Chapter 6: Group Meeting
Alec flicked the ash off of his cigarette and stated out at the grey winter sky. The snow had come late this year, but it was staying extra long, he could already tell, even though it was only January. Usually, you could feel the first licks of spring arriving by this time.
He watches his peers trudge into their red brick high school, nodding hello absent-mindedly at the few people he was acquainted with. There weren't that many, but he wasn't really a people person. His all black attire and fathomless eyes seemed to repel conversation, not that he didn't mind. Except with tiny Mona. She was so daring and delicate, he wanted to know her.
And as if she was a mind reader, Mona appeared in front of him, leaning her weight on one leg that was covered in shredded black pants and studded boots. Her fingers locked together in front of her, her wrists brandishing a variety of different bracelets. Her hair was hanging in long, styled-to-look stringy strands around her beautiful face. Her dark brown eyes narrow as they scrutinize his face.
"Hello, Alec." She greets sweetly, as if she isn't the she devil.
"Mona, dead, Castor, what a pleasant surprise." He smirks at her. She sneers but takes it all in good nature.
"Skip with me." She suggests, titling her head to the side, challenging him.
"Well, since you're the one telling me it's unsafe to be alone, accompany me." She smiles, she knows exactly what she's doing.
"What would your boyfriend think?"
"Why does Devon suddenly get a say in what I do?" She inquires, raising a perfectly plucked eyebrow. Alex shrugs with his lips and pushes off the wall, offering her his arm. Like an old-fashioned woman, she takes it.
"Lead the way, madam." He gestures down the steps of their high school, towards the street. "Lead us to our awaiting death." She smiles at him excitedly and pulls him down the stairs.
The two of them climb into his metallic silver Mercedes. Mona smirks, looking around at the impressive leather interior. He stares at her.
"What?" He asks, narrowing his eyes at her. She smiles and shrugs.
"Who ever would have thought that the school's rebel would own a Mercedes that costs more then my house?"
"School's rebel? No, no way, I think Pepper Heron has me beat." Alec laughs, referring to the girl who was back in school for two weeks before getting kicked back out.
"Honestly, how does one girl cause that much damage?" She shakes her head, suppressing a giggle.
"And I'm not that big of a rebel, by the way. I mean, didn't Devon break into the school and steal test answers?"
"How did he not get expelled? Did he bribe the principal?"
"Well he found something out about one of the teachers, he used that to not get himself kicked out of school." Mona shrugs, mumbling, "Fucking idiot" under her breath. Alec laughs.
"Where are we going, anyways?" He asks as he pulls out of the school parking lot.
Mona scoffs. "Where do you think?" Alec groans.
"Not to the factory, that place gives me the creeps."
"Alec Verix, afraid of an old building?"
"Not the building, but the crime, and I'm not afraid. I just have no particular desire to go see the deathbed of a classmate."
"Don't worry, I'll make sure the big bad Killer can't hurt you." Mona snickers.
Alec shakes his head as they drive out of town.
Sean Wilson glances at his watch again, then the clock on the wall, and to his IPhone. They all stated that it was 12:28. He was two minutes early, and he was starting to worry they wouldn't show up.
A cute brunette in a fake grass skirt and a black tank top strolls up to his table. "What can I get you?" She asks. He looks up at her, smiling. She doesn't return it, her face is imperitively bored as she waits for his response.
"Just water, please." He answers.
"I'll have a strawberry daquiri, and I'll pay more if it's not virgin." A familiar, soft voice says as a beautiful girl to match her silky voice drops into the seat across from Sean. The waitress surveys Pepper Heron, skeptical. Pepper withdraws forty dollars and slips it into the front of the girls apron. The girl yanked the forty dollars back out.
"I could get fired!"
"So? You hate this job anyways." Pepper shrugs. The girl slips the money back in. "Thanks, love the skirt by the way, can I have it?"
Pepper giggles, and passes her another forty. The waitress, whose nametag reads Carmen, reaches behind her and unties the skirt, dropping it into Pepper's lap.
"Thanks, doll." Pepper giggles again, standing up and fastening the skirt onto her narrow hips. She's wearing black spandex leggings and a big, baggy UBC sweatshirt overtop. Surprisingly, she looks amazing, even with the grass skirt.
"No, thank you. I hate that skirt, and you just gave me eighty bucks. Thanks, Pep." Carmen smiles and twirls away, moving freely in her own black leggings. Pepper smirks and drops back into the seat.
She beams across at Sean. "Pepper Heron?" Sean is gaping.
"Oh, am I at the wrong table? You're Sean, right? Sean Wilson?" She asks, twirling the knife around her fingers.
"Y-yes. I am." He reaches across the table to shake her head, she stares at him.
"I don't shake hands, no one does." Pepper crinkles her nose and giggles. Sean snatches his hand back, blushing.
Pepper Heron was beautiful, she had long, dark, brown hair that used to be a pale blonde. Her bangs were dyed crimson, and the last time he'd seen her before she got sent away, the underneath of her, then, blonde hair was deep blue and infused with bubblegum pink. Her eyes were a gorgeous hazel blue. Her skin was tanned unnaturally, but yet had a natural glow. her soft, bow shaped lips were beautiful and plump. Her darkened eyebrows looked perfectly plucked.
"God, stop gawking at me." Pepper growls. "You look like you're having a stroke." Sean's eyes buldge and then he blinks, leaning away.
"I'm sorry, you're just-" Pepper cuts him off by raising her eyebrows skeptically. She may look like a delicate flower, but she's fiesty like a fire. "Anyways," he clears his throat, "What did you want to talk about?" Carmen returns with their drinks, she smile at them, but Pepper waves her away.
"Shouldn't I be asking you?" Pepper asks as if they hadn't been interupted. "Weren't you the one who made the plans?"
"Um, no? You asked me to meet you at the Coconut Hut." He reminds her. Pepper bites her lip, taking a long drink from her strawberry daquiri. She smiles at the spice of alcohol.
"Oh, right, now I remember." She smirks at him after a moment, taking another drink. "I don't want to talk." She shrugs. "You have a truck, right?" He nods. "Great, we're going for a drive."
"Why do you need me?"
"I don't have a license." She explains, grabbing his hand and pulling him from his chair, taking her stawberry daquiri along with her.
Hanna Fare's black heels clicked against the concrete floor as she circles around the room. The door to the basement is hanging open, but she felt to spooked to go down there. Stairs led up to an old office, where stacks of paperwork was left.
She checked her phone, six text from each of her friends showed on the screen, wondering where their queen was. She slipped the phone back into her purse. What would she tell them anyways?
That she'd snuck into the facotry where a girl was murdered? That she was looking for the answers of questions she hadn't even asked? That she was terrified beyond belief for her life, and then she goes and jeopordizes it? Or maybe that she'd exchanged words with the girl, and thought she deserved someone that cared about her death.
Muffled voices came at her from outside from two different directions. Her eyes went wide and she clacked around the factory, looking for somewhere to hide. this could be anyone, the police or some teenagers who just wanted to go see the deathbed.
The door creaks open, and two different footsteps echo. One is heavier, and the other is lighter, also louder, like she's wearing heels.
"What are we doing here?" One voice asks, it's deep and dark, and familiar.
"I don't know," A lighter, scratchier voice responds. "Looking."
"Anything." She snaps back. "Stop arguing, Alec, let's go down into the basement, I told you nothing would happen."
"Fine, let's go."
Two figures, Mona Castor and Alec Verix, pass the filing cabinet she was stuffed behind. They looked dark together, both dressed in all black attire, with dark hair and fathomless eyes. Hanna winces, she hoped these two freaks weren't the ones to find her.
More footsteps sound as the goth duo disappear down the stairs. Hanna looks passed the filing cabinet to the other people, she held back a gasp.
"Echo!" Little Poppy Heron giggles, her voice bouncing off the concrete walls. Hanna narrows her eyes at her former friend. She'd dyed her hair dark brown, along with crisp, crimson bangs. Last time Hanna'd seen her, she was getting shoved into her father's vehivle, her blonde, blue, and pink hair wisping out behind her. Poppy's dark, mysterious, seductive smile and hooded eyes had been burned in the back of Hanna's mind since that day. Poppy had been out of control, she still was.
"Will you keep it down?" Hisses a strong-looking blonde guy with a cute little nose and squinting eyes. He wore a grey V-neck and a pair of khakis. He looks familiar, but Hanna couldn't pin a name.
"Whose going to hear me? The Dead Chick?" Poppy shrieks with laughter again, twirling around on her toes, making the strange grass skirt she was wearing spin out around her.
"Pepper!" The boy gasps, clearly horrified. Ugh, Pepper. That was the name she'd fashioned for herself, she used to love Poppy, and then suddenly, she despised it. Hanna was the only one who couldn't stop calling her by her real name.
"Oh, loosen up, Mr. Wilson. Come on, take your mask off." She erupts in giggles again, pawing playfully at his face. Uh-oh, Poppy's giggly, twirling, and talking about masks. Hanna would recognize this persona anywehere, Poppy was drunk. And Mr. Wilson would need her help containing her former best friend's crazy self.
"Stop dancing around, Pepper, we came here for a reason didn't we? What do you want to do?" He tries to hold her still but she gives him a wary look, and takes off spinning again.
She stops mid-spin, her hazel blue eyes locking with Hanna's. A sly smirk spreads across her kissable lips, and her entire face contorts with secrets.
But without saying a word, she turns away from Hanna, her eyes resting on the door to the basement, where the gothic freaks headed down a few minutes ago.
"Come on, Sean, I have an idea." Poppy hooks her finger into the dip in his shirt and leads him towards the door. As they pass the filing cabinet, Poppy looks up at Hanna, smiling her mysterious smile.
"No, no, Pepper, we can't go down there!" Sean resists, digging his heels in. Poppy turns to face him, her face angry.
"Why?" He counters. Poppy shrugs.
"I like adventures. And every adventure I go on, I take a trophy. This is an adventure, now I want my trophy." Her voice hardens on the last sentence.
"Pepper, we can't tamper with evidence!"
"Oh please, if the police haven't taken it with them, it's not evidence." Poppy tugs on his hand. He stays solid. She releases him, stepping away. "Fine, you can wait in the car, I'll go down all alone." She pushes away from him and digs a joint out of her pocket. Hanna sighs as she watches her former best friend light the joint and take a long drag.
"Oh my God, Pepper, you're doing drugs with me standing right beside you."
"So go away if it bugs you." Poppy retorts, skipping towards the basement door. She whirls around as she's behind it, holding it close to her face, ready to close it. "Come and find me." Poppy giggles, her eyes flicking between Sean and Hanna, and then with a playful grin, she disappears.
Hanna runs out from behind the filing cabinet and over to Sean. He jumps when he sees her. "Don't just gawk at me, we have to help her. She can't do stairs when she's high."
"She's also drunk." Sean puts in. Hanna glares at him.
"Why would you let her drink? She's a recovering addict! She went to rehab!"
"Sorry, it wasn't my fault. Pepper makes decisions for herself."
"Ugh, useless! Now come help me." Hanna grabs Sean and the two of them thunder down the stairs just as Poppy stumbles and falls down the last five. She curls up at the base, and takes another drag, giggling. Hanna pulls her up to her feet, Poppy laughs, but when she sees her heroes face, her smile fades and she begins to glare.
She pushes away from Hanna. "Get off me, bitch." Hanna held back a smile, that's something she missed about Poppy, her bluntness. There was no fakeness, she was just blatant. Unless she wanted to take you down, then even Hanna didn't stand a chance. But thankfully, Poppy always did her best manipulation when she was sober.
"You don't want my help? Fine. But good luck getting up those stairs on your own." Hanna juts her chin towards the stairs. Poppy stairs up them and huffs, turning away. Hanna scans the room looking for the two goths. they're nowhere to be found. And the room doesn't seem to be anything important, just a furnace room, no blood.
Poppy staggers around the room, falling into a bookshelf. It falls away, revealing a door. Poppy stares at it, and turns to them, taking another drag.
"Found it." She slurs, yanking open the door. The room inside is large with a lot of cots and a kitchen in the corner. It's very warm, despite the freezing January temperatures.
"Wow," Sean breathes from beside Hanna. "Maybe carrying the clumsy addict isn't such a bad idea." Hanna glares at him and grabs Poppy's hand, she recoils, shoving Hanna away.
"Get off me, bitch." She repeats.
"Hello?" Mona pokes her head through the door. "Oh, more people, great."
"More?" Hanna raises her eyebrows. It's bad enough that Poppy Heron and some random nerd found her here, but now two gothic freaks and more people.
"Just me and Alec. But we came here to investigate. What are you doing here, Fare?" She hisses.
"Investigating." Hanna shrugs. Mona smirks and turns to the nerd.
"I don't know." Poppy slurs.
Mona wasn't watching anymore, she was beaming at Poppy.
"Wow, the real Pepper Heron in the flesh. It's an honour to finally meet the devil's dance partner herself."
Poppy narrows her eyes at Mona and turns to Sean and Hanna. "The Devil's Dance Partner? That's what people are calling me." After a moment, she shrugs with her lips. "I can dig it."
"Who's all here?" Alec appears beside Mona, gazing around at all of us. He smiles when he sees Pepper. "Pleasure to meet you, my dear." He shakes and kisses her hand. She yanks it back.
"You're disgusting." She spits. Hanna laughs.
"What are you guys doing here?" He asks, recovering from rejection.
"I want to know what happened here." Poppy answers, surprising Hanna with her ability to pronounce every basic word in that sentence.
"Me too." Sean seconds. Hanna shrugs in agreeance, moving beside Poppy to support her weight if she fell again. Poppy glares at her and trudges away.
"Well so do we." Mona replies. "It isn't fair that no one knows what happened to the New Girl. We want to uncover the truth. And I think it's to dangerous to do it on our own."
"So what?" Poppy snickers. "You want us to join your team?"
"I'm in." Sean shrugs. Hanna rolls her eyes.
"A team to help track down a killer? No thanks."
"This doesn't need to be a team. Just five people who want the same thing." Alec shrugs.
"I thought Alec Verix didn't have any friends." Poppy asks herself, Hanna supresses a laugh.
"We don't have to be friends." Mona snaps.
"Good, because you guys are freaks." Laughter trickles out of Poppy.
"Says the one who is drunk on a Wednesday." Hanna snaps. Poppy glares.
"Fare, you want answers, right? You in?" Mona asks, tilting her head, waging her. Hanna sighs.
This would be the exact thing that Hanna would laugh at. But a girl was dead, and a Killer was still loose.
"Oh what the hell, I'm in."