Hayley felt like she was in a nightmare she couldn’t wake up from. It all seemed unreal. Someone close to her was dead. Brutally murdered. Right there in her own home. Three days had passed since Bridget’s untimely death. Yet another victim of the West Valley killer. Hayley wished it was all a bad dream, but it was very much real. She wished she could wake up in bed, and Bridget would be downstairs at the kitchen table, having tea and reading a book like she usually did every morning. But she would never do that again. Right at that moment, her dead body was at the hospital in the morgue. A stray tear formed and dripped down Hayley’s cheek as she thought about it. Bridget had been stabbed in the eye and her throat had been slashed. Hayley knew this because she had been there when it happened.
Bridget had came home that night from the library. Hayley had been the only one at home. Lilah and Ivy were out somewhere. Hayley had found Bridget on the couch, a frown on her face. She had been spooked by something outside, and seemed a little bit uneasy. Hayley hadn’t been too worried. They were safely behind the walls of their home. Or so she thought. Bridget had gone upstairs to change, leaving Hayley alone in the living room. That’s when the scream echoed through the house. It didn’t take her much to realize it was Bridget who screamed. Hayley had called out to her, getting no reply. So like something out of a bad horror movie, Hayley had gone upstairs to check up on her friend. As much as her mind told her to run, that something was definitely wrong, she had to investigate.
Hayley had pushed open the door to Bridget’s bedroom, the lights were on inside. As she had stepped inside, her eyes immediately landed on Bridget’s body on the floor. Hayley knew right away she was dead. She saw the knife handle sticking out of her eye, saw the ragged open wound at her throat that spilled bright red crimson onto the bedroom floor. Hayley had screamed, again and again, her hands at the sides of her face as she took in the grisly sight. Her eyes fell on the window, noticing it was open. Despite her hysteria, she knew the killer had entered and left through there. She could have sworn that the alarm system had been on even though she had been home. Or had she just imagined that?
She couldn’t remember how, but she had somehow managed to stumble out of the room and back down the stairs. Reaching the main floor of the house, she had gone over to the front door, unlocking it with trembling hands and throwing the door open. She had stumbled over to the nearest neighbour’s house, the Olsens. She had banged on their door until someone opened it for her. It was Dawn, who had looked over at her with concern glinting in her eyes. Somehow Hayley was able to explain what had happened. With wide eyes, Dawn had hurried away to the phone to call the police while her brother Michael helped Hayley sit down on the couch. She had zoned out, numb, feeling like she had been submerged in icy cold water. A few moments later she had heard the sirens of the police cars approaching.
Hayley snapped back to the present, taking in her surroundings. She stood just inside the door of Bridget’s bedroom. The room had been untouched since last time. Despite it being morbid, something had lead Hayley there. Her eyes ticked to the ground, looking at the faded red stain on the floor. She shook her head in disbelief. Bridget wasn’t the first housemate to die. That had been Robin Calloway. But she had been murdered months ago. And it hadn’t had happened there in their own home. Robin wasn’t really a pleasant person. She had picked on Bridget many times. Now they’re both dead. Hayley thought to herself with a small sniffle. Almost against her will, she flashed back to that night three nights ago. A police car had zoomed to a stop in front of the Olsens house.
They had to ask her some questions, which was obvious. She had answered as best as she could. She had been sitting on the couch and had looked up when she heard someone calling her name. It was Lilah and Ivy. They had been sent there to wait by the police. All three girls hugged each other, tears spilling down their cheeks as they did so. Ivy and Lilah were just as in shock as Hayley had been. At least they hadn’t seen the grisly sight. They informed her that they had gotten home at the same time to find the house crawling with police. They knew something had happened. They had a feeling someone was dead. They just weren’t sure who it was until they saw Hayley sitting on the Olsens couch in a daze. The three girls sat in silence until they got permission by the police to return home.
They couldn’t go into Bridget’s bedroom, which was understandable. Not that they had wanted to. Lilah took care of calling Bridget’s parents to break the horrible news. Ivy and Hayley had sat on the couch, crying freely. I can’t believe Bridget’s really gone. Hayley had remembered thinking to herself. Lilah returned, also crying. Bridget’s parents were hysterical. They’d be in town the following day to identify the body. It was too much for Hayley. She had said goodnight and had gone up to her room. She had closed her door, sliding down to the floor and crying silently in her hands. The murders didn’t seem to be stopping. No one was safe. Who would be the next to have their life cut short? Hayley didn’t have an answer as she snapped back to the present once more.
With a sigh, she headed out of Bridget’s bedroom and into the hall. She made her way over to the stairs and descended to the main floor of the house. I need some fresh air. she thought to herself as she headed to the back of the house. She unlocked the back door, pulling it open and stepped outside. It was another sunny day in West Valley. A harsh contrast with her mood. For once, she wished it was raining. She gazed up at the sky. The ringing of her phone snapped her back to attention. With a soft sigh she pulled it out, answering the call without looking at the caller ID.
“Hello?” she said.
A burst of static. And then a voice. “Hello, Hayley.” the caller said.
“Yes?” she replied.
“How are you holding up? With Bridget being dead?” the voice asked.
Hayley frowned. “Devastated, what do you think? Who is this?” she asked curiously.
“I’m the one who knows you found her. Your screams were like music to my ears.” the caller giggled ominously.
Hayley’s frown deepened. “That’s not funny. Finding her was one of the worst moments of my life.” she explained.
“Oh, that was nothing!” the caller said.
“Excuse me?” Hayley replied. A wave of anger washed over her.
“That was nothing. Wait until you see what else I have in store.” the voice explained.
“Whoever this is, it isn’t funny.” Hayley replied.
“Do you want to die, Hayley? Bridget sure didn’t.” the voice growled.
“I’m going to call the cops.” she threatened.
“They would have found me by now. And they won’t make it in time to save you.” the voice seethed.
“You’re going to get caught. And the town of West Valley is going to have the last laugh.” Hayley replied.
“Don’t test me little girl. I’ll slice you open and leave you to hang with your insides out for the whole miserable town to see.” the killer said.
Hayley’s breath caught in her throat as she glanced around. Was the killer watching her? “I can’t wait to find out who you are. And watch you fry in the electric chair.” she replied.
“I’m so scared.” the voice replied sarcastically. “I’ll be seeing you real soon.” the killer said before hanging up.
Putting the phone away, Hayley let out a deep breath. Fear glinting in her eyes.
Darcy couldn’t believe that Bridget was dead. Like many of the other victims, Darcy knew her. She liked her. She thought she was one of the more down to earth girls in the group that lived in Ivy Corbin’s gigantic mansion. Lately, Darcy’s mood wasn’t the best. She was still mourning her father, and now she was mourning a friend. The killer seems to be more busier than ever. she couldn’t help but think to herself with a deep frown creasing her pretty face. On top of that, she was also worried about her mother. Tess Adkins was not doing well with the sudden murder of her husband. Darcy wished there was something she could do for her mother, but she felt just as helpless. There were moments were Tess could converse normally, but most of the time she stayed holed up in the guest bedroom crying.
Darcy had no more tears left to cry. She still mourned her father, but with all the people that had died around her, her eyes remained dry. She also had to keep it together in front of her mother. As much as she felt like she was on the brink of a meltdown, she had to stay tough. She knew this was all about her. It had started the moment she had moved to West Valley. The murders, the threats, the terror. She was Rose, the object of Brandon Covington’s sick affection. She wished she could remember that time when she was a child, locked away behind the walls of Sherwood Sanitarium. She’d been there for months for no reason. She had been eventually released, the death of her younger sister finally being ruled as an accident. Darcy didn’t even know she had a sister up until a few months ago.
Here I was thinking I was an only child for all these years. she thought to herself as she sat on the couch. What would have happened if her sister had never died? Would Darcy and Brandon have never met? Would West Valley be a safe little town where you came to settle down? Darcy wished she knew the answer. Sometimes she wondered why she even stayed. This was all too much, but she wasn’t going to give Brandon the satisfaction of getting her out of town. Who’s to say he wouldn’t just follow her if she packed up her things and family and moved away? It made Darcy feel uneasy, not knowing what Brandon’s next move was. If it was Brandon at all. Everyone in town knew he was still alive. He was out there, somewhere.
Perhaps he was just pulling the strings and someone else was doing the dirty work. There were no clues as to who it could be. It had been like that before with the first killer. No one had known it was Scott until he got Darcy and Fallon alone. Darcy would never forget that night. It would always be burned into her memory. Scott was dead, but there was still plenty to be worried about. And there was more grieving to do. Bridget’s funeral would be in two days, and it was taking place at St-Gregory’s church. Darcy looked down at the ring on her finger, how the diamond caught the light. She had been supposed to get married at St-Gregory’s, but her wedding day had also ended in tragedy. She had been kidnapped and held captive for months. She had been able to escape and had been able to get married after all.
At least dad was around for that. Darcy thought to herself with sadness glinting in her eyes. The married life was everything she expected it to be, despite everything happening in West Valley. She was truly happy with Campbell. They clicked on so many levels, they were so in sync, getting married was the only thing that made sense. Despite not being able to have children, she still wanted a family. There were plenty of options. It was something to think about, but not just now at that moment. As far as Darcy knew, she could die tomorrow. You never knew when your time was up with a killer stalking the town. An icy cold shiver of fear snaked down Darcy’s spine as she sat thinking about it. The killer could be right outside her own window at that very instant.
She spun around, looking over at the window. Of course there was no one there. Darcy rolled her eyes. Don’t be paranoid. she thought to herself. She had the day off, a much needed one. Since returning to work after her father’s funeral, she had kept busy with her new company. Working with Jane Porter was great, and they were doing so well. Most of the people who lived in West Valley had good taste in fashion. Darcy could tell just by looking at them. And if they didn’t, they usually would end up with a makeover, looking like they were stepping out of a fashion magazine. It made Darcy think of Bridget again. She had started off dressing very plain and casual until she made herself over, dressing a bit more interesting. Darcy had thought the other girl looked great.
Darcy looked over to the television. The news was on. And they were showing the sketch of what Brandon would look like today. Another chill ran through Darcy’s body. She’d seen the sketch before. She’d heard about it a few days earlier from Fallon. Her friend had called her and had explained what had happened. Darcy had ran out to get the newspaper at the newsstand. She had to see it with her very own eyes. She didn’t recognize the face in the sketch. It could have been anyone. But she couldn’t help but feel somewhat hopeful. This was somewhat of a breakthrough. A small one, but maybe it could help to lead to Brandon’s capture. They’d been showing the sketch on the news every hour for the past few days. Brandon was extremely dangerous and had to be stopped.
The ringing of the phone shook Darcy out of her thoughts. She pulled it out, looking warily down at the screen. SHANNON WILES flashed on the screen. Darcy frowned. Why was Brandon’s aunt calling her? They had met a few times, but Shannon had kept in touch with Fallon more. What could this be about? Darcy thought to herself as she answered the call. They spoke for a few minutes. Once Darcy got off the phone, she dialed Fallon’s number. Her friend answered on the second ring. Campbell was at work, and she didn’t want to keep her mother home alone. So she asked Fallon if she could come over and stay with Tess while she went to Oasis Springs to see Shannon. Fallon agreed, saying she would be right over. Darcy loved how helpful Fallon was, that was one of her many good qualities, she was always there for her.
While she waited for Fallon to arrive, Darcy went to check on her mother. She was napping in the guest room she was staying in. It had been a few weeks now that she was staying with Darcy and Campbell. She was in no shape to stay alone in her own house in Newcrest. Darcy would have gone to stay with her if she didn’t have a life of her own here in town. Fallon arrived a few minutes later, knocking on the front door. Thanking her and making sure she was safely inside, Darcy headed out, getting into her car which was parked out in front of the house. Turning the ignition, the car came to life as she pulled away from the curb. It was a bit of a drive to Oasis Springs, Darcy driving in silence. Soon enough, she found herself standing in front of the Wiles’ home.
Well, here goes nothing. Darcy thought to herself with a sigh as she made her way up the walkway and to the front door. She hesitated for a moment before she rang on the doorbell. A few moments later, the door was pulled open, Shannon Wiles looked out at her, a small smile on the corner of her lips.
“Darcy, thanks for coming. Come in.” Shannon said, stepping aside.
Darcy stepped inside the house, Emma closing the door behind her. “It’s good to see you again.” Emma continued.
Darcy nodded, taking in her surroundings. Nothing had changed since the last time she had been in Emma’s house. “Your phone call sounded urgent.” she replied.
“Well, I did see the sketch of Brandon on the news.” Emma explained.
“So that’s really him?” Darcy asked.
“I have no clue. I haven’t seen him in over twenty years.” Emma replied as she lead the way and sat down at the glass dining table. Darcy sat down across from her.
“I thought you called me over because of that.” Darcy said.
“I asked you to come over because I got an interesting phone call.” Emma explained.
“What kind of interesting phone call?” Darcy replied, a feeling of unease coming over her.
“A woman called, asking all kinds of questions about Brandon.” Emma replied.
“What kind of questions?” Darcy asked with a frown.
“If I was sure that I didn’t know where he was. If he had contacted me. If there was any other places I could think of that he could be hiding. Things like that.” Emma explained.
“Did this woman give you her name?” Darcy asked.
“She said her name was Sophie Greene.” Emma replied.
Darcy’s breath caught in her throat. “That’s impossible that Sophie Greene called you.” she told Emma.
“Why?” Emma asked with a frown.
“Because Sophie Greene has been dead for months!” Darcy replied, worry glinting in her eyes.
Wendy pushed open the backdoor and stepped outside into the warm air. She had wandered outside, she and Sasha were the only ones home. She didn’t know where Derek was, and Isabel had gone shopping by herself. Wendy would have joined her but something was bothering her and she wasn’t in the mood to shop. It was because Derek was acting weird, just thinking about it brought a deep frown to Wendy’s face. She paced along the back patio, staring into the blue water of the swimming pool. For a brief moment she thought about taking a dip, but decided against it. From inside the house, she could hear the soft notes of Sasha playing at the piano. A soft sigh escaped from in between Wendy’s lips. She wanted to talk to one of the other girls, but she had to know what was going on first.
It was just little things with Derek that she noticed lately. He didn’t give her his full attention like he used to. He seemed more distracted. She had asked him what was wrong, but he had told her he was fine. She didn’t really believe him. She knew him well enough to know when something was on his mind. But she didn’t want to push and get him to talk about it if he didn’t want to. She knew what he was like, they had been a couple for years now. They weren’t married, but Wendy had started looking at things like wedding dresses and rings. She had done it secretly, Derek wasn’t aware. He had said he would have liked to get married one day. Wendy hoped it was someday in the near future. She could picture herself walking down the aisle in a wedding dress.
The wedding’s here seem to end in tragedy. Wendy thought to herself, rolling her eyes. It made her think of Darcy’s wedding day. It also made her think about Jeremy Ashford and Ruby Fleming. He had asked her to marry him, to which she had accepted. And a few moments later, Jeremy had been killed. Wendy remembered how inconsolable Ruby had been. She wondered what she had done with the ring. If it were her, she would have put the ring away for safekeeping. Would she be able to still use it in the future, when she did get married? Ruby was doing better, but she still wasn’t over Jeremy’s death. Wendy didn’t blame her, she didn’t know how she would react if anything would ever happen to Derek. She wanted to marry him, have children, and grow old with him.
If only I can figure out what’s going on with him. Wendy thought to herself with a slight frown. She turned, making her way back into the house. Sasha was still at the piano, this time playing a more lively tune that echoed through the house. Wendy was glad there was someone else home. If she needed to talk to someone, she could. But right now, she was going to do some investigating. She made her way over to the computer, pulling the chair back and sitting down as she did so. She turned the computer on, drumming her nails on the desktop as she waited for it to load. Once it was up and running, she clicked onto the internet browser. A few people used this computer, including Derek. She wondered if maybe she could take a look at his browsing history, she could maybe find out why he was acting distant.
Wendy’s eyes stayed on the computer screen as she pulled up the browsing history. She felt a little bit sneaky. But it had to be done. She leaned in closer to the screen for a better look. There was a lot of Lifepage links. She clicked on one. A picture of Fallon came up. It was a picture from about two years ago. Fallon still wore her glasses, and she was smiling into the camera, a field of purple flowers behind her. A deep frown creased Wendy’s pretty face. What is he doing looking at pictures of Fallon? she thought to herself. She went back, and clicked another link. Another picture of Fallon, this time she was standing on a beach in a bathing suit. Wendy saw Derek had liked the picture. Her stomach churned softly in response. She sat back in the computer chair, worry glinting in her eyes.
Was there something going on between Fallon and Derek? Or was Derek secretly into Fallon? Wendy couldn’t believe it. She didn’t want to. She couldn’t see anything in Fallon that Derek would like. Sure, the other girl had gotten rid of her glasses, but she still dressed somewhat demurely. She was still a bookworm. Wendy was the opposite of that. She was a bombshell, and she knew it. Derek had known it too. He used to look at her with such desire and passion in his eyes. Now his attention was elsewhere. Are all men fickle? Wendy thought to herself as she turned off the computer, pushing back the desk chair and getting to her feet. She wondered what she should do. Should she confront Derek? Or should she confront Fallon? Or should she keep the information she had discovered to herself?
“Who peed in your cornflakes?” asked a voice as Wendy walked into the living room.
She looked up to see Sasha looking over at her with a curious glint in her eyes. “What?” she asked with a frown.
“You look upset.” Sasha pointed out. Wendy realized the other girl no longer sat at the piano, she must have been done practicing.
“Just having some deep thoughts.” Wendy replied, trying to keep it vague as they sat down.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Sasha asked. She looked eager to listen.
“What do you think about Fallon?” Wendy asked.
“Fallon McQueen? She’s… nice. Why do you ask?” Sasha replied, arching an eyebrow in the other girl’s direction.
“Do you think she could steal another woman’s guy?” Wendy replied.
Sasha seemed deep in thought for a moment before letting out a laugh. “No. Definitely not! Why? Is she after Derek?” she asked Wendy.
“No. I don’t know. But what if she is?” Wendy replied.
“She wouldn’t do that. She’s too nice.” Sasha reassured her.
“Well what if Derek was interested in her?” Wendy asked.
“Is there trouble in paradise?” Sasha asked, arching her eyebrow once more.
“I’m not sure. Derek seems distracted, you haven’t noticed anything?” Wendy replied.
Sasha thought hard for a moment before shaking her head. “No, sorry. I haven’t noticed anything in his behavior. But I’ll keep an eye out.” she told Wendy.
The front door of the house where Ruby and Meredith lived was pulled open, Ruby stepping outside onto the front porch. She closed the door and locked it behind her. Meredith wasn’t home, she had gone to the museum to see some art exhibit. She had asked Ruby to come along, but she hadn’t been in the mood. She had declined, telling Meredith to have a good time without her. The other girl had shrugged before she had headed off towards the museum. Since it was nice weather, Meredith had decided she would walk to her destination. It wasn’t very far, the museum was in downtown West Valley. Once Meredith was gone, Ruby had gone and taken a shower. After stepping out from the bathroom, she had gone to get ready. She had gotten dressed, hair and makeup flawlessly done as well.
She wasn’t exactly sure where she was headed. She just didn’t feel like being inside the house. She made her way down the front walkway and over to the car. She used it more than Meredith, who liked to walk. Not that Ruby was lazy, she just knew taking the car would get her to her destination faster. She wasn’t much for killing time. You never know how much time you have. she thought to herself, pursing her lips. One minute you could be happy and enjoying life, and the next you could be dead. That was an issue in the town of West Valley. A soft sigh escaped Ruby’s lips as she made her way around to the driver side of the car. Unlocking the door, she pulled it open and slid into the soft leather interior. She closed the door, sticking the key in the ignition as the engine roared to life.
Ruby had saved up for what seemed like forever to get this car. It was a top of the line SUV in her favorite color, bright red. She fiddled with the sound system until she found a song she liked. “Strangers” By Halsey. Lowering the windows, she pulled away from the curb in front of the house. She drummed her nails against the steering wheel as she drove. The streets of West Valley seemed so much more livelier during the day when the sun shone. People could go on with their lives, and still be cautious at the same time. Through the open windows Ruby could hear the sounds of children playing. It brought a smile to her lips. She waved to Amy Rayburn, who was taking a casual stroll down the sidewalk. The other girl had a few more months left to go before her baby was born.
Maybe one day I’ll have a baby. Ruby thought to herself. She had no idea who she would meet in the future. Not that she was looking for anyone right now. She was still getting over Jeremy’s death. She had accepted that he was never coming back. Ruby blinked softly, trying not to get her emotions to get the best of her. She had cried plenty about Jeremy. She had to focus on herself now. She’d never forget him, but she had a life to live. She drummed her nails on the steering wheel once more when something caught her attention. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a black clad figure duck into the side yard of a house. Ruby pressed on the breaks suddenly, the tires screeching in response. She turned and peered out the driver side window. She wished she had, but she hadn’t imagined it.
Before she could think twice of what she was doing, Ruby turned the ignition off. She pulled the keys out before pushing open the driver side door and stepping down onto the pavement. She closed the car door with her hip as she made her way onto the curb. She held her keys tightly in her fist, ready to use them as a weapon if she needed to. She looked up at the house, realizing it was the Jacks’ residence. From the looks of it, it didn’t seem like Ellie was home. Ruby had a bad feeling, but she couldn’t turn back. Something was telling her to investigate. She made her way onto the grass, walking slowly along the side of the house. Her pulse picked up it’s pace as she did so. Her eyes scanned her surroundings. Despite it being a warm day, a chill of fear snaked down Ruby’s spine.
She was sure she had seen someone dressed in black. But the space in front of her was empty, void of any life. Yet she kept on, making her way slowly through the grass until she reached the backyard. The water in the pool lapped gently, sparkling in the sun. The back patio was empty, not the very best place for someone to hide. There was a spot, just a few feet away, where Richard Jacks had been found dead. Ruby looked away, scanning the backyard slowly. There was no one hiding behind the jungle gym, which belonged to Ellie’s son. Ruby knew of the situation, that he was gone to live with his father. She wondered if he would ever come back to West Valley. A twinkling sound caught her attention, she turned to look. It’s just wind chimes. she thought to herself.
Ruby headed across the back patio, gazing into the house through the double glass doors. Everything seemed normal inside. Had she just imagined seeing the figure? Probably not. She was very much awake and alert. She pulled away from the glass and made her way around to the other side of the house. No one there either. A deep frown creased Ruby’s pretty face. Whoever it was disappeared into thin air. she thought. She made her way across the grass and back over to her car. Before she got in, she thought of checking the backseat. It was empty. She rolled her eyes at her paranoia before she pulled the driver side door open. She slid back into the car and closed the door behind her. She stuck the key in the ignition, the car roaring to life. She looked back at the Jacks’ house.
She roared away from the curb, back on the street. She drove to her destination, downtown. Once arriving, she found parking by the restaurant. Killing the engine, she got out of the car. She thought about what had just happened. It was odd. She could have sworn she had seen someone lurking. It looked like it could have been the killer. Ruby didn’t know where her bravery had come from. Why she had stopped and gone to investigate. She wanted the killings to stop, that was for sure. She should have called the police, not gone to check things out herself. It could have ended badly. Yet fate was on her side, and she was still alive to see another day. She closed the driver side door and locked the car as she made her way onto the curb in front of the restaurant. That’s when her phone rang.
UNKNOWN CALLER flashed on the screen as she pulled her phone out and answered without a second thought. “Hello?” she said.
“Ruby Fleming?” said the voice on the other end of the line.
Ruby frowned. She didn’t recognize the voice. “Speaking.” she replied.
“It’s John Farrell. The director of Following Lust. How are you?” he asked.
“Oh, hi! I’m doing well thanks. I saw the workprint of the movie. I thought it was great!” she explained.
“Glad you liked it. I’m calling about the movie, actually.” John replied.
“What about it?” Ruby asked curiously.
“We’re going to be premiering the movie here. In Hollywood. And we’d like you to join us.” John explained.
“Hollywood?!!?” Ruby replied, excitement shining in her eyes.
“How would you like to attend the premiere in Hollywood? You can bring a guest.” he replied.
“I’d love to! I’ve always wanted to go!” Ruby replied. She knew she was going to get Meredith to come along with her.
“Great. The air fare is on us. You’ll be getting the plane tickets in the mail. We’ll keep in touch.” John replied before hanging up.
Hollywood here we come! Ruby thought to herself as she hurried away to tell Meredith the exciting news.
Downtown wasn’t only Ruby’s destination. It was also Olivia’s. She had just returned home to West Valley from being away for a few days. She had taken a much needed trip to the spa up in Rocky Point. As she parked her car and stepped out onto the curb, she played back the nightmare that she had in her head. She remembered it so clearly, it had seemed so real. In it, she was standing in the kitchen of the house, watching as her daughter Skye was killed. She wanted to move, to help Skye, but was rooted in place, watching helplessly as a black clad figure stabbed the teenage girl to death. She had woken up in her own bed with a jolt when the killer had turned around and Olivia had seen the killer’s face. It was her husband Edwin, who focused his glance on her and approached her slowly, knife held high.
Olivia couldn’t shake the dream. She also didn’t know what it meant. Edwin would have never hurt his own daughter. Skye’s killer was still out there somewhere. The same killer who had murdered Edwin as well. Feeling uneasy, Olivia decided she needed to get away. At least for a few days. So she had got onto the phone and called to set up a stay at the Wellness & Calm Spa in Rocky Point. It was a bit of a drive, but Olivia had packed a bag and headed up there. There were lots of activities for her to do. She participated in meditation circles, yoga, sensory baths and mud facials. It had been a calming experience for her, it was nice to get away from the insanity that was West Valley. It would have also been nice if Skye had still been around to join her.
A mother-daughter bonding experience at the spa would have been ideal. They would have left Edwin alone back in West Valley while they got pampered. However, Olivia had no family left. Her family was dead. She was on her own. She thought it would have been a challenge, but so far things were going well. She missed her daughter terribly. Edwin, not so much. She had betrayed him, and she was the only one who knew about it now. She wouldn’t reveal this to anyone, but she felt a bit guilty about what she had done. To save her own hide, she had ratted Edwin out to the police. He was on his way to jail for tax evasion when he had been suddenly murdered. Olivia was well aware that they could have lost all their money, and she would have rather kept it all for herself.
She had all that money now. That’s how she was able to afford the spa treatment. At the end of her stay, when they told her how much it cost, Olivia didn’t even bat an eye. To the common person it seemed like a lot of money, but Olivia had just smiled and paid. In cash. She had pretended she didn’t see the curious look the girl behind the counter had given her. The girl had shrugged and taken the money anyway before Olivia got into her car and headed back to West Valley. Instead of going straight home, Olivia decided she would stop downtown first. She had shopping on her mind. Some retail therapy seemed just like the thing she needed to end the past few days of being pampered. She looked up at the building in front of her. Darcy is working for Jane Porter, it seems a little too good to be true. she thought to herself.
Yet Olivia was curious, and found herself heading up the walkway to the store. She pulled open the doors and stepped inside, being blasted with a gust of cold air from the air conditioning. She looked around, cocking an eyebrow as she took in her surroundings. She didn’t show it, but she was impressed. It seemed like Jane and Darcy had done well for themselves. A little pang of jealousy hit Olivia as she began to browse. She picked up a blue top with sheer sleeves off a display. It had caught her eye as she looked down at the price tag. Affordable for such a nice piece of clothing. She put it back down and kept looking. She stopped to check her reflection in a mirror. She found she looked great. Her skin was tight and shiny. Her eyes had a vibrant light behind them. Her hair silky and smooth, not a strand misplaced.
She moved away from the mirror, stopping to look at a rack of dresses. Jane Porter was one of her favorite designers. Darcy was very lucky to be working with her. Olivia hadn’t really gone into Darcy’s old store before the West Valley killer had burned it down to the ground. But this was better, Darcy would be making all kinds of money. Sometimes, it was all about who you knew. Connections could get into the door. Olivia had connections, mostly at the country club. Maybe one of these days she would make an appearance there. It had been a few weeks since she had last been. She could imagine herself working on her tan by the pool while some cabana boy brought her long island ice teas. It was her favorite drink. A soft smile played on her lips as she moved away from the dresses.
“You have good taste.” a voice said. Olivia turned to see Jane Porter standing behind her.
Olivia’s eyes widened slightly, but she played it cool. “Someone in this town has got to know the difference between Prada and Payless.” she replied with a giggle.
Jane let out a laugh. “And you show them how it’s done?” she asked curiously.
“Well, I don’t like to brag..” Olivia replied sheepishly.
Jane laughed, sticking out her hand. “Jane Porter. It’s nice to meet you.” she said.
“Olivia Cosgrove.” Olivia replied, shaking Jane’s hand.
“Olivia Cosgrove? I’ve heard of you.” Jane replied.
“Now what rumors are they telling about me?” Olivia asked, trying to keep the mood light. Surely there was no way anyone knew what she had done to her husband.
“Oh, nothing like that. Just that you’re the richest woman in West Valley.” Jane replied.
“Oh! Well that’s not a rumor.” Olivia smiled.
“So you could buy me out if you wanted to.” Jane joked.
“Oh dear, no! I love fashion but I don’t know the first thing about running a business.” Olivia replied.
“Well then maybe you can help me.” Jane said.
“With what?” Olivia asked curiously.
“You know the women in this town better than I do. How would you like to help me plan a fashion show?” Jane asked.
“A fashion show?!” Olivia repeated excitedly.
“You and some other women from the town can be the models. You’ll get to wear my designs down the catwalk.” Jane explained.
“But what about what had happened at your event?” Olivia asked, remembering the night that Darcy’s father had been murdered.
“Tragic, yes. But the fashion show will be different. I’ll make sure the night is a success. With no fatalities.” Jane explained.
It didn’t take long for Olivia to decide. A moment later, she smiled. “Well let’s go plan this fashion show!” she said with excitement shining in her eyes.
The fingers on the computer keyboard typed quickly. Outside the study window, dusk had fallen. The sky was now the color of ink. A bright crescent moon shone behind a few clouds. The study lights were on as Fallon sat at the desk. Her eyes glued to the computer screen in front of her. She was on a mission. She was doing it for Darcy, who she had seen just a few hours earlier. Fallon had been called over to stay with Darcy’s mother while she went to Oasis Springs to see Shannon Wiles. Fallon had agreed, heading over as Darcy had hurried out of the house thanking her. Once she was behind the closed doors of the house, Fallon had went to check up on Darcy’s mother. The older woman was napping peacefully in the guest room. Fallon didn’t think there would be a problem at all.
So while Tess slept, Fallon had sat on the couch and watched television. Soon enough, Tess had walked into the living room. She was surprised to see Fallon sitting there. She had asked where Darcy was, and Fallon had kept her reply vague. She had told Darcy’s mother that she had gone to take care of something at the store. Tess seemed to believe her, and had sat down on the couch next to Fallon. They watched some old sitcom in silence for a few minutes before Darcy’s mother had turned towards her. She had asked Fallon if she would have liked some tea. She wasn’t much of a tea drinker, but Fallon agreed. Tess insisted she would do it herself, heading into the kitchen. Fallon had turned her attention back to the television until Tess returned holding a tray with a tea kettle and two cups.
Preparing the tea, Tess had sat back down and handed Fallon a cup. Fallon had thanked her as she took a small sip, since smoke curled up from inside the cup. Surprisingly, the tea tasted pretty good. Fallon had taken another sip as she eyed the older woman sitting beside her. She couldn’t believe Roy Adkins was dead. She liked Darcy’s father. Despite everything that had happened to his daughter, he was always in a cheery mood. And he loved his wife so much. She could tell by the way he had looked at her. Fallon hoped one day she would find a husband who looked at her like that. They had sat silently sipping their tea until the sound of the door opening and closing caught their attention. Fallon and Tess had looked up as Darcy had hurried into the living room, an uneasy look glinting in her eyes.
Fallon had been scared to ask what was wrong, but Darcy explained what had happened. Fallon had listened, her eyes widening slightly in surprise. There was no way Sophie Greene could have called Brandon’s aunt. Sophie had been killed months ago. Julie Whitlow had found her, her office covered in blood. So then who was the woman calling Shannon? Fallon thought to herself as she typed some more. Once she had returned home, she had locked herself in the study. She didn’t know where Naomi or Gwen were. It didn’t matter. She didn’t need the distraction as she kept her eyes on the computer screen. She wished Faye was still alive, she was more computer savvy then she was. But Fallon was smarter than she looked. She knew enough to search the internet for some answers.
Fallon wondered if the killer could be a woman. The few times that she had spoken to the killer, she knew the person on the other end of the line was using some kind of voice changer. Had the killer disguised themselves as Sophie Greene or was the killer actually a woman? A deep frown creased Fallon’s face. Could a woman be that crazy? Be that strong to kill all these people? she thought to herself. It was possible. Was the killer someone she knew? Could it be one of her friends? A slow shiver of fear snaked down Fallon’s back as she kept typing. Maybe she could hack into the phone company’s records to pull up a list of numbers that had called Shannon. If that didn’t work, maybe she could find the location of where the call came from.
Fallon frowned again. Finding the location of the call would take more time. And she’d need help with that. There were a handful of people Fallon could call to help her trace the call. Clicking another few keys on the keyboard, she brought up a live aerial shot of the Wiles’ home. Nothing suspicious seemed to be going on. The street was quiet, void of any life that night. Oasis Springs was not like West Valley. It was safe. You could venture out at night or keep your doors unlocked. Fallon felt a bit jealous. She wondered when life would return to normal there in West Valley. A soft sigh escaped from between her lips. She could remember when things were simpler. It was almost a year ago. Sure, she had no idea that she was living with a psychopathic killer in her midst, but the horror hadn’t even begun then.
Scott. she thought, his face flashing through her memory. Out of the housemates who had lived with her in this house in the past, only she and Naomi were the original ones left. Scott had been killed by the police, and Blake had been murdered on Darcy’s wedding day. Now, Gwen had moved in with Fallon and Naomi. Things were going fine between the three girls. They got along. They had to, there were far more serious matters at hand than being catty with each other. Like trying to find this new killer and putting a stop to their reign of terror on the small town. With nothing catching her eye on the computer screen, Fallon shut it down. She pushed back the chair and stood, stretching her arms over her head as she did so. She rolled her neck, she had spent quite some time sitting at the computer.
She turned off the study lights as she walked out of the room. She made her way into the living room when suddenly, her phone beeped. Fallon slid it out and looked down at the screen. It was a text from Gwen. I THINK I’M DRUNK. CAN YOU COME PICK ME UP AT SURGE? the text said. Fallon rolled her eyes in fake annoyance. She didn’t know Gwen liked to go to Surge. Sure, they all knew Ellie and Christy, the owners. Fallon went over to the living room window and peered out through the curtains. The car was there parked in the driveway. Fallon shrugged lightly to herself. So she would go pick up Gwen. She didn’t mind. Texting her housemate back, Fallon slid her phone back into her pocket as she headed out the front door, making sure it was locked securely behind her as she headed for the car.
She didn’t bother bringing her purse. She was just going to pick up Gwen and head back home. Fallon’s heels clicked on the pavement as she stepped up to the car. She unlocked the driver side door, pulled it open and slid down into the seat. She closed the door behind her, leaning back against the seat as she went to stick the key in the ignition. Suddenly, from the darkness of the backseat, something lunged out at her. Not something, someone. A shadowy figure who’s gloved hands wrapped around Fallon’s neck from behind. Fallon’s eyes went wide, the keys falling from her hand and dropping to the car floor. Her terrified gaze fell on the rear view mirror. She caught a glimpse of a black hood. It’s the killer! her mind screamed back at her as she struggled to break free.
The killer’s grip was like a vice around her neck. She tried to scream but all that came out was a hoarse gurgle as the killer strangled Fallon. She struggled against the seat, panic consuming her. She clawed at the killer’s gloved hands, trying to get them off from around her neck. But the killer’s grip was like steel. He throttled Fallon, who choked, struggling to breathe. She punched the steering wheel, the horn honking loudly as she did so. Maybe someone, a neighbor, would hear and come out to investigate. She prayed it would work. But nothing happened. No one came out to see what the commotion was all about. Fallon punched the steering wheel again, and had her face slammed against it hard. There was explosion of pain followed by stars filling her vision.
Fallon bucked and twisted her body as strong as she could through the haze of pain that rolled over her in waves. She had to do something. Play dead. she thought to herself, it came suddenly to mind. Choking, she slumped forward in the seat, her whole body going limp. Surprisingly, it worked. The killer’s grip eased off Fallon’s neck as she slumped sideways against the driver side door. Slowly, out of the killer’s eyesight, Fallon reached for the door handle. That’s when she sprung up with a loud shriek, grabbing the door handle and pushing the car door open as she threw herself out of the car. She landed in a heap on the driveway, pushing herself up with her hands on the concrete. She heard the back door of the car open, and then running footsteps. She waited for another attack but it never came.
She realized she was now alone. She climbed to her feet, her throat feeling like it was on fire. Fallon sucked in deep breaths of fresh air. She looked around, taking in her surroundings. The killer had once again disappeared into the night.
Hanna knew she was supposed to stay inside. Night had fallen over the town of West Valley. She had been up in her room, trying on different makeup when she had gotten a text from her boyfriend, Paul. He was bored, and wanted to do something. Hanna had agreed, she could always play around with makeup another time. But when she had looked at herself in the mirror, she was frightened by her appearance. She couldn’t go meet Paul looking like a mess. So she had changed, keeping the door to her bedroom closed so that her mother or Quintin wouldn’t walk in. Glancing again into the mirror, she was happy with how she looked. Hanna always made sure she looked like she had just stepped out from the pages of a fashion magazine. Much better. she had thought to herself with a small smirk playing on her lips.
She had waited until the house was quiet. She was sure her mother and Quintin had gone to sleep before she had headed slowly down the stairs to the main floor of the house. She silently opened the front door and stepped out into the night. She closed the door behind her and locked it. Instead of hurrying off right away, she waited. She was expecting her mother to come flying out of the house asking her where she was going at this time of night. But the front door remained closed. Hanna let out a soft sigh of relief as she slowly headed away from the house. As she made her way over to the sidewalk, she looked back at the house. It remained dark and silent. This wasn’t the first time Hanna had snuck out. It was something she did regularly. It was just something she kept from her mother, Stephanie.
It wasn’t like she had school in the morning. She was still on summer vacation. She didn’t have plans the following day, unless shopping and working on her tan counted. She didn’t have a job like Megan Whitlow had. Hanna snickered softly just thinking about it. She had not expected to see Megan working at the country club. It was odd to see the other girl dressed in the country club’s all white uniform. Which is exactly where Paul wanted to meet her tonight. A small frown creased Hanna’s pretty face. Out of all the places in town, why there? she thought to herself. Hadn’t Megan done the same thing? Snuck into the club after hours to meet Charlie? And she ended up working there. Hanna pictured herself in the white uniform and shuddered. She hoped they wouldn’t get caught as well.
You’re not Megan. You’re Hanna Workman. You’re family is well known. They’ll be eating out of the palm of your hand. Hanna thought to herself. Surely if security caught her they would let her off the hook. Her heels echoed on the sidewalk as she made her way towards her destination. An uneasy feeling seemed to wrap itself around her tightly as she walked. There could be anyone lurking in the shadows. Hanna pulled out her phone, looking down at the screen as she went through some of her apps to keep her mind off the troubling thoughts that swirled through her head. She looked up to cross the street, void of any cars as she stepped onto the curb on the opposite side. The country club was just up ahead, which Hanna found comforting. She hummed softly to herself as she walked.
Hanna headed slowly towards the building when suddenly, someone came stepping out of the shadows in front of her. A soft gasp escaped her lips until she saw who it was.
“Glad you made it.” Paul said with a smirk on his face.
Hanna smiled and threw herself into his arms, kissing him deeply before pulling away. “Why’d you want to meet here?” she asked him curiously.
Paul shrugged. “Just thought it would be fun. I’m feeling adventurous tonight.” he replied.
Hanna giggled in response. “What if we get caught?” she asked.
“That’s the adventure. Or I’ll just get my dad to make a donation to the club.” Paul shrugged. His family was also rich.
“Fine. Let’s go!” Hanna replied.
They hurried along the side of the building until they reached the pool area.
“How about a swim?” Paul asked with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
“I didn’t bring my bathing suit!” Hanna giggled.
“Who said anything about bathing suits?” Paul replied with a laugh.
Before Hanna could protest, Paul took her by the hand and lead her away from the pool area. Soon they found themselves on the tennis court.
“Is now really the time to be playing tennis?” Hanna asked, arching an eyebrow.
“Tennis? I wanted to…” Paul trailed off when he heard the sound of footsteps. Hanna heard them too, her eyes going wide.
“Shhh!” Paul whispered softly.
“Shit! What if it’s the security guard?” Hanna whispered.
“Split up! Hide!” Paul whispered back. He turned and ran deeper onto the court. Hanna turned and ran away from him, crouching down behind a bench.
Surrounded by darkness, Paul waited. He heard the footsteps getting closer. He opened his mouth to call out but couldn’t seem to find his voice. So he waited. A noise came to his ears. He frowned. The tennis ball machine? he thought to himself. He turned slowly towards the noise, and suddenly pain exploded in his chest. He grunted, staggering back a step. It took him a moment to realize he had been hit by a tennis ball coming at him with speed. Suddenly another one hit him again in the chest. Paul staggered back again, dropping to his knees. He looked around him in the darkness. Was Hanna the one aiming the machine at him? Before he could protest, pain in his head. He grabbed his head, his eyes shut as he let out a yowl. The ball had been aimed at his face. Paul saw stars in his vision as he fell onto his back on the ground.
Suddenly, someone was swooping down on him. There was a flash of silver and then more pain. Paul looked up with eyes wide in fear. It was the West Valley killer. A black gloved hand gripped a knife who’s blade was stained with crimson. The knife was brought down again. And again. Paul let out another yowl and then went limp. Blending back into the shadows, the killer disappeared. From her hiding spot behind the bench, Hanna got to her feet when things went silent. She frowned as she made her way across the tennis court floor.
“Paul?” she whispered.
No answer. She took a few more steps and then looked down. Her eyes widened in horror as she stared at her boyfriend. He was dead, his eyes wide open and unblinking, his mouth contorted in a scream of horror. Hanna took a step back, opened her mouth and let out an ear-shattering scream that echoed through the night.