#5 - M
Simone tried to remember something which she had to do last night but could not recall once more. This was driving her crazy. Never once before she had forgotten anything. Was she sick? Or was it something because of this town?
She dug out her daily diary from her closet but to her dismay, the pages were missing. They were neatly torn out of the diary. The missing pages lead to a huge fight with Jayden which ended with him crying. He had kept on insisting that he did not know that she had been keeping her diary in the closet. Deep down Simon believed him but if it hadn’t been him then who had torn out the pages?
This is so great!! She thought, pacing her bedroom. I’m going insane!!
“SIMONE....” Her mother called her down the stairs. Biting her lower lip, she made her way down. It was Saturday and her mother had invited two of theirs neighbors over for the dinner. She was taking out her precious china from the cabinets. One they were not allowed to use at home.
“What is it?”
“I want you to drop by your dad’s office and give him this lunch box.” She had, jerking her head towards the box on the table. “And after that I want you to buy few things from the store. The list of the items is beside the box.”
“Anything else?” Simone asked, eying the items on the list. So her mother was planning to throw a feast.
“No. And be back as soon as you are done. I want you to help me in making dinner.”
“Whatever.” Simone grumbled, her mind still on the missing pages of her diary.
Outside the mayor’s office, Simon left her bicycle in the bicycle rack and headed towards the steps towards the building. A woman caught her eye. A woman dressed in red and black. Her back was towards her so she could not see her face. Simone stopped in her tracks and studied her. Something was off about her, something Simone could not point out. She had sleek black hair down to her waist and was dressed in red coat and pencil skirt. Her shirt wasn’t visible. An old man dressed in a suit noticed her staring. He nodded towards the woman and turned his attention towards Simone.
“Can I help you, child?” He asked, clearly unimpressed at her gawking. The woman left then, without turning to look at Simone. Click, clack, click, clack.....The sound of her red heels sent chills down Simone’s back but she could not tell why.
“Young lady, I asked you what are you doing in front of the Mayor’s office?” The old man asked again when she kept on gawking at the woman leaving.
“I.....I...I’m just here to deliver this lunch box to my father.” She said, resisting the urge to look at the woman who was at the building doors by now.
“And what is the name of your father?”
“Ian Dawson.” Simone said, forcing a smile at the old man who was looking at her with rancid disapproval.
“Ah, the new guy. Hand the box over to me, I shall deliver it to him.”
“No, its ok. I’ll deliver it myself.” Simone said hastily. He raised his eyebrow heavenward at her. Without any other word, he raised his hand for the box. Twisting her mouth and clenching her free hand into a fist, Simone handed over the box and turned towards the bicycle rack without a backward glance. What was wrong with the people here? She wondered as she got on her bike.
Ride to the store took even less time. The town was too damn small. As expected, the store was small and the items were piled in the racks which were almost touching the ceiling. Simone caught herself as she tripped over a box just inside the main door.
“Welcome.” She raised her head to look at the person behind the counter. His voice sounded familiar.
“Can’t say that I feel welcomed. I almost tripped.” Simone shot back without thinking. The guy opened his mouth to say something but then closed it. He forced a smile and with a small nod, he went back to his work.
“Great. These people really need classes on good behavior.” She grumbled softly as she took a shopping car. As the shopping cart got stuck here and there while she shopped, she kept thinking about the woman she had seen outside the mayor’s office and also about the guy behind the counter.
When she reached the counter, she studied his face as he scanned the items in her cart. He looked like someone around her age but was tall about six feet. His curly brown hair were messy underneath his blue cap which had the store’s insignia on it. He wore a matching shirt which hung loosely on his thin frame. As if sensing her looking, he looked up at her.
“Is there something wrong?” He asked coolly.
“We’ve....we’ve met before, haven’t we?” She asked him, watching his reaction closely. He stilled but made no move to match her gaze. “We’ve talked before and.....” She stopped. He was the boy from the woods. The one who had warned her the night they had moved to Elmdale.
“Not here.” He whispered as he handed her the receipt. “Meet me where we met at five. Make sure there is no one watching.”
“I hope that you enjoyed shopping in Elm Store. Welcome to Elmdale.” He said in a professional tone, cutting her words.
Simone wanted to stay and make him talk but one look at his face, she decided that she’d rather meet him in the woods.
“Thank you.” She smiled at him and left. Just outside the store, she ran into Brianna’s co.
“Oh my, what are you doing here?” Vanessa asked, dressed in all black. It was strange to see them without Brianna.
“Just shoppin’.” Simone said, heading towards her bike.
“Cute bike you’ve got there.” She rolled her eyes at Vanessa without turning back to look at them. When she got onto the bike and looked at the girls, she saw Jenna looking at her strangely. The other one had already disappeared into the store. Simone raised her eyebrow questioningly at her. Jenna just gave her a sick smile. Full of loathing and threat. Unconsciously, Simone gulped and turned away. She could feel Jenna’s eyes on her all the way till when she turned the corner. What was wrong with that girl?
༼;‘༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽༼;’༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽
She was in a daze as she helped her mother. She kept thinking about the guy at the store. At about 5:15 the guests rolled in. Two of them were women in their fifties while one of them was like Simone’s mom. After greeting them, she rushed out of the house. It was quiet. Just like any other evening in Elmdale. Sunlight only illuminated the tips of the trees. After looking down the three roads by her house, she ran towards the forest. She didn’t stop. She kept running, feeling out of breath as the ground rose higher and higher as she ran further inside the forest.
“I thought you wouldn’t come.” She came to a stop at the voice. She was breathing heavily and her legs ached.
“Guests.” She rasped and turned to face the guy from the store. He wore casual brown t-shirt over blue jeans. His curly hair were still messy. He had his arms folded over his chest as he leaned against the tree trunk.
“They didn’t notice you leaving, did they?” He asked and she just shook her head.
“Why did you warn me the day I shifted in this town? The shadows....they’re real, aren’t they?”
“Yes, they are as well as demons who control this town.” He replied, looking up at the sky. It was turning darker every minute.
“De...demons?” Simone stammered.
“Yes. They are the ones who control the shadows. And everything else around here.”
“How do you know this?” She refused to believe whatever he was telling her. Shadows were one thing but demons?
“I’ve been here longer than you have. I notice and I remember.” He said, pointing his forefinger at his temple.
Simone’s eyes widen. “You....You are M. You are the one who has been sending me notes.” She said in consternation. The guy just smiled faintly. “You told me to remember but I don’t know what I should remember.”
“Demons, they can wipe away your memories. You must’ve seen or heard something they didn’t want you to know.” He replied ruefully. Simone swallowed. The missing pieces of her memories, they had been wiped away just like the torn pages of her diary. As realization dawned on her she stepped back in shock. Her legs felt weak. It made sense. If the shadows were real then this all could be true as well.
“The woman......the woman in red.” She whispered. The guy’s eyes widen as he stared at her.
“No but I can’t her out of my head. I saw her. Not her face but her back outside the Mayor’s office.” Simone said, pressing the heels of her hands against her temples.
“Listen to me.” The guy said, suddenly quite near and looking scared. “You have to remember. You have to find a way to keep your memories intact. Don’t trust anyone.”
“Not even you?”
“No, not even me.” He warned. “Listen, I’m Matthew Brown. I used to live in the house you have moved into. My parents....Tom and Martha Brown.” He choked at their names and closed his eyes. Simone could see raw pain on his face. “They were killed by the demons three years ago. I.....I...couldn’t see their faces but I heard their voices.” He said dolorously as his gray eyes searched Simone’s.
“Oh my God.” She whispered.
“You have to figure out something.” He said with urgency this time. ” All this has been going on for years and will keep happening if we won’t stop them.”
“But how will I figure out who they are?”
“Start with the woman in red. And trust no one. No one.” He said, placing his hands on her shoulders and squeezing them.
“You are scaring me.” It was all Simone could say before Matt took a couple of steps back and looked behind them. His eyes were wild and his face pale.
“Shadows. They are here. It can’t be.” He gasped as they both looked at the shadows storming into the forest. “They must’ve been keeping an eye out for you. Run. I don’t know if I’d be able to help you any more.” With these words, he pushed Simone back and ran. He was heading deeper in the woods. Simone watched him go, her heart thundering in her chest as the sky turned darker overhead and the shadows closed in behind her. Simone let out a scream. She was scared, tired and felt hopeless.