Today marks month two in the search for Darcy Adkins, a West Valley resident. She was last seen at St-Gregory’s church, on what was supposed to be her wedding day. If you have any information on her whereabouts, please call the number on the bottom of the screen. She’s five feet, five inches tall, with blonde hair and gray eyes. There is a cash reward for her return. Again, if you have any information, please call the number on the bottom of your screen. We here at WVNC hope Darcy returns home safely. the newscaster said as Darcy’s picture filled up the television screen. Sitting on the couch, Julie blinked back tears. She knew very well how much time had passed since Darcy had disappeared. She had been keeping track. Every day for the past two months had seemed like an eternity.
Every day she had prayed that it would be the day Darcy would be found. Not only had the police been searching, but so had the residents of West Valley. Julie herself had been part of the many search parties. They were determined to find Darcy. Alive and well. Deep down, Julie knew that Darcy was still alive. It was just a feeling she got. Perhaps it was wishful thinking, but she didn’t want to consider the fact that maybe Darcy was dead. No one seemed to think that either. Until they found evidence of such thing, Darcy was very much alive. It was just difficult when you didn’t know where to look. The search parties had looked through the neighbourhoods, they had looked downtown. They had even gone to search in the forest on the outskirts of town by the West Valley bridge. Each time, they had come up with nothing. It was frustrating, more so for Campbell.
Poor Campbell. Julie thought to herself with a frown. He was the most sick with worry. Not only had his best man Blake been killed, but his bride had been taken as well. It had happened quickly, all in a matter of minutes. On his wedding day, no less. What had started as a celebration, as a great day, had ended in tragedy. Julie flashed back to that day, the memory still fresh in her mind. There was Campbell, waiting by the altar for his bride. Suddenly, Fallon and Darcy’s father had rushed in, explaining that Darcy couldn’t be found. And then Blake had stumbled in, clutching his slashed throat. People had jumped to their feet, screaming. Blake was able to make his way down the aisle before collapsing on the floor, dead. That had caused a stampede, people were rushing to get out of the church.
Julie could still hear the sound of running feet in her ears. The noise had been almost deafening. She had been one of the very few that had stayed behind. She couldn’t seem to move at first as people escaped the church around her. Campbell, Fallon, Mrs. Adkins and Mr. Adkins had stayed behind, standing over Blake’s body. Soon, Julie had seemed to snap out of her trance. She had gone over to stand with them. Looking down at Blake’s body, she thought she was going to be sick. She didn’t know how she had kept it together as everyone else was panicking. Fallon and Mrs. Adkins were crying. Mr. Adkins looked like he was going to faint. And Campbell had looked like his world had come crumbling down around him. It only took a few more minutes before the police came bursting into the church.
They always arrive after things have gone to hell. Julie thought to herself, rolling her eyes in annoyance. She wished her father was still alive. He had been on the police force. He had been determined to find the first killer, Scott Emerson. Unfortunately, Scott had found him first. He had lead him to St-Gregory’s, where he had slashed her father’s throat. A pang of sadness hit Julie as she tried to think of something else. Aiden’s face flashed through her mind. It was two months now that they were seeing each other. Aiden had even been her date to Darcy and Campbell’s wedding. They’d had a good time before things had turned to horror. Aiden had run out with the rest of the people, sticking around outside until Julie had exited the church. She remembered the look of concern on his face as she had hurried down the church steps to him, her heart pounding.
They had grown closer since that day. There were no distractions in getting to know each other. Not only had Darcy disappeared, but so had the killer. For two months, there had been no phone calls, no threats. And most importantly, there had been no murders. A sigh of relief escaped Julie’s lips. It seemed like life was returning back to normal in West Valley. You could venture outside without having to look over your shoulder every two minutes. When darkness fell, you could roam the streets freely, not worrying about who could be hiding in the shadows. The killer should do us a favor and retire. Julie thought to herself, rolling her eyes. She had no clue as to who this new killer was. All she knew was that whoever they were, they were cruel and sadistic. Perhaps it was Brandon Covington, who had persuaded Scott to murder all those people the first time around.
Or maybe it was someone entirely different. But who? Julie thought to herself. And was this new killer someone who was in her life already? Scott had been under all of their noses the whole time. It was a shock to find out that he was the one who was killing all those people. Felicia, Richard Jacks, Owen, her father, and many more had been his victims. There had been no signs, no warnings or hints that he was the one underneath the black hooded cloak. It was funny, even though months had passed since Scott had been killed by the police, you could still feel the repercussions from his reign of terror. The town of West Valley was still recovering from that. Just when they thought they were making progress, the new string of murders started happening. Julie shook her head as she switched the television off.
She got to her feet, making her way across the living room and over to the front door. She pulled it open, stepping out into the late morning sunshine. It was July, school was out for the children and teenagers, and some of the adults were off work. The neighbourhood around her was alive that day. The sounds of children playing filled the warm air. It was moments like this that one could forget that there had been a killer on the loose. On the sidewalk, Julie saw Wendy Elliott jog past the house, dressed in skin tight workout clothes. Julie raised an eyebrow before she headed over to the mailbox. She pulled it open and peered inside, pulling out the mail. Behind her, a figure appeared in the open doorway of the front door. Julie turned, looking down at the mail in her hand as she headed back for the house. She ticked her gaze up from the mail in her hand to the door, and jumped slightly.
“Is there anything for me?” her sister Megan asked from the doorway.
“You’re awake. Finally.” Julie replied.
Megan had been upstairs sleeping. Now that school was out, she would sleep in. This was the earliest that she had been awake so far. Usually, she slept until noon. She was home a lot. Since she had broken up with Charlie, it seemed like she didn’t have much to do. She’d lounge in front of the television, or be clicking away on the computer. Sometimes, she would venture outside into the backyard where she’d sit in the grass with a book. She’d usually be found reading something from Anne Rice or Stephen King. Julie had heard about what had happened between Megan and Charlie. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal. She thought her sister was over exaggerating a little. She had tried to give Megan some advice, but her sister didn’t seem to want to hear it. So Julie had kept her mouth shut. If Megan ever wanted to talk about it, she would be there for her.
“And no, there’s no mail for you. Just some bills for mom, and a letter from my school.” Julie explained as they headed back inside the house. She closed the door behind her.
“They probably changed their mind about accepting you.” Megan joked.
“Not funny. You know I haven’t been in school since mom left.” Julie said, tearing the envelope open.
“I know. It’s nice to have her back, isn’t it?” Megan asked.
“Of course it is. And come September, I can focus on studying law.” Julie said as she read the letter in her hands. A smile broke out on her face.
“Good news?” Megan asked, cocking an eyebrow.
“Just some info on registration.” Julie replied.
“Maybe when you become some hot shot lawyer, I can sue Charlie.” Megan said with a frown.
Julie couldn’t help but laugh. “By the time I become a lawyer, your issue with Charlie will be resolved.” she said, shaking her head in amusement.
“Maybe.” Megan replied.
“Why don’t you just talk to him? I’m sure you can work things out.” Julie said.
“Because, like it or not, Charlie is popular. I’m not. We’re not supposed to mingle, let alone date.” Megan replied.
“Where does it say that?” Julie asked curiously.
“It’s just the way it is. Sooner or later he would have realized it. I guess I’m just surprised he realized it later than usual.” Megan explained.
Julie opened her mouth to protest when the ringing of her phone caught her attention. “Hold that thought.” she told her sister.
She hurried over to the coffee table where she had left her phone. She looked down at the screen. CAMPBELL ROE flashed on the screen. With a frown, she accepted the call, bringing the phone to her ear. “Hello?” she said.
“Julie! Did you watch the news?!” Campbell cried from the other end of the line.
“I turned it off not too long ago.” she replied. He sounded worried.
“We need to get to the riverside, right away!” Campbell cried.
“Why, what’s going on?” Julie asked, swallowing the lump forming in her throat.
“Some people fishing found a body. A blonde female body.” Campbell explained, his voice trembling.
It was as if a block of ice had set itself in the pit of her stomach. Her eyes widened in surprise. “Oh god. Darcy.” she said softly.
“I’m on my way over there now. I let Mr and Mrs. Adkins know, Fallon too.” Campbell replied.
“I’ll meet you there!” Julie cried. Without another word, she hung up the phone.
“What’s going on?” Megan asked with a frown creasing her face.
“I have to go! It’s an emergency. Will you be okay here on your own?” Julie asked frantically as she grabbed her purse. She hurried for the front door.
“I’ll be fine. But I expect an explanation later on.” Megan said as she watched Julie pull the front door open.
“I promise. Stay inside until I get home.” Julie called over her shoulder. She closed the front door behind her, not giving Megan time to reply.
Olivia Cosgrove was bitter. And she felt she had every right to be. Summer was finally here. But instead of leaving town on vacation like she had done for as long as she could remember, she still found herself in West Valley. It had been months ago that the family had planned on heading to Europe for a few weeks. But that had been before Skye had been murdered. The death of her daughter had hit her very hard. There was no worse feeling in the world than the loss of a child. A European vacation had been the last thing on her mind as she and her husband grieved. They had forgotten about their trip for a few months. Then, one day, they had received a call from the airline company. They had wanted to know if they were still interested in the three tickets they had put aside.
Olivia and Edwin had discussed it between themselves, and they had felt like they weren’t ready to hop a plane and fly to Europe. Not without Skye, who had been so excited about the trip. She was gone forever, she would never have the opportunity to vacation with her parents ever again. So they had cancelled their plans for the summer. They had decided they were going to stay in town. They had to pay a cancellation fee. It was quite pricy, but money was never an issue for them. They had paid it with no second thoughts. Now, standing in the kitchen of their home, Olivia remembered that this was the week they were supposed to leave for their trip. They could have been on a beach in Italy somewhere. Instead, they were home in West Valley. There was no beach in town. The closest you could get to one was the pool at the country club.
It had been a year since Olivia had last been to the West Valley Country Club. Not since the summer before. It was open all year round, but Olivia had been busy. She had been more focused on work. Since it was summer, things had calmed down for her. Maybe it was time to start going back to the club. Maybe it will keep me distracted. she thought to herself. The fact that she wasn’t away on vacation wasn’t the only thing on her mind. There was also their legal troubles. Two months had gone by, and the IRS was still investigating. It scared her to death that they could lose it all. The house, the car, their money. She was partly responsible for that. She and Edwin had lied about their taxes for years. Now, it seemed like their lies were finally catching up to them. It was a horrible feeling, not knowing when that phone call would come.
She could just imagine the voice on the other end of the line, saying they had lost everything, and that they were heading to jail. That was the last thing Olivia wanted to hear. They would be the talk of the town if she and Edwin were hauled off to jail for tax evasion. The people of West Valley would laugh about it, calling them stupid for pulling a stunt like that. And thinking we would get away with it. Olivia thought to herself with a frown creasing her forehead. She had a flash of seeing Edwin and herself dressed in orange jumpsuits. No, that wasn’t going to happen. She told Edwin she would take care of it, and she would. She had a plan. She wasn’t sure if it was going to work, but she had to at least try. Edwin wasn’t aware of what she had up her sleeve. He would find out eventually, but he probably would never look at her again. Olivia shook her head, a deep sigh escaping from between her lips.
With her heels clicking on the tiled floor, Olivia made her way out of the kitchen. She made her way through the house and over to the study. She pushed open the door, entering the room, and closing the door behind her. Her eyes darted around nervously as she made her way over to the desk. There was a pile of Edwin’s papers on the desk. She rifled through them quickly. She didn’t know why she was sneaking around, Edwin wasn’t home. He was still at work. She didn’t know when he was returning. But, in the case that he would suddenly walk in, she had to be quick. Moving away from the desk, Olivia made her way over to the bookcase. She pulled the glass door open and reached for a certain book. She pulled it out, flipping through the pages until she found what she was looking for.
There were papers hidden inside the book, folded up so they weren’t noticeable. Papers and documents that only she knew were there. Good, Edwin hasn’t found them. Olivia thought to herself, relief glinting in her eyes. She knew he barely went into the bookcase, but she was just making sure. If he were to find those papers, her plan would be ruined. She closed the book in her hand, putting it back in it’s place inside the bookcase. She closed the door, taking a step back. She eyed her surroundings once more. There was no evidence that she had even been in the study. With a proud smile on her lips, she turned and made her way out of the study. She closed the door behind her as she made her way through the house. She grabbed her keys and her purse, making her way outside into the bright sunshine.
Her heels clicked on the walkway as she made her way over to her car. She disarmed the alarm, it chirped in reply. She pulled open the door and slid inside. She closed the door behind her, sticking the key in the ignition. She turned it, the engine roaring to life. She clicked on a button on the dashboard, the roof of the car sliding down, folding into itself. She pulled her seatbelt on as she put the car into gear, speeding away from the curb with a screech from the tires. She fiddled with the car stereo until she found something she liked. “I Wanna Have Some Fun.” from Samantha Fox blasted out of the speakers. An old song she had liked from when she was a little girl. The convertible zoomed down the street as Olivia drummed her nails against the steering wheel. On the sidewalk, people turned to look as the convertible sped past them. A small smile played on Olivia’s lips as she headed for her destination.
A few minutes later, she pulled the car up into a valet service. She clicked off the radio as she grabbed her purse. She pushed the driver side door open, getting to her feet. She fished into her bag until she pulled out a ten dollar bill, handing it to the valet worker. Flashing a smile, she made her way up onto the curb. She turned to see the valet worker hop into the car, and speed off to park it. Olivia looked back at the building. WEST VALLEY TOWN COUNTRY CLUB, the sign in front of the building said. She headed over to the door, pulling it open and stepping inside. Classical music played somewhere off in the distance as she took a look around the lobby. It hadn’t changed much since she had last been there. She ticked her gaze to the welcome desk. There was no one sitting behind it. No worries. Everyone knew who Olivia Cosgrove was. She took a few steps forward when a voice spoke from behind her.
“Well, well. Look what the cat drug in.” the voice said.
Olivia recognized the voice. She turned to see Stephanie Workman standing behind her. She sniffed the air. “I knew I recognized the smell of that cheap perfume.” she replied.
A scoff escaped from Stephanie’s lips. “Did you lose your way? The strip club is in that direction.” she pointed.
Olivia shook her head. “I just thought I’d grace everyone here with my presence. I’m the only one who has class, after all.” she said.
Stephanie’s mouth dropped open in surprise at Olivia’s words. “What are you doing here?” she asked, changing the subject.
“Well, my car broke down, just in front.. Actually, no. I’m here for the same reason you are.” she told Stephanie.
“It’s just been a while since you’ve been here.” Stephanie told her.
“Have you been keeping tabs on me? How obsessive of you.” Olivia replied with a fake smile playing on her lips.
“Don’t flatter yourself, honey. I’m not the only one that’s noticed your absence here lately.” Stephanie replied.
“Has it been that much of a bore without me?” Olivia asked, cocking an eyebrow in curiosity. “Well, don’t worry. I’m back now.” she explained.
“Wonderful. Everyone will be so pleased.” Stephanie replied. But the look on her face said otherwise.
If Naomi concentrated hard enough, she could still hear the sound of the crash. She could still hear Warren screaming his daughter’s name. Two months had passed, but the memory was still fresh in her mind. She would replay the events of that fateful day over and over again in her head. She and Warren on his couch, half undressed and kissing in a moment of passion. Without warning, the living room door had opened. Standing in the doorway was Warren’s daughter, Taylor. Naomi would never forget the look on the little girl’s face. While Warren and Naomi scrambled to put their clothes back on, Taylor had ran out of the living room. She had thrown the front door open and hurried down the porch steps to the sidewalk.
Stopping at the doorway, Naomi and Warren watched in terror as Taylor ran off the sidewalk and right into the middle of the street. Right into the path of a car. Naomi had closed her eyes tight and screamed. In that split second, she had wished the car would stop in time. Following the sound of the crash, she knew that it had been too late. She had opened her eyes, hurrying down the porch steps after Warren. He was screaming, it echoed in the air around them. It felt like they were running in slow motion as they finally reached the car. Warren dropped to his knees on the pavement, cradling Taylor’s unmoving form in his arms. She was limp and still, her eyes closed. Naomi had clapped a hand over her mouth as tears streamed down her cheeks.
She had turned to look as the driver of the car stepped out. She didn’t know who he was. She had never seen him before. His eyes were wide, his face pale as snow as he staggered towards Warren. She came out of nowhere! he said, repeating it over and over. Naomi could still hear the man’s words echoing through her mind. She snapped back to reality, found herself standing in the bathroom. She stared at her reflection in the mirror. For a moment, she forgot what she was doing there. Then she remembered. She was getting ready to head out with Gwen for lunch. The other girl was waiting for her. Gwen was now their housemate. She had moved in shortly after that day, two months earlier. There were three girls occupying the house now. Naomi, Gwen, and Fallon.
Blake’s face flashed through Naomi’s mind. He would have been living there too, if he wasn’t dead. She couldn’t believe he was gone. He had been killed, yet another victim of the West Valley killer. He had been killed at Darcy and Campbell’s wedding. Naomi had been invited, but she had never made it to the ceremony. She had gone with Warren in the ambulance transporting his daughter to the hospital. They had spent hours there. Naomi had gone to call Fallon to tell her what had happened. That’s when Fallon had given her the news about Blake’s murder. At first Naomi had thought it was a sick joke. But as Fallon had explained what had happened at the wedding, Naomi knew it was real. The wedding had been cut short by tragedy.
Not only was Blake dead, but Darcy was missing. Everyone was fairly certain that she had been abducted by the killer. Naomi couldn’t believe it. A wedding day was supposed to be a celebration. The killer had ruined it all. So far, Darcy was still missing. Even the police had no idea where she could be. They were searching, but with no luck so far. Please let them find her soon. Naomi thought to herself. Suddenly, there was an impatient knock at the bathroom door. Gwen must have gotten tired of waiting. With one last glance at her reflection, Naomi turned and pulled open the bathroom door. She made her way across the floor. Gwen pulled open the front door and stepped outside. Naomi grabbed her purse and made her way out the door, locking it behind her.
West Valley used to be a town where you could leave your door unlocked. It was different now, with a killer on the loose. Most people wouldn’t even venture outside once the sun set. It was common now to look over your shoulder. You never knew who just might be standing behind you. Naomi shook those thoughts away as she and Gwen headed to the sidewalk. It was a beautiful day. The perfect day to walk downtown to their destination. The two girls chatted amongst themselves as their heels clicked on the pavement. Naomi thought it would have been nice if Fallon could join them. But their housemate had rushed out of the house earlier on that morning without as much as a goodbye. A slight frown creased Naomi’s face. She hoped everything was alright.
“So have you spoken to Warren?” Gwen asked, snapping Naomi out of her thoughts.
“He still won’t answer my calls.” Naomi said, sadness glinting in her eyes.
Gwen frowned. “When is he going to realize that what happened to Taylor was not your fault?” she asked.
Naomi shrugged. She wished she had an answer. She flashed back to that day once more. She remembered hearing the sirens of the ambulance coming down the street. The look on the driver’s face as Warren shoved him back from helping him with Taylor. How her heart jackhammered in her chest as she jumped into the back of the ambulance with Warren. He had barely looked at her on the way to the hospital. He was silent after Taylor was admitted to the emergency room. He had flinched when she had put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Hours later, when the sun had set, Warren had told Naomi to head on home. She was going to argue with him to let her stay, but the look on his face made her change her mind.
So she had gone home, calling a taxi from outside the hospital. She had gone back the following day. But the nurse had told her, per Warren’s request, only he and family members were allowed to see Taylor. It had been a slap in the face for Naomi. She cared about Taylor, she was extremely worried about her. So the only thing she could do was call Warren. It would always go to voicemail. She couldn’t help feel like he was ignoring her. Her suspicions were right. She had talked Fallon into talking to him to find out what was wrong. Fallon had returned with bad news. He blamed themselves for Taylor’s accident. He regretted to ever getting close to Naomi. He knew it was wrong, since his wife Scarlett had only been dead for a few months. Warren thought it would be better if they kept their distance from one another.
“I know it wasn’t my fault. But I can’t help but feel guilty. Taylor’s still in a coma.” Naomi replied, looking down at the concrete.
“But they’re saying she could wake up any day now!” Gwen pointed out.
“I really hope she does. Maybe Warren will finally talk to me.” Naomi replied.
“You have to understand he’s just going through a hard time. His wife was murdered. His other daughter was abducted and then found. And now his other daughter had an unfortunate accident. If that was me, I’d be a nervous wreck.” Gwen rationalized.
“You’re probably right. I just hope he knows how sorry I am.” Naomi said as they reached downtown.
“Try not to think about it. We’re hanging out! We’re going to have a nice meal, have some drinks. I want to see your frown turned upside down!” Gwen said cheerily.
Naomi couldn’t help but chuckle as they headed for the restaurant. They reached the entrance, Gwen reached out to push the door open. Suddenly, the door was pulled open from inside. A figure stepped out through the doorway. It took Naomi a moment to realize who it was. An all too familiar face. Someone they were just talking about. Naomi’s heart dropped. Warren? What’s he doing here? she thought to herself. She turned and gave Gwen a wide eyed stare. Gwen shrugged in reply. She smiled at Warren, who looked like he wanted to bolt. A shaky smile played on his lips as he looked from Gwen to Naomi.
“Warren! Hi!” Gwen said, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
“Hi.” he said simply. He looked at Gwen, averting his eyes from Naomi.
He can’t even look at me. she thought to herself with a frown creasing her pretty face.
“What are you doing here?” Gwen asked curiously.
“Just grabbed some lunch before heading back to the hospital.” he replied.
“How is Taylor doing?” Naomi couldn’t help but ask.
Warren ticked his gaze to her, and then down to the concrete. “She’s made a lot of progress.” he replied.
“That’s so great to hear.” Naomi said.
“I’m going to go grab a table!” Gwen said. Before Naomi could reply, her friend was pushing the door open, disappearing inside the restaurant. Naomi silently thanked her. She knew she had hurried off so that she and Warren could speak in private.
Warren cleared his throat, looking around. “Sorry for not answering your calls.” he finally said. He ticked his gaze up to her.
“Warren, I know this seems too much to handle. What with everything that’s happened in the last few months.” she replied.
He nodded. “I never thought my wife was going to be murdered. That my daughter would be abducted. By someone I considered a friend!” he explained.
“Scott was my housemate. He was my friend too.” Naomi pointed out.
“I was fragile. And I needed help. And you were there to help me, no questions asked.” Warren replied.
“I saw how you were struggling. I just couldn’t turn the other way and ignore it.” Naomi explained.
Warren nodded. “And I appreciate it. I really do. But that’s all it should have been. I shouldn’t have grown attached to you that quickly.” he replied.
“It’s not like you planned it to happen.” Naomi said.
“I know. But I wish it never did.” Warren said.
Naomi winced. That hurt. she thought to herself. “What are you trying to say?” she asked him.
“I think we should keep our distance. You don’t need to worry about the girls. Once Taylor wakes up, my mother is going to be staying with us. We need to get on with our lives. I need to properly grieve Scarlett. You should just forget that you ever met me.” he told her.
“How can you say that?” Naomi asked with wide eyes.
“I mean it. I’m sorry.” Warren said before turning and walking away.
Naomi watched him go, sadness glinting in her eyes. She turned and made her way over to the restaurant, pushing the door open and disappearing inside.
A key slid into a lock, the front door of the Rayburn house opening. Jillyan stepped inside, closing the door behind her. Outside, the sun had begun to set, and she wanted to get in before dark. She had made it, a sigh of relief escaping her lips as she locked the door. A quick glance at the clock revealed that she had been out all day. She loved the summer months, there was so much to do. She didn’t have to worry about school, or waking up early in the morning. She could go to sleep and wake up when she pleased. A small smirk played on her lips as she thought about how she had spent her day. She had woken up before lunch, taking a shower before she headed downstairs for some breakfast. There was a note on the fridge from Amy, who had gone grocery shopping. Making herself a bowl of Lucky Charms, Jillyan had sat down at the kitchen table.
That’s when her phone started chirping feverishly. Text messages from both Hanna and Charlie. Asking her if she was awake. They were bored, and wanted to do something. Since Amy was out, and because it was daylight, Jillyan didn’t need to ask for permission. The texts went back and forth, the teens trying to find something to do. It was Hanna who suggested they head over to the country club. Jillyan had never been to one, she agreed it could be fun. So after finishing her cereal and dumping it in the dishwasher, she had headed back upstairs to her bedroom. For a brief moment, she was worried about what she should wear. From what she saw in television shows and movies, country clubs seemed posh and everyone seemed to be well dressed. She text Hanna, slightly panicking. Her friend reassured her and said she could wear whatever she wanted.
Jillyan felt better after that. She dressed and had made her way down the stairs and out the front door. Now, returning home, Jillyan thought about how much fun the day had been. She had walked over to Hanna’s, and the two girls had gone to pick up Charlie at his house. The three teens had made their way to the country club. At the front desk, Hanna had flashed her membership, and they went in. Jillyan was in awe. There was an outdoor swimming pool, two tennis courts, a gym, and a sauna. They had decided they were going to swim first. Hanna had lead the way into the girls’ changing room while Charlie headed into the men’s. There were bathing suits inside, emblazoned with the country club crest on them. Wow. Jillyan had thought to herself as she and Hanna changed and then headed outside to where Charlie was waiting for them.
Jillyan blushed slightly, thinking about how good Charlie had looked in his short swimming trunks. The sun seemed to reflect on his muscular tanned body. Hanna had snapped Jillyan out of her thoughts, leading the way to the swimming pool. They swam, did a few laps. Charlie even dunked her a few times. Once the climbed out of the water, they lounged on chairs as the club staff brought them fluffy towels and drinks. They lay back in their chairs, soaking in the sun. Once they grew restless, they went back into the changing rooms to change before heading over to the tennis court. That’s when more people joined them. There was Paul Hathaway, Hanna’s boyfriend. With him was Andy Kerr, Jennifer Rollins, Cody Montanez, Shana Romeo, and Zoey Fox.
Seeing Zoey there had made Jillyan flash back to the night of Hanna’s slumber party. Jillyan had tried hard to forget about that night. Zoey’s twin sister, Ashley, had been killed. So had Shanice Newberry and Heather Sharp. Hanna and Jillyan would have been killed too, had they not gotten away. Jillyan remembered being pinned to the floor, the killer looming over her. She remembered how the knife blade glinted in the moonlight that poured through the window. She was sure she was about to die. That’s when Hanna had stepped in. She had picked up a vase and had smashed it over the killer’s head. The killer had fallen to the floor, and the girls had fled from Hanna’s house, screaming. The memories of that night sent a slow, cold shiver of fear down Jillyan’s spine. She still had nightmares about it, sometimes.
Zoey seemed to be enjoying herself, as if she needed a distraction from the fact that her sister was murdered. Maybe they all did. There was a killer out there, somewhere. The whole town had been affected by the murders. Besides the three girls, there had been two other victims their age. Skye Cosgrove, who was Hanna’s best friend, and her boyfriend, Brad Landgraab. They had been killed before Jillyan had come to West Valley to stay with her sister, Amy. From what she had heard, Skye was the most popular girl in school. She had been the Queen Bee. Which Hanna had taken over the title after she had been murdered. I don’t think I would have liked Skye much. She sounded mean. Jillyan thought to herself with a frown creasing her pretty face. She made her way into the kitchen, deep in thought.
“Oh, good. You’re finally home.” a voice said, startling Jillyan. She looked up to see Amy standing in the kitchen.
“Sorry.” Jillyan replied sheepishly.
“Where were you all day?” Amy asked, cocking an eyebrow in curiosity.
“The country club.” Jillyan replied.
“The country club?!” Amy said in surprise. “I haven’t even been there.” she explained.
“Maybe we should become members.” Jillyan said.
Amy thought about it. “I’ll keep it in mind. Maybe after the baby is born.” she told her sister.
“I can’t wait for this baby to be born! Only a few more months!” Jillyan said excitedly.
“You can’t wait? What about me! I feel like I have a timebomb inside me.” Amy chuckled, rubbing her belly.
“You’ll be a great mom. And you’ll have me here to help. I was thinking, maybe I could stay in West Valley once school starts. I could enroll in West Valley high, or maybe home schooling?” Jillyan said, her tone hopeful.
“We’ll have to talk to mom about it. I would love it if you stayed. The house doesn’t feel as empty with you around.” Amy said with a thin smile. “And I’ll need all the help I can get with the baby!” she explained.
“Let’s go through some baby names!” Jillyan said, excitement glinting in her eyes. It was easy to see that she was excited to become an aunt.
Amy peered at the kitchen clock. “When I get home, okay? I was about to head out.” she told her sister.
Jillyan frowned. “Where are you going?” she asked.
“Meredith and I made plans to go to the movies. She should be here any second.” Amy revealed.
“Oh, sure! I come home and you leave!” Jillyan said with a chuckle escaping her lips. “It’s fine. I’ll probably just watch some television. There’s a Grey’s Anatomy marathon tonight.” she told Amy.
“I won’t be gone long. All the doors and windows are locked. You can call me, if anything.” Amy reassured her.
“And I have Meredith’s number, too. I’ll be fine.” Jillyan replied.
“You call either one of us if something is wrong, okay?” Amy told her. Suddenly, from outside, there was a honk. “She’s here.” she said to Jillyan.
“Go! Have fun!” Jillyan said, leading Amy towards the front door.
“When I come home, we’ll go over baby names. And we’ll have ice cream. I’m having a craving!” Amy said with a smile. She pulled open the front door, and headed down the walkway.
“See you later!” Jillyan called out.
She watched as her sister got into the car. She waved at Meredith before stepping back inside the house and closing the door. She locked it behind her. The house was silent. Jillyan scanned her surroundings, trying to ignore the uneasy feeling that wrapped itself around her. She stopped to peer at her reflection in the hallway mirror. Get a grip, Jillyan. she thought to herself. A slight frown creased her pretty face before she made her way into the living room. She turned on the lights, making her way over to the couch. Ever since the slumber party, whenever she walked into a room, she would turn the lights on. You never knew what was hiding in the dark. She sat down, picking up the remote and turning on the television. She settled back against the couch, clicking through the channels until she found the marathon.
Oh, I saw this one. Good episode. she thought to herself as she watched the scene unfolding on the screen. Five minutes had passed, when she heard a noise. It was loud enough to make her turn away from the television screen. She grabbed the remote, and muted the sound. She listened carefully. The noise hadn’t seemed to come from inside the house. It had came from outside. With a sigh, Jillyan got to her feet. She went over to the window, peering through the glass. The sun had set, replaced with dancing black shadows. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. For a moment, she was tempted to call Amy. But decided against it. For all she knew, it could have been a cat that had knocked over a garbage can in the yard. She made her way across the floor, and out into the entryway.
The uneasy feeling she had felt earlier tightened itself around her. She made her way over to the front door. She reached out, but hesitated as her hand grabbed the lock. What would be waiting for her on the other side of the door? Hopefully nothing. Hopefully it was a false alarm, something she would laugh about later. She unlocked the door, and pulled it open. Nothing on the other side. She clicked on the patio lights and stepped out from the safety of her home. Her eyes scanned the darkness around her. Her heart drummed faster in her chest as she took a few steps down the walkway. The sidewalk was empty. So was the street, void of any life. So why did it feel like someone was watching her? Jillyan took a hesitant step back. Was there someone out there, lurking in the shadows by her house? She turned, making her way back towards the front door.
That’s when someone stepped out of the shadows. Jillyan stopped in her tracks, her eyes widening in surprise. Then she saw who it was. A frown creased her forehead. “What are you doing here?” she asked the figure standing before her.
“I came to see you.” Megan Whitlow explained.
“Why?” Jillyan asked, cocking an eyebrow in the other girl’s direction.
“Because I want to brush your hair. No, I came to talk about Charlie.” Megan said.
“Doesn’t mean you had to scare me. Why were you lurking in the shadows like a creeper?” Jillyan asked.
Megan shrugged. “It worked, didn’t it? It got you to come outside.” she replied with a sneer.
“Look, Charlie and I are good friends. That’s all. We’re not together. And may I remind you, you broke up with him.” Jillyan pointed out.
“Because he was spending so much time with you and your BFF, Hanna!” Megan replied.
“All those times we hung out, we didn’t force him to come with us. He wanted to.” Jillyan told her.
“Of course he would! You’re the popular girls. All you have to do is bat your eyes and shake your asses and boys come running.” Megan replied, anger glinting in her eyes.
“That’s such a lame excuse! Instead of attacking me, why don’t you go talk to Charlie? He was pretty upset that you broke up with him.” Jillyan said.
Megan sighed. Jillyan wondered if she had gotten through to her. “What would I say?” she asked Jillyan.
“How about that you’re sorry you overreacted?” Jillyan replied.
“I guess so.” Megan said softly, looking down at the ground. She looked up at Jillyan. “You’re sure there’s nothing going on between you two?” she asked.
“What did I just say?! Get out of here before I kick your ass!” Jillyan replied, jokingly. A soft chuckle escaped her lips.
“I’m gone! Sorry for your scaring you. Even though it was kind of fun.” Megan replied with a small smirk on her lips as she turned and walked off.
Jillyan shook her head, making her way back inside the house.
It had been a long day for Fallon. Now, she was finally home. She made her way inside the house, closing the door and locking it behind her as she did so. A deep sigh escaped her lips as she ran a hand through her hair. It had all started that morning. She had been sitting outside, having a cup of coffee when her phone had rang. She had looked down at the screen, seeing it was Campbell calling. She answered the phone, a weird feeling in the pit of her stomach. Before she had even said hello, Campbell was panicking on the other end of the line. He had been watching the news, coming across a report about how a dead body had been found. Some people had been fishing by the river, when a body had floated up by the river side. It was a young female with blonde hair.
Fallon listened, she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She didn’t want to believe it. Was the body Darcy? Had she finally been found? Fallon had prayed her friend was still alive. Now, it seemed like the chances were slim. Campbell explained how he was on his way to the riverside. Fallon agreed to meet him there. After hanging up the phone, the weird feeling in her stomach made it’s way up her throat. Clapping a hand over her mouth, Fallon had ran into the bathroom. She had bent over the toilet bowl and retched. She was worried that Naomi and Gwen would hear her, but neither one of the two girls had appeared. Feeling slightly woozy, Fallon had flushed the toilet before making her way out of the house.
Her heart jackhammered in her chest as she made her way over to the car. She jumped into the driver’s seat, turning the car on and speeding away with the screech of tires. She didn’t even bother putting on her seat belt. She drove quickly through the streets, going well over the speed limit. Let the cops stop me. she had thought to herself as she sped through the streets. Luckily, she hadn’t gotten pulled over. She was able to get to the riverside in a matter of minutes. She had jumped out of the car once she had parked and turned it off. Campbell was waiting for her, along with Darcy’s parents. Their eyes were wide, faces pale. Campbell was able to choke out that Julie was on her way as well. There were a few other people there as well that Fallon hadn’t recognized.
It was the people who had found the body. That’s when Fallon noticed that there were only two police cars at the scene. No paramedics or Coroner. Fallon had frowned, asking what was going on. Was it Darcy? Campbell explained the Coroner had already brought the body to the hospital. They hadn’t been able to see it, so they had no clue if it was Darcy or not. The police just wanted to ask them a few questions before they headed over to the hospital. They were going to have to identify the body. Fallon had closed her eyes, thinking she was going to be sick again. The feeling passed as some police officers asked her a few questions. She had been so focused on them, she hadn’t seen Julie arrive. Once they were done, Fallon had realized Julie was there, the two girls hugged each other in comfort.
For a moment, Fallon snapped back to the present. She made her way into the house, wandering aimlessly until she found herself standing by the fireplace. Her mind went back to thinking about what had happened at the riverside. They had all gotten into their cars and made their way over to the hospital. Fallon was a bundle of nerves, she thought her heart was going to burst right out of her chest. Campbell and Darcy’s parents looked no better. They made their way to the morgue. Fallon had been clutching Julie’s hand tightly. For a brief moment she thought she was going to break the other girl’s hand, but Julie didn’t say anything. Her face was serious, fear glinting in her eyes. As if she also feared that the body in the morgue was Darcy. They sat down in the waiting room by the morgue.
In a few minutes, they would have their answer. The morgue attendant finally came out, the expression on his face unreadable. He told them they could go in. Everyone but Julie had pounced to their feet. They had hurried inside. There, on the cold metal table, was the body. It was covered from the shoulders down, only it’s face exposed. It’s blonde hair was still wet, it’s face the color of snow. And it’s lips were blue. Everyone had let out sighs of relief. Darcy’s mother sobbed into her husband’s shoulder. It was a stranger on the table. It wasn’t Darcy. That meant she was still alive, somewhere. They exited the morgue, as if a weight had been lifted off their shoulders. Julie was also relieved that it wasn’t Darcy lying on the table inside the morgue. They hugged each other happily, almost as if it was a celebration.
It was only later that they found out about who the body was, and what had happened to her. The young woman’s name was Christine Rutledge, she was from Newcrest. She had gone to a party on a friend’s yacht, had gotten drunk, and had somehow fallen overboard. She wasn’t even wearing a life jacket, and her friends had only realized she was missing after a few hours. She didn’t know how to swim, and had drowned in the water. And what are the odds that she washes up in West Valley? Fallon thought to herself. She was really expecting to find Darcy lying on that morgue table. She was still worried though, it meant the killer still had Darcy somewhere. Darcy must be so scared. she thought to herself. She couldn’t imagine what her friend was going through.
Fallon made her way through the house, heading for her bedroom. She pushed the door open and stepped inside, turning on the light. She just wanted to take a nice hot shower before she turned in for the night. She gazed over at her bed, it looked mighty inviting. She turned and headed for the closet, when the ringing of the phone stopped her in her tracks. Hoping it was news about Darcy, she pulled out her phone and looked down at the screen. UNKNOWN NUMBER flashed back up at her. With a slight frown, she accepted the call, bringing the phone up to her ear.
“Hello?” she said.
“Hello, Fallon.” said the distorted voice on the other end of the line.
A shiver of fear ran down Fallon’s spine. She knew that voice. How could she forget it? It was the voice of the killer. This was the first time in two months that anyone had heard from him, or her.
“What do you want?” she asked, failing to keep her voice from trembling.
“Cutting straight to the chase, are we? I want you to listen to me.” the killer replied.
“Why would I do that?” Fallon replied. She swallowed hard.
“Because if you listen closely, you’ll hear who I have with me!” the voice with glee. In the background, she heard an all too familiar voice. “Fallon! Fallon! HELP US! He has me and Faye! HELP!” she heard Darcy scream from the other end of the line.
“Darcy! Darcy! We’ll find you! I promise!” Fallon cried into the phone. “Don’t hurt them! Please!” Fallon pleaded. She had no clue that Faye had been captured as well. Since when? she couldn’t help but think to herself.
“I plan on doing worse than just hurting them. And you’ll never make it in time. One of them is about to die. Want to take a guess as to who it’s going to be?” the killer replied with a cruel chuckle.
“Please! You don’t have to do this! PLEASE. Just let them go!” Fallon cried.
“This isn’t about having to do it. This is about wanting to do it! And I’m about to. Who’s it going to be? Darcy the fashion designer? Or Faye the author?” the killer asked.
“Please! Just STOP!” Fallon shrieked.
“You’re no fun, Fallon. I got to go. Time’s up for one of these ladies.” the killer said. Before she could protest, the call was disconnected.
Darcy had heard the whole conversation between the killer and Fallon. She had been dozing off when she had heard the sound of keys. Her eyes snapped open as the barred metal door to the chamber had swung open. The killer stood in the doorway, on the phone. After two months of being held hostage, she still had no idea who the killer was. He or she had always worn their costume around her and Faye. She took in the black hooded cloak. Who’s under there? she thought to herself as her heart thumped loudly in her chest. She struggled against the ropes that kept her tied down to the chair she sat in. She turned to look over at Faye, who was staring over at the killer with wide eyes. He had said to Fallon on the phone how one of them was about to die.
Why was the killer going to murder one of them now, after two months? He, or she hadn’t hurt them since he gotten them into the chamber. Darcy had no idea where they were, only that it smelled like decay and got cold at night. She looked down at herself. She was still wearing her wedding dress. At least the killer had kept them fed, and clean. He’d bring them food everyday, water to keep them hydrated. To bathe them, he would come into the room with a hose and spray them down. It was a shock to them how cold the water was. Faye had fallen sick from that, miraculously only once, a nasty cold. Meanwhile, Darcy kept track of the time passing. Days turned into weeks, which turned into months. There was no sign that they were going to be set free.
Why haven’t the police found us? she thought to herself. There was no doubt in her mind that they were searching for them. She thought about Campbell, about her parents, her friends. She could only imagine what they were going through. She missed them. She wanted to be with them. She looked over at the killer, who slid the chamber keys into the folds of his cloaked robe. She would have taken that chance to make a run for it. The door was wide open. She could see Faye staring past the killer. She seemed to be having the same thoughts. But they weren’t going anywhere. Their bonds were tight, holding them in place. A deep frown creased Darcy’s face as the killer turned and disappeared out the door. He or she hadn’t even bothered to close the door.
Was he trying to torment them, that their escape was only a few feet away? What is he doing? Where did he go? Darcy thought to herself. The sound of footsteps outside, and then the killer reappeared. He stepped into the room. He was holding something in his gloved hands. It took a few seconds for Darcy to realize what it was. Her eyes widened in fear, she struggled against her ropes. Faye did the same, letting out a scream of terror. The killer held a chainsaw in his hand. It didn’t take the two girls long to figure out what he was going to do with it. Beside her, Faye screamed again. The killer grabbed the cord and pulled on it. Once, twice. On the third try, the chainsaw roared to life. The sound vibrated off the brick walls of the chamber. She couldn’t help it, Darcy closed her eyes tight and let out a scream.
Opening her eyes again, Darcy saw the killer stood between the two of them. He aimed the chainsaw blade towards her, and for a moment, she thought that was it. She was going to die. With wide eyes she saw him aim the blade at Faye. Almost as if he was trying to choose who to kill. Darcy went wild, struggling against her ropes. Hoping they would loosen. She suddenly stopped when the chainsaw blade was aimed at her once more. Next to her, Faye was hysterical. She was sobbing and screaming at the same time. The killer turned towards her, but she kept on. She struggled against her chair, the killer taking a step closer to her. Darcy wanted to call out a warning, but she couldn’t seem to find her voice.
All she could hear was the sound of the chainsaw blade. It was so loud, she thought it was coming from inside her head. She closed her eyes tight. She gritted her teeth, about to scream again. That’s when something wet hit her full in the face. She opened her eyes, wishing she hadn’t. She couldn’t help but to look over and see the chainsaw blade cutting through Faye’s shoulder. Blood spurted as the blade cut diagonally down into the other girl’s torso. Faye’s eyes were glassy, unblinking. Darcy knew she was already dead. Darcy turned the other way and let out a scream. And another one. And another. Tears cascading down her cheeks in rivers. Her stomach rolled, and for a brief second, she thought she was going to be sick.
Her body shuddered with fear, as she looked the other way and listened to the sound of the chainsaw. She gritted her teeth, wishing she could wipe the blood away that had splattered in her face. That’s when the chainsaw was turned off. Darcy’s ears rang. The sound of footsteps. Darcy opened her eyes and saw the killer head out of the chamber. The door was still open. She couldn’t control her gaze as she looked over to the spot next to her. Blood was everywhere and Faye was slumped in her seat. But there, on the floor, was the chainsaw. It’s blade stained with crimson. Despite her hysteria, an idea popped into Darcy’s head. She ticked her gaze at the door. The killer still hadn’t returned. Probably went to clean themselves up. she thought to herself.
She had to do something. She was alone. Faye could no longer help her. Darcy stifled a sob as she rocked her body in the chair. It took a lot of effort and a few tries, but soon she found the chair tipping over, falling to the cold ground. Darcy let out a grunt as she went down with it. She had fallen right next to the chainsaw blade. Straining herself, she sawed the ropes holding her wrists against the unmoving blade. You have to be quick! her mind screamed as she worked feverishly. She kept her eyes on the doorway. The killer hadn’t returned. A huge gasp of breath escaped her lips when the ropes finally gave away. Her hands were free. Sitting up, she worked the ropes holding her ankles. Her hands shook, but finally, she found herself standing up. She stumbled, clutched the wall for support.
She tried not to look at Faye’s body as she bent down and picked up the chair she had been tied to. She dragged it over to the wall by the doorway, clutched it in her hands, and lifted it over her head. She waited. A few seconds passed when she heard the sound of footsteps. The killer walked into the chamber. With a grunt, Darcy brought the chair down with all her might. It smashed over the killer’s back, splintering into pieces as the killer went down with a loud grunt. Something skittered across the floor. Darcy looked down. The keys to the chamber door. Before the killer could get up, she pounced on they keys, holding them in her closed fist as she spun around and ran. She ran out the doorway, turned and used both hands to slam the chamber door shut. Through the bars in the door, she saw the killer was struggling to get up.
She stuck the key in the lock, turned it. The bolt slid into position with ease. The door was now locked, the killer stuck inside the chamber. Darcy pulled the keys out. No way am I leaving without these. she thought to herself. Once she knew where she was, she could get the police there. And the killer would still be stuck inside the chamber. Maybe then would he or she be finally caught. Darcy backed away out of reach when suddenly the killer’s hand came through the bars. Trying to grab at her. No luck. A crazed smile played on Darcy’s lips.
“Rot in there, you sick son of a bitch!” she spat.
She turned, and stumbled down the dark and cold hallway. Up ahead, she saw stairs. They seemed to lead up to another level. She took them quickly, her bare feet pounding on the cement stairs. There was a door ahead of her. She grabbed the knob, turned it and pushed open the door. She ran through the door, her feet skidding on a layer of dust. She stopped to catch her breath and scanned her surroundings. Am I in an old train station? she thought to herself. She hurried across the floor, ignoring the two stray rats that hissed at her from a corner. There was the exit, and Darcy slammed through it. She was greeted with fresh air. She was outside. The moon shone high above in a starless sky. Darcy turned to look at the building she had just escaped.
She was right, it was an old train station. And deep inside the dilapidated building, the killer was trapped. Darcy ran, running away from the building as she dropped the keys into the overgrown grass. She ran off into the night, disappearing into the shadows.