February 13th, 9:36 p.m.: The body of a young 22 year old man has been found mutilated in a forest outside of the city of Grand Rapids, MI. The autopsy report shows dismemberment, disembowelment, and several stab wounds to the chest. The victim has not been identified.
Mia had wanted to treat her boyfriend, Casey Rogers, to dinner, but he had turned her down several times. He'd been staying shut up inside of his house for most of the winter, and in this case, Mia grew worried. One night, he decided to take her up on her offer and went to a local diner with her.
"So," Mia began, "It's been snowing a lot lately, huh?"
He glanced at her for a moment, then turned away.
"Listen, Casey," she leaned forward, reaching her hand towards Casey's and wrapping her fingers around his warm, pale hand. He looked at her, staring uneasily. "Nobody expects you to take that accident lightly. I know, it's awful that your parents died, but you don't have to hide your feelings about it, okay?"
Casey took in a deep sigh and returned to staring out the window at the falling snow.
I'm telling him things he already knows instead of listening, Mia thought. Now I get why he won't talk to me.
She stared at him with pity and tightened her grip on his hand. He still refused to look at her, but she was desperate.
A news report came up on the television above Mia. The body of a young man was found mutilated out in the forest. His organs had been removed, and his arms and legs were cut off at the elbows and knees. Mia looked back down at Casey, who was now sitting uneasy.
"Casey?" Mia asked, concerned. "What's wrong?"
He looked up at her, the whiteness in his face starting to fade away. "Nothing," he said quietly. "Really, I'm fine."
Mia sighed and stood up.
"Where are you going?" Casey asked.
"I'm just going to sit outside for a little bit," she said as she walked towards the door. "I'll be right back."
Anika Winfred was about the same age as Mia. She was isolated, though. She wasn't known by anyone in that part of town, as she had always stayed at home and refused to talk to anyone in the outside world. On the night of the murder, Anika was walking through town and suddenly approached the forest entrance. She could see the police tape surrounding the scene of the murder through the trees as she walked through. When she stepped into the scene, she felt the atmosphere of the area change. It seemed strange somehow. She thought in pity about what may have happened. Then, she heard a voice.
"Just breaks your heart, doesn't it?"
She swung around to see the same face of the boy that was murdered right in the spot in which she stood. He had pale skin and his eyes seemed almost bloodshot; they were blood red with his green irises barely showing through the dark color. His lips were cracked and almost grey. He smiled widely at Anika. "It's awful, now isn't it? A gruesome killing of a boy who just had so much to live for. And now it just fuels the way that the people in this city see each other."
"And you're speaking in spite of yourself?"
"Of course not. I feel just as scared as everyone else does now. So the serial killer got one person, but now, she'll go after more."
"You said 'she'...I assume that you saw the face of the killer."
"Sure did. And I'll tell you this--she's gonna hunt down even more victims. And she'll probably do the exact same god damn thing to them." He turned and started to walk away. "Just to let the rest of the city know that it's not over."
Anika exited the woods, puzzled and dreadful. She started to walk down the street and passed a local diner. Mia was sitting on a bench outside of the diner. She looked up at Anika. "Hey," she said, stopping Anika. They looked at each other for a moment before Mia asked, "You just came from the woods, didn't you?"
Anika nodded slightly.
"So... is there anything going on there? Concerning the murder, I mean?"
She turned away from Mia and sighed. "Yeah, there is," she said as she started to walk away. "And I think it's coming into the city."
Mia only stood dumbfounded, pondering what she had just been told. She looked down the street, but saw no one. She shrugged and went back inside the diner.
10:44 p.m.: A young woman named Amber walked down the empty street. She shivered and inhaled and exhaled a viewable breath. She suddenly stood alert. Looking behind her, thought, she saw no one. She shook it off as her own imagination and continued walking. As she progressed down the street, the feeling she had became worse. It felt to her as thought someone was waiting at every corner. And the moment she got to the next block, she realized that her senses were right.
Amber sat in the dark forest, burying her head in her arms and sobbing. "Come on," she mumbled. "Let me get outta here... please... really, you're scaring me!"
She lifted her head, her tired eyes piercing through the darkness. She looked up, and her eyes grew wide. She suddenly shrieked, her blood splattering across the snowy ground.
Mia sat across from Casey, hopelessly trying to get him to turn his head, but he only sat, still staring out the window. She couldn't resist anymore. She moved to sit next to him, wrapping her arm around him and pulling him closer to her. And with that, they sat quietly together. Mia mumbled something Casey couldn't hear, but he didn't seem to care. Mia held him and touched his cold, pale face with her hand. And that was all she wanted to do.
Mia listened to the conversations of the people sitting around her. They all talked about the same thing--the murders in the woods happening on the same night. Casey was starting to look uncomfortable again, and he refused to say anything when Mia asked what was wrong. Something strange had come to her mind. Every time the murders were mentioned, Casey went cold. The thought she had could explain why he wouldn't talk about his parents. So, she thought, what if Casey's parents weren't in a car accident?
Anika sat on her couch, tiredly watching the news. Another report came on. Another body was found out in the woods, mutilated and dismembered. The victim was not identified. Anika sighed and thought about the boy she ran into in the woods. And she thought: If she were to go back, would the latest victim be there? Curiosity got the best of her. She threw on her coat and journeyed back out to the forest.
Upon arrival, Anika thought that the forest's atmosphere had grown even stranger. Just walking into the woods sent chills down her spine. As she walked through the trees, she looked around for any police tape, wherever the murder took place. Then she found it.
The scene was about ten or fifteen feet away from the first one, and it looked even more gruesome. There was blood just about everywhere, even where Anika stood. She started to feel dizzy, trying to picture what had happened.
She knew it was something awful.
"I'm sorry you have to see it. I'm so sorry."
When she turned around, Amber was standing behind her. Her eyes were blood red, exactly like the boy's, and welled up with tears. "I don't wanna scar someone with that... Please forgive me."
"I don't understand," Anika said, puzzled. "What happened here?"
"A murder," Amber said with a pitiful sigh. "Dismemberment, mutilation... probably everything you heard on the news. Awful. You have no idea."
"No, I don't," Anika said with a scowl. "How do you know about what's going on in the city?"
Amber shrugged. "I took a look around. When I woke up out here, I wanted to know what was going on. So I went into the city and asked some passersby. And all of them. Every. Last. One of them," she took a deep breath. "They all walked past me as if I weren't even there."
Anika stood in shock, thinking about Amber's statement. "So that means," she mumbled. "The victims are dead..."
"Of course they are," Amber said. "Strange as it is, they're coming back. But apparently, there were two other victims before the ones tonight. It was a couple."
"Yeah, Teresa and Jason Rogers. They had a son. Didn't you ever hear about that? The police, they tried to cover it up, told people they were killed in a car crash."
Anika thought about it for a moment. She had seen it on the news. A young boy lost his parents after they were killed in a fatal car accident.Wait, she thought. That boy I saw on TV... that was the same kid I saw in the window of the diner. He must've been with that girl.
"I get it now," she said under her breath.
Anika turned around and walked away. "Thank you."
11:14 p.m.: The boy was wandering through the woods, joyfully whistling a song. He heard a twig snap behind him and swung around. A girl wearing all black stood with a sharp, curved knife in her hand. "So, you came back," the boy said with a sigh. "So are you here to kill me again?"
She didn't respond.
"Huh. I thought you'd just find another person to toy with. But it looks like you hated me just that much," he curled his hand into a tight fist. "I'll play your game just this one time."
Casey sat with an intense stare directed at the table as he stirred what was left of his liquor with a straw. His hand shook as he held the straw. Mia was starting to feel a sense of nausea. "Uh...Casey?"
He abruptly stopped stirring the glass and his eyes slowly trailed up to meet hers. "Yeah?"
"Are you alright?"
He blinked briefly, as if he had just awoken. "I'm fine."
"You sure? You don't look too good."
"I said I was fine, alright?" He looked down again, his eyes looking more pained with the passing seconds. "I can still go for another drink."
"Is something on your mind?"
"No, I'm just tired and I want a drink."
Mia started to sweat. Why was she just sitting there? She could tell that he still had the murders on his mind. She just couldn't tell if he actually wanted to tell her what he thought about it all. She wanted to bring him to the diner in the first place to talk to him about his parents. But she knew that he didn't want to mention their names at all.
"Um," she rubbed her face nervously with her hands. She didn't know what to say, or how to bring about the subject of the murder. "So, uh... um...what do you, uh, think about the murders that happened tonight?"
Casey froze and looked up at her, his eyes wide with what seemed to her like a mix of fear and pain. "I-I'd rather not say anything about it."
Now she knew. She thought about the car accident. Well, I certainly wouldn't want to scare him more, she thought. I shouldn't tell him what I think about that. It's too risky.
She twiddled her thumbs for a moment, then looked up at Casey. He didn't look at her, but she almost mindlessly stared at him. She couldn't afford the risk of starting a conversation about his parents. But she just didn't say anything. She found herself just staring at him, as if she were in a trance.
The blaring loudness of police cars suddenly struck down the road. People crowded around the door. Curiously, Mia stood up and went outside. Police cars and ambulances lined the streets in front of the woods. She wondered just what the hell was going on.
Then she saw Anika pass by.
"You," she said, stopping Anika. "I know you. You came by here before."
"Hey," Anika said softly with a cold stare. "I need to ask you something."
"Oh, yeah? What?"
"Do you think that your boyfriend's parents really died in a car accident?"
Mia's eyes widened with surprise. How did she know?
Anika turned and started to walk away.
She turned around and looked at Mia. "What?"
"I know what happened to his parents." she said.
Mia closed her eyes and nodded. "Yeah."
Anika smiled slightly, then kept walking.
Casey walked out of the diner and stood next to Mia.
"You heard what I said, didn't you?" she asked.
Casey nodded. "I did," he sighed. "And it's funny...I knew that there was something that didn't fit about the 'car accident' cover up."
"What threw you off?"
"I actually knew they weren't in a car accident," he looked up at the stars and took a deep breath. "They didn't own any cars to begin with."