Chapter 1 - The night
Only a few places are perfect. Some would say no place was but those who had ever stepped in Dawnsbery knew that from the outside, it seemed like everything that perfect meant. It’s quiet streets rested in sunlight and the heavy trees stood still waiting for warm spring wind slink through its brushwood. Only one tiny sparrow was sitting on an old looking metal fence. Its tiny head moved from side to side with a disjointed movement and round eyes scanned around all the surroundings till a sharp bell rang cutting the silence and scaring the bird away. From the doors of Dawnsbery’s school building, a flock of kids walked out as a mass breaking the silence with giggles and talk. Right next to the school’s sign a dark-haired girl sat on the grass waiting for her little brother who never made it on time, at least not on her opinion. Her bright blue eyes scanned the screen of her notebook. Math, she hated it.
“Get your ass up, I’m in a hurry to get home.” A still slightly high pitched voice of young boy’s jumped from somewhere near and the girl lifted her head smirking at the quirky boy who was standing in front of her with his scuffed up bike.
“I almost got scared you wouldn’t make it today, Finkie.” Annoyed by the use of a nickname, the boy playfully kicked the notebook out of the girl’s hands. To that, the girl only laughed while she got up swinging her backpack to her back and starting to walk out of the school grounds the boy nimbly following her.
Finley and Sandy Wright shared so many characteristics, it was clear to everyone that they were siblings just by looking at them. They both had dark hair, bright blue eyes and pale skin. Sandy, being the big sister, was bold, sure and even brave. She had the kind of bravery that Finley looked up to since he himself was a boy with pride and big mouth but he didn’t always have the confidence he needed. But obviously, he would have never told Sandy that and he didn’t need to. Maybe that’s what made them close, maybe that’s what caused fights but they knew each other better than any other person in that whole town.
Finley took a deep breath and looked down at his shoes smiling to himself, which made his dimples pop out. Someday that boy would make many hearts drop but today he was just a boy with a playful mind, wild imagination and a little nasty mouth. That’s all he needed to be. That’s everything Sandy ever wanted him, her little brother, to be.
A rhythmic creaking could be heard from the rusty wheels of Finley’s bike as he walked it next to her sister. Two of them lazily walked down the sidewalk. Neither of them really had a need to get home fast. In fact, when they slowly walked their way home hearing their feet lightly touch the sidewalk, it was almost like time had stopped and there would be endless afternoon.
Finley was only twelve years old but unlike many of his age, he knew to appreciate these kinds of moments. Maybe it was all the noise and loudness of null kids he had to tolerate during the school day but for a second, even he didn’t feel like breaking the comfortable silence they had. His big sister by five years looked up in the sky, seeing a sun peeking behind a perfectly formed cloud that was calmly sailing through the arc of the blue sky.
“So how was school?” Sandy asked even though she was pretty sure what he was going to tell her.
“It was fine. Really nothing special.” And then Finley continued by telling how he and his best friends had found all the answers to an upcoming math test from the teacher’s desk and how they had made the English teacher mad and how the whole class had laughed at his joke. Sandy just smiled at his brother’s boyish stupidity.
Sandy and Finley made their way away from the town’s center, passing a grocery store and pharmacy, looking through a big aquarium-like window of a cafe called ‘tete-a-tete’ and, for some reason, crossing every street without using crosswalks. Only one old man with his brown sloppy walking dachshund walked past them. It wasn’t a surprise to them though. The old man walked his dog every day at this particular time. Both Sandy and Finley knew that the man’s name was Mr. Appleton and his dog’s Dinby but for the kicks of it, they and many other kids in the town called him the Appleman. Gladly for the sake of the old man and maybe for the kids too, no one had ever been caught using that nickname.
Soon they got to a long sand road surrounded by large fields that would lead them nearly to the border of the town. A wind hymned as it touched the ends of grasses on spacious fields. Finley always felt suspicious walking down this long road. Maybe because anyone hiding in the forest from the other side of the fields could see them like a beast lurking its prey or maybe it was due to his wild imagination. Especially in the dark, Finley hated the fields and the forest. But it wasn’t dark now and also, he wasn’t alone.
Suddenly Sandy jumped over the ditch to the field. Stick snapped underneath her foot and long hay swayed away when Sandy made her way through the field.
“What on earth, wha-, Where are you going?” Finlay screamed after her as he attempted to jump over the field as well, and doing so with a slight tumble.
Sandy didn’t answer nor did she look back, she just kept making her way closer to the forest.
“Fucking stop!” Finley screamed after her. He was frustrated about his sister’s spontaneous behavior. This was something he admired about his sister, but after a long school day, he just wanted to go home. Still, he kept following Sandy to the center of the field where everything looked so different. The sand road they just had been walking on looked so distant. Like a stranger, it traveled its own path not caring which way the dark-haired took.
Sandy sat down in the hay that nearly reached her shoulder and she waited for her brother to join her, just like he did.
“I was changing the plan.” Sandy smirked, leaning on her hand and locking her icy blue eyes to her brother.
“What plan?” Finley asked confused. He didn’t know they had a plan. Yet alone a plan that could be changed in the middle of a field that probably was full of all kinds of ticks. Not that either of them cared.
“Just a plan” Sandy replied.
“Just a plan that changed.” Sandy repeated breaking the eye contact.
“Stop that, you’re being creepy.” Finley snorted and looked behind himself. Just because he was feeling uneasy on a lonely field, hiding away from anyone. “Also can we just go?”
“Nah, why would we? This is Dawnsbery. Nothing bad has ever happened here. Maybe It’s because nothing good has either. It’s like we’re stuck, and nothing that happened really happened.” And Sandy kept smirking, still not making any sense to Finley.
From a few miles away, in the parking lot of Dawnsbery’s only gas station, a black shiny Audi was lingering in the corner. It wasn’t unusual for the infamous Christian D’laurevyer to make himself busy till 8 pm and waste all evening with friends or girlfriends. He didn’t really care about his homework and that’s why his precious time was never spent by doing them. He was planning on spending his last year of high school quite differently and if we’re honest, everyone in the town knew he was one of those lucky people who would inherit all of his parent’s company and have a successful career no matter if he worked hard for it or didn’t. It wasn’t fair, some people would say it wasn’t realistic either but it was the well-known truth. His mother owned a hotel business that had made money for D’laurevyer’s family for many generations. Though his mother had decided to raise Christian away from the chaos of metropolis, she still had to do quite a bit of work trips around the united states but that didn’t really bother Christian. It only meant he had the mansion he called home all by himself.
He was handsome and even those who hated him couldn't argue against that. He had flawless smooth skin that looked almost unnaturally clean for a 17-year-old teenage boy and perfect, slightly wavy hair. Needles to say, in a shallow society and even more shallow Dawnsbery's high school, his handsome face had gotten him way higher in a social hierarchy than he ever deserved to be. He scratched the end of his eyebrow while listening to his best friend's ranting about his breakup with his ex-girlfriend. Apparently, she was a bitch.
“Let’s have a party. Tonight at my place.” Christian said interrupting Elliott's rant.
“And then she - what?” Elliott stopped mid-sentence and looked at his friend who was staring at the logo on his car’s steering wheel with a numb expression on his face. “Dude it’s Tuesday.”
“So? I’m bored and no one’s home, well no one else except mom’s poodle.” Christian laughed at Elliott’s attitude and kept smiling even when Elliot gave him a playful punch to his shoulder.
“Like you wouldn’t be loving that dog like your own child every time no one is around.” Elliot snorted. He knew well that the dog was as much Christian’s as it was his mother’s. “But okay, I wouldn’t say no to a party.”
“You sure? ’Cus for a minute it looked like you would.” And both of them let out a little laugh. Then Christian turned his car keys.
A low beat of bass crawled out of stereos as plastic mugs crumpled on the floor and every stable visible. It wasn’t but a little bit past 8 pm on a Tuesday night but everyone there knew cops could be arriving at any minute. The huge mansion of D’laurevyer’s was filled with people and even Christian was surprised so many had come. After all, it was a school night.
Elliott and a couple other boys had tried to set up a beer pong match but it hadn't worked out since some idiot had decided to jump on the table tennis table they had been using, breaking it and ending the game in seconds.
"Fuck this table" Elliott cursed as he was trying to fix it without any kind of success.
"Should we like just take it to garbage before Christian notices?" Matt, Elliott's Twin brother, asked.
"You think he won't notice if one fucking table is missing from his terrace?" Elliott looked at his brother like he was the stupidest form of living life he had ever seen.
"Well if he does won't know we had anything to do with it. He probably doesn't even care so why you're looking like a guilty puppy." Matt couldn't help but laugh at Elliott who did look like he had stepped on a kitten.
"Dude! I Broke Christians bed last time he held a party. He was fucking mad." Elliott hissed at his brother. "Okey, fine. Let's carry to our car and take it to dumb tomorrow or something. Where did you park it?"
"A few blocks away. How were you planning on getting that to our car?" Matt asked trying to hide his amusement.
"I don't know, I don't care. Now, come on." And so the twins started to carry the broken table to their car like two thieves stealing a television.
In the kitchen, from the corner of his eye, Christian could see a figure of a girl he had been waiting all night. They weren't dating but they had been seeing each other for a little while now. Not that Christian was too into dating anyway.
“Wella!” He called after her, his voice fighting with the loud music. For a second he had time to believe the tiny waisted girl didn’t hear him but to his luck, The dainty girl turned away from her friend.
“Well well well, if it isn’t the king of the party.” Wella walked closer to now cheekily smiling boy. She was holding a red plastic mug on her jewelry full hand. Her navy blue, skin-tight glittery dress caught everyone’s attention as she walked trying to look sexy but not fall in her strap heels. She was a blessing to the eye but if Christian had to be honest, he thought it was a bit much. Not that he would have ever told her that. Well, he couldn’t because that would have caused a bigger fight than has ever been seen on drama tv.
Christian pressed his light pink lips to Wella’s red ones as soon as she was close enough and ran his hand down the curve of her lower back. He could taste the mix of alcohol and lipstick from her lips. She wrapped her free arm around his neck while trying to balance the mug on her other. Her heart was beating on her chest while she felt his hands scan her body. To her, he was so dreamy and stronger intoxicant than any drink she had drunk on that night.
“Someone call the police!” Christian could hear a very serious, frantic scream coming from Elliot who had just walked back inside the house.
“What the hell, Elliot?” Christian yelled back at him, separating himself from Wella.
“No, you don’t get it. There’s like a half body. Like a corpse”
The body of Finley Wright was found in the middle of the Hiltewest’s street at 8.30 pm on Tuesday night.