Ellie stared blankly off into space. She was aware that she was standing in the kitchen. She had been puttering around, keeping herself busy. She had just finished loading the dishwasher when her mind had wandered. She blinked softly, staring straight ahead. She felt numb, as if she had been submerged in ice cold water. Images of her mother flashed through her mind. There she was, helping Ellie’s father with the gardening. She pictured her smiling as she read to Tyson, Ellie’s son. She could picture her so clearly, waving goodbye as Ellie headed to work. And there she was, lying dead on the hallway floor. A pool of blood collecting around her. Her eyes wide, mouth distorted into a silent scream of horror. The events of her mother’s murder was still fresh in Ellie’s mind. After all, it had been only just a few weeks since it had happened.
Ellie pictured herself cradling her mother’s body in her arms, blood smearing on her. That’s when, with a loud gasp for breath, Ellie snapped back to the present. Her eyes looking around wildly, as if she didn’t expect to find herself standing in the kitchen anymore. Her heart jackhammered in her chest as she tried to calm herself down. She was still standing in the kitchen, standing in front of the sink. She took a few deep breaths, closing her eyes. She counted to ten, opening her eyes. Is it always going to be like this? Ellie thought to herself with a frown. She didn’t know she could feel like that. The pain of losing not one, but two parents, was a crushing blow to her. She didn’t know how she kept her sanity. Both her parents had been brutally murdered by the West Valley killer. At the age of twenty-five, she had seen enough tragedy to last a lifetime.
Her father had been killed first. One of many victims at the hands of the first killer, Scott Emerson. No one knew who this new killer was. His or her identity was yet to be found out. The police were stumped. It was as if the killer was a phantom. They struck without warning, at the most random times. Like when her father had been killed. He had been right outside, going to check on his garden. The rest of the family was right inside the house. And they saw or heard nothing as they watched television. It was her mother who had discovered her father’s body. He was taking too long to return, so she had gone out to see what was keeping him. She had found him lying on the grass in the backyard, his head bashed in. Her screams of terror had lead Ellie outside to see what was going on. When she had stepped outside, she wished she hadn’t.
It felt like someone had kicked her in the stomach. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Her father was dead. Even now, Ellie missed him terribly. She had pushed the events of that night to the back of her mind. It was something she wanted to forget. It had been too horrible. And now, it was happening all over again. Her mother was six feet underground, buried next to her husband in the graveyard. The funeral had been a week prior. Ellie barely remembered it. She had felt like she wasn’t actually there. Like she was watching from outside her own body. She remembered hearing people offering their sympathies as she had stared blankly ahead. Her vision had been blurred with tears that cascaded from her eyes, running down her cheeks.
As if that wasn’t enough, she was worried about Tyson. He had been home alone with his grandmother when she had been killed. Ellie and Faye had been at Surge, where Faye was having her book signing. Tyson had heard his grandmother’s horrified screams from his bedroom upstairs. Her son had been traumatized. That was something a seven year old should never have to see. It’s something I should have never had to see. Ellie thought to herself with a frown as she made her way over to sit down on the couch. She turned on the television. Not to watch, but for some background noise. Tyson was at a friend’s house, and Faye was away doing her detective work. Could she really find the person responsible for her mother’s death? Was it Brandon Covington? If it was, could she really bring him to justice?
That wasn’t the only thing Ellie had to deal with. There was also the reappearance of Tyson’s father, Gage. He’d been out of the picture for seven whole years. And now he was back, wanting to be a part of the boy’s life. And that wasn’t all. He was now wanting full custody of Tyson. Ellie was sure that wouldn’t happen. At least she prayed it wouldn’t. The West Valley court was due to call her any day now, to give her an update about what was going to happen. Ellie was nervous. It felt like she was sitting on pins and needles. She was dreading for when that phone call came. I’ll be all by myself. she thought to herself, blinking back tears. Her mother was dead, she was never coming back. She didn’t know when Faye was returning. And if Tyson was with his father, she would have no one. The house would feel even more empty than it did now.
Ellie sighed, getting to her feet. She went over to the window, pushing back the curtains. Outside, the sun was shining. It was another beautiful day in West Valley. She realized it was a special day. Today was the day that Darcy and Campbell were getting married. She had been invited. She wasn’t really in the mood to go. So she had called Darcy up, who understood. Ellie would got to the church to attend the ceremony, but she wouldn’t be at the reception later on that evening. Darcy was okay with it. She reassured Ellie she had no problem with that. Ellie was in no mood to party. She couldn’t even set foot into work yet. She was glad that Christy was taking care of things. The other woman had told her to take her time, to come back to Surge when she was ready. I have great friends. Ellie thought to herself as she moved away from the window.
She was heading back into the kitchen when she heard a knock at the door. A slight frown creased her face. She wasn’t expecting anyone. She hoped it wasn’t Gage. She couldn’t deal with him right now. She wondered if it could have been the police. Could they have come with good news? Had they found her mother’s killer? Ellie made her way over to the front door. She unlocked it, and pulled it open. Standing on the other side was Christy. Ellie wasn’t expecting to see her standing there. She hadn’t mentioned anything about coming over. She felt slightly self conscious, she was dressed casually and had absolutely no makeup on. It would have just ran when she’d cry. Despite that, she was happy to see Christy there. So then who’s looking after the club? she thought to herself as she stepped outside.
“Christy! Hi.” she greeted her.
“You look surprised to see me.” Christy replied.
“I just thought you would be at work.” Ellie explained.
“I closed the club for about an hour or two. The bartenders are still there, stocking up.” Christy explained.
“Oh, I see. What brings you here?” Ellie asked curiously.
“I wanted to see how you’re doing.” Christy said, taking in Ellie’s appearance.
Ellie shrugged. She wasn’t going to cry. Not in front of people. “Some moments are harder than others.” she explained.
Christy nodded. “It must seem like a lot.” she said, sympathy glinting in her eyes.
“With my mother’s…death, and Gage wanting custody of Tyson, it’s more than a lot.” Ellie replied.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” Christy asked, arching an eyebrow.
“Just you taking care of Surge while I’m gone is more than enough. I don’t know if I told you, but I really appreciate it.” Ellie explained.
“Don’t worry. I’m taking good care of it. And take all the time you need!” Christy replied with a reassuring smile on her lips.
“That means a lot. Thanks.” Ellie said.
“Even if that means I’m missing the wedding of the year.” Christy said with a laugh. “I’m kidding. I wasn’t invited. Neither was Megan. But Julie’s going. She’s excited to see Campbell and Darcy tie the knot.” she explained to Ellie.
“Tell her to take lots of pictures at the reception! I want to see.” Ellie replied.
Before Christy could reply, Ellie heard the phone ringing from inside the house.
“Let me get that. Be right back.” she told Christy as she hurried inside.
Christy tilted her head towards the sun, closing her eyes. A few minutes passed before Ellie returned. She knew by the look on Ellie’s face that the phone call had been bad news.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“That was the court.” Ellie said softly.
“What did they have to say?” Christy asked curiously.
“Well they denied Gage full custody.” Ellie replied.
“That’s great!” Christy said.
“No it’s not! Because now we have joint custody of Tyson. Gage gets to have him starting next week. And he’s taking him away from West Valley. Away from me. For six whole months. And there’s nothing I can do to stop it!” Ellie cried.
Christy’s eyes widened in surprise. “Oh no! Ellie, I’m so sorry!” she said, pulling Ellie into a hug.
Ellie wished she could stop herself, but suddenly tears were dripping down her cheeks as she buried her face into Christy’s shoulder.
Gwen stared at herself in the bathroom mirror. She’d done a pretty good job at hiding the angry blue bruise she had on her forehead. She had applied some makeup on it. One would never be able to tell that it was there. It was a reminder from the night she had been attacked. She was lucky to be alive, she had been able to get away. By jumping from a second story window. she thought to herself with a frown. The events of that night flashed through her mind like a broken picture show. She had never been so scared like she had that night. She was sure she was going to be killed. The West Valley killer, whoever it was, had been persistant. He, or she, had chased Gwen through downtown. No matter how fast she had ran, the killer was always hot on her trail.
Just thinking about it now sent an icy cold shiver of fear snaking down Gwen’s spine. Not many people had survived the killer’s attacks. Most of them had been killed. She would have been too, if it wasn’t for some quick thinking. And being at the right place at the right time, even though it didn’t feel like that. She had been able to barricade herself in a storage room. The only way out was either through the window, or through the door where the killer was standing on the other side. He, or she, was trying to get in while Gwen broke the window. She had been climbing out when she saw the police squad car approaching just down the next block. It had to be fate that they came around when they did. Just as the killer broke through the door and took a swing at her with his knife, Gwen had jumped from the window.
She remembered screaming all the way down. And then everything had gone dark. She was unconscious for almost an hour. When she had woken up, she was already at the hospital. She lay in a hospital bed, a nurse fussing over her. There were also two police officers standing in the room. They had been the ones who had rescued her. They had seen her fall from the second story window. The first thing she had asked them was if they had caught the killer. The two police officers had shared a look between each other. She knew the answer before they told her. The killer had gotten away. They didn’t find anyone in the second story of the building. That didn’t come as a surprise to Gwen. She was frustrated. Why couldn’t the police find the killer?
Scott was under our noses the whole time. Is the new killer also someone we know? Gwen thought to herself. With one final glance at herself in the mirror, she headed out of the bathroom. It was moments like this that made her wish she wasn’t living alone. She’d even welcome Marco back with open arms if it meant that someone else was living in the house with her. Unfortunately, Marco had left her. He had taken his things and moved away. Moving on from her. Just when she was beginning to talk about getting married and having a family one day. Gwen hoped he was happy, wherever he was. Had he heard about her attack? If he had, would he have called to see if she was okay? Or did he just not care about her anymore? Gwen felt like the answer to her question was the latter.
She went over to the large window, looking outside. The killer’s out there. Somewhere. And he, or she, is going to come back for me. Gwen couldn’t help but think to herself. Another shiver of fear raced down her spine. With the house bordering the river, she watched people walking along, no care in the world. At least that was when the sun was out. When darkness fell, people would hide behind the safety of the four walls of their homes. Everyone knew of the danger that lurked in the dark shadows. You had to be careful. Because your death could be just around the corner. Goosebumps ran down Gwen’s arms, she rubbed her arms. The silence of the house seemed to be closing in on her. It left her with an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. She didn’t like that feeling.
That feeling is fear. You’re scared. Gwen thought to herself. She descended the stairs, making her way down to the main floor of the house. Her eyes took in her surroundings, as if she was expecting the killer to pop out at any second. She made her way slowly into the kitchen. Of course, it was clear. There was no one hiding there. Her eyes rested on the pantry door. As she walked by the counter, she pulled out a large kitchen knife from the knife block. She held it tightly in her hand as she made her way over to the pantry. Holding the knife out with one hand, she reached over with her other hand and turned the doorknob. She threw the door open, her breath catching in her throat. There was no one hiding in there either. She closed the door, letting out a sigh of relief.
If things were different, she would have laughed at scaring herself like that. But because this was West Valley, that was hardly something to laugh about. Gwen put the knife back in the block, making her way out of the kitchen and into the living room. She sat down on the couch, picking up the remote control. She flicked the television on, going through the channels. She settled on a cooking show. It would distract her for a little while before she had to start getting ready for Darcy’s and Campbell’s wedding. She focused on the television screen. The host on the cooking show was showing how to make butternut squash fries. In the reflection of the television screen, Gwen caught sight of movement. Her eyes widened, there was someone standing behind her. She whirled around with a loud shriek.
There was no one there. Just her imagination playing tricks on her. With her heart jackhammering in her chest, Gwen jumped to her feet. I’ve had enough! she thought to herself. She grabbed the remote control, turning the television off. She tossed the remote on the couch as she made her way out of the living room. She grabbed her keys, making her way over to the front door. She unlocked it, pulling it open and stepping out into the sunshine. She closed the door behind her, locking it. She made her way down the walkway and over to the sidewalk. She didn’t know why, but she knew where she had to go. It was just a feeling she got. Her mind was telling her to go to a certain house, to go see a certain person. Gwen walked, heading down the sidewalk as she headed for her destination.
Soon, she was walking through a familiar neighbourhood. She made her way over a front lawn, going over to the front door. Without hesitation, she knocked. A few moments later, the door opened. Just the person she wanted to see had answered the door. Naomi looked out at her.
“Gwen?” she asked curiously, cocking an eyebrow as she stepped outside. She closed the door behind her.
“Can we talk?” Gwen asked.
“This couldn’t wait until the wedding? We were going to see each other later.” Naomi pointed out.
“Look, it’s important, okay?” Gwen replied.
Naomi must have heard the urgency in her friend’s voice. “What’s the matter?” she asked.
“I can’t live alone in that house for another minute. I was wondering if I could move in here with you guys?” Gwen asked.
Naomi frowned. “Move in here with us?” she repeated.
“I know you have a free bedroom. Granted, it belonged to a killer. But any place is better at this point.” Gwen said.
“Scott’s room is free, yeah. I wouldn’t mind. Actually, that could be kind of fun. Let me just check with Fallon and Blake. They’re inside.” Naomi replied as she headed back inside the house.
A few moments later, Naomi came back. She had a small smile on her lips.
“So? What’s the verdict?” Gwen asked.
“How soon can you move in?” Naomi asked, her smile widening.
Joanna could still hear the voice in her ear. The voice that had come through the telephone, distorted and menacing. Threatening her and her family. As much as she had wanted to, she couldn’t get the voice out of her head. She kept thinking back to the phone call. How it had started out innocent enough, and then had turned threatening. She had kept it a secret for a few days. She didn’t know why. Perhaps she didn’t want to worry her husband, Barry. She had avoided that conversation until she could no longer keep it a secret anymore. That voice, it had even invaded her dreams. It was more like a nightmare, she remembered it so vividly. It was like it had actually happened. In the dream, she had been on the phone, talking to her mother.
She had been updating her with how life was treating them in West Valley. Her mother was saying how she couldn’t wait to come visit. Suddenly, there had been a crackle of static on the phone. It was so loud, Joanna had to hold the phone away from her ear. Once she had brought the phone back to her ear, her mother was no longer on the line. Instead, her voice had been replaced with the voice of the killer. As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, the phone had begun to spew blood. A geyser of thick crimson that splashed Joanna in the face. She had woken up at that moment, gasping for breath. Beside her, Barry slept completely unaware. She had stayed up for a few hours after that, just sitting up in bed. She had been afraid to go back to sleep.
Eventually, she had drifted off, but the memory of the dream and the voice had remained with her. Eventually, she had told Barry about what had happened. She told him about the phone call. Not about the fact that she had been so disturbed by it, she was even dreaming about it. She had started to mention it, but Carly had came into the living room. She had changed the subject, she didn’t want her daughter hearing about it. It would scare her. Joanna herself was already scared, hearing that voice as she stepped up onto the front lawn of her house. She had gone to pick up some last minute things for Darcy’s and Campbell’s wedding. Her whole family had been invited. They wouldn’t be attending the ceremony at the church, which was in just a few hours. However they would be at the reception later on in the day.
Joanna was momentarily distracted, thinking about how much she loved weddings. Her wedding to Barry had been quite special. They had done a destination wedding. They had gotten married on the sandy white beach in Turks and Caicos. It was a day, after the birth of her children, that she would never forget. She made her way up the porch steps, fishing out her keys. She unlocked the front door, pulling it open and stepping inside. She closed the door behind her as she put down the bag in her hand. Barry was at work for another hour or two. But she could hear music coming from Carly’s bedroom. She knew it was Carly’s because Travis would never listen to bubblegum pop. I’m worried about him. Joanna thought to herself with a frown creasing her forehead as she made her way into the kitchen.
Carly had informed her about what had happened in the school parking lot. Travis had a confrontation with some of his classmates. Instead of just walking away, he had punched one of the other boys. Granted, he was sticking up for his sister. However, Joanna felt that wasn’t the best way he could have handled the situation. Travis had gotten into trouble at his other school, and they were all trying to move past that. A deep sigh escaped Joanna’s lips as she opened up the fridge. No one had warned her that being a parent would sometimes be difficult. She never had any problems with Carly. If only Travis was as well behaved as his sister. she thought to herself as she pulled out a carton of juice from the fridge. She closed the door, searching for a glass. She ticked her gaze towards the doorway as someone walked into the kitchen. It was Carly.
“Mom. When did you get home?” Carly asked curiously.
“Just now.” Joanna replied, grabbing an extra glass for her daughter.
“Did you find me those false eyelashes?” Carly asked.
Joanna laughed. She had promised Carly she could wear false eyelashes to the wedding reception. “Yes, don’t worry.” she replied.
“Will you help me put them on later?” Carly asked.
“Sure. Now, did your brother find his suit?” Joanna asked, cocking an eyebrow.
Carly’s face went serious. “He’s not here.” she explained.
Joanna frowned. “Really? Do you know where he went?” she asked with an exasperated sigh escaping her lips.
Carly shook her head. “He just said he was going out and he would be home later. Do you want me to go look for him again?” she asked.
“No. You stay here. I’ll go look for him.” Joanna said.
Carly nodded. With another sigh, Joanna made her way out of the kitchen. He better not be getting into any trouble. she thought to herself. She made her way over to the front door, pulling it open and stepping outside into the sunshine. She closed the door behind her, heading down the porch steps and down the walkway to the sidewalk. She walked down the street, muttering softly to herself. While Joanna gave her children freedom, it wasn’t okay to just up and walk off whenever they chose. Especially when they had a special occasion in just a few hours. She didn’t want Travis to come back at the last minute. It would look bad if they were late to the wedding reception. He was really starting to test Joanna’s patience. She checked for cars before she crossed the street. She would check his usual haunts, hopefully she would find him.
And I’ll give him a piece of my mind. Joanna thought to herself with a frown creasing her pretty face. She pulled out her cellphone as she walked. She looked down at the screen as she went through her contacts list. Finding Travis’ number, she clicked on the call button. She brought the phone to her ear, listening as it rang and rang. After six rings, it went to voicemail. Shaking her head in frustration, Joanna hung up the phone. She didn’t bother to leave a message. She was going to find him, and she would drag him home by the ear if she had to. She knew she shouldn’t have, but the thought of that brought a small smile to her lips. It reminded Joanna of when she was young, her mother used to do that to her if she misbehaved. She would do it in front of Joanna’s friends, she wasn’t ashamed to do so. Joanna would always run off crying, embarrassed.
But I learnt my lesson.. after awhile. She thought to herself. A few moments later, she found herself by the riverside that bordered the back of some neighbouring houses. Travis liked to go there to walk along the water sometimes. It was also a spot where people could go fishing. Barry had taken Travis there a few times. But today, the riverside was empty. No sign of Travis. No evidence that he had been there, either. Joanna rolled her eyes in annoyance, turning and heading back the way she came. She almost started calling out for him, but decided against it. He’d be really mad if she did that. Instead, she decided she would ask people if they had seen him. She stopped in front of Warren Biggs’ house, he was loading his daughters into the car. Joanna approached him, asking him if he had seen her son.
She showed him a picture of Travis that was on her phone. He shook his head. He hadn’t seen him. But he told her he would keep an eye out. Joanna thanked him as she kept walking, heading down the sidewalk. She was starting to get a little worried. What if something had happened? What if Travis and the killer had crossed paths? Don’t jump to conclusions. she thought to herself with a frown. She tried to stay calm. Soon, she found herself at the park. Still no sign of Travis. She approached a girl who seemed to be Travis’ age. She showed her a picture of him. The girl knew him. They went to school together. But she hadn’t seen him that day. Joanna thanked her before making her way out of the park. She’d head over to the school next. Hopefully she would find him there. She stepped off the curb, crossing the street. She pulled out her phone again, dialing Travis’ number.
The ringing of a phone met her ears. Joanna frowned, lowering her phone. She listened carefully. Is that Travis’ phone? she thought to herself. She took in her surroundings. She was nowhere near the school. She followed the sound of the ringing phone, an uneasy feeling washing over her in waves. The noise seemed to be coming from an alleyway between two houses. Joanna made her way over to the mouth of the alley, looking in. What was that thing on the pavement? It took her a moment to process that what she was looking at was her own son. He was lying on the pavement. Joanna’s breath caught in her throat as she found herself running over to his side. When she got a good look at his appearance, she couldn’t hold back the loud gasp that escaped from between her lips.
For a brief moment, she thought Travis was dead. But then she noticed he was breathing shallowly. She dropped to her knees by his side. He had been badly beaten. He had lacerations on his forehead, both his eyes were swelled shut, ringed with dark purple. His nose seemed to be broken, and there was a small trickle of blood seeping out from the corner of his mouth. Joanna let out a cry, grabbing his limp hand. She stared down at him with worry glinting in her wide eyes. She called his name once, twice. Travis didn’t stir. He’s unconscious. she thought to herself. Who had done this to him? And why? She flashed back to Carly telling her about the fight Travis had in the school parking lot. Could those same boys have crossed Travis’ path again? Could they have beaten him this badly? Joanna gently put Travis’ hand down at his side as she pulled out her cellphone.
She pressed a button, the phone ringing as she brought it to her ear. On the second ring, someone picked up. “Emergency services, how can I help?” a serious sounding voice said from the other end of the line.
“I need an ambulance. Please. It’s my son, he’s been badly beaten!” Joanna said nervously into the phone.
“Name and location?” the dispatcher asked.
“My name is Joanna Stanton. And I’m at…hold on.” she said, as she ran back down the alley and onto the sidewalk. There was no one around. She looked at the houses around her. “I’m at the alleyway between houses seven-oh-three and seven-oh-five on Barrow Street.” she said as she ran back to Travis.
“An ambulance is on it’s way.” the dispatcher revealed.
“Please hurry!” she said as she kneeled down next to her son. Please be okay. she thought to herself as she put the phone down and held his hand in hers.
Preston was scared. Scared for the wrong reason. In West Valley, you were scared for becoming the killer’s next victim. But that wasn’t the case. Preston was scared about the video leaking. He felt like he was sitting on pins and needles. He was scared that when he’d turn the computer on, the video would be there. That it would be posted on the internet for the whole world to see. He wished it was all just a bad dream. That he would wake up, and none of it would have been real. That there was no video, or Alexander. But it was very real. The video existed. It was out there, as was Alexander who had threatened to leak it. Heading inside the house, Preston couldn’t help but to feel helpless. There was nothing he could do about the video being released. Would today be the day? I hope the day never comes. he thought to himself as he made his way into the house.
Preston was tempted to go turn on the computer. But he decided against it. He’d just walked into the house, he’d get to the computer eventually. Once again, the house was quiet. Beth was out somewhere. He felt relieved that he had told her about the possibility of the video leaking. She hadn’t looked down on him about it. She had offered to help. Preston was grateful. It was always nice to have a friend stick by you when times got tough. Preston had his fair share. Even before he knew about the video existing. His teen years hadn’t been easy. He’d had a secret, and he didn’t know how he was able to keep it inside for so long. Around the age of fourteen, he realized he was different from most boys his age. While the other boys were into sports and girls, Preston found he was into the opposite. He couldn’t stand sports.
He didn’t seem to be interested in any kind of athletics. Instead, he was into art, and music. And he never noticed girls. Instead, he found himself noticing boys. It had been a confusing time in his life. It was something he kept to himself. He wasn’t sure how people would react. It wasn’t until his senior year, three years later, that he came out. He remembered so vividly the situation that caused him to. His senior class had a graduation trip to New York City. They had taken over a hotel for the duration of their stay. Preston had been assigned a room with his best friend, Zachary. They each had a bed, but at one point they had been sitting talking on Preston’s bed. Something had come over Preston, he didn’t know what. And so he had leaned over and kissed Zachary on the lips. The other boy had been surprised, his eyes growing wide. He didn’t say anything for a few minutes as Preston had pulled away.
Preston knew in that moment, everything had changed. He knew Zachary would go tell other people. Even though Preston had begged him not to. So once they had returned from their trip, Preston came out. He had told his parents first. He remembered being extremely nervous. His mother had been fine with it. His father had taken some time to warm up to the fact. His older sister had been ecstatic. It was different with his friends. Some were fine with it, and some of them stopped talking to him. Including Zachary. Once college came around, Preston had moved away from his hometown. It had been a liberating experience. College was all about being yourself and discovering who you are as a person. Instead of returning to his hometown after college, Preston moved again. This time to San Diego.
He’d made some close friends there. It’s where he had met Beth. They had been standing next to each other at a concert. They had started talking, and had really hit it off. They had exchanged numbers to hang out. And the rest is history. Preston thought to himself with a small smile playing on his face. He felt like there was nothing he could hide from Beth. They always spoke about what was bothering them, they also had a lot of fun together. She was his new best friend. Despite the killings, Preston liked West Valley. It was a nice small town. The people were friendly, the weather was almost always nice, and despite the size of the town, there was always something to do. Preston had just come from the park. He had just gone on a whim. Once there, he sat on the grass, enjoying the nice weather.
Sure, he had a lot on his mind, but sitting there out in public had distracted him a little bit. But now, being back in the house, he had that feeling that he was sitting on pins and needles again. With a sigh, he made his way towards the study. He headed into the room, going over to the desk. He pushed the chair back, sitting down as he fired up the computer. He drummed his fingers on the desktop as he waited for the computer to load. His stomach was in knots. Is today the day? he thought to himself. Soon, he was on the internet. There was no sign of the video so far. But all that changed once he went onto the West Valley Gossip site. There, right at the top of the page, was the headline. It seemed to scream out at him. WEST VALLEY RESIDENT CAUGHT IN SEX TAPE SCANDAL! Preston sat back, a look of defeat on his face.
He actually did it. He released the video. he thought to himself. His stomach churned as he clicked on the video. It was there for everyone to see.
Warren gazed out the living room window. The police cars and ambulance had finally left. He had heard about what had happened. Just a few houses down, Travis Stanton had been found badly beaten. By his own mother. How horrible. Warren thought to himself. In a way, it had sort of reminded him when he had found Scarlett’s body. But instead of being badly beaten, she had been killed. And instead of it happening outside, it had happened just down the hall in the dining room. A slow shiver of fear snaked down Warren’s spine. He would never forget finding his wife’s body. It was an image that would haunt him for the rest of his life. He stepped away from the window. He had come across Joanna Stanton just a few minutes before she had come across her son. She had been looking for him, had shown Warren a picture of the teenager.
Warren hadn’t seen him. He wished he had. Perhaps Travis wouldn’t have been hurt. Perhaps if it had been a few minutes earlier, the boy would have been safe. I should give Joanna a call sometime in the next few days. he thought to himself. He didn’t really know her. He knew she was new in town. He knew she lived in a house bordering the West Valley river. Perhaps she would have been at Darcy and Campbell’s wedding tonight, but after what happened, he doubted any of her family would attend. He’d also been glad that his daughters weren’t home to see or hear the police cars and ambulance zoom by the house, sirens wailing. He had taken them over to a friend’s place until it was time to get ready for the wedding. They were all invited, and Warren was looking forward to attending.
The girls would be dropped off back at the house later on and they would all head over to St-Gregory’s together. Warren wished Scarlett was still alive. He could imagine how beautiful she would look in a gown. What about Naomi? he thought to himself with a frown. He headed out of the living room and over to the stairs. He ascended them to the second floor, heading over to his bedroom. He made his way inside, making his way across the floor and over to the closet. He pulled the closet door open and reached inside. He pulled out his suit, covered by a plastic garment bag. He brought it over and placed it down on the bed. Looking down at the suit, he remembered the last time he had worn it. It was at Scarlett’s funeral. He ticked his gaze over to their wedding photo which was in a frame on the night table. A pang of sadness hit Warren as he made his way over to the night table.
He picked up the picture frame in his hands. Stared down at their smiling faces. Sadness glinted in Warren’s eyes as he put the frame back down on the night table. The ringing of the doorbell startled him. With a frown, he headed across the bedroom floor. He made his way out into the hallway and over to the stairs. He descended them, making his way over to the front door. Who can that be? he thought to himself. He unlocked the door, pulling it open. Standing on the other side of the door was Naomi. She had a small smirk playing on her lips. She looked amazing. Warren was happy to see her. He couldn’t help the wide grin that broke out on his face.
“Naomi. Hey there!” he greeted her.
“Warren. Mind if I come in?” she asked.
“Of course not.” he replied, standing aside so she could enter.
She closed the door behind her. “Where are the girls?” she asked curiously.
“They’re not here right now.” Warren explained.
“Do they need help getting ready for the wedding?” Naomi asked.
“Probably. Are you offering?” he replied.
“I am. I thought you’d need some time to get ready, yourself.” Naomi replied.
“Thanks. That would be great! But what about you?” Warren asked curiously.
“I get ready quick.” she explained with a small giggle escaping her lips.
“Sounds great. How about a drink? Get the party started early?” he asked her.
“Yes please!” she said excitedly.
“Why don’t you go sit down in the living room and I’ll go fix us some drinks?” he told her.
She nodded as he headed into the kitchen. He hummed softly to himself as he brought out two glasses. He placed them down on the kitchen counter as he went over to the fridge. He pulled the fridge door open and pulled out a bottle of tequila. He poured the liquid into the glasses, grabbing them in one hand and the bottle in the other as he made his way out of the kitchen. He made sure not to drop anything as he made his way into the living room. Naomi looked up at him with a smile. God, she’s beautiful. he thought to himself as he handed her a glass. He put the bottle down and held his glass up.
“Cheers. To starting celebrating Darcy and Campbell’s wedding early.” he said, touching her glass with his.
“Cheers!” she said, bringing the glass to her lips. She took a sip, making a face. “Is this tequila?” she asked with a laugh.
“It is.” Warren replied.
“Tequila is my weakness! You’re not supposed to know that!” she told him with another laugh.
“Maybe I want to know everything about you.” he told her with a smile as he took a sip from his glass.
“You’re getting there.” she told him, batting her eyes at him.
Before they knew what was happening, they put the glasses and bottle of tequila aside. Their hands groping at each other as their lips met. They had their eyes closed, lost in the moment of passion. Naomi lay back on the couch, pulling Warren on top of her. His hand gripped the back of her head as his tongue explored her mouth. Naomi let out a moan of pleasure. Warren pulled back, looking down at her with lust in his eyes. He gripped the bottom of his shirt and pulled it over his head, tossing it to the floor. Naomi smiled as she pulled him back to her. Her nails ran down his bare back as his fingers found the straps of her jumpsuit. He tugged on the straps, pulling them aside to expose her bare shoulders. His lips pressed against her shoulder as she held his head there. She closed her eyes, her head tilting towards the ceiling as another moan escaped her lips.
Suddenly, the living room door opened. Someone cried out. Warren and Naomi pulled back from each other, turning towards the doorway. Standing there with wide eyes, was Taylor. Naomi hurried and pulled the straps of her jumpsuit back onto her shoulders. Warren scrambled off the couch, grabbing his shirt and pulling it back on.
“Sweetie! I didn’t hear you!” he said with a nervous chuckle.
Taylor didn’t reply. She looked from her father and then to Naomi. She knew this wasn’t normal. She knew her mother was dead. That she was never coming back. Did she expect it to be this soon that her father would be with another woman? No. She didn’t. How many times had Warren told her and her sister how much he missed Scarlett. Many, many times.
“Did you have fun today?” Naomi asked as she got to her feet.
Taylor stared for a few moments. Then suddenly, she turned, throwing open the living room door. She ran out into the hallway, and over to the front door. She pulled it open, running out onto the front porch. She ran down the steps, tears in her eyes as she ran down the walkway towards the sidewalk.
“Taylor! Taylor! Wait!” Warren cried from the front door.
The little girl kept running. Right into the middle of the street. Right into the path of a car.
“TAYLOR!” Warren yelled, his eyes widening. From behind him, Naomi screamed.
The screech of tires filled the air. And then came the sound of impact.
It was finally here. The day Darcy had been waiting for. After months of planning, today was the day. Her wedding day. She was excited, and a little nervous. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach as she put on her veil. She turned to look at herself in the mirror. A wide grin spread on her face. In about an hour, she would be walking down the aisle at St-Gregory’s. In front of friends and family, she would marry Campbell. He had gone to get ready at Blake’s house. It was bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. He had left the house early, excitement glinting in his eyes as he had said goodbye to Darcy. Having the house to herself, she had been able to do everything she needed to get ready. She’d showered, had her makeup and hair done, and her mother had helped her into her dress.
Her parents were downstairs with Fallon, waiting for the limo to arrive. It would drive them over to the church. This is my day. Darcy thought to herself. She took one final glance into the mirror. She had forgotten how amazing the dress looked on her. She hadn’t tried it in a while. It had been hanging in the back of her closet since she had made it herself. She thought she looked like a princess. It was almost exactly how she had pictured it when she was growing up. She couldn’t wait to get married. It was something every little girl looked forward to. She made her way over to bedroom door, her heels clicking on the floor as she did so. She couldn’t wait for everyone to see her. She made her way out into the upstairs hallway, and made her way down the stairs. Her father spotted her first, his eyes lighting up as she made her way down.
He hugged her, exclaiming how beautiful she looked. Hearing the commotion, Fallon and her mother walked out of the kitchen. Fallon hugged her excitedly, and her mother hugged her with a wistful glint in her eyes. They too thought she looked like a princess. Darcy giggled at the attention she was getting. Fallon whipped out her camera, taking a picture of her. And then she took a picture of Darcy standing with her parents. They switched, her mother taking a picture of Darcy and Fallon standing together. It was nice seeing everyone dressed up. Her father looked spiffy in a tuxedo. And her mother and Fallon looked stunning in long gowns. There was a honk from outside. Darcy’s father went over to the front door, pulling it open. He looked out and then turned to tell them that the limo had arrived. The butterflies in Darcy’s stomach fluttered stronger.
After making sure the house was locked up, the four of them headed down into the limo. Darcy felt like a celebrity, some neighbours were watching from their front lawns. Darcy waved as she ducked into the limo. The driver closed the door, Darcy settled back against the buttery soft leather seat. Soon, the limousine pulled away from the house and down the street. There was a mini fridge in the back of the limo, even a small television screen. Darcy was tempted to turn the television on, but decided against it. It wouldn’t be long before they reached their destination. They chattered excitedly as the limo drove through the streets, heading towards the outskirts of town. Soon, through the window, Darcy could see the steeple of the church in the distance.
Almost there! she thought to herself with a wide smile on her face. Once they got to the church, Darcy would have a few minutes to freshen up before her father would escort her down the aisle to where Campbell would be waiting. After the ceremony, she’d call him her husband. Darcy grinned as the limo came to a stop. The driver opened the door, and everyone got out. Her mother and Fallon helped with her dress, not to get it dirty as she stepped out onto the pavement. She looked up at the church as the limo drove off. She needed a moment to take it all in. She told the others to go ahead. As they headed into the church, Darcy looked up at the steeple. She took in her surroundings. The butterflies she had were now gone. Instead, she felt ready, at ease.
Let’s do this. she thought to herself as she headed up the steps of the church. She pulled the doors open and stepped inside. The doors fell closed behind her. From where she stood, she could see down the church aisle. Everything was decorated in white, Darcy thought it looked amazing. Fallon came over to her, explaining that the guests would be arriving shortly. She revealed that Campbell was on his way, Blake had called to let her know. While her parents talked to the priest, Fallon lead Darcy over to a room. She pulled the door open and let Darcy inside. She followed in. It was a room where they could wait, where they could freshen up before the ceremony. Darcy sat down on the couch, making sure not to wrinkle her dress while Fallon went over to look out the window. All they had to do now was wait for Campbell to arrive.
Fallon turned from the window, a smile on her lips. She explained to Darcy that people were starting to arrive. She excused herself, making her way over to the door. Besides being the maid of honor, she also had to greet the guests. She made her way out of the room, closing the door behind her. On the couch, Darcy lifted her hand, letting the light catch the diamond on her engagement ring. It sparkled brightly. She got to her feet, exploring the room. She went over to a bookcase, looking at the titles. There were mostly books about religion. They seemed old, as if they had seen better days. She pulled one out, looking down at the cover before putting it back. Her heels clicked on the floor as she made her way over to a standing mirror in the corner of the room. She gazed at her reflection, satisfied with her appearance.
She stepped away from the mirror and over to the window. She pulled the curtains aside, watching the people outside. There were Meredith and Ruby, heading up the walkway to the church. They look great! Darcy thought to herself. Next came Derek Vance, Wendy Elliott, Sasha Ferris and Isabel Marcus. They walked together in a group, chattering and laughing. Darcy ticked her gaze past them. Another white limo was pulling up. Campbell had arrived! Darcy watched as the limo driver got out of the car. He went over to the back door and pulled it open. Campbell and Blake stepped out. They both looked very sophisticated in their tuxedos. With a smile on her lips, Darcy stepped away from the window. She didn’t want Campbell to spot her. Behind her, the door opened, and Fallon poked her head in.
“It’s almost that time!” she said excitedly. “You ready?” she asked.
“I’m good to go!” Darcy replied with a smile on her lips.
“Alright. I’ll be back in a few minutes. When I come back, you’re going to stand with your dad. They’re going to play the wedding march, and you’re going to walk down the aisle!” Fallon explained.
“I’m excited!” Darcy replied.
“I would be too! You’re getting married! I’m so happy for you! I’ll be back soon!” Fallon replied as she walked away, closing the door.
Darcy nodded, going back over to the window. She peered outside once more. The front of the church was empty, except for Aiden Greene. He was Julie’s date to the wedding, and he was standing outside finishing up a cigarette. Behind her, the door to the room opened once more. With a smile, Darcy turned.
Meanwhile, Campbell was getting into place. He stood by the flowered arch, looking out at the faces sitting on the church benches. He was a little nervous, his pulse fast. And he found it was a little hot in the church. Don’t they believe in air conditioning? he thought to himself. He snapped back to attention when Blake came up to him.
“How you doing, buddy?” Blake asked with an arched eyebrow.
“Besides sweltering in this tux? Fine. A little nervous.” Campbell explained.
Blake laughed. “That’s normal. From what I hear. I’ve never gotten married.” he said.
“Maybe you’ll be next.” Campbell replied.
“Who knows! First I have to find myself a girl!” Blake replied with a laugh.
“What about Gwen? She’s single. She’s looking to settle down. And isn’t she moving in with you, Fallon and Naomi?” Campbell asked.
Blake nodded. “She is! In a few days. And Gwen, really? I never thought of that. She is cute. You don’t think Marco would mind?” he said.
“Marco was a douche. How can you just up and leave someone like that? Not cool.” Campbell replied.
“His loss. Gwen. Hmm. I’ll think about it.” Blake replied. “Is there anything you need before we start?” he asked Campbell.
“Can you go see how Darcy is doing? I’m not supposed to see her. It’s bad luck, apparently.” Campbell said.
Blake laughed. “I’ll tell her you can’t wait for the honeymoon.” he said.
He smiled and headed down the aisle to the back of the church. As he was passing by the restroom doors, he heard someone. It sounded like they were sick. He stopped in his tracks, listening. Someone was throwing up. It sounded like it was coming from the men’s restroom. Blake looked behind him. Everyone else were in their seats, chattering and laughing. Campbell was looking down at a piece of paper in his hands. Fallon was off to a side, talking to Darcy’s parents and the priest. Blake frowned. He went over to the restroom door and knocked. No one came to the door. He listened. It was quiet now. He knocked again. He reached out, his hand gripping the doorknob. He turned it, the door opening as he peered into the restroom. Before he knew what was happening, he was grabbed by the throat and yanked inside. The door slammed quickly shut behind him.
Campbell peered down at his speech in his hand. He had written it himself. He looked up with a start as music began to play. The wedding march. He looked around, Blake hadn’t returned. Fallon hurried out with Darcy’s father. Mrs. Adkins took her seat in the front pew. She looked over at him with a wide smile. Campbell smiled back, ticking his attention down the aisle. He couldn’t wait to see Darcy. He was sure she looked beautiful. But where’s Blake? he thought to himself. He was expecting him to come rushing in at any second. But he didn’t. A feeling of unease seemed to wrap itself around Campbell. He tried shaking it off, but couldn’t seem to. He frowned, keeping his eyes at the back of the aisle. Fallon and Mr. Adkins came into view. Their faces were pale, fear glinting in their eyes.
They were visibly upset. Something had happened, Campbell just knew it. Something bad. To Darcy? he thought to himself. The guests were starting to pick up that something was wrong. They were all looking to the back of the aisle. Waiting for Darcy to come into view. But she didn’t appear. Campbell watched as Fallon ran down the aisle and over to where he was standing.
“Darcy’s GONE!” she cried. Her words echoed around them.
The crowd gasped. Mrs. Adkins got to her feet and hurried over to her husband.
“What do you mean she’s gone!?” Campbell cried.
“She was waiting in the room. We went there and she’s not there anymore! And the room is trashed. It looks like all hell broke loose in there!” Fallon cried.
It felt like someone had kicked Campbell in the stomach. Before he could reply, people were jumping to their feet, screaming. He looked to see Blake stumbling down the aisle. He was clutching his throat with both hands. From where Campbell stood, he could see the bright crimson seeping through Blake’s fingers. Fallon turned, saw her housemate, and let out a scream. No one could seem to move as Blake dropped to the floor. His hands fell limply at his side as blood gushed from the wound in his throat. His throat’s been cut! Campbell thought, his heart jackhammering in his chest. People were screaming around them as Blake’s eyes glazed over, staring off into the distance. He was dead. There was a stampede as people began running off, jumping over pews to get out of the church.
Campbell ticked his gaze from Blake’s body, to Fallon. “Where is she?? WHERE’S DARCY!?” he cried.
Darcy stirred, a low moan escaping her lips. She felt like she had been hit by a truck. Her eyes fluttered open, her surroundings coming into view. She blinked hard. Once, twice. Where am I? she thought to herself, her heart pounding. She was in a small room. It was dark, and smelled of decay. She realized she was sitting down in a chair. She tried to get to her feet, but couldn’t. She looked down, her hands were tied behind her back to the chair. A whimper of fear escaped her lips as she remembered what had happened at the church. She had been facing the window when the door behind her had opened. She had turned, expecting it to be Fallon. Instead, it wasn’t. It was a figure in a black hooded cloak. It was the killer. Darcy had screamed, startled. She had backed herself into the corner of the room.
The killer had closed the door and approached her slowly. Taunting her. Darcy didn’t know what to do. She had to get out of that room. There were people just outside. Fallon was supposed to come back in at any moment. So Darcy ran at the killer, slamming her shoulder into their midsection. It worked momentarily, but instead of sending the killer falling, he, or she, had latched onto Darcy and they had both fallen into the bookcase. Books showered around them as the shelves gave way, clattering to the floor. How no one had heard that from outside, was beyond her. Darcy had struggled to get to her feet, but the killer had been quicker. He had grabbed her and pushed her into the standing mirror. The glass shattered, biting into Darcy’s exposed skin. She had let out another scream, going over to the window.
She had pounded on the glass, but there was no one standing outside. Before she could turn, she had been grabbed by the hair and dragged across the floor. That’s all she remembered before she was struck on the head with something. Her vision winked out. And now she was waking up, in this small room. It took her a moment to realize she wasn’t alone. She turned and saw a familiar figure sitting in the chair next to her. It was Faye. And she seemed to be out cold. Darcy didn’t know why, but Faye was blindfolded. Why am I not blindfolded? she couldn’t help but think to herself. She saw that Faye had been also been tied up to the chair behind her.
“FAYE! FAYE! Please wake up!” Darcy cried.
Faye didn’t stir.
“Please! Faye! WAKE UP!” Darcy screamed. She struggled against her ropes. No luck. “HELP!” she screamed as loud as she could.
There was a burst of static from the corner of the room. Darcy looked up to see a speaker. And then, to her horror, a familiar voice came out from the speaker. All she could do was listen.
“Welcome, Darcy. You put up quite a good fight. But you failed.” the distorted voice of the killer said. “Lucky for you, you have company in here. But, unfortunately, no one knows you’re here. Or where here is.” the voice continued with an ominous giggle. “If I were you, I’d get comfortable. You can scream all you want. You can cry. You’re both never leaving here. Ta ta for now.” the voice said.
With that, the speakers clicked off. Darcy struggled against her bonds, whimpers of fear escaping her lips. “No! Please! Don’t do this! PLEASE!” she cried.
Silence around her. She opened her mouth and let out a scream.
END OF SEASON 3