Quinn laid in her bed with her phone screen lighting up her face and the dark room. She smirked at the text that came in from Roxy. Quinn shook her head before typing her response and then locking her phone and tucking it under her pillow. She turned over in bed and closed her eyes to sleep.
Stratus laid on her bed, in a four-way call with her friends.
“We need to go back for the box, no way it’s just a sharpie. She knew we were coming, this time she won’t know.” Neveah whispered with a blanket over her head. Her sister grumbled a complaint and turned over in her bed.
“No way, I’m not doing that again. I swear she had murder in her eyes!” Harley was sitting on the couch in her living room with her phone pressed to her ear as she worked on a new braided bracelet.
“Not funny.” Stratus rolled her eyes as she laid on her stomach and kicked her feet into the air.
“Why don’t we go back tonight?” Izzy said.
“Tonight!” All three girls said in unison.
“Think about it, she won’t expect it. We can sneak into her house while she is asleep. Someone creeps into her room silently gets the box, see if anything has changed.” Izzy patted her dog on the head as he took up half her bed.
“What if she wakes up!” Harley said.
“Yeah! Hello, do you want to be murdered?” Neveah asked.
“She’s not a killer!” Stratus defended her.
“Yeah just psycho,” Neveah muttered.
“Enough! No way we can go back tonight.” Stratus huffed.
“You guys are a bunch of sissies. What’s the worst she can do? Glare at us to death.” Izzy snorted in amusement.
“Trying having the cops arrest us for breaking and entering.” Neveah rolled her eyes.
“She would never go to the cops,” Stratus said.
“Wait, are we really debating this? Come on guys it’s late.” Harley said.
“So, we don’t have school until who knows when,” Izzy said.
“If we go back, then what? Who is going to sneak in and do it? She will literally be sleeping a foot away.”
“She’s a light sleeper.” Stratus voiced her thoughts.
“Okay, bad plan, can we move on now?” Harley begged.
“No way, let's do it.” Izzy sat up.
“I want to know what’s really in that box, who’s in?”
“I’m in,” Neveah said.
“Are you serious?” Stratus says.
“Either we all go or no one goes. If only a few us go it’s worse outcomes. If she really is the killer that is.” Harley says.
“She’s right, we should stick together.” Neveah agreed.
“Well it’s two against two, now what?” Izzy asked.
“You guys come on, Quinn will be so p.o’ed is she catches us.” Stratus shook her head.
“Which is why we need you, you can calm her down, lie. Cover for us.”
“If she wakes up,” Harley says.
“Harley we need you, you are the only one who knows where the box is.”
“Fine, but only because I don’t want you guys to go alone,” Harley said.
“Yes! Three against one, Stratus you have been outvoted.”
“Fine, just pick us up in an hour.” Stratus hung up.
She got up off her bed and tied her hair back. Then she slipped her shoes on and quietly tiptoed downstairs before sneaking out the front door. Her house was quiet as a mouse and all the lights were off. She sighed in relief once she was outside and waited.
It wasn’t long before Izzy drove up and picked her up, then they made their way to Harley and Neveah.
Quinn tossed and turned in her sleep. She could feel the darkness closing in on her. Wrapping its inky black hands around her neck. Ripping the skin from her arms. She was in a cold sweat and whimpered in her sleep.
When she felt like she was actually being choked out she opened her eyes and shot forward in the bed. This time she hit her head. She winced in pain and rubbed her head.
“Damn it,” she muttered.
Then with a huff, she laid back down and turned over.
The four girls arrived at her house shortly after.
“Okay, here is the plan. We have to be quiet! If we wake her up we are so dead. Also, the doorbell cam. Any ideas?” Harley asked as Izzy parked her truck a few houses down.
There was a moment of silence as all the girls thought about it.
“Anyone got gum?” Izzy shrugged.
“I do but it’s in my mouth,” Neveah said.
“Perfect, give me.” Izzy held out her hand.
Neveah made a face but spit out her gum. Then she turned the truck off and got out. All the other girls quickly followed suit. Izzy gave them a hold it, sign as she slowly approached the porch. She aimed the gum by lining it up with her eye, then in one swift flick, the gum flew across the porch and landed on the doorbell cam.
“Where’d you learn that?” Neveah whispered.
“Back at the farm, long story, come one.” She waved them over.
“This is dumb.” Stratus sighed.
“Shh!” The other three girls hissed.
She rolled her eyes and moved the welcome matt and grabbed the spare key.
They eyed her.
“What? I’ve known her longer than you.” she huffs.
Then she unlocked the door and slowly pushed it open. The house was dark, beyond dark. The only light came from outside as the moon lit up their path. They all gulped in unison before slowly and silently walking in. Stratus shut the door softly behind them.
Harley looked at Neveah and Izzy and made a sign for them to stay put. Then she looked at Stratus and waved her over as she tiptoed to Quinn’s room.
Harley peeked in but her eyes had still not adjusted to the dark. Stratus squinted and could see nothing. She looked at Harley and gave her an alarming look. Harley bit her lip and pulled out her phone. Stratus stopped her. Shaking her head no.
Harley broke her arm free and light up her phone screen. The room lit up softly and they could make out Quinn’s form on the bed. Quinn grumbled in her sleep and turned over.
Stratus quickly grabbed Harley and yanked her out of the room. They stood flat against the wall by the door, their hearts racing. Harley waved Izzy and Neveah over. Giving them the sign that Quinn was in there.
They all shared a look before nodding. Harley once again tiptoed into the room and this time got on her hands and knees. The other three girls watched from the doorway. Neveah held her phone for light. The girls crowded around Harley as she lifted the carpet slowly.
Neveah’s phones beeped once before it died and so did their light. For a moment all of them stood perfectly still. Izzy gulped. Stratus got her phone out and shined the light when she pointed it to Quinn’s bed, nothing was there.
Before she could react Quinn grabbed Harley and slammed her to the floor, wrapping her hands around her neck. The room went into chaos. Harley screamed and Stratus dropped her phone as she jumped at the sound. It was complete blackness.
For a second all the girls could have thought they saw Quinn’s eyes glowing blue. Izzy ran for the light switch and flicked it on. Quinn’s eyes adjusted and she quickly let Harley go.
“What the hell!? You scared me!” she yelled and stood up.
Harley coughed and rolled around on the floor, rubbing her neck.
“Christ, are you okay?” Neveah kneeled down next to her.
“Fuck! I could have killed you!” Quinn ran her hands down her face.
“You didn’t have to choke her out!” Neveah barked.
“Um excuse me did you all forget someone was murdered next door! Hello! What the hell else am I supposed to do? I thought you were the killer.”
Izzy and Neveah helped Harley to her feet.
“Asshole.” Harley’s voice came out rasp as she rubbed her quickly bruising throat.
“What the hell are you all doing here!?” Quinn demanded.
They all looked to Stratus. Quinn followed their line of sight. It was clear she was pissed. Stratus gave them all alarmed looks. She had no way of explaining anything.
“Well!” Quinn demanded.
They all flinched from how loud her voice was.
Neveah looked to the floor where the carpet was moved and the slab exposed. Quinn looked down too. She gave an airy laugh before a mocking smile spread on her lips.
“Seriously, the box, again. I already showed you nothing was inside. What the hell? You break into my house, sneak into my room all for some box? Get out.”
“We just want answers.” Neveah tried.
“I said get out! Now!” The girls flinched again.
Neveah looked to the ground and in a flash made her decision. She quickly moved the slab and exposed the weed and the box. Quinn slammed her against the desk. Neveah pushed her off. Harley and Izzy quickly grabbed Quinn and held her back.
“Let go of me!” she screamed out.
“Guys come on, stop it.” Stratus tried.
“I just have to see.” Neveah pulled the box out.
“Stop it! No!” Quinn thrashed around in their arms.
As soon as Neveah picked up the box she could tell something was different. It was far to heavy to be carrying only a simple sharpie.
Quinn grew still as she watched in horror as Neveah opened the box.
“What the hell?” Neveah examined the contents.
“What? What is it?” Izzy asked.
“It’s not what it looks like.” Quinn quickly said.
Neveah turned the box over and a bunch of polaroid photos came out. The photos fluttered in the wind before falling to the floor on top of one another. The girls stared on in horror. Harley and Izzy let Quinn go.
Each photo had a person in it, or sometimes multiple people. In these photos all the faces were x’d out with a red sharpie. Quinn quickly snatched the box from Neveah’s hands and got on her hands and knees as she quickly picked up the photos. Her hands shook as she shoved them in the box.
All four girls backed up towards the exit.
“Quinn, what is this?” Stratus asked.
Quinn clenched her fist and turned away from her friends. None of them could see the tears clouding her eyes, the way her lip quivered. Quinn glanced at the red Sharpie on the floor.
“Quinn,” Stratus demanded.
Then Quinn’s eyes fell on a polaroid of them all together at the cabin. One of the only photos where the faces weren’t crossed out. She glanced at the photo before looking at the sharpie, then back the photo.
“I’m calling the cops,” Neveah said.
Quinn swallowed down her tears before her face turned hard and cold.
“And tell them what? We broke into someone’s house we saw a photo collection. Looks creepy, come arrest her? Please, give me a god damn break.” Quinn resumed putting the photos back into the box, shoving the polaroid of her and her friends in as well.
“I’m scared.” Harley’s voice shook.
“Why? Because you think I’m the killer? News flash, if I was the killer, I would have fucking killed you already!” Quinn shut the box and stood up, her back still to the girls.
“Quinn, what is that, why do you have all those pictures?” Stratus asked.
Quinn took a deep breath before turning to face her friends. Her eyes were soft, almost endearing. Her face one of fear and coldness. It was clear she knew something they didn’t. Something that she was reluctant to share.
“You can’t kill us, even if you are the killer. It would be too messy.” Neveah said.
“Why’s that? Does anyone know you’re here?” She asked.
All four girls looked at each other.
“Did this conversation about coming to my house happen over text?”
The girls looked down.
“I’m guessing you drove here in Izzy’s truck. You know fun fact, the street cameras here shut off at midnight. A city’s way of saving money. It’s why no one saw anything for Alice’s murder. It also means no one saw you drive over here, so if you were to be killed no one would see me drive away with a truck full of bodies. If I was the killer of course.”
“Are you going to kill us?” Izzy whimpered. She had tears in her eyes.
Quinn laughed. A haunting, mocking laugh.
“Holy shit, you guys actually think I’m the killer. Well sorry to disappoint but I’m not. I don’t know the first thing about how to murder someone, I’d probably be really shitty at it and get caught.”
“This isn’t a game, are you the killer or not!” Neveah demanded.
“I’m not! You assholes. Please, if I was a psycho killer you would all know. It’s not like I’m winning an Oscar for my acting skills anytime soon.” She rolled her eyes.
“Okay so if you’re not the killer, what’s with the creepy photo collection?” Stratus asked.
Quinn sighed before eyeing each girl individually.
“Do you believe in curses?”