The flashing lights of the ambulances and police cars coloured the street at four a.m on a cold September Tuesday morning. Seventeen year old Kady watched from her bedroom window as police and paramedics trudged through the thick snow carrying, what Kady could only assume, was a body bag.
If this was a murder, it would be the third one in her block in three weeks.
She hadn't left the house since the first murder, through fear she would be next. But, that was her mother's fault. She babied Kady way too much. She had been the one to put the idea in Kady's head that she could be the killer's next victim. Her words most likely fuelled from alcohol, exaggerating the seriousness of all of this.
After the second murder, Kady's mother had refused,, for a whole week, to unlock the doors or open any windows. Kady had tried telling her mother, Karyn, that it didn't matter if she was in the house or not, if she went out during the day or not, that the murders had happened at night.
If it was the same killer, they wouldn't change now. Despite that, Kady's mother had forbidden her to see her friends the next day, like Kady had planned to for a week.
A noise in the hallway just outside her bedroom made her jump. Suddenly her mother burst into the room.
"Get away from that window!" She snapped. "That's not something you should be seeing at your age!"
"I couldn't sleep with all the lights flashing and those dumb pigs shouting at each other." Kady mumbled sleepily.
"They're not dumb, and don't call them pigs! They're doing the best they can to catch this person."
"Well, they're not doing a very good job," Kady turned to her mother, "are they?" She raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms over her chest. "I'm going out tomorrow. Don't try and stop me."
"Ok." Her mother sighed. "Get yourself killed." The door slammed.
Kady turned back to the window. An ambulance was just leaving; its lights flashing and sirens on, and crime scene investigators were just finishing up. She closed the curtain and climbed back into bed.
She couldn't sleep though. She'd spoken to one of the girls who lived in that house over the road only a few days ago, a week at most. She was nice enough. Eighteen years old, blonde and curvy, quite a pretty girl.
But her younger sister was much different. At fifteen years old, she had dyed black hair, piercings and always wore black clothes and walked around with her headphones on or left them hanging around her neck.
Kady hoped it was just an accident, and that the girls hadn't been murdered, but she knew that it was more than likely that one, or maybe even the both of them, had been the killer's next victim.
It was ten a.m when Kady woke up. She'd finally managed to get back to sleep at six a.m, and could have stayed asleep longer, but a banging on the front door had woken her. She stumbled out of her room, her hair dishevelled and yesterdays mascara smudged under her eyes.
"Mom?" she called through the house as she made her way to the door. There was no reply. As Kady opened the door, she had to duck as a fist came at her face when the man at the door tried to knock again.
He hadn't noticed that Kady had opened the door as he was too busy watching the house over the road with its police tape outlining the edge of the garden, flapping around in the bitter winter breeze.
"Dad!" Kady yelled. "Watch it!"
"Sorry, love. Are you all okay?" Her father's worried but slightly annoyed face was flushed and red, as though he had ran all the way here, but his car was parked haphazardly at the end of the drive, near the mailbox.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"What about your mother?"
"Well, she was fine when she was bitching at me at four in the morning, because I was looking out the window at..." She glanced over the road at the crime scene as her voice trailed off. She shrugged.
"Is she in? Why didn't she answer her phone? Or the damn door for that matter?"
"I don't know, dad, I only just woke up. I don't even know if she's here."
Kady hadn't seen her dad in three months thanks to her mother's selfish affair with one of Kady's old school teachers, Mr. Richardson.
"Karyn?" Forty-five year old Steve called as he walked past his daughter who was still standing at the front door. After shouting his ex-wife's name four more times, Karyn eventually emerged at the top of the stairs with her hair all tangled in a blonde mess, still in a dressing gown and fluffy grey slippers.
"Why didn't you answer your phone? I was worried sick about my daughter!" He yelled at her. "I heard someone had been murdered on your street. I couldn't get in touch with either of you... I thought it could have been her!"
By this point Karyn was at the bottom of the stairs, rubbing her temples with her eyes squeezed shut. Steve didn't give her time to answer though, he obviously wasn't finished. "Oh, I see... you're hungover, again! You are a pathetic excuse for a mother, you know that?!"
"Dad, please! Just leave it. I'm fine, just chill." Kady said as she put two slices of bread in the toaster, and poured her mother a cup of strong coffee. "Besides, I'm used to this now. Curing her hangovers." She narrowed her eyes at her mother.
"Oh, shut up, Kady!" her mother snapped.
There was an awkward silence for a moment or two, then the toast popped up out of the toaster and for a second Kady thought about spreading jam on it but then said, "You know what, do it yourself. I'm going to shower then going out."
She shoved past her mother and ran upstairs. She quickly showered and as she was getting dressed, there was a knock at the bedroom door. "Hold on, I'm just getting dressed."
She called. She pulled on a black tank top and tight black jeans then opened the door. Her father stood there looking drained and upset.
"Are you okay?" He asked. "I'm sorry about all that."
"Yeah I'm okay, dad." She sat on the bed and pulled on some socks, then grabbed her bag and checked it for her phone, purse and a pack of cigarettes her mom and dad didn't know she had. "Dad? You know you said someone was murdered... who was it? Do you know?"
"Have you not seen the police tape out there?"
"Obviously, I mean. Which one of them?"
"Oh, one of the young ones. Celeste? Was that her name?"
"Celine." Kady said quietly. "Celine. Yeah I spoke to her last week.
"Were you friends?"
"Not really. We spoke a few times but that's all." Kady couldn't help but feel a little upset. Celine had seemed really nice, and she accepted Kady, which most people didn't.
Maybe because Kady was so much like Celine's younger sister April: dark clothes, dark make up, piercings, and a love of rock music.
"Do you need a lift anywhere?"
"The mall? I'm going to meet Benji and Carrie."
"Ok." Her dad nodded. "I'm gonna stop off for some fuel on the way, do you want anything? You know, like a lighter for those cigarettes?" he winked at his daughter as she looked up in shock. "Don't worry, I won't tell your mother. If you're going to be living here with her, you're going to need them. I only just quit since I haven't been with her."
Kady smiled. "Thanks dad." She slipped on her shoes and grabbed a thick coat with grey fur around the hood and put it on, slinging the bag over her shoulder. They both left the house without another word to Kady's mother.
"You can't be serious?!" Benji said with a mouthful of fries.
"Why would I joke?"
"Seriously? Celine's been murdered?"
"You knew her?" Kady asked.
"Yeah we had a lot of classes together in school." Benji replied, stuffing another handful of fries in his mouth.
"Aren't you scared?" Carrie asked.
Carrie was Benji's girlfriend of two years. She and Kady had met at an old school friend's house party when Carrie and Benji had just started dating.
Benji and Kady had been friends since they were nine years old and had the plan to have their own place one day. Carrie didn't like that but she also knew that she would never be able to come between Kady and Benji.
"Scared of what?"
"Someone was just murdered just yards from your house! If I were you, I'd refuse to even be on that street for a second!"
"I doubt they'll come back while all these investigations are going on. I'll bet the next murder is a mile or two away."
Carrie's head snapped up from her salad. "What makes you think that?"
"Well, think about it... the police here are investigating this here; they won't be expecting the next murder to be ages away. They'll be concentrating on this area. Anyway, I didn't know she went to our school."
"You're a year below, you probably just never bumped into her." He was now chewing a large bite of cheeseburger. "And, she did have a lot of time off when her dad died and all that. She was off for almost a whole year or something."
Carrie gave Benji a look that he knew meant he should shut up. "You know, I do have a spare room if you wanna get away for a little bit until all this is over? I know you doubt they'll come back but I want to make sure you're safe."
"Don't be silly. If anyone did break in I'm sure I'll be able to find an empty vodka bottle of my mom's to attack them with." Kady laughed, but her friends looked at her with serious faces. "What?"
"Carrie is right. Maybe you should get away from there. At least for a little while. It's the third murder in your area just recently. You know Carrie lives just outside of town so how about we stay there for a bit; see if they catch this psycho."
"Guys, you're overreacting. I'm sure I'll be fine."
Benji and Carrie looked at each other and shrugged. "Okay, if you insist,"
"If it makes you happy, I'll have my dad pick me up and I'll see if I can stay with him for a little while. I've had just about enough of my mom."
"Still drinking?" Benji asked.
"Still sleeping with Mr. What's-his-face?"
"Yup... loudly. And I can't stand it."
"Nice..." Carrie said sarcastically.
"Please go stay with your dad. I've decided I don't like, or trust, your area anymore... shame though, they're nice houses. And my brother got some great weed from a guy a few streets away from-" Carrie slapped Benji in the arm. "Ouch! What was that for?"
"You know I don't like it." She scowled.
"You know I smoke it."
Benji looked at Kady and made a confused face, but did it sarcastically. Kady giggled and stood up. "Anyway, we're going to miss the movie if we stay here any longer. Let's go."
Karyn had finally sobered up by five in the afternoon and noticed Kady wasn't home. She called her but got no answer. She remembered her ex-husband Steve being here that morning, and Kady leaving with him, so she tried his cell phone.
"I dropped her off at the mall with her friends around 10:45, then picked her up at half four from the cinema. She's fine."
"Is she coming home?"
"No. I'll pick up some of her things in the morning. She's had enough of you."
Steve hung up, so Karyn poured herself some vodka and a tiny bit of of cola. She then called her new man, Keith Richardson, her daughters old school teacher who she'd fucked up her marriage to Steve for. He came over and of course brought more vodka.
When Steve knocked at the door at nine a.m the next morning, there was no answer. The door was unlocked so he let himself in. He found Karyn passed out on the sofa, with an empty bottle of vodka on the floor next to her, and a glass tipped over, a little bit of vodka and cola spilled out.
Keith was in the armchair. Steve sighed and walked upstairs and packed some of Kady's things.
He left without either Keith or Karyn waking up. The police tape was still surrounding the house over the road though it had snapped and was flying around like bright yellow ribbons in the wind.
He got back in his car, after putting the bags of his daughters things in the back seat, and left.
Kady was still watching TV, carefully avoiding the news, when Steve got home. "I got most of your clothes and all that other stuff you women insist on smearing all over your faces."
"Thanks dad." Kady smiled. "How was mom?"
"Hungover...or will be when she wakes up I assume."
"Oh... shocker." Kady said with sarcasm.
"Not really." Kady replied. "I'm thinking about going to see Benji and Carrie, she doesn't live far from here."
"Okay. Want me to give you a lift?"
"No, it's okay. I'll get a bus now most of the snow has cleared and they're running again....but, I will have one of your legendary coffees before I go." She looked up at her dad and jokingly fluttered her eyelashes.
"Okay, you know how to work the kettle." Her dad chuckled. "I'm kidding. I'll be back in a minute."
He came back a few moments later and sat down next to Kady on the sofa, they both held a cup of steaming coffee. He turned the news on; the one thing Kady had been avoiding all day.
The reporter was talking about Celine. She had been murdered. And it sounded pretty grisly. The poor girl had been beheaded. And stabbed numerous times.
Just like the other two victims.
It must be the same murderer, Kady thought to herself. It has to be...
Benji and Kady were waiting at the bus station for Carrie for around half an hour. The bus Carrie was supposed to have been on had come and gone twice.
Benji tried to call his girlfriend, but there was no answer. Kady could tell he was worrying, but she knew Carrie would be okay. She was just late again. She always was.
"You know something Kady, if you are right, and that psychopathic ass-hole is killing people out of town, and Carrie is his next victim..." He turned and looked at Kady, his index finger pointed at her. "I might actually fucking kill you."
"Chill out, man. She will be fine! You know what she's like, she's always late. She was even late to her own mom's wedding, what does that tell you?" Kady said.
They turned around to go outside to smoke a cigarette while they waited for the next Number Twenty-nine bus, hopefully Carrie would be on that one.
As they did, they were greeted by Carrie's beaming face bounding towards them.
"Shut up." Benji said, as he went over to Carrie and hugged her tightly.
"She told you what?" Carrie asked, smiling.
"That you weren't dead." Kady said, smirking.
"No." Benji shot a look at Kady, "that you were okay. I was starting to worry."
"Oh my God, Benji! The next murder will be next week, not the next damn day!" Carrie said.
"Okay, you two are starting to creep me out. Like how you know when the next murder will be. I mean, how do you even know there will be another one?!" Benji asked, speaking quickly and stuttering.
"Maybe, it's one of us." Carrie joked.
"Or both of us." Kady carried on the joke Carrie had started.
"Stop it!" Benji walked quickly ahead with his hands over his ears, like a child. The two girls laughed and followed him.
"Anyway, I've ordered us a taxi to mine." Carrie said.
"But it's a ten minute walk." Benji whined.
"But it's freezing... also, I'm lazy." Said Carrie, as she grabbed hold of Benji's hand. Kady was following behind as they walked outside, texting her dad to assure him she was okay.
Kady planned to stay the night at Carrie's house, which she shared with her sister Lorraine, who was now twenty years old.
She had turned twenty a couple of weeks ago and she had thrown a big party; another thing Carrie had been late for. She had just left for university so Carrie had the house to herself until Lorraine got back.
When she woke on Thursday morning, Carrie wasn't there, but Benji was, standing in the kitchen. "Where's Carrie gone at this time in a morning?" She asked sleepily.
"Oh, she's got a habit of going out for a run every morning then bringing back snacks from the shop on her way home."
"So what's the point in the jogging?" Kady almost shrieked.
"I have no idea." Benji shrugged. "Coffee?"
"I'll have water, please, dude."
"Water?" He asked. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, I just prefer water first thing in the morning... Do you not know me at all?!"
"I'm forgetful!" Benji protested.
At ten a.m Carrie stumbled clumsily through the door, and, as Benji had said, had a carrier bag full of snacks from the local corner shop.
"Glad to see you're both still alive." She said as she pulled off her wooly hat and gloves, flinging them on the coffee table. She looked up to see Benji's face; he didn't look happy with her little joke. "Too soon?" She smirked.
Benji nodded as he took a sip of his coffee. Carrie emptied the contents of the bag into the cupboards and sat down with Benji and Kady. She seemed a little quiet, but that didn't seem to bother Benji, she was usually like this when she had been for a jog.
Suddenly at one p.m they were hit with the news that there had been another body found. But this girl had been dead for around five weeks...
The ten o'clock news reported the story of the body that had been found:
"...the body has been identified as that of seventeen year old Georgia Clifton, who also was stabbed and beheaded. The autopsy has revealed that she had been killed around five weeks ago, and was also six weeks pregnant. Her remains were found at nine o'clock this morning in some woods behind the high school he had attended. Some details of the wherabouts are being witheld for the time being..."
"Oh...my...Christ alive! That's the woods behind our old school!" Benji exclaimed. "Did you know her, Kady? She would have been in your year at school."
"Yeah, she was in Alex's history class..." Kady said. "So... what are we thinking? Coincidence? Or is someone killing girls from our old school?"
"Okay, that's just crazy... why would someone want to do that?" Carrie said. "I'd say it's most likely a coincidence."
Kady wasn't convinced. "They say Georgia died around five weeks ago... How had she not been found before now?"
"It's the woods?..." Carrie said.
"Yeah, but look..." Kady pointed at the television screen.
The reporter was standing in a clearing, tall oak and fir trees in the background. A white tent and forensic investigators were behind her.
"I know that spot. My dad used to walk his dog, Jackie, down there all the time. It's apparently quite popular for dog walkers so they can let their dogs run around in that clearing. There is absolutely no way her body had been there for five weeks."
"Kady... you are thinking way too much into this." Carrie said.
"No... she isn't." Benji said.
"Oh, what now?" Carrie sighed, rubbing her forehead.
"Well, Alex and I, along with some of the other guys, went down there for a cheeky smoke and we didn't see a body. And we were right in that clearing, by that big oak tree just behind the white tent." He went over to the TV and pointed out the tree he was talking about.
"A week ago."
"Then her body must have been moved...and recently." Kady said, quietly, as though she were thinking.
"But why?" Carrie asked.
"I don't fucking know. I'm not psychic! But maybe the killer wanted to confuse the cops? Or maybe they were pissed because no one had found the body yet, and they wanted more attention? I've heard about these kinds of killers. They just want the bodies found, want to hear about it on the news and see how hard it is for the police to catch them... like...craving attention."
"You know too much about this kind of thing and it's creepy." Benji said.
"What?" Kady said. "I watch CBS Reality! Like, daily! Maybe I should stop..."
"Yeah maybe you should. I'm scared you're gonna watch it to the point you know how to get away with murder and come kill me in my sleep sometime." Benji said.
"Oh, I could already do that." Kady smirked at Benji, knowing it would scare and annoy him, and then glanced at Carrie who was also smirking as she watched the TV.
Back at home with her dad, Steve, on Friday morning, she was talking to him about Georgia Clifton's body being found.
"I just can't believe it. You know, I used to work with her dad. Poor guy. I should get in touch." Steve said. "You knew her too?"
"Well, kinda. We were more acquaintances than friends. She'd had a bit of a thing with Alex back in school." She paused. "Dad?"
"What's up, honey?"
"I just feel like something isn't right about this whole 'murder rampage' thing. Like, why is it all girls? And why are they all from my old school? Dad, am I crazy or is someone targeting girls from my high school?"
"Look, hun. I wanna tell you it's all just a coincidence but its starting to look that way..."
"Georgia's body was moved." Kady interrupted.
"Excuse me?" Steve spluttered a little, and spat out some of his toast.
Kady sighed. "Yeah... Benji was in the exact spot where she was found only a week ago.... Georgia died five weeks ago."
"Then Benji really needs to go to the police." Steve said, sternly. "I mean it Kady. There could be something they can figure out from her body."
"What like forensics finding that the soil around her doesn't match the soil on her body? Yeah, I already looked into that. Dad, for the first time since all this happened I'm ashamed to admit that I'm a little scared." She looked up at her dad and unwittingly gave him her puppy-dog eyes, only this time they were genuine.
"Listen, as long as you're here with me, nothing is going to happen to you." Steve said. "I promise." He smiled at his daughter, and held her hand over the table.
It was baltic that night. Sleet was pelting down hard, stinging my face as I stood on the side-walk outside LeAnne McCarthy's house. Hopefully no one had seen me, I didn't need the attention.
LeAnne had been in the same year, and school, as Kady. And just like the other girls, she too, had wronged her.
I felt in my coat for the freshly sharpened, and cleaned, nine inch blade that I always carried. It was still there. I'd already lost it once today, just before I left the house. Turned out to be in the backpack I was carrying. I'd searched the whole house for the damn thing!
The lights in the house had gone out one hour ago. Now, was my time.
It was easy to pick a lock, being an ex-blacksmith came with its perks, I have to admit. But unlike that job, I don't get paid for this. Although, I wish that I did.
I'd been watching the house for hours while Kady slept soundly in her bed. I knew LeAnne's parents were out tonight, in another town attending a friend's wedding this afternoon, and they were staying for the night in a motel.
LeAnne was alone. She hadn't gone with them because, as she said, 'I hate weddings. They're so boring!' She probably only thinks that because she doesn't have a heart.
The back door clicked quietly open, and I pulled the handle down, and let myself in. It was dark and quiet, and luckily the only family pet was a fish. I'd hate to be confronted with a dog or something...
I made my way almost silently upstairs, my own stealth startled me, and heard a quiet snoring coming from the room at the end of the hall. Got you, I thought.
I put my hand on the door knob, and pulled it down, slowly. It creaked slightly, but luckily not enough to wake the sleeping redhead girl in that room.
It's a shame that I had to do this. She was a pretty girl. And so young. But she had wronged Kady, so she too, must die.
I placed my hand over the pale girl's thin pink lips, and pinched the end of her nose at the same time. Her bright, almost emerald, green eyes shot open and was staring right at me, luckily I'd remembered my balaclava this time.
She looked panicked, scared, and tried to fight me off, but I was too strong. Her pink painted nails tried to claw at me, but I was wearing a leather jacket and gloves, so her attempts failed.
Once I saw that she was growing weak, I let go of her throat and I heard her try to scream as I produced my knife. The look in her eyes as I plunged it into her throat was beautiful. Her eyes wide and filled with terror, realising she was about to die, painfully.
I plunged the knife into her neck and the warm blood splattered and squirted out at me, and I felt it on my hands, it spots. She gurgled and spluttered.
Then I drove the knife into the young girl's body again, in the chest...and again, and again, and again...
After she was dead, everyone knows what would happen next...
I beheaded the pretty little redhead. Her beautiful emerald green eyes still wide open and staring at me.
I do always wonder how much pain they feel, what goes through their pathetic teenage minds when they see me, standing over them with my hands around their throats or a knife to their chest.
Either way, it didn't bother me... my work was done. And so, I left her head rolling on the floor, the eyes still open, eyes staring, and the silky red hair matted with blood.