WEST VALLEY KILLER STRIKES AGAIN! LOCAL TEENAGER DEAD! shouted the headline on the front of the newspaper. There was a black and white picture of a paramedic wheeling a body bag on a gurney in front of the country club. A shiver of fear snaked down Ellie’s spine as she looked down at the newspaper on the table in front of her. The press was keeping the identity of the victim secret, since he was a minor. But Ellie knew who it was. Paul Hathaway. Christy Whitlow had told her what had happened, since Paul was Hanna Workman’s boyfriend, and Hanna and Christy’s daughter Megan, were friends. It was three days after Paul’s murder. The town was reeling that someone else had been killed, this time a teenager. It wasn’t the first time a teenager had fallen victim to the killer.
The last time had been a few months ago. Three teenage girls had been murdered all in the same night at a slumber party. Hanna and Jillyan Rayburn were almost killed themselves, but had escaped. Poor kids. Ellie thought to herself with a frown creasing her forehead. Despite it being another beautiful morning in West Valley, Ellie’s mood was the opposite as she read the article in the newspaper. Even though Ellie had the morning off, she had woken up early, gotten dressed and had made her way downtown to the local cafe. Christy was taking care of Surge until later on that afternoon. So Ellie had plenty of time to spend her day the way she wanted to. She had a craving for coffee, and not the instant type she had at home. So she had walked over to the cafe, not bothering to take the car.
She wasn’t scared, but thinking about the car made her think of something else. Not only had Paul Hathaway been killed, but Fallon, someone she knew very well, had been attacked. Ellie frowned again. Lucky for Fallon, she had escaped. The killer had been hiding in the backseat of the car, and had tried to murder her. The killer had tried strangling Fallon to death. Due to her quick thinking, Fallon was able to free herself unscathed, but she was still shook up from the attack. Once she had fled the car and into the house, Fallon had called the police who had arrived in record time. Ellie had heard about it the following day from Naomi, who she had ran into in front of Surge. Ellie had listened in disbelief, her eyes widening in surprise as Naomi had explained what had happened.
We can’t even drive in peace without worrying someone is hiding in the backseat? Ellie thought to herself as she took a sip from her coffee. She felt a jolt of energy as she did so. The coffee was definitely not like the one she had at home. Her eyes scanned her surroundings. She wasn’t far from Surge. The sidewalks were just starting to fill up with some people. The downtown area didn’t really pick up until just before lunchtime. Ellie noticed a few familiar faces walking, but she kept her head down, focusing on the newspaper instead. She didn’t really feel like making conversation at that particular moment. Reading the newspaper, she got a sense of deja vu. The press mentioned how they thought perhaps it was Brandon Covington doing the killing, but that seemed like too easy of an answer.
Even Ellie doubted it was Brandon. It was possible that perhaps he had an accomplice. An accomplice who had murdered Ellie’s own mother. Ellie missed her mother every day. She couldn’t believe she was gone. So was her father. They were both victims of the killer. Only Ellie knew who had killed her father. She had found out eventually. She had no idea who it was that had killed her mother. She wondered if she would ever get the chance to find that out as well. People were dying in West Valley, and you never knew who was going to be the next victim. Ellie would have never guessed that Paul would have been killed. He just seemed to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Hanna had been with him at the country club when it had happened. She was still in shock, inconsolable, from what Ellie had heard.
Suddenly, Ellie heard the sound of laughing children. She looked up to see a group of kids ride by on their bicycles. A soft sigh escaped her lips. It made her miss Tyson’s absence even more. She could almost imagine her son being one of those kids on their bicycles. She could almost see his big grin as he waved at her. Ellie blinked softly and the image was gone. So were the kids, their laughs echoing in the air as they disappeared from sight around a corner. Ellie knew Tyson was safer away from West Valley. He was having a good summer. Last she had heard, Tyson had been enrolled in day camp and was enjoying himself a lot. It was sometimes hard for her to get a hold of him, but talking to him made Ellie’s worries melt away. If he was still living in West Valley, she would be constantly worried about his safety.
She wondered when he would return home to her. It was the middle of the summer and there were only a few weeks left before the school year would start up again. In West Valley, it was hard to plan the future. You never knew if you would be alive in the next moment. Surely Gage wouldn’t bring Tyson back to West Valley if something happened to her? She hoped not. She hoped Gage would know better and keep Tyson safe. Whoever the killer was, they weren’t killing children. They prefer kidnapping them. Ellie thought to herself with a frown as she took another sip from her coffee. Everyone had feared the worst when little Kaitlyn Biggs had been kidnapped. They all thought she was dead after she had disappeared for weeks. Ellie herself was surprised to hear when the little girl suddenly reappeared on her home’s front porch.
“If I sit, are you going to bite my head off?” a voice asked.
Looking up at the familiar face, Ellie shook her head and motioned for the other girl to sit. “At least you know to proceed with caution. Be my guest.” she told Lilah.
“Thanks. I wasn’t sure if you wanted to be interrupted or not. You seemed deep in thought.” Lilah said as she sat down in the chair next to Ellie.
“Just thinking about my son.” Ellie explained as she took another sip from her coffee. She eyed Lilah curiously. Out of all the girls that lived in Ivy’s house, Ellie found that Lilah and Bridget were the less annoying ones. Can’t say the same about Ivy and Hayley. she thought to herself.
A sad smile played on Lilah’s lips. “You must miss him a lot.” she said.
Ellie nodded softly. “You must miss Bridget a lot.” she replied.
“I can’t believe she’s really gone. We were pretty close.” Lilah explained, looking down at the table.
“Did you ever think she would have been one of the killer’s victims? She seemed really smart.” Ellie asked.
“Oh, she was! She was such a brain, sometimes I wondered how we even kept up with her.” Lilah replied.
“You would think she would have outsmarted whoever this killer is.” Ellie said.
“If she had, she would still be here today.” Lilah said softly, sadness glinting in her eyes.
“Do you want coffee? It’s on me.” Ellie asked.
“Sure. That’s nice of you. We can catch up.” Lilah replied with a smile as Ellie waved down a waitress.
A car came carefully down the street, turning into the driveway that bordered the Olsen’s house. Classic rock blared out the open windows from the speakers, a forgotten song from the seventies. The car windows went up, muffling the music before the engine was shut off. The driver side door opened and Dawn stepped out onto the blacktop. She closed the door behind her, a frown creasing her forehead as she made her way towards the house. Her heels clicking on the pavement as she fished out her house keys. She made her way up to the front door, stuck the key in the lock and unlocked the door. She pulled it open, stepping inside the front foyer of the house. Dawn listened, the house was quiet. She closed the front door behind her, a soft sigh of exasperation escaping from between her lips as she locked it.
She had left the house a few hours earlier when it was still dark outside. A glance at the clock over the fireplace mantle had revealed it was almost five o’clock in the morning. Everyone was still sleeping as she had gotten dressed. She had something to do. She was on a mission. A mission to get answers. It had been ever since she had found out that somewhere out there, she had a half sister. It was still something she couldn’t believe. How could her mother have kept a secret like that for so long? That she and Mayor Covington had a child together. Even though her mother was dead, the secret had finally come out. Dawn had stumbled across some letters in a box hidden away in the basement of the house. She had found that one particular letter just a few weeks ago.
She couldn’t believe what she had read. For a brief moment she had thought it was some kind of twisted joke. But the more she had read, the more she believed it was true. How could mom keep a thing like that from us? Dawn thought to herself as she made her way into the kitchen. She sat down on the stool by the kitchen counter, wringing her hands. She had spent a few hours at the adoption agency, going through files and files of adoption papers. She had no success, there was no trace of her mother’s name or Mayor Covington’s in any of the papers she had browsed through. Perhaps they could have used fake names, which would bring Dawn back to square one. There was no way she could solve this mystery had they used fake names on the adoption papers.
Feeling discouraged, Dawn had headed back home. She sat by the counter, resting her chin in her hands. She was sure she had the house to herself. It was quiet. Claire, Michael, Finn and Charlie had probably gone out for the day. Charlie had probably brought Finn to the park. He was trying to keep himself distracted since the death of his best friend, Paul. Dawn couldn’t believe someone so young had once again been murdered. It could have been Charlie, which sent a shiver of fear snaking down Dawn’s spine. She had been there for her son, offered him a shoulder to lean on. He had thanked her but had told her he was going to deal with it in his own way. He had spent the last few days keeping busy, spending time with his little brother and with his girlfriend Megan.
Dawn sat up when she heard footsteps. Guess I’m not alone. she thought to herself. “Who’s there?” she called out. For a brief moment she was worried that the killer had broken into the house.
“It’s just your sexy brother.” said Michael as he walked into the kitchen.
“I didn’t know you were home.” Dawn said.
“I just woke up. Claire took Charlie and Finn to buy new rollerblades.” Michael explained.
“I could have brought them.” Dawn replied with a slight frown creasing her pretty face.
“Well you weren’t home. Where were you, anyway?” Michael asked curiously as he sat down next to her.
I still haven’t told him. How is he going to react when he knows he has a sister out there somewhere? And that I’ve been keeping it from him? Dawn thought to herself. “I went… out.” she kept it vague.
“Out where? Do you have a boyfriend we don’t know about?” Michael asked with a chuckle.
Dawn couldn’t help but laugh as well. Michael always knew what to say to make her feel better. She looked at him, he was looking back at her with a curious glint in his eyes. “No, no boyfriend.” she replied.
“So then what is it? I know when you’re keeping something from me. You are my older sister, after all.” he explained.
Dawn took a deep breath. It’s now or never. she thought to herself. “Well, I went to the adoption agency.” she replied.
Michael smiled. “You want to adopt a kid? That’s great! You’re only thirty-six, might as well do it now before you do get older.” he said excitedly.
“I’m not adopting another kid. I’m… looking for someone.” Dawn replied.
A frown creased her brother’s forehead. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.
“Our half sister.” Dawn finally said after a moment of silence.
Michael’s eyes widened in surprise. “What did you say? Our half sister?” he asked.
Dawn nodded, she gulped. “Not only was our mother Stuart Covington’s mistress, but they also had a child. A girl. Which they gave up for adoption.” she explained.
“Oh. My. God! When did you find this out?” he asked.
“A few weeks ago. I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure!” she explained, thinking he was going to get mad at her for keeping a secret like that.
“Wow. Mom. I can’t believe she would.. who was she, Dawn? Why did she have so many secrets?” Michael asked. It looked like he was going to cry.
“She was probably just terribly unhappy.” Dawn tried to grasp her head around the thought.
“What are we going to do? We need to find this sister of ours.” Michael replied.
“We will. And I’m going to need your help.” Dawn replied looking over at Michael.
“Of course. Let’s start thinking.” he replied with determination in his eyes.
Dawn wasn’t the only one returning home. So was Amy. She wasn’t coming back from an adoption agency though. At first she had contemplated putting her baby up for adoption, since Shawn was dead. She didn’t know the first thing about being a single mother to a newborn. She had thought long and hard about it but had finally decided against it. She wanted to keep the baby. It was the least she could do for Shawn, it was his child as well. Giving it away would have been the easy way out. Not that it was going to be easy. She knew how much responsibility came with having a baby. Luckily for her, she would have help from the people around her. One person being her sister, Jillyan. Amy was glad that she was there. At least I’m not completely alone. she thought to herself.
Amy closed and locked the front door behind her as she put down her purse. Jillyan was out, she had woken up early and had gone to see Hanna. At least it was daylight outside, so Amy wasn’t too worried about her sister. It didn’t mean that the killer, whoever it was, didn’t strike when the sun was out. They did. They just preferred to strike more at night when they could hide behind the cover of darkness. Stephanie, Hanna’s mother was home. Amy had called to make sure. She said she would keep an eye out on the girls. It was better to be safe than sorry. Hanna and Jillyan had already encountered the killer before, and they had escaped with their lives. Paul Hathaway hadn’t been so lucky. Amy had met Paul one time when Jillyan had brought some friends over.
Personally, Amy hadn’t been a fan of Paul. She found he was a bit too self-centered and liked to tease the girls. Hanna and Jillyan had thought he was funny, but Amy found herself rolling her eyes whenever Paul wasn’t looking. She could see why he was Hanna’s boyfriend. He was the most popular boy in school. Next to him, his best friend Charlie Olsen seemed like a mouse. Amy liked Charlie. He was a good kid and was brought up well. She would have liked to see Jillyan and Charlie get together if he wasn’t already dating Megan Whitlow. They had broken up for a while, which made Amy wonder why she hadn’t tried setting him up with her sister. She shrugged to herself as she made her way into the kitchen. She had just come back from a doctor’s appointment.
Amy was glad the appointment had gone well. The baby was healthy and growing along. In just a few months, it would be born. She smiled softly to herself as she rubbed her protruding belly. She couldn’t wait to hold her baby in her arms. She already knew the sex of the baby. It was a girl, which Amy was beyond excited about. A little girl of my own! she thought to herself for what seemed like the hundredth time. She had finally chosen a name for her little girl. Madison Rose Evans- Rayburn. Amy had decided to put Shawn’s last name as well, since he was the father’s child. Puttering around the kitchen for a glass of water, Amy couldn’t help but think about Darcy. What would the other girl say once the baby was born? They had been best friends at one point in their lives.
And then you slept with her ex-fiancee. Amy thought to herself with a frown creasing her forehead. It wasn’t like she had planned it to happen. She had felt an attraction to Shawn, she had kept it a secret. She didn’t want to cause any problems between her and Darcy. Amy didn’t know that Shawn was also attracted to her. He had told her without Darcy’s knowledge. He had told her by kissing her. Then, before she could stop it, they were having an affair. Amy had wanted to tell Darcy so bad, but she couldn’t seem to find the courage to. It was no matter, for Darcy found out soon enough. She had come home to find Shawn and Amy in bed, naked. Amy would never forget the look on Darcy’s face as she had walked into the bedroom. It was forever burned into her memory.
That hadn’t been the worst part. Soon enough Darcy had found out that Amy was pregnant with Shawn’s baby. Amy was sure that Darcy was going to kill her. But she didn’t. They had gotten into a few altercations, but things had eventually calmed down between them. Amy had been the one who had saved Darcy and Fallon from Scott, the first killer. It had been ever since then that they had been civil with each other. Amy planned to have Darcy see the baby when it was born. Shawn was the father, and he and Darcy had a past, they had history together. Amy and Darcy’s relationship would probably never go back to what it once was, but maybe this would bring them closer. It would take a while to rebuild the trust they had lost. Amy smiled, thinking back to when times were simpler, when they were best friends.
Darcy had been through a lot lately, and Amy felt bad for her. Her store had burned to the ground, she had been abducted on her wedding day, and her father had been recently killed. She didn’t know how she did it, but Darcy stayed strong. I would have lost my mind by now. Amy thought to herself with a frown. At least her marriage with Campbell was going well. Amy couldn’t help but feel a small pang of jealousy. Darcy had finally gotten married a few weeks earlier. Amy wished she could have gotten married one day. She would have, if Shawn was still alive. She didn’t want to have a child out of wedlock, but that was her fate. A sigh escaped from between her lips as she kept puttering around the kitchen. The phone suddenly rang, stopping Amy in her tracks. She pulled it out and answered the call.
“Hello?” she said.
“Hello, Amy.” came the distorted voice from the other end of the line.
“Hi? Who’s calling?” she asked.
“Someone who’s wondering how your pregnancy is going.” the voice replied with a chuckle.
Amy frowned. “It’s going fine. Who is this?” she asked again.
“Are you sure it’s fine? Because I see a rough time ahead for you.” the voice said.
Amy’s frown deepened. “What are you talking about?” she asked. Something didn’t seem right.
“I’ll be waiting for you to have that baby. And when it’s in the nursery and no one is looking, I’ll take it.” the voice replied ominously.
Amy’s eyes widened in surprise. “You’re going to have to get through me first.” she said, her voice shaking.
The voice on the other end of the line laughed. “You don’t sound so convincing, Amy. Besides, by the time I take that baby, you’ll be dead.” the voice replied.
Amy couldn’t seem to find her voice. It felt as if something was lodged in her throat. She took a deep breath. “Fuck you!” she finally seethed.
The killer chuckled. “So vulgar. Being tough is not your specialty, is it? Remember, you’re just a whore having a cheater’s baby.” the killer replied.
She didn’t know why, but the killer’s words hit her like a fist. Maybe I am a whore. she thought to herself. She sniffled, her eyes stinging. Now was not the time to be crying. “He cared about me.” she said, keeping her voice steady.
“Did he? Or were you just a lay for him? Something for him to come inside?” the killer asked.
Amy let out a cry of disgust. “Leave me alone!” she yelled.
The killer laughed. “Truth hurts, doesn’t it? Shawn isn’t the only one who left you an ugly souvenir. There’s something for you outside.” the killer replied before suddenly hanging up.
Amy put the phone down and before she could stop herself, ran out of the kitchen and through the main foyer. She unlocked the front door and pulled it open, making her way out onto the front porch. That’s when she saw it, her blood running cold. There on the wall of the house was a message scrawled in red. SOON.
A sigh escaped Derek’s lips as he closed and locked the front door behind him. A slight frown played on his face as he made his way down the porch steps. It had been an odd day so far. It had started when he had woken up. Like every morning, Wendy was lying in the bed next to him. But that morning, she wasn’t in her usual mood. He would always cuddle her, and she would always smile and press against him. That morning was different. Instead of smiling, she had a serious glint in her eyes. And when he had pulled her closer, she had pushed away, her back to him. Something was definitely bothering her, and when he had asked her about it, she had just grunted a reply. Derek had gotten out of bed and had made his way out of the bedroom and into the bathroom to take a shower.
As the water poured over him, he wondered what was going on with Wendy. Had something happened? Had he done something wrong? He had thought long and hard about it, but couldn’t find a reason as to why she was being so cold towards him. Maybe it’s that time of the month. he had thought to himself as he had stepped out of the shower. He got dressed and had made his way back into the bedroom. Wendy was still in bed, her eyes closed. He thought it would be better to just let her be. He had made his way downstairs into the kitchen. He had found Sasha already sitting at the counter, a fresh pot of coffee in front of her. He had poured himself a cup, making small talk with his housemate. Eventually, he couldn’t hold it in much longer. He had asked Sasha if she knew why Wendy was mad at him.
She had shrugged in reply. She had no idea. Wendy hadn’t said anything to her. Which Derek found odd, when Wendy had something to say, she would say it. She didn’t really have a filter and spoke what was on her mind. After finishing his coffee, Derek had made his way into the study. He had loaded up the computer and had gone online when something told him to check his internet history. He did, and came across some interesting entries. He had looked at Fallon’s social media profile once, and saw that it had been looked at again. Derek had frowned. Had Wendy come across it while she was using his computer? Was that why she was in a bad mood? He didn’t think there was anything wrong with that. He was just curious about Fallon. He knew her, but not that well. He thought she was interesting.
Derek had to get out of the house. With Wendy still upstairs, he made his way down the walkway and over to the sidewalk. He didn’t have a real destination in mind as he headed away from the house. As he walked, he couldn’t help but think of Fallon. She had a run-in with the killer. Derek had about it from Isabel, who had heard it from Darcy. The killer had been hiding in the backseat of the car as Fallon had gotten into it. Before she could have started the car, the killer had pounced, wrapping his hands around her neck, trying to strangle her to death. Fallon had been lucky, with some quick thinking, she had been able to escape. She was shaken up, since the attack she hadn’t really been out and about. Derek hadn’t had a chance to check up on her, which he planned to do sometime soon.
Derek snapped out of his thoughts as he heard the hustle and bustle around him. He looked around, surprised to find himself in downtown West Valley. He stopped to look at the newsstand on the sidewalk. SEARCH FOR BRANDON COVINGTON CONTINUES! read the headline. Derek shook his head. Brandon had been missing for five years, they would have found him by now. Derek didn’t know whether to believe it was Brandon doing the killings. It was a possibility, but it could have also been someone else. What if the killer is someone I know? It wouldn’t be the first time. Derek thought to himself with with a frown. Scott Emerson had been a friend of his. He was shocked when he had found out he was the killer. Derek had trusted Scott with his life, which now didn’t seem like a good idea.
Scott’s long gone. Derek thought to himself as he stepped aside to let a woman pushing a baby in a stroller get by. He passed by Darcy’s store. He heard there was some kind of fashion show being planned. He had thought Wendy would have signed up to be in it, but she hadn’t. Derek planned on attending either way. It was nice when the town came together as a community to plan a special occasion. He kept walking along until he stopped in front of Surge. He looked up at the building. It had been a while since he had last been. Shrugging his shoulders he made his way over to the doors, pulling them open and stepping inside the club. “Vibe” by Jojo blared out from the speakers in different corners of the large main room. He waved to Christy Whitlow who stood by the bar talking to the one of the bartenders.
Seeing Christy there, Derek assumed Ellie had the day off. Everyone knew Ellie and liked her, even if she could be a little extreme sometimes. She had done a great job with the club. It was open all day and brought in a lot of business. Derek made his way over to the couches, sitting down and making himself comfortable. It was too early for a drink, so when a bartender passed by, he ordered a soda. He nodded his head to the music as he waited for his drink to arrive. He scanned his surroundings. There were some familiar faces and some strangers. Christy came up to him and they spoke for a few minutes before Derek got his drink. He took a sip from his soda, his mind drifting back to Wendy. He hoped she would be in a better mood when he got back home.
Suddenly, someone sat down next to him. He looked over and saw it was Wendy herself. Derek blinked, thinking he was seeing things. “Wendy?” he said.
“Were you expecting someone else?” she asked, arching an eyebrow. She still seemed to be in a bad mood.
“Someone else? Like who?” he asked.
“You tell me.” Wendy replied, her glare like ice.
“What’s up with you today?” Derek asked with concern.
“Do you really want to know?” she asked.
“Something is clearly bothering you, so yeah.” Derek replied.
“I know about your little infatuation with Fallon.” Wendy explained.
“So it WAS you who looked at my internet history.” Derek said.
“Yeah. Did you think you could hide it from me?” she asked.
“There’s nothing going on between me and Fallon, I swear.” he told her.
“Not yet.” she said.
“How can I prove it to you? Do you want to go talk to her?” Derek asked.
“You know what, that’s a good idea.” Wendy said as she got to her feet.
“I hope you’re gonna go easy on her. Considering her attack.” Derek said as he also got to his feet.
“Aww are you worried about her well-being?” Wendy said in mock sadness.
“Wendy, come on. She could have been killed.” he replied with a frown.
“Sorry, sorry.” Wendy said.
“Let’s go.” Derek said as he lead the way.
“Your damsel in distress awaits.” Wendy muttered under her breath before she followed after him.
Dusk. It was as if the night sky had eagerly awaited to devour what was left of the sunlight. A sole light from an upstairs window in the Downs’ residence broke the darkness outside. A figure passed by the window, a silhouette from inside that certain room. In her bedroom, Beth stood admiring herself in the mirror. She was dressed for a night out. Soon, she would be headed over to Surge. She didn’t mind that she was going alone. Preston had gone off somewhere, Beth wasn’t exactly sure where. He had shouted to her from outside the bathroom while she had been in the shower. By the time she had walked out of the bathroom, the house was empty. And quiet. Making her way to her bedroom, Beth had turned on her stereo, breaking the uncomfortable silence that seemed to cling around the house.
Not bad. Beth thought to herself as she turned one way, and then turned the other. With one last glance in the mirror, she made her way out of the bedroom and into the upstairs hallway. She hummed softly to herself as she made her way over to the stairs and descended them to the main floor of the house. She made her way into the living room, going to get her purse. First, she needed a cigarette. She hadn’t had one all day and she was craving for one. She reached into her purse and pulled out a gold case. She opened it and pulled out a thin cigarette before closing the case and putting it back in her purse. She pulled out a lighter, making her way out of the living room and over to the back door. She flicked on the back lights as she unlocked the door and pulled it open.
Beth stepped out onto the back porch. She flicked the lighter, the flame coming alive as she brought it to the end of the cigarette. She brought it to her mouth and sucked in a breath, letting the smoke escape from between her lips. She leaned against the wall of the house, taking in her surroundings. It was a warm night with a gentle breeze that ruffled the bushes nearby. A crescent moon hung low in the black sky, almost as if she could reach out and touch it. A small smile played on her lips as she took another haul from the cigarette. Preston didn’t smoke, and he hated it when Beth smoked around him. God forbid she would smoke in the house, he would probably kick her out. Beth let out a small chuckle as she brought the cigarette to her lips once more. Somewhere off in the distance, she heard a car door slam.
She flicked her cigarette, sparks of ash tumbling down to the concrete. Beth took another haul and then dropped the cigarette. She stomped on it with her shoe, putting it out. She turned, making her way back inside the house as she closed the door behind her. She locked it and made her way back to the living room to grab her purse. She slung it over her shoulder and made her way to the front door. Pulling out her keys as she stepped out onto the front porch, closing and locking the door behind her. She had taken a few steps down the walkway when she saw that the car was no longer in the driveway. Shit. Preston. she thought to herself with a frown. She had planned on driving to Surge but Preston had taken the car. Maybe that’s what he had shouted when she had been in the shower earlier.
For a moment, she considered calling a taxi. Screw it. she thought to herself as she made her way down the walkway to the sidewalk. She’d walk to Surge, it wasn’t that far. Her heels clicked on the sidewalk as she made her way towards downtown. She tucked her hair behind her ear, her earrings catching the light of the street lamp above. She didn’t think of anything in particular as she walked. She focused on her surroundings, her eyes scanning for any kind of danger that could have been lurking in the shadows. She didn’t feel necessarily afraid. She felt.. uneasy. She knew what could have been hiding in the thick shadows that seemed to dance around her. Beth cleared her throat, clutching her purse closer to her. Inside her purse was also a can of pepper spray, ready to be used.
If I run into the killer, they’re getting the whole can used on them. Beth thought to herself, her lips a narrow slit in her face. She kept walking towards her destination. On the sidewalk, she stepped around a tricycle that had been left out. It seemed like the child had that been playing with it had been whisked away inside. It was safer for everyone to be behind the safety of the walls of their house. But even that wasn’t guaranteed. The killer could easily sneak into any house they wanted. Beth looked behind her. The sidewalk remained empty. With a soft sigh of relief she kept walking. A few moments later she could see the lights of downtown up ahead. She felt slightly better, walking past the empty playground. As she walked by an alleyway, she heard a noise. Beth couldn’t help but stop in her tracks.
A mangy looking cat ran out from the darkness of the alley. Beth rolled her eyes in response. She kept moving, walking past Darcy’s new store. The lights were still on inside, it was still open. Tossing her hair back, Beth made her way down the sidewalk until she stood in front of Surge. She had made it with no problem. A small smile of contempt played on her lips as she headed for the doors. Pulling them open, she stepped inside, letting the doors close behind her. She looked around. There weren’t many people right at that moment, but she was sure that was going to change. Surge was the place to be in West Valley. She didn’t know who was working that night, she didn’t see Ellie or Christy at that moment. So she made her way over to the bar, sliding down onto a stool as a bartender came over to her.
“What’ll it be?” he asked.
“Umm… Give me a glass of your finest pink champagne.” Beth replied.
The bartender nodded and hurried to make her drink. Beth looked around, tapping her nails on the bar top. She might as well enjoy herself before it got chaotic in there.
“Thanks.” she replied when the bartender brought her drink. She brought the glass to her lips, taking a sip. Soon, the glass in front of her was empty. Beth got to her feet, making her way across the floor. She waved at Ellie, who had suddenly appeared behind the bar. Ellie waved back and turned away, talking to the bartender.
“Hey, Beth!” a voice called out.
Beth turned to see Isabel walking towards her, a wide smile on her face. “Hey! I thought I recognized your voice.” Beth replied.
“You didn’t tell me you were going to be here!” Isabel replied.
Beth shrugged sheepishly. “I decided last minute.” she explained.
Isabel nodded, looking her over. “You look amazing! Is that a new dress?” she asked.
“Fairly new. Don’t tell Darcy, I didn’t buy it at her store.” Beth replied with a chuckle.
Isabel laughed. “Your secret is safe with me!” she said.
“So, are you here with someone?” Beth asked, looking around.
“No, unfortunately I’m just passing through. I’m going to meet Hayley.” Isabel explained.
“Oh, alright. Tell her I said hi.” Beth replied.
“I will! Have fun!” Isabel replied, giving her a quick hug before hurrying away.
A soft smile played on Beth’s lips as she turned and headed for the women’s restroom. She stopped when she saw a bartender putting down an OUT OF ORDER sign in front of the door. “Is this going to take long?” she asked, rolling her eyes.
“Clogged toilet. You can use the one upstairs.” the bartender told her.
She gave him a look of annoyance. “Fine.” she said.
She turned and headed across the floor. She hoped there was no lineup. She made her way over to the stairs and ascended them to the second floor. It was dimly lit, and Beth could hear the muffled music coming from below. There was no one else up there. She made her way to the restroom and pulled the door open, stepping inside. The door closed behind her. All was silent for a few minutes until there was a flush from the toilet. After washing her hands, Beth exited from the washroom. But instead of heading back downstairs, something told her to stay where she was. A small frown played on her pretty face as she took a few steps towards the door that was labeled OFFICE. She didn’t know why, but she found herself pushing open the door and stepping inside the dark room.
She flicked on the lights. This must be Ellie’s office. she thought to herself. She closed the door behind her. She wasn’t sure what she was doing. She took a few steps and then stopped in her tracks. She blinked hard. Once, twice. On the floor was a bag. She didn’t know who it belonged to. All Beth knew was that it was open and it was stuffed with money! She took a few steps closer to get a better look. It was money, a lot of it. With a quick look Beth figured there was about fifteen thousand dollars there. Did it belong to Ellie? Did it belong to Christy? Who had just left it there like that out in the open? Beth couldn’t keep her eyes off the bag. She took another glance around the room. There didn’t seem to be any cameras there. Biting down on her lip, Beth leaned over and picked up the bag.
With her eyes darting nervously in her head, she closed the bag and made her way out of the office, closing the lights behind her. She made her way to the top of the landing and waited. Expecting someone to come up the stairs. But no one did. Taking a deep breath, Beth hurried down the stairs and reached the main floor of the club. No one was paying any attention to her. Not even Ellie, who was walking off into the back storage room. Beth hurried to the exit, pushing the door open and stepping outside. With a quick glance behind her, clutching the bag of money, she ran off into the night.
Darcy rolled her neck, letting out a soft sigh. She stood up from her seat, glancing at the clock. It’s almost eleven! she thought to herself in surprise. The time had gone by quickly. After closing the store, she had gone into the office to do some paperwork. There was a lot of it waiting for her on her desk. She had sat down, promising herself she would only look through some of them. Most of them could have waited until the next day. Instead, she had gone through all of them, losing track of time. She put her papers aside, making her way out of the office and into the store. It was dark in the main room, and it sent a shiver of fear down Darcy’s spine. She was alone, Jane had left earlier on in the evening. Darcy wished she could have done that and have Jane be at the store alone hours after it had closed.
Maybe one day. Darcy thought to herself as she pulled open the door and stepped outside. She closed and locked the door safely behind her. She took a glance down the street. It was empty. However she could hear the music coming from Surge just a few doors down. Darcy made her way over to the curb where her car was parked. She got into the driver side, closing the door and putting on her seatbelt before turning the engine on. It roared to life, a small smile on Darcy’s lips as she pulled the car away from the curb. She drove in silence, not bothering to turn on the radio. It was just a few blocks to home, and a few minutes later she was parking the car in front of the house. She got out, the car alarm system chirping in response as she made her way towards the house.
The outdoor lights were on, the house looked welcoming and cozy. Humming softly to herself, Darcy unlocked the front door and pulled it open. She stepped inside, closing the door behind her. She listened, the house was quiet. She knew at this hour, her mother was already sleeping in the guest room. Where’s Campbell? Darcy thought to herself as she made her way into the kitchen. Her eyes looked over at the fridge. There was a note there. She went over to get a closer look. A note from Campbell, saying he had to hurry to work at last minute. Something about an alarm going off, and he was the only one with the code for it. He said he would be back in maximum twenty minutes. Darcy rolled her eyes, wondering why he hadn’t just texted her to tell her.
She shook her head, opening the fridge. Even though Campbell was the best thing that happened to her, he could also be a flake sometimes. Darcy pulled out a pitcher of peach juice, puttering around the kitchen to grab a glass. After finding one, she stood by the counter, the glass in her hand as she took a sip. She went into one of the cupboards, pulling out a box of mashed potatoes. She was hungry, she hadn’t eaten since lunchtime. She placed the box down on the counter, taking another sip from her glass. Her mind wandered, thinking about the fashion show that was coming up in the next few days. There was still a lot to do. However, Darcy was excited about it. She couldn’t wait to see the models wearing her designs! A small smile played on her lips as she turned and put the empty glass in the sink.
That’s when she heard the footsteps. She looked up towards the ceiling. Someone was walking upstairs. Is mom awake? Darcy thought to herself. She made her way out of the kitchen and into the main entryway of the house. She looked up the stairs. She called out to her mother. No reply. With a sigh, Darcy made her way up the stairs to the second floor landing. She called out to her mother again. Still no reply. She made her way over to the bedroom door. It was closed. Darcy reached out and grabbed the doorknob. She turned it and pushed the door open. The bedroom was dark. She could see her mother lying in the bed. It took Darcy a moment to register what she was seeing. There was a shadowy figure looming over her mother, strangling her! Darcy’s eyes widened in surprise as she took a step back.
“Mom!” she screamed.
It was the killer, trying to strangle her mother while she slept. Before Darcy could stop herself, she was running into the room. The killer turned to face her. Darcy was quick, grabbing the lamp off the night table. She swung it with all her might, aiming at the killer’s head. It connected with the shatter of glass. Holding the broken lamp frame in her hand, Darcy went to swing again. She was seized by the wrist and then punched hard across the face. She fell backwards onto the bedroom floor. The killer swooped down towards her. Darcy was quick, through the haze of pain, she kicked out with her foot. It caught the killer in the stomach, making them stumble backwards. That’s all Darcy needed, she was up on her feet in a flash. A quick look over to her mother revealed she was still alive.
But she snapped back to attention when the killer’s knife came swooping down towards her. Darcy lunged to the left, the blade missing her exposed back by inches. Darcy slammed against the dresser, kicking out with her foot again. This time it sent the killer flying back over the corner of the bed, hitting the floor with a thud. Darcy ran, right out of the guest room. She had to get the killer away from her mother. And it worked, she could hear the killer right behind her, giving chase. A scream tore from her throat, she couldn’t help it. She ducked into her bedroom, slamming the door in the killer’s face. They went careening backwards into the hall, as Darcy slammed the bedroom door shut. She locked it, giving herself some time. There was banging from out in the hall, the killer was trying to get in.
Darcy’s wide eyes glanced over to the mirror. She looked at her reflection. Her eyes wide in horror, her chest heaving in deep breaths. More banging from the other side of the door. If she didn’t think quickly, the killer would be getting in. The door splintered as Darcy raced over to her dresser. She pulled open the bottom drawer and pulled out a shiny black object. A gun. She turned, just as the door splintered off the frame, and the killer was in the room. The killer slid to a stop when they saw the gun in Darcy’s hand.
“You lose…fucker.” she seethed, aiming the gun and pulling the trigger.
The blast of the shot sent Darcy staggering. The bullet ripped into the wall, missing the killer by inches. The killer turned and raced away down the stairs. Darcy dropped the gun, her ears ringing as she chased after them. The front door was thrown open as the killer raced off into the night. Hurrying down the stairs, Darcy watched the killer blend into the dark shadows, disappearing. Darcy stared off into space, her mind going blank. She felt blood dripping from her nose where the killer had punched her. Did that really just happen? she thought to herself. She snapped back to attention when she heard her mother calling for her from upstairs. She was glad her mother was alright. She closed the front door, locking it as she turned and hurried up the stairs.
Julie told Megan to close and lock the door as she headed down the walkway towards the street. At the curb, Aiden sat inside his car, waiting for her older sister. He waved to Megan, who waved back from the doorway. She liked Aiden, he was a good guy and he made Julie happy. Megan was happy for her sister. She had a few dates, but nothing as serious as the relationship she was in now. For a brief moment, Megan wondered if her father would have liked Aiden. Her mother sure did. Christy had gone out with Stephanie Workman. She had two tickets to an art show, and she had invited Christy to go along. That meant that Hanna was stuck at home babysitting Quintin. They had spoken on the phone earlier, Megan listening to Hanna complain about being stuck in the house for the night.
Megan stepped inside, closing and locking the front door behind her. She thought back to the conversation she had had with Hanna. Her friend was still grieving over the death of Paul. Megan still couldn’t believe it, couldn’t seem to wrap her head around it. What did the killer have against Paul? she thought to herself as she made her way into the living room. Maybe it was just a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Why did Hanna and Paul think it was such a good idea to sneak out in the middle of the night when there was a killer on the loose? The two teenagers knew, they had seen how many people had fallen victim to the West Valley killer. People they personally knew, some being their close friends. Megan knew those people as well, they were her schoolmates.
She sat down on the couch. She pulled out her phone and looked down at the time. It was a bit after eleven. A slight frown creased on Megan’s pretty face as she opened up her text messages and quickly typed something out, pressing send. The phone chirped in response as she put it down next to her, grabbing the remote and turning on the television. She flicked through a few channels before stopping on a musical. She gazed down at her phone beside her, the screen remained dark. She focused her attention back on the television screen as she waited for a reply. She had text Charlie, asking him if he was on his way. Once she had found out she would have the house to herself for the night, she had text Charlie to let him know. She had asked him to come over, which he had agreed.
I hope he didn’t forget. Megan thought to herself. Suddenly, her phone screen lit up. With a smile, she grabbed it and read the message. It was from Charlie, he was on his way. Megan would feel better once she had some company. She didn’t feel like being alone at that particular moment. Maybe she and Charlie would even get intimate, since no one was home. She had gotten somewhat dressed up for the occasion, she had thrown on something casual, but it looked great on her. The makeover she had gotten had worked out for her. Still smiling, she replied to Charlie’s message before putting the phone down and turning her attention back to the musical. A few minutes passed before she snapped back to attention by the ringing of her phone. She picked it up and answered.
“Hello?” she said, turning on the speaker.
“It’s me.” said Charlie from the other end of the line.
“Are you on your way?” she asked him.
“I’m walking over as we speak.” he replied.
“Did you, um…bring protection?” she asked him.
He laughed. “I sure did.” he said.
“Well hurry up and get over here. My mom will probably be back in an hour or so.” Megan replied, looking at the time on her telephone screen.
“I’m on my w..” Charlie faded out.
“Charlie? Hello?” Megan said, listening to the silence on the other end of the phone.
“Damn piece of shit cell reception. I need a new phone. Anyway, I’ll be there in two minutes.” Charlie replied.
Megan rolled her eyes in annoyance. “I’m waiting for you.” she replied before hanging up the phone.
She stood up from the couch, turning the television off. She hurried out of the living room and over to the bathroom on the main floor of the house. She looked at her reflection in the mirror. Charlie is going to ravage me. she thought to herself with a small smile playing on her lips. Suddenly, the silence of the house was broken by the sound of the doorbell ringing. Still smiling, Megan made her way out of the bathroom and over to the front door. She pulled it open. There was no one there on the front porch. A frown creased her forehead as Megan stepped through the doorway and onto the porch. She looked around. There was no sign of Charlie either. For a moment, she thought he was playing a joke on her.
“Charlie?” she called out.
There was no reply. Megan took a few steps forward. “Now’s not the time for jokes. Time’s a wasting!” she called out again. No reply except for the soft breeze that ruffled the tree leaves.
“Charlie?” she called out again as she took a few more steps.
Something caught her eye, just beyond her line of vision. With another step closer, Megan turned. And then suddenly she stopped dead in her tracks. Her eyes widening in fear. Her hand clapped over her mouth. Still a soft cry of surprise escaped from her lips. A few feet away, hanging from a low tree branch, was Charlie. Or what was left of him. He had been gutted, his stomach a mass of blood and gore and viscera that flopped downwards towards the grass, staining it red. His eyes were wide open, unblinking and wide in fear, staring off into the distance somewhere over Megan’s shoulder. Something slowly oozed out from the gaping wound, coiling slowly on the ground. It took Megan a moment to realize it was part of his intestine escaping from his stomach.
“NOOOOOO!” Megan screamed in horror, staring at Charlie’s dead body that swayed softly in the breeze.