The loud banging sounds of doors being slammed is what woke me up from my dreamless slumber, which was a rare occurrence for me. I felt my stomach drop in panic as the thought of someone breaking in crossed my mind before logic told me that my dad was getting called in for an incident at work.
At least once a week, he would get called in at early hours of the morning to deal with some issue, and recently it had been happing more often than ever before.
I threw the covers off my body and climbed out of my warm double bed; the cold night-time air nipped at my bare legs, making me wrap my fluffy robe around my body before making my way over to where the noise was coming from.
“Dad?” My voice echoed through the silent house as I walked down each step; I made sure to keep my voice low enough that it wouldn’t wake up my mother from her sleep.
My bare feet touched the wooden floor as I made it to the bottom of the stairs. The coolness of it caused goosebumps to spread up my legs. I noticed him sitting on the couch in the living room as he tied up the laces to his shoes frantically. It was clear he was in a rush to leave the house.
“There’s been another murder, hasn’t there?” He mustn’t have heard me call out to him before because the question made him jump in his seat before his head looked over in my direction.
“You should go back to sleep; you have college in the morning.” The fact that he had avoided my question gave me the answer I needed. Over the past month, there had been 3 murders across town; it was odd because although we had crime, it wasn’t often that murders would be committed.
There was word around town that it was gang-related, but my dad wasn’t disclosing any other information that wasn’t already known about the crimes. The only thing that was public knowledge was the victims’ names and the days they were killed.
No even knows how they were killed other than the people working on the investigation.
At first, I had also thought that they might be gang-related because the first two victims were known drug dealers in the county, but the last victim was a female that went to my college, and from what I knew, she didn’t have any gang affiliation. But then again, I didn’t exactly know her, so she could have been involved too.
I just hoped they would catch whoever was doing this.
“You know I can’t go back to sleep once I’ve woken up. Why don’t I make you a coffee to take with you?” It was four in the morning, and there was no way I could force myself to sleep now, so it looked like I would be doing college work. At least that meant I would be doing all my readings now rather than at the last minute.
He stood up from his position on the couch and adjusted his gun holster before grabbing his sheriff jacket off the banister for the stairs. “That’s okay, sweetheart. I don’t have time. I’ll grab one from the machine at the station.” I nodded my head before muttering a goodbye as I watched him rush out of the house.
“Tess, are you even listening to me?” My best friend asked me from across the lunch table. We were in the cafeteria waiting for our next lecture to start, which wasn’t for another 20 minutes.
“Sorry, I’m just tired.” Right on cue, a yawn escaped my lips, proving my point. Just like I suspected hours before, I hadn’t gone back to sleep after saying bye to my dad and spent all morning getting my college work done.
All I wanted to do now was take a nap; honestly, I reckon I could sleep for days with the way I was currently feeling.
“Did your dad get called in and wake you up again?” Nora asked with concern etched onto her freckled face, knowing that I already struggled with sleep. It wasn’t anything serious, but ever since the news of the first killing, I had been suffering from these terrible nightmares about me being next. I know it was just me being stupid, but sometimes the dreams made me feel like I was at the scene when it happened.
It was seriously starting to mess with my head.
“I heard there was another victim last night, and he was also involved with selling drugs.” A deep voice said beside me as the person joined our table and took a seat. Clearly, he had heard our conversation.
A smile found its way onto my face as he placed a gentle kiss on my cheek before greeting Nora. Mason and I weren’t exactly official, but we were practically in a relationship because we weren’t seeing other people. We didn’t care for labels as most people did.
“And how would you know? You’re not the killer, are you? See, Tess, I told you he was a psycho.” Nora said, but we both knew she was joking from the teasing smile she had. It dropped as soon as Mason stole one of the fries off my plate and threw it at her face making me laugh.
“For your information, it was on the radio like an hour ago.”
“Yeah Yeah.” Nora rolled her eyes at his explanation before flicking her brunette hair over her shoulder to get it out of her face. “Now tell me where your buddy is so we can talk about this Halloween party.”
“Tristan isn’t in until 4.” Tristan was one of Mason’s friends, and for the past 3 years he had thrown Halloween parties at his parent’s lake house. He didn’t grow up in this town, but his family would spend the summer here, and instead of living in the dorms for college, they let him stay in the lake house. Hence, the freedom to party whenever he wanted.
Most of the time, the parties would be small and only friends were invited, but for Halloween or his birthday, he would invite everyone from college, even the freshmen.
Mason lived in the dorms for the first year, but once he had become friends with Tristan, he moved into the big house with a few of the other guys. It was practically a frat house at this point.
“Oh crap, I forgot he had his schedule changed.” She muttered in disappointment and began texting on her phone, most likely messaging Tristan.
“Wait, he’s still throwing the party with everything going on?” I asked and turned around in my seat to face Mason as he nodded his head. His blond hair fell in his face from the movement.
“Yeah, it’s only people involved in crime getting killed, and last time I checked, none of us were big-time drug dealers. Avery may be a bit of a druggie, but even he’s not stupid enough to deal.” He joked. Avery was another one of the boys who lived with them, along with two other guys named Wyatt and Jaxon. All of whom were in their junior year, like me.
“But what if something happens? Hundreds of people attend his Halloween party. How are you sure they aren’t?” I was probably exaggerating a little. If the police thought that we were in danger, they would set up a curfew for everyone.
Mason placed his hand on thigh, giving it a gentle squeeze in comfort. “That’s why only the guys and the people they’re talking to are invited. It’s going to be a small one this year.” His answer reassured me instantly. We often hung out in groups that size anyway.
“Tessa, it’ll be fine. Worst case scenario, one of us will end up in the hospital from doing something stupid while drunk, not because there’s a psycho killer on the loose.” Nora had a point. With the amount Wyatt and Avery drank, my guess was on them being the ones to be hospitalised. “Anyways, we have classes to attend.”
“In that case, I’ll see you two later when you come over for the movie night.” I turned my head so he could kiss me on the lips softly before he left the cafeteria to get to his class. Nora and I had to clear our plates before heading to ours.
Before we split off into different directions, she grabbed my arm, stopping me from walking away. “I can see this is taking a toll on you. You know you can always stop at mine if you need to sleep?” She was referring to my dad waking me up, and I was thankful she was offering, but we both knew I wouldn’t take it, me and her roommate didn’t exactly get along.
I smiled at her as a thanks before making my way over to my lecture. I shook the thoughts about the crimes happening out of my head. I didn’t want to be distracted during class.
Nora was right. I was just freaking out over nothing.