Chapter 1

Before the Storm

"Screw men. Seriously, just screw them all!" Sarah Blackheart wailed. She slammed her LG shut and crammed it back inside her sweat jacket. She grabbed lighter out of her chair's cup holder and lit a cigarette, a nasty habit she'd picked up from her mother, Delia.

Sarah and Delia's neighbor, Lindy Lee, who was sitting across from Sarah on her own fold up chair, simply rolled her eyes. Outbursts like this weren't very uncommon for Miss Sarah. The men in her life were always doing her some kind of wrong. In her opinion, they never paid enough attention to her or spent enough money on her. Sarah was never treated like the princess she thought she was.

Tonight's rant was about her ex-boyfriend Tony. She'd spent the last month and a half trying to get back with him, even though he showed no interest in doing so. Earlier that day Sarah had seen him driving down the street in his truck with some girl in the passenger seat after he told her he was going to Lowe's. Completely enraged, she called him every name in the book and left him a very angry voice mail in which she screamed, "What, now you can go buy girls at Lowe's?!". Needless to say, she was down right pissed.

"Yah know, Sar, you're not actually together. He is free to ride around in his truck with any girl he wants." Her mom-the source of all knowledge and human morality- explained to her self absorbed daughter. Delia was sitting next to Sarah enjoying a glass of her favorite wine, Red Cat with her low cut tank top exposing her rather large bosoms. Her dirty blonde hair was pulled into a messy bun on top of her head.

Sarah took a long swig of her cigarette and pondered her mother's words. "I don't care. He's a dick. And you can tell him I said that, Lindy."

"I'm not telling him that." Lindy protested. Even though she was twice Tony's age, Lindy had established a pretty descent relationship with him when he first started dating Sarah. Even though he and Sarah were no longer together, Lindy still spoke to Toney quite often. Since he was a police officer, she saw him around town quite often as well. The simple fact was that Lindy liked Tony. He was a nice stand up young man, the type Lindy was never lucky enough to meet herself.

"No, seriously tell him I never want to speak to him again." Sarah pressed. Lindy and Delia exchanged glances. Sarah definitly didn't mean one word of what she was saying. She'd be flirting with Tony again in no time and both Delia and Lindy knew that. Sarah just whole heartedly thought that every guy wanted her. And honestly, why wouldn't she think that? Sarah was just about one of the prettiest girls that Luzerne, Pennsylvania who had to offer to the male persuasion. Her pale blue eyes penetrated the hearts of men and she always managed to look fabulous with her low cut jeans and Hollister tee shirts. Of course, the fact that she had enormous breasts just like her mother didn't hurt either.

"You do realize that everything you're saying is shit, right?" Delia asked.

Bending down, Sarah rubbed her cigarette bud on the ground. "Yeah, pretty much." she admitted, nonchalantly. Everyone laughed. Yep, it was definitly an ordinary June night at the Walnut Street apartments.

Lindy had been a resident of these apartments for over ten years. Delia had been a resident, along with Sarah and her two other daughters, Sydney and Jess, after they left their father eight years ago. However, the three ladies didn't become extremely close until early last summer. They bonded over their twisted and cooky sense of humor, constant use of profanities, and fractured love lives. They didn't have much, but together they sure did have a swinging time.

This summer their hobby was simple: sit outside of their apartments and watch the locals. The apartments faced Main Street of Luzerne, so they always had a pretty good view of the excitement that happens in their small little town. It was a hell of a way to spend the summer.

"Let's change the subject shall we, ladies?" Sarah asked, lighting herself another cigarette. Delia nodded her head in agreement.

"Well, Claire should be coming to visit any day, now." Lindy stated. Suddenly, Sarah's eyes widened in delight.

"You mean my bff's coming back?!" Sarah squealed. Lindy shook her head. Sarah clapped her hands together, gleefully. "Finally! I haven't seen her since last summer!"

Claire was Lindy's niece and the light of Lindy's life. Since Lindy was unable to have children of her own, Claire was the closest thing she had to a daughter. Every summer Claire would venture from her home in Scranton and spend the summer with her loving and erratic Aunt. Sarah was also very close to Claire, since they were only two years apart.

"She graduated in May, right Lindy?" Delia acquired. Again, Lindy nodded, brushing her dark brown bangs out of her eyes.

"Is she still, yah know, all frazzled about what happened to Tara?" Sarah asked, wryly.

"Well, I have no doubt she is. I mean, Tara was Claire's best friend. It's horrible to have to go through something like that." Delia explained. Lindy shuddered, trying not to think too much about…it.

"She's…better." Lindy said softly. A few moments of uncomfortable silent passed between the three women. Neither one of the wanted to bring up the next obvious topic associated with Tara, but they knew it would soon become inevitable.

Sarah was the first to speak up. Crossing her legs, she leaned towards Lindy and whispered, "Did you tell her about what's been happening? Did you tell her about…them?" Lindy stared straight ahead, unable to meet Sarah's eyes. Her face was expressionless.

"No." She replied tonelessly.

Delia pulled her cigarette from between her lips and blew a puff of smoke out of the side of her mouth. "You're going to have to tell her eventually." She said. Lindy didn't respond. "Lindy, you have to" Delia pressed. Lindy still didn't respond. She continued to stare blankly across the street, not willing to look into the eyes of her friends because she knew that once she did, everything become real. Everything that had been happening-the strange events that had been taking place during the wee hours of the morning- would become reality. And Lindy would be forced expose Claire to everything…but she had to. Lindy turned her head towards Sarah and Delia.

"I know." She admitted, softly.

A cool breeze suddenly wiped around Sarah, Delia, and Lindy, sending shivers through each of their bodies. The large oak tree at the left side of the parking lot shook wildly. The warm weather suddenly vanished and it was replaced with this…coldness. Everything became unusually quite and not a single car drove down Main Street. It was cold. It was dark. And it was downright eerier. Of course, despite the sudden eerier feeling, none of the women were truly scared or freaked out. To Sarah, Delia, and Lindy this sudden uneasy, atmospheric change was normal.

Lindy quickly grabbed her cell phone and glanced at the time.12:00am. "Right on time." She muttered to herself. She turned to Delia and Sarah both of which were silently waiting for something – anything to happen. Something's here." Lindy acknowledged.

"I know" Sarah and Delia said in unison. Lindy's eyes suddenly darted to the parking lot of a doctor's office across the street. Sarah and Delia slowly followed Lindy's gaze.

"Holy Shit" Sarah said breathlessly, knowing that they were all seeing the same thing.

In the parking lot there stood a dark shadow that seemed to resemble a man. Suddenly, all three women gasped, for that dark shadow started to move. As if floating on air, the shadow slowly began to make its way across the street.