Tuesday, August 21, 2012
A House Called Harmony
By: Elaine White
“Did you see that?” Jaime asked Nico nervously. She had been watching out the window, waiting for Clarissa to return from her search for the car for nearly four hours. There hadn’t been any sign yet, but just a moment ago, she had been sure there was someone outside. Nico crossed to the window and peered outside, but with the rain and the darkness of the trees it was hard to tell. She saw something, Jaime was sure. A cloaked or hooded figure ran past the front porch, she was certain. What did it mean? Was it Clarissa or was it the killer?
Jaime decided she wasn’t going to wait forever to find out. If there really was a psychotic killer on the loose, he or she would kill them all whether they were hidden in the cabin or not. It was time to face her fears. She donned a raincoat and took a second flashlight before leaving Nico with instructions not to open the door to anyone but her or Clarissa. Nico nodded, wished her luck and watched her leave.
Jaime pulled up her hood and ran out into woods in the direction she had spotted the hooded figure running. Barely a few feet into the woods, she found Clarissa. Someone had shot her in the forehead with her own rifle. Jaime was stunned but determined to handle her death better than she had handled Yasmin’s. They had known the risk the moment they left the cabin, but now all she could do was to close Clarissa’s eyes and take the rifle. She checked it and saw that only two shots had been fired and realized that the killer was either crazy or methodical. The killer had left the axe behind that had been used to kill Yasmin, and now he or she left the rifle behind with Clarissa’s body as well. What did it mean?
Jaime felt better with the rifle in her hand, poised and ready to shoot at anything that moved. But after looking for an hour, she found nothing. No footprints, no sign of disturbance and no sound. There were no birds or wildlife in the woods. This disturbed her, but she thought that if she was a deer or a bird, she wouldn’t want to be around a crazed killer either. Walking back to the cabin, she had the distinct feeling that she was being watched, but couldn’t quite decide from where or by whom. Every now and then when she turned to see if there was anyone there, all she saw was darkness and trees.
“Nico?” Jaime yelled, banging on the front door of the cabin. But when the door opened, she was shocked to see that it wasn’t Nico standing there smiling at her, but Kyle. “What are you doing here?” Jaime asked angrily, shrugging off her coat with suspicion. No one was supposed to have known where they were. How did Kyle find them? Was he the killer they were so afraid of?
“Why did you let him in?” she asked Nico angrily. If the cabin had once been their safe haven and Kyle really was the killer, they could kiss that comforting thought goodbye.
“I … it’s Kyle. He won’t hurt us,” Nico insisted.
Jaime was suddenly furious. The way Nico looked at the jock standing in their holiday cabin, it was clear he had a crush on Kyle. It was obvious that Nico wouldn’t dream of Kyle being the killer.
Jamie had some insane idea of Nico being their hero, saving them from the monster killing them off one by one. Jaime didn’t have the will or the time to argue. She put the safety back on the rifle and rested it against her chair by the fire, before pouring herself another glass of brandy to help with the cold and the shock. “Clarissa’s dead,” she explained as calmly as she could.
Unsurprisingly when she turned round, Nico had fainted into Kyle’s arms. “Dead?” Kyle asked stupidly.
“Yes, dead. Like Margery, like Yasmin, like Celia. Dead,” she snapped. She was angry that he was there, that Nico had let him in and angry that her friends were dying around her and she didn’t know why.
Jaime sat by the fire all night, quizzing Kyle. He had apparently hacked into her computer and read her e-mails to Clarissa in order to find them. It was all in innocence, he assured her, but she was still furious at the invasion of her privacy. He claimed that Marq went ballistic at him and had beaten him bloody for lying about their affair. He had ordered Kyle to apologize or else face another beating. In her current situation, Jaime actually smiled at the threat. At least Marq was trying to protect her. At least he loved her and cared for her. By the time Kyle had finished groveling for forgiveness and had heard the story of how their Spring Break trip had gone, Jaime sent him and Nico off to get some sleep. She had a feeling this wasn’t over. There were now three of them still alive, and the killer couldn’t possibly let them live. But if the killer thought she was going down without a fight, he had another thing coming.
This is Part 3 of a three part short story written by Elaine White. Elaine’s book Runaway Girl is the first book in her The Secrets of Avelia Chronicles to be published soon by Write More Publications. The final part of A House Called Harmony, Part 3, will be posted over the next week.