Wendy ran as fast as she could. She had no time to stop at any of the houses that flew by as she ran, because she knew the darkness was closing in on her. Besides, this was all her fault, her grave mistake. She had allowed darkness into her life, and she wasn’t about to lead it into others’. Her parents had already paid the price for it. She blinked back tears as she remembered, just moments before, how she had walked in to find the disemboweled bodies of her parents lying in a heap on the floor. And how a dark figure had stepped from the shadows into the moonlight, holding a bloody knife, and revealing himself to be…
Wendy shook her head as she continued to run, now was not the time. He was coming for her, and she had to lead him as far away from her little hometown as possible. All of her friends and neighbors were there; she could at least save them. Wendy had resigned herself to her fate; it was what she deserved after all. But how could she have known that the one she loved the most would turn out to be someone, something, wicked. Wendy paused to catch her breath. She was standing in front of the cornfield that separated her town from the next one.
Wendy thought back again to when she had first met him. She was always drawn to strange people, and the new boy in town definitely fit the bill. Everyone stayed away from him at school, so she was the only one brave enough to talk to him. It wasn’t long before she had fallen hard, and despite everyone, including her best friend Abby, warning her that he was dangerous, they began dating. Looking back on it now, it seemed like she had cared about him more than he cared about her. It was like he was void of any emotions. But Wendy didn’t have long to reminisce. A whizzing sound interrupted her thoughts, and before she could turn around she felt a sharp pain in her leg.
“Ah-,” she moaned, as she fell to the ground. Upon examining her leg, she discovered a small pocket knife protruding from it. Looking up, she could just make out his silhouette in the distance. He always did have impeccable aim. She gritted her teeth, pulled out the knife, tried to stand. Because the knife hit her in the back of her knee, she knew that running would now be difficult. She also knew that he knew that as well.
The silhouette was getting closer. Wendy forced herself to stand, ignoring the pain, and limped into the cornfields. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that she was leaving a trail of blood behind. It would most assuredly lead him straight to her; he must have predicted that as well. Oh well, it didn’t matter now. He was away from the town, and her best friend, that’s all that mattered.
Finally, up ahead she could make out what she was looking for. There was an old abandoned house in the middle of those cornfields. No one knows why it was there, rumor has it that it had been there ever since the town was first established. It certainly looked hundreds of years old. It also looked similar to a plantation house, only not as big. Still, it was pretty big, and spooky. No one, as far as Wendy knew, had ever lived there or even had any interest in buying it. She and her friends used to dare each other to spend the night there when they were kids, who could have known that this would be her final resting place.
Since no one bothered to lock the doors, Wendy staggered inside, slamming the door behind her. The pain in her leg was becoming unbearable, and the loss of blood was starting to make her head spin. Wendy collapsed against a wall in the living room and glanced around the empty house.
As she waited for him to come, she wondered what she should do. She had come here without a plan, only wanting to lead him away. But what happens after? How could she be sure that he wouldn’t simply go back? No, she wouldn’t let that happen. She had let the wrong one in, so he was her responsibility. It would all end here.
Her head snapped up as the front door slowly opened, she was out of time. Using the window sill next to her, she managed to stand. The silhouette entered and, after locating her, calmly walked in. Wendy pressed her back against the wall and held her breath as he inched closer and closer. The closer he got, the more clearly she could see him, thanks to the light provided by the window.
When he was just an arm’s length away, she could examine him in his entirety; the bloody white hoodie, the knife that used on her parents, the long black hair covering most of his face. Wendy wanted to look into his cold black eyes, but he held his head slightly down, making it difficult. Instead, Wendy glanced again at the knife that he gripped in his hand as if his life depended on it.
“Jeff…” Wendy murmured.
Jeff slowly lifted his head. She could only see one eye, but its stare burned into hers. Carefully, she lifted her hand and pushed his hair aside. His face was made up like it always was, like The Joker. She had found his strangeness interesting, but it scared everyone else to look at him. “A demented clown” is what their schoolmates had called him behind his back.
“Jeff,” she said again. “Why are you doing this?”
Tears rolled down her cheeks as memories of their short time together flashed through her mind.
“I don’t understand. What did I do wrong?” she went on. “I-I loved you, Jeff. I thought you felt the same way.”
Jeff said nothing; he simply took a step back and raised his knife, preparing to strike. Wendy nodded, realizing that she might never know.
“Alright Jeff, if this is what you want. Just…one more kiss before I go?”
Before Jeff could respond, she wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned him down for a kiss. His lips were soft, like they had always been, but this kiss was different. He didn’t return it; he merely stood there as she embraced him. Wendy dropped one of her arms to discreetly dig into her pocket. She gripped the pocket knife that he had thrown at her earlier, but did not pull it out. Up until a few moments ago, she wasn’t sure if she could even use it on him. Now, she was definitely sure that she couldn’t, no matter what he had done.
Wendy let go of him, and leaned back against the wall. Wendy studied his face, which was now dumbfounded and his breathing quickened. She couldn’t understand why, but it didn’t matter.
Wendy closed her eyes and waited. And waited. And waited. After what seemed like forever, she slowly opened her eyes.
He was gone. Without a word, without a sound. The front door was opened wider than it had been before, so she was truly alone. Instead of leaving right away, she sank to the floor and wept.
Act 1 - Abby
Abby didn’t know what to do. Since her best friend was now an orphan, she convinced her parents to let Wendy stay with them until they graduated from high school. After that, she was going to move in with her Aunt over the summer. Abby’s main reasoning was that Wendy was going to need someone to lean on after such a horrible tragedy. Abby believed that she could be that person, but ever since Wendy moved in she had started becoming withdrawn from the world around her. Wendy hardly talked to anyone, she barely ate, and she often woke up screaming in the middle of the night. She always acted as if someone was following her, watching her, yet she always wanted to be alone. Not to mention her appearance had become startling from lack of sleep and care. When Abby tried talking to her, Wendy just shut her out. Abby didn’t want Wendy to deal with her pain alone, but what could she do? It wasn’t like before, when the worst thing that could happen to her was a petty argument with her parents.
Her parents. If only they were here. But if they were here, then Abby wouldn’t be having this problem. It was all his fault, oh how she hated him. From the moment she laid eyes on him, she knew he was trouble. But Wendy couldn’t see it; all she could see was someone she could try to save. Now it was her who needed saving. And he was still out there…somewhere.
A month after the murders, on a rainy evening, Abby lay in her bed. Across the room from her, Wendy lay in her own bed scribbling furiously in a diary she had been keeping. When she finished, she placed it on her side of the bookshelf with her other belongings. Wendy then peeked out of her window and froze for a moment before closing the curtains. She looked over at Abby, who was starting to fall asleep. “Abby?”
“Remember when we first met, in middle school?”
“I was just thinking back on my life, and how far I’ve come. I’ve been trying to write them all down. All the good memories I have to leave behind, after I’m gone.” Abby sleepily propped herself up on one elbow to look at her. “Gone? Where are you going?”
Wendy didn’t respond right away. “Nowhere, it was just a figure of speech.” Abby stared at her for a minute before collapsing back onto her pillow. “Don’t scare me like that.”
They were both silent for a minute. Abby started drifting off to sleep again. “When we first met, I was the weird kid.” Wendy said, waking Abby up again. “I remember how nobody talked to me at first. I spent most of elementary school alone because I wasn’t into the same things as every other kid my age. Then one day, you spoke to me.”
“Yeah,” Abby slurred, trying to remember. “I told you I liked your dress, the one with the blue flowers on it.”
“Yep, and we’ve been best friends ever since. And after that, more friends came.”
“I never thanked you for that, for being my friend.”
“You didn’t have to thank me. I liked you; I liked the fact that you were different. At least back then you were, high school normalized you.”
They both chuckled.
“Yeah, I became ‘normal’, whatever that means. But I was still drawn to weird people.”
“Yeah…” Abby yawned.
“Remember all those guys I dated?” Wendy laughed. “Stephan, Drew…Gary, the guy who was obsessed with chins?”
“Jeff, the homicidal psychopath.”
Wendy was quiet for a moment. Abby sat up and looked at her.
“I’m sorry. But I can’t help being a little mad at you for this. It’s been a long enough time since the funerals for me to say that. I know you couldn’t have known. But the worst part is that you’ve changed on me. This is the longest conversation we’ve had since…”
“No, you’re right. I haven’t been a good friend, and I’m sorry.”
Abby lay back down. “No, don’t be sorry. I forgot about that golden heart of yours. You could never think ill of anyone, not even him.”
“He didn’t seem dangerous at all, while we were dating.” Wendy said in a quiet voice. “He was a bit distant, and quiet, but I thought he genuinely loved…”
Wendy looked up to see that Abby had drifted off to sleep. She got up and walked over to her friend’s bed. Crouching down in front of her, she tucked some stray hair behind her ear. Leaning down, she whispered in her ear.
“Thanks for being my friend.”
Abby opened her heavy eyes long enough to see Wendy quietly walk out of the room. “Wendy, where are you going?” She moaned. But sleep overtook her as her vision got blurry, and then everything went black.
The next morning, Abby woke up to find Wendy’s bed empty. In fact, it didn’t even look slept in. Abby sat up and tried to remember what happened the previous night. All that talk about looking back on her life and thanking her for being her friend, it almost seemed like she was saying goodbye. Abby searched the house calling her friends name, but she was nowhere to be found.
First she alerted her parents, then the police, and then the whole town. Some people claimed to have seen her on the night she went missing. But no matter how many search parties were sent out, no matter how much the reward was for any information on her whereabouts, no matter how much Abby wished, Wendy remained missing.
Two months after her disappearance, Abby noticed that the police were starting to give up. They had no leads, and no evidence of any kind. They began treating her as runaway because of her deep depression over the deaths of her parents. Never mind the fact that none of her clothes or other belongings were missing. They didn’t even bother to look through them.
They assured Abby and her parents that Wendy would return when she was ready, or that she would eventually be found. Abby wasn’t convinced, but she couldn’t convince anyone else to listen to her. Her mother and father cared about Wendy very much, but they were tired and wanted to get on with their lives. So Abby had to find her friend on her own, or at the very least, find out what happened to her.
Abby decided to start with Wendy’s computer. Her boyfriend, Tucker, was an expert hacker. He could hack into just about anything. So when Abby asked if he could come over to try to break into her computer, he was almost insulted that she even asked if he could do it. After they successfully hacked into her computer, they did a wide search. Finding nothing suspicious, they decided to check her emails. But even after hacking into it, there were no emails or messages of any sort to give them a clue. “Ugh…” Abby sat back in her chair, exasperated. “This is hopeless.”
“Don’t give up yet, babe.” Tucker said, getting up and massaging her neck. “I’m sure there’s no need for any of this anyway. She’ll come back.”
“Yeah, and when she does I’m going to beat the living crap out of her.”
“Shhh…” he whispered. He massaged her neck a little bit harder, causing her to moan softly.
Tucker smiled. “Hey, I still have half an hour before I have to meet with up with the guys. Your parents are out, wanna fool around a little?”
Abby leaned her head back to grin at him. “I could use some comfort.”
After he left, Abby straightened herself up and then continued to explore Wendy’s computer. Looking at her search history, Abby wondered just what was going through her friends mind before she disappeared. There were searches about night terrors, sleep paralysis, and articles on other recent disappearances happening around town. Abby eventually found herself back in Wendy’s email. She hadn’t thought before to check the spam folder, so she clicked on it. Abby was shocked to find that there were hundreds of messages in the folder, all from an anonymous email address. Abby clicked on an email, which read: I’m coming for you.
Abby was more than a little spooked. She clicked on another one.
Gonna get you, baby.
Abby was frightened, but she clicked on another one, and another, and another. The more she read, the colder the chill creeping up her spine became.
Don’t try to run.
No one can save you from me.
There’s no escape.
There’s nowhere to hide.
You’ll be mine again.
You’d better not tell anyone, or they’re next.
The messages dated all the way back to the day after her parent’s funeral. Abby shook her head as hot tears ran down her cheeks. So, she had been dealing with this all by herself, for so long. No wonder she had changed so much, and wouldn’t let anyone in. Abby composed herself, and clicked on the very first message sent to Wendy. I want you, but we won’t be separated for much longer. Jeff is coming.
Abby’s hand flew to her mouth. Jeff, of course. There was no denying it now; Jeff had something to do with it. But first she needed more proof. Abby quickly wiped away her tears and began to look through all of Wendy’s things. She looked through her book bag, her side of the closest, under her bed, and her side of the bookshelf. She flipped through some of her notebooks. What she found were messages sloppily scrawled by her friend in the margins of almost every page:
Jeff is coming.
Jeff is coming for me.
There’s no escape for me, it’s all over.
I can’t run, I can’t hide.
He won’t stop.
I have to protect them.
No one else needs to die.
She tossed it onto Wendy’s bed to give to the police and looked through her other notebooks and textbooks, all the same. How could she have kept it inside all this time? Abby glanced at all the titles until her eyes rested on Wendy’s journal partially hidden underneath a World History textbook.
Cautiously, she picked it up and read the first entry.
If you are reading this, stop right now. By now I have probably disappeared, and I know you want answers. But it’s too dangerous. Just forget about me, and move on with your life. You’re strong, stronger than I am, but there is evil in this world that even you just can’t fight. You’ll definitely lose, so just put this down. In fact, bury it, or burn it. It doesn’t matter now that I’m gone. I only kept it so that I could stay sane. I wanted to right down everything I could remember about my life, so that I wouldn’t forget. I wanted to talk to you so badly, but that would have been sealing your doom. I won’t make the same mistake twice. Goodbye Abby, you’re my very best friend and I love you. Have a great life.
After a few moments of uncontrollable sobbing, Abby wondered why she left the journal behind if it was so dangerous. Maybe she didn’t get the opportunity to get rid of it. Abby stared at the journal, conflicted about whether or not to continue reading. She decided to take the chance. She flipped to the next page, but it was just an entry about her earliest memory. It went on like that for the first half of the journal, as if she were trying to write down every single memory of her life that she could remember. Even the memory of when they first met was there. Abby smiled as she tried to blink back tears.
But then it took a dark turn. Wendy began to write about nightmares that she had been having, one about a pale-faced figure chasing her through the cornfields. Abby had heard about that night when Wendy was telling the police about her parent’s murder. She remembered feeling infuriated about the fact that the police couldn’t find the killer, even though he was just a teenage boy.
The entries continued, apparently Wendy sometimes couldn’t sleep at night because she heard noises outside the window. Sometimes when she thought she was alone, she would feel like someone was watching her, but when she looked, no one was there. But there was someone there, as confirmed by the messages she was receiving.
There was even a time when she actually saw him. It was a cold night, about a week before she disappeared. She had gotten up to close the window when she saw him. He was standing outside their window with his hood up, head held down. Since their bedroom was on the second floor, he couldn’t reach her.
Still, he slowly lifted his head and locked eyes with her. Wendy gasped at the sight of his face, but she didn’t turn away. They stayed like that for what seemed like hours. But when Abby shifted in bed, blissfully unaware of any danger, Wendy turned to make sure she was still asleep. When she turned back to the window, he was gone. “If she knew it was him, then why did she gasp when she saw his face?” Abby wondered aloud.
She sank down onto the bed. So he was here this whole time, yet no one even knew? No wonder Wendy felt so alone. Abby continued to flip through the journal, reading about many more mysterious things happening to her and about Wendy’s depression and loneliness. But it wasn’t until she got to the back of the book that Abby shrieked and let the book slip from her hands.
Abby dropped to the floor and slowly opened the book again. On the back cover of the journal was a sketch of Jeff, dated a week before Wendy disappeared. But this was no ordinary portrait. He still wore The Joker makeup, but his face was now horribly mutilated: his eyelids, nose, and lips were all missing. The only color on the picture was the area around his mouth where Wendy had scribbled in red ink. And underneath his picture, also written in red, was one last message:
Jeff is here.
Act 2 - Tucker
Tucker was beginning to wonder if Abby wasn’t into him anymore. Ever since he tried to help her find out what happened to Wendy, she had been acting strange. They barely hung out anymore, and she was returning his calls and messages less and less. At school, she was elusive, and it seemed like she wasn’t concerned about her appearance anymore.
She had always been a tomboy, preferring to wear jeans and t-shirts over skirts and high-heels. But there was something different now; now her outfits looked thrown together instead of having some sort of cohesion. And her hair, it was like she hadn’t combed it in months. It wasn’t like he really cared about how she looked, but he knew that something terrible must have happened. Did it have something to do with Wendy?
But worse than all of that, she was always acting like someone was following her. Once, when he went over to her house to hang out, she insisted that they close all of the curtains and double check the locks on every single window and door. He had suggested watching a movie, but when he put it on she was watching everything but. Abby kept glancing back and forth between the TV and the hallway, like someone would be walking through there at any moment. Not to mention that she jumped at every sound and her mind seemed elsewhere. When she would look at him, he felt like she was looking right through him.
If she was in some kind of trouble, he needed to know. He hated feeling like he couldn’t protect her, and after all, there was still a killer at large. Granted, Jeff might be long gone if he knew what was good for him. Still, Wendy was missing, and Jeff may have had something to do with it. Tucker decided to stop by her house after school to confront her about what was going on. It had been three weeks since he hacked into Wendy’s computer for her, and since then he has heard no more talk about finding her from Abby.
As Tucker was about to leave his house for Abby’s, he heard the phone ring. He considered ignoring it, but then he remembered that his parents were out for a date night. He dashed into the kitchen and picked it up on the fourth ring.
“Abby is that you? I was just about to come over.”
“No, don’t come over.”
“Why not!? You’ve been acting so weird lately. Are we even still together?” There was a pause and he heard her take a deep breath.
“I’m really sorry, Tuck. I just…I made a mistake.”
“What mistake?” Tucker asked, desperate.
“It doesn’t matter. I just wanted to let you know that I love you. And also, thank you for everything.”
“I love you too but what’s going on Abby? Is this about Wendy? Have you found her? Is she coming back?”
There was another pause, and then: “I don’t think she’s ever coming back, Tuck.”
“No matter what happens Tuck, no matter what, don’t come looking for me. Don’t ask questions. I want you to keep on living, and have a good life.”
“What are you talking about? Where are you going? Abby!”
“Goodbye Tucker, I love you.”
But she had already hung up. Tucker slowly put the phone back on the receiver and slumped against the wall. He couldn’t be sure; maybe his mind was playing tricks on him. Right before Abby hung up the phone, he thought he heard an ominous male voice chuckling in the background.
Tucker wasted no time jumping into his 1999 Chevy Silverado and speeding over to Abby’s place. It only takes about five minutes to get to her house from his, so when he got there and banged on the door, he was surprised when no one answered. Tucker looked through the window next to the door, but the house was completely dark. He called out to her, but still, there was no answer. He ran around to the side of the house, and even to the back door, but he couldn’t see or hear anything. She was gone.
After waiting almost an hour on her doorstep, Tucker scribbled a note on some mail using a pen he happened to have in his truck. When he got home, he waited for hours. But she never called him. Finally, he decided to call her and really lay into her.
“Hi, this is Tucker. May I speak to Abby?”
“I’m sorry Tuck, she isn’t home. In fact, I thought she would be with you.”
“No ma’am, I haven’t seen her since we talked earlier.”
“Well that’s strange; I wonder where she could be.”
Tucker paused for a moment. Then:
“I don’t mean to alarm you ma’am, but I think you should call the police.” It was Wendy all over again. Abby had simply vanished, and no one knew why. Some people wondered if she had gone to find Wendy, others were convinced that her disappearance was linked to the other disappearances happening around town. But a smaller percentage, including Tucker, believed that a certain killer was the culprit. And Tucker was determined to find out if his suspicions were true.
Tucker wasn’t the only one who wanted answers. Abby’s parents were sick with worry, and they exhausted every resource possible in order to find her. They called the police station daily demanding any news that they had. They even had the police go through Abby’s things, unlike Wendy. What the police couldn’t understand was why, just like with Wendy, none of her things were missing. It was as if she had just gotten up and walked out. There was no note, no clues, nothing.
By the time a month had gone by, the police were ready to give up their search and label her as a runaway despite the evidence against that claim. Her parents were frantic. As time went on, they felt more and more alone in their search. Search parties and calls with information were occurring less and the police began to brush them off. They were never the best police force anyway, because nothing really happened in that town. But there was one other person who was not ready to give up. Tucker began his own little investigation, beginning with asking after her around town. He picked a Saturday morning to begin, and by that Saturday afternoon he had gotten nowhere. No one had seen her the day she disappeared, no one had even seen her around that time because she barely went anywhere besides school in those last few weeks. Tucker was wondering what he should do next when he realized something. The day when everything changed was the same day that he had hacked into Wendy’s computer. There must have been something important on there that she had found after he left. He realized that he would have to go back to her house and find out what it was.
Instead of driving over to her house, he left his car at his house and jogged over to Abby’s. He kept in constant contact with her parents, so he knew that Saturdays were when they both went out to do what they could to find their daughter, whether its search for her, hand out flyers, or haunt the police station for any leads. Once he got there, he found the extra key hidden in a flowerpot and headed up to her room. Glancing at the clock and noting the time, he quickly went to work. Instead of searching through Wendy’s computer like he had originally planned, he instead logged onto Abby’s. He never told her this, but he knew all of the login information because she wasn’t as careful as she should have been while typing it in.
There wasn’t much on her computer, but there were tons of searches about the old house out in the cornfields. It looked like she was wondering if you could get Internet connection from out there. Puzzled, Tucker checked through her files and there he found tons of pictures of the old house. Tucker began to wonder if that’s where Wendy and Abby were hiding. But, why? He decided he would check it out later. But first, he would check her emails to see if she had been communicating with anyone, besides him.
Upon looking through her emails, he found nothing. Just the dozen or so emails he had sent to her that went unanswered and some other junk. But just as he was about to close out, he caught sight of her spam folder. After considering it, he decided that it wouldn’t do any harm just to check.
All of the messages were from an anonymous sender.
“Okay…that’s weird.” He muttered.
Tucker decided to choose one at random.
You were warned, but you just couldn’t help yourself. And now you know too much. Tucker narrowed his eyes at the screen. Then he clicked on another, more recent one. Jeffrey’s coming to get you, Abby dear. You’d better not tell.
Tucker clinched his fists and turned away from the computer. “Jeff.” He said through his teeth, voice dripping with venom. Turning back to the computer, he clicked on a few more. Piecing together most of the emails, Tucker figured Abby had found out something about Jeff, and now Jeff was coming for her. He also knew in his gut that it had something to do with Wendy.
“She better not be dead, you fucker…” Tucker muttered as he held his head in his hands. Fresh tears rolled down his cheeks, he didn’t want to admit what he already knew was true. “I’ll find you Jeff, I swear I’ll–!” Then, it hit him. A simple connection; the common denominator. Of course Jeff had never left; he had been living right under everyone’s noses this whole time. Tucker clicked out of her email and brought up the window that he had used to search Abby’s most recent history. He brought up the most recent search, and there it was. The place where Wendy was found shivering in the darkness, the place that Abby had become obsessed with, the place where no one would think to look. The old abandoned house in the cornfields, that’s were Jeff was.
Tucker didn’t stop to think. Instead, almost in a trance-like state, he put everything back in order, and left the room. When he got home, he wrote a goodbye letter to his parents, telling them that he loved them, and that he was leaving to be with Abby. He wrote it, knowing that he may never return. Some don’t come back when they set off to confront evil.
Tucker pushed his way through the cornfields. He knew the way to the house like the back of his hand. He shook away the thoughts that tried to force their way into his head of him, Abby, and other neighborhood kids playing out here when they were younger. No distractions. They could still be alive, though the chance was slim. Either way, he needed to know everything, or else he would never find peace. It wasn’t long before he could see the dark house looming before him. Once he had stepped onto the porch, he took a deep breath, and reached for the doorknob.
Tucker whirled around, but there was nothing there but the cornfields from whence he came.
“Abby?” He whispered. He could have sworn he had heard her just now. But that was impossible. It must have been his imagination, or the wind whispering through the fields. Or maybe it was his subconscious crying out for him to get as far way from this place as he could, and it took on the voice of the person who was always on his mind. But it was too late; he was here now. And the fear that gripped him and shook him to the bone was not enough to stop him. Once again he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and opened the door.
The smell of death and rot immediately slapped him in the face and forced him to take a step back. It was so strong that he actually gagged and had to force himself not to throw up. Despite the overwhelming smell, he stumbled into the dark house and tried to find his way around. The house had two stories, including a basement and an attic. He knew that Jeff was most likely on the second floor, that’s where all of the bedrooms were. Tucker closed his eyes as he tried not to think about all the times that he and Abby had snuck out here to make out in the master bedroom. Strangely enough, the house was fully furnished with ancient furniture and old photographs. It was the perfect place for a killer to hang around. But there was no electricity, so how in the world could he survive here.
Darkness. He was a creature of the darkness, that’s why.
After finding the stairway, he started to climb it only to slip on some sort of dark liquid. Luckily he caught himself on the railing, but that also was covered in warm liquid. Tucker quickly pulled his hand away, knowing what it very well could be. He tiptoed up the stairs but stopped at the top. He cocked his head to the side and listened. There was a sound coming from his right. A very distinct sound, like something heavy was being dragged across the floor. Tucker gulped and headed towards the sound. Eventually, he could see a flickering light coming from a room at the end of the hallway. There was also what Tucker assumed to be a blood trail and bloody footprints leading into that room.
The dragging sound got louder as he reached the door. Tucker leaned against the wall next to the doorway and composed himself. He wanted so badly to bide his time and wait for the police, whom he had called right before heading out. They had sounded skeptical, and he knew that they would probably take their time in getting there. A killer right under their noses, and in the most obvious place this whole time? Yeah, right. Still, he was sure they would come. But he couldn’t wait for whenever that may be at the risk of Jeff escaping. So with a trembling heart, he turned and stepped into the room.
The room looked like any other bedroom, except for a few things. For one, there was nothing in it but a large bed, a desk with a computer and one candle on it, and another, smaller, doorway. From what Tucker could make out in the dim light, the walls and floor were covered in splotches of blood, some of them spelling out actual words. Tucker couldn’t read what the words said, but it wasn’t important to him at the moment. What was important, were the two figures in the room that had stopped moving as soon as he stepped in.
The first figure he saw was a young woman lying on the floor. She was dead, her body nearly cut in two and its contents spilling out around her. He could see her empty eyes in the candlelight, wide and staring. She looked to be very beautiful, with long bloodstained blonde hair and grey eyes. Her hand was being held in another hand, belonging to the one who had dragged her broken body all the way up the stairs to this very room. It seemed to be in the middle of dragging her to the second door, because its hand had frozen in the middle of reaching for the doorknob. This figure was standing just out of the candles range, so it was consumed by shadows. But Tucker knew exactly who it was.
The figure dropped the girl’s hand and let the other hand fall to its side. It just stood there for a moment, and then it began to chuckle quietly.
“So…I see you didn’t take her warning to heart hmmm…?” came a voice that sounded like it would better suit a serpent than a human being.
Tucker flinched at the sound of that voice. It sounded much more malicious than what he remembered, but he could still tell who it belonged to.
“What have you done with her!” he demanded, sounding much more confident than he actually was.
“You should have stayed away…heheh…I might have left you alone. But now…” “Stop fucking around and answer my goddamned question!”
The figure was silent for a moment. Then he stepped over the corpse and into the light. Tucker sucked in a breath as he saw Jeff for the first time in months. The boy he had known in school was normal compared to the creature that stood before him now. The long unkempt black hair and bone white skin were still the same, but now his face was horribly disfigured. His eyelids were gone, leaving behind emotionless eyes with black rings around them that seemed to stare right into Tucker’s soul. His nose was gone too, but for some reason there was no hole where it used to be, just a small white hump. His lips were also gone, so now he no longer needed Joker make-up to give himself a permanent smile. His clothes were the same though, a white hoodie with fresh blood on it, and black pants.
“Jesus Christ…what happened to you?” Tucker asked, more than a little shaken.
“What happened?” Jeff cocked his head back and let out a throaty laugh that sent chills down Tuckers spine. “SHE happened!” He said at last.
Jeff said nothing.
“Why did you take her? Why did you kill her parents? Why did you…what did you do to Abby!?”
Jeff cocked his head to the side and his evil grin seemed to grow wider. “You want answers hmmm…? Well…I guess I can confide in you…since you won’t be around for much longer.”
Tucker wondered if he should just run. If he left now he might be able to make it out of there alive. But he couldn’t, he needed to know. Besides, the police should be on their way by now, right?
Instead of immediately talking, Jeff casually turned and picked up the girl from the floor and placed her on the bed, careful not to spill anything. He then sat down at his desk and faced Tucker, who still remained in the doorway.
“I’ll have some fun with her later…heheh. Now where should I begin? Oh yes, ever since I was twelve, I’ve had these urges. The urge to kill, specifically. I loved it, and ever since my first kill I’ve been dying to do it more and more and more! It gave me joy like no other to take someone’s life, that is, until I came here.”
Tucker was only mildly interested in what he had to say. He wasn’t at all surprised that Jeff was psychotic. He only wanted to stall, and find out if his Abby was still alive. But then he thought maybe there was a way he could take down Jeff himself, so he decided to listen more carefully.
“As you could imagine, for six years I’ve been on the run from my past. I’d travel from city to city, have my fill of fun, then move on. When I got here, it was easy to make up some bullshit story about living with my great aunt. In reality I just hid out at some rich old bitch’s house who I had kept hostage…for a while.”
Tucker stopped himself from rolling his eyes. He absolutely hated Jeff, a person who would kill without remorse or regard for someone’s life. But in order to find out what happened, he had to keep listening.
“I enrolled myself in school to scout some potential victims.” Jeff went on. “I usually try to pick people who I can gain something from. But then I met Wendy. She came frolicking into my life without warning, and suddenly everything changed. She was changing me. At first I fancied her as my first victim here, but I actually began to…fall for her. Several times I tried to kill her, the first time being after we had sex for the first time. She lay there, fast asleep, and I straddled her and pulled the knife out from underneath the pillow. But as I raised the knife to stab her in the heart, I hesitated. I saw how beautiful she looked sleeping so peacefully, and I hesitated.”
Tucker noted how Jeff’s voice had changed over the course of him telling this story. He almost sounded normal. Like a normal person struggling with their feelings. Too bad he wasn’t a normal person, and this wasn’t a normal love story.
“I hated myself for it, I was starting to slip. I went out on killing sprees less and less, and began to spend more time with her. The second time I was planning to kill her, she told me she loved me, and I couldn’t bring myself to use the axe I had hidden underneath the table to hack her to pieces. And the third time… I was really going to do it.”
Tucker perked up again at the change of tone in Jeff’s voice. He figured he knew what story Jeff was about to tell now.
“I had to get rid of her, so that I would be able to freely do what I wanted. I couldn’t allow myself to have feelings for her. It was changing me and I didn’t like it! So I planned everything out so nothing would go wrong this time. While she was out partying, I killed her parents then waited for her to come home. When she got there, oh, her face was priceless. It filled my heart with such glee to see her in so much pain. Yes, the feeling was back again. I knew I could do it this time! I followed her all the way here, wounding her in the process. I didn’t want any chances for her to escape, so I made sure she wouldn’t be able to run far.”
Tucker nodded solemnly, remembering the wound on the back of Wendy’s knee that never quite healed, just like her broken heart.
“I was so ready to end her, but then…” Jeff scratched his arm and twitched nervously. “Then she kissed me, and the urge was completely gone. It was such a shock that I couldn’t do anything, I just had to get away from her.”
Tucker shook his head. If only you had just let it change you. You could have been happy with her. But instead…
“I went back to the old lady’s house. I couldn’t stay there long because the smell coming from her basement was starting to bug the neighbors. I looked at myself in the mirror and cursed myself for being so weak. I knew I had to do something drastic, think…think…THINK! And then I knew: it was my lips that had betrayed me. I had to get rid of them, so I did. And while I was at it, why not punish myself further? I burned off my eyelids I had no real use for them, and now I would never lose sight of my desires!” Jeff’s serpent-like voice had returned by now.
“And your nose?” Tucker asked, grimly.
“Just an added bonus, to seal the deal.” Jeff then stood up, and looked Tucker square in the face. “There was nothing stopping me anymore. I was transformed; I just needed to do one more thing to make sure I never went back. This time I kept a safe distance from her. Instead I sent her threatening emails, and stalked her at night. I wanted to weaken her resolve by slowly driving her insane. And it worked; by the time I was through with her, she had no will to live and accepted her fate without a struggle. I had won.”
Tucker glared at him. “What did you do to her?”
“What do you think?” Jeff said, teasingly. “I…took her.”
Tucker took an angry step forward, but immediately regretted it. “And Abby? Why did you go after her?”
“She went investigating, just like I knew she would, and found out too much. I did the same to her, only she was much stronger than Wendy. Still, she eventually realized she couldn’t escape from me. Should have heeded Wendy’s warning…hmmm?” Tucker felt sick. His head began to swim, and he swayed back and forth on his feet. How could something so evil exist in this world? By this time, he knew they were dead, but still he had to ask once more.
“Where are they? Where are Abby and Wendy now?”
Jeff’s unholy grin grew so wide that it nearly split his face in half and he gestured around the room.
“Why…they’re here.” Jeff produced a large knife from the pocket of his hoodie and advanced toward him. Tucker knew what that meant. It meant that the police weren’t going to make it in time after all. Instead of running, like his subconscious was currently screaming for him to do, he simply closed his eyes and thought of Abby. “They’re right here with us.” Jeff went on, is a harsh whisper. “You can see them if you want. All you have to do is GO TO SLEEP!”
Act 2.5 - Jeff
When Tucker opened his eyes again, Jeff lunged at him. Tucker managed to dodge the knife and pulled a small pocketknife out of his back pocket. Jeff instantly recognized it as the same pocketknife he had thrown at Wendy…that night. How the hell did he get it? Tucker pointed the knife at him.
“Let’s go, pretty boy.” Tucker said through his teeth.
Jeff stood up a little straighter and put his hand on his chest. “You really think I’m pretty?” he mocked. He chuckled and then crouched to prepare for another strike. But Tucker had suddenly gone pale.
“It was you, wasn’t it?” He murmured. “You were there, laughing, the last time I talked to Abby!”
Jeff shrugged. “She was…quite amusing.”
Tucker gritted his teeth and swung his balled up fist at him. Jeff casually grabbed it in midair and squeezed as hard as he could, causing Tucker to cry out in pain. But, it wasn’t the hand that was holding the knife. Before Jeff realized this, Tucker swung his knife-wielding hand around and stabbed Jeff in the side. Jeff howled in agony, but didn’t loosen his grip. Jeff looked down at the knife and the practically black blood flowing from the wound. It had been a long time since he felt pain like this, his victims rarely fought back. He sort of liked it. He brought his own knife up to take a swipe at Tucker, but Tucker pushed the blade in deeper causing Jeff to finally let go. He backed away and pulled out the small knife before Tucker ran at him and tackled him to floor.
Jeff dropped both knives as Tucker sat on his chest and started punching him in the face, roaring with every hit. Tears ran down his face as visions of Abby and Wendy’s smiling faces flashed through his mind. Jeff flipped him over and punched Tucker as hard as he could. He wrapped his arms around Tuckers neck to choke him, but the sharp pain in his side allowed Tucker to gain the upper hand. Tucker pressed down on the spot where he had stabbed Jeff and pushed him off. He then stood up and commenced to kicking and stomping Jeff repeatedly as he writhed around on the floor holding his side. Getting exhausted, Tucker straightened up and walked over to where the bloody pocketknife lay. Crouching down to pick it up, he sighed.
“She was the best person I’d ever met, and you, you took her away from me.” He muttered, dryly.
Jeff sat up on one elbow and giggled as he wiped his face. Tucker turned and glared at him.
“Laugh all you want. You won’t be laughing when the police get here.”
Jeff stopped giggling. “The police are on their way, huh? Guess I’d better wrap this up.” Jeff hopped up and marched towards Tucker. Tucker stood and aimed the knife at him.
“This is for Abby and Wendy!”
Tucker swung the knife at Jeff three times, but each swing missed. It was clear that Jeff had been holding back before. Tucker held the knife over his head and tried to stab Jeff. Jeff simply side-stepped and struck Tuckers back as he went past him, causing Tucker to fall to the floor with a loud thud. Jeff grabbed Tucker by his hair and stood him up. Before Tucker could react, Jeff hit him in the gut a few times. He then banged Tucker’s forehead into the nearest wall and then let him sink to the floor.
As Tucker tried to stand up again, Jeff picked up his knife and went over to the bed and sat down. He looked down at the dead girl and chuckled.
“Not so tough now, is he Clarissa? I wonder…how I should kill him.” He paused for a minute, and then put his ear close to her slightly open mouth. “Hmmmm…what’s that?” Pause. “Aw, but that’s no fun.” Another pause as Jeff tapped his cheek with the knife. “You’re right, it needs to be quick since the police are on their way.”
Tucker finally stood up. He yanked Jeff up by his hoodie and slammed him against the wall. He raised the pocketknife, preparing to take a life for the first time.
“Now die, motherfucker.” Tucker was just about to sink the knife into Jeff’s heart when a sound in the distance stopped him. It was the sound of police sirens, meaning that his saviors were almost there. He was only distracted for a moment, but it was long enough for Jeff to turn the tables on him. Before Tucker could even breathe a sigh of relief, Jeff knocked the knife away and turned him around in two quick moves. He covered Tucker’s mouth with one hand and held the knife to his throat with the other. As Tucker fought to get free, Jeff whispered in his ear.
“Now, you can join Abby in the land of dreams and nightmares.” Jeff said, as he slid his knife across Tucker’s throat. “Sleep, forever.”
Tucker’s body went limp, and Jeff wasted no time in hoisting him up and carrying him through the small door. He cringed a bit from the pain in his side, but he knew that there wasn’t much time. Through that door was a smaller room with nothing but a metal operating table in it. He would often use this room to torture his victims before finally finishing them off. A small sound escaped from Tuckers lips.
Jeff realized that he was still hanging on to life by a thread. He laid him out on the table and quickly tied his hands and feet down. That way, he could just lie there and bleed to death. He ripped the bottom half of Tucker’s shirt of and wrapped it tightly around his waist to use as a bandage for his wound.
Jeff started to leave as he heard the front door open downstairs followed by two voices, but he had an idea. He wanted to leave his mark on this little town before he left for good. He dipped two fingers into the pool of blood that was forming under Tucker’s neck and wrote one final message on the wall.
“Jane! I’ve got something over here.” he heard a female voice yell. Time to leave. Jeff quickly grabbed everything he needed, which was only the computer, as he had no other belongings besides his knife, and blew out the candle. He slipped out of the room (he didn’t need the light because he knew the house like the back of his hand) and quickly hid in a trap door that blended in with the hallway just as two cops, an older male and a young female, came up the stairs. As he had hoped, although they shined their flashlights over the door, they did not notice it. He waited there until they entered the room. As he crept past the doorway, as quiet as a killer in the night, he heard the female officer say, “He must have found out we were coming.”
Their conversation continued, but he didn’t care to listen. He needed to get the hell out of there. As he crept down the stairs, he could hear more police officers coming up to the front door. He ducked under a table just as they walked in. They spread out and searched, shining their flashlights at every little thing. He knew that he couldn’t stay under the table for long. Luckily it was pitch black inside the house, so he moved through the darkness, ducking behind something when a flashlight beamed or a cop came in his direction. Although the computer was weighing him down, he kept this up until he finally made it out the open front door.
He tiptoed outside and headed towards the cornfields, careful to avoid two cops who were exploring the sides of house. As he reached the cornfields, he heard shouting coming from the second floor. It sounded like the female cop; she must have found Tucker, and his little message. The two officers who were outside quickly ran inside, guns drawn. Jeff smiled inwardly. His job here was done.
Just as he was about to make a run for it, he heard crying. He turned around to see the female officer run through the front door, followed by the male officer. He decided to put down the computer and hide in the corn to listen in.
“Mason. Mason! Get yourself together.” The male officer said, turning her around and shaking her.
“I didn’t sign up for this shit, Jane!” She cried. “The only reason I became a cop in this town is because nothing like this ever happens!”
“You knew exactly what you were signing up for.” He replied, sternly. He let her go and combed his fingers through his greying black hair. “Murderers and psychos are everywhere, not just in big cities.”
The female officer pulled her jacket tighter around her. “Maybe so, but this? What kind of human being would do that to all those poor people. And those kids, Jane, they were the same age as your daughter. They probably even went to the same school, didn’t they?”
“Yeah, maybe.” He said, quietly. “Come on, let’s go inside and wait for homicide to get here.”
As they walked back inside, Jeff decided he would stay just a little longer. Someone needed to teach all those cops a lesson for interfering. He especially wanted revenge on that old fart, Officer Jane, was it? He’ll teach that bastard a lesson for calling him a psycho, starting with his little daughter.
Jeff wiped the blood off his knife and grinned as he slunk back into the shadows to plan what he would do next.
Act 3 - Officer Jane
Officer Thomas Jane and his rookie partner, Jade Mason, walked lazily through the cornfields, occasionally flashing their flashlight at every sound they heard. Officer Jane hated nights like this, when teens prank called the station, yet he was still obligated to check it out. He knew he wouldn’t find anything, so he didn’t object when Officer Mason suggested they stop for coffee. Even so, according to the operator, the kid who called sounded really calm. An unnatural sort of calm, like the kind that comes before a storm. He knew the kid too; the one whose girlfriend went missing after her best friend disappeared not long after her parents were murdered. It seemed like ever since that boy came to town, there was just one bad thing after another. But why would the killer stay here? It didn’t make any sense, the kid had to be mistaken.
As soon as they reached the house, Officer Jane felt like there was something wrong. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but something jus didn’t feel right. He turned to his partner.
“Get your gun ready Mason, I have a bad feeling about this.” Officer Mason nodded solemnly and did as she was told.
As soon as they opened the door, a powerful odor hit them. Officer Mason wouldn’t know, but Officer Jane recognized that smell. It was the smell of death. Once again he turned to his fellow officer. “I think we’re going to need back-up.”
After calling for back up, the two officers cautiously entered the house. Not knowing whether or not the killer was still there, they decided to stick together at first. They searched all of the rooms on the first floor, eventually making their way to the living room. Officer Mason let out a shriek as she shined her flashlight over the couches. When Officer Jane shone his flashlight as well, all he could utter was “Mother of God…”
There were corpses everywhere, of men, women and children of all ages, and in various stages of decay. There must have been over a dozen of them. They were all posed in different positions, as if they were friends and families gathering together for afternoon tea. There were people slumped on the couch “reading a book”, or sitting in a chair with the newspaper. Some were even sitting on the floor, posed as if playing a board game. Their mouths were agape, and their eyes were rolled to the back of their heads. As the officers began to examine them, they recognized a few from the missing posters that had skyrocketed in recent months. Officer Mason had to leave the house to throw up outside. Officer Jane remained inside, wondering why there weren’t any flies surrounding the bodies.
As the officers made their way to the stairwell, they noticed the dried blood on the floor and the rail. They gave each other a wary look, and then continued on, guns at the ready. Once they reached the top floor, they split up and checked each room. They were all the same as the living room. More corpses, all posed in various positions, their mouths and eyes agape. They were all in different stages of decay, some fresher than Officer Jane would have liked. “Just what kind of sick fuck are we dealing with?” He murmured, to no one in particular.
“Jane!” Officer Mason called from another room. “I’ve got something over here.” Officer Jane followed her voice to a middle closet. Officer Mason wore a grave expression on her face, but she nodded towards the open door. Officer Jane took a deep breath and aimed his flashlight into the closet. Inside were the bodies of two teenage girls. One was a lot more decayed than the other, but there was something strange about the way they were positioned. They were leaning against each other, the eyes and mouths closed in what could have been a peaceful slumber. They were holding each other’s hand, and wrapped around the two bodies was red string, tying them together.
A tap on his shoulder startled Officer Jane, but before he could say anything, Officer Mason pointed above the heads of the bodies. Following her finger, Officer Jane saw that written in blood were the words “Loved and Lost.” Officer Jane wondered what that meant, but he couldn’t dwell on it right now. There was still one more room that they needed to check, and hopefully the killer was still hiding there. As they made their way to the end of the hall, they could hear sirens approaching. Their back up, finally. It would take them a while to make it through the cornfields. Officer Jane didn’t have time to go down and give them a briefing. He had to see what was in that last room. He looked at his partner, who looked back at him with a determined expression on her face. He knew she was afraid, but he also knew that she wanted to take this person down as much as he did. She would never forget this experience for the rest of her career; she could no longer be considered a rookie cop. Today, she had seen more than half the cops on the force. Things like this just didn’t happen in their peaceful town.
When they entered the last room, Officer Mason once again had to stop herself from throwing up. Lying on the bed was a young woman, her abdomen sliced open and her entrails falling out. She was a fresh corpse, Officer Jane realized as he examined her. She was pretty too, such a shame. They looked around for the killer, but they quickly realized he was long gone. There was a desk with a computer monitor on it, but the computer itself was gone.
“He must have found out we were coming.” Officer Mason sniffed.
“Yeah, while we were out there taking our time, he was escaping.”
“I wonder how he was able to use this computer.”
“What?” Officer Jane said, turning to her.
Officer Mason looked stunned. “The computer, how could he have used the internet when there’s no signal or any electricity out here?”
“How do we even know he used it?”
“Well why would he take it if he hadn’t been using it? A monitor with no computer, that doesn’t make sense.”
“Yeah…” Officer Jane didn’t have much time to think about it, as he could hear the other officers coming through the door and calling out to them.
“I guess I’ll go down and tell them the situation, seeing as how he’s not here anymore.”
“Alright, I’ll stay up here and look around some more.”
As Officer Jane headed to the stairway, he tried to collect his thoughts. He was ready for this nightmare to be over, but he knew it wouldn’t be for a long time. And what’s worse? The killer had escaped because they hadn’t taken the call seriously. Just as he reached the top of the stairs, he heard a shout coming from the room at the end of the hall.
Officer Jane, followed by the other officers that had come as back up, ran to the room with their guns ready. But when they reached the room, it was empty save for the young girl who was already dead.
“In here!” Came a muffled voice from a small doorway.
Officer Jane and the other officers slowly entered the room. A fresh metallic smell filled their noses upon entering. They all flashed their lights around the room. Lying on a bloody metal operating table was a teenage boy. His hands and feet were tied down, and his throat was slit. Officer Mason was leaning over him.
“He’s still warm.” She said, her voice quivering as she tried not to cry. “This must be the boy who called 911. We came too late.”
“And that’s not all.” Said an officer named Joe Rake, as Officer Jane comforted his partner. “It looks like we’ve got a confession.”
All of the officers simultaneously aimed their lights were Officer Rake was pointing his. On the wall above the boy’s body, written in fresh blood, was a message:
Jeff was here.
Credited to Angel Rocket