The Calm Before The Storm

Brandi ran through the trees. She didn't care that it was still dark. She wanted to get to her friends. The door was slightly open when she got to it so she pushed it open and ran up to Celeste's room. Celeste was lying on the floor. Her phone was on the floor next to her all smashed up. She didn't move. She didn't look like she was breathing. Brandi ran up to Brittany's room. The curtains were closed so she turned the light on. The scene was the same as in her dream. The sheets on the bed were already pulled back revealing the remains of the three bodies. Brandi screamed. Toni, Hollie, Brittany and Cherie came running. They were the only five people who haven't been hurt yet.

After everybody had calmed down, the five girls ran downstairs, checked all the windows and doors were locked then locked themselves in the main lounge. The house didn't have any phone lines so the girls tried their mobiles. Neither of them had a signal. "Damn!" yelled Toni. "I can't stay here any longer!" said Cherie. "This is really freaking me out now. We should have left days ago!"

At 4:12am there was a knock on the door of the living room. The five girls jumped up. "What was that?!" asked Cherie with a fear. The girls stared at the door as the knocking continued. After a few minutes there was silence. Suddenly there was a big crash and the sound of splintering wood. An axe came through the door. The girls screamed and ran to the door to the hall. Hollie got out her keys and tried looking for the right one. She had six keys to the house and she dropped them all once. On her fifth attempt she managed to get the right key. By this time the old man who frequently appeared in Brandi's dreams was in the room and coming closer to them every second. The door swung open and the girls ran to the front door in the hall. Again Hollie tried searching for the right key. "I wish these things had labels!" she screamed. She got the door open and they ran out. Cherie was the last to leave the house. A hand clamped down on her shoulder and she screamed. The other four turned around and saw the old guy dragging Cherie round the side of the house. "Oh my God we have to do something!" screamed Brittany. "No! No more! I'm going! I don't want to spend another minute in this place! I'm going to find the Sheriff. Anybody with me?" Brandi yelled. There was silence. "Fine. I'll go on my own." Brandi got into their van and left.

The others ran round the side of the house where they had seen the old guy dragging Cherie. The saw him dragging her into the trees, heading for the lake so they followed. They followed the old guy onto the boat where he disappeared from view. They went below the deck. The place smelt strongly of petrol and alcohol. The door from the lounge area to the kitchen was locked and they didn't have the keys on them. Brandi had dropped them in the trees when she was running and the spare set was in the house. The door behind them leading to the deck slammed shut and the girls turned around. The old man was stood there with an evil grin on his face. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a box of matches. He turned around and shut the door behind him. There was a tiny clicking as he turned the key in the lock on the outside of the boat. The man started laughing. His laughing grew faint as he walked away from the boat. The smell of smoke filled the air, taking the place of the petrol and alcohol. "We need to get out of here before the whole thing goes!" said Toni. Hollie grabbed a wooden chair and threw it against one of the windows. There was a small window next to the door and orange flames flickered up next to it. The window smashed. It wasn't a very big window, just big enough for a person to squeeze through. The flames got angrier and quickly spread. The door burst open and flames began to roll in. The room got hot and the girls couldn't breathe. "Hurry up and get out!" Yelled Brittany. Toni climbed up onto the sofa that was just below the window and stuck her head and arms out. She squeezed herself out and landed in the cool lake. She looked up at the boat. Flames were flickering everywhere. Hollie was next. The flames were getting stronger. Hollie was halfway out of the window when she felt something hot touch her foot. She heard a scream behind her. The fire was hissing and crackling behind her. The wood of the boat was breaking apart. Hollie rushed to get out of the boat. She could feel the boat sinking. She landed in the water just in time for the boat to go under water. "Brittany!" screamed Hollie and Toni. They stared at the spot where the boat went under for sometime. When they looked up the sun was breaking through trees and hills on the horizon.

Just then, seven figures came running out of the trees. They were all wearing police uniform. They helped Hollie and Toni out of the water. They were taken to the driveway at the front of the house where three ambulances, twelve police cars and three fire engines stood. In the back of one car they noticed the old man, staring at them. Brandi was talking to a policeman. When she saw Hollie and Toni she ran over and hugged them. "He was running out as we came in. He was yelling something about burning on the lake. He admitted to killing Anna, Mira and Michelle and six girls that that Margarita was telling us about. There were no boys with them." They all started to cry and sat down on the back step of an ambulance, facing the house with blankets around them, and watched the scene before them.

A handful of firemen, policemen, and paramedics came out of the house. Three black body bags were being carried. One paramedic ran out then he and a policeman ran back in with a stretcher. A while later two more body bags came from the direction of the lake. The girls started crying. Two policemen came out from behind the swimming pool with another body bag. They carried it into the ambulance next to the one the girls were sat in. They over heard the policemen telling a paramedic. "These were found in a shed out back. Looks like the missing bodies of the six he killed before. The place was checked a million times but was then boarded up. He must have moved them. They were in a cardboard box. A few bones are missing though."

The stretcher came back out of the house. As it came towards the girls they noticed it was Celeste. She was awake but she had a big gash in her left arm and one on her shoulder. Celeste was put in the back of the ambulance and the other three girls climbed in after her. The door closed on the chaos, shutting out the sight of the house, the sun that was now shining on it, and the memories that would later come back in their dreams.

A year after their ordeal the girls went to visit the graves of Anna, Mira, Brittany, Michelle and Cherie. The graves were side by side. All white marble with their pictures on them. It was a nice, warm day. The sun gleamed down warming up the tears that were rolling down the cheeks of the five young girls in the graveyard. This was death's way of saying everything was fine. That the girls were now in a good place. "We miss you so much!" Celeste cried. A bird flew overhead. A feather dropped to the floor at Toni's feet. Toni picked it up and smiled. "We'll never forget you," she said, then the girls left the graveyard. The bird was still flying over the graves. Going round in circles. Four more birds joined it then they flew off into the sun.

(c)Anna Hadland 2001