Footsteps. They broke the peaceful silence that surrounded St-Gregory’s church. It was once again another beautiful summer morning in the town of West Valley. Despite the sun that shone in a cloudless blue sky, Bridget couldn’t fight the slow shiver of fear that ran down her spine. She couldn’t figure out what had brought her there. St-Gregory’s was a short walk from where she lived with her housemates. It had taken her a matter of minutes to walk over to the church. After waking up and getting dressed, she had gone over to the window to see what the weather was like outside. Pushing the curtains back, she had seen it was sunny again, which didn’t surprise her. But before stepping back from the window, her gaze had fallen on St-Gregory’s off in the distance.
She had made her way out of her bedroom and over to the front door. The house was quiet. Ivy and Hayley were still sleeping, and Lilah had already left for the morning. Bridget wasn’t sure where she had gone off to. For a brief moment, she had wondered if Lilah had a new boyfriend they didn’t know about. Unlocking the front door and pulling it open, Bridget had felt almost guilty. As if she was a teenager sneaking out of the house. A frown had creased her face as she had stepped outside and closed the door quietly behind her. She made sure she locked it. Despite the sunshine, there was still a killer on the loose. You could never be too careful. So she had walked away from the house, looking back to see if anyone had heard her.
They hadn’t, so she had kept moving until she stepped onto the sidewalk. She listened to the birds chirping gleefully as she had made her way towards the church. It was almost as if something was drawing her there. She couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was. Sure, many people she knew were buried in the graveyard behind the church. Even one of her housemates, Robin, was buried there. Bridget still thought Robin had gotten what she had deserved. Robin wasn’t a nice person, at least to Bridget. She went out of her way to insult her, to put her down, to torment her at any chance she could. Robin was narcissistic, vindictive, two faced, and she got what she wanted. No matter who she had to step on to get it.
Bridget had been relieved when she had found out about Robin’s death. The other girls had grieved, had cried. Yet Bridget’s eyes had always stayed dry. That was something she hadn’t felt guilty about. She had even raided Robin’s closet. It’s not like she needs them where she is. she thought to herself. The other girls hadn’t touched Robin’s room, and something had lead Bridget to try on her clothes. Maybe she was tired of being seen as the nerdy, studious girl. So she had given herself a makeover. She still remembered the surprised looks on her housemates’ faces when they had seen her wearing makeup and dressed in a midriff baring top and short skirt. Even thinking about it now, it brought a smile to Bridget’s lips. She wondered what Robin would say if she saw her now.
Her eyes would probably pop out of her head. she thought to herself with a small laugh escaping her lips. She made her way along the path that lead along the side of the church. Many horrors had happened there. Harrison Whitlow had been killed there. So had Adam Raines. Even Blake Tucker, who had been killed on what was supposed to be Darcy and Campbell’s wedding day. Bridget hadn’t been invited. In a way, she was glad she hadn’t been. She’d only heard about what had happened. News traveled fast in a small town like West Valley. The scene at the church had been pure pandemonium. Darcy had been abducted, and Blake had staggered to the front of the church aisle before dropping to the floor, dead.
Bridget was glad that she hadn’t had any run-in’s with the killer. She had no clue it was Scott. She hadn’t been around for the few times that he had called the house to torment the other girls. He had killed Robin. Even though he was dead and gone, there was someone else out there who had taken his place. Someone who had killed Faye Abernathy about a week earlier. The police were still trying to find him, or her. It was like the killer was a phantom. He or she would appear out of nowhere. They would attack or kill someone before disappearing. Many people had died, only a few had escaped the killer’s attacks. As she headed through the archway and into the graveyard behind the church, she was reminded about just how many people had died. She gazed at the tombstones that surrounded her.
They seemed to be glowing under the light of the sun. Another shiver of fear ran down Bridget’s spine. Trying to shake away those troubled thoughts, she counted the graves around her. Sixteen. she thought to herself once she was done. Sixteen of the killer’s victims were buried here. She had no idea where Scott had been buried. All she knew was that the town had refused to bury him there. Why should he be among his victims? It would seem like even in death, they weren’t able to escape him. Or maybe Bridget was thinking too much into it. She moved across the grass until she came to a certain gravestone. Robin’s grave. She flashed back to when she had told Hayley she was a bit glad Robin was dead. She remembered the look of surprise on her housemate’s face.
Don’t let the other girls hear you say that! Hayley had told her. Did they not realize by the fact that she had never cried since Robin had been killed? Ivy and Lilah and Hayley still mentioned how much they missed her. It had been a few months since she had been laid to rest. Bridget would stand back and watch the other girls. Or go off and do her own thing, or even leave the room. The other housemates knew about how Robin treated Bridget. Yet they never really did anything about it. They didn’t want to feel Robin’s wrath. They knew what she was like, and they wanted to stay on her good side. Robin was the kind of the girl that either she liked you, or she didn’t. There was no in between with her. Sure she had bickered with the others, but they would usually know their limit and stop before things got ugly.
I can’t believe she slept with her ex boyfriend’s brother, when they were still together! Bridget thought to herself as she kicked lightly at the grass by Robin’s grave. Robin had slept with Thomas, Campbell’s brother. It was a secret they had kept until one day, when Robin had confessed. She had spilled the beans once Thomas had failed to keep Campbell and Darcy apart. Campbell had kicked Thomas out of the house, and he had told Robin to stay away from him. As if Campbell would drop Darcy and go back to Robin. It had caused a lot of damage. But Robin was now dead, and so was Thomas. Campbell and Darcy were still together, despite not being able to get married. Bridget was sure that was going to change. She was sure they were going to tie the knot soon. Luckily for them, they had a second chance.
Not many people got a second chance. Not with this new killer stalking the town. Bridget made her way to the next grave. Shawn Evans. Bridget frowned. She didn’t know him. All she knew was that he was Darcy’s ex-fiancee. And that he was the father of Amy Rayburn’s unborn baby. Bridget had been there at the beauty pageant when Shawn’s dead body had been discovered. The events of that night flashed through her mind like a broken picture show. Skye Cosgrove had just won Miss Teen West Valley when something had dropped from the rafters above. Not something, someone. Shawn, his body mangled and bloody as he dropped down onto the stage at Skye’s feet. That was the first time Bridget had seen a real dead body. She hoped it was the last.
She remembered the people screaming around her, stampeding out of the banquet hall. She couldn’t seem to move, she felt rooted in place as chaos reigned around her. She finally got her legs moving once Lilah had grabbed her hand and had lead her out of the building. She remembered Skye being lead out, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The teenage girl’s eyes were wide in shock in terror. She had ticked her troubled gaze onto Bridget before being ushered into a police car. She would never forget the look in Skye’s eyes. A few moments later, Shawn’s body had been wheeled out. A bright white sheet covered his corpse lying on the gurney as the coroner brought it over to the black van with the words MORGUE written on the side. Bridget remembered turning away, she had seen enough.
“Bridget?” someone called out from behind her, snapping her out of her thoughts.
Turning around, she saw it was Lilah. “Lilah? Did you follow me here?” she asked curiously. So much for trying to be sneaky. she thought to herself with a frown creasing her pretty face.
“Follow you? No. I was just on my way downtown when I saw you standing there. What are you doing here by yourself?” Lilah asked with an arched eyebrow in her direction.
“I like to come here to think. It’s peaceful.” Bridget replied. That part was true, it was quiet there among the gravestones.
Lilah nodded. “It is. I agree.” she said as she made her way over to Robin’s grave. “It’s been a while since I’ve visited her.” she told Bridget.
Bridget didn’t answer, she just nodded. She took a step back.
“Sometimes I think she’s just going to come walking into the house.. but she never does.” Lilah said, sadness glinting in her eyes.
“You miss her, don’t you?” Bridget asked.
“I do. I know she didn’t get along with everyone, but I never had a problem with her.” Lilah replied.
Bridget was about to reply, when she got the strangest feeling. The feeling that they were being watched. She frowned, looking around. At first she thought the caretaker was nearby, but he was nowhere to be seen. She looked back towards the church. Her eyes scanning the large windows that looked down on them. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Her stomach fluttered nervously as she ticked her gaze up to the bell tower. At first she thought her eyes were playing tricks on her. But then she realized that there was someone up in the tower. Watching them silently. A shadowy figure trying to blend in with the darkness of the bell tower. What was that sudden glint of light? Looks like a knife blade. she thought to herself. Bridget’s heart jumped in her chest as she let out a soft gasp of surprise.
She knew it was the killer. It had to be. He or she was up there. Bridget turned to look at Lilah.
“We need to go.” she told her, urgency dripping from her voice.
Lilah frowned deeply, looking in the direction of the bell tower. “What’s going on? Is there someone up there?” she asked.
“We need to GO! Come on!” Bridget said, taking her by the arm and leading her away as fast as she could.
Amy stared at herself in the bathroom mirror. She had woken up a bit later than she usually did. The house was quiet. Jillyan had gone to sleep over at Karina Muniz’s house. Amy and her sister had an argument about that. The last time Jillyan had gone to sleep over at a friend’s house, people had died. She could have been killed herself. Amy didn’t blame herself for not wanting Jillyan to spend the night away from home. Her sister was staying under her roof, she had to make sure she was safe. Finally, Amy had given in. She had given Jillyan permission. But she made her younger sister promise to call once she got over to her friend’s house. And she had kept her promise. Amy had gone to bed the previous night knowing Jillyan was safe at the Muniz house.
What should have been a peaceful night for Amy, had turned out to be the exact opposite. Perhaps at the back of her mind, she knew that she was at home alone. She’d had a nightmare about Shawn that had startled her awake. Thinking about it now, she couldn’t really remember what it was about. But she had been wide awake, so she had gone down to the kitchen for a snack. The clock on the stove revealed it was a little past two in the morning. She had gone over to the pantry, pulling it open and pulling out a pack of Oreo cookies. She had poured herself a glass of milk, sitting down at the kitchen table. Before she could even take a sip from her milk, she had thought she had heard a noise. It sounded like it was coming from outside. A rustling sound, as if someone was walking along the side of the house.
She had sat there at the kitchen table for what seemed like an eternity. Afraid to move. When really, it was only two minutes that had passed before the noise was gone. Amy had lost her appetite. She put the cookies away and put the glass of milk in the fridge before she headed back up the stairs. Stopping by the front entry to make sure the alarm system was on. It wasn’t, so she had armed it before making her way back to bed. Somehow she had fallen back asleep. Perhaps it was her sleep being disturbed, but instead of waking up at her usual time of eight o’clock, she woke up to find out it was a bit after ten. Jillyan still wasn’t home as Amy slid out of the bed and made her way to the bathroom to take a shower. The warm water cascading down on her helped, she stepped out feeling fresh and ready for the day.
With one last glance at herself in the mirror, contempt with her appearance, Amy made her way out of the bathroom. She crossed the hall to what was going to be the baby’s room. She pushed the door open and stepped inside. She couldn’t wait for the baby to be born. Only two more months to go. she thought to herself with a smile playing on her lips. She rubbed her protruding belly. The baby was a girl. She already had a name picked out. Madison Elisabeth. she thought. She liked the way it sounded. She ticked her gaze to the crib that she had put together all by herself. There were a lot of things she had to do by herself. There was no more man around to help her. Shawn’s smiling face flashed through her mind. He had been so excited when he had found out Amy was pregnant.
He couldn’t wait to be a father. And now he was dead. Amy missed him. Some days were better than the others. She had come to accept the fact that he was gone and never coming back. With a deep sigh, she headed out of the baby’s room, closing the door behind her as she stepped out into the hallway. That’s when suddenly, there was a stinging coming from inside her stomach. Amy let out a hiss of pain, pressing her hand on her belly. The stinging stopped. That was weird. she thought to herself with a deep frown. She headed for the stairs, descending them until she reached the main floor of the house. She went over to the alarm system, punching in the code and disarming it. It chirped in response as Amy made her way over into the kitchen. She remembered the glass of milk in the fridge, and went over to grab it.
Another stinging pain in her stomach. This time it was followed with a bit of dizziness. Closing the fridge door shut, Amy went over and sat down in the kitchen chair. She rubbed her belly. The pain lessened, but didn’t fade away. What’s going on with me? she thought to herself. Around her, the room seemed to be tilting slowly. Instead of closing her eyes, she looked down at the floor. She took a deep breath, trying to stay calm. She tried thinking of something else. This was the Talley house. Months ago, Felicia and Owen Talley lived there. And they were both killed by Scott Emerson. Out of everything that she could think of, she was thinking about the history of the house. The dizziness subsided, Amy waited a minute before she stood up from the chair. She took a few steps forward, testing her balance.
Good. I don’t feel like I’m going to fall over. Amy thought to herself. She had taken another few steps across the kitchen floor, when the phone suddenly rang. She pulled it out, looking down at the screen. Jillyan was calling. Amy accepted the call and brought it to her ear.
“Jillyan?” she said, noticing her voice sounded a little shaky.
“Hey big sis! I was just calling to tell you I’m having breakfast here, and then I’ll be home!” Jillyan replied.
“I think maybe you should come home now.” Amy said.
“Now? Why? Is something wrong?” Jillyan asked. She sounded worried.
“It’s probably nothing. But it would be better if you came home now.” Amy replied, she didn’t want to worry her sister.
“… Okay. I’ll ask Mrs. Muniz to give me a ride. I should be home in about twenty minutes. Just let me get my stuff together.” Jillyan replied.
Before she could reply, there was another stinging pain in Amy’s belly. Her eyes widened in surprise. The pain was much more intense this time.
“Ow! OW! OW!” Amy found herself screaming.
She clutched her stomach, her eyes closed tight, her face in a grimace of pain. Something was definitely not right. Something’s wrong with the baby! she was able to think to herself. The phone dropped from her hands, landing on the floor. For a brief moment, Amy was glad that it didn’t break. She could hear Jillyan shouting her name from the other end of the line. Another stinging wave of pain washed over her. She let out another scream before suddenly going limp and collapsing to the floor, unconscious.
If you would have asked Julie two years ago if she saw herself doing something as simple as watching television with her mother, her answer would have been no. Now, two years later, that’s what she was exactly doing. It was lunchtime, and she and her mother were sitting on the couch watching some daytime talk show. She stole a glance at her mother. She thought she looked great. Ever since she had become co-owner of Surge, she was dressing a little less mom-ish, yet still looked classy. She was off to work later on that evening, Ellie was taking care of the club at the moment. That was fine by Julie. She could spend time and bond with her mother. They had two years of catching up to do. To get to know each other again. So far, it was going very well. It was like Christy had never left.
But she had. She had walked out on her family. Julie was just a teenager then. Because she was the oldest daughter, she had to take responsibility. She had to dive into the mother role. Sure, her father was around. He had taken a leave from his job on the West Valley police force. Julie had helped her dad as much as she could. She also tried to set a good example on Megan. Her younger sister was always getting into some kind of trouble. She’s calmed down ever since mom came back. Julie suddenly realized. There were no more calls from West Valley High complaining about Megan smoking in the girl’s washroom, answering back to her teachers, or even skipping class. Perhaps she had turned over a new leaf and was trying to change.
However, it was summer, and school was out for the time being. Julie would be returning to school in the fall, as well. She was excited about that. She’d be taking classes at the university, studying law. She was returning to school after two years. She had dropped her plans to help her father. Now that her mother was back, she could focus on school once more. She couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like if her mother hadn’t returned to town. If her father had still been murdered. It would have been just her and Megan. Sure, her father had life insurance, but she would have probably still had to find herself a job. Their house was fairly large and upscale, she would have had to probably sell it and move into a smaller place. She couldn’t imagine losing the house.
Megan and I were born and grew up in this house. Julie thought to herself with a slight frown. Her parents had bought it and moved into it once her mother was pregnant with her. She took her first steps there. Said her first words. Had found out she was going to be a big sister. A lot of important life stuff had happened living in the house. She hoped one day, when she had a family of her own, she would still be living there. But her future was unknown. All around her, people were dying. She didn’t know what she would have done if she didn’t have her mother around. She and Megan still needed some kind of parental figure. She’d be twenty-one soon, and Megan was still a teenager. The killer was still on the loose, and they were afraid, naturally.
It was comforting to know that they still had someone looking out for them, making sure they were safe. Their father was no longer around, but their mother was. Whatever issues she had in the past, were gone. She had dealt with them and had returned to town, ready to be a mother again. That wasn’t to say their mother wasn’t in danger from the killer. She was. They all were. Christy worked at Surge, and many terrible things had happened there. Their mother was just as much as a target as everyone else. The killer’s victims were at random. Whoever was killed next, always came as a shock. That’s exactly how Julie had felt once she had found out that Faye Abernathy had been brutally slain. There had been no signs, no warning that Faye was going to be the killer’s next victim.
And to be chainsawed. Julie thought to herself, her stomach churning. She ticked her gaze to the wall clock. And let out a curse. She had lost track of time. Her mother turned to look at her, arching an eyebrow in her direction. Julie was supposed to meet up with Aiden. And now she was going to be late. She jumped up from the couch, gave Christy a kiss on the cheek before hurrying over to her bedroom. She picked up her purse off the floor, and grabbed her phone off the nightstand. Sure enough, she had two text messages from Aiden. She typed quickly, explaining she was on her way as she hurried out of her bedroom and down the stairs to the main floor of the house. She called out goodbye to her mother as she pulled the front door open and stepped outside.
She closed the door behind her, locking it before hurrying down the walkway to the sidewalk. She almost ran into Bella Goth, who swerved around her in surprise. The other woman was dressed in workout gear, out for a jog. Julie excused herself as she hurried down the sidewalk. She and Aiden had made plans to meet for lunch. Their destination? A restaurant downtown. Julie was mentally cursing herself. If there was anything she hated the most, it was being late. And Aiden was important. She had kept him waiting. She hoped he wouldn’t be too upset with her. Things were going well between them. Very well. She considered him as her boyfriend. A smile played on her lips as she walked. She’d had a few dates before, but nothing as serious as like what she and Aiden had.
My first serious boyfriend. Julie thought to herself. Even Megan had a boyfriend at one point. Charlie Olsen. But they weren’t together anymore. Julie liked Charlie. And she liked seeing her sister happy. She hoped they would be able to work it out. From what she knew, Megan and Charlie were starting to talk again. Maybe one day even her mother would find someone. Technically, Christy and Harrison had still been married while she was away for those two years. Christy still wore her wedding ring from time to time. Just like how occasionally, she would reveal that she missed Harrison terribly. He treated her well. And maybe one day she could find someone who treated her just as well. No one should be alone, it was something that Julie believed in. There was someone out there for everyone.
Heels clicking on the sidewalk, Julie looked around and realized she had reached downtown. She looked down at her phone. She had gotten there in record time. There was the restaurant just up ahead. It was one of the best in the town of West Valley. Terrible things had happened there as well. She’d read about it. But that was in the past, nothing had happened in the last few months. So without hesitation, she made her way over to the door. She pulled it open and stepped inside, letting the door swing shut behind her. Soft classical music was playing from the speakers in the corner of the restaurant. Julie scanned the room, spotting Aiden sitting at a table by himself. He looked deep in thought, but looked up, spotting her. He smiled, and Julie’s stomach filled with butterflies.
She hurried over to the table, pulling the chair back and sitting down across from him. “I’m so sorry I’m late! I hope you’re not mad.” she told him.
“I could never be mad at you.” he told her.
“I lost track of time. I was spending time with my mom.” she explained.
“I wish I could spend time with my mom.” he answered, sadness glinting in his eyes.
Julie’s heart went out to him. His mother had been killed. One of the killer’s victims. Julie had discovered the body, since Sophie Greene had been her psychologist. She had walked into her office one day, and had discovered the room painted with blood. At least that’s what it had seemed like. There had been blood everywhere. And there was Dr. Greene, splayed out on the floor with a knife through her head. It was a sight that Julie could never unsee. As much as she wanted to forget it. It had been one of the most horrible days in her life. She’d had a few of those in the past two years.
“I’m sure she would have loved that.” Julie replied.
“First my parents divorce. And then my mom dies. Talk about tragic.” Aiden said.
“My dad died. And people I cared about.” Julie replied with a sad smile.
“And yet you stay so optimistic. How do you do it?” he asked curiously.
“I try to be. I try to focus on what I do have. My mom. My sister. My friends who haven’t been killed. You.” she replied, feeling herself blush a little.
Aiden smiled. “I’m glad I have you in my life too.” he told her.
“My mom can’t wait to finally meet you. Megan too.” Julie revealed.
“Yeah? It has been about three months or so. I guess now’s a good time to be meeting the family.” Aiden replied.
“You don’t seem nervous.” she pointed out.
Aiden chuckled in response. “I’m not. Are you?” he asked, arching an eyebrow in her direction.
“I just hope they like you. Which I’m sure they will!” she told him.
“If they’re anything like you say they are, I’m sure we’ll get along fine.” Aiden replied with a reassuring smile.
“It’s too bad I can’t meet your dad.” Julie told him.
Aiden shrugged. “He’s out of town on business. Even though they divorced, my mother’s murder hit him really hard. So he decided to keep himself busy by focusing on work. I wish I knew when he was coming back.” he replied, looking down at his hands.
“Let’s change the subject and lighten the mood! What do you feel like having?” Julie asked with a smile as she picked up her menu.
Hanna was on a mission. She’d heard about how Jillyan had gone to see Megan. To convince her to go talk to Charlie. Megan had ended things with him for no reason. Hanna knew there was nothing going on between Jillyan and Charlie. They were just friends. It just wasn’t up to Hanna to tell Megan that. She was just a bystander, she didn’t want to get caught in the middle of it. Besides that, she didn’t like Megan very much. They weren’t part of the same group of friends at school. Hanna ran with the popular crowd, and Megan didn’t. Hanna didn’t know why Charlie and Megan had started dating in the first place. She couldn’t understand what it was about Megan that had interested Charlie. Temporary insanity, maybe. Hanna thought to herself, a frown on her face.
It was now mid-afternoon as Hanna stepped outside, closing the front door behind her. She didn’t have to worry about staying home and watching Quintin. Her mother had taken a few days off and they were in the backyard playing in the pool. Hanna would have joined them if she hadn’t come up with her great idea. She had been on her phone when it had suddenly came to her. She wanted to share her idea with Jillyan and had called her up. The phone rang and rang until finally going to voicemail. That wasn’t like Jillyan to not answer her phone. Hanna had shrugged, her idea was something she could do by herself. She had just thought maybe Jillyan would have liked to help. She was going to do Megan a favor.
Something Skye did for me, one time. she had thought with a sad smile. She missed Skye. She always would. Now, she found herself close with Jillyan. They were good friends. The other girl was more down to earth, and maybe that’s what Hanna needed. Hanna had taken over as the most popular girl in school. That meant becoming more like Skye. She knew how to get what she wanted and how to keep people wrapped around her finger. She wasn’t as mean as Skye had been, but sometimes she found herself saying things she normally wouldn’t have. She was even dating one of the most popular boys in school, Paul Hathaway. She realized she hadn’t spoken to him in two days, and reminded herself to give him a call later on that night.
He was headed off to California for a few weeks, and she wanted to see him before he left. I’ll give him a nice going away gift. Hanna thought to herself with a glint of mischief in her eyes as she headed over to the sidewalk. She was no longer a virgin. She and Paul had been intimate many, many times. They were teenagers, their hormones were on overload and sometimes that was all they could think about. Skye, before she had been murdered, had set Hanna and Paul up. Hanna was forever grateful for that. She loved Paul. He was popular, athletic, had a great sense of humor, drove an amazing car, and he was drop dead gorgeous. He was also filthy rich. His father had invented some kind of mobile app, which was selling very well, and his mother was an ex model who now did infomercials.
She had met both of Paul’s parents, he had introduced her to them as his girl. Thinking about it now, as she headed down the sidewalk, it made her blush. Focus on your idea. she thought to herself, pushing the thoughts of Paul to the back of her mind. She waved at some kids from school who zoomed past in a car, honking at her. With it being summer, and school being out, everyone seemed to be having a blast. Her fellow students would spend their days at the mall, lounging by their own pools or the one at the country club. Driving around, heading to the beach, or going away with their families. It was all normal things, things that wouldn’t make you think that out there, a serial killer was lurking. A slow icy cold shiver of fear snaked down Hanna’s spine. She’d had a few run-in’s with the killer before.
The last time, she had almost been killed. The night of her slumber party. A night she had desperately tried to forget. I’m alive. That’s all that matters. she thought to herself, her heels clicking on the blacktop. Her destination, the Whitlow house. She hoped Megan was home. If she wasn’t, she had no clue where she could be. She didn’t know where the other girl liked to hang out. If it wasn’t in school, Hanna only ran into Megan on the streets occasionally. She didn’t know what she liked to do for fun. I wouldn’t be surprised if she likes to sacrifice goats in the woods. Hanna thought to herself, rolling her eyes. She stepped off the curb, crossing the street and stepping onto the sidewalk on the other side.
The Whitlow house was just up the street. Hanna sucked in a deep breath. She wondered what Megan would say when she answered the door and found her standing on the other side. Megan wasn’t a fan of her’s. It was probably because Hanna was always around when Skye would torment her. Wasn’t that what came with the territory of being popular? Preying on the weak and less cooler than you? She’s tough. I don’t want her to punch me in the face. Hanna thought to herself with a frown. She stopped in front of the house, gazing up at it as it loomed over her. She shivered. She didn’t know why, but she couldn’t help it. There was nothing creepy or unnatural about the house. Maybe it was because this was the first time that Hanna would be going up to the front door and ringing the doorbell.
Squaring her shoulders and ignoring her screaming mind that told her to turn back, Hanna headed up the walkway towards the front porch. It was now or never. Reaching the front door, something in her mind told her to not ring the doorbell, but to knock. She reached out with her hand, knocking on the door. She took a step back, waiting. A few moments later the door opened. It was Megan’s mom. Hanna smiled sweetly and asked if Megan was home. She was. She noticed the curious look Christy Whitlow was giving her. As if she knew Hanna was not one of Megan’s friends. She turned away from the door, calling out to Megan. She smiled, walking away. From where she stood, Hanna could see the inside of the house. Well would you look at that. It’s pretty decent inside. she thought to herself.
“Hanna Workman standing at my door. Are you lost?” a voice said.
Hanna snapped back to attention. Megan stood in the doorway.
“Megan, hi.” Hanna said.
“I would ask what you’re doing here. But I’m going to ask you what the fuck are you doing here?” Megan replied.
“Easy there, butch. I come in peace!” Hanna said.
“Since when?” Megan asked, curiosity glinting in her eyes.
“Since I’m going to help you get Charlie back.” Hanna explained.
Megan frowned. “You.. want to help me? Is this some kind of prank? Be nice to me, but once I turn my back, you’re gonna dump a bucket of pig’s blood on me?” she asked.
“We’re not reenacting that part of the movie. We’re reenacting the part where she gives herself a makeover. Only I’ll be the one giving you the makeover.” Hanna explained.
“A makeover? I’m not some doll you can play with!” Megan replied.
“Edgy Barbie. I can just imagine it. No. I’m giving you a makeover so Charlie can see there’s a nice girl under all that goth makeup. I mean, blue lipstick? Really?” Hanna pointed out.
“He liked me for who I was.” Megan reminded the other girl.
“But the rest of his friends didn’t. Don’t you want to be popular? To run with the in crowd? To be invited to the coolest parties? To get to hang out at the country club? To be accepted and not laughed at? To not have people talking behind your back? To not have people get any ideas about dumping that pig’s blood on you?” Hanna asked.
Megan seemed to be thinking about it. “Hmm.” she said.
“I’m sure you’ve thought about it. Aren’t you tired of being the outcast?” Hanna replied.
“I guess…” Megan trailed off.
“Just try it. It’ll be totally worth your while. I won’t touch your hair because I think it’s actually NICE.” Hanna said, as if she couldn’t believe it herself. “But the clothes and all that makeup has got to go.” she continued.
“But all I have are these kinds of clothes.” Megan pointed out.
“You mean dark and depressing? No worries. I saw your sister. Now there is someone who knows fashion. We can raid her closet for now, and go shopping another time.” Hanna explained.
Megan sighed. “Fine.” she told Hanna.
“Really? Great! Lead the way!” Hanna replied.
Shaking her head, Megan lead the way inside. Hanna closed the door behind her. Christy looked surprised when Megan told her what they were going to do. But her mother smiled, which seemed like it was something she had wanted Megan to do for a long time. She probably doesn’t approve of her look. Hanna had thought to herself as Megan lead the way up the stairs to the second floor of the house. They headed down the hallway to a closed bedroom door. Megan pulled it open, explaining they had to be quick. It was Julie’s room. They moved across the floor and over to the closet, pulling it open. Hanna had been right, there was plenty of fashionable clothes inside the closet. She noticed there was hardly any black clothing. Julie and Megan were so different from each other.
Hanna wondered what Julie would say once she saw her sister’s makeover. She was sure she’d like it. Once she chose an outfit with shoes, and raided Julie’s makeup kit, they headed to Megan’s room. There was nothing dark or depressing about her bedroom. Hanna had been surprised to see it was fairly normal looking. A typical teenage girl bedroom, painted purple. Hanna actually liked it. She complimented Megan on the round purple moon and stars rug on the floor. She put the outfit they had chosen down on Megan’s bed, telling her to change. Hanna kept her back turned, looking out the window to the sunshine outside while the other girl changed. Once she was dressed and wearing the shoes they had picked, Hanna made Megan sit on the bed as she worked on her makeup.
Soon, Hanna was done. A wide smile played on her face. “I knew there was a decent looking girl under all that black!” she told Megan.
“This better be good.” Megan replied with a frown creasing her pretty face.
“Take a look!” Hanna said, moving aside so Megan could look at herself in the mirror.
“Oh my!… Is that.. me?” Megan asked, her eyes wide in surprise.
“What do you think?” Hanna asked.
“I look so different! I look good!” Megan replied in disbelief.
“My work here is done!” Hanna said with a laugh escaping her lips.
“Do you really think things will change for me? That Charlie and I will be able to fix things?” Megan asked.
“Looking like that, he’s going to have to fight off the other boys.” Hanna said with another laugh. Suddenly, her face went serious. “If I see Paul flirting with you, I’ll destroy you.” she said, before smiling once again.
“Unless his name is Charlie Olsen, every guy is off limits.” Megan replied.
“Let’s go show your mom. She’s going to have a shit fit when she sees you!” Hanna said.
“And I can’t wait to see the look on Julie’s face when she gets home!” Megan replied with a small laugh as they headed out of the bedroom.
Fallon looked down at the picture frame in her hand and smiled. She had been cleaning up her bedroom when something on the night table had caught her attention. A photo of her and Darcy. Picking up the picture, she couldn’t help the smile that played on her lips. She had remembered the day they had taken the picture. It had been taken sometime after Scott had been killed. Darcy still had her boy- short hair, but the smiles on her and Fallon’s faces were hopeful. We thought the horrors were finally over, the person responsible was dead. she remembered. It had been almost like they could breathe again, like they could go back to living a normal life. They had been wrong. Fallon wasn’t ashamed to reveal that.
The horrors, the killings had started up again. This time around, they seemed more brutal. Whoever this new killer was, they were not playing around. The game, as the killer called it, has gotten more dark and twisted. Fallon thought to herself with a frown. With one last glance at the picture frame in her hand, she placed it back down on the night table. The house was quiet. Naomi and Gwen had gone off somewhere, Fallon wasn’t too sure where. Even though she was home alone, she felt safe. The sun was still shining outside, and the home alarm system was on and armed. Fallon wasn’t going to take any chances. On top of that, she also had a gun in the house. It was right there, a few feet away, hidden in her dresser drawer.
Her housemates knew where the gun was hidden. In case one of them had to use it. It had been used, just recently. Fallon and Darcy had headed into the West Valley forest. They had found the clearing, a place where people came to drink. Sure enough, there were empty beer bottles lying around. Fallon had set them up before pulling out the gun from her shoulder bag and handing it to Darcy. Just like she had promised, she was showing her friend how to use and shoot a gun. Darcy had looked a little nervous at first as she took the gun in her hands. Shakily, she had pulled the trigger. The gunshot had echoed through the trees around them, but the bullet had missed the bottle. With a few encouraging words from Fallon, Darcy had tried again. That time, the bottle was hit, exploding into what seemed liked a million shards.
Something in Darcy’s face had changed. Her eyes had gone cold as she emptied the chamber into the rest of the other bottles. Soon the ground was littered with shattered glass that seemed to sparkle in the sunlight. A plume of smoke had wafted out from the gun’s muzzle, drifting into the air as Darcy had handed the gun back to Fallon. The walk back into town had been quiet, Darcy seemed to be lost in her own thoughts. I wonder if she got accepted for her gun license. Fallon thought to herself as she made her way across the floor and out of the bedroom. If Darcy was accepted, she would be getting herself a gun that very day. Fallon reminded herself to call her friend up later on. Everyone knew Darcy, knew what she had gone through.
Fallon was sure Darcy would be in possession of a firearm by the day’s end. It wasn’t like she was using it for recreational purposes, she was using it for self defense. She was a target, whether she liked it or not. The killer had his or her sights set on Darcy. Even if it wasn’t her time to die, she would rather be safe than sorry for when the killer made their next move. All of the killings seemed to be happening because of Darcy’s past. Because she was Rose. Because she had been the object of Brandon Covington’s obsession. It was something that had started when she was a child. But why had Brandon waited only until Darcy had moved to West Valley? How did he even know she was going to be living there? Would he have left her alone if she had never came to town?
It’s too late to find out. Fallon thought to herself with a deep frown creasing her pretty face. She just wished the police would find Brandon. He was out there, somewhere. Getting other people to do his dirty work. Had he been the one that had killed Faye Abernathy? Had she actually found him at the old train station? Was he the one who had kept her and Darcy captive? Or was it someone else? Someone working for Brandon? Or could Scott have had an accomplice? If that was the case, it could be anyone. Maybe even someone Fallon trusted. Another frown played on her face as she made her way into the kitchen. She couldn’t help but peer out the kitchen window. Expecting to see the killer looking in at her. But it was just her imagination running away with her, there was no one on the other side of the glass.
Fallon sighed. Wishing Naomi and Gwen would return home soon. There was two hours of sunlight left. She hoped her two housemates wouldn’t lose track of time. Plus I need to start thinking about what to make for supper. Fallon thought to herself as she went over to the pantry door, and pulled it open. Seeing nothing interesting, she stepped back, closing the pantry door behind her. She went over to a kitchen drawer, pulling it open and taking out a takeout menu. It was hard to find a restaurant that delivered. While they were open, people were scared to venture out once the moon shone in the sky. Fallon thought about placing an order and going to pick it up once Naomi and Gwen were home. They had taken the car, and she didn’t really feel like walking downtown.
Without warning, the phone rang. Fallon jumped slightly, startled. Pulling her phone out, she accepted the call, bringing the phone up to her ear. “Hello?” she said.
A burst of static, making Fallon wince. And then someone spoke. “Hello, Fallon.” said the distorted voice.
Fallon’s eyes widened slightly in surprise. She knew exactly who it was on the other end of the line.
It’s the killer! she thought to herself, her blood running cold. “Why are you calling me?!” she asked. She ticked her gaze to the window once more. There was still no one out there, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t watching her.
“I’m calling because I’m bored, and I want to talk to someone.” the killer replied with a chuckle.
“So then you should have called someone else!” Fallon replied as she made her way over to the front door. She peered outside through the glass.
“No one is answering their phones. But lucky me, you did!” the killer said.
“What do you want from me?” she asked with a frown. Trying to keep calm.
“I want to play a game with you.” the killer revealed.
Fallon’s breath caught in her throat. She knew exactly what game the killer was talking about. “I’m not playing your game.” she said.
“Unless you want to die a slow and painful death right now, you’re going to play. Understand?” the killer replied, malice dripping from their voice.
Fallon’s heart began to race. Please let Naomi and Gwen come home right now. she thought to herself. Keeping her eyes on the door. It remained closed. She swallowed hard. “My housemates will be home any second.” she lied.
“They’d never make it in time. I’m closer than you think.” the killer chuckled.
Fallon let out a shaky breath. Was the killer actually close? Or were they trying to scare her. They were doing a good job at it. “This needs to stop.” she replied.
“It only stops when I say it stops. Now, unless you want to be ripped open from end to end, you’re going to play with me.” the killer said.
“I’d never get it right!” Fallon argued. How can I guess who’s going to die next? she thought, feeling cold all over.
“Don’t underestimate yourself. Just because you got rid of your glasses doesn’t mean you’re no longer smart. Try.” the killer told her.
“I don’t know!” Fallon cried. She thought hard. Just say any name! her mind screamed back at her. “Malcolm Biggs?” she asked, saying the first name that came to mind.
“Wrong. I’ll give you one more try.” the killer replied.
“Olivia Cosgrove?” she asked. If she was wrong, she was hoping she wasn’t giving the killer any ideas.
“Wrong again. Lucky for you, you get to live. For now. But I’m afraid someone’s time is up. You’ll find out who it is soon enough.” the killer replied before hanging up with no warning.
A deep sigh escaped from Edwin’s lips. Even though he didn’t talk about his feelings very much, it didn’t mean that he didn’t miss his daughter. Something had drawn him over to Skye’s bedroom. Standing inside, it remained untouched, as if it was awaiting for her to return. The house was quiet. Something Edwin had slowly gotten used to since Skye’s death. Olivia had gone off to the country club once again. That’s the fourth time this week. he thought to himself with a frown. Something was going on with his wife. She was being secretive. She could be that way, only recently, it seemed more so. He wondered what she was plotting. He remembered the looks she was giving him. The side eyed glances, the way her eyes studied him as he moved through the house.
Even though she tended to side more with her mother, Edwin was sure Skye would have told him what Olivia was plotting. Or why I caught her sneaking out of the study. he thought to himself with a frown. It had happened a few days earlier. Edwin had finished work early, for once. As he came home, closing the door behind him, he saw Olivia slink out from the study. He would have thought nothing of it, had it not been for the look on her face. She had said she had been in the study reading, before she ran off upstairs to their bedroom. Having entered the office, Edwin saw that nothing looked out of the ordinary. Everything was exactly where it was supposed to be. Yet he felt like Olivia had been lying to him, right to his face.
He had searched the study for any kind of evidence to uncover what she was really doing in there, but he had found none. As if her strange behavior wasn’t enough, they were also still being investigated for tax evasion. Edwin shook his head as he stepped back out of Skye’s bedroom, closing the door behind him. He made his way down the hall and into his bedroom. He stared at himself in the mirror. He didn’t know what to do. He had lied on his taxes for years now. No one else knew about it except for Olivia. Not even Skye had figured it out. Did she even realize how they were able to afford such luxurious things, like the cars, the clothes they wore, the trips they were able to take as a family? That was all because of our lies. he thought to himself, staring at his reflection with a frown.
Edwin felt like they were close to being caught. He couldn’t spend the rest of his life in jail. He had to think of something to save them, but his mind was a blank. If he confessed, would they lessen his jail time? He imagined himself and Olivia in orange jumpsuits. Now that it crossed his mind, he realized his wife didn’t seem that worried about it. She said she would take care of it if he didn’t. Had she kept her promise? Had she found a solution? If she had, why hadn’t she told him about it? Edwin deserved to know. It was his future that was also at risk. He needed an answer, and he needed it now. He pulled out his phone. He didn’t care if Olivia was at the country club. It was an urgent matter. Dialing in her number, he brought the phone up to his ear.
It rang once, twice. He tapped his foot nervously. On the sixth ring, he hung up with a frustrated growl. Answer the phone! he said to himself as he redialed her number. After the fourth ring, Olivia finally picked up.
“Hello?” she chirped from the other end of the line.
“Took you long enough!” Edwin told her.
He could almost imagine her rolling her eyes on the other end. “I was getting a massage. It’s hard to get one with Felipe. He’s so popular.” Olivia replied.
“Well while you’re over there getting pampered, I’m here at home worrying.” he told her with a frown.
“What is it this time?” she asked, annoyance ringing in her voice.
“Oh, I don’t know.. how about the fact that you said you find us a solution? You know, about not spending the rest of our time rotting in jail?” he said sarcastically.
Olivia sighed. “Well if you must know, I found a solution.” she told him.
“You did? Why didn’t you say anything?!” Edwin asked her.
“Because I found a solution for myself. I’m not going to jail. YOU are!” she replied.
Edwin frowned. “What? What are you talking about?” he asked her. His heart began to hammer in his chest.
“I just got to the country club an hour ago. Before that, I was at the police station. All I had to do was shed a few tears, said I had no idea what you were doing, and show them the papers I had found in your study. They believed every word of it.” Olivia said with a chuckle.
“No.. you didn’t.” he said quietly, his eyes widening.
“They should be heading over there right about now to arrest you.” she told him, clucking her tongue.
“How could you! You BITCH!” he yelled.
“If I were you, I’d start running. It’d buy you some time!” she chuckled again.
“You’re going to regret this. I’ll make SURE you’re rotting in prison with me!” he told her before hanging up the phone.
Edwin slid the phone back into his pocket. That fucking bitch! How could she betray me like that? he thought to himself. He began pacing the length of the room. He didn’t know what to do. Maybe Olivia was right, maybe he should run. He felt numb, as if he had been submerged in icy cold water. He was going to jail. With one last glance at his bedroom, he turned and ran out the door into the hallway. I have to get out of here! he thought to himself as he took the stairs two steps at a time. Reaching the main floor, he ran into the kitchen. He grabbed his car keys and wallet off the counter where he usually kept them. As he headed towards the front door, he stopped to briefly glance at the family portrait hanging in the hallway.
They were younger then, Skye was about seven years old. They looked so happy. He and Olivia were in love back then. But not now, all he felt for her was burning hatred. Edwin took another few steps when he heard something. He stopped, listening. There, in the distance. The howl of police sirens. She wasn’t lying. They’re actually coming. he thought to himself, his eyes widening. He thought his heart was going to burst out of his chest. He ran the rest of the way over to the front door. He needed to escape, now. Maybe he could make some distance before the police came breaking down the front door. Unlocking the door, he pulled it open and ran out onto the front porch. There was sudden glint of silver and a flash of movement in front of him. He stopped in his track as an explosion of pain rolled over him.
He had run into someone. A black clad figure. Edwin took in the hooded cloak. His eyes widened as the figure raised their hand. It was the killer. And in their hand, was a bloodstained knife. My blood. Edwin realized. He looked down at himself. At the quick spreading crimson on the left side of his torso. Edwin staggered on his feet. He’d been stabbed right in the heart. The blood began to flow more quickly, splattering the porch floor. He let out a strangled cry, his vision blurring as he dropped to his knees. This can’t be happening. Not to me. he thought to himself. In the distance, he could hear the police sirens getting closer. The killer turned and raced off into the growing shadows of the fast approaching night. Edwin could feel the life draining out of him.
Blinking hard, Edwin clutched his chest before his vision went dark. He fell limply to the porch floor, eyes glassy. He was dead.