#11 - Confrontation
She ran to Jenna’s. Her feet barely hitting the road. She had barely heard her mother calling her for breakfast. When she reached her friend’s house, she pounded on door. An old guy opened it up when she was between knocking. He clearly looked annoyed.
“Jenna, she hasn’t left for school, has she?” Simone rasped, breathing heavily. Before she could get a reply, Jenna was there.
“Simone, you ok? What...what are you doing here so early in the morning and.......” She stopped when she saw the camera in Simone’s hand. Suddenly she went tense and rigid.
“Come...come on in. Gramps, I have something really important to discuss about our history project before school, ok?” Jenna told her grandfather and dragged Simone inside the house. She didn’t let go of her hand as they went up the stairs and into Jenna’s room. Simone didn’t even stop and thrusted the camera at Jenna. Without a word, they re-watched the video. Jenna’s hands shook at the part where Simone had dropped the camera.
“Yours?” Brianna had chewed out the words.
“Leave, Quinlynn.” The deep voice had commanded. The video ended with Brianna disappearing into the thin air.
“This...this is....I told you.” Jenna said, putting away the camera.
“What..what do we do now? I mean...I...uh...what did I ever do to attract his attention? Whoever it is.” Simone said, rubbing her forearms to ward off the chill.
“I don’t know Simone, I really don’t.” Jenna whispered back, still holding the camera. Nodding, Simone took back her camera and left for her house to get ready for the day at school.
“Where have you been? Is everything ok?” Her father asked her just outside the main door. Seeing him all ready for office, Simone had an idea. It was time to face whatever demons lurked in the town. She didn’t want to wait and be hunted.
“Dad, I have an important message for the mayor. Think you can drop it off at her office?” Her father raised his eyebrow at her, his mouth slightly ajar. “I mean, just slip into her office from under the door. You can do that, right?” Simone added hastily.
“Honey, if there is any issue regarding anything, you can talk to me or your mom.”
“No, everything is alright. Its just that there is something I want the mayor to know. I don’t want others to find out. Yet.” She said with a forced smile.
I’ve found Matthew Brown, son of Tom and Martha Brown. If you want to meet him, come by Dawsons’ house. Alone.
Simone didn’t feel too confident after handing over the note to her father. A number of times, she wanted to rush to the mayor’s office and take the note back from her father. Seeing Brianna act normal at school didn’t help either now that she was alone. Nathan was gone. Everyone for except two people acted as if everything was alright in the world. Kyle joked and talked with his friends. If was clear that he had forgotten everything that had happened in the forest yesterday. Everyone acted as if Nathan Woods had never existed.
“This is insane.” Jenna had whispered to her in their literature class. Vanessa and Brianna had thrown her a look, clearly confused at the sudden closeness between Simone and Jenna. When Simone opened her mouth to say more at the matter, Jenna elbowed her and then jerked her head subtly towards Brianna sitting just two seats away. Simone wanted to say that there was no light and there were no shadows. How would Brianna know?
When Simone couldn’t take anymore, she went to stand by Nathan’s locker. It was her first time standing there. Before, it had always been Nathan waiting for her at her locker. It was unlocked. Simone opened it hesitantly, looking over her shoulders to see if anyone was looking at her suspiciously. No one was. She was sure they all had forgotten about Nathan Woods. He had been wiped from their memories. Simone clenched her jaw and looked inside the locker. It was empty. It was as if it had been empty since forever.
“I’m sorry, I can’t do it.” She whispered and ran out. No one stopped her as she cycled back to her house. Her parents were not at home so she let herself in and rushed to her bedroom where she let her tears flow.
༼;‘༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽༼;’༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽
Simone waited for someone, anyone to show up by the forest but no one did. Evening rolled in and her family was back. Jayden’s project had been a hit and he was practically glowing. Her parents were proud of him and had decided to take them out for dinner.
“I don’t want to go. I’m tired.” She had excused herself.
“Simone, I found out that you were absent from a couple of your classes today.” Her mother had said, throwing a yellow shirt at Jayden to change into.
“Yeah, I felt sick and didn’t have it in me to go to principal’s office for the leave.” She mumbled. A lie slipping out easily. Her parents seemed to have bought it which was why, an hour later she was alone in the house. She had turned off the lights of the entire house and had seated herself in the window seat of her bedroom. She waited. The ticking of the clock was the only sound she could hear. Distant sounds of laughter and dishes could barely be heard. Her eyes grew heavy as she waited. She was about to doze off when she heard it. Click, clack, click, clack.... The sound of heels. It sounded familiar. Simone didn’t move from her spot. She was afraid that she’d cause a sound.
It was a woman. She stopped in front of the forest, her back to Simone’s house. Swallowing, Simone ran. Towards the main door, to confront her. To confront Brianna or Quinlynn. Whatever was her name was.
“Brianna!!” Simone called as she stepped out of her house. Slowly, the woman turned around to look at her. Seeing her face to face made Simone’s throat go dry. Beside her, the street lamp flickered. Without even turning to look, she knew that shadows were forming around them.
“Well, well. Looks like our smart girl has caught me.” Brianna said. Her voice was ice cold which sent shivers down Simone’s spine. Around them, everything had stilled or how Simone felt it. She couldn’t even feel the evening breeze blowing.
“What do you....you want?” Despite herself, she stammered. When Brianna laughed, her eyes glowed ember.
“I want you to stop being so nosy. I’ve tried to make your life easy here but now you have dug your own grave.” Brianna said as she started walking towards Simone. She oozed confidence and shadows seemed to part ways for her. Simone gulped and took a couple of staggering steps back.
“You’ve....you’ve....been...killing people.” Simone managed to say. Brianna chuckled darkly.
“Killing? Have you seen me kill, sweetheart?”
“No but I know. Everyone who disappears – ”
“Well, your food does disappear when you eat it.” Brianna cut in. “And then you throw away or bury the bones.”
At these words, Simone stopped breathing and her legs gave out beneath her. Air whooshed out of her lungs when her back hit the road. Brianna laughed boisterously.
“You really are smart, aren’t you?”
“What...what are you going to do to me?” Simone whispered, visibly shaking with fear.
“What do you think? I hate being challenged and you’ve challenged me.” Brianna said menacingly. Simone’s heart pounded with helpless, animal fear with every step Brianna took towards her. Simone glanced behind Brianna, at the shadows waiting. Waiting for what? She did not know. She closed her eyes, regretting sending the note. Regretting everything. She stopped moving back on her hands when she had in the center of the shadow casted by her house. Brianna had stopped walking at just the edge of the shadow.
“If you thought that you’d be safe from the shadows in the shadow, then I should give it to you that you do have common sense. Too bad, it got you here.”
“Go ahead.....kill....kill me.” Simon said, looking up at Brianna.
“Awww...” Brianna cooed and then Simone felt herself being pulled. Alarmed, she tried to hold onto anything on the road but her fingers caught nothing. Her nails cracked and were bleeding in seconds. She stopped at Brianna’s feet. A sick smile was dancing her lips as she saw crimson drops fall on the road from Simone’s fingernails. They bloody hurt but Simone didn’t want Brianna to know how much she was hurting.
“Any last words, darling?” Brianna smiled gleefully, her ember eyes glowing even brighter.
“Quinlynn!!!” A booming voice said behind them. Brianna’s smile vanished as she took a step back from Simone to look. Behind her, someone was stepping out into the light from the shadow of the house. Someone Simone knew.
“No....” She gasped when the light fell on Matthew’s unruly curly hair. The way the shadows vanished at his presence and Brianna’s shoulders sagged, Simone knew. Matthew had been the one. He had been the leader, the one the shadows and demons obeyed.