Another day had come to an end in the town of West Valley. The sun had set, and had been replaced by the moon. It peeked out from behind heavy clouds that threatened to bring rain. Most of the townspeople had decided to stay indoors. Jane Porter was one of them. However, instead of being at home, she was still at work. It had been a few hours since the store had closed, but she wasn’t planning on leaving anytime soon. There was inventory to do, and all the outfits on the mannequins had to be changed. She felt a little uneasy, it was like the mannequins were silently watching her as she puttered around the store. As if they were about to come alive and attack her. Don’t be silly. Jane thought to herself, rolling her eyes. She had been alone in the store many times before.
Darcy and Kendall had already left for the day. Darcy had offered to stay and help, but Jane had reassured the other girl she would be fine, and sent the other girl on her way. Thinking about it now, she wished she had agreed to make Darcy stay. Things would have gone faster if they were two. But Darcy had someone at home waiting for her, and Jane didn’t. Darcy was married, and Jane was committed to the empire she had built all by herself. She was a known designer. Darcy wasn’t quite at her level just yet, but she would be one day. Jane saw talent in her, that’s why she had asked Darcy to go into business with her. She wouldn’t have just chosen anyone randomly. She had been made aware of Darcy’s designs and she had liked what she had seen. So she decided to take a chance on the other girl.
And so far, she wasn’t disappointed. They were making quite a name for themselves. The store was always busy with eager customers. Just recently they had sold a bunch of dresses for the homecoming dance. It was going to be held the following night at the high school. Even Jane was going to attend, she had been asked to be one of the chaperones. She was looking forward to it, she hadn’t set foot in a high school in ages. How long has it been? she thought to herself, a slight frown creasing her forehead. She shrugged to herself, obviously it had been a long time. She was in her early forties but looked much younger than she was. It was a blessing. Not only did she take good care of herself, she also dressed with class. A designer couldn’t dress like a homeless person. It was unheard of.
Jane brought her attention back to the task at hand. Opening some boxes of new outfits to dress the mannequins in. From the store’s sound system, music played softly. She recognized the song. “Stupid Love” by Lady Gaga. Jane hummed along as she carried a stack of clothes over to one of the mannequins. A shadow passing by the window caught her attention. She stopped in her tracks, frowning once more. It was probably just someone out on the street. The store was situated downtown, just two doors down from Surge, the local night club. There were people always coming and going from the club, which happened to be open all hours of the day. Jane had gone a few times to unwind and have a drink there after a hard day at work.
She was tempted to go there tonight after she was done. But after a few moments of thinking it over, she decided it was better if she just went straight home. She had an early day the following morning. So start focusing and get to work. she scolded herself. She was just pulling the head off a mannequin when suddenly, there was a noise. Jane jumped slightly, the mannequin head falling out from her hands and rolling across the floor. She cursed lightly to herself and went after it. But another clattering sound distracted her. She stood up straight, listening attentively. It sounded like it had come from outside. Slowly, Jane made her way over to the large window that looked out over the street. The sidewalk in front of the store was empty, there was no one in sight.
An ice cold shiver of fear snaked down her spine as she moved away from the window and over to the front entrance of the store. Jane knew she had locked the door, but she thought it was better if she double checked. It was still locked, which made Jane feel a little bit better. But there was still the back entrance to check. Was it locked? She didn’t remember. There had been a delivery earlier that day and she had signed for it, but it was possible she had just closed the door and not locked it. A soft sigh escaped her lips as she forgot momentarily about the mannequin head and made her way towards the back of the store. The whole town was on edge now that the killer had returned. For four long months there had been nothing to worry about. In an instant, that had all changed.
The back of the store was quiet, the music didn’t reach there. Jane’s heels clicked on the floor as she made her way over to the back entrance. She pulled at the door, eyes widening slightly as it swung open. She gripped the door with one hand, making sure it didn’t close on her as she stepped out into the back alley behind the store. Thick dark shadows danced on the wall of the alleyway. Almost as if they were reaching for Jane. She almost called out to see if anyone was there, but decided that wasn’t the best idea. From where she stood, the alleyway looked empty. She stepped back inside the store, closing the door behind her. She locked it, also sliding in the deadbolt. She let out a breath, not realizing she was holding it in. She made her way out of the back of the store and into the main room.
Jane made her way over to the sound system and turned it off. If something was amiss, she would be able to hear it. She grabbed the fallen mannequin head off the floor and attached it back on the mannequin’s neck. She reached over and grabbed a dress, struggled with it to get it on the mannequin’s body for a few moments until she had finally succeeded. She took a step back to admire her work when the ringing of her phone caught her attention. It was her own personal phone that was ringing inside her purse, which was underneath the main counter. Not the store’s phone. She made her way over to the counter and pulled the phone out from her purse. She didn’t bother to check who was calling, she accepted the call and brought the phone to her ear.
“Hello?” she said.
A burst of static from the other end of the line. Jane grimaced. And then a voice spoke. “Hello, Jane.” said a familiar voice.
A voice she hadn’t heard in a long time. The killer’s voice. Jane’s pulse picked up it’s pace. “Who is this?” she asked.
“Don’t pretend like you don’t remember. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” the killer asked from the other end of the line.
Jane tried to stay calm. “Why are you calling me?” she replied.
Not realizing what she was doing, she made her way over back to the front entrance of the store. Gazing out the window to the sidewalk once more. It still stood empty.
“To talk, keep you company. You are at work alone, aren’t you?” the killer asked with an ominous chuckle.
Jane almost dropped the phone, holding back the gasp that threatened to escape from between her lips. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” she said.
“You’re not fooling me, Jane. I’m watching you, just to let you know.” the killer taunted.
Where is he? Jane thought to herself as she pressed her face against the cool glass. “Leave me alone!” she cried.
“It doesn’t have to be this way, Jane. You could unlock that door and let me in. I promise I’ll be quick.” the killer kept taunting her.
“I’m two seconds away from calling the police.” she replied, her voice shaking.
“You should know by now the police can’t stop me. By the time they get there, they’ll find your body hollowed out.” the killer laughed gleefully.
A small shriek escaped from Jane’s lips. She moved away from the door, feeling as if she had been doused with ice cold water. Her eyes scanned the store for some kind of weapon. “Stop! Please!” she pleaded with the killer.
“You’re no fun, Jane. You think you’re this hotshot designer. When really, you’re just like every one else I killed. You’re nothing special. And no one is going to miss you when you’re dead.” the killer replied.
“Stop..” Jane whispered, blinking back tears. Is it true? Will no one miss me if I get killed? she thought to herself.
“It shouldn’t be too long, Jane. I’ll see you soon.” the killer said, and without warning, hung up the phone.
Jane stood numbly, listening to the dial tone in her ear. She then snapped back to the present, dialing the police.
The clock radio revealed it was 12:26AM. In the bed lay two figures, fast asleep. At least one of them was. The other was pretending to be asleep, waiting for the right moment to sneak out. Moonlight shone through the window, illuminating the bedroom. Darcy and Campbell’s bedroom. From his side of the bed, Campbell snored softly. Slowly, making sure not to wake him, Darcy turned to look at him. He was definitely fast asleep, and now was Darcy’s chance. Ever so slowly, she slid out from underneath the covers. And slid out of her nightgown. It had all been part of her plan. To wait until Campbell was asleep before she snuck out of the house. It wasn’t like she was cheating on him, she wasn’t going to meet another man for a late night tryst. Therefore she felt no guilt as she dressed quickly in the shadows.
Darcy changed into an all black outfit to keep herself under the cover of darkness. A black purse to conceal the loaded gun she had hidden inside. She had removed it earlier on that evening from the bottom of Campbell’s dresser drawer. He had been distracted watching a baseball game on television after dinner, so that had been Darcy’s chance. She had gone upstairs, removed the gun and had put it in her purse, leaving it in the closet until it was time for her to head out. She had headed back downstairs and had sat down next to Campbell, watching the game with him. He hadn’t even noticed she had slipped away for a few minutes, much to Darcy’s relief. As far as Campbell was concerned, it was just a normal, quiet evening spending time with his wife watching television.
Suddenly, Campbell shifted lightly in his sleep. Darcy froze, watching him. Of all the worst times of him waking up, now would be it. she thought to herself with a frown. She didn’t dare move. She waited another minute before slowly making her way across the bedroom floor. Lucky for her the door wasn’t closed, she was able to walk right out into the upstairs hallway. So far, her plan was working. She had come up with it since that day Fallon had came to see her at work. She had decided that it was time to end the killings once and for all. Since the police couldn’t seem to find the killer, maybe she could. She would turn the tables, she would be the hunter, and the killer would be the prey. Thinking about it had brought a smile to Darcy’s face.
Sure, she was putting her life on the line by seeking the killer out, but better her than anyone else. The killer, whoever it was, seemed to have a personal vendetta against her. It was very personal. Yet the town of West Valley was paying for it with their lives. Reaching the top landing, Darcy looked over her shoulder in the direction of her bedroom. No sign of Campbell being awake. With that, she slowly made her way down the stairs to the main floor of the house. All she had to do was unlock the front door and head outside. Also something she had planned. She had set the alarm system right after dinner as Campbell made his way to watch television. But then, later on while he was in the shower, Darcy had disarmed it. Knowing very well he wouldn’t have been able to hear it.
Campbell had been so preoccupied that he hadn’t even noticed the lights on the alarm system were shining green instead of red. So Darcy made her way over to the door, unlocking it slowly before pulling the front door open. She stepped out onto the front porch and closed the door behind her as she did so. Making sure she locked it with her keys before she hurried down the walkway and onto the sidewalk. She stole a glance back at the house, it remained dark. Hopefully she’d return and be back in bed before Campbell noticed she was gone. She didn’t have an excuse for him yet. I couldn’t sleep? So I went for a walk? she thought to herself. He would probably believe that if she left out the fact that she had a loaded gun on her. That she wouldn’t be able to explain.
The neighborhood was silent, void of life. Which was fine by Darcy. She didn’t want anyone to see her. Especially if somehow it got back to Campbell. Her heels clicked on the sidewalk as she made her way down the street. The houses around her were dark, everyone was probably safe in their beds. The streetlamps illuminated her way as heavy clouds blocked the moon up in the sky. Darcy hoped it wouldn’t start raining, she didn’t think to bring an umbrella. She almost decided to turn back to get one, but decided it would only slow her down. Hopefully the rain would hold off until she got home. She just wasn’t sure how long she would take, or where exactly she was going. Perhaps downtown first and then a quick stop to St-Gregory’s on the walk back home. It was a bit of a detour, but she could cut through the woods if she wanted to.
Real smart, Darcy. Go into the dark woods at night while hunting for a serial killer. she thought to herself. As if her life wasn’t already playing out like a horror movie. A soft sigh escaped from between her lips as she kept making her way down the sidewalk. Up ahead, movement in the bushes caught her attention. Darcy stopped in her tracks, reaching for the gun in her purse. And dropped her arm back to her side when she saw it was just cat. A black and orange spotted tabby that ran and disappeared underneath a parked car. She shook her head. You never knew what, or who could be hiding in the bushes. Sometimes it could be a cat, and sometimes it could be a killer with a hunting knife in their hand. Darcy walked by the bushes, peering past them just in case. Empty.
It wasn’t long before Darcy found herself downtown. She walked by the gym, it was closed for the night. So was her store, which was just the next building over. She had heard about what had happened there earlier that night. She had gotten a text from Jane that explained she had been threatened by the killer. That could have been the reason why Darcy had decided that night was the perfect time to start looking for the killer. Everyone in town knew Darcy and Jane were business partners. Was the killer trying to get to her by threatening Jane? It was very possible. Since she had returned from Briarview, she had yet to receive a call from the killer. Which was odd. Whoever it was, loved every chance to gloat. Why hadn’t they yet? Were they waiting for Darcy to be settled in?
Which I am. she thought. It made her wonder when she would hear from the killer. For a split second she hoped maybe whoever was underneath the cloak was done with her. But Darcy knew that was just wishful thinking on her part. She almost expected her phone to start ringing, that she would look down and see UNKNOWN flashing on the screen. But her phone remained silent. Which also meant Campbell had yet to wake up. He would definitely call her if he searched the house and didn’t find her. Darcy made her way past the restaurant, they were just closing their doors for the night. It must have been a slow night, the restaurant usually stayed open until two in the morning. She stopped to peer into the alleyway between the restaurant and Surge. Also empty.
It was like the killer was laying low that night. As if they knew Darcy was searching for them. With a frown, Darcy kept moving, heading past the night club. A few minutes later a neon sign caught her attention. She looked up, surprised she had walked that far. She was in front of the Peachtree Motel. She had forgotten it was between downtown and St-Gregory’s church. She’d never been, but she had heard someone had been murdered there over a year ago. It was a teen. She tried to recall his name. It was Brad Landgraab, he was Skye Cosgrove’s ex. she suddenly remembered. He had been killed right there, in the parking lot. Skye had found him. Darcy had read about it in the newspaper. As if her feet had a will of their own, Darcy made her way closer to the motel.
The parking lot was quit full. Yet all the windows of the rooms were dark. Besides the neon motel sign, there was only one other source of light. It was coming from within the motel’s office. Quietly, Darcy made her way towards the office door. She didn’t bother going inside, she took a peek from the window. The office was empty. She had a clear view of a television that was playing on the office desk. Some old porno flick. Darcy grimaced to herself and stepped away from the door. She scanned her surroundings. Out of the corner of her eye, something moved in the shadows. Her body tensed as she turned. There were stairs leading up to the second level of the motel. Slowly, she made her way towards them, stepping over a stray beer can that had been carelessly tossed to the concrete.
She stopped at the foot of the stairs and peered up the staircase. It was dark up there, the shadows seemed to be reaching out for her. Yet Darcy took a deep breath and ascended them, reaching the second floor landing. Even though her mind told her to turn back, she ignored it and kept moving slowly down the hallway. She stopped and peered into the window of a room. Dark, and empty. There was no one staying in that room. She kept moving, reaching the next window. Looked inside. Also empty. She continued on, the next room she reached, she noticed the door was slightly ajar. Slowly, she reached out and pushed it open with her hand. She stepped inside the dark room, one hand in her purse. If someone was in there, she was going to surprise them. But the room was empty.
There was only one other place to check in the room. The bathroom. Darcy thought to herself. She realized her heart was beating a little faster now in her chest. She made her way as quietly as she could towards the bathroom door. She reached out and pushed it open, it replied with a creak. She slipped inside. Empty. But it seemed like there was the slightest of movements from behind the shower curtain. Sucking in a deep breath, she pulled out the gun from her purse and held it at the ready, and with her other hand, yanked the shower curtain open. No such luck. Also empty. Just a draft of air from the window that had brushed against the shower curtain. With a look of disappointment in her eyes, Darcy turned and headed back the way she came.
She slid the gun back inside her purse as she made her way out of the room. She closed the door behind her and turned to walk away when she smashed into something. Not something, someone. She couldn’t help it. She screamed. And before she realized what was happening, she lashed out with a fist. It connected with the figure’s face. The figure let out a grunt and stumbled back. Darcy went to grab the gun when she realized it was just the motel’s manager. She felt her face go hot in embarrassment.
“What the mother fuck!” he cried, clutching his nose.
“Sorry! I’m sorry!” Darcy said, wondering if she could hurry past him.
“What are you doing here? And who are you?” he asked, staring at her suspiciously.
“Sorry! I’m not trespassing, I swear! You see I’m… ummm..looking for my sister. She snuck out of the house and I thought maybe she was here. The door to this room was open.” she replied, clearly lying to his face.
“You didn’t have to pop me in the face so hard!” he exclaimed.
“Sorry again! You just surprised me, is all! And I’m a little on my edge, you know, with a killer being on the loose and all.” Darcy explained.
“Fine. And I didn’t see anyone. Do you want me to check the other rooms?” he asked. He seemed to believe her. “If she is hiding out here, it isn’t safe. The murders and all.” he continued.
“If you didn’t see anyone then that’s fine. I’ll just be on my way and keep looking for her! Sorry again! Have a nice night!” Darcy said as she pushed past him and hurried down the stairs.
Soon enough, a new day dawned in the town of West Valley. There had been no new fatalities during the night. Everyone had woken up safe and sound in their beds. It was time to focus on going to work, and going to school. A new week had begun. People were hopping into the shower, preparing breakfast, letting their dogs out, walking their young children to the bus stop. Inside the Stanton house, everyone was already awake. Or mostly everyone. The incessant ring of an alarm clock was silenced by a heavy hand that came down on it. A groan came from underneath the mountain of blankets as a head poked out, squinting against the bright sunlight that streamed through the bedroom window. A soft curse escaped from his lips as he got to his feet.
If he didn’t hurry, he would be late for school. Nothing new there. he thought to himself, rolling his eyes in annoyance. From downstairs, he could hear the rest of his family getting ready to leave. His father was off to work. Carly was off to school, she wasn’t even waiting for him, as usual. Only his mother remained, she would be working from home. Travis hurried out of the bedroom and into the shower. It only lasted a few minutes, time was of the essence. Once he was dressed, he was yelling goodbye to his mother as he flew down the stairs before he found himself on the front porch, closing the door behind him. There was no time to eat something for breakfast. If he got to school on time, which he doubted, he planned on grabbing something from the vending machine.
As he hurried away from the house, Travis remembered it was the day of the homecoming dance, which would be held at the high school later on that night. He wasn’t planning on attending. Dances weren’t really his cup of tea. It wasn’t because he couldn’t get a date, there had been a few girls that he could have asked, knowing they would have said yes. It was more the fact that the people going to the dance were people he saw every day at school. He wasn’t exactly super popular. Sure, he was Carly’s older brother, and he had his own close group of friends, but none of them were going to the dance either. They didn’t even plan to join in on the activities that were going on at school that day. Travis planned on staying in class until the school day was over, and then he would head home.
A quiet night at home with his parents sounded more fun than socializing with his fellow classmates at the dance. He’d probably watch some television or play some video games or even get a head start on his homework after dinner. Carly had been excited about the dance, she had even bought a new dress to wear. She had modeled it for Travis and their parents a few nights earlier. Their parents had gushed over how pretty Carly had looked. Travis remained indifferent. He had shrugged his shoulders when his mother had turned to him and asked what he had thought. Carly had frowned at him. Did she really expect him to start gushing as well and say how beautiful she looked? She should have known Travis by now. Even though they were a year apart in age, they weren’t exactly close.
They had been at one point. A few years back. Before they had moved to West Valley. They had been almost inseparable. They did almost everything together. It wasn’t like that now. Things had changed. They had gotten older. Travis was a junior in school now, Carly a sophomore. They barely saw each other in school. They’d only walk home together when Carly had no plans with her friends. She always has plans. he thought to himself as he made his way down the sidewalk. He kicked a rock along as he walked. Was he jealous that his sister had become popular? That she hung around with some of the most well known girls in town? No. It wasn’t jealousy. He could have become friends with the popular guys, but that wasn’t who he was. In fact, the popular guys had beaten him to a pulp just a few months before.
It was something still fresh in Travis’ mind. He had got sent to the hospital just because he had stuck up for Carly. Sure, it wasn’t like she had provoked them, they had just been acting like the louts they were and had bothered her. Travis had come to her rescue. The popular guys hadn’t liked that. They had jumped him one day, left him broken and battered in an alleyway. He had been found by his own mother, who had gone out looking for him. It had taken him some time to heal, and the popular guys hadn’t bothered him anymore. Most of them had been sent away to boarding school. And the ones that had remained in West Valley avoided him now. Travis wondered if some of them were going to attend the dance that night. Probably, any reason to date rape some poor girl. he thought to himself as he kicked the rock away.
“OW!” someone screamed from nearby.
Travis looked around, his eyes widening in surprise. Did that hit someone? he thought to himself as he jogged down the sidewalk in the direction of where he had kicked the rock. He momentarily forgot about the fact that he was going to be late for school. It was possible someone had been hurt from the rock. He had kicked it with all his might. He stopped in his tracks when he saw the figure standing a few feet in front of him. A female figure. She was incredibly pretty, even if her face was twisted in a grimace. She was bending down, rubbing her exposed ankle. She looked up when she saw Travis approaching. He recognized her. Kendall Ford. She was Dawn Olsen’s half sister. She was fairly new in town, she had arrived to West Valley a few months earlier during the summer.
“I’m sorry! Are you alright?” Travis asked her.
“You kicked the rock?” she asked, glaring at him.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think it would actually hit someone!” he told her.
“It got me right in the ankle. I need that to walk, you know!” she replied.
“Are you hurt? Do you need me to call an ambulance?” he asked with worry glinting in his eyes.
Kendall must have noticed the look on Travis’ face, because she became less tense. “Don’t worry, no ambulance for me. It’ll probably just take me a while to get to work.” she told him.
“You work at the clothing store, right? The one downtown?” he asked.
“I do, yeah. Are you stalking me…?” she trailed off.
“Oh! I’m Travis. Travis Stanton. And no, I’m not stalking you. I’ve gone into the store a few times when I was with my mom and sister. I recognized you from there.” he explained. He could have sworn he was blushing a little.
“I was just kidding. About the stalking thing. Bad joke, since there is a killer in town and all.” she replied.
“So then why did you think it was smart to move here?” he asked.
“To connect with the sister I never knew I had. Too bad I never got to meet my nephew, Charlie. He was about your age.” she said.
“I knew Charlie. He was a good guy.” Travis replied with a nod.
“How about you, Travis? Are you a good guy?” Kendall asked with a smirk. It almost seemed like she was flirting with him.
“With the right people.” he told her with a wink. Whoa, I’m flirting with an older woman. She must be at least twenty-five, twenty-six years old. he thought to himself.
Kendall laughed. “Anyway, I should get going. Jane won’t be too happy with me if I’m late.” she explained.
“Yeah, I’m going to be late for school. But I was wondering, can I have your number?” he asked in a rush.
She laughed again. “I think I’m a little too old for sexting. But how about this? I’m going to be at the store until tonight. If you’re not going to the homecoming dance, why not stop by and see me?” she asked.
“I’m not going to the dance. I’m too cool for that.” he told Kendall, puffing out his chest.
“If I was younger and went to West Valley high, I’d go with you.” she said to him.
He tried to play it cool. “Yeah, I’d go with you too.” he told her.
“Would you be a corsage and everything?” she asked him with a giggle.
“You bet!” he told her with a wide smile on his face. She is smoking hot! he thought to himself.
“Anyway. We should both get going. See you later! Drop by any time before nine!” she called out to him behind her shoulder as she hurried away down the sidewalk.
Did that just happen? Travis thought to himself as he hurried to school with a wide smile on his face.
Not everyone in West Valley was hurrying to work. Some worked from home. Meredith was one of them. It was a little bit later on that morning when she had woken up. Surprised to find tears running down her cheeks. It had taken her a moment to realize she had been dreaming of Ruby as she had climbed out of the bed to grab some tissues. That was nothing out of the ordinary. Meredith dreamt of her friend quite often. The dream was still fresh in her mind as she had gone to take a shower. She and Ruby had been by the waterfront, watching the boats come in. One moment she was there, and then, when Meredith had turned to talk to her, Ruby had disappeared. Meredith had run alongside the waterfront, looking for her friend.
She could still hear herself calling Ruby’s name as she had stepped out of the shower. Wiping the steam off the bathroom mirror to gaze at her reflection. Once upon a time, she would have been able to smile at herself in the mirror. But these past few months had taken a toll on Meredith. It seemed like the serious glint had never left her eyes. She couldn’t even muster a smile. She had turned away from the mirror and had gotten dressed. She had headed downstairs for some breakfast, making herself cereal. Simple, something that didn’t take much time. Once she was done, instead of making her way over to her computer, Meredith found herself heading over to the front door. She unlocked it, pulling it open and stepping out into the sunlight.
She closed the door behind her, making sure it was locked. She ticked her gaze to the car parked in the driveway. Maybe walking will put me in a better mood. Meredith thought to herself. She knew exactly where she would go. She made her way down the walkway and onto the sidewalk. The neighborhood was quiet. She walked by the Biggs residence. They had gone off on a last minute vacation. Naomi had gone with them, since she and Warren were now officially dating. Meredith hadn’t even known they were seeing each other. She had suspected that Naomi was seeing someone, she just never thought it would have been Warren. Maybe Meredith was a little jealous, there were no guys in town that were interested in her. And she did find Warren attractive, something she had always kept to herself.
Even if she had said something, Warren would have chosen Naomi anyway. She was much more interesting than Meredith. She could get any guy wrapped around her finger just by batting her eyelashes at them. She was a bombshell, and Meredith was boring. At least that’s how she saw herself. The frown on her face deepened as she kept walking down the sidewalk. There were plenty of couples in the town of West Valley. Darcy and Campbell, Wendy Elliott and Derek Vance. Even Ruby had dated Jeremy Ashford, a movie star that had moved to town. He had been killed the same night he had asked Ruby to marry him. Ruby had been inconsolable, it had taken her months to get over Jeremy’s death. Meredith had been right there by her side. And now Ruby herself was gone.
Speaking of engagements, Meredith had heard about Julie and Aiden. She and Julie were friends, she had called her to tell her the news. Aiden had proposed, and she had said yes. Meredith was surprised, but happy. They planned on having a girl’s night soon, have some wine and talk about it. Meredith wondered if she would be asked to be in the wedding party. She hoped so. It was something she could look forward to. Someone suddenly called her name. Meredith looked and realized she was walking past the Cosgrove residence. Or what used to be the Cosgrove house, now it belonged to Jillyan and Amy Rayburn. It was Amy who was calling to her from the front porch. She sat in a chair, holding her newborn daughter. Meredith headed up the walkway towards the house to see them.
A few minutes later Meredith was waving to Amy as she headed back to the sidewalk and continued on her way to her destination. It would take some time to get there, but she didn’t mind. It was another beautiful day outside, the sun was shining in a cloudless blue sky. Meredith listened to the cheery chirping of the birds in the trees around her. It was almost deceiving, how nice it was in West Valley. But there was a killer out there. Meredith took a quick glance over her shoulder. The sidewalk behind her remained empty. She let out a soft sigh of relief. Her heels clicked on the blacktop as she thought about the few minutes she had spent talking to Amy. She admired her, raising a baby all on her own without a male presence in her life. Meredith imagined it wasn’t going to be easy.
I can’t see myself raising a child by myself. she thought to herself. Just living without Ruby was tough on her. She flashed back yet again to that night in Darcy’s living room. Darcy was back in town. She had gone to see Meredith. She couldn’t help but feel somewhat responsible for Ruby’s death. Even if it had been the killer who had turned that night into a horror show. It was still hard to wrap her head around the fact that she was still alive. Why had she survived? What had made her so special? Why hadn’t she died, and Ruby survived? Or what if neither of them had lived? It sent a shiver of fear down Meredith’s spine. She was thankful to see another day. But for how much longer? Not everyone was going to survive. Not unless the killer was found and brought to justice.
Could the police find the killer before there was no one in town left alive? Meredith wished she had an answer to that. So many people had died and the police were not even close to finding out the killer’s identity. Who’s going to be next to die? Meredith thought to herself a frown creasing her pretty face. She wasn’t much further now from her destination. In the distance she could hear the rushing water of the West Valley river. It made her think of that story about Brandon Covington. How he and his mother had been in a car that had plunged into the river’s waters. She had died, and he had survived. He’d been so traumatized over losing his mother that he had snapped and killed his own father. It was something that had happened over twenty years ago.
However, it was still haunting the town now in present day. It was possible it was one of the reasons why people were dying. Brandon was alive, somewhere out there. Meredith wondered if it was him who had attacked them at Darcy’s house. It was a possibility. No one knew what he looked like, he could have been right there under their noses. Another shiver of fear snaked down Meredith’s spine as she stopped, reaching her destination. St-Gregory’s church. She peered up at the steeple as it blocked the sunlight in the sky. She frowned, she could have sworn she saw the slightest hint of movement coming from inside the steeple. She shrugged to herself, it was the middle of the day. For all she knew, it could have been the groundskeeper up there doing some maintenance work.
She kept moving, making her way across the grass along the side of the church. Heading to the cemetery in the back of the property. She pushed open the gate, wincing at the loud creaking noise it emitted. She stepped through the gate, taking in her surroundings. Rows and rows of gravestones. A pang of sadness hit Meredith. So many people she knew were buried there. However she was there to visit one person in particular. Slowly, she made her way through the rows of gravestones until she reached the one she was looking for. Ruby’s. Meredith bent down to get a better look at the gravestone. Someone had brought flowers, placing them in front of the stone. Bright yellow sunflowers and red tulips held together with a white bow. Meredith wondered who had brought them.
She didn’t see a card with the bouquet. She took the bouquet in her hands and brought them to her face. Taking in a deep breath of the flowers’ scent. Suddenly, there was another hint of movement out of the corner of Meredith’s eye. She turned, there didn’t seem to be anyone there. Her breath caught in her chest as she put the bouquet of flowers back down against the gravestone. She opened her mouth to call out but decided against it. Don’t panic, the groundskeeper is here somewhere. she thought to herself. She took a few steps on the grass, her eyes scanning the surroundings for any kind of potential danger. Perhaps it was better if she made her way back to the front of the church. Without wasting any time, Meredith hurried towards the cemetery gate.
She let out a curse, almost stumbling over a gravestone. That would be just her luck, to fall and crack her head open. Meredith would bleed out before anyone would find her. That would be ironic, to die by accident rather than at the hands of the West Valley killer. She weaved her way through the rows of gravestones until she reached the cemetery gate. She let out a sigh of relief as she pushed it open. It didn’t budge. With a deep frown creasing her pretty face, Meredith pushed at it again. Still nothing. She looked down, her eyes widening in surprise. On the other side there was a chain wrapped around the handle of the gate, locked with a heavy padlock. She reached through the gate with her hand and yanked at the chain with all the might she could muster. The gate groaned in response but did not budge.
There has to be another way out of here. Meredith thought to herself, trying not to panic. For a brief moment she thought she could climb over the fence. That was before she realized it was too high. There was no chance she could reach that high, and the spikes at the top of the fence looked sharp and threatening. She pulled out her phone from her pocket. Maybe she could call for help. She looked down at the screen. NO SERVICE flashed back up at her. Another frown played on her face. She usually had no problems with her phone before. She slid the phone back into her pocket as she took an uncertain step forward. There was another way out of the cemetery on the other side of St-Gregory’s. She had to just make her way over there. Clutching her fists tight, Meredith began making her way to the other side of the church.
Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw another flash of movement. She stopped dead in her tracks. Someone’s there. she thought to herself. Meredith took a few steps backwards. And suddenly, she was falling. A small scream of surprise escaped from her lips as she sailed backwards into blackness. She landed, crashing hard against something. She hit her head, stars exploding in her vision. She blacked out momentarily before she grabbed her throbbing head. She looked around with wide eyes. At the sunlight pouring down on her from above. It took Meredith a moment to realize she had fallen into an open grave. She struggled to breathe as she looked down. She had hit her head against the open lid of a coffin. Her eyes then ticked to the body lying in the coffin.
Her hand clamped over her mouth. But it couldn’t hold back the scream that erupted from Meredith’s throat. She squeezed her eyes shut tight, turning her head away from the horrifying sight. Yet she had seen enough. She had fallen into Edwin Cosgrove’s open grave. The smell was unbearable, she backed up until she was pressed against the dirt wall of the grave. Meredith’s stomach heaved as she gazed up at the hole six feet above her head. Her breath came out in short gasps. How am I going to get out of here? she thought to herself. Again, her gaze ticked over to Edwin’s body. Another scream escaped from her throat. She reached out with trembling hands, gripped the coffin lid and slammed it shut. A cloud of dust erupted in her face. Meredith doubled over and retched.
Once she could stand again without feeling dizzy, she gripped the top of the coffin and hopped up onto it. It was sturdy. She reached out to grip the top of the grave. She began pulling herself up. Suddenly, there was a flash of silver. Meredith screamed and let go, falling back into the grave. She slammed sideways against the dirt wall. It took her a moment to realize she had almost been hit by the blade of a shovel. She gazed up with eyes wide with fear. A shadowy figure stood above at the mouth of the grave, peering down at her. She wished it was the groundskeeper, but with a quick glance she realized it was not. It was what she feared. It was the killer. The same one that had attacked them all that night in Darcy’s living room. Meredith squeezed her eyes shut once again and screamed at the top of her lungs.
She was pelted with dirt. She gagged, getting some in her mouth. She looked up. She saw the shovel blade sinking into the pile of dirt by the side of the grave. Another clump of dirt came raining down into the grave. The killer’s going to bury me alive! her mind screamed back at her. Meredith let out another loud scream. Her heart thundered in response, she thought it was going to burst right out of her chest. She clawed at the dirt wall before hopping back up onto the coffin lid. She had to do something, and quick. She hoped her screams would alert the groundskeeper but so far, it didn’t seem to be working. She ducked the swipe of the shovel blade that nearly connected with her head. A few moments later, another clump of dirt sailed over her and hit the wall of the grave.
“NO!” Meredith screamed. She jumped, her hands finding the side of the grave as she hauled herself up as quickly as she could. She found herself on solid ground as the shovel was swung at her once more. With adrenaline surging through her body, she reached out and grabbed the shovel just below the blade. She and the killer wrestled with it for a few moments. Meredith thought she was going to lose her grip on the shovel. However, she was surprised when with one last desperate tug, she had the shovel in her hands. With adrenaline still coursing through her veins, she gritted her teeth and she swung the shovel as hard as her muscles could muster. A scream of rage erupted from her throat as the shovel blade connected with the killer’s body. It caught them in the midsection and sent them slamming against Edwin’s gravestone.
Meredith raised the shovel again and swung as the killer got to their feet. She missed, the blade missing the killer by inches. There was a glint in the killer’s hand. It took Meredith a moment to realize it was the blade of a hunting knife. She took a step back, ready to swing again at any moment. She was surprised when the killer turned and ran. Meredith watched as they disappeared around the side of the church. She tried to take in as much as she could. There seemed to be a feminine way the killer ran. She dropped the shovel to the ground and ran the way the killer had gone. Sure enough, the other entrance on the other side of the church was open. With freedom before her, Meredith ran as fast as she could through the gate. She didn’t stop until she was standing in front of the church.
A honk startled her. Meredith jumped, letting out a scream and turned to see a truck pulling up next to her. “Hey! Are you alright, miss?” asked the groundskeeper with concern glinting in his eyes as he came around the front of the truck to her.
“Did you see it?!” Meredith gasped out.
“See what?” the groundskeeper asked with a frown.
“The West Valley killer! Did you see them?!” she replied.
“I didn’t see anyone. The killer was here?” the groundskeeper asked, looking around nervously.
Meredith nodded. “They attacked me. Almost buried me alive in a dug up grave!” she choked out.
“I’ll worry about that later. Let’s get you home, yeah?” the groundskeeper asked as he ushered Meredith to his truck. Meredith nodded as she followed, it sounded like a great idea. She wanted to get as far away from there as possible.
Why did I agree to this? Ellie thought as she stared at her reflection in the mirror. Some time had passed, and now the end of the afternoon was approaching. The house was silent, she didn’t have to worry about picking Tyson up from school. He was going over to a classmates house once they were let out for the day. Tyson was already back in school and he had adjusted just fine. It was almost as if he had never left. Ellie had been slightly worried about that. Not just to be back in school, but to be back in town. She worried about his safety. It was a thought she tried to keep at the back of her mind, but sometimes she couldn’t help it come to the surface. A slight frown creased her face, she had even been worried about Tyson going over to his classmate’s house to work on a project.
His classmate’s mother had sworn she would be waiting for them outside by the time school was done. For a fleeting moment, Ellie was tempted to text her and find out if she had picked the boys up. But she refrained, she knew Tessa wouldn’t do anything to put not just her son, but Tyson as well, in danger. So Ellie relaxed and put the finishing touches as she got ready. She had a date. An early dinner date which had been proposed to her that morning. Who was the lucky guy that was taking her out to dinner? Her ex, Gage. He really was keeping his word to make things right again. It surprised Ellie. She thought he would never change. He wanted to be a family again, he wanted to be with her. If he would have asked her two years ago, she would have laughed in his face.
And I would have kicked his ass. she thought to herself, a small smile on her lips. However, this morning, Gage had surprised her. After making sure Tyson was on the school bus, he had joined Ellie in the kitchen. She had been sitting at the table, a cup of coffee in one hand, the newspaper in the other. She had arched an eyebrow in his direction as he had sat across from her, a strange look glinting in his eyes. For a brief moment, Ellie had thought he was going to throw her on the table and do her right then and there. Which wouldn’t have been a bad thing, she had thought to herself momentarily. Gage was still as good looking as he had been when they had met in high school. She had hid her disappointment by keeping her expression neutral when he had told her he had a question for her.
Gage had asked if she would like to go for dinner. Just the two of them. Ellie was surprised, she did not see that coming. And she was even more surprised when she had accepted his invitation. A look of satisfaction had played on Gage’s handsome face. They made plans to meet at the restaurant earlier that evening. After having a cup of coffee, Gage had left for the day. Ellie stayed inside the house, doing some laundry and watching some television before it was time to start getting ready. She had hurried upstairs to her bedroom to pick herself an outfit. Something nice, but casual. It was just dinner, she didn’t want to give Gage the wrong idea by dressing provocatively. She had taken a shower, doing her hair and makeup in the bathroom before heading back to the bedroom to get dressed.
Contempt with the way she looked, Ellie moved away from the mirror and made her way across the bedroom floor and out into the upstairs hall. She still had a couple of minutes before she had to head downtown to meet Gage at the restaurant. She made her way down to the main floor of the house. The beep from her cellphone caught her attention. She made her way over to the entryway table where she had placed it. She picked it up, read the text message on the screen. She let out a soft sigh of relief. It was a text from Tessa. The boys were safe inside the house, working on their project about electricity. Ellie text Tessa back, feeling much better. She slid her cellphone away as she made her way into the living room. Heading to the patio doors, making sure they were locked tight.
They were. With a quick glance, she could tell the windows were closed as well. You could never be too careful here in West Valley. Leaving your doors and windows unlocked was like having a death wish. It was like giving the killer an open invitation into your home. No matter what you locked, sometimes it didn’t help. The killer could get inside either way. Just thinking about it sent a shiver of fear snaking down Ellie’s spine as she headed back into the main hallway. She went over to the front door, unlatched the chain and unlocking the two deadbolts on the door before pulling it open. As if that’s going to keep the killer out. she couldn’t help but think, rolling her eyes as she did so. She stepped out on the front porch, closing and locking the door behind her. She tilted her head towards the sun before making her way down the walkway.
Gage had taken the car, which Ellie didn’t mind. She felt like walking, it was a nice day. After the dinner, she would head to work, which was right next door to the restaurant. She hoped Gage would offer to come pick her up when she was done her shift at Surge. Despite a killer on the loose, business was booming as usual. If Gage couldn’t find a job, maybe she would eventually hire him to work at the club. She could picture him doing security. In a town where people were dying, you could never have too much security. She reminded herself to ask him once they were talking over dinner. At least she hoped they talked, what if they just stared at each other in silence? What if the food was bad? Ellie was just jumping to conclusions. She realized she was just nervous. There were butterflies in her stomach.
What’s that line from that one song? The warning signs can feel like they’re butterflies. she thought to herself as she made her way down the sidewalk. She stopped for a few moments to watch some kids play basketball in their driveway. A small smile played on her lips as she thought about Tyson. Gage had promised to pick him up once he was done with his project. So far she was secretly impressed with the way he was taking care of their son. He wasn’t joking when he had said he wanted to be a part of their lives again. He had kept Tyson safe, taking him away from West Valley. But now they were both back. Ellie was ecstatic that her son was back in town, and wary about Gage. Yet she knew that if something were to happen to her, he would watch over Tyson.
Ellie kept moving, she didn’t want to keep Gage waiting. A car passed her, honking it’s horn. It was a few high school students, holding a West Valley High pendant out the window. Ellie waved, remembering tonight was the homecoming dance. She figured it would be starting shortly. Ellie had never gone to any of her own homecoming dances. She had thought she and her friends were way too cool for that. Instead, they’d go to the park and get high. Ellie still hadn’t lost her edge, but she had stopped smoking pot once she was pregnant with Tyson. She’d still take a toke here and there when she could, but it was something she did socially. And when her son wasn’t around. She wanted to set a good example for him. He had gotten used to all the tattoos and the different colored hair Ellie had.
She shook her head, clearing her thoughts as she made her way into downtown West Valley. She made her way past the gym, she could see it was packed with people. Once upon a time, Ellie had gone to the gym. Naturally lithe, she had wanted to get fit. She had stopped going, and she couldn’t quite put her finger on why. Maybe I should take some kickboxing lessons. In case I come face to face with the killer. she thought to herself, pursing her lips as she did so. Ellie was tough, she could throw down if she had to. She knew how to take care of herself in a fight. She was approaching the restaurant now. She made her way over to the door and pushed it open. She stepped inside, letting the door swing shut behind her. She noticed there weren’t many people inside. In due time, it would get busier.
“Ellie! Over here.” she heard Gage call to her.
With a thin smile on her lips, she made her way over to the table where Gage was sitting. “Hey.” she said simply as she slid into the chair across from him.
“I thought maybe you were going to stand me up.” Gage explained with a chuckle.
“I was seriously thinking about it.” Ellie replied with a shrug.
Gage blinked softly. “Well I’m glad you decided to show up. I already ordered us drinks. If I remember correctly, you like white wine.” he said.
“You remembered that. I’m impressed.” she replied with a small smile. The waiter came and placed the drinks down on the table. Wine for her, and a gin tonic for Gage.
“I decided to wait for you to show up before we order the food.” Gage explained.
“I already know the menu by heart. I’ll have the scalloped potatoes and chicken.” she told the waiter.
“I’ll have the same.” Gage told the waiter who nodded and scurried away.
“How original.” Ellie teased.
Gage shrugged. “It sounded good.” he replied.
“So, why the date? We couldn’t talk over a nice meal at home?” Ellie asked curiously.
Gage blushed slightly. “I’m still getting used to West Valley, I want to see what there is to do here.” he explained to her.
“Like every small town, there isn’t much to do.” she replied.
“Aside from the murders, I like it. It’s…quaint.” Gage replied.
“And Tyson? Do you think he’s adjusted being back here?” Ellie asked.
“I think so. He missed you a lot, he wouldn’t stop talking about you.” Gage explained.
“I missed him too.” she replied softly.
“Well I’m here now, and we’re going to keep each other safe.” Gage said.
“I guess we’ll see.” Ellie replied with a frown.
“Hey, try to think positive okay? Wow, here’s our food, let’s eat!” Gage said with a smile as the waiter brought them their meals.
There had to be a good reason for Hanna to spend all day at school. And there was, it was finally the evening of the homecoming dance. Words could not express how excited Hanna was. She just knew she was going to be crowned homecoming queen at the end of the night. She felt pretty confident, could just imagine how she’d look with the tiara on her head. A wide smile played on her lips as she thought back to the events of that day. She had woken up earlier that morning, even earlier than her alarm clock. She had jumped out of bed and had hurried to the bathroom to take a shower. By the time she was out, her mother and Quintin had woken up. She had hurried back into her bedroom and had put on her best lingerie.
It was a well known fact that the queen had to spend an intimate night with whoever was the homecoming king. No way was Hanna going to strip down to a pair of pastel bra and panties with rainbows on them. She definitely wasn’t a virgin, she wanted to make the night a memorable one. She wanted the homecoming king to tell his friends that Hanna Workman rocked his world. So she had dressed for school, slipping on a delicate form-hugging dark blue dress on top of her racy black lingerie. She didn’t want to get a lecture from her mother either. Once she was ready for school, she had gone over to her bedroom closet and pulled out a long black garment bag. Inside was the dress she had bought for the homecoming dance. She had it specifically made for her.
And the designer, Jane Porter is chaperoning tonight! Hanna thought to herself, a glint of excitement in her eyes. She hadn’t seen her yet but she was sure she would shortly. Right now Hanna was standing in the hall, smiling and waving at people who walked by. She spotted Carly Stanton, who looked stunning in a white and blue sleeveless gown with a full skirt. She stopped Carly and they spoke for a few minutes about their dresses and how much it had cost them. Hanna wasn’t all that surprised when Carly explained that her brother Travis had decided not to come. Hanna thought he was good-looking, but he wasn’t all that interesting. She said goodbye to Carly as the other girl hurried away to join some of her friends who were calling her over. Hanna turned and observed her reflection in the glass of the trophy case.
Her hair and makeup were flawless. She had gotten a hairdresser and a makeup artist to come to the school once classes were over for the day. Some of her fellow classmates were in awe. And they were even more surprised when she had told them they could get their hair and makeup done as well. If some of these girls did their hair and makeup themselves, they’ll look like train wrecks. she had thought to herself, a secretive smile playing on her lips. There were about five or six of them, including Megan Whitlow. They each took turns getting glammed up while Hanna focused on her cellphone. Once they were done, she had tipped the makeup artist and hairdresser pretty well. They seemed to be surprised that a girl her age could have that much money on her. Especially with the fact that she had that money on her at school.
She snapped back to attention, moving over so the DJ could lug his equipment into the gym where the dance was going to be held. As he walked past her, he gave her a wink. A soft giggle escaped from between her lips. The DJ was cute, but clearly older than her. Probably in his late twenties. she thought to herself. She reminded herself to go chat him up later on that night. The slamming of a door made her jump slightly. From down the hall, she could see the janitor locking up a set of double doors. Only one part of the school would remain open while the dance was being held. The other part of the school was dark and locked up. For a brief moment, Hanna thought her plan was a bust. She had thought of an idea earlier on that day while she was in science class.
She was about to head towards the janitor when she heard someone call her name. She turned to see Emily Novak hurrying towards her. She took in the other girl’s appearance. “Hey Emily! Looking good!” she told her.
Her friend smiled. “You too! That dress is STUNNING on you!” Emily told her.
“Of course it is! It’s a Jane Porter original.” Hanna replied with a smile.
Emily gazed at herself in the glass of the trophy case. “I think I need more lipstick. But the line for the girl’s restroom goes all the way around the corner.” she explained with a pout.
A sly smile played on Hanna’s lips. “I have just the thing, follow me.” she told Emily as she lead the way down the hallway. The janitor had disappeared. Their heels clicked on the floor as Hanna lead the way around a corner and into the adjacent hallway. Up ahead was a set of double doors separating the long corridor.
“Where are we going? Those doors are probably locked.” Emily whispered.
“They might not be. Earlier this afternoon I stuck some gum in the lock so we could use the other girl’s restroom, just for ourselves.” Hanna replied with a soft giggle.
“Our own private restroom? You’re a genius!” Emily laughed as they reached the doors.
Hanna reached out and grabbed the handle and pulled. The door swung open easily. “I guess the janitor didn’t check this door.” she told Emily with a devilish smile.
“Why is it so dark in the hall?” Emily asked looking up at the light fixtures as they headed into the corridor, the door swinging shut behind them.
“Because this part of the school is closed off.” Hanna replied, leading the way towards the restroom.
“What if we get caught?” Emily said, gulping nervously.
“I’ll say the hallway door was wide open.” Hanna explained with a reassuring smile.
“Let’s not take too long. I don’t want to miss Jennifer Rollins’ performance. She’s supposed to sing.” Emily said as they pulled open the restroom door and entered inside.
“Since when did she become Adele?” Hanna replied with a chuckle.
“Since Adele liked one of her instagram posts!” Emily said with excitement.
A laugh escaped Hanna’s lips. “That wasn’t Adele! That was Luna Rayne, a drag queen!” she explained.
“Well anyway, I don’t want to miss it!” Emily said as she applied the lipstick in the mirror. She blotted her lips and turned to Hanna, who was pulling out a tube of mascara from her purse. “Are you coming?” she asked Hanna as she pulled the restroom door open.
“Go on without me. I’ll catch up.” Hanna said with a chuckle. Emily nodded and headed back out into the hallway. Alone, Hanna stared at herself in the mirror. “Adele..” she chuckled again, shaking her head.
Out in the hallway, the restroom door swung shut. Emily took a step forward when something came rushing out of the dark at her. Her eyes widened in surprise. For a moment she thought it was the janitor. But the janitor didn’t wear a hooded black cloak. She opened her mouth to scream but before she could, she locked her eyes on the killer’s hands. They were raising something in the air. It took another moment for Emily to realize it was the fire axe that she and Hanna had passed on their way down the dark hallway. In the darkness, the axe swung down, striking Emily. Blood splattered on the hallway wall as the axe was risen and then brought down again. And again, and again. The killer took a step back when suddenly, the restroom door opened again.
Hanna stepped out into the hallway, her heels sliding on the pool of blood that was collecting on the floor. She grabbed the wall to steady herself. Her eyes widened in horror as she gazed over at the killer. And then she ticked her gaze to the floor where Emily’s dead body lay in a heap. A scream erupted from Hanna’s throat as the killer dove at her, the axe swinging. Hanna ducked, the axe blade biting into the wooden door behind her. The killer struggled to get the axe free. That’s all it took for Hanna to take off running full speed down the hallway. She heard the splintering of wood from down the hallway behind her. The killer had gotten the axe free. She could hear the killer running after her. Another scream escaped from between her lips as she picked up her pace.
Hanna slammed against the doors at the end of the hallway that she and Emily had come through. But this time, instead of it opening easily, it remained shut. Hanna grabbed the handles and pulled with all the might she could muster. A short scream of frustration escaped her lips. It was locked. Either the janitor had removed the gum on the lock, or the killer had done it themselves. Hanna stole a glance behind her. The killer was heading straight for her, the axe held high in the air. She took off toward the killer, running towards them. Despite her hysteria, she knew there was another hallway adjacent to the one she was in. She just had to get past the killer first. What’s that? Hanna thought, her eyes falling on something placed next to a classroom door. It took her a moment to realize it was a garbage can.
She picked up the garbage can by the handle and swung it at the killer. It connected and the killer went down. Wasting no time, Hanna took off running down the hall. Her heels sliding once again on the pool of blood on the ground. This time, she hit the ground and went rolling, feeling the blood soak into her dress, into her hair, on her face. Emily’s blood. Hanna gagged but got to her feet and continued running. A glance over her shoulder revealed there was no one behind her. Yet she didn’t take a chance to slow down. She turned into the other hallway, the double doors were just up ahead. With a burst of energy she ran towards them. Pushed them open but then she got knocked off her feet and fell onto the ground. She hit her head, stars exploding in her vision.
She realized the double doors were also locked. This time by a chain. Clutching her head, she got to her feet. Turned again to look behind her. No sign of the killer. She grabbed the chain that was linked between the two door handles. Struggled with all of her might. It moved a few inches, enough for her to stick her arm through the narrow opening. She screamed as loud as she could, pounding against the small windows in the door. Even if she broke one of the windows, there was no way she could fit through it. Beyond the doors was the hallway where the gymnasium was. She battered against the door again, screaming. Hoping someone would hear her and come help her. She could hear the faint sound of Jennifer Rollins singing from the gym.
From the way the other girl was singing, there was no way anyone was going to hear Hanna’s cries for help. For a moment, Hanna couldn’t believe her eyes. Someone stepped out into the hallway and into her line of view. It was Jane Porter! Hanna shook the doors and screamed loudly once more. Jane turned and spotted her! The woman hurried over to the door, concern on her face. She gasped when she saw Hanna was covered in blood. Hanna stuck her arm through the narrow opening.
“Oh god! Jane! Please help me!” Hanna cried.
“What is it? What’s going on?” Jane replied, she struggled with the door on her side. No success.
“The killer’s here! They’re after me! They killed Emily!” Hanna gasped. She looked behind her. The hallway remained empty. She thought she heard the faint sound of footsteps from somewhere down the hall.
“I’ll go find the janitor!” Jane cried, worry glinting in her eyes.
“NO! No! Please don’t leave me! Please! Jane, call the police!” Hanna cried.
Jane’s face fell. “My phone is in the gym!” she explained.
“Please don’t leave me! Jane! Help me! He’s going to kill m…” suddenly, Hanna was cut off.
For her head suddenly separated from her neck, flying into the air and rolling away into a dark corner. Before the glass of the door was splattered with blood, Jane saw the killer holding the blood stained axe. A geyser of crimson splattered against the glass. Jane stumbled back, her eyes wide in horror. She couldn’t believe what she had just seen. Hanna had been decapitated right in front of her. Jane spun on her heels and ran back towards the gym, her screams of terror echoing down the dark hallway.