The next morning Tacora awoke with red eyes. She'd barely gotten any sleep the following night due to the fear that had coiled itself around her heart and made her sleep with her lamp on while in her room. Usually the comfort of Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp and Leonardo Dicaprio starring out at her from the movie posters on her walls made her feel some sort of relief, but after last night, there was no sense of safety. Even when she'd managed to drift off around four thirty that morning, just two hours before she had to get up and get dressed for school, she still felt afraid. When she came into the kitchen for a bowl of cereal, her mother greeted her as she sat a bowl down at one of two empty place mats. Her father had already left for work before she'd even gotten up.
"Good morning Tacora. Did you sleep well?" Her little sister greeted.
Tacora swallowed sharply and turned sleep deprived lids to her younger sister, "I slept fine Debra." She turned her attention back to the bowl of cereal. All she could think about is the creepy vision she'd had last night, if you could call it that. It took every ounce of physical energy she could summon to dip the spoon into the cereal and pull it out of the bowl and up to her mouth.
"Good morning my sweet."
She yelped, dropped the spoon and her chair made loud skidding noises across the floor as in panic, she pushed herself from the table.
"Honey, are you alright?" Her mother inquired, a concerned expression displaying over her features. Tacora's eyes darted around the room for a second, her heart pounding in her chest. Exhaling shakily, she sputtered, "I...uh...I..."
Her mother furrowed worried brows at her, "Sweet heart..."
Just as she spoke, the door bell rang. Debra stood up, "I'll get it." She pushed her chair out and ran toward the front door.
"Honey. Are you alright?" Cynthia could see the look of confusion and fear on her daughter's face and saw it in her hands. "Did something happen last night while I was gone?"
"Hi, Mrs. Johnson," Jean greeted them as she walked into the kitchen, Debra following behind her.
"Hi Jean." Mrs. Johnson greeted back.
"Hey Tacora. What's up?" Jean inquired, sitting down at a table next to her.
Tacora took this time to gather herself and push her fear down.
"That's what I was asking her." Mrs. Johnson stated, looking at her daughter with motherly concern. She had a cup of coffee in her hands. The white coffee cup sat on the glass table.
"I'm fine."Tacora stated. "I guess I just was startled that's all."
"By what?" Her mother wanted to know.
Tacora shook her head, "I just...dozed off I guess." She stood up, grabbing her bowl.
"You dozed off? How can you doze off when you just woke up?" Her mother inquired. Tacora shrugged her shoulders and cleared her throat. "I had a hard time putting my thoughts into perspective last night, so it was difficult sleeping."
"Thoughts about what?" Her mother wanted to know. "Did something happen while your father and I were gone?" She inquired, beginning to feel a sense of disquieted agitation.
Tacora shook her head, "No. I just had a lot on my mind. I'm ok though."
Cynthia watched with a concerned expression as Tacora grabbed Debra and both girls left for school.
On their way to school, Jean noticed that Tacora was quiet the whole time. Her lips were pursed in a tight expression and her brows creased with worry. She also noticed that Tacora's body was stoic. It was like she was stuck in time. "T- are you alright?" She inquired, concern etching her features. Tacora inhaled sharply, reluctant to answer, afraid of what her friend may think of her once she told her what had happened the previous night.
"Come on T- I know this is not like you, so something must be going on."
Tacora paused in her steps and stared up at her friend, her gaze troubled, her body now trembling. She cleared her throat, "Last night...I was washing dishes..." Her tone trailed off, still not sure if she should tell her the truth or not.
"Yeah, you were washing dishes..." Jean baited.
"And I saw...saw the killer." Tacora stated, her words rushed.
Jean placed her hand over her mouth in surprise, "Seriously?"
Tacora shook her head, "Yeah, I mean, he was on a beach and he was digging another grave..."
Jean narrowed her brows. "Wait a minute. You saw the killer over a hundred miles away from your kitchen?"
Tacora nodded her head, "Yeah...It was a premonition."
"Come on T- not that psychic shit again, you know it give me the hee-bee-gee-bees."
"Jean, you know I'm not a fake. I'm not. Remember that time I told you about your grand mother?"
Jean put her hands up to her face, "Yeah, I remember."
Tacora stared at her best-friend, who'd donned a pair of blue jeans, a long sleeve black sweater and a pair of sneakers to ward off the cold that had come early this fall. Her long dark hair brought back into a pony tail. Jean was a beautiful wispy light brown color that was native to her Persian- ancestry.
"Well, I saw the killer through a premonition and I think he's coming after me."
"What do you mean you think he's coming after you?"
Tacora exhaled sharply, "He's coming after me. I'm not sure when or how long it will take him to find me, but he will." She cleared her throat, her gaze frantic on her friend's eyes. Jean could see the fear in them. "Tacora, I think you should tell somebody."
"Tell them what? Tell them that I have a strange connection with the guy who's been going around killing young girls and that I don't know when, but he is coming after me?"
Jean sighed, "You need to tell someone."
Tacora shook her head no. "I have a feeling he's not human, Jean. He's not from our world."
Jean felt chills course down her arms. "T- Look, let's just finish our walk to school. I'm really not interested in this conversation. You're starting to freak me out."
"I'm not trying to, but you know I'm not a fake and I don't go around making up things like this. I saw that man burying a hallow grave by a beach and I know it was a beach because I could smell the water near by and hear the sand crunch beneath his feet as he walked. He carried this girl to a pier and burried her there and while burrying her, this...thing...communicated with me." Tacora ran her hands down her arms to shield them from the chills that once more coursed through her spine that morning as they reached the busy street located right in front of their school. Both girls waited for the cross light to turn green so that they could shuffle across the street and into the warmth of the building. Jean flickered her gaze over to her friend. She was right. No one would believe her if she told of the events from the night before. Even Jean wouldn't believe that her friend was being truthful if she hadn't seen with her own eyes how gifted her friend truly was. Tacora had a visual gift of seeing the unnatural or the future, or what ever you wanted to call it and until a year ago, Jean herself had not believed her until her Grandmother had passed and Tacora had told her a week before of the vision that she'd seen of her grandmother falling accidentally from the roof her home. Jean hadn't spoken to tacora until after her Grandmother's funeral because she'd thought Tacora had been playing a cruel joke, but it turned out to be the truth. Remembering this, she couldn't help but feel sorrow at her friend's pending fate. She wanted to make sure that she went to the police and let them know what she saw last night, even if it meant that she would sound ridiculous doing so. "Tacora, I think you should go to the police." Jean blurted out to her as they reached the school steps and took them toward the double doors that were painted a solid blue with black paws on the inside for their school mascot Ruff the bull dog.
Tacora grabbed one of the metal handles and pulled the door open, allowing her friend to enter first. "Jean, you know as well as I do that they are not going to believe me. They are going to think it's a hoax."
Jean didn't deny this. "Maybe, but, Tacora, you need to tell someone what you know because..." Jean felt chills prick the back of her neck. "What if something does happen to you? No one will know how to stop it or catch the guy."
As they reached her locker, Tacora's body leaned into it and she closed her eyes, feeling as drained as the night before. Taking her left hand, she began kneeding away the tension in her kneck. She knew that whom ever this was, they weren't going to catch him. How did you catch something that wasn't human, not from this world? As if her mind fed her the answer, she heard a voice speak loud and clear. "you didn't."
Three days later:
As the rain pelted the rooftop of the school, Devlin charged up the stairwell, leading to the third floor and ran swiftly, yet silently threw the halls, searching for a door, any door that would lead her safely to a hiding place. Jonathan and Michael were both not that far behind her. Jonathan had been sent around the back of the building to cut her off should she get away from Michael, who was now chasing her through the corridors of the building. The worst part about what was happening was that there was only one way up and one way down, so unfortunately for her, she had to hide and wait for one of the young men to pass her up before she could even get down the way she came.
However, it wasn't guaranteed that she would not run into Jonathan on the way down. Grasping the knob closest to her, she twisted, it did not open. She frantically searched for another door, or entrance to any room, but then her eyes fell on the window located at the far end of the hall. She had forgotten there was a window on the third floor, which led out to an awning that canvased a small section of the school. There was an image of their mascot snippy on the front, sides and bottom of it. This was what made Bradshaw Academy unique. The awning, was not only memorable, but it allowed the school to stick out amongst other schools in the district. Devlin knew she was safe because Brandon Wilfort had done this as a publicity stunt in front of the whole school at the beginning of the year and he hadn't broken any bones. He had however, been suspended from school after this charade. That's what the principal had called it. Brandon hadn't been seen on campus in two weeks now.
Devlin inhaled sharply and decided that she wouldn't allow any doubts to filter the new found courage and she'd make it to the window if it was the last thing she did. She ran as fast as her feet could carry her, making sure her heels didn't sound on the tile beneath her. That was the key to running as fast as you could without sound, propel yourself forward and then sprint, never allowing your heel to hit the ground once. It took her less than thirty seconds to reach the edge of the hall where the window was, however, a figure emerged and surprised her. The last thing she saw as she was thrust onto the blade of the knife Jonathan carried, was his bright smile as he welcomed his intended target...
Linda Washington smiled as she looked down at another scene gloriously created by the beautiful hands that crafted such an ingenious idea from her incredible mind. She relished in the fact that she was on the school news paper and that she'd been given a nice sizable slot to do her short stories and this made her happy. As she smiled at what she'd written, she decided to leave this script where it was, just to capture the readers imagination as she'd done the previous week. Clicking on the print button so the pages would print out, she clapped her hands together in anticipation. She couldn't wait to get this part out to the news paper. Students kept coming up to her through out the week, asking her when she was going to submit another piece of her short story and telling her that it sent chills down their spine just thinking of what would happen with Devlin, Jonathan and Michael. Last week, she'd posted the discovery Devlin had made about Jonathan and Michael and had found evidence that implicated them in the disappearance of several students on campus. Filled with a sly grin, Linda whispered, "now it's your turn." She went to the printer and collected the page she'd typed up and went to the school librarian, Mrs. Copeland. "Hi Linda." Mrs. Copeland greeted. She was a heavyset woman, who dressed and looked every inch of a librarian. Her dark hair was pulled away from her face in a bond, complementing dark round eyes, that were full of a willingness to help.
"Hi Mrs. Copeland."
"I see you finally finished what you were working on?"
Linda gave a bright laugh, giddy. "Yeah, I did."
Mrs. Copeland's eyebrows raised with curiosity, "Does it by chance have anything to do with that short story you've been posting in the school's paper?"
"Yes, ma'am. I'm close to finishing it."
Mrs. Copeland shook her head, "Are you now?"
"Yes, it won't be long now."
"Any idea on what you will write next?"
"I really haven't thought that far ahead. I try to keep my ideas compacted until I finish what I'm working on, that way I can have a chance to..." Linda's tone trailed off as she noticed a figure off to the right of the Librarian. Dressed in a dark hoodie, that could be either black or blue. She glanced up at Mrs. Copeland and picked up her sentence, "I try to keep my ideas compacted until I finish one story before moving on to the next."
"Containing all of that imagination, in one little space? I'm not sure that's too healthy for a writer."
Linda felt a cool wind on her skin. She turned around, looking for who stood behind her, but there was no one.
"Are you alright dear?" Mrs. Copeland inquired. Linda pulled her bag up on her shoulder, tucking it closer to her, "I'm fine. Mrs. Copeland, I just thought I felt someone behind me. There was a sudden draft of cold air."
"I tell George to close those windows before he leaves the library at night. I will be sure to write him a note tonight."
"Ok." Linda felt a breath on her neck, warm. Turning around quickly, she knocked down a stack of book marks that were on the edge of the counter. There was no one behind her. Her mind went back to the person in the hoodie she'd seen, and in fierce denial, she said that it was impossible for anyone to get into the library and not be seen, especially being that close to Mrs. Copeland. Reaching down, she grabbed the book marks and shuffled them back into a neat pile on Mrs. Copeland's desk. Glancing over at Mrs. Copeland with a smile, she whispered, "I have to go, Mrs. Copeland. I will see you tomorrow at school, ok?" Mrs. Copeland furrowed her brows, "Are you sure you're alright, Linda?"
Linda nodded her head vigorously, "I'm sure, I'll see you tomorrow." She rushed out of the library.
It was watching, red eyes glistening behind a dark smooth skin, unlike anything seen on earth. As this being scoped out it's prey, it stared at the young girl coming from the school yard. He'd found her this morning while she'd been mounting a bike in her front yard. He'd made himself invisible, careful not to disclose his identity. As he stared at her, he could see that she was a collectible in the sense that she radiated a love for the absurd. Her heart flowed with passion for fear, it thrived on fear, not as much as his, but deliciously close enough. She also had something in her that was precious to him, something worth keeping above that. Her innocence.
One week later:
"I...I'd like to make a report." The young girl stuttered out in at trembling voice while tucking her hair behind her ears. She was so fearful now that her teeth chattered.
The attendant looked up from her desk, with concern etched in her features. "What's a matter honey?"
"T-this guy has been chasing me. I don't know...he's been following me." Linda stuttered, tears streaming down her face. She was so scared. Everywhere she went, he was there, even her home. It was bad that she couldn't go to her own home because she was convinced that the man was following her.
"Ok, hold on for a second." The receptionist stated as she picked up her phone and called for someone to come and take her report.
"I..I think he's in my house, everywhere I go, he's there." She stated, her heart pounding outside her chest. She knew it was only a matter of time before her own fear consumed her. She hadn't been able to sleep, eat, think about anything other than this man. Her thoughts began to shake her in such a way that others in the precinct were starting to notice. She glanced around wide eyed. Staring at everyone. She wondered if any of them knew? Did they see what she saw? A minute later, a female officer came out from behind the secured doors and she took one glance at Linda's trembling form and seeing that she was at her wits end, the lady put an arm around the young teen.
"Are you alright sweet heart?" She inquired.
"He's coming to get me." Linda whispered. The female officer led her to the doors that led behind to the examination rooms. After finding a room, the female officer sat her down in one of two chairs and sat in the seat across from her.
"Who's coming to get you?"
"The man...The man who buries women by the beach. I'm next." Trembling hands went up to her face and Linda wept. This morning as the realization that there was a reason this man was after her, dawned on her, she had been filled with despair. She'd never felt so hopeless in her life. She'd always thought that she'd grow up, finish school and become the next Stephen King or something, but she felt a cold fear grip her heart, turning it to ice. Now she knew that would never happen. She would never know what it meant to her first novel, settle down, have children, or become famous. Anguish at these facts left the tears streaming so hard down her face and her speech was choppy and broken.
"What man sweet heart?" The detective inquired. She had never seen a teen as young as her come in the precinct, the very essence of fear. The girl couldn't have been no more than fourteen or fifteen. Detective Mara Wills was a slender woman of one fifteen in weight and she was a no nonsense detective who had obtained her Criminal Psychiatric Degree at Boston University. If there was one thing she was sure of, it was the trauma this young woman had suffered.
"H..he...is always there. Everywhere I go, he's there and I can't take it." She whispered, crying into her own hands. "I can't take it..." She wrapped her arms around her body, staring at the detective with sleep deprived eyes, her irises red and bags puffing up the pigment around her eyes. The detective reached out and grasped her hand from across the table. "Sweet heart." She whispered in a soothing voice, "You have to calm down, I can't help you if you continue to be hysterical. Ok?"
Linda shook her head, her body continuing to tremble.
"Would you like something to drink, something to warm you up?" The detective whispered.
Linda shook her head no. "I just came here to file a report, that way when something does happen to me, you guys will know who I am and what's going on."
A knock at the door, startled Linda, causing her to jump. She turned to the door and saw a detective coming in with a cup. The cup was sat in front of her. Linda felt the scent of the hot chocolate come up from the bowl and curl around her insides. She grabbed the cup, holding it delicately and sipped a small amount from it. The liquid did offer a little warmth until she thought of the man who'd been stalking her the past week, if she could even call it that.
Detective wills stared at the young lady with soft brown eyes. She removed her hand back and clicked a button on the side of the table. This set the recording of their conversation. "Sweet heart, can you tell me your name and address first?"
Linda cleared her throat, staring her in the eyes, "My name is Linda Washington, I'm fifteen years old and I live at 1326 S. Haven Street, in Trenton Ohio."
"Ok, can you explain to us who is the man you are talking about the one buries the women by the beach?"
"H..he..." A deep breath was exhaled and she spoke so soft her words were barely audible. "He told me that he buries girls by the beach."
"Did he say why he does this?"
"No, but I can say this, when ever I have seen him, I feel so afraid that I can hardly breathe. It's like I have have to remind myself to breathe because that's how scared I become." Goosebumps were starting to form on her arms.
"So do you think he like having you fear him?"
"Do you know his name, Linda?"
"No. I am not even sure if he's real or not. Sometimes I feel like it is my imagination."
Wills nodded in sympathy. "I can understand that. You said that he's been following you? When did this start?"
"A week ago. I was in the library, working on an article for the school news paper when I saw him standing a little ways away from the librarian."
Wills perked up, "Did the librarian see him too?"
Linda exhaled and put her hands in her face. She understood now how stupid this story sounded. "No."
"He was in the library but the Librarian didn't see him?"
Wills cleared her throat, her full lips pursed, doubtful, "You do know it's wrong to lie about things that haven't taken place, don't you?"
Linda shook her head. "I'm not lying. I swear, a guy in a dark blue or black hoodie, is following me."
"So you're not sure what color his clothing are?" Detective Wills inquired.
"I am not sure what the color of the hoodie is."
Wills exhaled, frustrated. She wanted to believe her, but the more she spoke, the stranger she sounded.
Linda reached across the table, fresh tears brimming. "Sweet heart, you have to be truthful about everything ok, that's the only way we can help you."
"I am being truthful. I am not sure of the color of the hoodie because it is that dark. It could be blue or black. The guy has been standing everywhere I stand and every place I go, he's there. Everywhere. I'm trying to get help!" She cried, frustrated. "I don't want to die. I know those girls on t.v., they disappear and their bodies are found days later. I don't want that to happen to me. I've never done anything to hurt anyone. I try my hardest to not lie. I believe in God, I am a good person. I don't deserve to die."
"Who says you're going to die?" Detective Wills wanted to reach out her heart to this girl but knew it was against protocol.
"Nothing needs to be said," Linda stated, pulling her legs closer to her body, into the seat of the chair. "I don't have to be told because I can feel it. He's going to get me, he's coming to get me and when he does, there's nothing you can do to stop it."
Exhaling sharply, Willis spoke. "Sweet heart, have you been watching the news lately?"
Linda jumped up from her chair, "It's not in my head, ok. I'm telling you, that thing is not human. He has red eyes that glow and he has coldness all around him. There is no heat, ok. None. He walks around scouting out whom ever he wants. He is some type of thing that goes unnoticed in our plain. He's not natural to our world."
Detective Wills reached over the table and pushed the stop button on the recorder, "Honey, I wish I could believe you, but your story just sounds unrealistic. This sounds like something paranormal."
Linda cried hard, "It is paranormal because he's not from here. He's not human." As she spoke those words, Linda felt the room go cold. Glancing wide eyed at Detective Wills, she whispered, "He's here."
Detective Wills ran her hands over her arms, sure that the goosebumps had come because of the cold fear radiating off of Linda. Linda stood there frozen in fear.
Linda felt it the moment he came up behind her. He stood behind her, silent. His gaze drifted around the room. He exhaled, releasing a visual of himself, but only to the woman in front of him. He stared at her as she stared back at him. There was a hint of fear in her eyes, but not much. She glanced at him as if she recognized him. This caused him to feel a bit unsteady himself. He pulled Linda closer to him, telling her Linda was his. The lady took a step closer, causing him to back away a little.
"Let her go." She stated. "You don't want to do this."
He nodded his head, "Yes I do."
Just as she reached out for Linda, the figure disappeared, leaving the area blank where he stood. As Detective Wills stared in silence, she saw that Linda was not lying and she also saw that her mother had not been lying, demon spirits were real. What she couldn't figure out, was how did this particular demon gain the ability to come into her world and take young girls. Why did it seem to be afraid of her? What was it about her that unnerved him. She had been just as afraid as the young girl. Her heart beating so hard it felt like it would come out of her chest. As she was gathering her wits, the door to the interview room busted open and she looked at the four detectives that burst through. They were staring all wide eyed, not believing themselves what had happened. Had a victim been snatched right out from under their noses?