Debra opened her hazel eyes only to find nothing in front
of her. It was just a blanket of darkness.
She had no idea where she was or what she was doing here. She felt like she had
been floating in this darkness for a while now. It happened every night.
Everything would be black at first and then she'd see death. People were
killing other people and then killing themselves. Then all the darkness would
turn into a dark red wave, which would then wash over her. Before she could
drown in that wave though, she'd wake up.
This was turning out to be one of those dreams. Only difference was that she
wasn't seeing death everywhere. In fact, this time there was nothing but
darkness. All the same, it scared her.
She was slightly relieved to find that she was still holding Portia, her
favorite doll from childhood. She had been sleeping with her ever since the
dreams started (Trip was probably jealous to see the doll was getting more
attention than him but he hadn't complained once). True, she was a grown woman now
and no longer played with dolls but Portia was different. Her dress was all
dirty and tattered and her blond curls were tied in knots but Debra still loved
her. She had been sleeping with her ever since the dreams started. Portia gave
her a kind of comfort that not even Trip could provide. And in a place like
this, she needed comfort.
"Portia, where are we?" She asked the doll. Portia just stared back
with her bright blue eyes. "How the hell are we going to
get out of this mess?"
"How cute. You have a companion."
Debra loosened her grip on Portia and let her fall into the nothingness below.
"I've been watching you." A strange voice continued. Debra couldn't
place it. All she could tell was that it was coming from a woman and it was
coming from somewhere in this darkness. "You've been coming here every
"Who are you?!" Debra demanded. The air around her began to grow
"Now, now. Your questions will be answered soon.
In the meantime, I'm curious to know why you're trespassing."
"Trespassing? How can I be trespassing? It's *my*
"Wrong. This is a world, *my* world, which you have stepped into. But I
have a good feeling why you've been coming here. "
"What the hell are you talking about?"
The dark mist began to wrap around Debra's ankles as the voice continued to
taunt her. Though scared, she stood her ground and glared at where she thought
the voice was coming from. She also hugged Portia tightly, knowing her doll was
the only thing that could give her some comfort in this unknown sea of storm
"I've noticed something about you. You're just like Lucy."
"Lucy?" Debra tried to think back as to who Lucy could be. Then she
remembered. The murders started only a few weeks ago and the first so-called
'cannibal' was a girl named Lucy. She was found eating and drinking the blood
of her boyfriend. Afterwards, she committed suicide. In her note, she mentioned
she loved salty food and blood was very salty. That's why she had killed him.
She wanted something salty to eat. However, everyone there was something else
behind all this. Debra had believed this too and now she knew had a good
feeling what did kill the girl.
"It was *you*?!" She exclaimed. The feminine voice started to giggle.
"Do you believe I'm the one behind everything?" It asked. "I
didn't you'd jump to the conclusion that quickly. I didn't even say I killed
"You're not going to get away with this." She seethed, blurting out
the wonderful clichéd lines. "You'll be caught and you'll pay for what you
The voice just laughed.
"Look at you! You're getting all heroic and brave! That surprises me.
After all, I saw you clinging onto a doll."
Debra turned red. She hated to admit that she sometimes held Portia whenever
she was sad or scared like now. She could feel the scar on her back burning.
She wished that she hadn't dropped Portia into that dark pool below her.
Unfortunately, this made the voice laugh more.
"It's fun mocking you like this." The voice continued. "But
hurting you would be the best thing to happen to me."
Debra just smirked. "What harm could you do to me? You're nothing more
than a voice in my dream that's mocking me, like you said. You can't do a
"You?" The voice was surprised. "Who said *anything* about me hurting *you*?"
Debra's smirk quickly faded to a frown.
"You care about him more than anything in this world. You'd do anything
for him. You don't regret knowing his deepest, darkest secrets and you don't
regret keeping them. It's good to be in love, isn't it? Likewise, you have
friends who you'd also do anything for. You're also keeping their
secrets." The voice lowered and the air grew cold.
Debra gritted her teeth. So that's what the voice meant! It wasn't trying to
hurt her! It wanted to hurt her friends, which would in turn hurt her! Granted,
this was a dream but it felt real.
"You love that boyfriend of yours, don't you? I can see it in your eyes
and in your soul." The voice murmured.
"Keep him out of this." Debra whispered dangerously. But she was
frightened. From what it sounded like, the voice *could* look into her soul. If
it knew that she had a boyfriend, it could find out what her fears and
"I'll give you a fair warning." The voice said. "Back
away from this. If you don't bother me, I won't bother you. However, if
you choose to stick with this case, the consequences will be dire. I will make
death come quickly for both, you and your friends. You've got two choices, my
dear. Choose wisely."
And the voice began to laugh.
"Wait! Wait a minute! You can't..." Debra started to say but the
voice faded away, still laughing. She felt her knees growing weak and she began
to sink into the blackness. She opened her mouth to scream but couldn't. The
laugh echoed in her ears as she sunk deeper.
Then she couldn't hear anything.
* * *
Debra sat up with in bed, hyperventilating and sweating like a cow on the way
to be butchered. Her cinnamon-colored hair stuck to the nape of her neck and
her pulse was racing. This latest dream was the worst and her scar wasn't just
itching: it burned. She touched her shoulder blade and began rubbing the scar.
She could put some cream on it but then pain could come back, worse than the
first time. Portia had fallen off the bed and was lying face down on the
carpet. Debra reached down and picked her up, straightening out her dress and
fixing her hair before placing her on the nightstand.
Of course, she had a lot of questions. Why was she in bed even though it was
evening? Why did she go straight to bed in the first place? And how'd she get
*/I remember being in the park with Trip. And then I told him about my scar
itching. Then we got up and he told me that we were going to get a head start
on this mystery. /* She told herself. Slowly, she remembered the rest.
*/But I was too tired so I told him to forget it. I told him I wanted to go
home and tell everyone else the news first. He was reluctant but he agreed. And
as soon as I got home, I changed my clothes and went to bed. /*
Yes, everything made sense. Her visions were still burned inside her mind and
she tried desperately to push them away. Much as she wanted to talk to someone
about it later, she didn't want to *think* about it now.
*/I have to pretend like everything is normal until I talk to the others. /*
She told herself. */I can't let it bother me. /*
Reaching over and taking a yellow hair ribbon sitting
on the nightstand, she saw that it was now . It was a good thing that
nightmare did wake her up. She had to make dinner soon. Lucky, it wouldn't take
her long. She had some chicken and vegetables left over from the night before.
Trip would probably complain about eating same thing two nights in a row but
that was his problem. She wasn't in the mood to cook something new. She had the
dreams and the newly discovered voice to worry about now.
*/You care about him more than anything in this world.
You'd do anything for him. You don't regret knowing his deepest, darkest
secrets and you don't regret keeping them. It's good to be in love, isn't it?
Likewise, you have friends who you'd also do anything for. You're also keeping
their secrets. /*
Debra winced. The more she wanted to forget the voice, the more she remembered
it. Then she remembered the threat she heard before waking up.
*/I'll give you a fair warning. Back away from this. If you don't bother me, I
won't bother you. However, if you choose to stick with this case, the
consequences will be dire. I will make death come quickly for both, you and
your friends. You have two choices, my dear. Choose wisely. /*
Debra heard something murmur next to her and shift positions. Looking down, she
saw that Trip was lying in bed as well. Her boyfriend was sound asleep, his
back facing her. He had the covers over his head with just a few strands of
blond and brown hair sticking out from under them. Debra hated to wake him up
but she didn't have much of a choice. Now was a good time as any to tell him
about the nightmare, especially since it was fresh in her mind. She began
nudging the lump under the covers.
"Trip? Sweetie, wake up."
Trip groaned in reply.
"Baby, I'm sorry. But it would be really nice if you woke up. I have to
tell you something and I have to tell you now."
"Of all the goddamn times..." He murmured. So far, everything seemed normal.
The voice hadn't carried its threat right away and that was a relief.
Debra sighed. Her boyfriend wasn't a bad guy but like most people, he valued
his sleep. It wasn't surprising either. He went to school and studied all day.
Then he started his night job, which could last till four in the morning. He
usually took a nap just before dinner and hated being woken up for anything.
Debra began pulling the covers down and ran one hand through her boyfriend's
"I'm really sorry, sweetie." She whispered.
"Debs, you don't have to apologize twice. I know you're sorry."
Debra winced. Trip only called her "Debs" when he got annoyed or
angry with her. She hated that name even more than she hated "Snooky". But now that he was awake, she could finally
talk to him. She nudged him again, this time a little more gently. He replied
with another groan.
"I had another dream." She whispered. "I thought you might want
"Huh? You did?" Trip was now awake. He turned over to face her and
gasped. "Snooky! What *happened* to you?!"
Debra was confused. "Huh? What do you mean?"
"Look at yourself in the mirror." Trip pointed to the mirror on their
dresser and Debra saw her reflection. No wonder he was shocked. She looked like
she had been through a carwash, a mosh pit, and a
blizzard. Her skin had turned white like chalk and tears were drying on her
face. Her hair was sticky and wet with perspiration. Sweat was also drenched
all over her pajamas. Debra wanted to scream right there.
"I look like hell!" She gasped. She got out of bed and ran up to the
mirror to closer look of herself. "Shit! I didn't think I was *that*
"You're not ugly." Trip murmured, sitting up in bed. His look turned
from annoyed to worried. "Seriously though, what
happened to you? What did you see this time?"
"I...I..." Debra began to stutter. She opened one of the drawers of
the dresser and began to fumble around for her hairbrush. Once she did, she
began running it through her ponytail. "I don't know, baby! I'm still
"Want to talk to the others about it?" He asked. Debra stopped and
put the brush back down. She had been hoping to keep this a secret between her
and her boyfriend. But now that he mentioned it, the thought of telling
everyone else was good. Perhaps they would have an answer to everything.
"Sure." She muttered. "Just give me five minutes to change. Everyone else is probably home by now, aren't they?"
"Probably." Trip agreed, getting out of bed and heading
towards the bathroom. Debra fixed the bed up again and got out of her pajamas
while he was in there. Rummaging through her closet, she found a yellow
sundress to put on. She didn't want to go out wearing sweat-covered crumpled
pajamas. They were her friends, all right, but even they didn't deserve to see
how shitty she looked.
The moment Trip came out, they left their room together and headed down the
dark hallway leading to the living room. They could hear voices as they came
closer, assuring them that their friends had indeed come home.
"Help me undo my tie." Alex was saying, most likely to his
girlfriend. Sure enough, they heard Rosemary let out a loud sigh and get up
from wherever she was.
"You are hopeless! Honestly, what the hell would you do without me?"
"I can't do everything, you know!" He snapped back.
"You're a man! You have to know how to take off your own tie!"
"I do! I was just having some difficulty!"
"Having some difficulty, my ass! How difficult is it to take off your tie?
You put it on, for crying out loud!"
Finally, they made it into the living room. Rosemary had spent a sizeable
amount of time cleaning up the place. The clothes that had been on the floor
this morning weren't there anymore and the furniture had been dusted. The
windows had been washed and
"Hi, everyone!" Debra greeted everyone, waving weakly. Trip just
smiled in everyone's direction. The first person they noticed was Alex getting
help from his girlfriend to take off his tie. He was a handsome young man with
light brown hair and deep blue eyes, which were glaring down at Rosemary. She
finally undid that tie and handed it over to him as if to say "There!
"Hey, Deb." Cole greeted, sitting on one of
the couches and eating a carton of strawberry yogurt. His eyes widened when he
saw how terrible she looked. "Holy shit and cannelloni!What the hell happened to you?!"
Debra gave him a sheepish grin. "I was sleeping, Cole."
"You were sleeping?" Rosemary gave her a weird look. "It's way
too early to be sleeping now." Then she grinned slyly. "Unless
you and Trip decided to start early with the hanky-panky and whatnot. I
bet this time you didn't use condoms! C'mon, fess up! How was the sex this
Trip rolled his eyes. "You've been hanging around Dylan way too long,
"We all have." Alex sighed. "But seriously, why were you guys
"We were tired when we got home." Trip explained. "We both
crashed out on the bed."
At that moment, Suzanne entered the room and plopped down next to her boyfriend
on the couch. Everyone noted that she had changed out of her work clothes and
into something slightly more fashionable. She had on a white blouse that
covered up the top part of her body and knotted right under her breasts. Her
tight red skirt came up to her hips and down to her thighs. She was barefoot
but her left foot had a silver ankle bracelet on it.
"Hey." She greeted them. Then she kissed Cole. "Don't eat too
much, babe. You won't have room for dinner."
"Says who?" Cole finished off the yogurt and put the empty carton to
arm of the couch. "I'll be fine, Suz. Don't
worry about me."
"The elders are in da house!" Dylan flung
door open and greeted them as he walked into the room...but Tiffany didn't. He
turned around, noticed his girlfriend wasn't there, and sighed. "Dammit, Tiffy!
How long does it take to say 'bye' to someone?"
"Who is she talking to?" Trip asked.
"Your sister. She's upset that she had to breakup
her evening plans. But the shrimps have got something important to say...I
hope." Dylan narrowed his eyes in Cole and Sue's (a.k.a. 'the shrimps')
Suzanne glared at him. "Don't call us by that horrible nickname, Dylan.
Neither one of us is short."
"Aw, but you're so cute and fluffy!" Dylan teased.
That comment irritated Cole. "Cute and fluffy? Do
we look like rabbits to you?"
"So how's everyone been?" Alex began, letting out a sigh and stopping
the argument that would have started.
"I have PMS and I don't like it." Rosemary muttered to start the
conversation, shocking everyone with this comment. She was a normally quiet
person Dylan looked at her strangely and shook his head.
"That does not surprise me, R.M." He replied. "Anyone else got a
subject matter that's slightly more interesting than that?"
At this point, everyone turned to Suzanne and Cole. The two of them exchanged
looks before Suzanne launched into the recap of her adventure earlier that day.
She told them that Michael was in town and what happened to him a few days ago.
The other six listened intently, namely Debra. Her scar started itching again
and she began to scratch it. When Suzanne finished with her story, Cole spoke
"Now, you all know me. Sweet as I am, I am also a damn good computer
hacker (don't ever tell my family that) and I have across some information
about our friend here." Cole reached into his pocket and pulled out a
sheet of paper. "After Sue told me what happened, I spent the remainder of
the afternoon trying to find out everything about him. I have a good feeling
where he's going to be tonight."
The others stared at him. What he said somewhat shocked them. They all knew
that he could hack into computers with ease. They just didn't think he'd go
ahead and pull up everything about this young man.
"You're crazy, shrimp." Dylan shook his head. "You're doing
something illegal yet you make it sound like you're doing something good. I
don't get it."
Cole rolled his eyes.
"Anyone in the mood to go to a strip club?"
He asked, holding out the paper. "Here's the address if you want it."
"I'm in the mood." Dylan snatched the paper from his hand before
anyone else could say a word. "I think I can make it up to Tiffany by
taking her here."
"You cannot take a woman to a strip club." Alex sighed. "That's
not an ideal date. You should know that!"
"Actually, Dylan has a point." Cole spoke up again. "I agree
taking girls to strip clubs is a bad thing...unless she likes these type of places. But if two of you are there, he may not feel
so intimidated. Plus if there's someone after him, you can both protect
"Yeah but will he believe them, honey?" Suzanne asked. "How
about I go? He's seen me already."
"Nah, Tiffy will get jealous." Dylan shook
his head. "Not to mention I'll feel better if I'm with her. No offense,
"None taken. But are you absolutely certain that
Tiffany will agree to this?"
"Sure!" Dylan grinned. "She trusts me, right?"
No one bothered to answer. Cole gave him a few more instructions while the
others listened. Debra still kept scratching her scar. Much as she wanted to
tell them what happened, it didn't feel right. Perhaps later on she could. For
now, she wanted to wait till Dylan and Tiffany came back from their strip club
"He's been going to the same place every night." Cole explained.
"You'll most likely find him again tonight. But I want you and Tiffany to
hurry. Time's a factor. We have to get to him before someone else does...and
who knows? This 'someone else' may not be looking out for the young man's
No one dared argue against that. Cole had a point. They sat in silence for a
few minutes. Then Dylan just smiled, got out of the armchair, and opened the
"If Tiff and I aren't back in two hours, I want the rest of you to torture
the shrimps for the remainder of their lives." He said.
Cole and Suzanne picked up the pillows that had been sitting at both ends of
the couch and threw them in Dylan's direction.
* * *
"Remind me again why the hell we are here?" Tiffany moaned. "Why
can't we ask the others to be here instead of us? I have tests to grade! I
promised Tabby that I would spend the evening with her cause
I thought that you and the guys_"
"Grade your papers tomorrow." Dylan interrupted her. He watched as
people kept coming in and out of the building. "Besides, I have plans to
do stuff with you tonight. Tabby will understand."
Dylan, baby, I_"
"Don't whine anymore." He said, pulling her close. She was
surprised by the sudden show of affection but she loved it. "This is only
a small portion of our date. As soon as we meet up with this guy, we'll leave
him alone for a while and..." He paused.
"And?" Tiffany asked, arching her red
eyebrow. She hated it when he ended sentences like that.
"I'm gonna take you away." He said, pulling
her close. Then, smiling smugly, he whispered. "I'm gonna
take you to a place that involves you, me, and plenty of action in bed."
Tiffany's dark eyes widened and she pushed him away. "You're nuts!"
Dylan began to laugh. "I was kidding, Tiffy!"
"You better have been. I still don't like this whole thing." Tiffany
frowned. The idea of stalking a poor guy wasn't what she'd call a date. Oh yes,
she wanted to help him. She wanted to get to the bottom of the mystery. But did
the guy have to come to a place called "Moonshine Mamas"? From the
looks of it, this was nothing short of a strip club.
"I'm going to feel so out of place here." She said, watching as some
women, wearing skirts that went way above their knees and tops that covered
only their boobs, saunter into the place. Tiffany, wearing a black sleeveless
dress, her gray scarf, and black sandals, felt strange around these scantily
Dylan just grinned, pulled out a cigarette, and lit it. "If it makes you
feel any better, I think you look the prettiest out of all the girls
It did make her feel better but Tiffany was too disgusted by the cigarette to
care about that. He had that ugly cancer stick clamped between his teeth,
making him look unattractive. Dylan only smoked when he was depressed and
alone. However, now that he was smoking in front of her, she felt slightly
nauseous and uncomfortable.
"Take that piece of shit out of your mouth!" She snapped.
"Can't." Dylan blew out a puff of smoke.
"I wanna blend in."
"Tiffy, look around you! We're in a
frigging strip club! There are people smoking everywhere!"
"Strip...club?" Tiffany could not believe this. So it was true! Of
all places, this was where they were going on their date? Of course, it
technically wasn't a date but it felt wrong. "Moonshine Mamas" was
not a place where couples normally hung out.
"You don't know? The guy was spotted the last few nights hanging around
this place. Chances are high he'll be back here again tonight."
Tiffany was puzzled. "After his girlfriend died, he's coming here? I
thought he'd want to be alone or something."
"People get tired of being alone after some time, Tiff. This guy is just
trying to get with life and get over his grief." Dylan explained.
"Yeah but...did he have to come to a strip club to get over his
"If he thinks it'll help him, so be it." Dylan shrugged. They stayed
quiet for a few more seconds. Some girls walked passed them, dressed (or not
dressed) for the night. Some guys began calling out to them and they just
giggled. One of the guys turned towards Tiffany and winked at her. She quickly
turned away and moved closer to Dylan. Oh sure, she could probably take the
whole group of guys out. But the place, all loud and wild, was making her
nauseous and weak. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore and let out all her
"I'm still disgusted by the whole thing! Why couldn't we have gone
somewhere peaceful and quiet? We're high school teachers, goddamnit!
Why can't this guy go somewhere that normal people who grieve go? Why does he
have to come to a strip club? Why can't..."
Dylan had already grown tired of the complaints. He took one look at her,
pulled the cigarette out of his mouth, and shoved it into hers. A shocked
Tiffany just stared at him, horrified at what he had done. He just grinned
"Baby, you complain too much." He said, shaking his head.
Tiffany frowned, plucked the cigarette from her mouth, threw it to the ground,
and stamped it out with her toe.
"You are so dead when we get home." She fumed. Dylan just stuck out
his tongue at her.
They waited until the majority of the people standing outside were in. Then
they followed. Dylan had warned Tiffany not to do anything stupid while they
were inside. He knew it was her first time in a strip club and she would be
feeling nervous enough to ruin their plan. He also told to act like she was
another customer, not his girlfriend. People would look at them strangely
wondering why a couple had wandered into a strip club of all places.
As soon as Tiffany stepped inside, she disliked everything about it. No, it had
nothing to do with the fact that there were half-dressed women on stage and men
ogling them. It had to do with that fact everything was so bright, she felt
like she was in the center of the sun. The lights flashed all brilliant colors,
making it hard for her to see what was going down. And the music was loud as
well. To top everything off, the loud hooting from the customers was making her
ears ache. This couldn't get worse.
When the manager, a sleazy looking man with a crooked smile and enough grease in
his hair to run a car approached them, things became worse.
"So who's your preference tonight?" The manager asked.
Tiffany looked confused. "Preference?"
Dylan shot her a look and then turned back to the owner. "I'm looking for
someone sexy, sweet, and fun. Oh yes, and she has to have moneymakers that'll
make my hormones set themselves on fire. You have anyone like that?"
While Dylan was busy trying to get a girl, Tiffany was busy looking for
Michael. The guy had to be here. Her brown scanned the entire place but all she
saw was bright lights and several scantily dressed people. The music was so
loud that it made her head hurt. She kept squinting, searching through the
crowd of customers and alcohol glasses, but could find no sign of him. Giving up
on this whole thing, she looked in towards the entrance...and caught site of
Michael Appleton getting ready to enter.
Unfortunately, Michael caught sight of her and turned away. He began to run
"Hey, wait!" Tiffany screamed and ran out of the building before
Dylan could stop her. People began talking and staring at the open door. She
kept apologizing to the people she ran into but kept going after him. The
dancers had even stopped, wondering *just* what had gone on. Dylan smiled
sheepishly at the confused manager.
"Sorry about that. Give me a second please. I'll be back." He mumbled
and then hurried out the door himself.
Tiffany was still chasing the guy down the street. Unfortunately, fast as she
was, her sandals were making her feet hurt. She began calling out to him,
begging him to slow down and listen to her. Her thighs were burning. But she
didn't want to stop. As Cole had said, time was a factor and the sooner she
caught up with him, the better.
Michael ran from her. He didn't know why but he could tell she wasn't on his
side. It felt like the night he ran from Ash. He had been running for his life
then and he was running for it now. He turned into an alley, hoping that he
could lose the redhead, and anyone else that was after him. These buildings had
stairs along the side, after all. Maybe he could make his way up to the top one
of the buildings...
"So *you're* the guy everyone's been talking about!"
The comment was enough to make Michael stop in his tracks. He looked up to find
Dylan, sitting on the stairs, an amused look on his face and a newly lit
cigarette held tightly between his fingers.
To Be Continued...(don't you hate me when I say that?)
- - -
I am SO sorry this chapter was long! I wanted to make up for the boring first chapters
that I wrote earlier. Believe it or not, it was actually supposed to be longer.
Then I trouble where to end it. Well, here it is...and I am dead tired!
*collapses on desk*
~Author's note: Sometime later on, I have thought about making lemon scenes in
this story. HOWEVER...the lemon scenes WILL NOT be posted on FPN. In other
words, I'm going to do what Midori with her "White Tiger, Jade
Concubine" story. You don't need to read the lemon to understand the
story. It's like an extra thing I'm adding. Anyway, I have a profile over at
another site that posts NC-17 called AdultFanfiction.Net (the URL is on my
Speaking of which, does anyone know how to make a website or would like to host
one with me? I'd love my own website but I'm too stupid to know how to make
-Coming up...more action, some revelations, etc. No lemon or extreme romance
scene yet. I'll leave warning when I do.
-You know the routine. This is fiction and if it seems somewhat like reality,
-All this here is mine. Copyright to me, Carter Tachikawa!