this is just a quick note ~
this book has lots of darker themes ≫ sexual abuse, kidnapping, drugs/drug abuse, suicide, murder, prostitution, self-harm and mature language.
i will only include this type of content when it's completely necessary. feel free to stop reading if you feel uncomfortable but do know i won't change the entire theme and plot just because one person is against it, but i'll try to make the themes not too heavy.
anyways, please enjoy.
© 2017 Parker Grey
Don't copy or I'll use my ninja skills of deception and find you...
(Please tell me any suspected reports of plagiarism, it's very helpful AND honest!)
And of course, don't forget to check out my Wattpad @pointedlyx for more frequent updates on this story.
At first glance, Smugglers' Cove is perfect.
Perfect sandstone McMansions. Perfect, friendly citizens. Perfect scores on every student's tests. Perfect scenery. Heck, perfect performance in all the sports teams.
But if you look closer - if you take a second look - you'll see the bags under eyes. The cracks in the continually fixed porcelain doll of Smugglers' Cove.
The two best friends with effortless curls and flawless makeup? One of them is sleeping with the other's boyfriend. The wealthy family that is always present at every charity event? The head of the family is a dealer. The pained man you saw in the coffee shop? He's a disgraced cop who was fired from the P. D. for taking a "favour" to keep a thief out of jail.
And the woods - secrets dart in and out of the trees, waiting for a chance to escape. The lake - holding sorrows that have been submerged for who knows how long.
It's a bomb waiting to blow.
What do you do when the fuse is lit?
The only thing you can.
Welcome to Smugglers' Cove. I know you'll like it here.
"Champagne, cocaine, gasoline; and most things in between."
- Panic at the Disco
The night was cold and crisp, and the frigid air seared Sammy's neck. His girlfriend stood next to him, clutching the hem of her reserved dress. The two figures were indiscernible in front of the obsidian sky.
"Maia, you'll be fine."
Maia took a deep breath, her eyes closed. Her curly brown hair framed her face and the dim light made her look like a marble statue. She'd put on makeup in an attempt to fit in - wine lipstick and smoky eyeshadow - and it had worked.
"I don't know about this. Something seems..."
Sammy stepped into the shadows. "Shady?" He laughed, but the clear sound disappeared into the wind. Maia rolled her eyes. She was getting sick of his annoying (yet endearing) puns.
"No. Stop it!" Maia complained, wiping her eyes. "It's just.."
"Just what?" Sammy asked softly. His brown eyes glinted.
"Courtney is throwing this party and I know she likes you!"
"So?" Sammy said, taking Maia's hand.
Maia pulled it away as if it was burning hot. "I don't want to see you with her perfectly manicured hands all over you!"
She pulled her jumper closer to her chest as the gears clicked inside Sammy's brain.
Maia squeezed her eyes shut. "I think I should leave. I don't belong at those parties."
She wiped the edge of her eye, smudging the mascara.
She started walking in the opposite direction. Sammy took her hand gently. This time she didn't pull away.
"You look perfect. And if you don't like it at the party, you can choose the movie we see next time."
She kept on walking, then turned around abruptly.
"Even if it's a musical?"
Sammy cursed under his breath. No more Hairspray.
"Sure, I guess."
Maia rolled her eyes. "You owe me big time."
Sammy nodded, chuckling. "Come on. Let's go."
Courtney's house stood at the edge of the beach, in front of the woods.
As they approached, they could hear the synthetic tones of electronica blaring from speakers, as drunk seniors lay across the emerald grass retching.
The party itself was mainly in the living room, a huge mezzanine filled with modern furniture, most of which had been pushed against the wall to create a dancefloor. Girls in tight crop tops and Converse drifted in and out of the room, while guys trying to get that "lucky break" flirted and flexed wherever and whenever possible.
Maia took off her jacket and lay it carefully onto a couch. She shuffled uncomfortably to the beat, but slowly grew more and more relaxed.
"Let loose, Maia!" Sammy laughed, mock-clapping. Maia smirked and kissed his cheek. Her face fell.
"What's the matter?"
"All this letting loose has made me sort of thirsty...erm..." Maia said, looking at the floor.
"I'll get you a Sprite?" Sammy asked. Maia nodded gratefully.
"Thanks Sammy," she said sheepishly as he wandered off in search of a Sprite.
The kitchen was uncomfortably crowded. A senior and her boyfriend were pressed up against the fridge, while two girls talked angrily in the corner. The marble tiling was slippery and smelled like fabric softener.
After carefully filling up two cups of Sprite, Sammy turned around and walked straight into Courtney Brae.
Courtney jumped out of the way as Sprite splashed onto the floor.
"Oh crap, sorry," Sammy said, leaning down and scooping up the cups. Courtney winked.
"It's okay," she said, biting her lip in what must have been an attempt at flirting. "I'll refill these for you."
She turned around and refilled the cups. "Here. Take a sip."
There was something...funny about how it tasted. The bubbles felt like burning fuel in his throat.
"How's Maia?" Courtney asked sweetly. Her voice sounded distant, like she was in a whole other room.
"Good." He felt sleepy, vulnerable. Courtney's bright pink lipstick seemed to jump out at him, and he focused on it to stay stable.
"Well," Courtney said softly, her fingers creeping up his arm. "I think that you and I are perfect for each other."
Sammy shook his head fervently. "No. We're not. We're -"
Courtney wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him into a kiss. His vision went fuzzy. The whole world was tinged pink.
"See?" Courtney's voice rang in his ears. "We're perrrrrrfect."
Her voice slurred, until -
"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Courtney jumped backwards. "Wh - what are you doing here?"
Foxes stood, her arms crossed, glaring.
"What did you do?" Foxes asked angrily, grabbing the sleeve of Sammy's shirt, catching him as he stumbled into the island counter.
"I - uh - erm..." Courtney managed, her face turning red.
"You know he has a girlfriend!" Her voice was garbled, like a voicemail pasted over static.
"I was just showing him some, er, options..."
"Well now you know! Get the hell out of my face!"
Sammy straightened up, his vision less blurry.
Foxes turned to look at him, glaring daggers. "Don't call me Lea, Fallon."
Sammy smiled. Foxes' strawberry blonde hair was braided and loose and she looked amazing in her denim dress.
"Why the heck are you looking at me like that?"
Sammy cupped her face in his hands and kissed her gently - she fought it at first - then -
Maia's voice rang loud and clear.
"What is going on here?"
They both turned to face Maia, whose face was pale in the chaotic strobe lights. She squeezed her eyes shut, and a tear traced down her cheek.
"I don't get this," Maia whispered.
"Maia - it's just a misunderstanding!" Foxes said, her eyes wide.
Maia crossed her arms, her eyes murderous. "What's for me not to understand? You were kissing him!."
"I swear to you -"
"I don't want to hear your B. S."
And she turned on her heel and sprinted off.
Foxes span in a circle, her eyes shut. "Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap."
Sammy stumbled backwards in a stupor, his eyes unfocused.
"Stay here," he heard her say. "I need to find Maia,"
And then, she too, was gone.
Foxes looked for her all night, wandering around the edge of the woods, finding absolutely nothing.
She'd go in, if only her willpower was stronger than her fear. Stories of kidnappings and
"Shit." she whispered to herself in the cold darkness. She pulled out her phone.
"Hello? I'm reporting a disappearance..."
"I'm sorry miss, but, uh,"
"Uh what? My friend is missing and I'm not happy."
"Well," the officer at the other end of the line said uncomfortably. "When did she disappear?"
"Three hours ago." Foxes paled.
"Well, erm, I'm sorry." Foxes heard a deep sigh from the other end.
"What?" Foxes took a deep breath - had they found Maia? Was she dead? Foxes forced herself not to think like that. Keep your thoughts positive, she told herself.
"You have to wait at least eighteen hours before you can file a missing persons case."
"Why?" Foxes demanded. "She's missing and she might be dead."
"Most teens run away because they feel unwanted but return quickly. Worried relatives and friends call in, demanding we file a case. This new implement narrows down to the real cases."
Foxes rolled her eyes. "Thanks for nothing," she snapped as she hung up.
She let herself slide down into the soft grass, and squeezed her eyes shut.
It's all my fault, it's all my fault, it's all my fault!
Then, she was startled by a rustling in the trees. She was in front of the forest - a large expanse of trees which covered the back of the town - when she saw the figure duck in and out of the shadows.
No answer. The figure was gone.
She turned on her phone again and dialled.
"What's up?" His voice was still drowsy.
"Can you come to the edge of the forest?"
"I," Foxes paused. She didn't want to get his hopes up. "I think I saw Maia."
"W - w - what?"
"Just come, and bring a torch. It's dark."
They stood in the middle of a clearing. The smell of pine sap stung in the cold night air.
"I really thought she'd be here," Sammy said, looking at the ground.
Foxes nodded in agreement. "Yeah."
"One more sweep?"
And off they went.
Foxes wandered through the shadows, until she stopped to gape at the lake.
Silvery mist seemed to bounce off the water, and the dim moon made the entire place look haunting. Foxes was about to sit down when she heard it.
A blood-curdling scream.
Foxes sprinted towards the sound - it was a beacon, a light tieing Foxes to Maia - she wanted it to be her but she didn't; she could feel the pain in the girl's voice.
She was back in the woods again - the mist clung to her as she ran through, and she was getting closer to the sound - and then she tripped, falling over a soft mass, and hitting something hard.
Foxes landed on a rock, scraping the side of her face. She pulled herself up, and bent down to look at what she had fallen over.
It was a body.
"No," Foxes whispered to herself, stumbling. "No!"
Maia lay, broken, on the forest floor, her eyes closed as if she could be sleeping - if not for the crimson smile cut into her neck.
Foxes screamed at the midnight sky, her eyes dripping with tears.
She forced herself to calm down.
"Breathe," she murmured to herself, her vision going blurry. Pulling out her phone, she dialled Sammy's number.
"Lea? You okay?" Sammy's voice was calm. He didn't even suspect what had happened.
"Um," Foxes took another deep breath.
"What?" He was agitated. Get to the point, woman!
"I found Maia."
"That's - that's great!" He breathed a deep sigh of relief. "Can you put her on?"
Foxes choked a sob. "She's dead, Sammy. You need to call the police..."
"What?" Sammy shrieked. "What the fuck?"
Foxes let the tears run down her face, her vision blurry.
"I'm so sorry, Sammy..."
She hung up and brushed her tears from her face.
This is all my fault... she thought, her eyes red.
She saw the red and blue light reflect across the lake.
"I'm so sorry," she mumbled to Maia's limp form.
And with one last look, she disappeared into the night.