It is one minute past six. The sun is making its way to the horizon. At this time, a young woman named Kalama and her little sister are walking home. The little sister, named Abby, has just been turned down from a job.
“K-Kalama, do you think anybody will hire me?” Abby asks.
“Of course,” Kalama says. “Why in the heck not?!”
The street is full of passing cars. In this city, the street is rarely empty. Unbeknownst to the two sisters, a strange figure is following them. This figure is dressed in an oversized black hoodie.
“There’s something else…” Abby says. “...about Ms. Gray.”
“Huh? Whatever do you mean?” Kalama inquires.
Before Abby can speak, the mysterious figure speeds up and rams into her. The bump causes Abby to fall into the street. Quick as a flash, Kalama grabs her sister by the collar of her shirt and yanks her out of the street. The figure is gone.
“Darn that stranger! That was a close one! Are you alright?” Kalama asks.
“I- I- Yes, thanks to you,” Abby says, clearly shaken up by the event.
Kalama looks around nervously. The other people passing by don’t seem to have noticed what just happened. Frustrated, Kalama takes Abby’s hand and hurries home. Home for these two is a little apartment building.
“It’s as if that stranger tried to kill me!” Abby exclaims.
“But who would want to kill you? Out of everybody in the world, you’re just about the last person who would deserve it!” Kalama argues.
Dinner is spent in silence. Neither woman can think of what to say. As night falls and Abby is off to bed, Kalama double checks the lock. A sense of dread crawls up her spine. Kalama goes to bed, but she spends the night twisting and turning.
“Good morning, sis’,” Kalama says, taking a seat at the table the next morning.
“D-Did you sleep?” Abby asks.
“Of course I did! I’ve got work soon!” Kalama snaps.
“S-sorry...” Abby apologizes, looking away.
Kalama quickly realizes her mistake and bites her lip. To make up for the offense, she pours Abby an apology cup of coffee. Abby accepts the cup and carefully sips at it a moment. Kalama stares into space sleepily.
“Would you mind doing my chores for me today?” Abby asks.
“What?!” exclaims Kalama, looking surprised. “Why?! They are your responsibility!”
Abby nervously pulls out a letter. Kalama reaches over and takes the letter for herself. Concern crosses her face as she reads the message. Abby nervously twirls a strand of hair.
“A party!” exclaims Kalama. “I thought you didn’t like parties? Whenever I took you to one in the past, you always wanted to go home early!”
“This is d-different...” Abby says. “…my boyfriend invited me.”
“Another secret you have been hiding from me! Why do you keep secrets from me?” Kalama asks.
“Because I know you wouldn’t like it,” Abby says. “Just, please...let me go to this party! I’m 18, now, I can handle it.”
Kalama sighs. Things have been a bit stressful since the death of their parents. For the past few years, Kalama has been working and paying rent. Abby has been a little help, but there is so little she can do on her own.
“You never did tell me what you were going to say about Ms. Gray,” Kalama says.
“She seemed nice,” Abby says. “…but I don’t know. I picked up on st-strange auras about her.”
“Oh, yuck!” says Kalama. “I bet she’s a terrible woman!”
“That’s not what everyone else says. Everyone says she is so kind and generous. Perhaps I was wrong,” Abby says. “I’m not perfect, and I know you know that.”
“I’ve never met her, so I cannot say for myself,” Kalama states.
“C-can I go to the party?” Abby asks again. “I promise to be home by nightfall.”
“Fine,” says Kalama. “Go ahead...but if you aren’t home when I get back tonight, I’m going to be angry! And you be weary of those men! Even your own boyfriend could be a threat!”
“Tacoma isn’t nasty! He’s precious!” Abby cries out, offended.
“Whatever, sis’!” says Kalama. “See you tonight!”
“I absolutely promise!” Abby says with a nod.
Kalama stands up from the table and heads to the door. She casts one last concerned glance back at Abby before leaving. Abby sighs in relief and quickly dashes back to her bedroom. Rapidly, she changes into a low cut dress and applies makeup.
Kalama will never approve of this. There are other things Abby does in secret as well. One of those things is when she eats cookies for breakfast when told to make herself something. When Kalama is not around, Abby gets into trouble.
“Tacoma will go absolutely nuts for this outfit f-for sure!” Abby squeals, examining her reflection.
It is now seven minutes till nine in the morning. The party will start soon. Tacoma is dressing up in his finest suit. Strapped to his wrist is an odd looking watch with a glowing green button on the side.
“TACOMA!” a woman yells from the next room over.
“Yes, mother?!” Tacoma asks, rushing into the room.
“Are you ready?” the woman asks.
“Most certainly,” replies Tacoma. “I have the communication device primed and ready to go,”
“And that girl, Abby,” the woman says and then asks, “She will be at the party, won’t she?”
“I made sure of it. She told me she would be there,” Tacoma says with a nod.
“Good...it’s best we get this over with as soon as possible,” the woman says. “You weren’t attached to her, were you?”
“No. Of course not, because I never did love that woman,” says Tacoma. “She’s far too nosey.”
“Then you should have no problem eliminating her,” the woman says.
“Why did you offer her a job?” Tacoma asks. “If you were just going to deny it to her soon after?”
“I wanted to give her a chance. I thought, maybe, we could make something work. As you said, she’s far too nosey,” the woman says.
“The tracker will prevent the gunmen from firing at me, won’t it?” Tacoma asks.
“It should, but, you know, there is always a risk,” the woman says.
“I understand. Now I better hurry,” Tacoma says, turning to leave.
“Remember! Do not spare the girl!” the woman says and then laughs evilly.
Tacoma hops into a sleek black car with tinted windows. Behind him, a few other cars start up. With a deep breath, he begins driving to the party. The other cars follow close behind. Tacoma pulls up to the party house right at the same time as Abby.
“Tacoma!” Abby squeals when she sees her boyfriend.
“Whoa, Abby!” exclaims Tacoma, stopping and staring. “I barely recognize you in that outfit!”
“D-Do you like it?” Abby asks.
“Like it? I love it! You’re absolutely the most gorgeous woman in the whole world!” Tacoma says. “I sure am lucky...”
Gently, Tacoma takes Abby’s hand and leads her into the house. Loud music is blaring from oversized speakers. Flashing lights shine back and forwards. Alongside the back wall of the main room, there is a long table of drinks and snacks.
“It’s been s-so long since I’ve been to an actual party!” Abby says.
“Then I’ll make sure this is your best one ever...” Tacoma says, pulling Abby in for a kiss.
The men hiding in the dark cars wait patiently for their signal. Inside the party house, Tacoma dances with Abby. Several songs play before they both need a break. They head to the back table.
“Do you drink wine?” Tacoma asks, pouring himself a cup.
“No, my sister never let me have any. She says I’m too young,” Abby says.
“There is no age restriction here,” Tacoma says, pouring a cup for Abby.
Without a word, Abby accepts the cup. She sips it and, at first, her face wrinkles up in disgust. After the second sip, however, she smiles. Tacoma laughs.
“Yeah, it takes some time to get used to,” Tacoma says. “The more you drink, the better it tastes.”
“Oh, r-really?” asks Abby. “Then I guess I’ll need quite a bit.”
“You say you have a sister?” Tacoma inquires.
“Yeah,” confirms Abby. “Her name is Kalama. She’s super protective of me. She doesn’t let me do anything fun!”
“Sounds lame,” Tacoma says.
“She’s a computer programmer. I b-bet she could hack into any system!” Abby says with a laugh.
“Now that sounds interesting...” Tacoma says.
“Y-Yeah... I- I suppose I shouldn’t have said that,” Abby says, biting her lip.
“Oh, don’t be sorry! Secrets are meant to be shared!” Tacoma says.
He reaches over and refills her cup. She nods a “thanks” and continues sipping the wine. Tacoma glances at his watch and sighs. A lot of time has already passed and quite a few more songs have played.
“Abby...” Tacoma says, looking her in the eyes.
“W-What?” Abby asks, laughing for no reason.
“Want to know a secret?” Tacoma asks.
“Yeah, sure-“ Abby says and hiccups.
“The real party starts in the back rooms...” Tacoma whispers, gesturing to a hallway.
“Oh! Then w-why aren’t we there?!” Abby asks, grinning.
“Do you want to join me?” Tacoma asks. “You are 18, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I’m 18! I’m all grown up!” Abby says, laughing. “…and sure, I wanna see the real party!”
Tacoma smirks and takes her hand, leading her down the hall to a back room. He shuts the door behind them. Abby then looks around the room in confusion. Tacoma hugs her tightly and kisses her on the lips.
“We will be safe here. I promise no harm will come to you,” Tacoma says.
“Huh?” Abby asks, still confused.
Tacoma hits the green button on his watch. As soon as he does, gun men leap from the cars and charge into the building. B-B-B-BANG! B-B-B-BANG! Shrieks of fear fill the air. All the while, Tacoma holds Abby safely in his arms.
“W-what’s going on?” Abby asks.
“Shhh... Stay quiet...” Tacoma whispers.
“I- I’m scared...” Abby says, shaking.
B-B-B-BANG! B-B-B-BANG! The gun shots ring out again, seemingly everywhere. The partygoers fall to the ground in pools of blood. The gunmen retreat as soon as everyone in sight has been murdered.
As the silence falls, Tacoma turns on Abby. He wraps her mouth and eyes with a thick cloth. Then, he ties up her arms. He escaped with her out the back, abandoning the scene of the crime.
It is now two minutes till six in the evening. Tacoma has just arrived home after taking the long route to avoid being followed. Ms. Gray is inside, awaiting the return of her son. Tacoma carries Abby inside with him.
“TACOMA!” Ms. Gray yells when she sees him.
“Mother, let me explain-“ Tacoma begins.
“WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY HAVE TO EXPLAIN?! I SPECIFICALLY TOLD YOU NOT TO SPARE THE GIRL!” Ms. Gray yells.
Abby struggles upon hearing who is speaking. Tacoma holds her firmly in place. Ms. Gray slaps Tacoma across the face angrily. Then, she takes Abby from her son.
“Mother, her sister is a hacker. I was thinking we could bait her in and trap her,” Tacoma explains.
“Really?” Ms. Gray asks.
“And if she refuses, we’ll just kill them both,” Tacoma says.
“Why, perhaps you’re more clever than I thought!” Ms. Gray says.
“But we’ll have to keep her alive for now. Otherwise her sister will have no incentive,” Tacoma explains.
“Ugh... Fine... YOU keep her alive. That’ll be your punishment for disobeying!” Ms. Gray snaps.
“I understand, thank you, mother,” Tacoma says.
“I do have a spare room we can keep her in for now,” Ms. Gray says.
Ms. Gray carries Abby. Tacoma follows along behind her until they reach the room. Roughly, Ms. Gray tosses Abby in and locks the door. She hands the keys to Tacoma.
“Here, you’ll be needing these.” Ms. Gray says.
“Thanks, mother,” Tacoma says.