It was a humid, muggy night. A full moon peeked out from behind clouds that threatened to bring rain. The only sound breaking the silence of the night was the chirping of crickets. The town of West Valley was asleep. Everyone was safe and sound inside the four walls of their own homes. Yet, there was something out there in the night. More specifically, someone. Their presence lingered heavy over the town, as if waiting to strike like a hunter to it’s prey. A shadowy figure dressed in a black hooded cloak, their face obscured. He, or she, was out there somewhere, waiting for the next opportunity to strike. It had been a week of silence. Whoever the killer was, they were laying low for the time being. The latest victim had been Gwen Tiller, a friendly girl that everyone in town knew.
The darkness of the Olsen house was suddenly broken with the kitchen light turning on. With a sigh, Dawn Olsen headed across the kitchen, pulling a glass out of the cupboard. She coughed, her throat dry as she made her way over to the sink. Turning the faucet on and filling her glass with water. She glanced at the clock on the stove. It was a little past two in the morning. Everyone else in the house was sleeping. Only Dawn couldn’t sleep. The house was too hot and she had found herself tossing and turning in bed. There was also a lot going through her mind. Thoughts of death and chaos. Thoughts of her son Charlie. Thoughts of Gwen Tiller. Both had been murdered within days of each other. She missed Charlie so much, it hurt. A dull aching pain that spread from her heart all through her body.
She wished she had been killed instead of Charlie. He was just a teenager. He had so much more of life to experience. He would never graduate from high school, which would have been the following year. He never would have gone off to college. He would never marry Megan, if they lasted that long. Dawn took another sip from her glass, trying to push the troubled thoughts out of her head. She was trying to be strong for her family. She was trying to keep them from falling apart. It was hard to do when she felt like falling apart herself. To just shut off any emotions and go through life numb. Or to pack everything up and move away from West Valley. To start a new life in another town where no one knew who the Olsen’s were.
But no, West Valley was her home, and no one, not even a killer was going to force her out. If I catch the killer, I won’t have to think about leaving town. Dawn thought to herself as she took one last sip from her glass of water. She put it down in the sink. She would take care of it later on during the day. The murders had started because of Brandon Covington. And because what her mother, Regina Olsen, had done twenty years ago. How was Dawn supposed to know that her mother had an affair with Brandon’s father? That it had affected him so badly he had turned to murder? Dawn couldn’t have known. Her mother’s secrets had been hidden very well. It had been by chance that Dawn had discovered what was going on. But by that time it had been too late.
People had already began to die by the time she had discovered the truth. The Olsen family had already been targeted once she had found the letters from Stuart Covington to her mother. Regina had been the first Olsen to die. Dawn had found her decapitated in her bedroom. It was an image that was forever burned into her mind. An icy cold shiver of fear snaked down Dawn’s back as she thought about it. With a sigh, she made her way out of the kitchen, closing the light as she exited. She was making her way down the hallway when she heard a noise. She stopped in her tracks, listening carefully. A loud thumping sound, over and over. It was coming from behind a closed bedroom door. The one she was standing right outside of. She gripped the doorknob, turned and pushed the door open, entering the bedroom.
Dawn closed the bedroom door behind her as her eyes adjusted to the darkness around her. It took her a moment to realize she was in Charlie’s bedroom. It was the exact way he had left it. She couldn’t find the courage to touch anything. She had spent many hours in that room, silently taking everything in. She reached over and flicked the light switch. Nothing happened. The room stayed dark. With a deep frown, she flicked the switch a few more times. Still nothing. The only source of light was from the moon outside the window. Yet it didn’t touch some corners of Charlie’s room. Dawn moved over to the lamp on the night table. Tried that. Still nothing. She sucked in a gasp as another loud thump sounded, this time from somewhere in the room behind her.
She turned around slowly to face the source of the noise. She opened her mouth to call out, yet couldn’t find her voice. The darkness seemed to be closing in around her. She turned towards the direction of the window, only it had become so dark in the room, she could no longer see it. Or the door, for that matter. Panic swelled inside Dawn. Another loud thump, this time, it seemed like it was getting closer. She wanted to call out again, to scream, but her lips wouldn’t cooperate. They remained shut as her eyes widened in fear. There was something in the darkness, she could sense it. Another presence besides her own. She hoped it was her younger son Finn. Or her sister-in-law Claire, or her brother Michael. But no, as the shadows parted, she saw who it was.
It was her son, Charlie. He seemed alive and well. He was no longer mutilated. The only thing Dawn found a bit odd was the black circles around his eyes. Other than that, he seemed perfectly normal. The way she remembered him. He smiled at her, flashing a row of pearly white teeth. She wanted to say something, to tell him she missed him, yet she couldn’t yet open her mouth. She moved to him, wrapping him in a tight hug. He wrapped his arms around her, returning the hug. His body was cold against hers. Cold as death. She flinched and pulled away, breaking the hug. He gazed at her, cocking his head to one side. He opened his mouth to say something, and something fell out from between his lips. It hit the floor with a wet splat. Dawn looked down, a frown on her face.
She looked back up at Charlie. He opened his mouth to say something once more when something else came dropping out from between his lips. Something black and wriggly. Dawn’s eyes widened in fear. Oh my god! No! It can’t be! she thought to herself. She watched in terror as a wave of leeches came pouring out from Charlie’s open mouth. They scurried away in the darkness. Before she could see where they had disappeared to, she felt them. On her head. In her hair. As if in a will of it’s own, her mouth opened wide. The leeches began to slide inside over her tongue and down her throat. Dawn choked on them, grasping her throat, trying to force them out. It did no good. Finally, she let out a scream. By the time she opened her eyes, she found herself standing on the bedroom floor.
She gasped for breath, her eyes taking in her surroundings. She was in her bedroom. She looked over at the bed, at the tangled bed sheets. She realized it had all been a nightmare. Sunshine was pouring into the room from the window. Dawn placed a hand on her chest, trying to calm the pounding of her heart. She looked at the clock on the night table. It was almost nine in the morning. Had anyone heard her? She didn’t think so. She could hear the voices of her family talking downstairs in the kitchen. And she could smell breakfast. Her stomach grumbled hungrily. But before she headed downstairs, she was going to take a shower first. As if she needed to wash away the memories of that horrible nightmare. Grabbing some clothes, she made her way for the en-suite bathroom that connected to her room.
By the time she was done with her shower, she felt much better. The nightmare was just a memory, washed away by the water. Once she was dressed and put on her makeup, she headed down the stairs to the main floor of the house. The smell of breakfast became stronger. I smell bacon. And eggs. she thought to herself with a small smile playing on her lips. Everyone looked up from their plates once she walked into the kitchen. Her plate was ready for her, along with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Finn hopped off his stool to give her a hug. She held him tight against her. He was the only son she had left. She smiled down at him, ruffling his fine white blonde hair. Michael and Claire smiled softly at them from their seats. Dawn sat down, taking a deep breath in.
“Breakfast smells great.” she told them.
“I helped!” Finn exclaimed from across the counter.
“Hmmm. Let me guess! You helped set the plates?” Dawn asked.
“No! I helped make the bacon!” Finn said proudly.
“Wow! That’s a pretty big job!” Dawn replied. She couldn’t help but giggle at the expression on her son’s face. He looked so proud of himself.
“I just wish Charlie was here to see it.” Finn said, looking down.
His words hit Dawn like a ton of bricks. “Me too, kiddo.” she replied softly.
“But he saw me, right? From… wherever he is?” Finn replied with a frown on his face.
“He saw you. And I’m sure he’s proud of you.” she replied.
Finn smiled. “Wanna see what else I helped with?” he asked. Before Dawn could reply, he was off and running.
“Now that we have a moment, what do you suggest we do? About finding Brandon?” Claire asked from her seat.
“I have no idea. But Darcy said she would help us once we get our plan into motion.” Dawn replied.
“Do you think we should go see Shannon Wiles? She had some pretty good insight before. From what I heard.” Claire said.
“That’s a good…” Dawn trailed off as the doorbell rang. “I’ll get it.” she told Claire.
She got out of her seat, making her way out of the kitchen and over to the front door. She pulled it open. On the other side stood a young woman. She was about twenty four years old, Dawn guessed. And she was very pretty, with model good looks. At that moment, she had a worried expression on her face. “Can I help you?” Dawn asked curiously. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but she had a weird feeling.
“I’m looking for Dawn Olsen. I was told she lives here.” the girl said.
“I’m Dawn.” she replied. Who is she? she thought to herself.
“My name is Kendall. Kendall Ford. I’m..well…I’m your sister.” she revealed.
Dawn’s mouth dropped open as she let out a gasp of surprise.
It was the same routine every morning for Beth. She’d wake up, stumble out of bed, and get into the shower until the water waked her up. Then, she’d go to her room and pick out an amazing outfit for the day. Today was a little different. She’d been woken up by the ringing of her alarm clock. She had grumbled, turned it off, and had rolled over in bed. Yet she was wide awake. She had gotten to her feet, and had dragged herself into the bathroom. The cold water of the shower helped, and soon she was dressed and ready for the day. She had headed downstairs to see Preston sitting at the kitchen table. He had been reading something on his phone. Curious, she had asked him what had him in such a pensive mood. He held out his phone to her as she had gotten a closer look.
For a brief moment she thought Preston was going to show her a text message from Alexander. Apparently, they were working things out, which Beth was genuinely happy about. Alexander had caused Preston a lot of grief. What with the video of them being intimate leaking on to the internet. But it wasn’t a text message that Preston was showing her. It was a news article. It took her a moment to process the article was about her! Only no one knew it was her, not even the writer of the article. The article spoke about how a bag of money had gone missing from Surge, the local nightclub. Ellie Jacks and Christy Whitlow, the owners of the club, hadn’t realized the money had gone missing until the day prior. After reading the article, Beth ran upstairs to her room.
She closed the bedroom door behind her. Her heart pounded in her chest. What am I going to do? she asked herself as she paced the length of her bedroom. She had the money. Right there in her room. It was hidden just a few feet away. She couldn’t tell anyone she had taken it. That she had found it upstairs in the office at Surge. It had just been lying there on the floor, in plain sight. Anyone who had gone up there could have taken it. It just so happened to be her. She had seen the money and without a second thought, had snatched it up and had hurried out of the club. No one had seen her. At least she didn’t think so. If someone had, wouldn’t they have come looking for the money? The police would have turned the house upside down by now.
Beth took a step closer to the bedroom door, putting her ear against it. She could hear Preston talking on the phone downstairs. She moved away from the door and made her way across the bedroom floor. She went over to her closet door and pulled it open. It was full of clothes. There was even some clothes on the floor. With an uneasy glance over her shoulder, Beth bent down and moved the clothes aside. Underneath was the bag of money. She pulled it out, stepping away from the closet as she made her way to put it down on the floor. For what seemed like the thirtieth time, she counted the money that was inside. Thousands of dollars. The possibilities of what to do were endless with that kind of money. She could use it to go on a vacation. She could use it as a down payment for her own apartment.
Or better yet, a condo. she thought to herself. She could get out of the suburbs and live downtown. She imagined herself walking into a swanky building, the doorman holding the door open for her. She looked down, nudging the bag of money with her shoe. Could there be a way to return it? She could say she found it in the park while on a walk. No, she didn’t think they would believe her. Ellie would see right through her. And Ellie was not someone you wanted to make mad. Not only did she have a tough look, she also had the attitude to match. And even if Beth were to approach Christy Whitlow, she would go back to Ellie anyway. Beth was stuck, and she didn’t like that. There was also the chance of going to jail if she returned the money. That was definitely not an option.
Beth’s heart leaped inside her chest when there was a knock at her door. She turned, eyes wide in fear. It was Preston on the other side. He didn’t bother entering the room. He just told her he was off to meet with Alexander. Beth called out goodbye, waiting until he left. Once she heard the front door close, she let out a deep sigh of relief. She looked around the room, her eyes once again falling on the closet. It was almost as if a light bulb went on over her head. She had an idea. She hoped it worked. She made her way over to the closet, peered inside before she pulled out a suitcase. She put it down on her bed and went over to grab the bag of money. She brought it over to the suitcase, putting it inside. It fit perfectly at the bottom as she went back to her closet.
She grabbed some clothes, brought them over to the bed and put them in the suitcase. She hurried across the bedroom to her dresser, doing the same. Soon, her suitcase was full. She had to actually sit on it to get it closed. She went over to the bedroom door, pulling it open and listening. Just in case Preston hadn’t really left. She headed downstairs and checked the whole main floor of the house. Good, he’s actually gone. she thought to herself. She felt a pang of guilt as she hurried into the kitchen and found a piece of paper and a pen. She wrote him a note, saying she had to leave suddenly because her mom was sick. She explained she would return as soon as possible. She hoped he would believe her. Once the note was on the fridge, she hurried back upstairs to her bedroom.
She grabbed the suitcase. It was heavy. Yet it didn’t stop her from carrying it down the stairs to the main floor of the house. She grabbed her keys from the hallway table and carried the suitcase over to the front door. She pulled it open and lugged the suitcase outside on to the front porch. She closed and locked the front door behind her as she did so. She scanned her surroundings. No sign of anyone. If there was a perfect time to run, it was now. Beth grabbed the suitcase once more and hurried over to her car. For a brief moment, she thought how lucky she was that Preston hadn’t taken the car. He had most probably walked to town, to wherever he was meeting Alexander. Another pang of guilt hit her. She hoped he wouldn’t be too mad at her. I’ll call him when I get to…wherever it is I’m going. she thought to herself.
Putting the suitcase down by the car, Beth was about to open the trunk when a voice from the sidewalk startled her. She knew that voice. Knew it all too well. She had just been thinking of the other girl. Beth turned around slowly, eyes wide in surprise. Her breath caught in her throat. She coughed.
“Oh hey, Ellie. You came out of nowhere.” she said, trying to act natural. Oh my god, she knows. She knows and she’s going to pull out my ribcage and wear it as a hat! Or she’s just going to kick my ass. Beth thought to herself.
“Didn’t mean to freak you out.” Ellie replied. “I was just walking over to Surge and saw you. With that suitcase. You going somewhere?” she asked curiously.
“Yeah. Family emergency. My mom, she got a hernia. She needs to be operated.” Beth said, thinking of the first thing that came to mind. Her heart thundered in her chest. For a moment, she thought Ellie could hear it.
“That’s no fun. My dad had that. So you’re going to go stay with her?” Ellie asked curiously.
“Yeah. I’m on my way outta here now.” Beth said.
“Well, see you when you get back!” Ellie said with a small wave. Beth watched as she walked away, a serious expression on her face.
She’s thinking about the money. But I don’t think she suspects me. Beth thought with a deep sigh escaping her lips. Once the suitcase was in the trunk of the car, Beth pulled away from the house, tires screeching loudly as she made her getaway.
Julie clicked away on the computer. She was multi-tasking. She had two web pages open. One was for school. She couldn’t believe she had been accepted. She was going back into law once school had started up again. It was soon, university started earlier than high school. On the other web page, she was playing detective. For her mother, Christy. A large sum of money had been stolen from Surge. Someone had gone right into the club’s office and had walked away with thousands of dollars. Neither her mother, or Ellie had known it had gone missing until recently. Julie was pretty computer savvy, she wondered if maybe she could find out who had stolen the money. To do that, she needed to investigate. I am my father’s daughter. she thought to herself.
Her father Harrison had been part of the West Valley police department. Not that it did any good. He had been killed by Scott Emerson, one of the killers. Scott had been killed as well, gunned down by the police inside his own home. Julie remembered that night like it was yesterday. Scott had Fallon and Darcy held captive inside the house, threatening to kill them. The police had arrived just in time before he could kill the two girls, and Scott was shot to death. Julie knew Scott. She had considered him a friend. She had no idea that he was working with Brandon Covington. Right now, she couldn’t think about Brandon. There were more pressing matters at hand, especially when it involved her mother. Julie kept typing, her fingers flying over the keyboard.
She was on the West Valley community website. Maybe someone had seen something. So far, no luck. There was something interesting, that didn’t have to do with the missing money. There was a rumor going around that Joanna Stanton had seen something. To be more precise, someone. Someone dressed in black running through an alleyway downtown. Joanna Stanton was almost ninety percent sure that the figure had been female. Could it have been the person who had stolen the money from Surge? Or could it have been someone far more sinister. Like the killer, for example? Julie thought to herself with a frown creasing her pretty face. The killer could easily be a female as much as it could have been a male. It was very possible that Scott had an accomplice, someone they had yet to catch.
A female accomplice? Very possible. Julie thought to herself as she kept typing. Did anyone else think that was something that could be possible? She typed on the community message board, asking. It wasn’t very long before she got a few answers. A few other people like Ruby Fleming and Owen Biggs thought it could be possible. Campbell Roe, Darcy’s husband pointed out that it would had to have been a pretty strong female, if so. That got Julie’s mind running. What women in town worked out? She sighed, knowing the answer. Almost all of the women in West Valley worked out. Even Julie herself. She would see a lot of them when she went to the gym. She clicked over to the web page about her school. Her school schedule was ready, she hoped she’d still have time to herself.
And time to spend with Aiden. Just thinking about him brought a smile to her lips. He was supposed to be going over later on. Christy was at work, and so was Megan. Julie was still surprised her younger sister was working at the country club. She had taken some time off after Charlie’s death but she had gone back. Julie stood up from the desk, cracking her knuckles. She looked at the time. Megan would be home soon, she would be joining Julie and Aiden for dinner. Julie didn’t mind. She was worried about Megan. Charlie’s death had been hard on her. Considering she was there when he had been killed in their front lawn. Julie went over to the window and peered outside. The yellow crime tape was finally gone.
Julie turned her attention back to the computer when she heard it chirp. She walked back to the desk and sat down. There was an instant message on the screen. Julie frowned, the screen name was UNKNOWN. She got a sense of deja-vu. Hadn’t the same thing happened when they had gotten the video of Sophie Greene’s murder? There was a video file now as well. Almost as if she had no will, she clicked on the video. It was a short one. A point of view shot of a house. Someone was outside the house, watching it. The house was dark, silent. Julie shook her head. She didn’t recognize the house. Who lived there? Someone she knew? But then, right before the video ended, she caught sight of a name on the mailbox. She paused the video quickly, leaning closer to the screen for a better look.
WILES. said the name on the mailbox. Julie’s frown deepened. Why was someone taping the Wiles’ house? And at night? A feeling of unease seemed to tighten around Julie. Who sent the video? Should I take it seriously? she thought to herself. She gazed at the screen, her eyes widening in surprise when the instant message suddenly vanished. She jumped to her feet. What was going on? Had she been hacked? Had the sender of the video put a timer on it? She was puzzled, she had no answer. Instead, she turned off the computer. Julie paced nervously. That’s when the ringing of the doorbell got her attention. The feeling of dread returned. She swallowed hard and made her way over to the front door. Before opening it, she peered out through the glass. A soft smile played on her lips as she recognized the person on the front porch.
“Am I glad you’re here!” Julie said after she opened the front door.
“I know I’m kind of early but I wanted to spend more time with you.” Aiden said with a smile as he stepped through the doorway.
“Well lucky for you, I’m not busy!” Julie replied with a giggle. She leaned in and gave Aiden a kiss.
“Are you the only one home?” he asked, looking around.
“Mom and Megan are both at work. Megan should be home soon though.” Julie replied.
“So that means we have time to… you know?” Aiden said with a wink.
“Umm….Well..Yeah I think we do.” Julie replied with a smirk playing on her lips.
Aiden leaned in close and nibbled on her ear. She let out a soft moan, closing her eyes. A moment later, she opened them. “Not here though, okay? My bedroom.” she told him.
“Right! In case Megan gets home in the next two minutes.” Aiden replied with a chuckle.
Julie lead the way into the bedroom, closing the door behind Aiden. A few minutes passed. A few soft moans and a few giggles came from Julie’s bedroom. A few minutes after that, a key slid into the lock of the front door. The door was pulled open and Megan stepped inside the house. She was dressed in her street clothes, her uniform was kept at work. Her eyes were wide as she closed the front door. Julie’s bedroom door opened and she stuck her head out, looking at her younger sister. The bedroom door was pulled open further and Aiden also leaned out. Lucky for Megan, they were both dressed. They stepped out into the living room, smirking at each other. Megan didn’t seem to notice the looks they were giving each other. Her eyes shined with excitement as she looked over at them.
“You’ll never BELIEVE what I heard!” Megan said, looking from Julie to Aiden.
“I’ve never seen her this hyper before.” Aiden said to Julie.
“Let me guess, someone left you a hundred dollar tip?” Julie said to Megan.
“No! Although I wish! No, this isn’t about me!” Megan explained.
“Then what is this about? Me and your sister?” Aiden asked with a chuckle.
“No! It’s about the Wiles’ family! You know them, right?” Megan exclaimed.
“What about them?” Julie asked softly. She felt as if all the air in the room had gone out.
“Didn’t you see the news?! They’re dead! The whole family! Emma, her husband and their son. Someone broke into their house last night and butchered them all while they were sleeping!” Megan explained, her eyes shining in excitement.
Unlike Julie, Olivia had seen the news. She had been watching it earlier on that day when the report about the Wiles’ family came on. She had listened in grim fascination as the reporter on the screen had explained what had happened. There had been an intruder who was able to get inside the house by cutting the alarm system. Which hadn’t been on, either way. But the signal had been scrambled, somehow. The alarm company had thought everything had been fine. But no, in just a few short minutes, the Wiles’ family was dead. The reporter had said he hadn’t seen anything like it. He had seen some kind of horror, Olivia could see it on his face. That makes two of us. Olivia thought as she stepped out from her own house. She closed and locked the front door as she did so.
Just a week ago, she had seen Gwen’s dead body. She had rushed backstage when she had heard the screams. She wish she hadn’t. She had found Darcy screaming her head off, and Gwen dead on the floor by the girl’s feet. Olivia had let out a loud gasp as she took in what had happened. Gwen had been impaled by some kind of pole or rod. It was stabbed into her back, bright red crimson pouring onto the floor around her. It wasn’t the first time Olivia had seen a dead body. But it had been a while. She had turned away from the grisly sight, feeling like she was going to be sick. She got out of there by running through the banquet hall until she was pushing the doors open and stepping outside. As much as she would have liked to leave, she had to stay.
The police had arrived quickly and they interrogated everyone. Including Olivia herself. But once they were done, she had hopped into her car and zoomed home as fast as she could. The fact that police were around made her nervous. She didn’t want to bring attention to herself. Especially now that the copy of the proof that she had framed her own husband was missing. She was worried the police would catch on. She was sitting on pins and needles, as if she was expecting the police to break down the door to her home at any second. That’s why at that particular moment, she wanted to get out of the house. She decided she was going to head over to the country club. Stephanie Workman was already there that day. Olivia hadn’t seen her since the fashion show.
With her keys jingling in her hand, Olivia made her way over to her car. She unlocked the driver side door, pulling it open and sliding into the soft leather interior. She closed the door, putting on her seatbelt as she stuck the key in the ignition. The engine roared to life. She pulled the sun visor down, looking at her reflection in the mirror. As always, she looked flawless. But there was a worry in her gaze. I can’t get caught. I’ll go to jail. she thought to herself. She pushed the sun visor up and fiddled with the sound system until she found a song she liked. “Juice” by Lizzo. That song always put her in a good mood. She turned up the volume, driving through the streets of West Valley as she sang along to the music.
A few minutes later, she was stepping onto the curb in front of the country club. The valet attendant had gone to park her car. Olivia was very well known at the club. She hadn’t been in quite some time, but now she was back. People scattered when Olivia walked in, no one wanted to get in her way. They’re peasants anyway. she thought to herself with a small giggle escaping her lips. She made her way inside, her eyes scanning her surroundings. She didn’t see Stephanie. She frowned. She didn’t even see the Whitlow girl. It took her a moment to remember the girl’s name, Megan. A bus boy came to up to her with a tray of drinks and handed her a gin soda on the rocks. She took the glass and shooed him away with a flick of her wrist.
They even know what I like to drink. Olivia thought to herself with a smirk. She looked towards the pool. There were people inside, having fun. For a brief moment she thought of going in, her swimsuit was in her locker. But no, she decided against it. It was too crowded and there were little children in there. All she needed was for one of them to pee in the pool when she was in there. She rolled her eyes in annoyance and made her way towards a lawn chair. She sat down, wincing at the sound of the children playing in the pool. It was like nails on a chalkboard. Olivia rubbed the ridge of her nose, a sigh escaping from between her lips as she did so. She fought back the urge to get up and confront their parents. Surely, her own daughter Skye was not that annoying when she was a child?
If Skye was alive and there at that moment, she would have done something to have the pool emptied out. Olivia couldn’t help it, just the thought of it brought a smile to her face. She tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear and looked around. Was Stephanie inside? Surely she wouldn’t make her wait like this. If she knows what’s good for her. Olivia thought with a chuckle. She noticed Naomi Givens walking around in a bikini that seemed painted on. The other girl noticed her and waved. Olivia raised her glass in salute. She couldn’t stand Naomi. With her lithe body and blonde hair, she thought she was god’s gift to men. Somehow she had snagged Warren Biggs, who didn’t seem like her type at all. Olivia shrugged to herself, not everyone had good taste.
A drop of water hit Olivia on the arm. She was about to jump to her feet and charge towards the pool when someone sat down across from her. She looked at the teenage girl smiling at her.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, cocking her head to the side as she regarded Hanna.
“Nice to see you too, Olivia.” Hanna said with a smirk.
“Ummm…that’s Mrs. Cosgrove. And where is your mother?” Olivia asked, looking around.
“She left already.” Hanna said with a frown.
“Left? But she was supposed to meet me here!” Olivia replied, huffing.
“She had to make an early exit. She has a date to get ready for!” Hanna explained.
“A DATE? She didn’t tell me anything about that. That hussy!” Olivia exclaimed.
“Maybe she didn’t think it was any of your business.” Hanna replied with a shrug.
“My, my, Hanna. Did you grow a backbone since my daughter died? You never spoke to me like that before.” Olivia hissed.
“That’s because since your daughter died, you’ve been acting like you own this damn town. You’re back to your vindictive ways, I see.” Hanna replied. She got to her feet and stalked away.
“I’m going to call your mother!” Olivia yelled after her.
She cleared her throat, realizing people were staring at her. She downed the last of her drink and stood up. She left her glass on the table, someone would pick it up. She frowned, noticing there were more people who were looking her way and whispering among themselves. Suddenly, Olivia felt very self conscious. As she turned to walk away, she was suddenly grabbed hard by the forearm.
“OW! Get your hands off me! What…” she broke free, trailing off when she noticed who had grabbed her. She took in the blue suit, the gun at his holster. A police officer. And behind him, at least four more.
“Olivia Cosgrove?” the policeman asked.
“Yes? I’m Olivia…What’s going… on?” she asked, her voice trembling. But she had a feeling she already knew the answer.
“Come with us please.” the police officer said simply.
“But what is this about?” she asked. She looked around. All eyes were on her.
“You’re under arrest for tax evasion and for withholding evidence.” the police man said as he handcuffed her. Before she could utter a word, she was hauled away.
Stephanie couldn’t believe she had a date. At first, she had thought she had heard wrong when her coworker, Mitchell, had asked her. She was sitting at her computer when he leaned in against her cubicle and asked her to get some dinner later on that evening. Stephanie had looked up at him like he had said something to her in japanese. Until he repeated himself again. Her mouth had dropped open in surprise before she calmed herself, laughing like it was no big deal. She had accepted. She hadn’t been on a date in ages. The last person she dated was Frankie, her husband. That seemed like such a long time ago. Even though he was dead, she still missed him. Maybe it was loneliness, or maybe she wanted to get to know Mitchell more.
After work she had ran to the hair salon. She needed a change. She wanted to look good for the date. So she got a trim and dyed her hair a darker shade of brown. By the time Stephanie walked out of the salon, she felt like a million dollars. And she looked it too. People turned their heads to look at her as they passed her on the sidewalk. She had giggled to herself. She wasn’t used to thank kind of attention. Her next stop had been the country club. Hanna was there, and Olivia had said she was going to pass by. Stephanie didn’t stay long. Maybe it was because Olivia was running late, again. I swear she needs to leave her house two hours early to get anywhere on time. Stephanie thought to herself with a frown as she puttered around the kitchen. She had waited twenty minutes at the country club before she had to leave.
She had to get home and get dressed for the date. She couldn’t wait for Olivia to show up whenever she wanted. So Stephanie drove home, parked the car and raced inside. As she went up to her bedroom and looked for something to wear, she realized she was excited. She was quick to find an outfit and headed to take a shower. She sang while she was under the water. Once she was done, she had got dressed, did her makeup to perfection. She had smiled at herself in the mirror. She checked the time, she had about half an hour to kill before Mitchell was coming to pick her up. So she headed downstairs and into the kitchen. Even though she was going out, she still had to make dinner for Hanna and Quintin. Something easy and quick to make. The first thing that came to mind was hot dogs.
She left them on the stove, after turning off the burner. She wrote them a quick note, holding it in place on the fridge with a magnet. Stephanie hummed to herself as she made her way into the bathroom on the main floor. She looked at her reflection in the mirror once more before spraying on some perfume. Hanna had bought it for her for her birthday. Yet Stephanie wasn’t too sure if it was really for her. Not when it was a Britney Spears perfume. Stephanie chuckled to herself. At least it smelled good. She made her way out of the bathroom and into the living room. She wanted to sit on the couch but was worried she would wrinkle her skirt. So she stood with her in the middle of the room with her hands behind her back before she moved over to look out the window.
Still no sign of Mitchell. Or Hanna and Quintin. For a moment she thought she had been stood up. She chuckled, wondering why that had came to mind. Would Mitchell really stand her up after getting her phone number and address? Plus they worked together. It would make things awkward if he didn’t show up. But just to be on the safe side, she pulled out her phone. Typed something and sent it. Not even thirty seconds she got a reply. A small smile played on her lips. He’s on his way. she thought to herself. Soon enough, there was a honk from outside. Stephanie grabbed her purse and walked out of the living room. She made her way over to the front door and pulled it open. She was surprised to see Hanna and Quintin leaning into Mitchell’s car.
Once she closed the front door, she made her way down the walkway to the car. Quintin was asking how fast the car could go. Hanna was asking about the sound system and how it worked. When he spotted Stephanie, Mitchell’s eyes glowed with excitement. Stephanie gave instructions to the kids, who nodded and hurried up towards the house. She waited until they were inside before she got into the passenger seat of Mitchell’s car. Light jazz music played from the sound system. They were off, heading towards the restaurant. They spoke on and off during the car ride. Stephanie found out he was single, never married. No children either. Mitchell lived in a small apartment with his mean old cat he had named Gargamel. Stephanie listened, giggling at his stories.
Soon, they were parking in front of the restaurant. Mitchell opened the passenger side for her to get out. As she did, she stumbled a little getting onto the curb. Mitchell caught her easily before she would have hit the concrete. She thanked him, a little uncomfortable at the closeness between them. He was gazing into her eyes before she pulled away from him. With a sheepish smile he lead the way towards the restaurant. Held the door open for her as she stepped inside. It was a little bit busy that night. They waited a few minutes before they were brought over to their table. Stephanie recognized the busboy, it was Travis Stanton. He seemed a little shy as he took their drink orders. A glass of white wine for Stephanie, a vodka on the rocks for Mitchell.
Mitchell asked a few questions about Hanna and Quintin as they looked over the menu. Stephanie didn’t realize how hungry she was until her stomach startled grumbling. Mitchell heard it, laughing in glee as he lightly teased her. He signaled Travis over, ordering some bread to start with. A few moments later their drinks arrived. They cheered, each taking a sip from their glass. Travis came back with the bread and asked if they were ready to order. Stephanie ordered the grilled salmon filet while Mitchell ordered duck in orange sauce. They tore into their bread, talking and laughing lightly as Stephanie explained how Olivia was late on meeting her earlier that day. Mitchell laughed, listening on her every word. He seemed genuinely interested in Stephanie.
She lost track of time as she ordered another white wine. She smiled over at Mitchell while he sipped on his glass of whiskey. She hoped he would be okay to drive her home. They spoke some more, about their childhoods, what they were like growing up. Mitchell seemed to find it hard to believe that Stephanie was a competitive figure skater when she was a teenager. The conversation changed to that and hockey. She knew a little about hockey, Frankie had been a fan. Mitchell seemed impressed. In the back of her mind, Stephanie was aware that he hadn’t asked about Frankie. That’s because he knew the story. He was there when she had gotten the news about Frankie’s murder. She had been at work when she had gotten the phone call. She suddenly zoned out while Mitchell was talking.
Was Frankie disappointed in her? Knowing she was on a date with another man. It had been a bit over a year since Frankie’s death. Shouldn’t she see what else was out there? Get to know people? People who weren’t stuck up and could be found at the country club? Frankie, if you’re listening, it’s just a date. I still love you and miss you like crazy. she thought to herself. She ticked her gaze back to Mitchell. He was still talking. Yet she was so wrapped up in her thoughts she had no idea what he was saying. She took the last sip from her second glass of white wine. She looked over the table, Mitchell had finished his whiskey and he was signaling Travis over. Finally, she snapped back to attention when she realized Mitchell was paying the bill for both of them.
“I can pay for myself!” Stephanie said.
“Too late! My credit card was already approved.” Mitchell said.
“Seriously! I didn’t expect you to pay for me!” Stephanie told him.
“I asked you out. It’s only fair that I pay.” he told her. “But there is something you can do for me.” he continued as he got to his feet.
“And what’s that?” Stephanie asked curiously.
“It’s such a nice night out. Let’s go for a short walk before we head home?” he asked her.
“That does sound nice. Sure.” Stephanie said as she got to her feet as well.
She waved to Travis as she followed Mitchell out of the restaurant. She looked down the sidewalk. Dusk had fallen. Not many people were out and about, just a few stragglers. Stephanie had a bad feeling but smiled at Mitchell who placed his hand on her back. He lead the way, their footsteps echoing around them. It was a nice night, Mitchell was right. A soft, warm breeze ruffled the leaves of the trees overhead as they walked. Stephanie looked behind her. It was just a force of habit. There was a killer on the loose, after all. She wondered what Mitchell thought about the murders. She realized they had never really spoken about them. Only about Frankie’s death. It had taken a while, but she was okay to talk about him now. Suddenly, off in the distance was a loud pop. Like a gunshot.
“Shit!” Stephanie gasped in surprise.
Mitchell laughed. “I know that sound too well. Someone’s tire popped.” he explained.
“That scared me!” Stephanie said. She noticed Mitchell had his hand still on her back. And was leading her towards an alleyway. She looked over at him. “Shortcut?” she asked.
“Yeah. We’ll circle back around and head back to the car.” he explained to her.
He had a different look in his eyes now. As if she were his prey. She noticed it. She faltered for a moment. “Are you sure we should go walking through a dark alley?” she asked him.
“What’s the matter with you? You a tease or something?” Mitchell asked her with a growl.
She took a step back against the brick wall. “Tease? I was hardly teasing you.” she replied.
“Sure you weren’t. You rich bitches like doing that. It’s a fact.” Mitchell replied, getting in her face.
“Back off, Mitchell!” she hissed. She tried going around him but he grabbed her and slammed her against the brick wall of the alley.
“I won’t back off until I get what I want.” he told her. He slammed her again against the wall. She tried swinging at him but he caught her arm easily. He grabbed her other arm with his free hand.
“No! Stop! Get off !” she screamed. She struggled against him, but he was too strong. Her eyes widened in fear, tears threatening to spill down her cheeks.
“Oh I’m going to get off alright.” he told her with a menacing chuckle.
“Please! NO!” she screamed once more. At the back of her mind, she wondered why no one was coming to help her. Did they not hear her cries?
“Scream all you want, bitch!” he spat in her face. He held her easily against the wall with one hand while his other hand reached down for the zipper of his pants.
How is it that it’s a week later and my head is still throbbing? Jillyan thought to herself as she sat on the couch. Whatever those pills that Karina had given her were, they had worked. It hadn’t taken long before they had kicked in. She and Karina had been sitting at the kitchen table when they suddenly felt super relaxed. And super stoned. It felt like the room was spinning and they could actually SEE the air around them. A multitude of different bright colors swirling around. The trip had lasted about an hour or so. Karina had gone home. Jillyan had gone up to her room, closing the curtains and the bedroom door. At one point Amy had come to check on her, she had lied and said she wasn’t feeling very well. Amy never took drugs, she wouldn’t know anything about them.
Amy was sitting next to her right now, her belly protruding. Jillyan looked at her from the corner of her eye. They were watching a movie. Jillyan had been watching it first before her sister came to join her on the couch. It was a comedy about alien drag queens that were taking over a small town. It kind of reminded Jillyan of West Valley. Instead of alien drag queens, they had a killer on the loose. She wasn’t sure which was better. Drag queens didn’t exist in West Valley. You had to travel far to even come across a gay club. But you could easily find a killer here. It was more like he, or she, found you. Jillyan couldn’t believe Gwen Tiller had been the killer’s latest victim. Murdered her in the middle of a fashion show. Jillyan had been invited to attend, but she had been coming down from her drug trip.
Would the headache stop if she took another pill? She still had some hidden upstairs in her bedroom. It was hidden in a pair of her shoes in her bedroom closet. These pink and black high top things she didn’t even wear anymore. She ticked her gaze at Amy once again. Her eyes were glued to the television screen. The dull throbbing in her head now became a stabbing pain behind her eyes. Jillyan took a deep breath, resting her head on the back of the couch, her eyes closed. If Amy noticed, she didn’t say anything. She turned to look at Jillyan with a small smile playing on her lips. Jillyan flashed her the brightest smile she could muster. Which wasn’t much. Just by moving her mouth the pain became even more intense. She bit down on her lip, trying to keep from crying out.
Next to her, Amy struggled to stand up from the couch. It was hard to do with her belly sticking out. Just a few more months until her baby girl was born. Jillyan was going to help her sister up, but she was too slow. Amy was already on her feet. She told Jillyan she was off to bed. She almost jumped up with joy. Instead she kept her cool. Watching Amy head up the stairs to the second floor of the house. Jillyan gritted her teeth. It felt like her head was going to explode. She got to her feet and counted to ten. Turning off the television first before she headed quietly up the stairs to her bedroom. She closed the door behind her and went over to the closet. She was quiet opening that door as well, reaching down and pulling out a small clear bag. Inside, white pills.
The same she had taken a week ago. She was about to open the bag when her phone rang. She jumped, slightly startled. She pulled out her phone, looking down at the screen. KARINA MUNIZ flashed on the screen. With a small smile, Jillyan answered the phone.
“What’s up, Karina?” she asked.
“Duuuuuuuude!! I am so tripping balls right now!” Karina laughed from the other end of the line.
“Seriously? My head feels like it’s gonna split open. I was about to take another one of those pills.” Jillyan explained.
“You so should! They totally help!” Karina laughed again. It reminded Jillyan of a hyena.
“Fine. If I don’t feel better I’m coming over there and hanging you up to dry!” Jillyan said with a small chuckle escaping her lips. She opened the plastic bag and swallowed down a pill.
“Now, like last time. Wait a few minutes. You’re going to feel fucking amazing!” Karina said. “But I have to bounce out for now. Call me later, let me know how it went!” she continued.
“Thanks alot, you bitch.” Jillyan said.
Karina cackled once more before hanging up. Putting the phone away, Jillyan wandered over to the mirror. Looking at her reflection.
“At least I don’t look strung out.” she said softly. As if in an instant, she suddenly felt light headed. “Here it goes.” she said. A small laugh escaped her lips.
Jillyan didn’t know how much time had passed. An hour? Maybe two? Most of it was spent inside her bedroom, staring at the wall while bright colors flashed in front of her eyes. She felt calm, no stress. And no headache. She felt like she was flying. Flying through the ceiling of her bedroom, flying through the clouds, through the moon that shone in the night sky. She looked at her reflection once more in the mirror. She had no face. No features. As if they had all melted away. It was supposed to scare her, instead she laughed. She wasn’t in her right mind, but she knew that at that moment, she was taking another white pill. Bright lights, green, blue, and pink blinded her vision. Somehow, she got the bedroom door open.
She weaved through the upstairs hallway. It was miracle that she got to the bottom of the stairs without breaking her neck. A giggle escaped her lips. Her voice, it didn’t even sound like her. The mirror in the downstairs hallway was melting, a silver puddle drooping slowly to the ground. Jillyan covered her mouth from crying out with excitement. She looked up at the ceiling. It was spinning and flashing blue almost like a vortex. She kept moving through the house. Making her way into the kitchen. Tendrils of yellow light were shooting up from the drain in the kitchen sink. What was that noise? The dishwasher door slamming open and shut. The noise seemed to be stuck in Jillyan’s mind. She had to get out of there.
The floor underneath her feet rolled like ocean waves. Her stomach churned, almost in rhythm. Soon, her hand found the doorknob of the front door. She threw open the door. She stepped out onto the front porch. Perhaps the night breeze helped a little. Her mind became a little more clearer. It’s just a bad trip. she told herself over and over. She stopped in the middle of the front lawn. Jillyan looked back towards the house. Her eyes widened, reflecting fire in them. Fire that came from the house. She shut her eyes tight. Counted to five and opened them again. The whole main floor of the house was in flames! Bright red and yellow flames extending towards the night sky. The smell of smoke was unbearable, it made Jillyan gag. She looked down at herself and let out a gasp.
At her feet, a canister of gas. And pressed in her hand? A book of matches. Which was now empty. This was not a trip. This was really happening. She looked around, where was Amy? Had she gotten out? She looked towards the house. And saw her. In an upstairs window. Banging on the glass, screaming in horror. Everything seemed to slow down as Jillyan stared up at her sister with wide eyes. There was a wall of flames behind Amy, and it was getting closer. She wanted to run, to run into the burning house and save her sister. But Jillyan stood firmly rooted in place. Watching helplessly as the flames engulfed the window and Amy disappeared from sight behind the wall of flames. Jillyan’s knees gave out from under her as she fell to the grass. I did this. I killed my sister. Because I was on drugs. she thought to herself.
“AMY!” she screamed, her voice echoing through the night.
It was more quiet at the Roe residence. For the time being. Darcy had invited some people over. Just a few friends. Fallon, Ruby and Meredith. Of course she had asked Campbell first. He thought it was a good idea. To just get together with friends and unwind, considering all the chaos they had experienced in the past week. So Darcy had called each one of her friends. They seemed eager to get together. Darcy hadn’t been the only one who was stressed. The deaths around them were taking its toll on everyone, not just her. Once she had gotten off the phone, she and Campbell had cleaned up. Not that the house was dirty. Far from it. It was always in impeccable shape. Especially when they had guests. Which was every so often. Darcy and Campbell were liked by many.
You could almost say they were popular. It was like they were one of the power couples in West Valley. They had gone through a lot. But the married life was treating them well so far. The only downside was that they couldn’t have children. We could adopt one day. Darcy thought to herself as she wiped the front of the refrigerator. Campbell was dusting in the living room. Once she was done, she made sure she got out some drinks and snacks from the pantry. She placed them down on the kitchen counter. Her mind wandered, she found herself thinking about Gwen. If she was still alive, she would have invited her as well. But she was dead, just another body that Darcy had come across. The event of that night at the fashion show a week ago kept replaying through her memory.
She had found Gwen backstage. Her body covered underneath a pile of dirty bed sheets. Darcy had literally stumbled upon her. She had almost fell to the ground when she had investigated what had made her trip. Gwen’s dead body, bright red blood pooling around her. Darcy remembered screaming. And screaming. Feeling like she would never stop. She had screamed her throat raw. So much that she had lost her voice. It had just came back to her a few days ago. The killer had been there, in the building with them. It made an ice cold shiver of fear snake down Darcy’s spine. Someone there that night had murdered Gwen. But who? She knew everyone that had attended. Which one of them was a killer? Whoever it was, they were doing a good job at keeping their identity a secret.
Darcy was going to find out who the killer was. And she was going to find Brandon’s location. She had promised Dawn Olsen. They were involved, since the very beginning. It was become of them that Brandon had turned out the way he was. They were innocent pawns in his twisted game. It was the least they could do. Now that the Wiles family had been killed. Darcy had seen it on the news. She couldn’t believe it. Her stomach churning, she had ran to the bathroom to vomit. To let out all the stress and anxiety and terror within her. She had just seen Shannon Wiles not too long ago. She had gone to get some perspective. Shannon was good for that. She was Brandon’s aunt, after all. She and her family didn’t deserve to die. She was just trying to help out, maybe find a clue on where Brandon could be hiding.
“You okay?” a voice asked from behind her. She turned around, smiling. It was Campbell.
“I’m fine. Just wondering when the others are going to get here.” she explained. She didn’t want to tell him that she was thinking actually thinking about the Wiles’ murder.
As if on the cue, the doorbell rang. “You spoke too soon. I’ll get it.” Campbell told her with a chuckle as he turned and headed for the front door.
A few moments later, Darcy was leaning against the kitchen counter, talking with Ruby, Fallon and Meredith. “The fashion show was a success, however.” she was telling her friends.
“Except for what happened to Gwen. I can’t believe she’s gone!” Meredith replied, her eyes wide.
Fallon nodded. “She was a really nice person.” she agreed.
“I really hope they catch whoever it is that’s doing this.” Darcy said with a nod.
“Also, did you guys hear about the fire that happened earlier on?” Meredith asked.
“Fire? No. Where did it happen?” Darcy asked.
Meredith shrugged. “I heard it on the radio. They didn’t say where, only that a house burnt down. And that someone was trapped inside.” she explained.
“Enough with the morbid talk! Let’s have some fun!” Ruby said.
“Yes, please!” Darcy replied as she lead the way out of the kitchen and into the living room. Her friends followed close behind.
Campbell looked up from his spot on the couch. There was a baseball game playing on the television. “Girl talk over?” he asked.
“Just changing scenery. You’re welcome to listen in.” Ruby said with a giggle.
“Haha. That’s my cue to step outside. I need a cigarette.” he told them as he got up from the couch.
“Is it okay if I join you?” Fallon asked him.
“Since when do you smoke?” Campbell asked her with a curious glance.
“Since Wendy Elliott has it out for me. And also since the last two murders.” Fallon said.
“You better not give her one! Just let her keep you company!” Darcy said sternly.
Campbell chuckled. “You’re not the boss of her! Come on.” he told Fallon as they headed for the backdoor.
Once they were outside, Campbell pulled out a cigarette and a lighter. Lit it up and brought it to his lips. He took out another and offered it to Fallon. “Nah, I better not. Darcy will be mad.” she told him.
Campbell shrugged. “Suit yourself.” he told her. He took another puff from his cigarette.
“I actually wanted to talk to you in private.” Fallon told him.
“If you’re gonna tell me you’re into me, I’m married.” he told her with a chuckle. He took another drag.
She whacked him on the arm. Almost making him drop his cigarette. “Not funny! I’m not into you! I was just worried. About Darcy. How does she seem to you?” Fallon asked.
Campbell shrugged, a serious expression on his face. “She’s tough. I think she’s keeping it together pretty well.” he replied.
Fallon nodded. “She has a good support group. It’s just with everything that’s happened, I want to make sure she’s okay.” she explained.
“She’s okay as she can be, I guess. She always talks to me when she needs to.” Campbell said.
Before Fallon could reply, there was the sound of glass shattering from inside the house. And then screams. This time, Campbell did drop his cigarette, startled at the sudden noise. With a frown, Fallon turned and followed him as he opened the back door and entered the house. They made their way into the living room. And stopped dead in their tracks. They stared at the blood on the walls. Fallon let out a loud gasp at the two bodies that lay on the floor. She ran over to Meredith, crouching down beside her.
“Is she alive?” Campbell asked, his voice shaking.
“Barely!” Fallon said. She moved over to Ruby. Felt for a pulse. She looked up at Campbell, holding back tears. “Ruby’s dead.” she told him.
“We need to call the police.” he told her. Before Fallon could answer, someone stepped out from the shadows in the corner of the room. Campbell’s eyes went wide in shock. “What have you done?” he asked. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” he repeated, this time it came out as a scream.
The figure was splattered in blood. A big kitchen knife in her hand. The blade dripping with crimson. With the blood of the two girls that lay on the living room floor. One was dead, the other barely alive. The figure looked over at Campbell and Fallon, a blank expression on her face as Campbell screamed once again.
It was Darcy.
END OF SEASON 4