Chapter seven - It's Over


2:23 A.M.

The teenagers backed away from the window slowly, unsure of what the silhouette could mean. Or, aside from the obvious fact that the killer was now back outside, of course. Efad carefully reached forward to lock the deadbolt on the courtyard door.

"How long do you think we can keep him out?" She asked in a whisper, as if afraid the shadow could hear her speak.

"I don't know," Aaron's muffled voice replied from inside of his shirt. He had finally gotten it from the living room, by direct order of Suzanne. He managed to get his head through the proper hole and ran a hand through his now messy dark hair. "At least we know we're safe for now."

Lizzy gave him a strange look. "What are you talking about? The killer's still out there?"

He jerked his thumb towards the window. "Yeah, but we know he was in the house before Caitlin's"-he stopped to find a better word than the obvious choices of 'death' or 'murder'-"incident, and since ET's... incident-"

"That word is getting annoying rather fast," Efad snapped.

"-he's outside. Which means that we can think clearly for a while."

Suzanne nodded. "All the same, I say we try not to fall asleep again, since we all saw what happened to ET." The group of four turned halfway to the bloody water in the fountain, shared a comunative shudder and quickly turned back.

"And I say we back away from the window," Lizzy added. "We don't know if the guy has a gun or not."

Efad threw her a sideways glance. "Then why wouldn't he have used the gun to kill everyone if he had one?"

"It would be too unimaginative," Aaron muttered

"Oh, brilliant..."


3:41 A.M.

An hour later, they all sat in the living room, groaning in turn as they tried to keep themselves awake. Soft drinks hadn't helped; nor had Aaron's five cups of coffee. It seemed inevitable for sleep to overtake them, one by one, which would leave them all vulnerable for attack.

"I've got it," Lizzy whimpered after a few moments. "How 'bout one of us sleeps for an hour, and three of us keep watch, then rotate until we've all slept?"

Efad leaned her head back on the couch and laughed softly. "It's tempting," she agreed. "But who'd get first hour? I think we'd kill each other trying to decide..."

"But it'd save the killer some trouble." Aaron yawned and shook his head vigorously. "This is getting redculous. If we've locked all the doors, windows, and dog-doors, why can't we all just sleep and hope he's not as smart as he's proven himself to be already?"

Suzanne sighed. "You can try if you'd like, but I'm not going to flirt with danger. If all possible, I'd like to live through this..."

A loud -BANG- sounded from outside. The four screamed and ducked, anticipating shattering glass from a gunshot, and the possibility of one of their group giving a cry of pain. After a few moments with no reaction, Efad lifted her head slowly and looked outside. Nothing.

"Guys... I think that was a car backfiring," she said slowly, letting the irony sink in.

Lizzy put her hands in the air to show frustration. "I think we're all too tense, too cranky, and have lost our minds."

Another noise caused to teenagers to jump - a loud -WHUMP- from an area about ten feet away on top of the roof. They all held their breath as the noise, now resembling footfalls, crossed from the standing point over to where they sat... and stopped above them. Efad absently grasped the nearest grabbable thing to her and gingerly fingered it. For some reason, it felt like a a matter of fact, it WAS a hand, and it happened to belong to Aaron.

The boy glanced at her curiously as she swiftly moved her hand back into her lap. " OK?" He asked quietly.

Before she could say anything, a rapidfire of gunshots blew through the roof and hit the floor in the area where the teenagers were sitting. Suzanne, Lizzy and Efad screamed, while Aaron yanked Efad towards him and embraced her; whether for her own protection or out of terror, she wasn't sure. The girl could feel his heartbeat racing with fear and adrenaline, but heard him scream in pain an instant later.

The gunshots stopped, and the dust started to settle. Efad, afraid to move, sat in Aaron's arms, trembling. She heard no other noise, aside from her own heavy breathing. Suzanne and Lizzy were completely silent.

Efad slowly, carefully looked up at Aaron. He was alive, thank goodness, but his face was a mirror of pain. She glanced and saw, to her horror, Suzanne and Lizzy laying in a heap, one over the other. Blood flowed into a puddle around them, signifying either fatal injury or death.

"Aaron," she tried to say. Her voice was so quiet and dulled in her must have been an affect of the gunshot noise. The boy looked at her and smiled.

"Are you alri-" He started to ask, then let out another howl of pain and crumpled around her.

Efad sat up and pulled away from him, trying to see what had made him cry out. "What? What happened?"

Aaron forced a very, very weak smile to try and assure her that he was all right. "I-I think a bullet hit me or something... in the leg. It may have only grazed it." He glanced and saw a ripped and bloody jeans leg. Thankfully, he was right - it wasn't serious.

"What about... Suzanne and Lizzy?" She looked at her two friends, who, to her horror, still hadn't moved. They didn't even appear to be breathing.

The boy cringed from the pain again before replying. "I... don't know," he gasped.

It was a moment before Efad gathered enough courage to crawl over and examine her two friends. Neither were breathing, nor had a heartbeat or a pulse. She choked on her tears and fell down on her elbows, completely unaware of the blood-stained carpet she had just laid in, and moaned an inhuman-sounding moan. "Why?" She wailed. "They were supposed to survive the night...we were gonna be OK...! Why?!" In her wrath, she beat the floor with her fist and buried her face in her hands, which smeared innocent blood on her tear-stained complexion.

Aaron hung his head in sorrow. "I don't know," he said in a whisper.