the other girl. Naomi looked amazing in a slim fitting black jumpsuit with sheer sleeves and a sheer bodice. She was definitely the most sexiest dressed out of all of them.
“I can’t believe you’re getting married! I’m so happy for you and Campbell!” Naomi told her.
“I can’t wait for you to see my dress!” Darcy replied.
“From what Fallon said, I hear it’s stunning! Oh, I can’t wait to get married! Of course first I need to find myself a boyfriend!” Naomi said with a light chuckle escaping her lips.
“You’ll find your prince charming! I’ve been here less than a year and my wedding day is a few days away!” Darcy said, her eyes shining with excitement.
“I hope so!” Naomi said with another chuckle. She waved and walked away.
“Darcy! Darcy!” she heard someone calling her name. She turned to look. Ruby and Julie were sitting on one of the couches, motioning for her to come join them.
“What’s up, guys?” Darcy said as she sat down on the couch across from them.
“Are you all prepared for the big day?” Julie asked with a smile.
“I am! Are you guys ready for the reception? It’s going to be an epic party!” she told them.
“We can’t wait! Ohhh, I can just picture you walking down the aisle at St-Gregory’s!” Julie said, excitement glinting in her eyes.
“I know, right?” Ruby replied.
“I might cry!” Julie revealed.
“Well I’m going be opening the floodgates, then. My father is walking me down the aisle!” Darcy replied.
Julie suddenly had a far away look in her eyes. I’m so stupid. She lost her father. Darcy thought to herself. She got to her feet. “I’m going to get some fresh air. Be right back!” she told her friends.
She made her way across the floor. Way to go, Darcy. Insensitive much? she thought to herself as she smiled at Christy. She reached the door, pushing it open and stepping out into the night. The door swung shut behind her. She could still hear the music inside, filtered. Darcy looked up at the sky, a small smirk playing on her lips. The cool night air felt good against her bare skin. She listened the fountains running in front of the club. She turned to look at them. Suddenly, her eyes went wide in surprise. There was something else. Something familiar, scrawled on the wall of the club. Darcy’s blood ran cold. It was something she had seen before. It was a warning, a threat. From the West Valley killer. Suddenly, it didn’t matter that she was having a good night. All her fears came rushing back as she stared silently at the message.