ProfNigma Stories #10: Schneider’s Island #9

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ProfNigma Stories #10: Schneider’s Island #9iCarly/Victorious: Schneider’s Island #9 – Snap[Warning – there is no sex in this story, please don’t hate me for that, but I hope you enjoy it nevertheless]The inn was as crowded as ever as staff, just as much as guests, were pouring out from the inn, all eager to get off the island. There had been a mass exodus suggested for all inhabitants of the formerly sl*epy island town from the sheriff, who was erring on the side of caution, in trying to get people out even if there was a suspect in custody. Naturally there was some disagreement with a few of the townsfolk, but for the most part, many viewed it as a quick vacation.Someone who was not having a vacation, however, was Spencer Shay, who had spent the last hour scouring the inn for his precocious daughter. He had asked everyone he saw if they had seen her, and when he realized his dad was missing too, he became even more uneasy. The two of them seemed to have just vanished into thin air. Spencer called and called his dad but couldn’t get an answer and he prayed that the Colonel had Savanna and was taking care of her.Out in front of the inn, Freddie Benson was playing traffic guard, helping guide people in and out of the inn, and point them to the direction of the nearest boat group, keeping track of how many each boat could fit, much like a ticket taker at a fair. His eyes kept looking for anyone that might be responsible, still feeling a bit of doubt that Robbie was the one who committed those horrible crimes.From the porch, Jade just watched him, her mind racing about the decision she had made about calling, not only the wedding, but the relationship, off with the Seattle born man she’d fallen in love with. Mindlessly, she reached inside her pocket and withdrew the picture that Carly had given her, and looked at it. Freddie smiling as he lips touched her cheek, and she couldn’t remember the last time she felt as happy as she looked in that glossy photo. Her mind ran back to that last moment at the camp where they shared a goodbye kiss that, for all intents and purposes, should have actually been a goodbye kiss, but somehow it wasn’t. They only grew stronger and more in love with each day they shared together from then on.”You ready?”Jade was so engrossed in the picture that she didn’t even hear Freddie come up and join her. She didn’t say anything and just showed him the picture as if that was an answer.Freddie just smiled, remembering that day as the day the world made a little more sense, and that he had just met someone that was going to change his life forever, and he couldn’t wait.The couple held hands for a moment and he kissed her tired forehead, pulling her in close to hold her tight.”I wish you were going,” Jade said, murmuring into his chest. “There’s still time and room on our boat, you know.”I know… and believe me, I wish I was going too, but I feel like my place is here for a little while,” Freddie said with a heavy sigh. “I still feel like a lot of this is my fault and I don’t want to go back knowing that I walked away from this. But I just want you to be away from here and safe. I’ll only be another day at most; the state police are supposed to arrive in the morning. Then I’ll get a boat and I’ll come right home to you.””You promise?” she asked, knowing his answer, but still needing a greater guarantee than he could offer.”I promise,” he lied, knowing she needed to hear that more than his fears of the truth.Behind them, the wedding party and primary guests headed out, bags in their hands to add to a golf cart that had been running shifts.”I just feel so bad for them, you know?” Andre said, chucking his bag onto the back beside Beck’s. “This was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives, and instead they got this…””I’m just happy they found Robbie and locked him down,” Cat said, handing her bags to Andre before taking a seat.”Did you guys know he was capable of this?” Noelle asked, getting Cat’s bag from Andre and adding them onto the stack herself.”If he’s the one who did this,” Beck added, rolling his eyes. “I still don’t buy Robbie doing all of this. He had some issues, but he’s not a killer. He and Freddie were good friends and he’s known Jade longer than I have. We were tight for a long time, and none of this makes sense.””Amen to that,” Andre said, before hopping into the driver’s seat to head for the marina, but was quickly stopped when Spencer jumped in front of their vehicle.* * *”Now if I uncuff you when we get to my desk, are we going to have a problem?” Singer asked, pulling Robbie from the tiny holding cell and leading him into the main office.”No sir…” Robbie said, eager to get this over with, knowing that he was innocent. A belief not shared by many in the precinct.”Good deal,” the older man said as he led him to the office where Singer had spent the last 20 years making his own. Pictures adorned the wall, as wall as plaques, and at lest eight different large fish mounted throughout the cluttered office. “Now, I did manage to get someone on the line for you and he’s flying up tonight so he can be on the morning flight. A detective named Vega, that can vouch for who you are, and he wants to be part of the team to bring you in. Seeing how his daughter is one of the people that is currently missing, which I neglected to mention, I’m not too big a fan of this, but I don’t seem to have much of a choice given the phone call I just got. But that might be the least of your problems.””What do you mean?” Robbie asked, rubbing his wrists where the tight metal bound him a bit too much.”Well, Mr Shapiro, I have read your file, and read it again, and I’ll be completely honest. I don’t get it. I need to understand why you did this.””I didn’t do anything, officer. I’m innocent!” Robbie was getting frantic, looking around the room at the two other officers standing around watching the conversation through the office window. “I have never killed anyone, and even if I did, I wouldn’t do that to Freddie and Jade.””Well, personally, I’m inclined to believe you, but there’s some pretty damning evidence we’ve found, including a cell phone of Det. Vega’s daughter. Not to mention the fact that you ran from us which normally means guilt.””I was scared…” Robbie said, trying to rationally explain himself. “It was fight or flight, and fighting is not really my thing. So I just ran and hid until this blew over.””Son, a murder is not something that just ‘blows over’” Singer said, shaking his head. “Is there anyone who can vouch for you or knew where you were or what you were doing during the time of the death?””Yeah, actually. The little girl… Savanna, the flower girl.” Robbie was desperate enough that he could only think of one person that saw him at the time of West’s death. “She saw me right afterward. Talk to her, and she’ll tell you.”* * *”I can’t find Savanna anywhere, guys… have you seen her?!” Spencer asked, looking incredibly frantic.The four friends just stared for a moment from the golf cart, seeing the absolute pain and terror in his eyes. Too many of their friends had disappeared already, and fear of their deaths was strong, but here was Spencer, possibly facing the horror of losing his daughter.His shouts garnered the attention of Freddie and Jade, and right behind them rushed Carly to join her br*ther.”Have you tried calling out to her?” Freddie asked, putting his hand on Spencer’s shoulder hoping to ease his worry a bit, but to no avail. “She could be playing a game or something.””That’s what I’m hoping,” Spencer said, turning to the whole group now as they just stared at him. “I lost her mom… I can’t bear losing her too.””We’ll find her,” Carly said, looking to the group in the cart, waiting for them to jump to volunteer and assist. “She couldn’t have gotten too far.””Robbie was playing with her yesterday,” Freddie added, not sure if that made the situation better o
r worse.”Yeah, but I saw her after the police got him,” Spencer said, quelling any chance for that discussion to move forward.”Well, look,” Freddie said, stepping forward. “I will go out and search for her.””I’ll help,” Carly said, touching her br*ther’s back.”Me too,” Jade said, stepping up to join her beau.”But you guys will miss the boat,” Spencer said, feeling bad for a moment that Freddie was once again jumping to a sacrifice, and now Carly and Jade were as well.”I wasn’t going in the first place just yet,” Freddie said, taking a deep breath before looking to the two volunteers and Spencer. “But we will search as much as we can so at least you guys don’t miss the boat.”Jade turned to look at the cart of her friends, waiting for them to volunteer, which was taking way longer than it should have. After what felt like an hour, Noelle finally got off the cart and headed inside, quickly followed by Cat, and then Andre, leaving Beck to just roll his eyes before groaning and heading back inside the inn.”I’ve got the sheriff’s number, Spencer,” Freddie said, looking through his phone. “I will let him know what’s up and get him over here right away.”* * *Robbie stared through the bars of his cell, staring at a very intimidating and taunting guard, as his fears grew and grew. Truthfully, this was the most scared he had been in his life since the Yerba incident back in high school. There were no other people in the cell so at least he didn’t worry about sexual assault, but still, the way that guard was staring at him made him extremely uneasy.Singer seemed to be a good enough guy and he seemed to believe Robbie’s story, but when he got the phone call, from Freddie, from the sound of it, and the grizzled older man just stared at him. Robbie didn’t even have a chance to say anything or ask about it when Singer rushed right out the door and threw Robbie back into lockup, asking one of the deputies to guard him. Obviously, this was not the type of person Robbie would have liked to be stuck with.Even worse, was that apparently the little girl, Savanna was now missing. She was a sweet k*d, and she reminded him a lot of the way Jade was when she was a k*d, but the bigger issue was that she was the only one who could validate his alibi. Robbie was legitimately worried about his friends and their families, but the idea that this girl had gone missing as well made him even more upset.”What did you do to her?”Robbie was pulled out of his head as he looked over at the pudgy deputy, toying with his baton, threatening him without actually threatening. “Who?””The little girl, dipshit. Everybody knows you were messing with her while you were here.””I never messed with her,” Robbie said, unaware that he was just digging a hole for himself. “We just played games and talked.””Games? Like playing doctor? Or a game she’s not supposed to tell anybody about?””No!” Robbie said, vehemently denying whatever this guy was implying. “No way. I would do any of that stuff.””Whatever, you p**o piece of shit…” the deputy said, approaching the bars. “I was on the fence about you killing someone because you’re scrawny as shit, but fucking with little girls is just disgusting.””I swear… It’s not-“Robbie was suddenly silenced as the lights flashed for a second and then went out, leaving them in pitch black.”Don’t move!” the officer said from the darkness. “Generator will kick on in a minute.”Robbie couldn’t see anything in the darkened prison really, but there was a flash of movement in the hallway behind the cop, and he rushed the bars to tell the cop about it, but before the words could escape his lips, a bright flashed erupted for a split second.BLAM!Robbie fell backwards in the cell, crawling away from the bars as a heavy thud sounded through the holding room, the deputy’s body, sans half his head, crumpled on the floor. Robbie thought he was alone, until he heard a faint jingling of keys, and he tried to peer at whoever the assailant was, but instead got hit in the face with the keys that fell just inside of his cell.A few seconds later, not that Robbie could tell, as he was still frozen completely in fear, the lights came back on, followed immediately by another loud shotgun blast. Robbie knew that he should just stay still, and that whoever gave him a means to escape clearly didn’t want to kill him. But despite how guilty it might look to run, running was still better than staying in this cell with the dead body of the mean guard.Robbie swiftly let himself out, and rushed through the back of the station, leading him deep into the woods, where he hoped he’d find salvation from who or whatever this was.* * *Back at the inn, the search parties had been organized and everyone was covering as much ground as they possibly could, eager to find Savanna and get the hell out of there. Mostly couples stuck together, and no one moved without at least one person with them. Spencer and Carly naturally stuck together, tearing up each and every room that was unlocked upstairs, and trying their damnedest to get into the locked ones. Spencer getting angrier and angrier with each empty room they encountered.”Just relax, Spence… we’re going to find her,” Carly said, patting her br*ther’s back but he wouldn’t even give her a glance, essentially ignoring her for a few minutes until the siblings reached the bedroom shared with Amy.”She’s dead, you know?” Spencer said, deadpan. “I lost the love of my life, my daughter is missing and I… I’m more scared of that conversation about Amy than I am of anything else right now.””She’s a smart girl…” Carly said, trying to find the reassuring words her br*ther needed even if she didn’t exactly believe them. “You tell her that she passed away, and she will understand. I promise. And things are going to be ok.””I wish I shared your optimism, k*ddo…” he said with a heavy sigh, sitting on his daughter’s bed and just holding her pillow.* * *Beck, Tori, and Andre were also searching the upstairs of the inn, each one as eager as the next to get this over with, trying not to resent the ch*ld for the situation they had been put in. They had searched all the rooms on the other side of the upstairs that they could, and felt especially uneasy when they found that Col Shay hadn’t packed a single thing.”We’re in agreement that this is not a good thing, right?” Andre said, looking over the room and then underneath the bed as Tori and Beck stood in the doorway.”Yeah,” the handsome teen replied, casually checking the closet of the room to see if she might be hiding in there. “Not much here that is good anymore.””We’re still together…” Tori added hopefully. “That’s something right?””Except we’re not.” Beck turned his attention to his former love. “The three of us are ok, but your s*ster’s missing. My ex is missing. And one of our best friends is currently being held for the murders/disappearances. I don’t think that qualifies as being ‘together,’ Tori.”* * *Freddie, Jade, and his mother all went out into the deeper woods since Freddie knew those a little bit better than anyone else at the inn, thanks to his jogging regiment the first few days here. Jade was spending less of her time searching as she was more focused on keeping Freddie within touching distance, afraid to even let him a foot away from her. Marissa was also less interested in finding the ch*ld as she was, trying to hurry things along so she could leave without having to see her piece of shit ex-husband. The three of them, headed so far into the woods, that they found a bridge, which was pretty small, that strung across the river, hundreds of feet below them.There was absolute silence besides the calling of Savanna’s name, which was fine for all three since there weren’t really any words that needed to be shared. The former web producer led his fiancée and his mother across the bridge, hoping that the ‘danger’ would have been appealing to the girl, and that she might nearby.* *
*On the other side of the inn, deep in the woods, closer to where there was a ‘beach’ area, Sam and Nate were far more focused on trying to find the girl so they could leave, but more than that, their focus was due to not wanting to deal with one another.”Never thought looking for a little girl would be like looking for vermin out on the ranch.”Sam shot him a glance at how ridiculous that sounded. “You’re such an asshole…””What did I say?” he stared back, trying to find his offense.”There’s a little girl lost, dude. And you just called her vermin… which by the way sounds fucking stupid.””I didn’t call her vermin, I said-“”It doesn’t matter,” the blonde cut him off, pulling ahead of him. “That’s just you, Nate… always thinking you’re above everybody else and not caring for anyone but yourself.””You ain’t exactly one to talk, Samantha Puckett.””Fucking stop that…” she said, turning around and narrowing her eyes, “you know how much I hate it when you call me by that name. And may-be I’m not, but Tasha’s been missing for like two days now, probably dead, and you haven’t said a single thing. You don’t care about her.””I barely knew her. I met her a few days ago, we had a good time, and it wasn’t anything serious. I’m sad she’s missing, but if you expect me to just fall and weep for every passing stranger you’re gonna be waitin’ a while.”Sam narrowed her eyes at the staunch man before her. “Just can’t help but be the ‘love ’em and leave ’em’ type can you? Just fuck a girl and move on. You’re such canlı kaçak iddaa a fucking pig…””If you’re trying to take the high ground with me, you’re mistaken,” Nate said, sternly. “Way I remember it, you were that way for a while too.””Yeah…” she said, her rage calming momentarily. “Well, at least I own up to my mistakes, and not try and be this Prince Charming John Wayne all the fucking time. Just banging someone, making them feel like they’re special, and leaving them out to dry.””Look, I know this is personal, but things change, Sam.” Nate said, stopping completely so he could give the blonde his full attention. “You know I ain’t never gonna forget you or what we had, but I needed someone to love and take care of… Not someone who didn’t need me and I could share a beer with. That’s why I wanted us to be friends.””You can’t be friends with your exes, you retard hick!” she practically yelled. “I was the one who took your cherry, don’t forget. I was happy with us. You were the one who was so caught up in some fantasy that you couldn’t just enjoy yourself. Everything was ‘Tori’ this and ‘Tori’ that, and I get it… she’s nice and she’s cute, but look how that turned out. And that was the worst part… I could understand if she came onto you and wanted to get things going… that makes sense to me. It would piss me off but at least that made sense. But you just one day decided that you were done and you needed to go back to stalking the bitch. That doesn’t give you a right to just be a jackass and man-whore because your dream got shattered.””Oh, I can’t wait to hear this…” Nate said, rolling his eyes. “You’ve been pining for Freddie for so long that you can’t even see how messed up you are because of him. Do you even understand that you’re at HIS wedding?”Sam gave the large Texan a hard slap across the face and then took off ahead as Nate just walked behind her, and wondered if he took that a little too far.* * *In the lobby, Cat and Noelle were scouring some of the main rooms, doing less looking, and more just talking, which was mostly spent trying to calm the shivering and anxiety fuelled redhead. They had checked all the major rooms on the west end of the house, including the ballroom, and the office within, none of which looked remotely out of place. They were just about to give up their end of the search, and move somewhere else, when Spencer and Carly rushed down the stairs.”Find anything?” Noelle asked, knowing the answer already, but asking seemed appropriate.”Nothing,” Carly said, looking around the lobby for anyone they hadn’t talked to about the little girl or her father, but the place was pretty empty, with most of the staff and other guests on their way to the boats. “I’m guessing nothing on this end either?””Nada,” Cat said, snuggling tight to Noelle’s arm. “We were going to head down to the basement next.””Then we will too,” Spencer said, pulling away from the girls and leading the charge to the basement, unaware of the horror that he was going to find there.* * *Sheriff Singer had called back to the station a couple times, but there had been no reply. That wasn’t too unusual though. With only three cops on the island, keeping someone right at the desk for calls was not the easiest thing. The grizzled man was avoiding the inn as much as he could, fearing that he might run into the Colonel again, and chose to stick to the woods.As he stomped through the woods, he tried to keep an eye out for anyone or anything. If what the girl said about her and her father being at-tacked with traps in the woods was true, then there could be several dangerous pieces that not even he was aware of.Singer approached a cabin that he wasn’t exactly familiar with, and while it looked rather ramshackle, that didn’t mean that someone wasn’t living in it. The sheriff took a few steps toward the door, when he saw movement from the other side.”Hey!” he called out, and the mysterious figure just bolted out. “Come back! Sheriff’s department!”Singer realized he was going to have to go on a chase and raced around the cabin, but he wasn’t watching his step nearly as well, and he felt a slight tug as he slipped between two trees.In a flash, he realized that it was fishing line that had stopped him, and from the creaking sound, there was a trap he had triggered. While he had time to think, his body didn’t have time to move as a metal rod sprung up from beside the tree, with a sharp nail at the end, about ¾ of an inch thick. The sharp piece impaled his leg, just above the knee, going a few inches deep.Using all of his strength, he pushed the bar away, but the spring in the contraption was too strong and it just went in more when he tried to move it.”Aaarggghhhhh!” he screamed out as he couldn’t move, just able to watch as the thin figure ran deeper into the woods.* * *In the now defunct kitchen, Tori, Beck, and Andre were peering through all of the blackened steel cabinets, wondering if the little girl could have crawled inside one of them.”Do you think she knew about her mom dying in here?” Andre asked as he looked all around, trying not to look at the body shaped impression where there was no real damage. “Like she was called to this spot, looking for her?””Called?” Beck said, shooting him a look. “You think the girl’s mom’s ghost led her here or something?””Or something…” Tori said, with a sigh, feeling like this was all just a waste and that whatever happened to the cute little girl was worse than just her being missing. If it could happen to her s*ster, it could happen to this girl, she thought.”Ugh,” Beck said, peering behind a cabinet, and seeing a rat, freshly killed by a trap. The irony of their situation did not escape him, and there was no question in his mind that this whole island was a trap, and they were all the rats. “I swear, if we miss our chance to get the fuck out of here be-cause of some little b-“Before he could even finish the word, Tori smacked him hard in the arm, signalling her intense disgust with his selfishness. The handsome teen just shook his head and fell behind her and Andre as they searched deeper, heading toward the freezer.While Andre searched near the door, Tori moved a bit deeper into the icy cold where hunks of meat hung from the ceiling. As she moved a couple feet deeper, she saw something that didn’t look quite right with one of the back pieces. As she moved closer and closer, she saw that this meat not
only had hair but also was wearing clothes.Tori held back a terrified scream, as she realized that the body was Jade’s mother. Her mouth was taped and it looked like she was killed before being put on the hook, but whatever happened, she was definitely dead now.”Guys!” she called out, and Beck and Andre rushed past hanging beef and pigs to join her and their eyes grew just as large.”That’s…” Beck managed, looking even more horrified than Tori, since he had more of a relationship with the older woman. “I guess that’s why we couldn’t find her when Robert died.””Damn…” Andre said, shaking his head, his mind desperately trying to grasp onto something to help him deal with, not only the sight of Mrs West, but this entire situation where people were being killed off. “I officially fucking hate this place…””Seconded,” Beck said, ushering the near paralyzed Tori out of the freezer and back into the kitchen where it somehow felt a little less terrifying.* * *Deep in the woods, Jade and Freddie were now lagging behind his mother as she rapidly searched several yards ahead of them. The couple was deep in conversation about the future of their relationship as the overbearing woman tried to drown them out, still hating the harlot that was stealing her son away from her. To make matters worse, she had this sense that there was something else going on with the two of them, and all she could think was that if her baby had gotten that trash pregnant, that ch*ld was doomed unless Marissa was allowed to raise it.As the young lovers’ conversation, and physical closeness, increased, Marissa pulled even further ahead of them, following a path, being weary of where she was going in case Freddie needed her and she needed to rush back.Marissa heard their giggling still and pressed further, until she heard the faint sound of grunting, and wondered if it was Savanna, even though the noise was far too deep and guttural for a ch*ld.From across the clearing, she spotted a man standing by a tree and within a second, she had identified who this stranger was, and wondered if she should have even bothered checking on this.”Robert?!” she called out, but he clearly didn’t hear her.As she moved closer and closer, she realized, from nearly fifty feet away what the problem was. There was a steel bar and it looked like some-thing was going through his leg.”Robert Singer,” she said, a bit louder, and finally caught his attention. She was surprised by the way his face looked, looking so different in 20 years, and yet so similar in so many ways. The sad and pained look in his eyes quickly reminded her why she had been with him for those years before everything got out of hand. “I’m coming.””Traps!” he called out towards her as she began to approach, but she didn’t slow down as she nearly ran to him.This proved to be a critical mistake, as she stepped too fast and too hard into a false floor and fell into a hole, her mind running 10 times the speed of time, seeing leaves go everywhere. There was no support or ground to catch her fall as she felt like she was falling for eternity but it was actually a few seconds.”Marissa!” was the last word she ever heard as she felt the sharp sting in her arm, which was a dull pain compared to the pain she felt in her neck. There was a quick shot of pain in her head for a split second but then there was nothing.Singer looked up to see two bodies running toward the sound of his shouts, and was saddened to see that Freddie and his girl were the ones who were walking in on this.”Freddie,” he called out, mustering up as much strength as he could. “Don’t come near me… Don’t walk this way!”Just like his mother, Freddie couldn’t help himself but stay steady on, careful in his step, but still moving toward the large hole that did not look the least bit natural, holding Jade’s hand all the while.His paced slowed as he grew closer to the hole, knowing what was at the bottom of it, but part of him still believing that it wasn’t true. His worst fears grew and his hopes dashed as he peered inside, and saw the woman who had defended and cared for him, even it was a little too intense, impaled on several sharp sticks that someone had set up as a trap.”The hunters call them tiger traps,” Singer said, trying to fight off his pain so he could ease the boy’s concerns, praying he could at least be the father he needed in this moment, but his words were neither helpful nor reassuring. “I’m sorry… I tried-“”You called her Marissa,” Freddie said coldly, never looking away from his mother, and fighting back the tears that were welling up deep inside him. “You knew my mom… and you didn’t think to mention that?””I wanted… I really did, but-“”But nothing. I’ve been around you for two days now and this was something you could have at least pointed out even if it wasn’t important.””It’s a lot bigger than that and I didn’t want you to know the truth.”Freddie saw red, letting go of Jade and motioning for her to stay as he marched towards Singer, keeping his eyes on the ground for any other traps that might be around. When he reached him, Freddie held the iron spike in his hands and figured out how the mechanism worked.”I’m going to get you free,” he said calmly with a heavy sigh. “And when I do, we are going to walk to the inn, and you are going to tell me EVE-RYTHING that you seem so keen on not sharing.””Deal…” Singer said under his breath as he braced himself for the spike coming out and hoping he could shift in time before the trap reset.Freddie used a pocket knife to sever the fish line so no one else would befall this fate, and quickly pulled back on the bar, not even giving a warning and the older man fell forward from the trap before it snapped back into place, slightly piercing the tree.”We need to treat that wound pretty quickly,” Jade said, remembering that her father had stumbled along with his injuries and could have recovered if not for Robbie, or whoever it was that was after them.”We will…” Freddie said, helping Singer up. “But not until you talk.””Fine…” Singer said, realizing it would be best if he just ripped the Band-Aid right off. “The truth is… I’m your dad. And Marissa and I used to be married.”Freddie nearly fell over from shock feeling faint at this sudden revelation, and unfortunately, as the blood spilled from the wound, Singer actually did faint. For now, that bombshell was all Freddie was going to get from the sheriff… his dad.* * *As Spencer, Carly, Cat, and Noelle descended into the basement, they quickly became aware of a pretty awful smell.”Did an a****l die down here or something?” Cat asked, looking all around the damp and darkened room for where the scent could be coming from.”Let’s hope it’s an a****l,” Noelle said, clenching her girlfriend’s hand.The eldest Shay was practically shaking as they reached the bottom of the stairs, nervous that the horrible smell was what he was so afraid of. He started to clench tightly and shiver when he felt Carly’s hand on his shoulder.”We’re going to find her, Spence… don’t worry.””That’s what I’m so afraid of,” he said, fighting back tears, as well as a growing lump in his throat.As Spencer and Carly slowed down to take a moment, Noelle and cat pressed on, covering their noses as they moved deeper into the junk filled basement. They were so focused on what was in front of them that it took a moment to realize what was beneath them.”Ugh… my foot is stuck in something,” Cat said, looking down at the floor and the colour drained from the tanned girl’s face in an instant as she could easily see what it was, even in weak lighting. “Ummm… Noey?””Yeah?” Noelle spun around and looked at where Cat was pointing, and realized that both of them were standing in a pool of blood. “Oh my god…”The Shays rushed over to the noise and stood back as they watched Cat and Noelle move to the side, away from the crimson puddle.”Is that what I think it is?” Carly asked, sliding into Spence
r.”Yeah…” Noelle said, taking a deep breath and then leaning in closer. “It’s definitely blood, but there is a lot of it. If this was Savanna’s she would have had to have been bled out.”Not once considering what her words would mean to Spencer until they were out, Noelle slowly backed away and offered an extremely apologetic glance.”Look!” Cat called out, pointing behind a shelf where she saw some strange markings coming from the pool.The other three followed her finger’s direction and saw more of the red, but it seemed like it was pulled or wiped away. As if someone murdered someone and then dragged them deeper into the basement. Following the short, but winding trail, the four of them were led to the furnace, where the trail stopped.”I don’t know why we would need the furnace going in the middle of the summer…” Noelle pondered, praying what she was afraid of wasn’t true.Carly reached up to open the door, but Spencer quickly swatted her hand away. “Carly!” he said with complete urgency, “you’d scald your hand…”The eldest Shay looked around for a second and saw a bunch of old towels. Wrapping his hand tightly, he turned off the furnace and then pulled open the door, which not only released a ton of smoke, but also intensified the smell a hundredfold.”Guess that explains the smell…” Noelle said, moving beside Spencer to look inside, while Cat and Carly kept their distance.The two of them used a poker and a small fireplace shovel, to look around inside, searching for any sign of what made that smell, or why the trail of blood ended there.”Hold on…” Noelle said, sliding until Spencer was out of the way. She seemed to be busy moving stuff around but what she had seen couldn’t be shared until Noelle stepped back with something on the end of her shovel.”That’s…””Yeah, Cat…” Noelle said, nodding slowly. “That’s a skull.””I’m going to throw up…” Carly moaned and moved back, nearly slipping in the red pool beneath her feet.For nearly a minute there was utter silence as Noelle and Spencer looked at the skull while Cat did her best to try and comfort Carly from her nausea.”This isn’t the skull of a ch*ld,” Noelle said, as if that made things any better. “The head’s way too big, and from the look of it, it’s fairly recent; in the last 6 hours, at least. Looks like was crushed by a pretty strong f*rce, since it seemed to smash through both temples.””Should I even ask how you know all that?” Spencer said, staring almost incredulously.”I’m a writer… we’re into… well, we’re into some weird shit sometimes.””Huh…” Spencer said, breathing a small sigh of relief but felt no closer to finding his daughter. “So if that isn’t Savanna… who… whose is it?”* * *Along the riverbank, there were no words exchanged by Sam or Nate for several minutes, both equally content to not even discuss the previous calamity they shared. The sad part is that they probably easily could have, but both were far too proud to take that road.Sam was lost in her own head, knowing Nate wasn’t wrong about internet casino her feelings for Freddie, and that she was still hung up on him even if he was getting married. But at the same time, when she and Nate were together, she at least felt happy. He was fun and different, and he treated her well and she didn’t constantly feel the need to test him or dominate. She was just there, and that worked for her. But that was a couple years ago now, and she knew there was no going back.Nate also felt bad about what he had said, knowing Sam had a point about his change in demeanour. He wasn’t proud to be the person he was anymore and he shouldn’t have taken his bitterness out on Sam since none of what tore them apart was really her fault. She just wasn’t ‘the one’ that he had spent his life searching for. She was beautiful, and fun, and sweet, deep down… but she was too much of a ‘dude.’ And what Nate wanted was a princess that he could be the knight for.”You ain’t crazy for bein’ here,” Nate said, causing Sam to stop in her tracks.”What?” she said, knowing what he said, but just needing him to clarify before she responded.”I said it’s not that nuts be here for someone you love. To still hold out hope that things might change and that you still have a chance. I get it… I just don’t like it.””Well,” Sam said, with a heavy sigh, “I don’t like it either but I don’t think either one of us can give advice on the other ‘chasing rainbows’ or other unrealistic shit.””That’s what gets me about you Samantha Puckett,” Nate said, using her full name as he always did when he needed to say something sincere, but not wanting it to come off too sweet, thus using the name to ‘harden’ the gentle blow. “You deserve a good guy. One that will love you and treat you right, and you just won’t let yourself do that. To be happy.””Nathan,” she said in her best impression of the Texan, “why do you think that is? The last guy that seemed to care about me and treated me right just dumped me out of the blue to chase after another girl.””I’m just saying. I might be lost to whatever magic that girl has on me, but you don’t have to. You can-“Nate was stopped short as he noticed a thick rope coming out of the water up ahead. Sam waited for the rest of his sentence but it never came as he moved past her towards the rope that was leading up through the forest. The large young man kept his hands on the rope and followed it through the woods, keeping Sam right at his back.”What is it?” she asked, peering at the rope and what it might be connected to that was this convoluted.”I don’t know…” he whispered, as the rope led to a tree where it was wrapped all around it.The former couple slowly moved along the side of the tree until they stopped short, both reeling back in absolute horror and disgust.On the other side of the tree, being tied to it, and held in place like she was the figurehead of a ship, was Tasha’s body, the face reddened and scarred around the lips, but there was no denying that that was the former supermodel.Before she even realized she did it, Sam spun into Nate’s arms as he held her close, both too distraught to even look at the horrible sight any longer.”We need to get back to the inn,” he whispered. “I’m sorry for your friend and his k*d… but there is no way in hell that we are staying on this rut-tin’ island. Whatever it takes, we’re leaving this nightmare.”* * *Spencer hadn’t long since abandoned the furnace clearing task, in an effort to focus on his s*ster who was getting sicker by the moment it seemed, when Noelle pulled out more bones with the shovel, making it abundantly clear that someone had put a body in the furnace. It was male, according to Noelle, but so far, no other information could really be gathered.The smell was terrible at first, but now that they had been in it for a while, the smell was no longer really bothering them, or at least there were now more pressing fears and sensual overloads to deal with.RIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGIt had been so long since Spencer had gotten a signal, much less a call, that he practically jumped when his cell phone went off. He checked the number and saw it was his dad calling. For the briefest of moments, as he hit the Talk button, he believed everything was fine- that his dad had gotten Savanna onto a boat, and just couldn’t get in touch with him. But when he heard her screams, that fantasy abruptly ended.”Daddy!” she called out.”I’m here, sweetie… are you-“”Daddy… I have to tell you something.””Spencer’s breaths became rapid and shallow. “Yes… anything. Just tell me you’re alright.””I’m okay, Daddy… but the man said if anyone from the wedding tries to leave the island, he’s going to kill me.””No one is leaving until-“”I don’t want to die, Daddy!”Spencer attempted to respond but his voice waivered and the call went dead. All the colour drained from his face as he dropped the phone to his side and just stood there.”What is it
?!” Carly said, nearly knocking Cat over, to get closer to her br*ther.”She said if anyone from the wedding gets on that boat tonight, they’re going to kill her.””Then we just won’t leave…” Carly said, sounding deeply troubled, but as always optimistic as she looked to Cat who looked far less happy with that decision.”Guys…”All three turned their attention to Noelle who was fishing something out with her hands, apparently cooled off enough for her to reach inside.”I think I know who was in the furnace…” she said, her voice quivering and not wanting to make any eye contact with the Shays. “I just found this.”The dark haired writer handed a small pocket knife that was inscribed: AIM HIGH: FLY-FIGHT-WIN and on the other side it listed the owner. COL. STEVEN SHAY- USAF.”I’m so, so sorry…” Noelle managed, unsure of what the right thing to say in this moment was, or if that even existed. “If it means anything, I think he died before he burned.There was complete silence as Spencer felt like his world was crashing down. His wife was burned and killed, his father was killed and burned apparently, and now his daughter- the only light left in his life, was in danger. He couldn’t risk any harm coming to her. Not now. Not ever.Carly was also frozen in place. She hadn’t spent nearly as much time with her dad as Spencer did, but that didn’t make the blow any softer. All she could think was that he was a decorated soldier who was tougher than anyone she’d ever met. How could anyone have done… whatever they did to him?”My phone’s dead,” Cat said, breaking the tension, and snapping the two of them out of their stupor. “There’s no signal at all.””Mine too,” Noelle joined, before receiving soft nods from the grieving siblings, signalling they were also unable to get a signal. “But we just got a call… Let’s check the landlines.”The two girls rushed up the stairs, with Carly and Spencer right behind them, their hands holding onto each other tightly, still completely shell shocked. The four moved to each room in the main area of the inn, and ever single phone was as dead as a doornail.”Someone’s just cut off our ability to communicate…” Noelle said, feeling like she needed to step up if Spencer couldn’t right now. “From now on, no more splitting up. We stick together in tight groups, and we won’t need the phones. We will be fine.””Fine?!” Cat exclaimed, starting to lose it. “People are dying and we are trapped here, and you think we’re going to be fine?!””Yes…” Noelle said, confidently even though her true feelings couldn’t be further from that. “Yes, I do. Now we just need to get everyone together right here and make a plan.”* * *”This is your plan?” Beck said, looking at the dark haired young woman. “To take turns going in search of the girl, while she, and probably the rest of us, gets murdered? Fuck. That.”The lobby of the inn had just become a circle of couches with Nate, Sam, Andre, and Beck on one, Tori, Cat, and Noelle on the next, and then Freddie, Jade, Carly, and Spencer on the last one. Jade and Freddie had gotten the sheriff into the dining room where he was within sight, but not within voice reach since Freddie really didn’t trust him. A feeling that Spencer clearly seconded.”But basically, if anyone leaves the island they are going to kill the girl?” Nate asked, trying to sum up Noelle’s long explanation. “How do we know that it isn’t a trick or that the girl is already-“”She was fine when I talked to her,” Spencer said coldly. “She sounded very scared, but she didn’t sound like she was hurt or anything.””So is this everybody?” Sam asked, looking around the room. “Where’s your mom, Fredward?”There was a moment of intense silence as Freddie looked up at the girl he once believed he loved, and perhaps he did, but in this moment, there was nothing but fire and hate in his eyes. The only thing that calmed him was the feel of Jade’s hand on his arm, and by flipping out he could hurt her too.”She didn’t make it,” Jade said, trying to answer for him so he wouldn’t have to say the words out loud. “She was trying to help the sheriff and she fell into a tiger trap or some insane hunting shit like that. Just like the trap that got me and my dad, but this was much worse.””Wow…” Sam said, unable to find the right words. “I’m… really sorry, Benson.””It’s whatever…” the former tech producer muttered as he tried to muster his strength together.Tori decided to break the awkward silence. “So if Savanna just made the call, and Robbie’s been locked up since before she went missing this afternoon, how did he do that?””I don’t think he did…” Andre said, speaking up for his friend. “I don’t think Robbie is guilty of any of this.””He’s right,” Noelle added in. “Those bones we found of Col. Shay were freshly burned and Robbie was already with the police when he was get-ting supplies off the porch and taking them down to the… oh…””That makes a lot more sense,” Cat said, finally understanding how no one really noticed the former Air F*rce officer being taken. He was down there voluntarily.”So let’s just go over the dead…” Andre said, looking at his friends and wondering if that was a harsh word. “Or at least, the missing. They might be important to whoever is doing this to us.””I think Sinjin was first,” Freddie said, remembering what Robbie, and Tori found together. “And I guess my mom was last, but that was an accident.”Gibby and Amy died together, which had to be intentional” Spencer said, almost devoid of emotion. “And someone made killing dad a big deal so that was no accident.””And we found Gibby’s ex, Tasha, tied to a tree today,” Sam interjected. “Not sure when she died, but I don’t think you get mounted on a tree by accident.”My parents are both gone…” Jade said, touching Freddie’s shoulder and he instinctively wrapped his arm around her, pulling her in close as she fought the images of her dad, and the nightmare that Tori described in the freezer. “I never thought I’d say that.””And no one has seen or heard from Trina or Kelly in a few days now,” Andre said.”Robbie had Trina’s phone, so-” Sam said, but was quickly cut off by Beck.”Or someone planted it on him.” The handsome, dark haired, young man was extremely defensive of Robbie for some reason. “I think we’ve al-ready established that Robbie’s innocent of all of this.””I don’t know…” Noelle said, looking like she was weighing the evidence in her hands. “Robbie might not have been guilty of what happened with Col. Shay or Savanna, but he still could have done the other stuff.””So two people are trying to kill us now?” Andre said, throwing his hands in the air.”I don’t know… I just don’t think I want to scratch Robbie of the suspect list just yet. But we could talk to him.””In the jail?” Carly asked. “Is it really the best idea for someone to leave for that, now that we are here and safe?””I’d hardly call this safe,” Nate said, looking around. “We’re in front of a ton of glass and windows. If we were dealing with a sniper, we’d be screwed.””Look,” Beck began, as he started to get off the couch, “I’m all for finding this little girl, but I think we should just run. Just hop a boat and get out of here.””No!” Spencer said, standing up to meet Beck and tower over him a bit for intimidation. “That is my daughter and I’m not going to let your selfish ass kill her!”Beck did not back down, and in fact, stepped forward. “This isn’t just about me. What makes her life so much more important than anyone else’s? Why should we sit here and be picked off and lose our lives, just to MAYBE save her’s? You can call me selfish all you want but I’m a realist.”Spencer looked around at the couches, and with the exception of just a few faces, no one would even look at him, all signalling that Beck, even if he was a jackass, had a good point. He began to spe
ak when he felt a strong push behind him, and realized that it was Jade shoving him as she charged forward, grabbed Beck by the shoulders and kneed him hard, right in the balls.She stood over him as her former boyfriend crumpled to the floor, holding himself as he writhed, moaning in agony.”We’re not fucking leaving yet,” she said coldly. “Discussion over.”* * *After Jade’s outburst, there wasn’t much planning or plotting going on, as they all just sat around, leaving in pairs when anyone had to go to the bathroom, or head back to their room for something.Freddie spent most of that time, sitting by his father, his mind running through all the memories that this man missed out on, and how he didn’t even try to reach out to him or his mom. He wanted to punch him. He wanted to hate him. But it wasn’t in Freddie to just hate someone even if they were a good for nothing deadbeat.Until the sheriff woke up there would be no new information, which was a complete bummer for the Seattle native. Every so often, he would say something like ‘No’ or his or his mom’s name, clearly reliving the nightmare or something much worse.As Freddie looked over Singer’s body as it breathed shallow breaths, he began to pray that he would at least get some answers as to who this guy is and why he wasn’t around. But he stopped his prayers short when he saw the keys on Singer’s belt.If Robbie was innocent, or more importantly, if he knew something, it was vital that they talk to him before whoever was out there killing people got to him. Freddie questioned the morality of stealing the keys from not only an unc*nscious officer of the law, but also his father, and found that the benefits probably outweighed any consequences for what he planned to do.He knew Jade wouldn’t just let him out by himself, but he needed to do this and the fewer people that were around for sneaking into the police station, the better.Freddie was just about to try and slip out one of the side doors when he heard a high pitched scream and rushed down the hall to check it out.Cat was screaming, and from the way Noelle was trying to calm her down, she was having a full blown panic attack. Freddie, as well as those who had been standing away from the scene rushed over, and without warning Sam tackled Cat to the ground, and held her there, trying to stop what-ever hysteria was driving the petite redhead.”You’re fine!” Sam shouted down at the thrashing girl. “You are perfectly safe right now! Relax!”As if Sam’s words were cursed, the power went out with a loud thud, turning everything in the already bleak looking evening even darker.Surprisingly, this not only made Cat stop screaming but also silenced the whole room full of people, who could only stand and stare at one another.”Alright, first the phones, and now the lights. I’m afraid to ask what gets shut off next,” Andre said, looking his peers in the eye.”If we don’t get the fuck out of here, we’re what’s next,” Beck announced, showing that the swift groin injury did nothing to sway his opinions.”We ain’t leavin,’” Nate said, speaking up and getting off of the couch where he had made himself comfortable. “But there is something we need to do and I’ve put it off long enough. Somebody know where some candles or flashlights might be?”Tori said, raising her hand; not that anyone could easily see that. “We found a few in the kitchen while we were looking… I’ll go get them.””Much obliged,” Nate said, and for a moment Andre could swear he saw the guy tip his imaginary hat at the aspiring star.Once she had returned and divvied up the lights, he stood up and announced to the group. “Follow me.”Not really sure where this was going, but he seemed confident and there was no argument that this plan seemed better than the no plan they currently had. Nate headed up the stairs to a large cabinet and tried to turn the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. His next step was bashing his elbow through the glass and opening the cabinet from the inside revealing six rifles.The Texan wasted no time handing the guns and ammunition by the handful to Spencer, Andre, Freddie, Sam, Beck (even if he didn’t want to), and took one for himself. “These should keep us safe for the time being in case someone shows up and complicates things.””Not to be that guy…” Noelle said, earning the attention of the recently armed group. “Or girl, I guess. But I don’t think this is exactly a good idea. Guns are very unsafe, and gun accidents happen all the time, and they are extremely dangerous in untrained hands, and-“”And that’s why you ain’t gettin’ one, missy,” Nate scoffed as he pushed past her.”You pompous son of a-“KUDINK KUDINK…. canlı poker oyna KNOCK KNOCKNoelle didn’t have a chance to finish as the group heard someone trying to get into the main doors before knocking. With the lights out, they couldn’t see much of anything, and they really didn’t want to risk letting the killer into what they believed to be a safe area.”Ch*ldren?!” called the voice, and Jade breathed a sigh of relief as she headed towards the door.”It’s just Sikowitz,” she said, calmly as she opened the door for him.”Yes… it’s just me,” he said, sounding very nervous, but not exactly fearful. “I was boarding the boat just now and I realized that none of you were on it. Is something wrong?””Yeah,” Spencer said, stepping from the shadows. “My daughter has gone missing and whoever took her said that if anyone from the wedding tries to leave, they’re going to kill her.””Oh wow… that’s terrible,” he said, suddenly looking as terrified as the rest of them. “I saw the lights go out as I was waiting by the docks, and I thought you ch*ldren might be in trouble.””I really wish you’d drop the ch*ldren thing, man,” Andre said, patting his former teacher on the back, less annoyed and just thankful that some-one else was safe.”So the boats are already gone?” Beck asked, trying his best not to look too annoyed with the entire situation.”They left about 20 minutes ago, I think. More should be coming tomorrow though, they said.””Well, that’s a relief,” Andre said. “I guess we just need to find the little girl now.””Why don’t we split up into teams of three and go searching?” Noelle said. “Sam, Cat, and myself can go look, and maybe Andre, Beck, and Tori, and then Nate, Jade, and… where’s Freddie?”The group that had just calmed down was suddenly stirred back up into a panic that the groom, the one who many blamed a bit for this whole debacle was now nowhere to be found. Jade raced down the hall to where Singer was laying and couldn’t find him there either, but she did find a short note left on the nearby table.Jade- I’m assuming you are the one to check on me, but if not pass this on to her. Sitting around was driving me crazy and I don’t want to risk you guys getting hurt out there with me. Gonna see if I can get Robbie out and at least bring him back here so we can talk. At the very least there should be a radio or something for us to call out on so we can get some help. Sorry to just run off, but I knew you wouldn’t let me if I had asked. Love you and I promise I won’t leave you again.”Goddamn right I would have stopped you,” she said to the paper, crumpling it up in her hands as she stomped out into the den. “So, Freddie ran off.””He left the island?!” Spencer said, jumping to his feet.”No…” Jade said, rolling her eyes. “He said he’s going to get Robbie out of the jail and bring him back here so we can talk to him. Freddie’s convinced he knows something, and he knew if he asked we wouldn’t have let him go and he’s right.””Well that was dumb,” Sam said, shaking her head. “Guess we can go ahead and scratch him off the list-“Sam was cut off as Jade lunged at her throat, but was stopped short by Nate coming between them.”Look, going off alone wasn’t smart, but the k*d’s got a plan,” Nate said, trying to be the voice of reason. “Sitting here and waiting is not a good idea. I
’m all for going in search of the girl, but we can’t do it in the dark. There’s a generator out back, but I ain’t so sure it’s still in working condition.””I can help you with it,” Andre said, eager to get out of the increasingly stuffy den area. “I don’t know much but nobody else needs to be going anywhere by themselves.”The Texan turned and looked at Sam and Jade who were just eyeing each other up and down. “If I leave here, are you two going to rip each other apart? Because I could stay for that show.”Sam just shook her head and rolled her eyes as the two young men headed out the back door of the inn to see if they could find anything out about the generator, guns still tight in hand. They crept in silence, just in case there was someone out there, making too much noise could draw some really unwanted attention. They reached the ancient machine and it actually seemed like it might still work but it was going to need a bit of finagling.”Wait…” Andre said, setting his gun down as well before Nate could even touch the machine.”What?””So far, we know one thing about this place, and that is that there are random ass traps everywhere that are meant to kill us before whoever it is can do it themselves… what if the generator is booby trapped?”Nate wanted to shrug off his fears and just laugh at how silly that sounded but given what happened to the sheriff, Freddie’s mom, Jade and her dad, and who knows who else, he couldn’t help but feel a bit more cautious all of a sudden. “Valid point, my friend…”The two guy stared the machine up and down, searching for any sign of tampering or danger that might present itself, but they couldn’t find a thing.”Alright,” Nate said, rubbing his hands together. “If something happens to me, its on you to go tell my momma that I love her.”Andre was going to respond affirmatively, but then Nate raised his finger in the air to halt that idea.”Actually, on second thought, tell Freddie or Spencer or one of the girls to go tell her.”Andre stood there for a few seconds just staring at him. “So… someone white?””Your words not mine, br*ther,” Nate said hurriedly, smiling just a bit.”Br*ther? Man… you are such a damn racist,” Andre laughed, shaking his head. “You die and that’s the eulogy you’re getting.””Probably a better one than I deserve,” Nate said, flipping a switch to get the generator going, and in a second, the machine began to power up and shake.The two guys high fived in victory before the thing started sparking and crackling, scaring Andre into almost jumping into Nate’s arms, before it settled back down into dead mode.”Must not have enough juice in it…” Nate said, looking the machine back over again.”What about jumping it off?”Both of them spun around and saw Sam behind them, looking pleased that she had surprised them. “With what?” Nate managed.”I could hotwire one of the older trucks in the parking lot, and it shouldn’t be hard to find some jumper cables in one of these vehicles.” Nate would never admit it to her, but she was incredibly hot when she would say things like that.”Glad your criminal background may actually come in use for once…” Nate said with a half flirt/insult combo. “We can give it a try and maybe it will work. Otherwise, we may be in some real trouble in the power department.”* * *Freddie had made it to the station with no trouble at all luckily, the streets were clear and there wasn’t a soul to be found which was simultaneously a good feeling as well as a bad one. He hated leaving the others at the inn, but he hoped they would eventually forgive him if this worked out. The first thing he realized was that the inn wasn’t the only place that had lost power. Not a single place that he could see was lit up, and while that could have been from everyone leaving, the streetlights at least should still be going.The police station was dark and the few lights that were there were barely enough to be described as ‘dim.’ Freddie snuck in the door, and looked to see if either one of the deputies from earlier were working, but the place was just straight up empty.”Hello?” he called out, realizing that making his presence known kinda defeated the purpose of sneaking and getting Robbie out, but as quiet as it was, he would have preferred a little noise to how eerie this all felt.He moved slowly through the station, and caught sight of a pair of legs on the floor. He breathed a heavy sigh as he moved towards them, and found them attached to the dead body of one of the deputies who had apparently taken a full shotgun blast to his chest and neck. Freddie said a quiet apology for the man before moving back towards the holding cells.If the sight of the first officer down was enough to bother Freddie, the sight of the second one, missing most of his head, was enough to make him want to throw up. It was so disgusting that he almost forgot why he came over there in the first place.The holding cell was empty. There was no sign of Robbie whatsoever besides an open door, which made Freddie much more uneasy than either one of the bodies had.Freddie’s breathing quickened as he became even more frightened by the station’s ominous feel, moving slowly to the station’s radio. Any hopes he might have had were dashed when he saw that not only was the radio not working, but it had been smashed to pieces, by both shooting it and bashing it in with something, from the looks of it.”Not good…” Freddie muttered to no one in particular as he gathered himself before rushing out the door of the station into the parking lot.The adrenaline was pumping so much that when he saw someone sitting in a car, he had enough hope that it was another survivor that might be able to help him. The reality was somehow remarkably worse.In the car, there was a semi-familiar body, who Freddie quickly recognized as the woman Amy hired to come and do psychic stuff for the party, but what sat before him was like something in a nightmare. Her eyes had either been smashed through or removed as there were two rune stones in their place. Her mouth had been sliced up on the sides so that the entire tarot deck she used could fit inside and down her throat.There was no question now in his mind. If whoever was out there killing was willing to go to these lengths on people that had nothing really to do with the wedding, they weren’t just dealing with a psycho, they were dealing with someone on a cruel rampage.* * *It took a few minutes, but thanks to Sam’s ‘skills’ the generator had gotten just enough juice to power it back up to full strength and bring at least a little light back into the darkened inn. She, Nate, and Andre shared a celebratory high five, that almost became more when she touched Nate, but she shook off that feeling.As they came in, Spencer practically met them at the door.”You guys are awesome,” he said, with a bit of anger in his eyes. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that something was very wrong with him. “You should come in and rest with us.”Nate looked into the room and saw that their numbers had shrunk significantly and since they weren’t too many to begin with, figuring out who was missing was not that difficult. Spencer, Jade, and Carly were still sitting around, and a quick glance told him that Singer hadn’t moved from his spot either.”Where are the others?” Andre asked, setting his gun down by a chair.”I don’t really know,” Carly said softly. “The teacher guy went upstairs to take a cold shower because apparently he’s insane, so that’s been fun. But as far as Beck, Tori, Noelle, and Cat… I think they just bolted. Probably to find a boat or something.””I swear, if Savanna gets hurt or worse… I am not going to stop until the four of them pay for it.””Calm down, Spencer,” Nate said, taking a deep breath. “We’ll go find them.””You bet your ass we will,” Sam said, before Nate put his hand on her shoulder.”No way, Puckett,” he said, almost scolding her. “Me and Andre are going. Just the two of us.””We are?” Andre s
aid, looking incredulous.”Yeah… we are because we are the men, and it’s on us to take care of things.” Nate’s sexism never failed to rear its head in any situation, Sam thought. “And to protect you ladies.””I don’t need protecting, you ass,” Sam said, grabbing her gun, but again, Nate stopped her.”I know… and I’m not counting you,” he said, lowering his voice to a whisper for her while pointing at the Shays and Jade. “I know you’re a better shot that him, so I’m counting on you to shoot anyone or anything that comes near this place that you don’t know.”Sam wanted to argue, but the way he was taking charge was a nice change of pace from the far more submissive guys she always found herself with. “Fine…”Nate gave her a slight smile and headed out the door into the night with Andre, guns in tow, and ready to take out any and all threats that they might come across, even those who would desert them.* * *Beck, after nearly twenty minutes, had finally found a working boat for the four of them to fit in that also had the keys in such an obvious location. He had stolen cars before on video games, but the idea of actually doing it with a boat was actually pretty exhilarating.He jumped in and reached for Tori’s hand to help her into the boat, which she gladly accepts, immediately followed by Cat, who is more than eager to just get away. Cat reached her hand up alongside Beck’s for Noelle, but the dark haired young woman was frozen.”Come on… we need to go before anyone notices us!” he cried out, shaking his hand towards her.”I don’t… I don’t know about this…””Noey, you were all into the idea when we were at the inn,” Cat pleaded, using her pet name for Noelle which was always a trigger. “Please, let’s just go.””Cat… Guys… I can’t. I can’t just hop in a boat and just go when it’s the life of a ch*ld at risk.””You don’t owe anyone here anything, Noelle,” Tori added. “You said it yourself that we would be far safer just going, and so far, it looks like you’re right.””No…” the young writer said, “It’s not about that. It’s about having to see k*ds day in and day out and knowing that I’m responsible for the death of one… I don’t think I could live with myself.””Look, it’s your call, Noelle,” Beck said, trying to reason with her. “Instead of blaming yourself, how about blaming the fucking psychopath who is going around and murdering everybody? Pretty sure they are the ones responsible for this.””The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” Noelle quoted out. “This just isn’t right. Let’s find and save her and then get the hell out of here.””There is a killer out there,” Tori said, running out of things to say, but the guilt of all this weighing her down. “It’s not wrong for us to be scared.””I’m scared too, Tori, but that doesn’t change anything. We’re not k*ds who can just run and hide underneath the covers. It’s time to grow the fuck up.””Noey… language,” Cat said, giving her sad eyes.”Cat, I can’t live with myself, and I know you well enough to know that you couldn’t either.” Noelle stared daggers into Cat’s heart, and the red-head looked like she was about to cry for a moment before raising her hand up, and Noelle grabbing it to help her out.”Fucking seriously?!” Beck said, exasperated before turning to his other passenger. “This is a mistake.””Noelle’s right,” Tori said, with a heavy sigh. “We can’t just leave.”As she helped the aspiring singer out, Noelle was surprised at how much of a tantrum Beck was beginning to throw.”Fine, but I’m keeping these keys,” he said jumping out of the boat and rejecting Noelle’s offered hand. “We’ll look for the rugrat, but the moment we do, I am getting the fuck off this island, and if you’re smart, you will too.”Tori breathed a quick sigh of relief as her guilt began to disappear. “I think we made the right-“She went silent as she saw a thin figure emerge from the woods, and with the curly, dishevelled black hair and glasses, there was no question who it was.”Robbie!” Cat shouted out, before Beck silenced her and took off towards the nerdy outcast.The handsome young man wasted no time rushing Robbie and trying to tackle him, but just as he got hands on the almost dazed Robbie to bring him down, he realized why he was acting so strangely. There was a crossbow bolt just beneath his shoulder that had gone all the way through.The blood on Robbie’s shirt as the two of them landed also clued Beck into the fact that that wasn’t the only place he’d been hit, with another one in his upper thigh.”Whoa!” came a voice from above the marina, belonging to Andre who was now rushing down the steps with Nate right behind him. “What happened to him?””I don’t know,” Beck said, feeling like Andre was accusing him of doing this to Robbie. “We just saw him and I took off to try and catch him, but when I got to him, he had already been hit.””By a crossbow, looks like,” Nate said, surveying the damage. “No organs really in the way of those shots but we need to get him back to the inn. Maybe there’s still some supplies left and Freddie patched up the sheriff.”The three girls arrived on the scene as quick as they could, keeping their distance in case a fight broke out. Nate was going to say something, giving a knowing look to Tori, but she raised her finger to him.”Don’t lecture me… we were scared and we reacted. We didn’t go anywhere so don’t even try that with me, Nathan.””Yes ma’am…” he said calmly, raising his hands in surrender.Nate and Andre helped Robbie up, who seemed to be going in and out of delusion and unc*nsciousness, and the two carried him up the stairs heading for the inn. As the seven of them headed back to their lodging, they could see the lights of the inn going but there was something on the front of the building.As they moved closer, they realized that it wasn’t something that was in front of the window, but somebody. The light from the window made the silhouette a bit harder to make out, but once they were several yards from the place, it became brutally obvious.Clad in only a bathrobe, was their former teacher and long-time friend, Irwin Sikowitz, hanging from the roof, and swinging slowly back and forth as the breeze moved his body into a sickening sway.”We have to get inside, now!” Nate said, starting run towards the inn, Andre barely able to keep up with Robbie’s legs still in tow.

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