Addy came to as she was slowly shaken awake, blinking rapidly as her brother’s face came into focus.
“What... what time is it?” she asked, dazed.
“It’s 3am. I’m sorry to wake you Addy but it’s raining out, we should probably go and get him. I know it’s summer but he’s going to be soaked by now.” Addy nodded and, sitting up, rubbed the sore muscles in the back of her neck. She had fallen asleep on the sofa next to her brother, who had remained awake by playing on his X-box, so now her neck was really stiff. Josh went into the kitchen and got her a glass of cold water to drink which helped to wake her up. Soon she was alert and ready to go.
“We’ll go in my car. I’ll bring him back if you get his car.” Josh nodded and they left, driving in silence through Rayville, heading to the Masonic Cemetery where their mother was buried.
Katelyn West, the police had said, was the victim of a mugging gone wrong and, though a thorough investigation was carried out, no killer was ever caught and her death became a cold case for the New Orleans PD.
George had applied to her parents for help as they were a wealthy family that had come over from England when Katelyn and her brother William were small children but they had refused, saying that they had never approved of their daughter’s choice of husband and denying all knowledge of any grandchildren from that union. In frustration, George had started a fight with William which had caused him to be thrown out of their house for good and when it came time to bury Katelyn he didn’t tell any of her family the funeral date and buried her close to their home in Rayville. The whole thing had made him bitter and he had never spoken of that side of the family again.
Addy sighed as she slowed down for the red light. A young man loped across the road, seeming to be in no particular hurry. Something about him caught her attention. He was attractive, sure, but there was something more to him, something unusual that she couldn’t put her finger on. Almost as if he could feel his eyes on her, the man turned and, even in the darkness seemed to look directly at her. Addy could have sworn that his eyes reflected her headlights.
“It’s green,” Josh pointed out next to her, making her start suddenly.
“Sorry,” she apologised as she pulled off, “I was miles away.” She glanced over at the side of the road as they passed but the man was nowhere in sight and she shook herself mentally, putting it down to tiredness.
It wasn’t much longer before they reached the cemetery and she left the car beams on as they got out, the light helping them to see their father clearly. He was asleep, his arm draped around their mother’s headstone, a half-empty bottle of bourbon in one hand, an empty one laying at his feet.
“Help me get him up,” Josh said, leaning down and placing his arms underneath his father’s, “he’s going to be a dead weight.” Addy took the bottle and placed it to one side before, working together, they lifted and half-walked, half-carried him back to her car. Before they heaved him inside, Josh patted him down with a free hand and found the keys to his truck in his inside jacket pocket. Taking them out, he helped Addy put their father into the front seat and held him there as she went round the other side to fasten his safety belt.
“I’ll see you back at the house,” she said and gave Josh a hug. “I’m going to clean up the bottles and then I’ll come along.” Josh nodded and ran over to the truck, starting up the engine almost instantly before swinging out of the car park and away into the rain. Addy took one last look at her father to make sure he wasn’t likely to throw up any time soon before striding quickly back to collect the bottles. The empty one she threw into a nearby trash can before screwing the lid back on the other one and placing it under her passenger seat. With one last look at her mother’s grave, she got back in the driver's seat and set off for home.
The rain was lashing down harder now and, though the streets were fairly well lit, visibility was poor, meaning Adelaide had to really strain to see out her windscreen. Just as she approached the traffic lights, her dad gave out a small moan and she heard his stomach growl threateningly.
“Oh no you don’t,”she warned. “We’re almost home.” She increased her speed a little, ignoring the tiny voice in her head that almost screamed at her to slow down as the lights ahead turned to amber. “Just hold on dad.”
She crossed the line just as the lights turned red and was halfway across the junction when the other car hit, colliding with the driver’s side and causing them to flip. Adelaide felt a blinding pain before her stomach flipped and everything seemed to spin. She screamed as the roof of the car hit the road and her head collided with the ceiling, knocking her out on impact.
The next thing she knew, Adelaide was coming round as a pair of strong arms pulled her out from the wreckage. She vaguely noted the acrid smell of fuel and burnt rubber as she was dragged backwards and could feel heat against her skin. Looking up, Addy registered a vague shock as she recognised the strange man from earlier.
“My dad...” she croaked, every syllable like a knife in her throat.
“Don’t worry,” the man said, his voice soft and accented. “I got him out first. You’re safe now.” He seemed to say something more but the world had already started to darken and with that, Adelaide West slipped back into unconsciousness.