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Cold Winter Morning
It was another cold winter morning and Alicia could tell by the dark clouds outside. This was the day of March 2nd, 2007 and she remembered that it was she and her boyfriend’s anniversary of two months. Alicia absolutely adored Ryan, and almost everyone in their grade thought they were an amazing couple. And the truth was, they really were. The chemistry between them was perfect, if perfect existed. Alicia was so happy for their two-month anniversary, and she smiled as soon as she remembered.
The beep beep beep of her alarm was gone as soon as she pressed the snooze button. As she looked out her window and looked at all the dark clouds, she wondered how it could be so cloudy on such a beautiful event. But then she remembered something else… the thought of how her 18-year-old brother, Adam, had died on that cold October night of 2005, when he was murdered. It had been a great loss for her and her family, and it brought dark memories of how he was murdered, but she tried to keep her mind off it.
She got up, put her bunny slippers on and then headed to the bathroom. After brushing her teeth, she got changed into a green, long sleeved tee, which she loved, and her favorite flare jeans. She put on her pink converse and let her long, dark hair loose. Then, she put on her black choker necklace and her glittery bracelet, and her heart ring, which her father had given to her for her sixteenth birthday.
After finishing getting ready yet another day of high school, junior year to be more specific, she went to the kitchen, grabbed a bowl, poured cereal and milk in it and started eating. Then, she grabbed a glass of orange juice and chugged it down. Soon, she was ready to leave for her car. Her dad was always the one who drove her, since she didn’t have a license yet, so as soon as she got into the silver Honda, she put her seatbelt on and buckled it.
Suddenly, the thoughts of her older brother reappeared. This always happened to her. She didn’t want to think about it, but for some reason, she always had to. And once she started thinking about it, nothing could keep her mind off of it. But as her father drove her into the parking lot of the school, her mind started drifting into other things. One of them was her best friend, also known as her “soul sister,” Olivia. Olivia had dark, almost black long hair down to her shoulders, which was her main feature. She had dark, mysterious eyes that no one could read except Alicia. She was somehow short, and was up to Alicia’s chin. But then again, Alicia was one f the tallest people around. Olivia was Philippine, so she was bilingual and spoke both Philippine and English. Alicia was Hispanic, so she spoke Spanish and English.
As she got out of the car, her long, soft brunette hair flipped back against the wind. The wind was stronger than it usually was, and Alicia could tell it was about to start pouring. So she kissed her father good-bye and started running towards her first class: math. She had Olivia and Ryan in that class, lucky for her. She started running out of the drizzling rain, which by the minute got harder and harder. Since her school was mostly open, without any closed halls, she crossed the gate by the main office and headed out into the rain again, running as fast as she could without slipping.
First, she needed to get her math book, so she went to her locker, which was near the math room, and got the book out.
She rushed towards room 45, where Mrs. Gilmore was always sitting behind her desk, either grading papers or on the computer.
She finally made it to the class, just a few seconds before the bell rang, pouring wet. The buzz of the alarm went off just as soon as she sat down on her individual seat. Usually, Mrs. Gilmore waited a few minutes after the bell rang to start class, so Alicia, Ryan and Olivia could talk.
“Hey, Alicia!” Olivia said excitedly, in her spirited ways as usual.
“Hey, baby,” Ryan said sweetly, as he always would in the mornings.
“Hey,” she said to both of them and then hugged Ryan. She had always loved his hugs. They were so warm and tender, and she always felt so safe. Most of the time, she didn’t want to let go. But she had to at some point. The main reason why she liked winter was because she would always go to his house or he would go to hers, and they would snuggle by the fire and watch movies. She loved being safe in his arms.
They talked for those few minutes, mostly about the weather, and how Ryan hated the rain for a few reasons, except for one: Alicia and Ryan had their first kiss in the rain. It sounds typical, like what a lot of girls want; Alicia didn’t mind if it happened in the rain or not, but it just happened to rain when they started kissing.
Their first kiss had been on her birthday, when they were out in New York City and they were walking across the street. There was thunder, and as they kissed, the rain started falling. But that’s another story.
Finally, Mrs. Gilmore got up from her seat and started talking and walking towards the board.
“Good morning, class.”
“Good morning,” the class said without much enthusiasm.
“Everyone, please put your books under the desk, and get out a pencil for your test.”
Oh no, Alicia thought. She had completely forgotten they had a math test, and she didn’t study for it. But she didn’t think it would be too much of a problem since she always knew these things. So, she did as she was told, and got out a blue mechanical number two pencil.
Mrs. Gilmore started passing the two-page test out as soon as everyone was done putting the books away.
It was a matter of twenty minutes before Alicia was done with her test. She flipped it over so no one would see the answers, put her pencil down and looked forward. She started playing with her hair and twirled it as she thought about Ryan, who was sitting right ahead of her. His hair is so adorable, she thought as she looked at his wavy, long blonde hair. He had piercing blue eyes, which sometimes turned green, but if the light position was right, they turned hazel. She loves his eyes, and thought that was one of his main features. But the truth was, his personality was his best feature. He was so sweet, kind, and helpful, and so involved in things. Yet he was so safe, so strong and so determined, mostly to please Alicia. Alicia had no doubt that he was the best boyfriend she had ever had.
As she thought about this, she drifted into other wonderful thoughts, like what they would do that weekend: go to the movies, ice skating, the mall, Alicia’s house the park near their neighborhood, or maybe bowling. As long as she was with him, she would always be fine.
She thought of how much she loved him, and how much he adored her. The two of them really were in love, and they couldn’t deny it. And nothing could separate them. At least that’s what everyone thought.
So many girls were jealous of her because a guy loved her so much. Everyone could tell and it was so dreadfully noticeable.
I am so lucky to have him…
“Okay, time’s up everyone! Turn the tests in the basket!” The sound of Mrs. Gilmore’s voice broke everything up. Her wonderful daydreams went back to hide in her head.
Alicia, Ryan and Olivia got up at the same time to turn the tests in. And soon after that, the bell rang. Alicia picked up her polka-dotted JanSport backpack and started walking out of the classroom with her math book in hand, talking to Olivia and Ryan. Olivia and Alicia had the next class together, which was art. Ryan had tech design, but Alicia didn’t worry too much. They would see each other in forty five minutes.
Olivia and Alicia talked on the way to art class with Ms. Johnson. Ms. Johnson was younger than almost all of the teachers, and was so outgoing and spirited. Alicia loved her, and she was one of her favorite teachers. That was practically why she looked forward to art almost every day.
“What are you doing tonight?” Olivia asked.
“Um, I don’t think I’m doing anything. Let me guess, you want to go to the mall?”
“No…well, maybe. I was thinking of going to your house, but the mall is better!”
“Sure, Olivia,” Alicia said in a playful voice.
“What? I was!” Alicia and Olivia started pushing each other playfully through the hall until they finally got to art class and they both put their math books away.
They entered the room, where Ms. Johnson was in the back of the room, fixing some papers. “I wonder what we’re doing today,” Alicia whispered as they stepped inside.
“I don’t know, but it must be something fun!”
They took their regular seats at the wooden table and waited for Ms. Johnson.
They ended up having partners (Olivia and Alicia together, of course), and drawing each other as best as they could, then writing something about the person in the back, explaining what they thought the picture told them. It was a fun activity, but soon, art class was over, and science was coming up.
Olivia and Alicia met Ryan in the intersection of where the gym was and where the tech room was. They all went to their lockers and tried to open them, but a lot of times, they would get stuck. We need better lockers, Alicia thought, getting angrier at the locker that wouldn’t budge. As soon as she opened it with a loud BANG!, she saw the note inside. The horrible note that said the words, in capital, bold letters: YOUR BROTHER IS BACK.
“What the heck?!” Were Alicia’s first words as she saw the yellow sticky note on the inside of the silver door. “What kind of sick joke is this?!”
Alicia felt her stomach twitch as she read the note over and over again, and she started getting angrier and angrier.
“Alicia…I don’t know, but you should just ignore it,” Ryan said, trying to calm her down, putting a hand on her shoulder.
“Ignore it?! What kind of bastard would play a sick joke like this?!” That was when Alicia exploded. Why would someone do this to me? My brother’s not coming back!
Tears sprung from her face as she dropped the note. She started running towards the girl’s bathroom, hearing yells of her name after her. But nothing could stop her from running. All she saw was a blur of faces and doors from behind her falling tears. What have I ever done to the world? All I ever wanted was to have my brother with me!
She finally reached the bathroom, and went inside one of the stalls. A few seconds later, she heard steps run in, and she knew it was Olivia. “Alicia?!”
There were several seconds of silence, then sobbing from inside the stall Alicia was in.
She came out and saw Olivia’s blurry face from the tears that covered everything. Then, she went out and saw Ryan, who was waiting for her. She walked up to him, and hugged him, crying into his chest. She knew he didn’t mind. All he wanted for her was to be safe and happy.
As she went throughout the day with thoughts of the note, which kept bothering her, she talked to Ryan and Olivia about it, which she knew she could trust. She didn’t tell anybody else about the incident, but she knew a lot of people already knew, just didn’t say anything. None of the teacher ever mentioned anything, or wouldn’t until she said something. But she was okay.
Finally, her last period of the day came. It was P.E., where Ryan and Olivia were in, too. They all played basketball and were on one team. They would always beat the other teams, and they finally won the tournament. The sport helped Alicia keep the note off her mind a little. She never saw it again, until after school.
She quickly got dressed in the locker room with Olivia, and ran out of there as soon as the bell rang. They met Ryan by the front gate, where they said their good-byes. She would see Ryan tomorrow, because he had baseball practice on Fridays. Olivia couldn’t come over because she remembered she was grounded for getting an F on her last science test.
Alicia searched for the silver Honda and immediately found it parked in front of the office. She ran towards it and got in the front seat as quick as she could so she wouldn’t get too wet.
Alicia didn’t mention a word about the note to either of her parents, because she knew they would freak—especially her mom. So she left it alone and didn’t let it bother her anymore. She sat in the seat, looking at out her window, and she sensed her father glancing at her.
“Is everything okay?”
“How was your day?”
“It was regular. We did…school stuff.” This made her father laugh.
“How are things with you and Ryan?”
“Great,” She said unenthusiastically. Alicia thought he knew she was moody, so he just left her alone.
As soon as they got into their garage, which was practically a barn, since they lived in what you would call a farm, she quickly got out of the car with her backpack in her hand and went inside without a word.
She didn’t know what to do. She had no homework, except for a research paper, which wasn’t due in another two weeks. She didn’t feel like doing the work, so she decided to go in the computer, which was on her desk in her room. She turned on the start button, and waited patiently for it to load. The window for her username and password popped up. She typed in Alicia and her password: Iloveryan. But what she saw next made her almost jump out of her skin. The screensaver came up as soon as it was done loading. But the screensaver had a white background and in red letters, looking somewhat like blood, said: This is Adam. I came back for you, Alicia.
Alicia screamed like there was no tomorrow, terrified out of her bones. What is going on? What’s happening to me?! She stood up from her seat and started crying. Her father rushed over to see what the fuss was about, along with her mother. In complete and utter silence, Alicia merely pointed to the screen. She started sobbing.
“Alicia! Why would you do this?!” Her mother screamed.
“It wasn’t me! I swear it! It happened at school, too!!” Alicia was now screaming hysterically, her face red and tears rolling down her cheeks.
“What?! Why didn’t you say anything?!” Her father demanded.
“I didn’t want to freak you out!” She sobbed. “I thought it was just a joke, but now I don’t know what’s happening!” She was sobbing so hard she could barely breathe now.
“Calm down, honey. It’s okay.” Her mother tried to comfort her, tears in her eyes, too. Alicia’s father was speechless.
“Just, delete the screensaver for now, and tell us what happened at school.” Her father said softly.
Alicia obediently deleted the screensaver and told them the story of what happened.
They told her to leave it alone, and if it happened again, they would announce the school. Her mother suggested for Alicia to take a walk to get her to calm down. So, as soon as Alicia stopped crying, she put her pink jacket on and headed out the door and started for a walk around her property, which was fairly big. She estimated it would be about an hour before she went back to her house. She had to relax. She had to keep her mind off everything that was happening. She decided to head to her pond first, which did have water because of the late rain. After she did that, she noticed the sun was going down, and clouds were accumulating again, and it was probably going to rain again.
It was the perfect time to go up on their hill: At sunset. It was the best spot to catch it going down.
She climbed up the hill and sat down when she got to the top. She could see the whole town, which was pretty small. That was her favorite spot out of her whole property. As soon as the sun went down, she saw the clouds getting darker and darker. She decided she would have to head back to her house soon.
Just as she was getting up from her sitting spot on an empty spot of the hill, she heard a horrifying, shrill scream, which could only come from her mother. Alicia turned her head sharply to where the scream came from, and it came directly from her house.
Her immediate reaction was to start running. She started running down the hill as fast as she could, feeling as if she would lift off and fly anytime. She wished she could so bad, to get away from this nightmare. The wind hit against her face hard, brushing her hair behind her. She heard thunder in the distance. A few seconds later, a strike of lightning came, but fortunately, it was in the town.
She turned the corner of her barn, went inside and through the door that led to her house. She shut the door behind her and turned right, towards her living room. There, she found the most excruciating sight she had seen in her whole life.
TO BE CONTINUED…..
It made her want to throw up. She would never be able to explain the feeling she felt when she saw her mother and father, laying lifeless on the ground of their living room, with puddles of blood all around them. Their throats were slit and cut, blood was coming out of their mouths. It was something Alicia would never be able to forget. Her father’s eyes were open, staring at the wall, and blood all over his favorite shirt. Her mother was the same, except her eyes were closed, and she was lying on her stomach. Her neck was at an angle which made it look like her neck had been severely cracked. Blood was all around her, and there was something silver sticking out of her back, but it wasn’t a knife. It was a fork. Yes, a fork. A salad fork, to be specific.
Alicia couldn’t stand it. She ran to the bathroom, opened the toilet seat and started vomiting. After she was done, she started sobbing harder than she ever had. Her stomach was in terrible pain, and she had never felt so bad. Her first thought was to call Ryan. Baseball practice should’ve been over by now. She ran to her room, still sobbing, and pressed his speed dial number, four. The image of her dead parents kept playing in her head, making her want to throw up again. She heard thunder again, and saw a flash of lightning out of the corner of her eye.
Three rings of the phone. He never picked up the first time.
She dialed on her cell phone again, and prayed for him to pick up.
“Ryan…” She sobbed weakly. Her stomach hurt so bad from crying and throwing up she could barely talk.
“Alicia, what’s wrong? What about your parents?”
“Ryan, my parents are…dead.” She sobbed even harder at the last word.
“Yes, Ryan. They’re dead! Freaking dead!”
“I’m going over there right now.”
“Hurry, Ryan. Please, hurry…” Alicia felt faint now. She was getting dizzy, and everything started spinning. She dropped her black RAZR and kneeled on the floor.
She heard the rain hitting the ceiling, and saw the wooden floor. She knew she was about to faint. But something saved her from fainting. And it wasn’t good.
There was a knock on her door. The door that led to the barn. “Who is it?” She asked weakly. It couldn’t be Ryan. He had just ended the call with her not even thirty seconds before. “Who is it?” She said in a louder voice.
There was no reply. As she got nearer the door, very slowly and carefully, she considered opening it. But before she could do anything, the door swung open itself.
Alicia screamed, and the door opening scared the living hell out of her. She was so badly frightened that she fell back on the hard wooden floor. She stayed there for several seconds. She slowly stood up to see what had opened the door…
CRACK! There was a big strike of lightning and that’s when she saw it… There was someone…or something, covered in black outside her door. It was all in black, a black cloak, black cape, black hood so you couldn’t see its face.
Alicia screamed, started running towards her front door, not looking back to see the horrible sight of either whatever was in her barn or her dead parents. She opened the front door, slammed it behind her and ran to the front porch. It was pouring rain now, and there was thunder and lightning everywhere she turned. Too terrified to pay attention, poor Alicia tripped on the front steps of her porch, landing in a big pile of mud. She heard something crack as she landed head first, but wasn’t injured. She quickly got up, afraid that the thing was behind her, chasing her now. She started running without looking back again, and turned around the corner of her barn. She heard her goats baaing and screaming for some reason. It was pitch black outside now, and the light outside of her barn was on, lighting everything. She looked up and saw something else that was lighting everything: the full moon. She had always remembered that on Ryan and her anniversary, there was always a full moon. She was so scared, she started sobbing again, but her tears weren’t noticeable thanks to the rain. She stopped running, and gasped for breath. She backed up against the big door of the barn, and held her hand against her chest. Am I going insane?! When will this nightmare be over?! As she turned to her left to see if the creature was following her, instead, the thing took her by surprise and grabbed her from behind. Alicia screamed again, right at the strike of lightning, so that it echoed through the hills. The thing had a strong grip, and grabbed her arms tightly, feeling as if it would break them. “Let go of me, freak!” Alicia screamed hysterically for the thing to let her go, and started crying once more. “Let go of me!” She screamed over and over again, but why would it listen to her?
She finally kicked him so that it let go of her and she started running back where she came form. This time, she looked back, but the thing had disappeared. Her hair was soaking wet, and so was her whole body. She leaned against the wooden wall of the barn once more, and turned so that her face was against the wall. “This is so messed up!” She screamed. She felt like dying right then and there. I mean, why would there be reason to live anymore? Her brother and parents were dead, there was something in her house chasing her, and now she was starting to think that her boyfriend was dead, too. Why would there be reason to live anymore?
She turned around the corner of the barn again, and started running back to her house. She ran past the silver Honda that she would probably never ride again. She noticed the baas of her goats were gone. Had they died, too? Probably. She stepped on her front porch again, and stopped. What if he’s inside? She thought helplessly. What if it kills me? Well, there’s no reason to live anymore, so just go in, My God! She opened the door, and shut it again, ran past the corpses of her parents once more and headed to her room. He wasn’t in the house. At least not anywhere where she was. As she stopped right outside of her room, she heard footsteps outside. Hide in the closet, she thought. She went inside her bright colored room, and looked at it one last time before going into her closet. She moved everything aside so she could fit. It was a slide door closet, so she had no trouble opening the door. She was crying again. The thought of dying sounded horrible to her. But once again, what was the point in living anymore?
She was wet, muddy and she had blood on her hand and her chin from falling off the porch. As soon as she fit, she closed the slide-door and prayed that the killer wouldn’t find her. After a few minutes of waiting, she heard steps inside, and she heard the door of her room opening.
I’m dead, she thought. Goodbye, cruel world. Bye forever. She closed her eyes, almost sure that she was going to die in a few seconds. She held her knees close together and wrapped her hands around them. She heard the slide door of the closet opening…
“Alicia!” Alicia heard a familiar voice right I front of her.
She opened her eyes, and was so extremely, very happy to see Ryan in front of her. She gasped.
“Ryan…?” Alicia said softly, almost in a whisper, not believing she was seeing things right.
She stood up slowly and cautiously, trying to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating. She reached over with her hands to touch his face, his angelic face which made her so happy. And he was real.
“Ryan…It’s you! It’s really you!”
Alicia had never been happier to see him. She hugged him as tight as she could, hoping this had all just been a nightmare while she was sleeping in her closet. Ryan hugged Alicia back. “Where are your parents?” he asked.
“Didn’t you see them?! They’re in the living room! They’re dead! There’s blood and—oh, my Gosh, Ryan. I’m so glad you’re here! I love you so much!”
Alicia hugged him again, tighter. “Alicia…I love you, too, hon.”
Apparently, Ryan seemed to be very surprised by all of this.
“I didn’t see your parents. I came in through the barn…” Ryan said.
“I just want to go home with you, Ryan. I want all this to be over.”
But then, Alicia realized this wasn’t over. She closed her eyes for five seconds as she hugged Ryan. When she opened them again, she realized the nightmare wasn’t over. The thing, covered all in black, was right behind them, and it had a big knife in its hand. Alicia gasped.
“Ryan, look out!!” But it was too late. The creature plunged the knife into Ryan’s back, and as she looked down, she saw the blood gushing out of his back. Alicia heard a terrible groan, a groan she would never be able to forget. She gasped again, and closed her eyes, and heard the sound of the groaning and blood still gushing out. She started sobbing one final time, as she let go of her last hug from her boyfriend forever. Ryan fell to the ground with a thud, and a puddle of blood started to create on her bedroom floor.
She looked up at the creature, and through the blur of tears, saw it aiming at her. She quickly moved out of the way and started heading toward the door that led to the barn again. She tried to open it—but it was locked. The thing was already too close to her for her to do anything. “What do you want from me?! Why are you doing this to me?! What did I ever do to you?!” She screamed as she looked away from the thing, leaning against the door.
Suddenly, the creature covered in black put its hand down, and revealed himself—this was the most surprising thing of all. Adam, the 18-year-old brother who was supposed to be dead because he had been murdered, turned out to be underneath the black hood.
Alicia gasped in shock, and put her right hand over her mouth. She was in so much shock, she was about to fall over.
“I was never good enough for anyone around here. Not you, not our parents, not anybody. So I decided to see what it’d be like if I died. But still, no one cared. I made up the whole story of being murdered, stabbed myself, and blamed it on Mr. Thomas—you know, the neighbor that was arrested for murder. And I wrote all those notes at school, and did your screensaver for you,” he smiled evilly.
“I can’t believe you would do this…”
“Well, I did. And then, I found out you had betrayed me. With everything. You took everything from me, and still, nobody cared. You deserve to die, Alicia. Everyone here who died deserved to die. No one here should be alive. Not even you.”
Alicia saw the coldness and hatred in his eyes, and the need for him to kill her. Alicia had betrayed him, but she never meant to. It was true in a way that Alicia had always been better than Adam, she was more popular, better grades, and everything. When he died, she took everything away from him, all his stuff, and burnt it. Why? They had never gotten along. They hated each other. They were willing to risk their lives to have the other die.
“Sorry, Alicia. But this is what you get.” Adam raised the knife and plunged it down, and Alicia saw the last of her cruel world.
A few days later, the story was everywhere in town. The news on TV, the newspaper, everywhere. And this was the story:
This is the story of a family who died horribly last month, on March 2nd. There were five people killed. There was a young girl, identified as Alicia Connell, her mother and father, a boy by the name of Ryan Gray, and the young girl’s brother, Adam Connell. Apparently, Adam Conell killed the whole family, including Ryan Gray, and then committed suicide by stabbing himself. No one knows why to this day, it a mystery that will never be solved.