For the rest of that day Alex and Charla talked about a number of things around in the town and even about some of the people as well, that was until Nina came home, rather surprised to see someone over. And much like with Claude, Nina went and stuck close to Charla.
It made Charla wonder if Nina would do this with her father when people she didn’t know would come by to the house. Yet there was some small part of her that worried about that.
“Hey don’t worry I’m not a bad guy.” Alex said. “I’m a friend of Charla’s.”
“You are?” she asked but still kept close to Charla.
Alex nodded and smiled at her. “Yup,”
“It’s true,” Charla said as she looked down to Nina who kept close. “Alex isn’t someone you should be scared of. Besides, just because they look scary doesn’t mean they are. But you still have to be careful too, a person may look nice but could actually be very bad.”
Nina looked up at her. “Really?”
“Yes, some are as what they seem, but others… are just monsters. They’ll manipulate people without a second thought for their own personal gain. But, it’s also rather complicated and giving a quick explanation is rather hard to do. In short though, you should just be careful, there’s nothing wrong with being wary of others around you. It’s always best to go by instinct, if you feel uncomfortable with a person the best choice is to just leave. No one would fault you for it if you did.”
Nina continued to look up at Charla who was standing by the skin cleaning a mug. “Have you ever had to deal with something like that?”
Charla looked to Nina but gave a faint kind smile. “I was lucky.”
Alex on the other hand couldn’t help but notice how Charla had gone still when Nina asked that question. There was more to what Charla was saying, but that always seemed to be the case with her, at least what Alex seemed to notice. But seeing how much Charla had already revealed about her life and subsequently the reveal of a separate personality inside of Charla’s subconscious.
Charla then came over and placed the three mugs and poured coffee into two of the mugs before taking the third mug and put in two spoon-full’s of hot chocolate mix and then added hot water and milk and placed it in front of Nina for her to drink.
“Thank you,” Nina said as she took the mug and blew on the top of the hot chocolate to cool off.
“How’s school going Nina?” Charla asked as she sat down next to Nina. “Are you doing well with all of your subjects?”
“I am, though math is a bit hard.” Nina said as she took a sip of her hot chocolate. “What about you two? Is math hard for you both?”
“Not really,” Charla said then looked to Alex. “What about you?”
Alex let out a groan as she ran her hand through her hair. “Not math but science, science is a total killer for me. All those formulas, how can you remember all of that?”
“But isn’t science like math?” Nina asked.
“It is,” Charla said as she took a sip of coffee. “So math is like science, and science is like math. So Alex, are you really good at math?”
Alex’s face slowly began to turn red. “Of course I am, what about you when it comes to science, how was your grades on that?”
Charla merely took a sip of coffee and a bite of a cookie. “I already told you Alex, when we were coming here.”
“Yeah but that’s just in general, what was your grade for science last year in grade nine!” Alex demanded as she pointed at Charla before her arm then slowly lowered as she picked up a cookie of her own and ate it then went back to point at her. “Well?”
Charla merely looked at Alex with slight raised eyebrows. “Last year?”
“Last year…” Charla thought about it, her fingers drummed on the table. “I think it was… an eighty five.”
“You’re joking…” Alex said.
“Nope, not even a little. I told you before about my grades.” She took a sip of coffee. “Why should that surprise you?”
“Guess you’re right,” Alex took her coffee and drank it only to stop and grimace at the bitter taste of the coffee before taking the sugar and scoped it into her drink. “But my math grades are way better than my science grades.”
Nina looked to Alex and merely laughed before drinking her hot chocolate.
Charla merely watched Nina with her chin resting on the palm of her right hand.
Then Nina asked. “Hey, then do you think you could help me with my homework?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“Yay, thank you Charla.”
Charla smiled but then looked to Alex. “Is it alright for you to stay for so long?” Charla asked her. “Won’t you’re Dad become worried?”
“Not really,” she said as she leaned back in her chair. “My Dad knows I’m an independent girl. It’s okay if I stay over longer…” she would have said more to that when her cellphone rang. Taking it from her bag she looked at who was calling and then answering. “Hey, what’s up? Yeah? Oh… okay. Yeah I’ll be there soon.” she then hung up and looked back to Charla. “Well, that’s what I would say, unless my Dad needs help with the shop so…”
“You have to leave.” Charla finished for her. “That’s okay; I’ll see you at school tomorrow then.”
Alex grabbed her things only to stop and look back to Charla who was being talked to by Nina about some of the things that the girl had done for school that day. For a moment Alex felt a slight twinge of regret, Charla wasn’t a bad person, far from it, she just had been dealt with a ton of issues, many of which were still kept in the dark.
Then again Alex shouldn’t have been someone to judge for what a person didn’t wish to reveal, after all, Charla already had, several times by now. But seeing how Charla seemed to manage that while dealing with people was a commendable thing.
Though seeing the photo of Charla when she was younger with her brother made her wonder something. “Hey, mind if you walk with me down the street?”
Charla merely looked at her for a moment before responding. “Sure,” then she turned to Nina. “Mind holding down the fort for a bit? We can look over your homework when I get back.”
“Alright, be back soon.” Charla said as she put on her shoes as Alex left the house first. When Charla caught up with Alex she asked. “So what is it that you wanted to talk to me about?” she asked as she put her hands in her hoodie pockets. “It’s pretty obvious, was it something that you wanted to elaborate on? Back when we were in my room I mean.”
“Kind of, though it’s more about your brother.”
Charla frowned. “What about him?”
“What was his name?”
Her frown deepened but she answered regardless. “His name was Carlin, why?”
“No reason in particular, it just didn’t feel right not to know. Even if he is dead, he’s still your brother and not knowing his name felt wrong to me,” then she added. “Besides, I know what it’s like, losing family. My mom, died from a disease back when I was thirteen years old, it was quick. None of us realised it until it was too late. Including my sister…”
“She’s a doctor at the Memorial Hospital in this town. She had gone to a big fancy university in the city, cost a ton of money but in the end it didn’t do shit. My Mom still died and my sister didn’t do jack to help. It’s why I can’t stand doctors; they say they can help… like hell they can.”
Charla was silent for a moment. “What did she have?”
“She had brain cancer; well the correct way of calling it is Glioblastoma.” Alex stopped and looked back to Charla. “Have you heard of it before?”
“I have…” she said. “That type of cancer is horrible, though any form of cancer would be. It must have been hard.”
“It was, and still is. But I’m sure you know all about that…”
“But why did you want to know my brother’s name?”
Alex stopped walking when they reached a crosswalk and looked at Charla. “Because he’s your family, not to mention family death seems to be something we both have in common. As morbid as that sounds it’s partly true. Though even when we talk about this I can’t help but think of one thing.”
Alex gave a slight sad smile. “If my Mom was here today I think she would really like you. It’s just how my Mom was, she was very accepting of people, a quality I wish I had.” She paused. “Say… if your brother was here do you think he would like this place or even the people.”
“Yeah… I think he would.” Charla then changed the subject. “Alex, about what we talked about in my room, I know this might be a bit much to ask but I don’t want you to tell anyone that… that I have this issue. I don’t want others to know.”
“I don’t think any of my friends would have an issue with it.”
“They would if they think that this other personality is a serial killer.” Charla told her flatly. “Just because you’re accepting doesn’t mean others would be. I don’t keep quiet about it just so I can freak people out, this is insanely personal.”
“Hey look I get it, I know we haven’t known each other that long but I’m not the type to spread rumors and crap, besides after what you’ve told me I really keep getting the feeling that this other personality might not be as bad as you say. I mean even you don’t know right? For all we know the guy who’s been doing all of that shit in the city is someone else. You’re not the killing type Charla. That much I’m sure of. But if it makes you feel any better I won’t tell a soul about any of what you told me unless you give the okay.” Charla said nothing in response as Alex then moved quickly to the other side of the crosswalk and called out. “I’ll text you later tonight, come by the gas station if you want to hang out okay?”
Charla waved in response but when she lowered her arm she looked at her hand and in a brief instance saw it covered in blood.
“You’re not the killing type Charla…”
Her expression turned slightly grim when recalling Alex’s words. “I’m not so sure about that. Given the situation, any person could kill, no matter what the reason would be.”
The wind began to pick up as dark clouds began to crawl across the afternoon sky with the sound of thunder rumbling in the distance. With a deep sigh Charla put her hands in her pockets and headed back home. She wished that what Alex said was true, but in her current mindset she wasn’t sure.
At least not anymore…
But as Charla walked back to the house and was close by when the wind became stronger a sudden feeling of being watched crept up on her sending a chill down her spine. She froze, her body suddenly growing cold. She felt this before; she turned around expecting to see someone there, only there was no one at all.
Just an empty street, did she just imagine it? she recalled getting that feeling many times back in the city, only back then she brushed if off as nothing important since during that time it would make sense if someone or multiple people were watching, it was a city where thousands of people worked and lived in. but here in Sharlton, where the population was scares in comparison left Charla feeling concerned.
“Charla?” Nina’s voice drew Charla’s gaze away from the empty street. “It’ll rain soon, if you don’t get in you might get wet.”
Charla did a quick glance back but still saw no one there, had she imagined it? Or maybe the reveal of her split personality to Alex caused her to be a bit more on edge than usual. Shaking her head she headed back to the house and offered Nina a smile.
“Want to try working on some of that homework now? Or wait till after dinner, your choice Nina.”
Nina thought about it. “Let’s do it now I want to try to get it done before we have dinner, or maybe even before Dad gets home.”
“Is he coming home today?”
Nina nodded. “He sent me a text when I finished school he said he’d be home around dinner time, he’d even bring home something for us to eat so we don’t have to worry about cooking ether.”
“Oh okay, then why not get your math out and I’ll see what I can do to help okay?” With a nod, Nina headed back into the house but Charla couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was there even though there wasn’t. Maybe after giving that big reveal to Alex her mind was still racing over that fact. She shook her head, what’s done was done, there was no turning back from this, whatever would come next she’d just have to deal with it when it came.
It was late at night as Claude continued his work after-hours, not that it was uncommon for him to do so but this time was different. After he had met that girl he couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right about her. He then stilled in his typing when he came across something on the screen he hadn’t expected with a deep frown he read what was there before looking to the open file on his desk of Charla Liebert and the murders that had taken place in the city which had all but stopped…