The Witches Diaries: (Volume One)
My Love Lies Bleeding
Miranda's eyes drooped as she fought to keep awake. She didn't want to miss anything important, she'd already missed enough. Her ginger red hair flowed down her back in a long plait, blue eyes gazing wistfully out the airplane window, bored.
Her mother had spent far too long making sure this trip ended well. Gracie - Miranda's mother - had divorced her father only two weeks ago, and they were already moving. Miranda had moved before, it's that then she had never gone this far.
Miranda was an only child, who'd lived with her parents in Pennsylvania until her father had decided that he would cheat on her mother. Miranda had been devastated to know this. She only wanted a normal life, with a normal family and parents who were still together.
She plugged her IPod in her ears and cranked up the volume, drowning out the rest of the passengers, chatting cheerfully. It was winter, so the snow had settled onto the grass outside the plane, making the airport look like a cotton-candy factory. Miranda sighed, her breath coming out in a cold whiff, fogging the small glass window.
The only thing she could do now was to give her mom the satisfaction that Miranda was happy that she was leaving her friends, and her dad. She wasn't fooling anyone. Gracie knew that Miranda was upset, but she couldn't live with the grief and pain that she had in her heart, now. She needed a fresh start - a better start, to her new and improved life. Man-free.
Gracie had defiantly had enough of men, she'd been hurt by them one too many times. Miranda wished she could go back in time and confront her father, tell him not to do what he was about to do- and that he was going to regret it. People do stupid things, she thought. Like not making time machines for girls who want to fix their parents love-life.
"You know maybe we could go for a little 'girl shopping' when we get to Chants Harbor?" Gracie was saying. She said 'girl shopping' like Miranda would say a Spanish word if she didn't know the pronunciation.
"Yeah. Maybe." Miranda replied, emotionless.
After another half an hour, the plane took off, heading for Chants Harbor. Miranda almost cried. She was leaving everyone she'd ever loved.
Well, not everyone, she thought as her mother's hand closed around hers. Miranda tried for a smile, and put on a brave face, looking out the window. She breathed onto the glass and drew a small love-heart in the glass.
Through-out the trip, Miranda never looked at her mother. She was afraid if she saw those sympathetic eyes, she would burst out into tears. She was too brave for that, too good.
For one brave second, Miranda glanced at her mother and saw the sad, old woman she always tried to hide. Miranda reckoned Gracie had been born 10 years younger. With black skin and green eyes with pale skin, she was the exact opposite as Miranda, who looked like her father. If it weren't for her father's looks, she would have thought that she had been adopted.
Even now, she still wondered.
# # #
After three days, Miranda soon began to recognize the surroundings. As she had not gone to her school yet, she was defined to spending her days helping her mom unpack and clean up the house. The house was pearl white with two stories and a penthouse. Miranda's room was on the second floor, and looked just like her last room. With white walls, books and clothes scattered everywhere, Gracie knew that Miranda was never going to change.
Miranda looked around her room, everything bare besides her bed and book/clothes mess. She smirked her most arrogant smirk at herself and decided this was a new fresh start, and she should change. She tidied up everything and painted her walls a fiery red. She used her A+ woodshop results in handy, by building her own bookshelf. She turned her stereo up and bounced around her room.
When the song ended, Miranda's sorrow grew deeper, making her even sadder. She wouldn't cry. She played the techno song she'd loved so much over and over again. Dancing away her sadness.
Miranda's face was red, she felt like her body was on fire as she danced and bounced around. She didn't care, al she had to do is forget. Just forget, at least until the sadness came back again…
The next day, was her fist day at EL.LE High. Miranda was trembling with nerves, eyes as round as coins, cheeks turning a fish-flesh white.
Miranda was in 11TH grade, so she only had one more year until collage. Fear envelope her like a warm blanket of misery. Going to a new school meant moving on, which was something she didn't want to do.
Taking one big gulp of hot air, she slipped out of her mom's jeep and into the school grounds. It was a hot day, although it was winter.
Miranda could feel hot tears swelling up behind her eyes and she fought to blink them back. People surrounded her, all kinds of different people: Jocks, Indies, cheerleaders, geeks, freaks and other cliques like that. Miranda had never really been in any clique, with her two friends, Jane and Rose. Rose had been sweet and cute, when Jane had been the 'bad girl'. Miranda had been between the two, not exactly a screw up, but not a goody-two-shoes, either.
As she walked, she could tell she wouldn't be able to hold the tears in for long. She had to find a bathroom, and now.
As she walked past a bunch of jocks, when a sharp sting hit the back of her neck. She spun, only to see one of the jocks call out, "Dyke!"
Oh, the tears were definitely flooding, now. She rushed into the toilets, a million retorts coming into her head, and she shoved each one of them out of her head as she ran into the loos.
But the only thing she could think of was: What the hell is a Dyke?
Finally, after much crying and hating herself for being so pathetic, Miranda set off for her first class. Chemistry.
Miranda was good a Chemistry, so she might make a good impression. Or be branded a dork.
Miranda finally got a good look of the small High school, with red brick buildings and a large cafeteria; it was obvious Chants Harbor wasn't the biggest school. As she walked, she heard more sets of footsteps behind her. Her eyebrows knitted together and she turned to see four girls walking behind her. The one in the middle had short, dyed red hair. The two on the other side were plainer. The taller one had dark brown hair, whilst the other one had light brown, golden hair with blue eyes. The girl that hung a little at the back had her long blonde hair in front of her face, head down.
Miranda's gut filled with terror. She turned her back and kept walking.
"Hey!" One of them called and she spun to see the red head right behind her, dark eyes filled with cruelty.
"Who are you?" The girl spat, eyes widened in curiosity.
Miranda was shocked. "M-Miranda Hopkinz." She stammered.
The blonde girl lifted her head. "No way."
"Way." Miranda croaked, confusion written on her face.
The red haired girl was also confused. "You know this girl, Tori?" she asked the girl at the back.
The blonde girl, Tori, shook her head. "Course not, Lucy. Never mind."
The redhead, Lucy, didn't look convinced, but said, "Fine." She turned to Miranda. "This is our spot."
Miranda's eyes widened in true shock. "I was j-just walking to c-class." She stammered again.
Lucy squinted her eyes, "Well, Miranda, if we ever catch you even walking near out spot," Lucy lent in, hot breath on her face, "you're dead meat."
And the four girls left, without even a second glance.
What just happened? Miranda thought to herself when, in the corner of her eye, saw a girl with tanned skin and golden hair. She was small, and dainty, but definitely of age to be in a high school. She didn't say anything, just swept away.
"Weird." Miranda said to herself as she walked to her class.
# # #
After school, Miranda walked home. She wished she could be picked up, but her mom walked late on Mondays.
The four girls hadn't appeared all day, and Miranda hadn't gone within a five mile radius of their spot, so there was no need for Lucy to go off on her 'threat'. But she still couldn't shake this feeling of fear and misery she had inside her.
On a nearby bulletin board, just outside the school gates, she saw a paper invitation for all to a 11TH grade girl's party. Well I suppose I better go. She thought, pulling the paper from the wall and walking as fast as she could back home.
"You know, I don't even know why Lucy even has these parties," Sonya was saying, "I mean - the cops just break 'em up anyway."
The two girls beside her nodded in agreement. Sonya's dark brown hair was brushed to the side, blue eyes scanning the crowded room.
The girl on Sonya's right, Skye, had blonde hair in a ponytail. She was the smallest of the three girls, but definitely the prettiest.
Claire, on the other side of Sonya, had tanned skin and dark hair.
Lucy, Dixie, Natasha and Tori gave the three girls a mean look. Sonya did the same.
Lucy didn't like Sonya, Skye or Claire. Lucy didn't like anyone, and Dixie, Tori and Natasha were smart to follow her, or they might be in the arm position as Sonya was with Lucy: Mortal Enemies.
Sonya led the other two girls into their usual spot when Lucy has these random parties. She flung her hair and bit her lip. The music was high techno, and the dark, crowded room was filled with people dancing and talking.
Miranda walked through and looked around the room. She suddenly felt very self-conscious and under dressed. She wore black jeans and pink t-shirt, her red hair tied into a ponytail.
Sonya cocked her head in Miranda's direction, but Miranda didn't notice her. Claire elbowed Sonya's side, "That's her." She said. "The girl that Lucy gave a hard time to, this morning."
Sonya nodded. "Well, any enemy of Lucy's is a friend of mine." She grinned, showing a set of perfect white teeth.
Miranda went to sit on a stool beside a mini bar. Lucy and her dark haired minion spotted her.
The dark haired girl, Dixie - Miranda had heard her name before- stayed behind, letting Lucy take the lead.
"Miranda." She said, eyes squinted in disgust.
Miranda took another a last swig of her vodka and gave Lucy a nasty look. "Lucy. Am I in your seat?" She spread her arms wide, eyes watering.
"Yes, actually. Scoot." Dixie said, golden eyes trying to make this easier with truly pissing Lucy off.
Miranda stood, ignoring Lucy. "Well do you want it?" A real edge in her voice made Lucy flinch, her dark eyes shocked to the core.
Sonya saw the commotion and waltzed over, grace in each of her steps.
"Everything right, here?" She asked gruffly. Lucy sized Sonya up, and walked away. Sonya smirked and turned to Miranda.
"Ignore Lucy," She murmured, eyes dropping. "She's a chicken-shit when it comes to actually fighting."
"Come and sit with us." Sonya said, gesturing to the sofa Claire and Skye had vacated.
Miranda hesitated, but Sonya didn't wait for an answer. Taking Miranda's arm, she led her to the soft pink couch.
Sonya rested her head on the couch, letting her eyelids droop when the door swung in and girl with messy white-blonde hair and blue eyes swaggered in, beer can in hand.
"Brittany…" Sonya almost growled.
"Who's that?" Miranda sat up.
Sonya gave Brittany an evil glance. "She's the party crasher. Gets drunk, and either picks a fight or gets high."
Brittany's eyes were wild and Miranda found herself quite liking her. She got in the middle of the crowd and danced her way around to Lucy's table. Lucy gave her an ugly look.
"Push off, loser." Lucy growled.
Brittany grinned. "What?" She asked. "I didn't hear you."
"I said 'PUSH OFF!'"Lucy yelled.
Brittany giggled her laugh loud and bubbly. "Sorry… it's just… I STILL CAN'T HEAR YOU!" Brittany burst out laughing, her face red. The song ended and Lucy had her chance.
"I STILL CAN'T HEAR YOU!" Brittany yelled.
Lucy scowled. "There's no need to yell. I'm not deaf."
# # #
And so the party went on like that, Brittany slowly putting people off that it was just Sonya and her friends, Miranda and Lucy and her gang. Things got really quiet. Brittany had gone to the toilet, and when she barged out she yelled, "Hey!!! Hey, where did everyone go?"
Lucy scowled. "You scared them off."
"Me?" Brittany put a hand on her chest. "Never."
Just as she said that, Skye ran from the bathroom, screaming at the top of her lungs. "Dead girl!" She wailed. "A girl had been murdered in the bathroom!" She collapsed into the floor, crying her heart out. Lucy jumped up, surprised, though Miranda could of sworn she was smiling. Just a bit.
"Oh, my god." It was then when Miranda had noticed Sonya had walked into the bathroom.
"It's Kaycee Beckers." She whispered. The body was of a teenage girl, naked and covered in blood and stab wounds. Miranda gagged, mouth open in disgust.
Miranda gulped and ran back out of the room, next to Skye, who was puking her guts out on the floor.
Lucy ran over, ignoring the mess and looked over Sonya's shoulder.
"A murder at my party?" She shook her head. "That's it, I'm calling the police."
The very next day, the entire town was busy. Her mother, an investigator, was at the office, trying to find out how that girl had died. That was her mom's job. To look at corpses all day.
Miranda wished that she'd never gone into that room. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw that mutilated body.
Her mother didn't have time to ride her to school, so she packed her stuff and walked with Sonya, Claire and Skye. They were nice to her, and she felt like she belonged with them, but she couldn't help notice how much they despised the 'freaks' of the school. Little did they know, but Miranda had been one of them at her old school. And friendless at this school before she'd even met her.
Miranda wanted to go home - to her real home. In Pennsylvania. She met with Sonya, Claire and Skye beside the bike track and they walked to school. Miranda couldn't help but twitch with envy as she stared at the three girls. Claire, with golden skin and pretty eyes, and Sonya with silky hair and eyes you could look into forever. And Skye, with hair as pale as moonlight and eyes like a fox's, Miranda didn't fit in with what they looked like.
When they got to the school, everyone was talking about what had happened, even though most of them hadn't even been there. Miranda wished they would go to their usual gossip, talking about this horrible thing was making her tummy hurt.
As she walked, she saw all eyes turn to her.
"That's her." They were saying. "Lucy's mortal enemy."
Enemy? Miranda's heart sank. She'd only been here for 2 days and she already had people who hated her. She bit the inner side of her cheek until she tasted blood.
# # #
"Come now, children. Sit down, sit down." Mrs. Van Oscar said, her white bob wavering.
Miranda sat down next to Skye, who had her eyes on Lucy. Lucy wore all black, her dark eyes wistful, bored. Miranda watched her intently. How could she can an enemy already? A little voice inside her sighed.
Mrs. Van Oscar's phone rang and she rushed to pick it up.
"Hello?" Her voice was shrill with annoyance that someone was calling in the middle of her class.
"I see." She was saying. "Oh, yes. My. Well, yes. I'll tell the children then." She put the phone down and turned to look at her class.
"Steve Mystones had just been murdered. They found him hanging from the football post." She said plainly.
Everyone gasped, and people looked shocked, sad. Miranda heard one girl say, "Steve was Kaycee Becker's boyfriend."
"What?" Sonya reached over to look at the girl talking; she had bright blue streaks in her blonde hair.
"Yeah, she'd told me they were dating. What do you suppose this means?"
Sonya looked scared. Really scared. Sonya had never faced murders before, and she was destined to investigate this. She shot a glance to Lucy, who looked shocked too, but not as sad as the rest. Lucy had been dumped by Steve one year, and then went out with Kaycee. The perfect reason for murder.
Sonya's insides froze. What if it was Lucy? What is she IS the murderer? No, she told herself. That just couldn't be.
But it was then, that Sonya vowed to find the murder and bring him - or her - to justice.
# # #
Miranda yawned, poking out a small pink cat's tongue. It was the evening, where the sun set out on the horizon and the animal hid in their holes, safe from the coming night, when the darker, meaner animals came out to hunt.
Sonya sat beside her, eyelids bobbing as she fought to keep them open.
"Skye isn't here, I told you. She isn't going to come." Miranda pointed out. The four girls were meant to crash a party, when Skye and Claire didn't show up.
Miranda saw a dark shape behind the trees, and then she shadow stepped forward. Miranda tapped Sonya's arm, and she opened her arms, just as Lucy stepped out.
"Hello, girls. Out to play your foolish, childish games?"
Sonya scowled, her frown deepening. Lucy's short
red hair was combed right through, brown eyes glinting like a
fox in a henhouse.
"What do you want?" Sonya spat and Miranda shrank back - she couldn't help it. The venom in Sonya's voice scared her so.
Lucy frowned, her look innocent. "What do you mean?" Her lips quirked into a bitter smile.
Miranda frowned. What was Lucy doing here?
Lucy walked right up to them. "You guys are so weird, what are you doing here? I bet you're fooling around with--"
Sonya pounced, none of them ready for her reaction. Sonya took chunkfuls of hair and crawled on the floor, screaming curse words as she and Lucy fought. Miranda jumped up. "Stop!" She screamed, but neither of them answered, just kept rolling along in the dirt.
Miranda tried to get between them, but every time she got her chance, she run in, only to find she would hurt Sonya, not pry Lucy off.
They sprawled at each other, hands on another's necks, trying to get a good grip. Sonya was winning, hands around her neck, Lucy's eyes going bugged.
Miranda watched them, and looked toward where they were heading. Into a 15 meter ditch.
"Oh, shit." She rushed over. "Shit! Guys! Stop! NOW!"
But they didn't, Sonya got up and brushed her jeans off. Lucy smirked. "Chicken shit." She mocked.
Sonya scowled, and lunged again, knocking Lucy to the ground with a thud, her head smacked onto the concrete with a thwack. Sonya smirked and got off her, Sonya stopped smiling, and Miranda's heart stopped. Lucy still wasn't moving, and a pool o blood appeared around her head.
Sonya wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. Miranda gulped again and whipped out her cell phone and dialed the ambulance. If they didn't get here fast enough, Sonya might be facing death charges.
# # #
"So?" Miranda asked Sonya as she came out of the room Lucy had been in.
Sonya's eyes were red from crying. She'd just sent a girl to hospital. Her mascara had run, her eyes wide and scared.
"Lucy's alive. But barely. I, I-" She took a big breath, "I hit her too hard. She's paralyzed from the waist down. Lucy is never going to walk again. And it's my entire fault." Then she burst into tears, and not elegant, graceful tears, either. But snotty, heavy tears. She fell onto her knees. Miranda knelt by her side.
"She egged you on. It wasn't your fault. I would have done the same thing." Miranda comforted her.
Sonya looked up. "You would paralyze someone for life because you didn't like them? You forget, Miranda -" Sonya wiped her nose on her sleeve, "It was me that started it. I lunged at her… I should have… I let her get to me. And now she's never going to walk again."
Miranda hugged her, not saying anything. She didn't want to say anything because she knew Sonya was right.
# # #
While Sonya was getting treated for her wounds and bruises, the police came around to talk to the only witness: Miranda.
A balding man lead her into a room chock full of papers and filing cabinets of messy folders and yet more papers.
She sat at the other end of the table, which she could only locate by the dimly lit room.
The balding man - Officer Vosh - sat down on her other side and tidied some papers. He put them down and picked up a recorder.
He pushed the small, red button and set it down on the table. He spoke first. "Miranda Hopkinz, 17, witness." He gave a small nod to Miranda and he continued. "How do you would make Sonya Flemming attack Lucy Calrole?"
Miranda's face heated. "SHE DID NOT ATTACK--" She broke off. The Officer tilted his head forward as he scribbled something down on a pad of paper.
"She didn't attack Lucy." Miranda said, more calmly now. "She… Lucy egged her on. She made her mad."
"Then she attacked Miss Carole?"
Miranda flinched, anger bubbeling inside her. "I did not say that. Lucy egged her on and… Lucy wanted her to fight her. And… Sonya gave in. It wasn't her fault, Officer. People make mistakes. Sonya's mistake wasn't her fault."
"Enough. That is it for today would you please bring in Miss Flemming." Vosh said, shooing her out.
Miranda gave a nod to Sonya who was waiting on a plush red chair outside the interrogation room. Sonya looked like she was going to cry, but walked in.
Miranda wanted to be there, to support Sonya through the whole thing, but her mind kept flashing back to how violent and vicious Sonya had been. What if Sonya was the killer?
Miranda shook her head. Her misgivings were making her silly. She walked back to her car outside the police station and drove back to her house.
When Miranda got home, her mother was waiting for her, her face grim. Miranda finally let go of everything she'd been holding in. She burst into tears and fell into her mother's arms.
"There was just this thud." She was saying. "I didn't even know what happened until she wasn't moving."
Gracie held her daughter on the couch until she finally went to sleep. Gracie wished she knew how to help, but she couldn't.
Gracie pried her daughter of her and walked into the kitchen to fix up some dinner. She really wanted to know who was the killer of these murders and she wasn't about to just let any more people die. Two people were already dead, and she wasn't going to let there be a third.
# # #
Lucy blinked, and wondered where she was. Then she realized. Her heart pounded in her chest and she blinked away the hot tears from her eyes. She would never walk again. And because of Sonya. The loathing she'd felt for Sonya now was nothing compared to the hatred now; she wanted to have an hour with Sonya in a chair all to herself.
She felt her hatred growing, making her feel evil. She curled her lip in distaste, she wasn't about to let this go. She would never be the same again. A knock at the door made Lucy cry harder when she realized she couldn't turn around. Natasha and Dixie came to sit by her.
"Hey, Lucy." Dixie said, her voice light and raspy. "How you hanging' in?"
Natasha and Dixie looked truly worried and Lucy loved them for that. They cried with her, and hugged her gently, and Lucy was glad she wasn't alone, but that didn't soften the feelings that welled up inside her, told her that she'd kill Sonya, disabled or not.
Soon Dixie and Natasha had left, leaving Lucy all by herself. The cold air flooded in through the open window and Lucy had just enough energy to shudder.
She closed her eyes and tried to fight of the bleating cold air when she heard a noise coming from her window latch. She opened her eyes and there stood a person she'd known. Lucy was about to say something, when she realized the person had a knife in her hand. Lucy gulped, about to scream, do anything, but she couldn't move. Couldn't speak. Eyes locked onto that knife. The girl drew nearer and Lucy whimpered. She looked up at the face and it came down on her. She knew that face. She knew her. She'd been her friend. Lucy was about to say her name when the knife came down.
Blood trickled from where the knife had dug into her flesh and she cried as she looked down to see the small piece of silver sticking in her gut. She whimpered and cried. It made no difference. No one came. The girl pulled the knife again, and held the knife high above her head. Lucy knew her, she…
Too late. The knife had already sunken deep into her already open wound. Lucy's mouth opened in an O, with a look of finale shock, her eyes lost expression and she was dead.
The girl looked up at the camera that been watching the entire time, and threw her knife at it, destroying the data. Then she picked up her knife, tightened her hoodie and jumped out the window, into the bitter night.
Dizzy withy success, she skipped off into the woods. One less moron in the world She thought to herself. Didn't even have time to make a sound.
Well, except when the blood gurgles from their stomachs. She mused. That makes a sound.
"Dawn." She whispered as she looked at the sky through the thick canopy of the trees, the sky looking more gray than black.
She hurried out of sight.
# # #
When Miranda woke in the morning, she hoped everything that had happened last night had just been a nightmare. A Huge, horrible nightmare.
She pulled on her clothes and tied her red hair in a ponytail. She waltzed down the stairs, hoping. Praying.
Her mother was making scrambled eggs and it seemed she was right. It had been a nightmare.
She took a greedy bite from her piece of toast and turned on the news. What she saw - her heart thudded in her chest.
Lucy was dead. It hadn't been a dream. It had been real. Miranda's mouth opened and her eyes got all watery. Right there, she bent over and hacked up what she just eaten, bile on her lips. Her mother came to help her.
"I'm sorry, Miranda. I was going to tell you, I…" She trailed off and the last thing Miranda could hear was her mother's apologies as she passed out.
Miranda awoke in her bed, her curtains drawn. She looked around and spotted her mother, beside her.
"Honey?" Her mother asked, uncertain.
Miranda yawned. "What happened?" She breathed.
Her mother said nothing.
Gracie shook her head. "I meant to tell you, hon, I'm so sorry."
Miranda's head surged and she remembered what happened. Lucy. Lucy was dead. She sat back down on her bed and put her hands to her face. Lucy was dead.
"Do they know who the killer is?" She managed to sputter.
"Oh, honey…" Gracie trailed off.
Gracie bit her lip, hesitating to answer.
"WHO!" Miranda sat up now, eyes wide with frustration and despair.
"Us, honey." Her mother sobbed. "They think it's us."
Miranda's heart sank. "How?"
"Well, we moved here when the murders started, and… well, people were saying you and Lucy didn't get along…"
Miranda's face heatened. "Are you saying that I killed Lucy and those other two people?"
"NO! Of course not! I'm just saying that's what other people think." Gracie threw up her hands in defeat.
Miranda wiped the small tears from her eyes. She wanted to go home, to her REAL home. She wished she'd never come here, it made things so much harder than they needed to be. Her friends were dying, she was a number #1 suspect, and her she just wanted to curl into a hole and die.
She wiped her eyes on her sleeve again. "I need some alone time, right now." She murmured and Gracie took her hand one last time before nodding and leaving.
Miranda waited until her mother was completely out of sight when she wept, tears spilling from her eyes. And they weren't beautiful, elegant tears, either. They were thick, and snotty, her face going a tomato red.
She finally pulled herself together and took a big breath. Then she slowly walked downstairs, where her mother was on the phone with someone.
By the tone of her mother's voice, she could tell that the conversation was private. She started to walk away when it struck her: She needed answers. Now.
She hid behind the lining closet and watched her mom intently. Gracie's lips were pursed in a tight line, the lines of her face tense, expression serious.
Her mother spoke. It was hard for Miranda to make out the conversation since she was only heard one side.
Double phones! She suddenly thought and quietly crept up the stairs to pick up the other phone.
She picked up the old 70's phone that hung in her mother's office and waited to hear her mother voice.
Instead, she heard a man, about forty.
"Yes, they found a 'T' carved into Miss Carol's body." He was saying. Miss Carol? Though Miranda, then she realized that was Lucy.
Her mother answered, "Really? What shall we tell the children? Oh, Bob, this case is TOO hard!"
Bob, "I know, lassie. I know. But we must not give up hope."
"Then what shall we do?" Gracie's voice was full of urgency and Miranda was glad her mom's case meant something to her.
Bob answered gruffly, "We will interview everyone who was in Miss Carol's class, then the friends and family of the three victims."
"Oh, yes. What are the names again?" Gracie asked.
"Fist victim: Kaycee Beckers. Then her boyfriend, Steve Orianto. Then Lucinda Carole." Bob paused and cleared his throat. "We're also looking for anything the victims might have in common so we might be able to predict the next target and stop from any more murders."
Gracie answered, "Okay, alright. I'll look into it. I'll plan an interview for the kids tomorrow."
Miranda heard the phone being hung up, though she wasn't sure from which line. It didn't matter - she was getting close to figuring out what the police wanted to find out so badly: Who the killer was.
Though, the problem wasn't knowing who the killer was, it was finding him. Any fool would know that - crime inspector or not.
"Miranda! Honey?" Her mom called from downstairs and Miranda clicked the phone down, rushing down the stairs, beaming. She may not know who the killer was yet - but she darn well knew something from that inspector, Bob: The killer had carved a 'T' into Lucy's body. That narrowed it down considerably.
Miranda wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand. It was sweltering hot, and Miranda could hardly stand the heat. Sonya nudged her ribs with her elbow, making Miranda wince. Sonya was strong, so it hurt a bit, but she didn't mind.
Sonya had been surprised the school had actually been on, even after three murders and a serial killer that hadn't been caught. Sonya wondered how much the police and feds had they're heart set on finding this killer. When she'd said this to Miranda in assembly, Miranda had shushed her and told her that the corps were doing everything in their power.
"How do you know that?" Sonya said as they walked to English class together.
As they sat down at their usual table, Miranda set her books down but didn't look up at Sonya. She didn't dare. "My mom's an inspector." She pointed out, earnestly.
Sonya nodded. "Yeah, I know. But you'd think the police would get their shit together and have a few leads."
Miranda sighed and finally looked Sonya in the eye for the first time since the brawl with Lucy. "1) They do have leads, and 2) it ain't in your business to decide when the feds are getting their shit together."
Sonya sighed too, her eyes mocking. "Well, they aren't doing a very good job." She sat down beside Miranda. "You know, you and I could do a little recon work ourselves, figure out our own leads."
Sonya's eyes were begging, and Miranda didn't want to let her friend down. Again. But Sonya would only hold her back from pouring into the information and find her own answers. Even though Miranda wanted to do her own investigation alone, she couldn't say no to Sonya.
"Yeah, sure." Miranda sighed,
"Cool. After school, meet me at the town Library." Sonya said, her voice tight.
Miranda hesitated. "I don't think that's a good idea." She said. "Well, my mom's all uptight about me going out and all…"
"Just say its extra school work, she won't even ask about that one." Sonya remarked dryly.
"Sonya - this isn't about boys and lip-gloss, I'm not going to get away with 'schoolwork at school' again, and that stuff is for seeing boyfriends and buying lip-gloss. This is murder, here, Sonya." Miranda said.
Sonya nodded. "I know, which is why it's a good thing your mom's an inspector. She'll be too worked up to care where you're going right now. Besides, it won't be too late. And this is real important."
Miranda hesitated again, but said, "Okay, I'll try but if it doesn't work out, I'll call you."
Sonya gave her a nod, and that was that.
As Miranda scanned the crowd, it turned out that Lucy knew a lot of people who started with a T. There was the one girl that had been in her group…Tanya? Tara? No, Tori. Yeah, Tori had seemed a bit dodgy, but them so had everyone else.
She took notes and recorded voices when she bumped into people. Some of them apologized, some of them just made gruff sounds and some threatened her. What she was going to do with the voices, she didn't know, she just wanted to be official about it.
She took the notes of those who showed aggression and anger. Soon she had a list of about 10 suspects.
She would tell Sonya at the library everything she knew and she'd show her the list. But for now, she could only hope her mom would let her go.
# # #
As it turns out, her mother was really busy, as Sonya had expected. She was as her office, head bent over a pile of paperwork. She looked like she hadn't slept in days - her black hair messy and sticking out in all directions, eyes frantically searching the paperwork for anything to go on. This case was too hard for her - and she so badly wanted to find the killer and capture him before another body piles up with the other three.
"Mom?" Miranda asked softly, standing from the doorway.
Gracie didn't even look up; she was racking her brains for answers and couldn't even acknowledge her daughter.
"Mom?" Miranda asked again, louder now.
Her mom still didn't hear her, or even seem to notice her.
"Mom!" Miranda rushed over by her side. She took the pen out of Gracie's hand and swung her chair around to face her.
Gracie blinked. "Oh, honey, I didn't see you there. What are you doing here?"
Miranda sighed with relief. "Shit, mom, you scared me."
Gracie sighed too. "I know, I'm just so over-worked."
Miranda helped her mom into bed, but before she did she copied the names from her suspect list into her mom's diary.
Miranda tucked her mom into her bed, and Gracie closed her eyes. "Are you okay now?" Miranda asked and Gracie flittered her eyes open.
"Yeah. But I need a rest."
Gracie closed her eyes again and Miranda sighed. She was never going to get a specific answer from her.
Gracie sighed, still not opening her eyes. "Yes?"
"Do you think I could go to an extra-credit class this evening?" Miranda asked, twiddling with a piece of lint from her skirt. Gracie's eyes shot open.
Miranda sighed with relief again, finally, she thought, a real answer. "Yeah, I'm, kind of cutting back on my classes and my English teacher offered some extra credit work."
Gracie narrowed her eyes suspiciously. "Is he legit?"
Miranda was confused. "Do you mean--" Her face darkened. "Yeah. He's legit."
Gracie relaxed, nodding. "Okay, then. But don't be too late. There' s a curfew starting."
Miranda nodded and shut her mother's blinds and closed her door, leaving her mom to rest.
She grabbed her bag and her things and headed for the door, closing it quietly behind her.
Since Miranda didn't have her driver's license or own a bicycle, her only way of transport was to walk.
Miranda didn't like walking at this time of the afternoon - especially with the murders and all --- but she wasn't about to let Sonya down.
She crept along the main roads, where the cars and population were most likely to be. Even though the number #1 suspect of the town was roaming around unaccompanied, she wasn't about to corner the back streets and alleys.
When people saw her, they whispered in hushed tones, which only made Miranda regret leaving her house even more.
The sun was setting, making the sky red, so everything else was red. The smell of the air was hotn and humid, and fog laced the mountains that you could see miles away. Clouds covered the sky, so there was no way to tell where the sun was and how long it was going to be until it was dark.
As she walked, people were becoming less and less easier to see. Some wore huge trench coats and walked quite fast, as if they were trying not to made a scene if they ran from something.
The entire was had been so cheerful before, but now it was gloomy and mysterious - and not in the good way.
Miranda walked faster, her heels aching from her golden stilettos she wore.
She rounded a corner and found herself looking into a dark alley. The narrow walls were covered in thick moss and it smelt like rotten food. Trash cans rounded the entire alleyway and Miranda sucked in her breath and she walked in.
She walked about 10 feet before she opened a small iron door and walked into a crowded dance club. Sonya had given her directions to - not the tow library - but a old bookstore for forbidden books. Sonya had said it started with a dark alley, then into a club where she'll see a man dressed in black guarding a door. She was to him and say she wants to see Earth Dreamer.
Miranda looked around the crowded dance floor. People where chatting and dancing all over the place. The lighting was red - no surprise there; Miranda had been to lots of dance clubs and they didn't put blue lighting to calm people down, that's for sure. She spotted and guy with black hair wearing a black outfit standing in front of a iron door. She hoped this was the guy Sonya had been talking about.
She walked towards him and he stared down at her.
"Yes?" He asked gruffly.
"Uh, I want to see Earth, uh, Dreamer." Miranda managed to stutter.
He didn't look convinced and Miranda's heart sank.
"Well I want a better job, but you don't see me knocking down guys, hassling them for-" He broke off as Sonya stepped out from behind the door.
"Now, now, let's treat out guest with pleasure, shall we Stefan?" Sonya said, raising one eyebrow.
Stefan scowled, "You could have told me you'd be having guests. Makes things a lot easier."
"Sarcasm, Stefan?" Sonya put her hands on her hips. "Remember: I own your ass."
Stefan scowled, but move out of the way to let Miranda through. Once the door closed, Miranda said to Sonya, "Is he always that mean?"
Sonya wrinkled her nose. "No, I wonder what flew up his nose?"
They walked down a long, stone corridor. The walls were like dirt and Miranda felt herself wondering what exactly Earth Dreamer was.
"Uh… Sonya? Where are we going?" Miranda asked, confused.
"I told you, Earth Dreamer. It's just up this hall here." Sonya replied.
They turned a corner and Sonya opened a iron clad door that led into a small room. Dust covered the room, and the books on the shelves where spinkled with something white, like someone had thrown lace everywhere.
Sonya led Miranda through the shelves and Miranda caught sight of a few. "Paganism throughout the ages." She read. "Sonya, what--"
Miranda stopped short as Sonya led her into a small corner with a table,. It was beautiful, cadles hung on the wall, casting eerie shadows. Book stcked high on big shelves around the table. It looked like something from Hogwarts, it even had books on witchcraft.
"Sit down." Sonya said with grace. Miranda sat down and Sonya picked up the teacup and pot that had been on the table too.
"Tea?" Sonya asked and Miranda shook her head. Sonya shrugged as she poured herself a steaming cup. She sat down and Miranda started to pull out her information when she noticed Sonya had put three big, dusty, old books on the table in front of her.
Miranda turned them around - and wqith great difficulty, they were heavy - and read the lable.
RITUAL KILLINGS VOLUMES 1-3
Miranda raised one eyebrow at Sonya and she lent in, even though no one was around.
"I think this isn't just a phycopath," Sonya whispered, "I think it's a someone who does ritual killings."
"Woa!" Miranda lent back in her chair, eyes wide. "What are you saying?"
Sonya sighed."I'm saying that someone truly crazy is killing people for… a…cult."
"A cult? What does that mean?" Miranda was so confused. How did Sonya know this?
"Well, you know those people who basically scam people into joining a 'religion' where they either treat people like crap and tell them that's fair, or they believe in some sick and twisted religion and make people kill innocent civilians for 'sacrifices'." Sonya explained.
Miranda nodded, and she then realized how differnet Sonya looked than what she usually did in school. Her silky brown hair was let out and straitened, she wore a short denim mini-skirt and a black low cut singelt with a silver belt.
Miranda only wore a red t-shirt with a blue skirt and gold high-heels, which was her best clothes.
"So, you think that these murders are sacrifices?" Miranda asked, frowning. Sonya nodded. "I do think that. But first we have to have a list of suspects."
Miranda nodded. "I have a list." She pulled out her list of suspects.
Sonya scanned the list as Miranda told her about the T being carved into Lucy's body and how they should find out where these people where at the time of Lucy's death.
Sonya looked up from the paper at Miranda. "Well, this looks like we have something to go on."
It was the only house on the block without a porch light on, the only one with enough darkness to hide in. She'd hoped to get one of the Hopkins's neighbors, not just someone who lived on the same street. Still, it would be enough to rattle some teeth, shake some bones… wake them up. She wondered if they would notice if she took a little memento. The house felt cool against her hand when she pressed into the siding. Inside, everyone was breathing the breath of sleep.
She pulled out her knife and shuffled closer to the window so quietly that only the dog - the only dog that she could see sleeping at the foot of the bed - could hear. The barking was sudden, frantic, afraid. She snuffled closer with pleasure. Dogs. Smart enough to be scared, stupid enough to lure their humans to their very pointy end.
She moved and stayed huddled at the back door. When it creaked open, she watched the fool dog streak out into the yard. Watched the human step out after it. And then she sprang, he knife slicing into his flesh, his neck twisted in a very strange position.
# # #
Skye blinked and rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand. The sun was rising, creating a blinding light through the cracks in her blinds. She yawned and turned her radio on. She smiled when her favorite song came on and she got up and turned it up.
She yawned again and then stopped short, realizing what day today was: Lucy's funeral. They'd all been invited to come, but only because it wasn't a private funeral. Skye's heart filled with pain. She'd never liked Lucy, but that didn't mean she didn't feel any remorse. Lucy may have been a bitch, but she hadn't deserved to die.
She walked into her on suite and turned her shower on. As soon as the hot water hit her skin, she knew it would be alright.
Minutes later, she turned the water off and pulled on some blue jeans and a t-shirt. She sighed and looked at herself in the mirror. Her light hair had been tied into a ponytail and she'd put on some dark makeup. She would get dressed in something black later, but for now she had to call Claire.
She walked down her stairs. Her mom was a lawyer, so they had a big house. Skye lived with her mom, dad and her sister.
She bounded into the kitchen where her mom was cooking some kind of savory crepes for breakfast.,
"Yummy." Skye said as she took a big bite of the pastry her mother gave her. Doris smiled at her daughter, so sweet and innocent, she thought to herself.
"Okay, now hon, go and get dressed in something appropriate for Lucy's funeral and to greet her family." Doris said and Skye wined in protest.
"But I have to call Claire first!" Skye said as she put down her crepe. Doris waved her hand at her. "Fine, but do it quickly."
She walked into the sunroom where they kept the cheap phone to make calls on. She picked up the phone and dialed Claire's number.
A muffled voice. Claire. "Hello?"
"Hey, Claire, it's me." Skye said.
"Oh, cool. What's up?" Claire said.
"Nothing much. Hey, are you going to Lucy's funeral today?"
"Yeah," Claire said, "why?"
"Never mind. Do you know if Miranda and Sonya are going to the funeral too? I know it would be a bad idea for Sonya to show up because Lucy's parents could wail on her for sending their only daughter to hospital, but what about Miranda?" Skye asked, expectant to know where those two girls were.
Claire hesitated, "I really don't know, Skye."
"Alright, never mind then."
"Okay," Claire chirped, "Seeya later then."
"Bye." Skye put the telephone down and bounded upstairs to dressed into her funeral dress.
She pulled on the sheet of black lace and pulled on her black boots. She put a black ostrich feather in her hair and decided she was done.
# # #
Three stores and four big shopping bags later, Miranda and her mother slid into a booth at one of the restaurants attached to the mall. It was like the world's most upscale diner --- hamburgers and tuna melts, but made with Black Angus beef and ahi tuna, served on ultra modern plates. The waitress took their order--two hamburgers, rare, with fries-and glided back to the kitchen.
"So do you have any plans this weekend?" Her mother asked, sipping at her glass of iced tea.
Miranda played with the straw the waitress had set next to her diet coke. Miranda shrugged, "I was thinking of having a small party for the coming school holidays."
The waitress appeared next to their table and slif two plates in front of them. Her mother looked at the food in silence. To stop herself from saying anything else, Miranda stuffed a huge bite of hamburger in her mouth. She couldn't bring herself to look at her mother's face. Instead, she stared at the hamburger bun, watching as the juices from the meat turned the bread rose-pink.
"Miranda." Her mother sighed. "I don't think that's a very good idea."
Miranda put her hamburger down. "Why? Nothing will happen. It won't be a big party, and I'll have it under control, I swear."
Gracie narrowed her eyes, but relaxed. "Alright. But if anything happens, it'll be your fault."
Miranda nodded. "Okay, cool."
Gracie picked up her napkin and wiped some sauce of her mouth. "Well, we should get going to Lucy's funeral."
# # #
A hand shook Sonya's shoulder.
She cracked open one eye.
"Mrrrhmph." She mumbled, as the woman in the dream shook her again. Then she realized she wasn't in a dream.
"Mom?" She asked, opening her eyes.
"You wish." Said the cruel voice of her father she awoke to every morning. Her dad had light brown hair and square shoulders. Sonya hated her father, ever since her mother had died of an overdose, her father was her soul carer-an obnoxious, horrible old man.
"What do you want?" She snarled. Her father -Brian-gave her a nasty look.
"Lucy Carole's funeral. You're expected to come and I honestly don't want you lurking around the house all day." Brian snapped.
Sonya lay back in her bed. "Five minutes, okay?"
"No. You got up now." Brian replied sharply and got up to leave. "Or, I mean we could settle it another way…" The look he gave Sonya made her jump out of bed.
Brian gave a bitter smile. "That's better. Now get dressed in something more respectable." He eyed her silk lavender pajamas. "Where did you get them?"
Sonya stuttered and excuse. "I-I bought them."
"With what money?" He raised and eyebrow.
Sonya looked away, too scared to look him in the eye. "My money. That mom left me."
Brian's face twisted into anger. He strode over and shook her shoulders violently, making her wince. "WHERE DO YOU KEEP THIS MONEY?" He roared. Tears filled Sonya's eyes and she managed to stutter, "U-U-Under my b-bed."
Brian let go of his daughters shoulders and smiled that bitter smile again. "Go get it, Sonya."
Sonya hesitated, but said in a soft voice, "But that's m-my money."
Brian's face contorted in anger again. "What did you say?"
"I said, that's my money." Sonya said more firmly now.
Brian bared down on her. "I SAID GO AND GET IT YOU FILTHY LITTLE SLUT!"
Sonya was definitely crying now. She rushed over to her bed and pulled out the hundred dollar bills she still had left. She straitened and reluctantly handed the bills to her father.
Brian smiled again. "That's much better, isn't it." Then he grabbed the back of her hair and pulled her forward. "Don't you ever speak to me like that again." He ripped a chunk of her hair and blood smeared her scalp and neck. Tears flowed down Sonya's cheeks and she fought for control.
He let go, and stuffed the bills into his pockets, yelling back as he walked away, "And get dressed!"
After he'd left, Sonya sat back down on her bed in defeat. She should never have admitted to having her own money. Never.