The Curse of the Prince’s Dagger

 

9/17/2010                                                                                                                                                

                                                The Curse of the Prince’s Dagger

                       

           

            Some say that it’s horrifying to murder someone with the Prince’s dagger, they say that you feel empty inside and your veins run cold as your victims blood drips from your hand. Others might say you feel a sort of ‘evil’ come over you and you become cursed for the rest of your life with no means of escape. You might hear through the grapevine that if you stare into the red ruby in-crested in the dagger, you lose all consciousness and you do things, horrible things. You can see yourself doing them but you can’t stop yourself. This, however, is just a legend, but for Mathew Gray all of it was true. He knew what he was doing and he felt guilty for it, but he loved it, he thrived on it while he was attacking his first victim. 

            Mathew Gray was an average sized, well groomed type of man without a care in the world. He enjoyed life, never got in trouble with the law, and was an all around nice guy. His new job in Shadowrock, Connecticut  took him away from his old life where he had been in sales at a failing office supply store. The day came when the Shadow Press called him and wanted him to start writing columns for their paper. After accepting the job, Mathew decided to look at the sites of Shadowrock online. He thought Shadowrock was a beautiful place to live and possibly raise a family. It didn’t say anything about Shadowrock, Connecticut being cursed, and no one bothered to tell him.

            The following day after he accepted the job offer, Mathew packed up his belongings, stuffed them in the the flatbed of his red ford pickup and drove towards “paradise,” or so he thought. After passing a few exit signs on the highway, Mathew began to wonder where this place actually was. He didn’t get much information at all about a town called Shadowrock, not even at his local library. It was as if Shadowrock, Connecticut was nonexistent.

 

“Finally!” Mathew said as he looked towards his right at an old faded green worn down exit sign.

 

            He took the right the exit sign was indicating and then continued to take all the detour signs he could in order to get to Shadowrock at a decent time. As he was driving on the main road, he noticed an old faded, wooden sign indicating another detour he could take. He decided to take it, but soon regretted this decision as it lead him down an old dirt road with trees overhanging it. It seemed like the road would never end, and the tall overhanging trees made everything that much darker. It looked like there was hope when Mathew noticed some sunlight up ahead. While he continued down the road towards Shadowrock, he couldn’t help but notice that there were no more trees overhanging the road, but what made him stop his truck in disbelief was the fact that there were two huge cemeteries on both sides of the road, both full of tombstones. Mathew got out of his truck to try and understand what he was seeing.

 

You’ve got to be shitting me, he thought, looking at all of the grave markers that seemed like they would never end.

 

            He felt relief when he walked up ahead, looked up, and noticed a tall black archway sign welcoming him to Shadowrock. By the look of the sign it didn’t make him feel welcome at all. The sound of a flock of crows flying overhead towards Shadowrock startled Mathew, cauing him to look up and see what was making all the noise. Mathew turned and walked back towards his truck. As he was walking he noticed one of the tombstones was worn down and cracked down the center, he decided to

go take a look. He hadn’t seen such an old tombstone before, he looked at the year and noticed the person was born in 1812 and died in 1820. In fact as Mathew noticed, most of the people in the cemetery were born in the 1800’s. He felt a little spooked as he looked up and stared at the black archway sign again, so he decided to walk back towards his pickup. The sound of the pickup’s door echoed in the thick dense air, as Mathew shut it. He noticed his rear view mirror wasn’t centered, he decided to center it. As he fixed the mirror he caught a pale white decomposing corpse staring at him from the backseat.

 

“Oh, shit!” Mathew yelled as he turned and looked behind him, and noticed there was nothing in the back seat but more of his luggage.

 

            The town of Shadowrock hadn’t seen a newcomer for quite some time, so it was no wonder that they all looked strangely at Mathew as he arrived. While he passed all the shops and all the houses he couldn’t help but wonder why information on the town was so hard to find. The town was beautiful, Mathew thought as he gazed off in the distance and spotted the biggest willow tree he had ever seen, overhanging a recreational park. The red ford pickup started to slow down so he could look at all the sites in the town before heading up to his new home. A red flash of light splashed on Mathew’s face coming from an old antique shop. The shop was off to his right and had a sign hanging above that said Antiques and Such. He didn’t know what could have made that light appear but he looked at where it was coming from and parked the truck in the road for a second so he could check it out.

            That red gem sort of thing probably made the light, Mathew thought staring at a gem in-crested on a dagger sitting in the antique shop’s front window. The red ford pickup started driving past the antique shop, towards the new home of Mathew Grey, which luckily wasn’t too far away. He turned the corner past the antique shop and drove down the road past several houses. Mathew noticed one thing, the similarity between the road he was now on, and the dirt road he had to take to get here. All the overhanging trees. This time though, Mathew thought, it actually makes the road look peaceful. The For Sale sign on the front lawn made him notice his house; a small, white Victorian with red shutters. As he drove up the small driveway and parked in front of the garage, he started to fumble around in his jacket pocket for the skeleton key the realtor had given him.

 

“Ah, there it is.” Mathew said as he pulled the key out of his pocket and opened his truck door to get out.

 

            As his feet hit the ground Mathew had finally realized how stiff all that driving had made his legs. With his hand still hanging onto the door of his pickup, he started to look around at all the houses he was living next to. He wasn’t used to it and the expression on his face told everybody that. He liked his privacy and knowing he wasn’t going to get it made Mathew regret coming here. Not having his privacy, however, was the least of his worries. Mathew heard the sound of a lawnmower coming from somewhere close so he decided to turn around and look behind him. The sound was coming from his new neighbor, the owner of a black Cadillac and almost the same style house as Mathew and who apparently just came back from a golf match or was leaving to go to one, Mathew noticed. Not really sure why he’s mowing his lawn, he thought walking over to his new neighbor, there really isn’t much grass on that small patch of lawn to cut. When Mathew finally made eye contact with the neighbor he showed how friendly he was by waving to him. The sound of the lawn mower stopped and Mathew’s

new neighbor started walking closer to him.

 

“Hi, there!” The man said reaching out his hand to shake Mathews. “I’m Mr. Roberts, well you can call me Mark, sometimes I think I’m still at the office and I end up telling everyone they can call me Mr. Roberts.” Mr. Roberts laughed.

 

“Hi, my name is Mathew Grey, I just moved in to this house, well not really moved in quite yet as you can see.” Mathew said reaching out his hand to shake Mark’s.

 

“Ah yes, the old Mcgraw home, you’re lucky ya know, that’s a really nice house.” Mr. Roberts said.

 

            Maybe it was the way the town was making Mathew feel, but he couldn’t help but wonder why the Mcgraws left. He remembered the two huge old graveyards, the spooky welcome sign, and the fact that a lot of the town’s people were staring at Mathew as he was driving through the town. In fact it was more like glaring, either way it didn’t make him feel settled at all.

 

‘Why did the Mcgraws leave?” Mathew asked without any hesitation.

 

“Let’s just say it was an emergency, and leave it at that. So does a young pup like yourself have a job here yet?”

 

“Yea actually, I’m going to start writing for the paper, I’m going to write columns for it.” Mathew replied.

 

“Ah yes, the paper, maybe you can talk them into stop writing slander and start writing the truth huh?” Mr. Roberts asked.

 

To Mathew, Mr. Roberts seemed to be an important figure in the community. The expensive car and the way he had been presenting himself throughout the conversation. He seems to be a “take-charge” kind of guy, Mathew thought.

 

“Yea, maybe.” Mathew said. “I should probably go and unpack though.”

 

“Oh, right, right of course, I apologize sometimes I just lose myself in conversation. You go do that, I’ve got to change anyway. It was nice to meet you Mathew. I hope to speak with you again. Have a good day.” Mr. Roberts said.

 

“Bye, you too.” Mathew replied as he watched Mark Roberts walk back towards his house.

 

            Luckily for Mathew he didn’t pack a lot of stuff to take with him for the move. He knew he only had a short time to pack so he just grabbed the bare essentials. He grabbed the few bags he had from his pickup, wrapped them over his shoulder, and fidgeted with the skeleton key to unlock the front door. A brush of cool breeze brushed upon his face as he opened the door, and walked inside. The ugly color of  pea green covering the walls, is what first caught his attention. As Mathew closed the door behind him, he noticed towards his right, areas on the wall near the staircase where the Mcgraw’s had held their pictures. The nails still intact with the wall was a dead giveaway. Mathew also noticed all the dust on the staircase, it seems like they hadn’t dusted in months, Mathew thought.  

 

                                                                                                                                                                 

It wasn’t “paradise” as he had hoped, but it would do. Mathew set his luggage down on the floor next to him, and looked around. He noticed an arched doorway leading to what seemed like a dining area to his left. The sun beamed onto the champagne glasses on the long dining table in the small room, from a window to the left of the table. Mathew couldn’t help but notice the large chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the dining room.

 

“Wow”, Mathew said. He wasn’t used to living the life of luxury and now that he had an expensive chandelier to boast about, he was one step closer to living like a prince.

 

            Mathew walked towards the right of the dining table and through another arched doorway in the room, leading to the kitchen. His eyes gazed upon the long marble island sitting in the middle of the kitchen with a steel oven and stove sitting to the right.

 

Everything’s so nice, he thought, I wonder who lived here?

 

            The one thing he couldn’t stop looking at was the inches of dust covering everything, from the champagne glasses to the steel oven. The one thing that disturbed Mathew was the fact that it had looked like the residents who lived there before, left in a hurry. He didn’t want to think about how strange it was but when Mathew gazed on the champagne glasses there was still liquid inside of them. Wine perhaps? Champagne? Which ever one it was, it still sent a strange feeling deep inside of him. He continued walking through the kitchen, which wasn’t really that big at all, and turned towards his right and walked into the living room area of the house.

 

What in the world?, Mathew thought. He was now almost convinced the Mcgraws left in a hurry. What he saw in the living room was the couch up against the window side facing the television, that had been siting in the corner of the room near Mathew.

 

Ah, shit, he thought, feeling uneasy as he walked through another arched doorway leading back to the front door.

 

            Mathew started remembering the dagger he had seen earlier as he opened the front door and walked back outside closing the door behind him. He tucked the skeleton key back inside his coat pocket and tried searching for his new neighbor, Mark Roberts.

 

“Did you enjoy the house Mathew?” Mark asked, walking out from behind his Cadillac, wearing what seemed to be a very expensive tuxedo with his salt and pepper colored hair slicked back.

 

“Yea, I did who lived there before?” Mathew asked.

 

“The Mcgraws, they were a wealthy couple, Gary was an expert chef who owned his own restaurant right here in Shadowrock, it had been in, what is now, the antique shop just down the road. Oh, that restaurant was a main hit it was sad to see it go.”  Mark replied.

 

“Some of their stuff is still in the house, so why did they leave in such a hurry Mr. Roberts?” Mathew asked.

 

“Circumstances.”

 

“Circumstances?” Mathew asked.

 

“Yes, circumstances arose and they had to leave, they only took what they could carry.” Mark answered.

 

            Mathew knew there was more going on than what Mr. Roberts had been telling him, but he decided to keep his hopefully new found friendship at a safe distance, and decided not to ask any more questions regarding the Mcgraws.

“If you’ll excuse me Mathew, I just wanted to see how you liked your new home, but I have to leave to go to a meeting. I’ll see you soon, bye for now.” Mark said.

 

“Bye” Mathew replied.

 

            He started to remember the dagger once again as he opened the door to his pickup and got inside. Mathew didn’t know why he kept thinking about it, all he knew was that he had to see it, as he backed down the driveway into the street. Thinking about how rich Mark Roberts looks, Mathew realized he had forgotten to ask him an important question, why was everyone staring at him when he arrived? It was as if the residents hadn’t seen anyone move into the town before. Mathew’s red Ford pickup parked in front of the antique shop where he had seen the dagger with the red reflection.

            He couldn’t believe that this place used to be a restaurant, seeing how small it was, but Mathew got out of his truck and walked past the front window glancing at the dagger. The small ringing of a bell from above echoed in the shop as Mathew opened the door.

 

“I don’t believe I’ve seen you around here before?” A tall slender man with short grey hair, about the age of 50, asked from behind a large glass display case from up front.

 

“Um, no I’m new here, just moved in today, my name is Mathew Gray,” he replied reaching out his hand as he walked towards the man.

 

“Ah, I see, my name is Barry Grant I’m the owner of this shop,” the man said reaching out his hand to shake Mathews.

 

“This old fart isn’t going to introduce me so I’ll do it myself,” a shaky voice said walking closer to Mathew.

 

“Oh, I didn’t see you there in the shadows,” Barry said

 

“Yea, yea my name is Ben Cutter, but you can call me Mr. Cutter, everyone else does,” a cane holding, red sweater wearing, Mr. Cutter said.

 

“It’s good to meet you sir,” Mathew replied, shaking his hand and noticing how old Mr. Cutter really seemed to be. Mathew could see the wrinkles surrounding Mr. Cutter’s face and thinning white hair. He seems to be about 80 from the looks of it, Mathew thought.

 

“How are you today Ben?” Mathew heard Barry ask.

 

“I thought everyone calls you Mr. Cutter?” Mathew asked

 

“Everyone but him. I’m fine today Barry.” Mr. Cutter replied.

 

            As the two old friends it seemed to be, talked away Mathew remembered the reason why he came to the shop in the first place, the dagger. Mathew walked over to the front window and stared upon the dagger, and picked it up with both hands. He liked old antiques from a long lost time, it reminded him of how easy life could be. He looked carefully at the handy work of the dagger and felt the black leather covering the handle of it,  but it was the red ruby that stole his attention.

 

“The other day I was able to….” Mr. Cutter trailed off as he turned around, while talking to Barry. “Don’t look at that thing!” Mr. Cutter yelled  running as fast as he could towards Mathew and grabbing the dagger out of his hands.

 

“Why whats wrong with it?” Mathew asked.

 

“Everything, everything’s wrong with it. I didn’t even know you were selling this damned thing Barry!” Mr. Cutter yelled towards Barry Grant. “You stay away from this dagger! You hear me Mathew?”

 

“Yea, I hear you, but what’s wrong with the dagger?” Mathew asked.

 

“I’ll tell you, but not in here.” Mr. Cutter said placing the dagger back on its pedestal in the window.

 

            Mathew had no idea what Mr. Cutter was talking about, if there was anything wrong with something in the town, he would have thought Mark Roberts would have told him first. Could this man be crazy? Mathew thought to himself. Possibly, but I’ll see what he has to say, Mathew thought again as he and Mr. Cutter crossed the street towards the park where a few towns people were standing under the old willow tree, holding colorful picket signs.

 

“Sit down right here Mathew,” Mr. Cutter said pointing to a chair in front of a chess game made of stone, sitting under the large willow tree.

 

“Whats with them?” Mathew asked, gesturing towards the picket sign holders.

 

“Them? Oh, nothing.” Mr. Cutter replied.

 

“Okay, so tell me what’s so wrong about that dagger Mr. Cutter,” Mathew replied sitting down as Mr. Cutter sat on the opposite side of the game.

 

“Are you comfortable Mathew, because it may take a while?” Mr. Cutter asked.

 

“Yea, I’m fine,” Mathew answered.

 

“Well, back in the 1700’s, 1710 to be precise, there was a King and Queen keeping order in what used to be called Grandrock. The King and Queen had a son named Alexander, Prince Alexander. One day he grew jealous of his parents, he knew he was next in line to be King. Mathew, his jealousy turned into hatred, so he grabbed his dagger he always carried with him and slaughtered the King and Queen, and anybody else that tried to stop him.” Mr. Cutter explained with worry in his voice.

 

“So this whole warning of your’s goes back to the 1700’s? I hope this is good sir.” Mathew said

 

“Just listen Mathew and you’ll understand,” Mr. Cutter replied. “ As days passed, bodies piled up until one day the town’s witch decided to put a stop to it. She ordered Prince Alexander to meet her in a secluded area in the woods, and as young and naive as Alexander was at the time, he did exactly what she wanted. The legend goes, that she cast some sort of spell on him and he died instantly. The witch wanted to bury Alexander with his dagger, but around that time there were people left and right grave robbing, which made her nervous. She wanted to stop the Prince for good, she didn’t want someone stealing the Prince’s body along with his soul, and have the chance that someone would bring him back to life. The witch grabbed the dagger and her lucky red ruby she always carried around her neck, and she snuggly placed the ruby onto the dagger. She cast a spell onto Alexander’s corpse, took his soul, and placed it inside of the ruby. She continued by tossing his body and the dagger in a grave she had dug.”

 

            Mathew knew crazy. From the time Mr. Cutter began warning him about the dagger, he knew this whole situation was bizarre. You only hear about this kind of thing in the movies, Mathew thought, never in real life. Seeing as how the story involved the dagger he was interested in, he decided to listen more.

 

“Is that all?” Mathew asked.

 

“No, no, not yet.” Mr. Cutter replied. “Years, so many years passed since that night, and it was around the year, yes I believe it was the year 1801. Everything had changed since that night, the villagers were as happy as they could be, the town of Grandrock was now called Shadowrock, because of the town’s past, I guess villagers decided it wasn’t so “grand” anymore.” Mr. Cutter laughed. 

 

“So what happened Mr. Cutter?” Mathew asked.

 

            “There wasn’t any talk of murders or anything like that until one day, I guess a young villager wanted to see if the legend was true, so he decided to go to where Prince Alexander was buried, and dig him up. No body knows what happened to him, but he came walking into the town with the Prince’s dagger in hand, and started killing everyone in the town. He acted strange, quite similar in the way Prince Alexander acted actually. After that night the townsfolk decided to rebury the dagger.

            The next incident with the dagger came in 1930, some friends were playing in the woods, and one friend tripped over a very poorly dug grave of Prince Alexander. For so many centuries no one talked about the dagger, so these friends had no idea what was buried there. Anyway they dug up Alexander and his dagger, there were going to go into town and tell everyone what they found, but something bad happened. One of the friends picked up the dagger and killed his friends with it. The kid walked into town holding the dagger, blood covering his shirt. He killed a couple more people, until he was stopped.

            I haven’t seen the dagger for quite some time, until today Mathew. I am haunted by it, haunted by the stories and haunted by what I’ve seen, that is why you need to stay away from it!” Mr. Cutter finished.

 

            To Mathews amazement he became very intrigued by the story Mr. Cutter had just told him. He knew what he heard sounded crazy, but it made sense. Mathew started wondering if Mark Roberts knew about the dagger. Maybe that’s why the Mcgraws left in a hurry, Mathew thought.

 

“Wow,” Mathew said. “That story is something else Mr. Cutter.”

 

“It’s all true Mathew.”

 

“That would explain all the tombstones in the graveyards coming into town then huh?” Mathew asked.

 

“COMING into town?” Mr. Roberts asked “Oh no all the tombstones are in the back side of town no one comes IN from the backside of town, but yes all those tombstones are the poor victims of the Prince’s Dagger.”

 

“Ah, stupid detours,” Mathew remarked. No wonder people were staring at me, he thought.

 

            Mathew knew that it all started to make sense, the reason why there wasn’t much information about the town anywhere, the old look of the dagger, and why Mr. Cutter got so mad when he saw it.   He couldn’t stop thinking about the dagger. In order to find out whether the story Mr. Cutter had told him was true, he had to do his homework on the dagger, the Shadowpress should have information about it, Mathew thought. Why didn’t Mark tell me about the dagger? Mathew couldn’t help but think.

 

            The next day Mathew woke in a ugly pea green colored bedroom of his new home, unable to stand the color any longer. Each stair creaked with every step Mathew took down the stairs. As he walked into the living room, the floor creaked as well. It might have belonged to the Mcgraws, but it was Mathew’s couch now as he plopped down upon it and turned on the television.

 

“As Mayor Roberts tackles the historic willow tree in the towns new recreational park, the town rallies,” Mathew heard the news anchor say.

 

No way! Mathew thought, leaning forward in disbelief, Is he really?

 

Excitement grew inside of him, he had never lived close to anyone important. He couldn’t believe among all the town’s people, he was living next to the most important person in the town. Why didn’t he tell me? Mathew thought. Mathew started realizing that he may be one of those people who were rallying to keep the tree in town. He liked old treasures, and the old willow tree was as close to an old treasure as anything.

 

The front door opened to Mathew Grey’s house as he walked outside. Cool air brushed against his freshly combed, wet hair, and the wind blew at his deep red sweater and brown jacket. Before he went to the Shadowpress to check out his new job, he decided to try and get a hold of Mr. Roberts. He should have the answers I’m looking for, Mathew thought. He walked over to Mark Roberts’ house, as he caught a glimpse of the salt and pepper haired man walking out.

 

“Hey Mayor, what’s the deal with you and the old willow tree?” Mathew asked walking closer.

 

“Well Mathew, the tree is old it’s been, wait, you said Mayor didn’t you? Very tricky, so you found out huh?”  Mark. Roberts asked.

 

“Yea, I found out earlier on the news, I knew you seemed like an important figure, I just couldn’t connect the pieces. Why didn’t you tell me?” Mathew asked with determination in his voice.

 

“You’re new to the town Mathew, I guess I wanted you to see what kind of person I was before you found out and started judging me like everyone else. I guess it’s kind of hard keeping, “being a Mayor”, a secret right?”  Mayor Roberts laughed.

 

Why would I judge him? Mathew thought. As long as he’s not a corrupt mayor, who doesn’t care about anyone but himself, than I’m fine.

 

“Okay, so explain to me what’s going on with the willow tree?” Mathew asked.

 

“It’s old and it’s been there for generations, it’s bound to come down sooner or later, why wait and risk someone getting injured?”

 

“With all do respect sir, the tree looks old, but if it’s been there for generations and its still standing, than it could keep standing for much longer.” Mathew argued with agitation in his voice.

 

“There’s something troubling you Mathew, I can see it in your eyes, it’s more than the willow tree, what is it?” Mayor Roberts asked.

 

“Why didn’t you warn me about the Prince’s Dagger, if there was something I should have stayed away from in this town, I figured you would have told me.”

 

 “For your sake, stay away from it as much as you can before bad things happen, but about the tree, why are you so interested in it, may I ask?” Mayor Roberts asked.

 

“I like antiques, and that tree is as much of an antique as all these houses. They look like they’ve been here for a long time, are you going to tear down every house if you thought some of the wood was dying?”

 

“I’ve got to go, and stop a rally, Mathew, I’ll be sure to give you a branch from the tree or some bark, whatever you want.” Mayor Roberts said patting Mathew on the arm.

 

Okay, so he can be an ass, Mathew thought as he watched Mayor Roberts get in his car and drive off. That’s what you get for living next to a Mayor I guess, but why won’t he tell me more about the dagger?

 

            The sound of the red Ford pickup’s exhaust echoed in the air as Mathew drove down the road trying to remember where the Shadowpress was. Mathew caught out of the corner of his eye, a slender teenage looking boy with short blonde hair wearing a green apron. Must be walking home, he thought to himself as he came up on a stop sign down the road. Mathew knew what was to the left, the antique shop and some houses and other shops, so he decided to take the right. While driving down the road he remembered talking to the owner of the paper and, the owner said that the place was down a dirt road, Mathew thought. He nearly passed the dirt road to the left when he started remembering where it was.

 

“Why would someone put a business way out here?” Mathew asked out loud to himself, expecting to get an answer.

 

            Dust from the road rose up, as Mathew traveled down the road looking on both sides for the Shadowpress. The tall dead trees and bushes on both sides of the road went on for miles until Mathew came upon a tall large white sign with, The Shadowpress, written in black. This is the only road that doesn’t have overhanging trees on it, Mathew noticed. The dirt road turned to cement as he entered the Shadowpress parking lot, he parked in front of two large windows on the left side of the building. He could partially see what the business looked like inside from his truck, it looked professional, cozy and some what home-like. Mathew got out of his truck and walked towards the right past the window and turned left to get to the front door.  The doorknob turned as Mathew walked inside and noticed a small, roaring fireplace to the right up against the wall, a few tall plants in the corners of the room, a large printer against the wall near the fireplace, and computer desks everywhere else. Sounds of people talking or typing were nowhere to be found.

 

“Excuse me who are you?” A tall brown haired, executive looking women asked walking out of an office up ahead of Mathew.

 

“Oh, I’m Mathew Grey, I’m actually the new article writer for the Shadowpress.”

 

“Hi, Mathew I’m Alice Radcliff I spoke to you on the phone, I run the Shadowpress,” Alice said offering her hand to Mathew’s.

 

“This place looks very nice,” Mathew said shaking Alice’s hand.

 

“Thank you, I wanted the place to give off a relaxing feel. You see Mathew I’ve been in a lot of professional buildings in my life and I was never relaxed, I never felt comfortable. The Shadowpress is as professional as they come, but I wanted this business to be stress free. I wanted my employees to feel at home so they can relax.”

 

“That’s a really great idea, but may I ask where everybody is?”

 

“Forrest is our reporter and he’s actually at the park reporting on the Mayor and the willow tree. That Mayor, ya know, I mean he’s so stubborn, he doesn’t see that the tree is a treasure to this town, he’s just a pain in the ass sometimes. He has never changed and he never will. Have you met Mayor Roberts?” Alice asked.

 

“Yea I have, I actually live next door to him,” Mathew replied.

 

“Oh, lucky you. So anyway, changing the subject, how do you like Shadowrock so far Mathew?” Alice asked trying to avoid talking about Mayor Roberts.

 

“It’s a beautiful place. It has its secrets, but than again what town doesn’t right?” Mathew laughed.

 

“Yea, you’re right about that. Shadowrock is such an old town with so many stories and that’s what makes the town that much more interesting.” Alice replied.

 

“Speaking of the town’s secrets and stories,” Mathew started. “What’s going on with the Prince’s Dagger, I’ve heard the story about it. So is it true?” Mathew asked.

 

“Mathew Grey, don’t ever speak of that dagger in this office ever again, got that?” Alice ordered.

 

“Yea, sure no problem.”

 

“I’m sorry, it’s just a sore subject, the stories are true I’m afraid. It’s a horrible, horrible thing that happened to this town, but it’s in the past and the town is happier for it.” Alice said.

 

            Mathew thought about telling Alice about the dagger, but decided not to, seems like she already has a history with it, Mathew thought. He knew that it would hurt her more if she found out that the dagger was back. Now that he knew the stories were true, Mathew figured he had to somehow get rid of the dagger.

 

“I’d better get going Ms. Radcliff, I have more unpacking to do,”  Mathew said.

 

“Call me Alice, oh and if you see your neighbor tell him, thanks again for moving The Shadowpress all the way out here away from town.”

 

“Alright, I’ll give him the message,” Mathew said.

 

He could sense the hostility Alice had for the Mayor. Mathew guessed the reason why she hated the Mayor so much was because he moved her all the way out here away from civilization. There was another reason why she hated the Mayor, Mathew could sense. He just couldn’t put his finger on it.

            As Mathew opened the door and walked outside, he felt the cool fall wind brush against his face. As he watched the last of the orange colored leaves fall away from a tall maple tree beside The Shadowpress. Even though he knew it was none of his business as to why Alice hated the Mayor, he also knew that he could possibly save the willow tree if he could convince Alice and the Mayor to make amends.

            He got in his truck and started back towards civilization, where the idea of talking to Mayor Roberts rang through his mind. Mathew remembered the Mayor saying something about stopping a rally, so he decided to stop at the recreational park to see if Mayor Roberts was still there. Before Mathew could stop his truck at the park, he noticed fifteen maybe even twenty more people with picket signs standing around Mayor Roberts under the large willow tree.  As long as the dagger is still at the antique shop, it should be fine for the time being, Mathew thought.

 

“Everyone! Just calm down!” Mathew heard Mayor Roberts yell as he stopped his truck and opened his door to get out.

 

“Hey, excuse me!” Mathew said multiple times forcing his way through the mob of Shadowrock’s townspeople.

 

“What are you doing here Mathew?” Mayor Roberts asked as Mathew walked up to him.

 

“I’m here to talk to you, but I think we should do it somewhere else.” Mathew said.

 

“No, no, he’s not going anywhere until he decides to leave this tree here!” A tall, bald town resident yelled from up front.

 

“James! If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, the willow tree will be torn down and that’s final!” Mayor Roberts yelled as Mathew grabbed his arm, helping him through the mob of the townspeople, leading him to the red Ford pickup.

 

“Sorry to take you away from your friends Mayor but I think you have some answers for me.” Mathew said glaring a hole through Mayor.

 

“Don’t you ever, and I mean ever man handle me the way you just did in front of all those people again! You got that Mathew Grey? I’m the Mayor of this town and I deserve some respect!”  Mayor Roberts ordered.

 

“I’m sorry sir, it’s just, I need to talk to you, please?” Mathew asked.

 

“Fine, alright meet me at my house in five minutes.” Mayor Roberts said adjusting his tuxedo coat.

 

“You might be leaving Mayor, but were not through with you!” James yelled from the middle of the mob, which was now watching Mayor Roberts get inside of his Cadillac and drive off.

 

The sun beamed down on the red Ford pickup as it drove towards a stop sign just up ahead of the park.  The bright color of yellow caught Mathew’s attention when he looked towards his right and saw a  blonde haired women wearing a dark blue shirt step out of a yellow cab. To Mathew’s disbelief the late twenties looking women turned and started to stare directly into his eyes, or into his soul, Mathew would say.

            He continued driving up his road to get to the Mayor’s house. Mathew drove up the small driveway and parked next to the Mayor’s black Cadillac in front of the Mayor’s garage, similar to Mathew’s. He knew he had never parked next to anything this nice before. The only time Mathew parked next to anything that shiny, was when he was living in his old town and his roommate had friends over and Mathew had to park next to someone’s new shiny black Ford Escort.

            The Mayor’s front door opened as Mathew walked in and noticed a very large chandelier hanging from the ceiling of the entrance to the home, with a very long staircase to the left leading to a balcony, with red walls.

 

“Ah, Mathew I see you made it.” Mayor Roberts said walking out from a room to Mathews right.

 

“Yea I did. You have a very nice house Mayor.” Mathew said checking out a hall to the right of the staircase while walking towards the Mayor.

 

“Mathew, call me Mark. Come on in and we can talk,” the Mayor said gesturing towards the room he just came out from.

 

Mathew and the Mayor walked into the living area of the large house. To the left there was a fireplace burning up against the wall, directly above it was a mirror hanging. From the look of the deep red colored leather chairs in the room facing the fireplace and the wine glasses filled to the brim with red wine, Mathew knew he wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

 

“Not to be rude, but I wasn’t expecting all the nice furniture and the chandelier,” Mathew said.

 

“Yes well, I am the Mayor after all I think I deserve to live like a king,” the Mayor replied. “Have a seat Mathew.”

 

“I was just expecting almost the same stuff as I have in my house, I kind of figured that the way you acted towards me, that you would live less expensive,” Mathew said as he sat down in one of the deep red colored chairs.

 

“Can I offer you a drink?” Mayor Roberts asked.

 

“Sure,” Mathew replied.

 

“What kind of wine would you like?” Mayor Roberts asked as he walked over to the wine tray laying on top of a mantle behind Mathew. Above the mantle, was a picture of an ocean overcast by a full moon during a foggy night.

 

“It doesn’t matter,” Mathew answered.

 

As Mathew heard the liquid pour out of the wine bottle and make contact with the wine glass, he noticed to his right a picture hanging on the wall of a King, Queen, and a young boy.  Must be the King and Queen of Shadowrock, Mathew thought.

 

“What was it that you wanted to talk to me about Mathew?” The Mayor asked walking over to Mathew and handing him a wine glass full of red wine.

 

“Well I got back from visiting Ms. Radcliff at the Shadowpress and I was thinking if the three of us got together we could get rid of the Prince’s Dagger and maybe save the willow tree,”

 

“Alice huh? I suppose you’re wondering why The Shadowpress is out in the middle of nowhere right?” The Mayor asked walking over towards a chair facing Mathew.

 

“Actually, yea”

 

“To protect her from the dangers of this town, there are things  hidden away in Shadowrock that you have yet to see Mathew,” Mayor Roberts replied.

 

“When I talked to Alice, it seemed like she had a history with the Prince’s Dagger, am I right?”

 

“Yes, you’re right. Her family was slaughtered by the dagger Mathew, she never got over it. Who can get over something like that though, am I right?” The Mayor answered.

 

“You are completely right, that is such a terrible thing to happen to her. By the way, I don’t mean to pry or anything, but from the sounds of it something happened between you two, am I right?” Mathew asked leaning over in the chair.

 

“Yes, you’re right. We had been together, and loved one another tremendously. We even had a son who completed our family and we were the happiest we could be. One day though, we lost our son, and something happened between that changed things forever,” Mayor Roberts said gloomily walking towards the fireplace as the flames glowed upon his face.

 

“I’m sorry Mark,” Mathew said.

 

“I know you’re sorry, and the Mirror People will be sorry as well,” Mayor Roberts replied facing the mirror.

 

“Yea. Wait. What?” Mathew asked in shock.

 

“Nothing to worry yourself with Mathew,” The Mayor replied.

 

“Well there is something we should be worrying about Mayor, the Prince’s dagger and what the plan is on getting rid of it,” Mathew stated.

 

“Yes, the dagger. The dagger is an awful thing that came into this town centuries ago, and centuries later the curse that’s upon this town will be lifted, and just like the willow tree, Shadowrock will soon be rid of an awful trouble,” The Mayor said turning towards Mathew, while taking a sip of his red wine.

 

“So, you’re going to help me get rid of it aren’t you?” Mathew asked.

 

“Me? There is no way I’m going anywhere near that damned thing!” The Mayor yelled. “Now is there anything else I can help you with Mathew?”

 

“No, and one way or another the Prince’s dagger will be gone from this town,” Mathew stated.

 

“Oh, and Mathew as for the three of us getting together for the “common good” as it were, I don’t see that happening in the near future,” Mark Roberts said after drinking the rest of his red wine.

 

            Well, it’s all up to me, Mathew thought as he left the Mayor’s house, and got into his pickup.

He knew he had to get rid of the Prince’s dagger somehow, even if it put his life on the line. It was all about the matter of who got to the dagger first. If there was someone in the town who wanted someone “gone” they could do it if they got their hands on the dagger, it could be tragic. Mathew started realizing how important it was to get the dagger as he pulled into the antique shops parking lot.

            Mathew walked in as the bell rang overhead, he noticed Barry Grant was in the same place he was before.

 

“Hey, Barry how are you today?” Mathew asked walking up to the display case.

 

“I’m fine, kind of lonely, Ben was in here earlier, so I was able to have someone to talk to at least,” Barry said

 

“I’m glad you had someone to talk to, so you two are old friends?” Mathew asked

 

“Oh, yes, when I was a kid I used to work in my father’s shop and Ben used to stock the shelves for him. He was always like a brother to me,” Barry reminsced.

 

“That’s nice. I’m going to look around if that’s okay with you?” Mathew asked looking around the shop.

 

“Yea, no problem at all Mathew,” Barry replied

 

            Mathew tried to not appear as if he was looking for anything in particular, because he didn’t want Barry to know he was looking for the most evil weapon in Shadowrock. Instead of finding the dagger, he decided to look at all the antiques piled on the shelves. To his surprise he was able to find a lot of the antiques that his father used to bring back with him from his travels.

            As he turned and started walking towards the front window, Mathew knew something wasn’t right. Something was missing, something important. The dagger.

 

Oh shit, Mathew thought shocked with his mouth wide open.

 

“Hey Barry where’s the dagger?” Mathew asked, sounding worried.

 

“What do you mean? It should be there, in the front window,” Barry said walking over towards Mathew.

 

“Barry, it’s not there. I need to know what happened to it,” Mathew said urgently.

 

“I…I don’t know, I was cleaning a little bit earlier when Ben was here and that’s the last time I saw it,” Barry Grant replied starting to sound worried.

 

“You do know the stories about the dagger, don’t you?” Mathew asked.

 

“Yes I do, but I figure that the dagger is too old for any harm to come from it, that’s why I was selling it,” Barry replied, trying to calm Mathew down.

 

“I’m not going to wait and find out whether that’s true or not Barry. You said that the last time you saw it, Ben was here?” Mathew asked.

 

“Yes, you don’t suppose Ben took it do you?” Barry asked wondering why his longtime friend would have stolen something so important from him.

 

“I don’t know, I hope not, but it’s starting to look that way.” Mathew said walking towards the front door.

 

“Where are you going?” Barry asked.

 

“I need to find Ben before something bad happens,” Mathew replied as he walked out of the antique shop.

 

            Mathew got in his truck and started driving all around town trying to find Ben Cutter, the man who said himself that he was horrified of the dagger. If he did take it, the only question is why? Mathew thought to himself. He finally reached a part of town he had never been to before, a small patch of land, on a large hill, overlooking the town, luckily for Mathew it wasn’t up very high at all. Mathew got out of his truck and walked towards the edge of the land to try and see if he could find Ben Cutter.

 

There he is, Mathew thought as he saw Ben Cutter, dressed in a red sweater, walk out from an old church.

 

“He has the dagger,” Mathew heard a woman’s voice say from behind him.

 

“How do you know?” Mathew replied turning around to find a woman dressed in a dark blue blouse, that he recognized from staring at him when he entered town.

 

“I just know, and I wouldn’t trust him if I were you ,” she said walking to the edge of the land.

 

“Excuse me, who are you?” Mathew asked finding it rude that she thought she would know more about Ben Cutter than he did.

 

“My name is Emilie, I used to live in this town for quite some time, I just moved back recently,” Emilie said.

 

“Oh, so what do you know about Ben Cutter that I don’t?” Mathew asked.

 

“I know he’s a man that shouldn’t be messed with, he’s dangerous.” Emilie stated.

 

“Old man Cutter? Dangerous?” Mathew laughed, “The only thing that makes him dangerous is that dagger.”

 

“There are secrets in this town that you have yet to understand.” Emilie said staring off across the town.

 

“I can already tell that this is an interesting town for sure,” Mathew said.

 

“The church Mr. Cutter walked out from used to be the home to the King and Queen,” Emilie said staring down upon the church.

 

“So why would Mr. Cutter be going in there other to pray?” Mathew asked looking down at Ben Cutter.

 

“He’s not going to be using the dagger today, we still have some time.”

 

“How do you know?” Mathew asked again.

 

“If I know Ben Cutter like I think I do, he has a plan for it.”

 

            Mathew knew this enigma named Emilie seemed strange, but if she can help get the dagger back than he would listen to anything she suggested. He remembered what Barry Grant said about the dagger being too old to cause any damage, but Mathew knew better. From the look of the dagger, Mathew could tell that it had the potential to still be used for evil, if in the wrong hands. From what Emilie is saying about Ben Cutter, the dagger might already be in the wrong hands, Mathew thought.

 

“What are you trying to say?” Mathew asked sounding intrigued.

 

“He’s going to try and release the Prince of the red ruby,” Emilie said turning towards Mathew.

 

“So you’re saying a witch really did place his soul in the dagger? And how do you know so much about this town?”

 

“The legend is all true, especially the story about the Prince’s soul being placed in the dagger. I guess you can call me a historian of Shadowrock.” Emilie replied with a slight smile.

 

“Well Emilie I just realized I didn’t tell you my name, my name is Mathew Gray I…”

 

“Just moved to Shadowrock,” Emilie interrupted.

 

“How did you know that?” Mathew asked cautiously.

 

“I said I was a historian for this town, I know of those who have been here all their lives and of those who are new, Mathew.” Emilie said walking past him.

 

“Hey, where are you going?” Mathew asked turning around.

 

“Trust me Mathew, Ben isn’t going to use the dagger today. I’ll keep in touch.” Emilie yelled back towards Mathew, still walking away.

 

            What the hell is going on here? What kind of town is this anyway?, Mathew thought as he watched Emilie walk off into the distance. He didn’t realize a man like Ben Cutter could be so dangerous. He then questioned whether or not Barry Grant knew how dangerous Mr. Cutter could be.  As he turned back around and watched Ben Cutter walk down the street, he noticed that Ben wasn’t carrying the dagger at all. 

            He decided to look at the town and see it for what it truly was, behind all the stories and behind all the legends. Mathew looked down upon the town and saw how beautiful it really was from up above, with all the leafless tress, and the swirl of orange leaves as the wind blew them to the ground. He started realizing he was living in the biggest antique of them all for Shadowrock was lined with historic landmarks. The willow tree, the church, the Ma and Pa shop just across from the antique shop; the town of Shadowrock was truly an antique in of itself to Mathew. He was not about to let anything or anyone crush this town into pieces. He didn’t care if Ben Cutter had the dagger or not he had to get it back and save the town and the people in it. 

            Mathew started thinking about what Emilie had said about the secrets in this town, he had yet to understand. The same secrets that kept this town a mystery for so many years. Shadowrock was the furthest thing from normal, and Mathew Gray was soon going to realize that.

 

What makes a town so mysterious?, Mathew had always wondered. Is it because a town can become so peaceful and quiet at night, as the moon watches over it? You can get away with murder in the shadows of a dead town. That’s what he thought when he arrived in Shadowrock, it was a dead town. Ever since he saw the dagger in the front window of Antiques and Such, he knew something had changed. If the dagger was gone for so long, why did it come back? Most importantly, who brought it back? Who knew the dagger wasn’t dead?

            All these questions circled around in Mathew’s mind as he drove down the hill back into town. He reached the stop sign at the end of the hill and noticed James, still at the recreational park. Mathew decided to wait and see what James would do to the willow tree as he drove across the street to the Ma and Pa Shop. It’s just a little convenience store, Mathew thought as he got out of his truck and walked inside.

 

“Hey aren’t you Mathew Gray?,” he heard a boy’s voice ask to his right.

 

“Ya, I am how did you know?” Mathew asked walking over to the counter where the teenage boy dressed in a green apron was standing.

 

“My brother works for the Shadowpress, he’s a reporter, he said some guy was going to be the new article writer, and seeing how I’ve never seen you before in town, I figured it was you.”

 

“Yea, I am the new article writer. I didn’t catch your name?” Mathew asked scanning the teenager with short brown hair.

 

“Oh, my name is Aaron.” The boy replied.

 

“Aaron how long have you lived in Shadowrock?” Mathew asked.

 

“Pretty much all my life, I mean we moved here when I was three, I grew up here. Do you want any cigarettes?” Aaron asked reaching above him to four rows of organized cartons.

 

“No thank you I don’t smoke.” Mathew answered.

 

“Sorry, all the writers I know either smoke or drink, so I thought since your a writer and all..” Aaron said bringing his hand back down.

 

“Do you know about any strange happenings in this town?” Mathew asked leaning on the counter.

 

“Um, no like ghouls or goblins? Nothing like that ever happens here.” Aaron answered.

 

Was it just me? Mathew thought, Does anybody else in this town know how dangerous Ben Cutter is? On second thought, does anybody else even know the history of the dagger?

 

“Alright, thanks.” Mathew said exiting the store.

 

As he got into his truck and drove towards the park, he started realizing the rest of Shadowrock might not even know about the history of the Prince’s Dagger.

            James what are you doing? Mathew said out loud to himself as he drove into the park’s parking lot, and caught James staring at the willow tree from underneath it. Mathew got out of his truck and walked over to the picket sign holder where earlier twelve to fifteen people had been.

 

“What are you doing?” Mathew asked stuffing his hands inside his coat pockets.

 

The sound of James’s voice was not to be heard, as Mathew walked closer to him.

 

“Hello?” Mathew asked.

 

“Seeing how your the Mayor’s little buddy, how about you stop him from tearing down the willow tree!” James finally demanded as he turned towards Mathew.

 

“I’m not his little buddy, James.” Mathew answered.

 

“You don’t call me James, you don’t know me. You don’t know me at all. Your an outsider, we don’t like outsiders.” James ordered, glaring into Mathews eyes.

 

“I’m here to help, I don’t want the willow tree cut down either.” Mathew said.

 

“You don’t get it do you? This isn’t just a willow tree damnit!” James yelled.

 

“What are you talking about?” Mathew asked sounding intrigued.

 

“I tell you what outsider, you come near me again, I’ll kill you!” James exclaimed.

 

“What’s your problem?” Mathew asked trying to understand.

 

“Stay away outsider, stay away.” James ordered, walking away from Mathew.

 

What the hell was that all about? Mathew asked himself. What did he mean, this isn’t just a willow tree? Mathew asked himself again as he knocked on the tree.

 

“Feels real to me.” Mathew said to himself.

 

“Hey are you Mathew Gray?” He heard a voice call out to him from behind.

 

“Yea, I am.” Mathew said turning around, to find a man with black hair and black rimmed glasses  around the age of 20, holding some sort of recording device in his hand.

 

“Hi Mathew, my name is Forrest, I work for the Shadowpress.” Forrest said reaching out his hand to shake Mathew’s.

 

“Hey Forrest, do you mind telling me what’s going on with James?” Mathew asked shaking Forrest’s hand.

 

“Yea James.” Forrest laughed. “He’s crazy and dangerous. He’s never been the same since he lost his brother through a mirror.”

 

“Do you mean, a window? He crashed through a window?” Mathew asked.

 

“No, a mirror.”

 

“What do you mean?” Mathew asked again.

 

“Nothing, you don’t have to worry about it.”  Forrest said.

 

“How do you know this?”

 

“I follow him on twitter.” Forrest replied.

 

“Anyway.” Mathew said. “I think I met your brother at the convenience store.”

 

“Aaron? Short twerp with short brown hair?” Forrest asked.

 

“Yea that’s him. I was wondering if the rest of the townspeople knew of any strange happenings that have taken place in Shadowrock?” Mathew asked.

 

“Well let’s see, who have you spoken to?” Forrest asked sliding the recording device into his pants pocket.

 

“The Mayor, Alice Radcliff, Ben Cutter, Barry Grant, James, this woman named Emilie, and you.” Mathew responded.

 

“As far as I know Mat, those are the only people who know about anything like that in Shadowrock.”  Forrest said. “We’ve been trying to make sure no one else knows, we don’t want to scare anybody off.”

 

“The dagger is gone Forrest.” Mathew urgently said.

 

“Wait you said Emilie? She’s back?” Forrest asked brushing back his hair with his hand.

 

“Yea. I also said that the dagger is gone.” Mathew said.

 

“Yea, yea I heard that but I also heard you say Emilie.” Forrest said trying not to sound too worried.

 

“It’s a big deal, do you know what Ben Cutter is planning on doing with it?”

 

“Yea, something about a plan, speaking of plans…” Forrest said pulling out a touchscreen compact calender, from his black coat pocket.

 

“What are you doing?” Mathew asked, sounding impatient.

 

“Freeing space on my calender so I can have time for Emilie. But don’t worry we’ll take care of the dagger.” Forrest said trying to reassure him.

 

What is this guy’s deal? Mathew asked himself. Why isn’t he taking it seriously? It was hard to discuss the subject of the dagger with Forrest, when the only subject he seemed to want to talk about was Emilie. Mathew was now unsure of whether the townspeople knew anything about the dagger, or not. He knew Emilie did, and he was almost positive she knew a lot more than what she was telling him earlier. Could this possibly just be a huge prank on the new guy? Mathew thought. The feeling he got when he looked at the dagger was no joke at all, he knew that much was for certain, for dead certain.

            Mathew had a problem named James to deal with. No matter what, he knew he could never use the Prince’s Dagger, unless James was really going to try and kill him. He knew what would happen if he saw the dagger again, but the thought of maybe using the dagger for protection from James raced through Mathews mind, like a cheetah racing after prey. Could it be? Could James be the cheetah, and Mathew be the prey? He knew James seemed unstable, but what better way to stop a cheetah than to kill it? He had to do it, it seemed to Mathew that James had been causing problems, before he moved to Shadowrock.

 

“Hey Forrest, do me a favor and tell James to meet me under the willow tree tonight if you see him okay?” Mathew asked, afraid that Forrest might ask why?

 

“Yea, sure no problem, I have to get going anyway and tell Alice the information I got from the Mayor.” Forrest said as Mathew watched him slide his electronic calender into his coat pocket and walk away.

 

Am I going to do it? Mathew thought to himself as he walked towards his truck. Whether I want to or not, if I look at the gem the Prince will make me do whatever he wants. He thought again as he got inside his truck and made his way to the church he saw Ben Cutter walk out from earlier. As he drove into the dirt covered parking lot he noticed that the church seemed run down, and it seems like it’s been like that for a while. He got out of his truck and walked over to the entrance steps and noticed a hanging crucified Jesus hanging above the church outside. All the bright colored stained glass windows behind the crucified Christ caught Mathews attention. He looked down unable to look at the bright colors any longer. What caught his attention next was the two bright colored crosses on both of the oak entrance doors with gold handles. He pushed the dust covered door open to the abandoned church and walked in between both rows of pews, towards the one thing he knew the shouldn’t be finding. The Prince’s Dagger, just sitting there on a pedestal, waiting to be handled by an unsuspecting soul.

            The only way to make sure Ben doesn’t release the Prince is by taking it from him, Mathew thought to himself as he placed his hands upon the leather end and the sharp edge of the dagger, gazing into the deep red ruby. No, not now, you’ll bathe in all the blood you want later tonight, Maathew thought as he looked upon the dagger one last time before closing his eyes tight, still holding the dagger.

 

“What are you doing?” Emilie’s voice echoed from behind.

 

“Nothing!” Mathew shouted, turning around to find Emilie walking closer to him.

 

“Why do you have the dagger in your hands Mathew?” Emilie asked growing concerned.

 

“I was thinking that in order to keep Ben Cutter from releasing the Prince, I had to take it.” Mathew replied turning around to face Emilie.

 

“Do you really think that’s going to stop him?”

 

“Well if he wants it that bad than he will have to go through me.” Mathew said gently sliding the dagger into his pants pocket.

 

“You better make sure he doesn’t get the dagger Mathew, do you understand? He’s not what you think he is.”

 

Baffled at hearing something sounding so crazy, Mathew asked, “What are you talking about?”

 

“Just listen to me, keep your eyes on the dagger at all times!” Emilie replied trying to make herself sound vitally important to Mathew more than she already was.

 

Oh, my eyes will be on this dagger more times than you can count, Mathew thought, as he watched Emilie walk out of the church. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, than James must not have a soul, Mathew thought again as he started remembering what he saw in James’s eyes as he glared right into Mathews. Pain, hatred, evil. The uncommon drive for revenge. It seems as though he will get his revenge on just about anybody. What for? Revenge for his brother?

            Mathews steps echoed throughout the church as he walked out of the abandoned building and back into the desert like parking lot. He opened his truck door and crawled inside, tossing the dagger on the passenger seat. The thoughts of whether or not to kill James, soared in his mind like a thousand  bats on a Halloween night.

 

“Fuck.” Mathew said dropping his head onto the steering wheel.

 

His feelings towards killing James came rushing at him, like a freight train, unable to stop. Can I do this? Mathew asked himself over and over, knowing full well he wasn’t a murderer. If I don’t, he will unleash all that anger on some innocent soul. He knew what he must do. James was an unstable force that could snap at any minute. He had to do it.  Mathew looked down over on the passenger seat, gazing at the red ruby that was now glowing. The color of the ruby caught his attention, in the same way it did when he first arrived in Shadowrock, and he couldn’t look away. He picked up the dagger gently and gazed into the evil red ruby.

 

“For so long you’ve been controlling poor innocent souls Alex, this time around I’m the one in control. I have a victim just for you.” Mathew said still gazing into the red ruby, as the color lit up his face.

 

Every star in the night sky, gazed down upon Mathew as he parked his truck in the parking lot of the recreational park. He sat waiting, waiting and waiting, for James to arrive, almost ready to give up and drive home. Luckily, for Mathew, he caught out of the corner of his eyes headlights coming from the direction of the Shadowpress. The lights started driving closer towards Mathew, and he got out of his truck to see who it was, clenching the dagger in his pants pocket.

            As the lights pulled up and parked, Mathew started walking towards the willow tree, where Mathew talked to James earlier.

 

“Hey dipshit! I heard you wanted to talk to me!?” James yelled out towards Mathew.

 

“Yea I do, let’s just go over here.” Mathew replied.

 

“What is it that you want anyway?” James asked feeling uneasy, but walking over towards Mathew anyway.

 

“So I hear that you’re not the same as you used to be, is that right?” Mathew asked, as James walked over to him underneath the willow tree.

 

“I’m not going into specifics but yea, that’s right. What else do you know?”

 

“I know that you’re unstable, and if you’re not stopped you will hurt just about anyone, just like before.” Mathew lied trying to get James to break.

 

“Who have you been talking to outsider?” James asked. “So what, I lost my cool at a bar once, he got what he deserved. I told you outsider, if you came near me again I’d kill you didn’t I?” James finished walking closer to Mathew.

 

“Yea, you did but I’m almost positive that the tables have turned slightly.” Mathew said as he pulled out the dagger. “See I don’t like to be threatened James.”

 

“Hey, that’s the- the- the Prince’s dagger, what the hell are you doing with that thing.” James replied in fear, as he watched Mathew lunge at him with the dagger.

 

Mathew could feel James’s warm blood run down over his hand as the prey finished slicing through the throat of the cheetah from behind. Mathew knew what he would feel and it was true, his veins ran cold as James’s blood dripped from his hands. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but it had to be done. Mathew loved confronting the cheetah and putting an end to it. The lifeless body of James fell to the ground as the moon stared at them from above. Mathew knew he could get away with murder in the shadows of a dead town, and he just proved it as the town seemed more dead than before. The glowing of the ruby died down as Mathew dropped the dagger to the ground.  Getting away with murder in the shadows of a dead town was easier said than done, he thought. His veins ran colder than before, and the emptiness started eating away at him. To Mathew’s disbelieve he felt limp, unable to stand any longer he fell to the ground taking his guilt ridden conscience with him.

            The sun peered out of the clouds, making a beam of light hit Mathew in the face. Unable to open his eyes completely he searched around for the dagger with his hand. Not finding the dagger anywhere on the ground, he forced his eyes open and stood up. Was it a dream? Mathew asked himself looking at completely clean grass trimmings under the willow tree. No body, no blood, no dagger, most importantly, no dagger! Mathew thought again, looking in all directions for the dagger and the body of James that he had killed himself not too long ago.

 

“Shit!” Mathew said to himself placing his hands on top of his head in shock.

 

He could just hear Emilie now, “I told you not to lose the dagger!” She would say, and what did he do? The only name Mathew could think of was the name of Ben Cutter. Maybe he took the dagger? Mathew thought. If he did, maybe he took the body too?

 

“An old man like that?” Mathew asked himself. “There’s no way.”

 

As Mathew was about to go looking for Ben, a figure came leaping down from the willow tree, right in front of him. The long blonde haired, white shirt wearing Emilie looked into Mathews eyes with such disappointment. Instantly he knew what she was thinking. He saw it in her eyes, he felt her pain.

 

“Why did you do it?” She asked.

 

“Why did I do what?” Mathew asked trying to play it safe.

 

“I mean how could you?.” Emilie replied, folding her arms together.

 

“Since you know everyone in this town, then you should have known how unstable James could have been, he was dangerous to the town okay!” Mathew said trying to make Emilie think in the same way he did.

 

“I mean, how could you let the Prince control you like that?”

 

In shock of not knowing why Emile wasn’t bringing up the murder of James, Mathew replied, “From the first time I layed my eyes on it I knew I had to have it, and I was in control. Maybe the Prince wanted the same thing I did?”

 

“I also know you killed James.” Emilie stated.

 

“Oh, that?” Mathew asked.

 

“No need to explain, he was unstable and to tell you the truth he had it coming. Everyone here would agree I assume.” Emilie said.

 

“Okay, but how do you know?” He asked.

 

“I climbed the tree to try and relax, I have fond memories of this tree. It calms me down. I saw the murder and I saw you fall to the ground like a drunken fool.” Emilie laughed.

 

“Ha ha, okay. I fainted.” Mathew replied.

 

“I left after that and came back to check on you, I should have come back sooner because I found that the dagger was missing.” Emilie said not sounding shocked at all that Mathew would be the one to lose the dagger.

 

“Yea, so we have to get it back. Before you showed up I was going to go back to the church and see if Ben Cutter had it.”

 

“Oh, I’m sure he does.” Emilie said.

 

“Alright well lets go.” replied Mathew. “Oh before we go, I don’t think Ben would have the strength to get rid of the body, so what happened to it?”

 

“Oh.” Emilie said. “The tree ate him.”

 

Unsure of what to say towards something like that, Mathew kept quiet as he watched Emilie walk past him towards his pickup.

 

“Yea, this town. It’s something else alright…” Mathew said to himself as he looked around him and started to walk towards his truck.

 

The truck doors shut and the sound echoed in the air, as Emilie caught someone running towards them from the direction of The Shadowpress. Who is that? Mathew pondered for a second or two before figuring out who it was, as the figure came running closer. What does he want? Mathew asked himself.

 

“Is that Forrest?” asked Mathew.

 

“It sure seems like it.” replied Emilie.

 

“Wait, wait!” Forrest yelled catching up to the truck.

 

“Hey Emilie!” Forrest yelled. “I mean, hey Emilie.” Forrest said again trying to be smooth while out of breathe, leaning on the truck.

 

“What do you want?” Emilie asked.

 

“I was just at the lab, when the radiation detector, or whatever Alice calls it, detected that something big just went down in this location!”

 

“Wait, did you say lab?” Mathew asked leaning over and looking at Forrest through the passenger window.

 

“Yea, the whole Shadowpress, just a cover for a huge operation that’s been going down for years. Oh by the way though, Alice still wants your articles for the “paper” we still write papers sometime.” Forrest said raising his arms to use air quotes.

 

“If it’s not even a paper than why does she need any articles?” Mathew asked.

 

“There for her boss in corporate, or something, sorry man.” Forrest said seeing the sadness take over Mathews face.

 

“Why the hell did she even hire me then?” Mathew asked Forrest.

 

“She hired you because your not unusual, Mat this place seems to feed off of unusual people and strange things happen. She was hoping you could calm Shadowrock down.” Forrest replied adjusting his black framed glasses. “I would take that as a compliment if I were you though.”

 

“Why, why in the world should I take that as a compliment?” Mathew asked trying not to raise his voice.

 

“Because if you can calm this town down than you could be a hero. I don’t mean to cut this short, but I have to know what happened here.” Forrest said.

 

“Mathew killed James, then the tree ate James..” Emilie stated looking towards Forrest.

 

“Really? See? I knew this town was waking!” Forrest yelled.

 

“The dagger is gone Forrest, we have to find it, are you in or are you out?’ Mathew asked.

 

“If I can become a hero like you, if we can get this town under control, than I’m in!” Forrest replied opening the back door and jumping in. “Hey Emilie, miss me?” Forrest asked.

 

“Get a life.” Emilie responded as the truck backed out of the parking lot and made its way towards the church.

 

“So are you serious when you say that Alice wants me to still write articles for a paper that doesn’t exist?” Mathew asked Forrest while looking in his rear view mirror.

 

“Yea unfortunatly. It sucks but it’s better doing that than having some feds poking their noses around Shadowrock, if you know what I mean?” Forrest responded.

 

“Yea, I know.” Mathew said as he pulled into the desert like parking lot Mathew knew all too well.

 

“Are you sure you want to do this Forrest?” Emilie asked tilting her head towards the back seat.

 

“Yea, absolutely. We have to get the dagger back, and more the merrier right?”

 

Something about the church felt different to Mathew, as he got out and stepped onto the mound of sand. He wasn’t going to go in there and steal a dagger this time. If Ben was in there, than he had to stop him from releasing the Prince. He might have to put his life on the line.

 

“Am I right?” Forrest asked again stepping out of the truck and wondering why no one was answering him.

 

“So, who’s going in first?” Emilie asked, as Mathew walked over to her.

 

Mathew, Emilie and Forrest all stared together at the large church. But what they didn’t know was that they weren’t the ones staring. It was as if the church was the one staring at them. As much as he didn’t want to send anybody into such a possibly dangerous place, he knew he had to. Mathew knew it was all or never as he breathed in the fresh air possibly one last time. Who am I going to send in?  Mathew asked himself. The women who I know nothing about, who might stab me in the back? Or the man who can’t think of anything else other than Emilie? He knew he was the one who had to lead them in there. The only person he trusted was himself after all.

 

“Alright, I’ll lead us in.” Mathew said breaking the silence.

 

Six footprints imprinted themselves in the sand, as each set followed the one before it. Mathew slowly led his new friends up the old church ramp leading to the stained glass windows on the doors. He placed his hands on the door and forced himself inside, while looking around to try and find Ben Cutter. Once Mathew stepped forward along with his friends, he started hearing an ancient ritual chant of some sort coming from Ben Cutter up ahead.

 

“What is he doing?” Mathew whispered towards Emilie who was leaning close behind him.

 

“He’s about to release the Prince, Mathew do something!”

 

“If we die Emilie, I just wanted to tell you, you smell good.” Forrest said from behind of Emilie, as she gave him a disgusted look.

 

“Stop right there!” Mathew ordered walking out of the shadows of the church.

 

“Really? Stop right there? That’s what he chooses. Out of every movie phrase, he could have chosen from, that’s what he chooses?” Forrest said whispering to Emilie.

 

“C’mom.” Emilie said dragging Forrest out of the shadows towards Mathew.

 

“Intruders?” Ben Cutter asked turning around. “Mathew Gray? I knew you were smarter than you looked, but you and your friends are too late.”

 

“What did you do?” Mathew asked staring at the dagger placed back on the pedestal behind Ben Cutter.

 

“He wanted to come back in the worst way Mathew.” The cane holding Ben Cutter replied.

 

“You have no idea what you’re doing!” Emilie yelled.

 

“Oh, but I do. Today is his birthday, and he wants to come out and play. I’m just doing whats right for us all. I’m giving him the best birthday present of all!” Ben Cutter yelled.

 

“I’m afraid to ask but, what present?” Mathew asked.

 

“All Alex wanted was to rule over Shadowrock, and now he will finally get to!” Ben Cutter said taking a pouch from his pants pocket.

 

“Mr. Cutter don’t do anything crazy!” Mathew warned, walking closer towards Ben Cutter.

 

“Sora Ado Jaba!” Turning around Ben Cutter Sprinkled the powder from the pouch onto the dagger while finishing his ritual chant.

 

“NO!” Mathew yelled, being held back by Emilie and Forrest.

 

“There’s nothing we can do now Mat!” Forrest yelled.

 

The gem that Mathew was too fond off starting glowing different colors at once. Mathew saw greens, purples, whites, blues. He then saw the color that made him fear the dagger the most, red. Just like a genie from a lamp, a crown wearing ghost named  Prince Alexander rose out of the gem and grabbed his prized dagger.

 

“My king!” Ben Cutter yelled kneeling down praising the Prince. “I will do anything you command!” He finished.

 

            Mathew was shocked to say the least. The one thing he had to fear in this town was now alive once again. As much as he forced himself to move his feet, he couldn’t, it was as if something or someone was keeping him there. He saw the pale face of the Prince, he also saw the anger, turmoil, pain and jealousy in the eyes of Prince Alexander. As the Prince floated down to the ground, he met everyone’s eyes staring upon him, even Mathews. The one guy who happened to fear him the most. Prince Alexander looked down at Ben Cutter, as Ben gently got back to his feet.

 

“What is it that you order sir?” Ben Cutter asked.

 

Mathew looked at the Prince and noticed how unsteady he was, how angry he had been. The next thing he saw surprised Mathew. Prince Alexander looked down at his dagger and thrusted it towards Ben Cutter and ripping it out. Mathew knew Ben didn’t have a chance. He saw the dagger go directly into Ben’s chest, he saw the blood run out of his body like a small river being clogged by rock. Drip by drip Mathew knew it was the end of Ben Cutter.

 

“You Bastard!” Mathew yelled as he watched Ben fall to his knees and fall to the floor.

 

Once Mathew and his friends were able to move their feet it had been too late. Prince Alexander disappeared into thin air. Mathew didn’t know nightmares could come true, until now.

 

“We have to try and find him!” Emilie ordered as they rushed out of the church to try and find Prince Alexander.

 

The church was empty from all the chaos. From all the death, except for one. Ben Cutter would never have to feel pain again. Maybe it was his time go? No one will ever know. After the death of Ben Cutter however, the church seemed to be what Ben is now, peaceful. Perhaps it was the Prince staring at Mathew and his friends all along. What Mathew, Emilie and Forrest didn’t know, was that someone was watching the whole murder take place from his own little shadowed area of the church. Footsteps starting echoing in the church as someone started  walking over towards the body of Mr. Cutter.

 

“What a mess.” The black cloak wearing stranger said.

 

Perhaps Mathew did awaken something in the town. Maybe he can calm it down as well. What he has always known was that once you do something, there’s no fixing it. If Mathew left Shadowrock, there would be no fixing what it had become since he arrived. If Mathew hadn’t of left the church he would have of seen the man who walked out of the shadow, the man who saw a body in a pool of blood. If he hadn’t of left he would  have seen a non cane holding, black cloak wearing Mr. Ben Cutter walk out of the shadows.

 

“We have to find him!” Mathew yelled as he and his new friends ran through the church parking lot towards his truck.

 

“How could you let him just get away?” Emilie yelled back from the passenger side of the truck before her and Forrest jumped inside.

 

“It was my first confrontation with a ghost, I think you can cut me some slack.” Mathew said while climbing into the truck.

 

“Ben Cutter is dead!” Forrest yelled as he closed the door behind him.

 

“We have to calm down, and try thinking of where the Prince would go.” Mathew said starting his truck.

 

“Okay, okay. If I were him I would probably visit my grave site first.” Emilie responded, sounding frightened.

 

“And how do you know that?” Mathew asked as the truck pulled out of the church parking lot.

 

“Well if I were dead for 310 years, I would want to check out where my body had been resting for all these years. Trust me.” Emilie stated as the truck made its way for the old resting spot of Prince Alexander.

 

“I know what everyone is thinking, but I might as well say it, Prince Alexander needs to be stopped, if he’s not then we will all end up like Ben Cutter!” Forrest said allowing his fear to rule over him.

 

“Well tell me, how do you stop a ghost?” Mathew asked, as he parked in front of a wooded area just outside of Shadowrock.

 

What Mathew and his new friends were thinking, was that the rules had now changed. They were no longer the hunters, now that the Prince was free, they could possibly be the hunted. Three cheetah’s and one prey. Only this prey isn’t Mathew Grey, no. This prey was unstoppable, and couldn’t be caught. The prey was dead to begin with. How do you kill what’s already dead? Mathew was always taught to keep hope alive. How can you keep hope alive when everything around you is about to end? He didn’t know the answers to these questions, but he was going to find out as he and his new allies were walking deeper into the woods.

 

“You know, what if he’s not here? What do we do then?” Forrest asked out of fear.

 

“Then we keep looking. We won’t stop until we find him!” Emilie stated.

 

“Is this it?” Mathew asked stopping in front of a mound of dirt, looking like it had been dug up several times before.

 

“Yea, this is it.” Emilie said as they all started looking around for the Prince.

 

“What do we do now?” Mathew asked.

 

“Alex? Where are you? Were here!” Emilie shouted trying to provoke the evil spirit.

 

“Okay, I thought that the Prince was going to freak me out but I was wrong, it’s all of these trees.” Forrest stated. He was right, all the trees surrounding them seemed like they went on for miles. They made everything that much darker for the trio.

 

“Did he answer?” Mathew asked.

 

“Did you hear anything? Do I look like a ouija board?” Emilie asked.

 

“I just thought you could somehow communicate with him.”

 

“No, if he answer’s we will all hear what he was to say.” Emilie answered.

 

“Listen Emilie? I think were wasting our time here, he could be killing anyone right now. We have to go and try and find him.” Mathew said.

 

The truck started up as they all packed in, on there way into Shadowrock to try and stop the Prince. In order to find prey, you must first think like prey. You must hide. Mathew started realizing that when he remembered Emilie jumping down from the willow tree he was underneath. She was hiding in order to see what he was doing. If the Prince wanted to see what we were doing, he would be hiding, Mathew thought.

 

“Okay, Emilie if the Prince had to hide anywhere, where would it be?”  Mathew asked as the truck traveled down the dirt road away from the dark, deep woods.

 

“He always liked playing hide and seek in the graveyard, that’s all I know Mat.” Emilie replied.

 

“Graveyard? I don’t think so, you can count me out of this adventure. I hate to be the Shaggy to your Velma, Em, but this Shaggy does not go into any graveyards.” Forrest said.

 

“C’mon, it’s just a little graveyard.” Mathew said. “Will you do it for a scooby snack?

 

“I’m insulted, I really am. You think you can just bribe me? The answer is no! This 21st century Shaggy is not going to take bribes from anyone!” Forrest replied. “And on another note, if Shaggy didn’t take any bribes back in the day, I’m sure the team would have been in less danger than they always got themselves in.”

 

“Where exactly are you going to go? We already passed the Shadowpress.” Mathew asked.

 

“I don’t think that will be a problem.” Emilie stated, as Mathew stared out in front of the truck, at a red sweater wearing corpse of a rally member from earlier, Mathew noticed.

 

“Who in the hell is that?” Mathew asked sounding fearful for his own life.

 

“Her name is Robin, she’s an elementary school teacher for Shadowrock..” Forrest replied from the backseat.

 

Mathew knew this feeling all too well, ever since he heard the story of the Prince, deep down inside he was scared, that someday, he would come back. Now that the Prince has awoken he knew there was nothing that could stop him. What scared Mathew the most was that he didn’t realize that Prince Alexander could murder people from beyond the grave. If there was any question about whether or not there was a god, Mathew knew the answer would be no. No god would allow this kind of cruelty, no god would allow an evil spirit to come back and seek some sort of revenge.

 

“What do we do now?” Mathew asked parking his truck.

 

“We keep looking for Alexander, if he did this he wouldn’t be in the graveyard.” Emile said glancing up the road towards Mathew’s house towards her left.

 

“What did you see?” Mathew asked.

 

“I thought I saw something, I think I just saw him go up there.” Emilie said pointing up the road towards the left.

 

“What’s up there?” Mathew asked.

 

“Well think about it, if he wants to rule over Shadowrock, who is the one person he has to take out?” Emilie asked, sounding impatient that they were still parked.

 

“Oh shit!” Mathew yelled as the put his truck in drive and sped up the road.

 

“Let’s just hope we get to the Mayor before the Prince does.” Mathew said as the red Ford pickup raced up the road towards the Mayors house.

 

“You live next to the Mayor?” Forrest asked as Mathew pulled up into the Mayors driveway and parked behind his black Cadillac.

 

“Yea, I guess I do.” Mathew answered trying not to sound rude towards such a ridiculous question.

 

Knocking could be heard echoing throughout the Mayor’s house as Mathew knocked on the big oak door from outside.  Mathew could hear footsteps from the Mayors shoes with each step he took walking towards the front door. Mathew never noticed before, but while looking upon the front door he could make out an inscription, The Radcliff’s it said with flowing letters.

 

“Can I help you Mathew?” A very fancy tuxedo wearing Mayor Roberts asked, after opening the front door.

 

“We just wanted to see if you were alright, are you?” Mathew asked.

 

“Aside from being disturbed by the loud banging coming from my front door, I’m fine.” The Mayor replied. “Now What is this all about?”

 

“He’s obviously not going to tell you.” Emilie said. “The Prince was released and we just wanted to make sure Alexander didn’t get to you.” Emilie said forcing herself towards the Mayor.

 

“Emilie Grandier? Is that you?” The Mayor asked. “I haven’t seen you in so long.”

 

“Yea, it’s me, I’ve been busy, haven’t had time to visit.”

 

“Did you hear what she said?” Mathew asked trying to get down to business.”

 

“Yes, I did hear her Mathew, but I don’t see how that’s my fault.”

 

“Were just trying to protect you, now that we’ve seen that you are alright, I think we should leave.” Mathew said. “Come on, were leaving.” He said, walking away from the door.

 

“Ahem.” The Mayor said clearing his throat. “I don’t believe you’ve asked me if I’ve even seen Prince Alexander.” The Mayor said again watching Mathew stop in his tracks.

 

“Have you?” Mathew asked walking back towards the Mayors house. “If you have, you would  be a lot of help to us. It’s not like you’re being much help now anyways.”

 

“I think you and you’re friends should come in Mathew.” Mayor Roberts requested.

 

As the three friends walked inside the mansion like home of Mayor Roberts, Mathew looked around the room and noticed the long staircase and the color red covering the walls. But something was different. Very different. He noticed a body length mirror standing beside the hand rail of the staircase.

To Mathews amazement there were mirrors hanging almost everywhere. Mirrors hanging off of the staircase, mirrors standing beside it, mirrors hanging off of the walls everywhere he looked. When Mathew turned and looked at the old oak door that had shut, he even noticed a mirror hanging off of that.

 

“Mayor? What is with all the mirrors?” Mathew asked still staring around the room and noticing new mirrors he hadn’t seen before.

 

“Oh, nothing Mathew, just an experiment.” The Mayor replied, as he stood near the living area Mathew was in earlier. “Won’t you three please come in”

 

            While staring around the room, Mathew made his way towards the living area, walking past Mayor Roberts. Glancing upon the Mayors face, he could tell how strained Mayor Roberts looked. His face was pale, as if all the blood had drained from him. His salt and pepper hair a mess, and the Mayors favorite red tie he always wore was not centered, as if he had been pulling at it.

 

“Are you okay?” Mathew asked sounding concerned.

 

“Yes Mathew I’m fine, now go join you’re friends.” Mayor Roberts ordered as he followed Mathew into the living room.

 

“Why did you want us to come inside Mayor?” Mathew asked sitting down in the same red chair he sat in earlier.

 

“Well, you didn’t ask me if I’ve seen Alexander now did you?”

 

“No, I guess I didn’t. Did you see Prince Alexander?” Mathew asked leaning forward in his chair, as Mayor Roberts walked towards the fire place that Emilie was standing in front of.

 

“As a matter of fact I did. I walked outside about to leave, when I heard a blood curdling scream coming from down the road, so I stormed from my house running as fast as I could down the road towards the stop sign. Then I saw him, standing above poor blood covered Robin, with blood running off the blade of the dagger.”

 

“Did you see where he went?” Emilie asked leaning on the mantle above the fireplace.

 

“After he killed Robin, it seemed as though he grew skin, he seemed more flesh like than before, I didn’t see where he went. After that I had to leave for my own safety. I didn’t want him seeing me.” Mayor Roberts finished.

 

“That’s interesting.” Mathew said standing up from this chair.

 

“What?” Emilie asked.

 

“Well, I could be wrong, but it seems as though the more people the Prince kills, the more human he becomes, we’ll just have to wait and see I guess.” Mathew said walking over to the wine tray, that Forrest was now standing next to. “How about some wine?”

 

“I’m surprised Mat.” Forrest said glancing up at Mathew.

 

“Why?”

“Normally I would be the one to say something as crazy as what you said about Prince Alexander.” Forrest said trying not to stumble over his words.

 

“Well, it makes sense doesn’t it?” Mathew said pouring himself a glass of red wine.

 

“Yea, I guess it does.” Forrest replied.

 

“Mathew, seeing how you’re taking charge of my home, pour me one won’t you?” Mayor Roberts asked from the fire place.

 

“Are you going to help us get the Prince?” Mathew asked Mayor Roberts, as he poured the second glass of wine.

 

“Are you kidding?” The Mayor laughed.

 

“We need all the help we can get, Mayor.” Mathew replied walking over and handing him the glass full of red liquid.

 

“Wow, is that an original painting?” Forrest asked as he walked over towards the painting of the King and Queen.

 

“What? Of course that’s not the original.”  Mathew answered.

 

“Actually, Mathew, it is. That is the original painting hung in the home of the King and Queen of Shadowrock.” Mayor Roberts said answering Forrest.

 

“Wow.” Forrest said walking over and staring upon the painting.

 

“Uh, don’t get too close to that!” Mayor Roberts ordered sounding nervous at how close Forrest was to the painting.

 

“Why not?” Mathew laughed.

 

“There’s a part of me that I have yet to share with you Mathew.”

 

“And what’s that?” Mathew asked.

 

“Well, I guess now is a better time than any.” The Mayor said, pausing for a second. “I’m fascinated by the Prince and what he has done to Shadowrock. I’m obsessed with it if you will. It took me years to find that painting, and I have tons and tons of articles about it in my drawer up in the study.” Mayor Roberts replied, trying to gain his composure after seeing how close Forrest was to the painting.

 

“Only one painting and some articles? Doesn’t sound too obsessed to me.” Mathew said.

 

“There are more rooms in this house you have yet to see Mathew. I have the whole life of the Prince hidden away in this house.”

 

“I’m surprised you weren’t the one who brought the Prince back.” Mathew said.

 

“I am too obsessed Mathew, and because of that obsession, I had to bring the dagger back to Shadowrock.” Mayor Roberts said.

 

“That was you!?” Emilie yelled.

 

“What is wrong with you?” Mathew asked.

 

“The dagger had to come home Mathew, so I had to give it over to Barry Grant to watch over for me, so I could find a place to put it. I figured that the dagger…”

 

“Is too old for any harm to come from it?” Mathew asked.

 

“Yea, how did you know.” Mayor Roberts asked.

 

“That’s what Barry Grant told me when I found out the dagger was gone.” Mathew said sitting down in the red chair in front of the fire place.

 

“Do you have any idea what you’ve done?” Forrest asked walking towards the Mayor.

 

“Why don’t you enlighten me?” Mayor Roberts asked.

 

            All this bullshit is all the Mayor’s fault! Mathew thought. What more could the Mayor be hiding?

Once he moved to Shadowrock it was easy for Mathew to start trusting people, but now, the Mayor changed all that. Who could he trust now? Who is hiding secrets in the town of Shadowrock?

He already found out that the Shadowpress wasn’t really a newspaper, what other lies are hidden in this town?”

 

“You’ve brought back the biggest and most dangerous shark in the ocean that is Shadowrock!” Forrest answered.

 

“For the record, It really wasn’t the Mayor who brought the Prince back.” Mathew said acting surprised he stood up for the Mayor.

 

“Who exactly did bring the Prince back Mathew?” The Mayor asked pouring the rest of the red liquid down his throat.

 

“No body special.” Emilie interrupted.

 

“I believe I was talking to Mathew.” Mayor Roberts said.

 

“Well, I think you will be surprised.”

 

“Try me.” Mayor Roberts replied.

 

“It was Ben Cutter who brought the Prince back.” Mathew answered.

 

“Ben huh? I knew there was something up with him.” The Mayor said placing his glass on the mantle above the fire place to his right.

 

“Why were all avoiding this I don’t know.” Forrest said. “You’re life may be in danger Mayor.”

 

“I’ve faced danger in the face before, if my life is in danger, than it is, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

 

“We have to get you out of here.” Mathew said standing up looking the Mayor in the eyes.

 

“I’m perfectly fine here Mathew, I have my wine, my articles, my son.” Mayor Roberts said glancing across the room he was in, at the mirrors standing next to the staircase.

 

“What? You’re son? Mayor, Prince Alexander wants to rule over Shadowrock, and all he has to do is get rid of you!” Mathew yelled, trying to convince Mayor Roberts to leave.

 

“Mayor we were trying to find the Prince before we came here, we don’t know where he is, he could be anywhere. You’re life is at stake.” Emilie said in her own way of trying to get the Mayor to leave.

 

“Will everyone just LEAVE ME ALONE!” The Mayor exploded taking his glass from the mantle and throwing it across the room.

 

            Mathew started to forget, but what brought the memory back of the Mayor being his first friend since he moved, was the glass shattering against the wall from across the room. How did he forget? He was so focused on trying to find some sanity in Shadowrock, it must have slipped his mind. He’s troubled, Mathew thought. Mayor Roberts reminded him of how he had been before he moved. The messy hair, the untucked shirt, and the loose tie, all showed how Mathew Gray had looked before he got the job at the office supply store, during his high school years. How Mathew wished the Mayor didn’t remind him so much of himself. I almost let this friendship shatter, just like his wine glass, Mathew thought.

 

“Mayor, you don’t have to find the Prince with us, but I would like to get you somewhere safe.” Mathew said calmly, trying to calm the Mayor down.

 

“Mathew, I don’t need protection from you, or anyone else for that matter.” Mayor Roberts said adjusting his tie while trying to relax.

 

“Mark, if you stay, there’s a high chance the Prince will get to you. No one wants you to die.” Mathew said looking Mark Roberts in the eyes.

 

“What’s happening to Shadowrock, Mathew?” Mayor Roberts asked wallowing in his misery while walking over to his wine tray.

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“Shadowrock used to be such a nice place to live, everyone was so happy, Danny was so happy.” Mark Roberts said pouring himself a glass of red wine.

 

“Mayor are you okay?” Forrest asked walking towards the Mayor before being stopped by Mathew.

 

“I wouldn’t go over there just yet.” Mathew told Forrest, unsure of how stable Mayor Roberts was at this point.

 

“Mathew I think you and you’re friends should leave.” The Mayor said guzzling down the red wine.

 

“Mark are you sure you want to stay here?” Mathew asked.

 

“Mathew, the only life I want you to save, is your own. Mines already gone.” Mark replied holding back his tears.

 

“Goodbye, Mark” Mathew answered as he slowly walked out of the room.

 

“Bye.” Forrest said following Mathew.

 

“It was nice to see you again Mark.” Emilie said hoping that the Mayor would change his mind.

 

“It was nice to see you to, my dear.” Mark Roberts said allowing a few tears to leak out while he finished up the last of the wine in the glass bottle.

 

            Walking out of the Mayors house, Mathew finally realized how fragile his friendship with Mark Roberts really was. The one relationship he had since moving to Shadowrock, shattered in a billion pieces, just like glass. If Mark has any sense at all, he’ll find a way to survive, Mathew thought walking towards his truck with Emilie and Forrest. The one thing Mathew couldn’t let escape his head was just how close to glass we as humans really are. Were all fragile, some are stronger than others, but once we break, were everywhere and we can be edgy at times, Mathew thought.

            Mathew started thinking about the one question Mark Roberts asked about Shadowrock. What’s happening to Shadowrock? Mathew thought to himself. If what Forrest said was true, Mathew was the reason strange things kept happening in the town, if the Mayor was going to blame anyone it would be him. What’s happening to me? He started remembering the type of person he had been when he moved, and now taking a look at what he had been through, he knew he had changed significantly. I murdered someone, and then a tree ate him, Ben Cutter released a Prince from a dagger, Mathew thought again figuring out the real question that should had been asked. What kind of town is Shadowrock?

 

“Are you okay?”Emilie asked looking at Mathew as he walked over to the drivers side of the truck.

 

“He can be saved.” Mathew replied looking towards Emile while leaning against his truck.

 

“He doesn’t want to, we should respect that.” Emilie replied before opening the truck door and stepping inside.

 

“What do you think Forrest?” Mathew asked looking over towards him as he opened the back seat door.

 

“I think, he’s grieving and he should be left alone Mat.” Forrest replied while stepping inside the truck.

 

“Yea I suppose your right.” Mathew said to himself as he looked towards a window of the Mayors house, and noticed a pale, lonely, depressed Mark Roberts, peering out back at him with a glass of red wine in hand.

 

“Are you coming?” Emilie asked from inside the truck, as she watched Mathew finally step inside of the truck.

 

“I think I’ve had enough guys alright? I’m done playing.” Forrest said from the backseat as Mathew started the truck and drove out into the road.

 

“Playing? Were not playing Forrest, this is real!” Mathew said while driving down the road.

 

“We have to see if Barry Grant has seen Alexander.” Emilie told Mathew as he reached the stop sign.

 

“Fine if your asking, I’ll stay.” Forrest said from the backseat.

 

“That’s good, but no one was asking.” Mathew answered Forrest, as the truck parked in the Antiques and Such parking lot.

 

The bell from above echoed in the shop as the three friends walked inside. The strong musty smell reminded Mathew he had been there before. How hurt will Barry be if we tell him that Ben is dead? He thought, trying not to seem like anything was wrong. If I keep calm everything will be fine, he thought again.

 

“Barry, the Prince was released!” Forrest blurted out storming towards the front of the shop towards Barry Grant.

 

“What the hell?!” Mathew asked sounding shocked.

 

“I’m sorry Mat, but he had to know.”  Forrest replied from up front.

 

“Is this true Mathew?” Barry Grant asked from behind the glass desk encasing antiques.

 

“Yea, it’s true Barry.” Mathew answered as he and Emilie walked up front towards Forrest and Barry Grant.

 

“Well, what happened?” Barry asked.

 

“We followed Ben Cutter to the old church Barry, and we tried to stop him…”

 

“So it was Ben that stole the dagger after all?” Barry asked interrupting Mathew.

 

“Yea, it was. After he released the Prince, something happened…” Mathew said stopping himself.

 

“I’ll tell him Mathew.” Emilie spoke up.

 

“Tell me what?” Barry asked.

 

“Barry, I’m not sure how to say this but um, Ben’s dead.” Emilie responded.

 

“Oh, oh my.” Barry said falling back into his seat behind the desk he had been sitting in, before Mathew came in.

 

“Are you okay?” Mathew asked.

 

“Did you see it?” Barry asked trying to keep some hope alive while wiping the sweat off his forehead with his hand.

 

“Yea, we saw the whole thing.” Mathew answered.

 

“You know, it’s funny.” Barry said. “You never know how much you care about someone, until there gone.”

 

“I’m so sorry Barry.” Emilie said sniffling, trying her best not to cry.

 

“Barry, the Prince murdered Ben. If you help us we can catch him and stop him.” Forrest said speaking up.

 

“I would usually say how inappropriate he is being right now Barry, but he’s right. We have to find out where the Prince went, if you’ve seen him.” Mathew said.

 

“I….um….I think I saw someone go into the cemetery, he didn’t look human, so I’m sure that was the Prince.” Barry said. “Forrest, you have to know something.”

 

“What is it?” Forrest asked.

 

“It’s you’re brother…”

 

“Barry you’re scaring Forrest.” Mathew said.

 

“What about my brother?” Forrest asked.

 

“I was out taking a walk, when I saw Aaron walking out of the convenient store. I don’t know what he was doing, but he headed up towards the cemetery.”

 

“You said Alexander was in the cemetery.” Forrest said.

 

“He killed Aaron, Forrest I’m so sorry.” Barry Grant replied unleashing a wave of tears.

 

“Wha—what?” Forrest asked about to break down. “I……I….just saw him, he’s back at home in his room, your joking, Barry you’re joking!” Forrest yelled as Mathew grabbed him, holding him as Forrest unleashed a wave of his own tears.

 

“We’ll stop him, Forrest, we’ll stop him I promise!” Mathew said, holding Forrest.

 

“I’m so sorry Forrest, I really am, but enough is enough. We have to go Mathew and stop the Prince.” Emilie said.

 

“I know, I know, we do.” Mathew answered. “Forrest are you going to be alright, right here?” Mathew asked, letting go of Forrest.

 

“If anyone, is going to stop this bastard, it’s going to be me damnit!” Forrest said taking his glasses off to whip away his tears.

 

“Are you sure?” Mathew asked.

 

“Yea, I’m positive.” Forrest responded placing his glasses back upon his face.

 

“Barry, are you going to be fine right here?” Emilie asked.

 

“Oh, yes, yes. I’ll be fine, you guys go ahead and stop him once and for all.” Barry replied.

 

“If he wanted us Mat, he would be getting impatient right now, we have to hurry.” Emile said looking towards Mathew.

 

“Alright, let’s go then.”

 

            As the three exited Antiques and Such, Mathew knew he was about to be face to face with the most evil force to ever come into Shadowrock, Prince Alexander. His heart beat a mile a second as they all jumped inside of the red Ford pickup and made there way towards the cemetery. Mathew had to show everyone what he was made of, most importantly he had to show himself what he was made of. Enough is enough, Mathew thought, Alexander need’s to be stopped and he needs to be stopped now.

Mathew had a new reason to stop the Prince, not just for Barry Grant, not just for Forrest, but for every victim the Prince had slain. How many more innocent souls did Alexander have to take before stopping all this carnage? Mathew knew he had to draw the line between life and death tonight, and he was certain he was going to kill off Prince Alexander, once and for all. There was one question that had been troubling Mathew for some time now, how do you kill, what’s already dead? Mathew had been thinking to himself. He didn’t know the answer but, he knew it would take every ounce of energy, every drop off blood, and every ounce of sweat, to stop him from putting an end to Prince Alexander.

            The sun began to go down, as the truck pulled into the cemetery’s driveway. Mathew had been to one of Shadowrock’s cemetery’s before, but not this one. This one seemed to be a lot bigger than the one Mathew saw when he first arrived in Shadowrock. The tall front gate seemed to be calling to him, now he wanted to go inside the cemetery more than ever.

 

“What’s that?” Forrest asked looking towards his right at the corner where the gate and the stone wall came together at an angle.

 

“Oh, shit.” Mathew responded after looking at what Forrest had been looking at.

 

“Is that..?” Emilie asked watching Forrest storm out of the truck, making his way towards the young blonde haired, orange shirt wearing kid brother of Forrest.

 

“Yea, his brother.” Mathew answered.

 

“NO!!!” Mathew and Emilie heard Forrest scream at the top of his lungs, staring down at the corpse of his brother.

 

“What do you want us to do?” Mathew asked after jumping out of his truck and walking towards Forrest.

 

“There’s nothing you can do.” Forrest replied, falling to his knees, unable to stand any longer. “I think it would be best if I stayed here with Aaron.”

 

“Are you sure?” Mathew asked as he watched Forrest slide himself up against the stone wall, wrapping his arm around his brother, holding him.

 

“He needs me right now. He died alone Mat, he’s not going to be alone again.”

 

“Okay, Emilie and I are going into the cemetery then.” Mathew said opening the very large gate.

 

“Mat?” Forrest asked watching Mathew walk back over to his truck.

 

“Yea?” Mathew asked stopping in his tracks and turning around.

 

“Stop this son of a bitch.” Forrest said from the ground.

 

“I plan on it.”

 

            The red Ford pickup’s door echoed in the air as Mathew sat inside and started his truck. Shadowrock was no longer a nice small town, with the potential to raise a family, to Mathew, it was now a battleground, with the potential to do more harm than good. Prince Alexander was the biggest cheetah of them all, and it was the prey’s turn to seek revenge. This cheetah, might be easy to kill, Mathew said, remembering how the Mayor talked about the Prince growing flesh. He might just be human again, once we get up there, Mathew thought again.

 

“What if you’re theory is wrong?” Emilie asked as if reading the mind of Mathew.

 

“What do you mean?” Mathew asked, startled by what Emilie asked.

 

“You said maybe with every victim the Prince kills, he becomes more human. What if you’re wrong?”

 

“Than we will forever be screwed won’t we?” Mathew responded as they continued driving into the cemetery.

 

“Right here will be fine.” Emilie said.

 

            As Mathew turned off his truck and stepped out, it was clear to him that there was no light or life in this cemetery. It was as if once he and Emilie made there way in, all the light from the sun vanished, as Mathew looked around all that stared back at him were the stars from above and all the grave markers. It seemed to Mathew that it was a lot colder in the cemetery than it was, before they went it.

 

“This place gives me the creeps.” Mathew said walking around the front of his truck towards Emilie.

 

“It’s peaceful in here.” Emilie said, as they started walking more into the graveyard.

 

“Why would Alexander be in here?” Mathew asked.

 

“Well, I know he always liked playing hide and seek in here. If you think about it though, all these bodies underground, are all his trophies. So maybe he’s in here to stop intruders.” Emilie replied.

 

“You have a sick way of thinking you know that?” Mathew said while looking all around him at the thousands of tombstones.

 

“Alex!? Were here!” Emilie yelled.

 

“What are you doing?” Mathew asked.

 

“Well we can’t hope to see him, if he is in here we have to let him know were looking for him.”

 

“What was that?” Mathew asked spinning around from the fear of something touching his shoulder.

 

“Calm down.” Emilie answered, picking off a leaf from the shoulder of Mathew.

 

“Oh.” Mathew said calming down.

 

“You really don’t like cemetery’s do you?” Emilie asked.

 

“I just don’t like being hunted down by a crazy murderer. Alexander could be right behind me ready to strike.” Mathew answered.

 

“You watch too much T.V.” Emilie replied. “Besides, he’s not crazy, I’m sure I can talk to him.”

 

“Right, you can just “talk to him.”” Mathew laughed raising his hands for air quotes.

 

“There are plenty of thing’s you don’t know about me.” Emilie said before stopping at a tombstone she had been glancing at.

 

“What is it?” Mathew asked, watching Emilie kneel down in front of the tombstone.

 

“It’s um, it’s the Queen of Shadowrock.” Emilie replied feeling the engraings on the tombstone with her fingers.

 

“What was her name?”

 

“Emily. Emily Windfair.” Emilie replied.

 

“What was the King’s name?” Mathew asked.

 

“His name was Paul.” Emilie answered, not taking her eyes off of the tombstone.

 

“Is there, a tombstone in here somewhere for him? All I see is the Queen’s name on this one.”

 

“No, see, it’s sad really. They never found the body of King Windfair, so they never made a tombstone for him. The last time the King and Queen were together was when Alexander was murdering them. They were never together again, because no one could find his body.” Emilie answered.

 

“Wow, that’s um, that’s something else.” Mathew said.

 

“They were truly in love, and to be torn apart like that. It just sucks.” Emilie said standing up, sniffling, trying to hold back her tears.

 

“Are you okay?” Mathew asked.

 

“Yea I’m fine, I think I might be allergic to something in here.” Emilie said, making a bad attempt to lie, as they continued walking.

 

            The moon seemed so peaceful as Mathew and Emilie continued walking through the cemetery for there search of Prince Alexander. With each step they took, the air grew denser and colder. Mathew had no idea what to expect once they found Alexander, but if all the horror stories were any indication of things to come, it wouldn’t be good.

 

“Why does it seem like there are a lot more tombstones then there should be?” Mathew asked glancing over at Emilie.

 

“Well, Alexander has killed quite a bit of people. But this is also where we bury our natural deaths as well.

 

“How many natural deaths have there been?”

 

“Mat? This town has been around for centuries. There are way to many natural deaths in this cemetery to count.”

 

“Oh.” Mathew replied. “Alex! Where the hell are you!?” Mathew shouted.

 

“What are you doing?” Emilie asked.

 

“We need to find the Prince right? I’m just trying to help.” Mathew answered.

 

            The trees from overhead all seemed to be caught in a whirl wind, as every dead leaf fell off there branches, and came slicing in the wind towards Mathew and Emilie. What Mathew didn’t know was that the biggest cheetah of them was lurking in the shadows, watching there every step, and he was the one who blew the leaves off the trees. Mathew knew that the cemetery was Alexander’s domain, but he didn’t care, all that was in his mind was putting a stop to the Prince. He also knew how dangerous it was to lurk inside a cheetah’s cage, and that’s exactly what he was doing.

            How different would my life be if I hadn’t of come to Shadowrock? Mathew always asked himself after finding out Ben Cutter was the one who stole the dagger. On second thought, how different would Shadowrock be if I hadn’t of come? Mathew knew the answer to that question, he knew the residents of Shadowrock would have gone on with there normal activities and nothing bad would have happened.

 

“Would have anyone helped Emilie try to stop Ben Cutter?” A voice in Mathews mind asked.

 

Probably not.” Mathew thought, answering the voice.

 

“How depressed do you think the Mayor would have been if you didn’t show up?” The voice asked again.

 

“He wouldn’t have been depressed.” Mathew said, answering the imaginary figure of himself, that was now standing in front of him.

 

“What?” Emilie asked turning towards Mathew.

 

“Oh, well I was thinking that if I hadn’t of come here the Mayor probably wouldn’t have been depressed the way he is now.” Mathew answered turning his head towards Emilie.

 

“Mat, he will always be depressed. No one can bring his son back, and as much as he tries he knows he can’t do anything to bring him back either.”

 

“You should leave.” The imaginary Mathew said, still standing in front of the real Mathew. “You know he’s not here, you’re just wasting time”

 

“What’s wrong?” Emilie asked, after looking at the disturbed look upon Mathews face.

 

“It’s Alexander, I think he’s messing with my mind. He doesn’t want us here, and he’s trying to get us to leave.” Mathew said, realizing why he had become depressed all of a sudden, and why the imaginary him was trying to get him to leave.

 

“One day, very soon, you will regret the day you ever came to Shadowrock!” The imaginary Mathew said, turning back into the soul of Prince Alexander.

 

“What’s wrong now?” Emilie asked again wondering why Mathew had stopped walking.

 

“It’s him. He’s here. He was just right in front of me.” Mathew answered.

 

“But there’s nothing there Mat.” Emilie said.

 

“I can’t wait till we stop him, so the mind games will end.” Mathew said, while starting to walk again.

 

            The life of Mathew Gray was anything but perfect. He had the dead end jobs, the dead end relationships, the kind of money that would take him no where. He had friends that would treat him well, he used to hang around the kinds of “friends” that would tell you they cared, but in reality didn’t care enough for what you were making of your life. Mathew had a good family, that always wanted the best for him. “Wanted”, is an understatement, they needed him to be the best so they could keep there good name. All of Mathew’s friends and all his family never made him feel the way Alexander did when he invaded Mathews mind. Mathew felt disgusted, humiliated, unsafe, depressed, in a word, wrong. Everyone experiences these emotions at one point in there life, Mathew had experienced them quite a bit growing up, but he tried to block them all out. Until tonight, thanks to Prince Alexander, Mathew had to feel all those horrible feelings again. They stormed his mind like a pack of ravenous wolves. The Mayor seemed so depressed when we left his house, maybe Prince Alexander got to him? Mathew asked, trying to make sure it was safe to think to himself first, not wanting Prince Alexander to intrude again. What’s the deal with Emilie? How come she knows so much about Alexander? Mathew thought to himself again.

            Mathew could see a very dim light coming up from a distance in the cemetery as he and Emilie made there way towards it. As what seemed like thousands of bats flew over head, Mathew could feel as if someone was staring at him from behind.

 

“Who’s there?” Mathew shouted turning around and looking behind him.

 

“There’s no one there Mat.” Emilie said turning around trying to see who Mathew was talking to.

 

“We should get out of here.” Mathew answered.

 

“Were not going anywhere, until we stop Alexander! What did you see Mat?” Emilie asked trying to calm down.

 

“He knows were here, I feel like he’s going to kill again soon and I don’t want it to be us.”

 

“Just calm down, of course he’s going to be watching us, were in his territory.”Emilie said.

 

As the trees rustled behind him, he knew this would be his last time walking in a cemetery. The breeze that brushed up against his cheek, reminded him of why he was there in the first place. Do it for Forrest, do it for his brother, Aaron. Do it for Barry Grant. Do it for every soul that was taken by Alexander, Mathew reminded himself. Nothing could stop him now from trying to put a stop to Prince Alexander.

 

“You do know, he could kill us if he really wanted to right?” Mathew asked, glancing over at Emilie.

 

“I do, but he won’t kill me, nor you.”

 

“How do you know?”

 

“I just know. I guess you can say, I know him.” Emilie responded.

 

“Like a historian, you know everything about him right?” Mathew asked, as they continued walking deeper into the cemetery.

 

“I guess you can say that.” Emilie answered.

 

“You guess? How about you tell me everything you know about Prince Alexander.” Mathew said stopping in his tracks and facing the historian of Shadowrock, Emilie.

 

“Why Mathew? What difference does it make?” Emilie asked stopping in her tracks, while looking at Mathew.

 

“Well, you’re the historian so why don’t we use some of your knowledge to find out where Alexander could be in this creepy graveyard.”

 

“Mathew, don’t” Emilie said trying not to let Mathew know she truly knew more than she was letting on.

 

“We need to know Em’. Do it for Forrest. Do it for Barry and Ben. Do it for every soul the Prince took!” Mathew ordered raising his voice, while pointing towards an area filled with tombstones, behind him.

 

“I know everything okay! I know that he was so jealous of his parents that he killed them just so he could seem important. I know he loved playing hide and seek in the graveyard because he didn’t want to be alone!” Emilie shouted startling Mathew.

 

“Hey, I didn’t mean to strike a nerve.” Mathew said trying to calm Emilie down.

 

“It’s okay Mat.” Emilie said calming down. “I also know what his favorite foods were, his favorite drink. What he wanted to be when he grew up. I know who he had for crushes.” Emilie said again dropping her head laughing silently.“I also know he loved telling jokes, and loved trying to make people laugh.”

 

“So, you’re a little obsessed aren’t you?” Mathew asked, gazing upon Emilie.

 

“You can say that.” Emilie said with her head still down.

 

“We should probably continue walking, wouldn’t you say?” Mathew asked.

 

“I suppose I would.” Emilie replied.

 

            The glowing light up ahead was now no longer far off in the distance. Mathew could make out where the light was coming from. It seemed as though the glowing light was coming from a rounded headlight from a car parked just on the other side of the cemetery’s tall black fence, in the back end of Shadowrock. Mathew could also make out a figure standing in the distance in the cemetery. Afraid of whom it might be, he decided to continue walking instead of running towards his possible gruesome fate. While the moonlight glistened off of the tombstone in front of the figure, Mathew could make out it was a nice white buttoned shirt wearing man, wearing fashionable jeans, with short hair, just above his ears.

            Mathew could have sworn he and Emilie were the only two in the graveyard on this night. Who is this man? He thought to himself, as he and Emilie started walking closer to the stranger. Is that his car? Could he be lost? Mathew thought over and over again before walking closer towards the stranger.

 

“You know what I hate most about inviting guests over to a party?” The British accented man spoke.

 

“What’s that?” Mathew asked as he stopped walking in front of the stranger.

 

“They usually arrive late.”The stranger said turning around exposing himself to be a blonde haired blue eyed male.

 

“What are you talking about?” Mathew asked.

 

“Yea know Mathew, I’ve been keeping my eyes on you ever since I was released. You’re smart, you came up with the idea that with every person I kill, I create more flesh for myself.” The stranger said.

 

“Prince Alexander?” Mathew asked.

 

“Yes it is me. But I do have to tell you Mathew were you where wrong, with your assumption. See it takes an awfully long time for the flesh to take a hold on me. So I decided possession was best. How do I look?” Alexander asked modeling his new body by turning in a circle for all to see.

 

“Who is he?” Mathew asked referring to the body Alexander was now possessing.

 

“Oh I don’t know, some guy with a fairly nice car.” Alexander said with his British accent, pointing towards the open door of the car.

 

“We came here to stop you Alex!” Mathew yelled.

 

“You don’t want to do that.” Alexander assured him.

 

“And why’s that?”

 

“Mathew, you foolish boy. I’ve been around for generations, I know a thing or two about “kicking butt”.” Alexander said raising his arms for air quotes. “Besides, I like this body. I think I’ll keep it for a while. I have no need to kill again.” Alexander said as he put his hand upon the grave beside him.

 

“Alex, what you have done is wrong. You need to be arrested.” Mathew assured him.

 

“Arrested? Me? Mathew, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

 

“Why not?!” Mathew shouted.

 

“It just so happens, this body. This Peter Smith, is going to be the new Mayor for Shadowrock.”

 

“What?! How do you know this?!” Mathew shouted again.

 

“It’s all right here in this letter I found in the car.” Alexander said pulling out a piece of paper from his jeans pocket.

 

“I thought you said, that body wasn’t important?” Mathew asked glaring at Alexander.

 

“Well, I lied. Might as well practice being a Mayor right?” Alexander laughed while unfolding the piece of paper.

 

“How do I know you’re not lying about what that letter says?” Mathew asked.

 

“Here Mathew, you can read it instead.” Alexander said walking over to Mathew, handing him the letter.

 

“What does it say Mat?” Emilie asked, as Alexander started staring at her.

 

“It says: We the town of Shadowrock accept your candidacy  for the new Mayor’s position that we just opened. As you are well aware, the former Mayor Roberts, has stepped down as Mayor for Shadowrock, due to personal matters. We hope to see you soon. Mathew read out loud.

 

 

“Wow.” Mathew stated. “So you’re going to get away with murder aren’t you?”

 

“I have before Mathew. Something you should know about me. I can’t be stopped.” Alexander said.

 

“We don’t want you as our Mayor!” Emilie yelled grabbing the letter from Mathew and throwing it on the ground.

 

“Emilie. I knew it was you. How are you?” Alexander asked looking at Emilie. “How long has it been?”

 

“I’m…..fine” Emilie replied hesitating at first to answer.

 

“How do you know each other?” Mathew asked glancing at Emilie.

 

“What? He doesn’t know?” Alexander asked looking towards Emilie.

 

“Mathew, I haven’t been completely honest with you.” Emilie said looking up towards Mathew.  “My name isn’t Emilie  Grandier. My name is  Emilie Windfair. I’m Alexanders sister.” Emilie said gazing into the hurtful eyes of Mathews Gray, as the moonlight gazed down at them.

 

            Mathew knew that hearing those words coming out of Emilies mouth, everything would now start to make more sense. Why Emilie almost cried seeing the grave of the Queen. Why she knew so much about Alexander. His favorite foods, his favorite drinks. She even knew, Prince Alexander loved playing in the cemetery. Simple facts a historian wouldn’t know. Now Mathew has realized why she knew Alexander wouldn’t kill her, and how she knew the old church was the old home to the King and Queen.  Mathews suspicions were now complete, knowing the truth behind Emilie.

            What kind’s of secrets are hidden in the shadows of a dead town? Mathew never knew such a town existed until he arrived in the town with the most shadows of all, Shadowrock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Deception

It was a peaceful day on May sixth without a cloud in the sky, while the engine of Peter Conrad’s Toyota Corolla roared through the streets of upstate New York. With luggage in the back seat Peter glanced over at his new bride, Alexis. With her long dark hair covering her shoulders she glanced back at her husband and shot one of her breathtaking smiles his way. Her jaw dropping blue eyes, that could leave any man stop in his tracks, made Peter smile from ear to ear. As he glanced back at the road, Alexis didn’t take her eyes off of him, looking upon the man she married. His short brown hair just covering the tip of his ear with a smile of his own shooting back at her. A smile that could make any woman faint. He took his eyes off the road and looked at Alexis with his smile showing bright. With his light green eyes making Alexis blush. As all the trees on the side of the road flew by, Peter knew this move was a good idea. Moving to Somersworth, New York, was a decision years in the making, a decision they never felt comfortable with until just recently. The day that he proposed to Alexis changed their lives forever, not only did he have to protect his well being but he had to worry about hers as well. Something he had been used to for years before the proposal. Through the years they dated, they had been an on again off again kind of couple, just never really knew what each other wanted. One day Peter decided that the only person he ever wanted to spend his life with was Alexis, the one person who he trusted with his life. The feeling was mutual and he knew just that after he proposed and she grew a smile that he had never seen before.
Somersworth, New York, was the type of town were you could raise a family, a suburb of New York but a great town nonetheless. Houses on each side of the road, where everyone has a neighbor, but driving by all the houses, Peter didn’t mind it one bit, as he loved the company. As the Corolla began to slow down, Peter couldn’t take his eyes off their new home. Pulling up to the curb he started to get filled with such passion. This was their new life, this town, this house. This is where they would be starting their lives. Putting the car in park he realized that Alexis hadn’t said a word about their new home.

“You like it don’t you?” Peter asked placing his hand on her shoulder.

Looking over at Peter, Alexis replied, “Yea, yea its fine”

He knew a fake smile when he saw one and the one that Alexis tried to cover up by exiting the car quickly told Peter that something was wrong. I know it’s not her dream house, it’s not mine either but this house is perfect for us, Peter thought to himself as he exited the car, shoving the keys into his pair of blue Levi’s jeans. He felt the sun hit his blue v neck t shirt being covered slightly by his thin leather jacket. As Peter walked over towards his new wife, who was now standing in front of the house, he was sure that the sun couldn’t get any hotter, as his hair was being cooked already.

“What happened? The last time we talked about the house, you loved it,” Peter spoke up after looking at their new home.

“And I did, but look at it Peter, I just wanted our first house to be perfect,” Alexis responded with a loving smile on her face and hope in her eyes that he would understand.

It’s not everyday that you drive up to a house that’s a “work in progress” and plan a future around it, but that’s exactly what Peter did when he drove by it one day on a business trip. He hoped that Alexis would appreciate the hard work they would put into it and admire the house that they would build together. The next couple days after having seen the house, Peter spoke to Alexis about the the conversation they had the previous night. When she told him she was happy to start a family in a house like that, Peter felt beyond happy and couldn’t wait to move in. Now that she felt differently about it, after buying the house, made him worry however.

“You were so happy to move into this house, what happened?” Peter asked looking down at his wife as he towered over her. His six foot frame always made her feel comfortable.

“And I am but do you want your future son to run into a nail that we forgot to hammer down and was hiding all that time until that very moment?”

Laughing at the fact that Alexis could be very cautious about their future to that extreme made Peter take her hand in his and take a second look at their house. With a light blue color covering the house and dark blue shutters on each side of the windows towards the roof. The broken windows with cracks and holes made the house seem like an eye sore, but Peter found promise in it. He once said, It has a type of “charm” in it, the type of “charm” where you can raise a family and feel completed. Looking at the pale color yellow that covered the door, which was hanging on one hinge, had Peter realizing that this house would take a lot longer to complete than he thought.

“A son?” Peter asked as he placed his hands on her hips.

With the smile of Alexis shining bright, she placed her arms on his chest allowing him to hold her, “That’s only if you get lucky,” she jokingly responded as she gazed into his eyes.

Little did the couple know that a very serious Simon Kenrick was on his way through town riding in his all too expensive limo with tinted windows. The tinted windows that someone like Simon would need to keep their privacy, important people like Mr. Simon Kenrick, would never take any chances. With the leather interior keeping Simon more comfortable than he needed to be, he glanced out the window making sure they were on track. Something he had learned in his lifetime was to always stick to the plan and always stay on track.

“Are you still sure you want to do this sir?” The voice coming from a body guard for Simon Kenrick. With his short black hair above his ear and his black sunglasses completing the ensemble with a black tuxedo covering his body.

“I don’t have a lot of time on this planet. I’m not getting any younger Chad, It’s time I do something different with my life,” Simon responded running his fingers through his wavy brown hair falling and ending at his neck. He caught his reflection in the window and noticed his weathered skin creating a map of his life.

“Were almost there Mr. Kenrick,” Chad said taking his attention from the window to his employer.

Taking a slip of paper out of his suit jacket pocket with the address that read, Forty Seven Daniels Street, Simon answered, “Good good we must not be late.”

The wind rushed through Peter’s jacket while on his cell phone trying to speak with their realtor. After getting put on hold a few times, he started thinking that they may be stuck with this house that they were so fond of before. Maybe it wont be so bad if we end up getting stuck with this house, he thought while he watched Alexis walking around the house surveying the scene. The thoughts of having to work hard at this house flooded his mind and he started thinking that he may have taken on more than he could handle. Picturing all the stacks of wood and new glass windows he would have to buy made themselves visible in front of Peter, he would need money, the kind of money they didn’t have.

“Yea know, I don’t think were gonna get anywhere,” Peter said taking his cell phone from his ear, and watching Alexis walk towards him.

“Why what’s going on?” Alexis asked putting her hands in her back jeans pockets.

“I haven’t been able to reach the realtor. I spoke to some secretary.”

“You told her why your calling right?”

“Yea I did,” Peter answered.

“Then I think I know why she’s not picking up,” Alexis replied laughing all the while.

“Oh you do?” Peter asked with a smart ass tone in his voice.

“I don’t think she wants to put the house back on the market,” she said smiling as she walked closer towards Peter.

“We might have to go visit our realtor.”

“You know Lacey doesn’t want visitors, that’s why she gave us her phone number remember?” asked Alexis.

As soon as Peter answered “Yes I remember,” they watched as a black shiny limo began driving up behind the Toyota Corolla. Wondering why such a fancy vehicle had stopped behind their car, Peter placed his cell phone in his jacket pocket and walked weary towards the limo with Alexis trailing behind. The opened door of the limo is what stopped the couple in their tracks as they watched a shiny black shoe step out onto the ground. Peter watched as a gentleman’s hand grab the top of the the limo’s door and lift himself out. He saw the weathered face of Simon Kenrick with brown whiskers covering mouth, with strands of white hairs poking out. A friendly face Peter thought, but he was used to wolves in sheep’s clothing so he stayed as cautious as he could. As Simon closed the door behind him, Peter heard Simon speak as he eagerly walked towards Peter offering his hand.

“Mr. Conrad, it is so nice to meet you.”

Shaking Simon’s hand Peter looked upon this stranger, “Excuse me, who are you?”

“My name is Simon Kenrick, I run a few businesses around this general area,” Simon replied adjusting the middle button on his suit jacket.

“How do you know my name?” Peter asked with a puzzled expression on his face.

“I have endless resources Mr. Conrad. And quite frankly no one has moved into this town for a long time, so I know a new face when I see one,” Simon answered with a bright smile.

“It’s nice to meet you sir, but I’m still confused on how you found us,” Peter explained.

“Let me explain something son,” Simon said trying to make Peter feel comfortable. “This part of town is very special to me. A lot of big things have happened in my life around this area. My family, when they moved to this town ages ago, built that house your now standing in front of,” Simon finished, gesturing with his hands on the importance of the area.

“Well that’s great,” Peter answered.

“Let me finish, son,” Simon interrupted. “Just recently I made a promise to myself to change the lives of the next couple who want to move into this house, forever,” Finished Simon as he stepped closer towards Peter and Alexis.

“What are you trying to say,” Peter asked with a more puzzled look than before.

Reaching his hand into his jacket pocket, Simon fumbled with trying to find what he was looking for, “I’m prepared to offer you this,” He said as he pulled out a white colored check and handed it over to Peter.

Looking upon the check he had just received from this stranger, Peter was lost for words. His eyes widened at how many digits this number had, when he felt Alexis place her hand on his back. He noticed her jaw dropping just a little further than his. Peter noticed that he started gripping the check tighter than he had thought he would ever grip a check. Even though he didn’t know who this Simon Kenrick was, he was not about to let the wind take this large sum of money.

“What’s this for,” Peter asked narrowing his eyes, not losing focus on Simon Kenrick.

“It’s my generosity, Mr. Conrad. I told you that I wanted to change the lives of the next couple who move here, didn’t I?”

“I’m sorry to be a little cautious sir, and no offense but people like you don’t give away money without a catch,” Peter explained.

With a small laugh, Simon responded, “People like me? Well Peter I won’t take offense because I do believe your right.”

“What would you want?” Alexis spoke up with a concerned tone.

“Oh, Mrs. Conrad,” Simon said as he started gazing upon Alexis. “Has anyone told you how remarkably breath taking you look today?”

“No, but thanks,” Alexis replied with wide smile.

“I wouldn’t be asking for much, just a few favors here and there,” Simon answered gesturing with his hand.

“What are the favors for?” Peter asked.

“To suite my needs Mr. Conrad.”

“What kind of needs are we talking about sir?” Peter asked.

“My strategical needs son,” Simon replied with a pause after. “Strategy my boy. The favors I would request you to do would suit my Strategy. Nothing more and nothing less.”

“What kind of Strategy are we talking sir?”

“Oh, Peter no need to worry yourself with all the semantics, just know that I am someone you can trust through and through. I know that your going to need that money to start your family,” Simon mentioned as he narrowed his eyes onto Peter, who couldn’t take his eyes off of the check.

“And how do you know we want to start a family?” Alexis asked folding her arms.

“Well Mrs. Conrad, why else would you buy a two story house?” Simon laughed.

“Let us discuss this please?” Alexis asked as she placed her hand on Peter’s arm.

“Oh. Of course. Take all the time you need.”

Walking towards the house and not letting go of the money, Peter still had yet to breathe after seeing the large number printed on the check. Nothing like this had ever happened to him and he felt his body melt and he became ecstatic. Alexis noticed the very wide smile on her husbands face and he noticed the twinkle in her eye, he knew she was excited just as much. He began to remember why he was cautious to begin with while he forced himself down from cloud nine. The feeling of his wife’s hand on his chest meant that they needed to talk.

“This money will help us out a lot!” Alexis explained without losing her smile.

“I wanna trust him, I do,” Peter replied with worry in his eyes.

“This may be a blessing in disguise Pete. We need that money, for once we can get out of debt. I know we don’t know him, but an opportunity like this never happens.”

“There’s just something about him,” Peter answered, sounding worried.

“You need to learn to trust again. I wanna believe that Simon is nothing like your father,” Alexis said as she tried capturing Peter’s eyes with hers. Looking down at Alexis and seeing how much hope was in her eyes, it was hard to say no.

As Peter looked back down at the check he replied, “I want to do something special for us. I want to protect us with all my heart and provide a roof to live under. I won’t be able to do that with this house, so I guess were gonna take the money,” Peter replied, looking back into his wife’s eyes.

The peering eyes of Simon Kenrick looked on from the limo as he watched Alexis grab Peter’s body tight. With the biggest hug Simon had ever seen. With his elbow leaning through the rolled down window and leaning himself to look through it, he caught his body guard, Chad in his eyes and started to grin.

“Did he accept it?” Chad asked from in the limo.

“Yes, yes he did,” Simon responded while tapping the inside of the car with his hand.

“Our lives are going to be perfect,” Alexis said as she gazed into Peter’s eyes.

“We can make it perfect,” Peter assured her.

“I see you two came to a decision!” Simon yelled from the limo as he started making his way towards the house.

Walking towards Simon, Peter replied, “Were going to take the money sir.”

“Oh, perfect, that’s fantastic,” Simon said as he took Peter’s hand in his and shook it. “But from now on, you call me Simon, got it?”

“Absolutely sir,” Peter said before correcting himself, “Simon. Thank you for this.”

“No need to thank me son,” Simon answered before walking back towards the shiny limo. “Enjoy your new life together!” He shouted while looking behind him.

It’s not often that someone comes into your life and hand’s you a check to start your future with, and when Peter Conrad accepted that check he understood that he would be hearing from Simon Kenrick a lot sooner than he had hoped. The five months that past since the Conrad’s accepted the check had been blissful. They bought a new house just down the road from “the ol’ eye sore” Peter would say. Two stories is all they needed for their bright future, with a large garage out front and with their brown front door to the right surrounded by a porch is all they needed. With the three rooms upstairs Peter knew there would be more than enough space for future guests, along with the color gray covering the house with brown shutters along the windows, it made for a comforting home. The small walkway leading to their front door cut in half the small front lawn Peter dreamed of having. Relaxing in their bed, watching T.V. together, even buying new furniture together on occasion, was nothing more than wonderful. Nothing could ruin anything they worked so hard to make in Alexis’s eyes and the same in Peter’s. On occasion Peter would think all of this a dream because in his mind no one get’s this lucky. Only when Alexis would cuddle up with him in bed, is when he knew his dream was in fact reality.

On a cool autumn day in September, everything seemed to change in the life of Peter Conrad, and that dream of Peter’s became a nightmare, and all it took was just a knock at their front door. Sorting through the pile of bills they now had to face, the young man wearing his blue jeans and red t shirt, contemplated on how they would spend the remainder of the money after the bills were paid. Standing up from the all too comfortable black leather couch, facing their small fireplace with their plasma T.V. hanging on the wall above, Peter tossed the bills back onto the hard wood coffee table and began walking towards the front door after hearing loud thuds coming from it. Placing his hand on the doorknob Peter saw a blurred face of someone waiting outside, through the door’s glass window. Opening the door he saw the all too familiar face of Simon Kenrick, and he heard the words spill from his mouth, “Peter! How are you son?” Simon said reaching his hand out to Peter’s.

With a puzzled look on his face, Peter reached out his hand to shake Simon’s, “Mr. Kenrick. I’m doing just great how are you doing?”

“Now Peter have we already forgotten that you don’t need to call me Mr. Kenrick. From here on out it’s just Simon, alright?” Simon replied as the wind brushed through his hair.

“I’ll remember that,” Peter said as he placed his hand on the door frame. “How are you doing these days?”

“I’m doing just fine son, may I come in?”

Lowering his hand from the door frame, he watched Simon walk past him with his hands in his jacket pocket, probably to keep warm from the cold, Peter thought. As he heard Simon’s footsteps turn left around the corner into their living room, and the sound of Alexis walking down the staircase ahead of him rang through the house. “Can I help you with anything Simon?” He asked.

“Who’s here?” Alexis asked taking the last step off of the staircase.

“Oh! Mrs. Conrad!” Simon shouted across the room, as he made his way back towards the staircase.

“Hello Simon, how are you?” Alexis asked.

“I’m doing just fine my dear,” Simon replied taking her hand in his and gently shaking it. “I just wanted to see how things were going in the new house,” he finished.

“Things are going great, thanks for asking,” Alexis answered with her bright smile.

“May I get you a drink or anything?” Peter asked.

Something about this visit from Simon made Peter feel uneasy. He was hoping after receiving the check, that he wouldn’t see this generous man anymore. Peter was a trustworthy individual, but it was hard to trust someone who acted the way Simon Kenrick did. As Simon walked into their kitchen the bright color white on the ceiling and the floor caught his attention. Taking his time and looking around their well put together kitchen, he walked past their large stove on the right with wooden cupboard space above, holding a large vent above their black stove. Peter noticed Simon peering outside their large window to the left of the vent above their marble counter.

“No I’m all set,” Simon answered. “I see you put some time into choosing everything,” Simon said as he wrapped his hand around the handle of their large steel refrigerator.

Just that sentence made Peter look around and remember all the hard work they put into creating the kitchen they had today. The hardwood throughout the kitchen made him remember the struggle it was to find the right kind of wood to make it all feel like home. Home, Peter thought. Something he hadn’t had for quite a while. The memories Peter had of building everything rushed back as he began to smile.

“Yea we did. Were very happy with how everything turned out,” Peter replied.

“I see you chose the best of the best here,” Simon said as he rubbed his index finger along the side of their steel oven built into the wall, with their hard wood cupboards above, all the while checking for dust.

“I feel that we made a good decision in picking that out,” replied Peter.

“Then may I ask why you’re still dressed as if your not living like a king?” Simon laughed.

Unsure of his intentions, Peter replied, “I still appreciate the small things in life.”

“Good good. Never lose that,” Simon replied as he rubbed his index finger along the top of their white marble kitchen table, checking for dust on that as well, while it stood in the center of the room.

“What are you doing exactly?” Peter asked.

“I just wanted to see how you came out with creating this home for yourself,” Simon replied sounding pleased with his inspection while walking out of the kitchen. “I see you came out very well, very well indeed.”

As Peter followed him back into the living room, he felt the hand of Alexis rub his back. Neither one of them knew Simon’s intentions, as she felt it would calm them both down if she rubbed the one area where he held all of his stress.

“We made this home our own, and we love what became of it,” Peter answered, trying to make Simon realize, that he made a good decision five months ago.

“I know you did. I’m not here to take my money back Peter. Let me assure you of that,” Simon said adjusting his middle button on his jacket.

“Then may I ask why you’re here?”

“Mrs. Conrad, can I please talk to your husband in private?” Simon asked as he smiled, trying to calm Alexis down. Assuring her that everything was fine.

With a puzzled look on her face, Alexis slapped a smile on her face, as she hoped not to offend Simon. Worried as to what might happen if she left, she took a deep breath in and replied, “Sure. I’ll be upstairs,” she finished while looking up towards Peter.

As he watched Alexis leave, he turned back towards Simon who was waiting for her to leave the room. Hearing her footsteps make their way upstairs, Peter felt a little worried now that he was alone with Simon. What could this be about? He thought, as he narrowed his eyes on Simon Kenrick, the one person who he hoped he could trust.

“Is anything wrong?” Peter asked showing his nervous expression.

“No son not at all. I just want to discuss something with you,” Simon explained with one of his bright smiles.

“What did you want to discuss?”

“A few months ago I told you I’d come knocking looking for a favor. Well Peter I’m here and I’m knocking,” Simon said not taking his eyes off of Peter. The tone of Simon’s voice told him how serious he was.

“Well, alright. What is it?” Peter asked.

“Peter I want you to kill someone for me,” explained Simon as he pierced a look into Peter’s eyes making him well aware of how serious this situation was.

Alarmed by what he just heard, Peter didn’t take his eyes off of this billionaire who he once thought of someone who he could trust, “Simon no. I’m not a murderer.”

“It’s funny, I thought you’d say that,” Simon said as he turned away and began looking around the house. “Need I remind you what happened just a few months ago when you generously took my money? It would be a shame if you came home from work one day and all of this was gone.” Simon finished, turning back around, as he spread his arms to collect the house.

Shocked by what he just heard, Peter managed to say, “You wouldn’t do that!” While he pointed towards Simon Kenrick.

“You don’t know me,” he replied, walking towards Peter while glaring a hole into him. “I’d do much more for very little.”

“I’m not going to do it Simon. I’m not a murderer.”

Walking past Peter towards the front door, Simon replied, “Take some time to think about it.” Before reaching the breezeway to the front door, Simon turned back towards Peter and finished, “Something tells me your thirst to kill will get the better of you. Send my apologies to Alexis about my leaving so abruptly, I just realized I have more pressing matters to attend to.”

With a concerned look on his face, Peter watched Simon walk through the breezeway and through the front door, hoping what he just heard wasn’t real. He wanted so badly to tell Alexis what just transpired, but as he heard the front door close shut, he swore to himself he wouldn’t put her in such a dangerous situation.
That night found Peter staring up at his bedroom ceiling which was now cloaked in darkness. Wide awake, he was hoping that what Simon had said earlier was just a joke, a good old fashioned ribbing for the new guy in town. Simons eyes however, told a different story. Remembering when he looked into the eyes of Simon Kenrick, he found that he wasn’t joking around at all, in fact he was serious dead serious. That very thought scared Peter to death and as he looked up towards the ceiling in the comfort of his bed, with his wrists crossed behind his head, he knew he had to protect this life he had made for Alexis and himself. The questions began swimming through his mind, what’s the next step? What do I do now? So many questions surfaced since Simon told him to commit homicide. The one question that didn’t seem to escape him kept him awake longer than he hoped, why was Simon so sure I was going to agree to do this? Why was he so certain I would kill?
Alexis with her loud moaning in her sleep created a smile on Peters face while he turned around to face her. Laying by her side, he watched the moonlight glow upon her body from the window to the right of the bed. He knew he couldn’t hurt her, he knew he couldn’t keep the news from her. Something inside of him wouldn’t let him speak as he tried to wake her. With Alexis stirring in her sleep and not waking, Peter found comfort in deciding not to tell her after all. With the worried face of Peters glowing in the moonlight he thought to himself, what would happen if I told Alexis? What kind of situation would that put her in? Put us in? He didn’t want to worry her as he closed his eyes and tried to find some piece in the night.
With the morning sun rising over the mountains, Peter Conrad was already adjusting his blue stripped tie in the bedroom mirror above their dresser in front of their bed. Adjusting his white buttoned shirt, Peter glanced into the mirror and noticed Alexis who was still fast asleep, with one leg laying on top of the bed covers. He began to smile at how ridiculous she looked with her other leg under the covers and her arms sprawled out in the middle of the bed. The loud snoring made Peter well aware of why he woke up so early. Peter looked down and brushed any lint off of his black dress pants he may of had before walking out the bedroom door to the right of the dresser.
He made sure to pay Simon a visit, a visit that was strictly business. A meeting, Peter thought, just a business meeting. He tried looking as professional as he could to let Simon know things were going to go differently. While Peter made his way down the hall with blue colored walls on either side of him, he looked towards his right and looked over the living room and towards the kitchen to gather enough strength to look Simon in the eye and tell him he wasn’t going to do it.
With the cold metal doorknob of the front door in Peters hand he started realizing he had no idea where Simon lived, let alone worked. Opening the door, he took in the cool breeze that created this cool fall morning.
The echo of a door closing shut caught Peters attention making him glance towards the right at his neighbor who was carrying rolled up papers under his arm, walking out of his house.

Glancing over his shoulder, the gentleman who had dressed quite professional with his dark blue buttoned shirt and short blonde hair just above his ear, caught Peter in his eyesight “hello, you must be my new neighbor.”

“Yea I am. My name is Peter Conrad,” he said as he watched the gentleman walk closer to him. The well shaved friendly face of this man, put Peter at ease.

“My name is Jake Porter. It’s good to finally meet you,” Jake said extending his hand towards Peter.

“Yea sorry about being so secluded, we’ve been really busy with furnishing the new house,”Peter explained while shaking Jake’s hand.

“Oh it’s fine, don’t worry about it. I remember when i first moved in, I was pretty much hibernating in that house,” Jake said as he gestured towards his two floored house with grey trimming around it. “Have you found everything around here alright?”

“Yea for the most part. I’m just having trouble finding someone,” Peter replied.

“Yea? Who’s that?”

“His name’s Simon Kenrick.”

“Simon huh?” Jake asked.

“Yea, you know him?” Peter asked, hoping Jake could help him find Simon.

“Yea I do. But you know, everyone around here knows all about Simon,” Jake responded.

After Jakes comment regarding Simons history Peter was very curious to know just what Jake meant. Not giving himself time to think twice, Peter had decided it was best to find out more about Simons history on his own. He was sure he wanted to find out about Simons history on his own, with hopes Simon wouldn’t turn out that bad. Peter instead asked, “do you know where I might find him?”

“Yea you bet. He would be at Kenrick Enterprises around this time.”

“Kenrick Enterprises?” Peter asked sounding confused.

“Yea it’s the skyscraper just at the south end of town. You can’t miss it,” Jake laughed. “Why are you looking for him?”

“I just have a meeting with him.”

“Oh well I can give you a lift you want?” Jake asked taking the tube of papers from under his arm into his hand, while gesturing towards his Cadillac ATS parked in his driveway behind him.

“Thanks but I think I’ll be just fine,” Peter answered as he made his way towards his new silver BMW Sedan.

“Hey yea know if you ever need anything, I’m always here,” Jake mentioned spreading his arms to make himself known to Peter.

“Thanks,” Peter responded with a smile before walking around to the drivers side of the BMW parked by the curb.

Brushing her long brown hair, Alexis watched from the window that allowed the moonlight to caress her body the night before, as Peter drove off. Wondering where he drove off too, she set her hairbrush down on the windowsill and grabbed her mid cut jean jacket from off of the bed. As the empty house began to get flooded with the footsteps of Alexis, she swung her jacket over her shoulder sliding her arm into her sleeve allowing it to cover her white spaghetti strapped tank top. Taking her last steps off of the staircase, Alexis walked through the breezeway and opened the front door allowing the cool wind to take her by surprise.
With a bright smile on her face and her arms folded, she watched while everyone around her went on with their daily activities

“Hello my name is Alexis,” she said extending her hand towards Jake who was still on their lawn looking off into the distance in the direction Peter drove off in.

“Oh,” Jake said surprised. “Hi my name is Jake Porter. Seeing how you came from Peters house, you must be Mrs. Conrad,” He replied shaking her hand.

“Good work detective,” Alexis laughed. “Do you happen to know where my husband took off to?”

“He said something about going to see Simon Kenrick. I offered him a ride but.”

“That’s strange. He didn’t mention to me he was going to go see Simon,” Alexis explained.

“Hey I hate to just take off like this, but I’m actually late meeting someone,” Jake said urgently, looking at his wristwatch.

“Oh that’s fine,” Alexis answered. “It was nice to meet you Jake.”

“Yea it was nice to meet you too,” Jake said smiling before making his way towards his silver Cadillac .

Watching Jake drive off, Alexis ran her fingers through her hair unsure of the reason why Peter didn’t tell her he was meeting Simon. Thinking nothing of it, she smiled at the thought of having a new friend in Jake Porter while the sun shown on her face.
Peter found himself in front of a pair of glass doors as he watched Simon scribble something down on a piece of paper at his desk. The sun shown through the large windows behind Simon and let the world see his black business attire with his white buttoned shirt underneath. Peter saw his red tie, realizing how much more professional Simon looked compared to him. With the elevator behind him, Peter knew there was no turning back. While he reached out for the steel door handle Peter couldn’t stop thinking, how can Simon look so calm, after asking me to do something so cruel? Peter watched Simon steer his attention from the paper he was writing on, to the glass doors Peter was now storming through.

“Simon we need to talk,” Peter said with urgency in his voice, walking past the dozens of books collected on the book cases belonging to the business man.

“Indeed we do Mr. Conrad,” Simon replied standing up, shuffling the papers in his hand that he had been working on. “The polite thing to do nowadays is to knock.”

“Since you asked me to commit murder, I figured we were past that,” Peter smiled.

“Excellent point son,” Simon laughed. “Since you’re here, I’m going to assume you came to a decision?”

“I’m not going to murder anyone Simon. I can’t I’m not a murderer,” Peter said with hope in his eyes. Hope that Simon would understand.

“Peter Peter, it’s so much more than that, it’s about doing the right thing.”

“Killing an innocent man is not doing the right thing,” Peter explained sounded determined to make Simon see his point of view. “Murdering someone is never the answer.”

“Innocent? My god Peter this man is far from innocent let me tell you,” Simon laughed as he walked around his desk towards Peter. “This man is nothing more than a mere parasite. If someone needs to be stopped, it’s him.”

“Who is he?” Peter asked sounding curious as to why Simon wanted this man gone so bad.

“His name is Connor Brice. He’s an employee of mine who has been embezzling money from me for months,” Simon explained as he adjusted the middle button on his suit jacket.

“Why not just fire him?” Peter asked more curious than before.

“Peter your new here so let me explain something. There has been an evil that has sucked this town dry of its life. You see before I came here, this town was on its knees begging for mercy and I gave new life to this town,” Simon answered with pride in his voice, raising his fist to his chest. “Connor is part of that evil Peter, he’s trying to rid this town of me so he can feast on the remains of Somersworth. He’s part of a far more greater darkness.”

“What’s this evil,” Peter asked sounding intrigued.

“That’s not important son. What’s Important is that Connor be stopped and stopped soon before its too late. I’m sure Alexis would understand,” Simon said making sure Peter did the right thing in his eyes.

Looking down from Simon, the thoughts of why Peter didn’t tell Alexis about the meeting in his house, came swarming back. He knew he could never forgive himself if something happened to her, he had to keep this to himself. He had to protect her, not only from this unforgiving act that he was requested to do, but from this “evil” Simon was talking about.
Peter started realizing the strong feelings he had for Simon, began to vanish once Peter saw the kindness Simon truly had. He knew that murdering someone was never the answer but the fact that Simon wanted to hurt a guilty man, changed some.

Watching Peter look away, Simon lowered his head to try and catch the eye of Peter. “She doesn’t know?” Simon asked.

“I didn’t want her to worry,” Peter said while he tried thinking of any logical reason as to why he didn’t inform Alexis.

“Yea know Peter, when you get married there’s a part in the ceremony that states, “for better or for worse,” I guess you missed that part though,” Simon laughed.

“I wanna protect her,” Peter mentioned trying to make his point as to why he didn’t tell her.

“You can protect her all you want son but this town is calling for your protection as well. Be what Alexis wants and be what this town needs. Be our savior!”

“Simon I’m sorry i can’t. I can’t kill anyone. It’s not right,” Peter said worried he let Simon down.

Looking down at his feet and back into Peters eyes, Simon said with a smile, “that’s alright son. It’s fine.”

“I hope you can understand,” Peter said trying to assure Simon that he wasn’t right for the job.

“Oh I most certainly do Peter. I understand just fine. Now how about you join me in a drink and we’ll put this matter to rest?” Simon asked as he walked over towards a table that held small glasses along with a glass pitcher full of Simons favorite alcohol.

“That sounds good right about now. What is it?”

“Gin my boy. The beverage of men,” Simon said as he poured some of the gold liquid into one of the glasses.

“I hope my decision doesn’t change anything between us,” Peter mentioned while accepting the glass from Simon.

“Oh don’t worry son, I believe we will be in each others lives for quite sometime,” the words smoothly escaped Simons lips while he held a glass of his own, placing his hand onto Peters shoulder.

Smiling, Peter tipped the glass and allowed the not so smooth liquid to slide down his throat unaware of what would happen next. “Simon what’s going on?”

“What do you mean?” Simon asked as he watched Peter drop the glass and take his head into his hands.

“My head is killing me!” Peter yelled as he fell to his knees. He felt an urge take over him as he yelled from the feeling of shards of glass scratching at his skull. With a thirst like he had never experienced before, he allowed the urge to take over his body while he focused on the one thing he now knew he had to do.

Setting his glass back onto the table, Simon turned towards Peter kneeling down, taking him into his arms trying to console him, “we need some help in here!” Simon yelled.

Sighing from all the pain he was just in, Peter released his head from his clutches and began to feel the pain subside, “what the hell was that?” Peter asked rising to his feet while rubbing his head.

“I don’t know. Are you alright?” Simon asked as he watched his body guard Chad, walk through the glass doors.

“Everything alright sir? I heard some screaming,” Chad asked.

“I’m fine,” Peter answered, rising to his feet, not sure what just took place.

“Yes we’re all fine Chad,” Simon responded. “We’ll pick this up tomorrow then?”

“Yea we will,” Peter said, rubbing his head. “It must’ve been just a migraine.”

“Go get some rest Peter. You don’t look well.”

Watching Peter open the glass doors and leave, Simon walked back over to his desk with Chad trailing behind. “Did it work?” Chad asked.

“The drug had been tested so many times since Jake. I’m proud to say that, yes it did work quite well,” Simon answered with a smile. “Quite well indeed.”

The elevator doors opened allowing Peter to walk into the lobby of Kenrick Enterprises. Stepping out of the elevator onto the marble floor of the lobby, the piercing stare of Simon Kenrick made itself known as Peter walked past a giant oil painting of his friend hanging on the wall to his left. With a rounded reception desk on his right, he rubbed his head and began to wonder what just happened to him. He had never felt pain like that before. Remembering how he clenched his head, he knew something wasn’t right. As if walking through a fog, a vague light shown itself in the mind of Peter and made him focus on something he never thought he would be focusing on. Taking the last few breaths from somebody. The mere thought disgusted him but something urged him to do it. Peter had never felt this sensation before and experiencing something new is always scary but nothing is as scary as wanting to murder someone. Placing his hands on the giant letters “K” and “E” for the door handle, he walked through the glass doors of Kenrick Enterprises, when he found himself in an odd situation. Thinking back to just a few hours prier, he made the decision to say no to Simon and yet Peter was now ready to do the unthinkable.
Walking amongst the dozens of people entering and leaving Kenrick Enterprises, Peter continued down the long staircase leading towards the street and to a large parking area to the right. With a figure so familiar to Peter leaning on a large boulder under a large pine tree to the left, Peter didn’t think he would see this man here.

“What are you doing, following me?” Asked Peter after seeing his neighbor, Jake Porter with his sleeves rolled up to his forearm.

“Following? No. Protecting, yes,” Jake replied following Peter into the parking lot. “You don’t know what your getting yourself into.”

“And you do?” Peter asked, turning around while trying to figure out the point Jake was trying to make.

“I know a thing or two about Simon Kenrick. I just wanted to make sure you knew who you could trust.”

“Your saying I can trust you? I’m not trying to be rude but, I don’t know you,” Peter replied trying not to push Jake away from this hopeful friendship.

“Peter, you don’t know Simon either. Well not the real Simon anyway. You seem like a nice enough guy. I just don’t want to see Simon treat you like he treats everyone else.”

“Like everyone else?” Peter asked seeming concerned.

Taking a deep breath in and surveying the scene, making sure it was safe to speak about this subject, Jake closed in on Peter before speaking, “Simon Kenrick is an egotistical, cowardly, heartless human being who only gains success and only feeds his own ego by making every business around him crumble to the ground without hope of survival. Trust me I know,” Jake said nodding, letting Peter know how true he really was. “I’ve experienced it first hand Peter. He will use you for his own benefit and not care what happens to you.”

“I appreciate you looking out for me Jake, but I try to find the good in people, even if they are as bad as you make Simon out to be. I don’t want to give up on him just yet. I’ve seen some goodness in him so far,” Peter replied looking deep into the eyes of Jake Porter, trying to make him understand his point in not wanting to give up.

“I know what kind of web Simon spins and something tells me your caught in it right now aren’t you?” Jake said while concentrating on Peter.

“What do you mean?”

“No one pays Simon a visit without having a meeting set up first. Thats how he operates, and when we talked earlier it didn’t seem like you did.”

“Of course I did,” Peter lied.

Sounding annoyed at this point, Jake refused to give up before getting to the truth, “Peter, you didn’t even know where the man was.”

“I just forgot alright?” Peter replied with a half smile.

“Your a grown man Peter you can make any decision you want but just remember I know what I’m talking about and I’m warning you to be careful. This time around I’m not letting Simon win. Keep me in mind when you need to dig yourself out of a hole,” Jake laughed extending his hand towards Peter.

Shaking Jake’s hand, Peter returned the friendly smile and said, “if I ever need you I know where you live,”

What took the smile away from Peter was the thought of Jake knowing more than he admitted. What did he mean WHEN I need to dig myself out of a hole? He thought. Squinting from the bright sun overhead Peter began to think about the realization of his new friend knowing what kind of problem he got himself into. He seemed so certain I would need his help, Peter replayed the conversation in his head. Watching Jake drive off Peter started to look forward to getting to know his new friend more, and even if there are two sides to every story, he wanted to know who he could really trust.
Back on Daniels street, the two story house was filled with chatter coming from Alexis who now had a concerned look on her face while talking on the phone just in the kitchen entrance. Looking out the kitchen window she watched as the silver BMW pulled up alongside the curb in front of the house.

“I’ll be sure to tell him Simon. Thank you for calling,” Alexis said before turning the phone off and placing it to the side of their sink.

The front door opened as a not so worried Peter walked through noticing a worried Alexis standing idly by waiting for her husband to say something. Noticing the concerned look on her face, Peter spoke, “hey, what’s wrong?”

“I just got a call from Simon and he told me you fell in his office. Just past out. He wanted to make sure you rested. Are you alright?” Alexis asked walking closer towards Peter.

With a loving smile Peter replied,”yes, it was just a migraine that took me by surprise. But I’m fine now. Honest.”

Walking into the living room Peter noticed Alexis breaking the silence, “then do you mind telling me why you kept going to see Simon, a secret?”

Turning around, he saw a scene that told the world Alexis was annoyed. The fact that she had her arms folded told Peter just that. He had been around this scene so many times in the past that at this point, he was used to it. With care in his eyes he put a smile on his face and replied, “I didn’t keep it a secret. I just didn’t want to wake you. You looked..” He trailed off trying to find the correct word to describe how his wife looked in the early morning. With the word Ridiculous coming to mind, Peter finished.

“Peaceful.”

“Did this have anything to do with what you two talked about yesterday? What did you two talk about anyway?” Alexis asked allowing her curiosity to get the better of her.

“Well,” he said taking his eyes off of Alexis and focusing on anything but the truth. “He just wanted to offer me a job,” Peter answered.

“That’s incredible!” An excited Alexis said with her bright smile.

“But I went to him today and told him I couldn’t do it. It’s not something I wanted to get involved in.”

“From the tone in your voice, you don’t seem so sure,” Said Alexis focusing on Peter.

“It’s not something I wanted to get involved in, but something inside of me is telling me to do it now,” Peter explained while walking over towards the wide window to the left of the couch.

“I’m sure you would be making more money than your making now at Global Insurance. But Pete that’s something you have to think about. Honestly it would be good to be making more money.”

With a concerned face on Peter, he knew the right thing to do at this point was to tell Alexis the truth about everything. But knowing what he would put her through if he had told her, strengthened his reason for keeping this dark secret. Feeling bad that he had to lie to Alexis just to protect her, he turned around and walked towards his wife with his arms opened wide. Holding her in his arms he noticed his mind speeding up his thought process. With his thoughts swarming everywhere like bees around their hive, he closed his eyes and concentrated on the one fact he couldn’t ignore. The darkness. The darkness that is Connor Brice, or Simon would say. Something inside of Peter was yelling out to him and that voice urged Peter to take drastic action soon.
Opening his eyes Peter was now more focused than anything. He knew what he had to do. The fact that he wanted to do it however, made him feel uneasy. Smiling now, Peter kissed Alexis on the cheek and held her tight.

“I’m going to take the job,” Peter answered as he felt a power like never before, surge through his body.

A swift right jab to the red punching bag hanging from the ceiling. Left, right, left and right again. The beads of sweat formed on the face of Jake Porter. An uppercut here an uppercut there, stretching the muscles and tightening the hard abs he worked so hard to achieve. Not by choice however, when your on the heels of your enemy you learn quickly how to keep in shape. Physically and mentally. With each jab to the hanging bag, Jake imagined himself back in his bare knuckle boxing days. Relentless on trying to find the person who murdered his brother. Wallowing in self pity, he would’ve done anything to punish himself and punish the others around him. Is there something i could’ve done? He thought as he took the bag into his arms and began throwing his knees into it. The memories of his past became a big blur as he heard the voice of Simon Kenrick.

“So how do you like your new neighbor?”

Wiping his face with the towel he picked up from the hard wood floor, Jake replied, “that’s funny, I don’t remember letting you in.”

“Oh Jake I always thought my company was welcomed after I bought you this house. This extravagant house I might add,” Simon laughed.

Walking past Simon towards a counter holding the finest liquors, Jake grabbed his bottle of water and turned back around, “well I always assumed you knew you were never welcome here Simon. After all, you tried turning me into some experiment. Tried having me murder people. Just like your doing to Peter, am I right?”

“My relationship with Peter is none of your concern,” Simon answered not taking his eyes off of Jake.

“Relationship? Man, yea know I remember a time when you and I were close as well.”

Looking up at the high ceiling and the staircase behind Jake, Simon replied, “there’s a reason Jake, why we ended things so badly.”

“Your right, there is. It’s because I was done being your bitch. Test after test after test. And I did everything I was told with a smile because stupid me, I thought you were helping me,” Jake explained before taking a sip of water. Walking past Simon again, this time towards his fireplace, he finished. “But no, you were just using me for your own advantage.”

“Jake, Jake, Jake,” Simon answered. “You were like the son I never had,” he finished with a disappointed look on his face.

“Never had?” Jake laughed.

“I took you in Jake because you reminded me a lot of myself.”

“I am not like you at all,” Jake interrupted.

“Jake you had that fire inside of you when I first met you. The fire that told me you would do anything and everything to find the person who killed your brother!” Simon replied with anger in his voice. Trying to convince Jake he was a lot like him.

Storming over to Simon face to face Jake answered, “that fire is burnt out. I’m not like you. Not anymore.”

“I found you a homeless wreck with anger consuming your soul. And when i took you in, do you remember what you wanted from me? You needed help in seeking vengeance for your brother. And I helped you as much as i could,” Simon said before taking a breath and taking a step backward.

“Yea you were some help. You, one of the most powerful men in this town and you couldn’t even help me!”

“And do you know what happened Jake? After so many demanding efforts in trying to help you. I asked you to help me instead and you were too focused on seeking revenge that you blew me off. You wanted so badly to get revenge that you forgot you had potential to be somebody!” Simon yelled with pride as he shook his fist.

“You tried turning me into some mindless soldier who only did what you wanted. You may have wanted to help me in the beginning Simon, but things changed. And I can honestly say that I’m better off now by making my mistakes in the past. Now I know I can’t trust you.”

“Trust. Isn’t that what brought us together in the first place? Is that not what made you into the man i see today? Its sad Jake it really is that you can’t trust me,” Simon replied putting emphasis on “trust” while putting his hands in his pants pockets.

Glaring a whole into Simon, Jake replied “get out of my house.”

Laughing at the thought of Jake calling it “my house” Simon walked towards the large oak door leading outside. Stopping in his tracks Simon had the last word in, “you still have that fire inside of you, don’t you Jake? I can see it. I can sense it. Your still very much angry as you were when I met you. You can’t hold it in forever. If you ever need to talk, you know where I’ll be,” he finished while wagging his finger towards Jake.

Watching Simon leave the house. Jake clenched his fist as he held a disgusted look on his face. Looking at the two staircases on either side of the front door, leading to the balcony, Jake recalled the time he first got the house. It was a beautiful day in July and Simon had dropped the house key into Jakes hand while they both stood in the doorway. Glancing at the fire place to his right, Jake smiled wide and walked into the center of the room. He noticed the kitchen to his left and a large leather couch towards his right in front of the fireplace.
Wiping his face now, Jake remembered why he hated thinking back to those days. He was like a father to me, he thought, remembering why he cared so much for Simon back then.

The garage smelled of gasoline from days prior while Peter found himself eyeing his old Toyota Corolla. Placing his hand on the hood of his car and rounding the corner of it, he remembered the work he had to put into it as he now stared intently at his past. The past that he kept sitting in his garage for months, not wanting to let go of his old life. With the day of judgement coming soon for Connor Brice, Peter needed time to reflect on his life and the decisions that lead him to this point. He found comfort in remembering the old days with his family, with his best friends, and now with Alexis. If only the old Peter could understand why he had to do, what he was about to do, maybe the decision would’ve gone down smoother. A lot smoother than that gin, he thought while remembering his meeting with Simon.
Each scratch, each dent and each rust spot, all memories for Peter Conrad. With each imperfection on the car, he realized it all made him into the man he is today. So maybe, just maybe, he thought. When I make this dent in my life with Connor, I will learn and become stronger. Stronger than I was before. The light from overhead shown on the Corolla and unmasked the smile Peter was afraid of showing himself. Glancing up into a mirror across the Toyota, Peter saw first hand what that hideous smile looked like. Wiping it off, he looked deep inside himself and searched for the reason as to why he was happy to do this dirty deed. Simon wanted me to protect this town and Connor seems like a scum bag. A virus even a cancer. Finding pride deep within his heart, he found the best reason why he was going to commit murder. If I’m the light that’s supposed to bring this town and everyone in it back to life, then ill do it. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect the civilians in this town, he thought.

“There you are,” Alexis said with intrigue in her voice, after opening the door connecting the garage to the rest of the house.

Turning around to face the now open garage door, Peter replied while leaning on the Corolla, “Yea I just wanted to come out here and think.”

Replacing her glowing smile with concerned eyes Alexis answered. “The only time you come out here is to get away from your problems. Is everything alright Peter?”

“Yea I’m just nervous about this new job that’s all,” he responded while he watched Alexis walk down the small wooden staircase in front of him.

“What is this new job anyway?” Alexis smiled.

Thinking hard about a good description for the job, he replied. “Oh ill be eliminating viruses here and there. You know keeping Somersworth safe and sound.”

“From computer threats?”

“Umm,” Peter stumbled. “Yea,” he finished, while regretting what he had said.

“Why are you so nervous then? It’s not like your going to murder anyone,” Alexis laughed.

“No of course not don’t be ridiculous,” he replied in the form of a nervous laugh while folding his arms.

“Alright then,” Alexis laughed seeming aware of the reaction she just received. “Just be confident Peter, and I’m sure you’ll show Simon you can be the man he’s looking for.”

Taking her hand in his, Peter replied with a smile, “I’ll definitely be the man he’s looking for.”

“Okay. Good. Who knows, this job might be what you’ve been looking for all along. No more dead end jobs.”

“No more dead end jobs,” Peter said with his bright smile.

“See. Just stay confident,” Alexis responded, leaning in for a kiss. “I’m going to make something to eat, do you want anything?”

“No. I’m fine, thanks,” answered Peter.

“Don’t stay in here too much longer, I’m starting to get lonely,” Alexis laughed before walking up the stairs and back into the house.

“Deleting computer viruses?” Peter said to himself, while regretting he couldn’t think of something better.

While watching Alexis leave the garage, Peter began focusing on what needed to be done. Deleting computer viruses? Peter thought to himself. He couldn’t believe he told Alexis something so absurd seeing how he only knew the basics of using a computer. Well it’s not a lie, he began thinking. I will be getting rid of a virus soon enough. And the worst virus of all, the type of which could end this town for good. Letting his mind get back on track, he walked over towards his long wooden work bench, leading to the corner of the garage to the far right. With all kinds of colors of paint splattered on the counter, Peter started searching for the weapon of choice through all the unfinished projects and the tools hanging along the wall.

“Ah, perfect,” Peter said out loud taking some wound up wire in his hand, that had been hanging on a nail in the wall.

He remembered why he still had it. Thank god I didn’t give up playing guitar, he thought unraveling it to the perfect length. Wrapping the end around his hand and tugging on it, he knew this would be the perfect thing to use.

Sitting on the edge of the bed feeling Alexis stir in her sleep, Peter stood up blending into the darkness of the night. His black sweater keeping him warm from the cool breeze coming in from the open window by the bed. Looking at Alexis, he wondered what she would be thinking if she found him gone. Just taking a late night walk to the park. Getting some fresh air, he thought in case she asked. He would have to leave quietly, to try not to wake her. With each step Peter took towards the bedroom door, the more brave he got about seeing Connor Brice. Placing his hand slowly on the doorknob to the door Peter began thinking, I hope he’s ugly. It would be a waste to take a handsome man from this world, they can get anywhere in life. Ugly and stupid, he finished his thought.
Walking down the hall quiet as possible, he made his way to the front door opening it as slowly as he could. With the night covering his body, he closed the door behind him not wasting time to breath in the crisp night air. Knowing he was about to do the unthinkable, Peter stopped walking and turned his head up towards his bedroom window, making sure Alexis didn’t notice he left. The street lamps glimmering off the puddles formed from the rain through the night, glowed on the sidewalk and were now disturbed by the shoe of Peters splashing through them. Something inside Peter disturbed him as well, the fact that he knew exactly where Connor Brice lived didn’t settle so well with him. It was like he had been there before, and he knew inch by inch Connors house. Every corner the sun wasn’t able to hit and even how to open the door which Peter assumed was locked this late at night. Rounding the corner walking closer to the house that held Peters first victim, he saw the eyes of all the individuals who couldn’t sleep, just like him. Although Peters reason for being up this late was far more different than anyone else’s. They know what I’m about to do, Peter thought while walking faster. Looking at the night walkers he felt their peering eyes tearing a hole deep within his chest. Their all looking at me, every damn one of them. They know I’m going to kill Connor Brice. Peters thoughts racing at this point, uncontrollably, allowing him to fall victim to paranoia. He knew however, something was wrong he had never felt like this before. But he loved it while he rubbed the guitar wire which laid in his jeans pocket, between his fingers. Smiling that disgusting smile he saw in the mirror in his garage, Peter walked up to a long black gate with two lion statues on either side, protecting the house of Connor Brice. Looking at the large house, Peter was more than ready to make this chapter of his life a lot more interesting.

Moving his hand in circles allowing the red liquid to stir in his wine glass he was holding, Simon Kenrick sat comfortably in his black leather chair behind his desk. With the stars shining upon the city he was staring down at, Simon smiled. Showing it to the world while leaning back in the chair placing his feet upon his desk. Only with a dim light coming from the small counter that held his finest alcohols, interrupting the otherwise darkened office, the strong frame of Chad made his presence while he walked towards the desk away from the bookshelf sitting beside the front door.

“It’s getting late,” Chad mentioned.

“Your point being?” Simon asked watching Chad walk closer.

“You think your boy Peter is going to take care of our problem?” Chad asked watching Simon steer his attention away from the wine.

“I don’t think he will let us down. He has that promise I used to see in myself. That killer instinct,” Simon laughed while Chad joined in.

Holding his wrist in front of him Chad asked, “doesn’t he have more than promise, sir?”

“Lets not forget Chad, he has done this before,” Simon responded, putting an emphasis on “has.”

“What do you want to do about our other problem?”

“What other problem? Oh right Jake. Just give it time and we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Jakes smarter than you give him credit for sometimes.”

“He better be if he knows what’s good for him,” Chad answered.

“I wouldn’t worry about Jake, he’ll come around. I’m sure of it.”

“Do you think Peter will ever find out about his past?” Chad asked

Looking back at the red wine now motionless, Simon peered up at Chad and gave him his answer in the form of a chilling smile. Knowing he’s holding all the cards, Simon knew the answer to Chads question and his haunting eyes matched the chilling smile of Simon Kenrick, “I don’t doubt it for a second.”

Silence is golden but not when your hearing the door creak open as you enter a strangers home uninvited. Only the sheet of night covered Peter as he made his way into the house of Connor Brice. Placing the pick he had used to unlock the door back into his jeans pocket, he began feeling a pair of eyes burning the back of his neck. Turning around he saw a familiar figure of a lonely owl sitting upon a tree branch, belonging to a large tree sitting to the right of the house. Hoping the owl was the only thing watching him, Peter sighed out of relief and continued in.
Through the moonlight splattered on the floor, coming in from the window to the left, Peter noticed a long staircase just off the wall. Turning to his right, he saw the full moon breaking through another window allowing him to see. The night still taking over but just enough moonlight to make out certain objects. Listening so carefully to any sign of Connor Brice, Peter made his way down the hall leading to the living room, also allowing the moonlight to splash onto the floor from the large windows up ahead. He really should invest in some blinds for those windows, Peter thought. Anybody could just make their way into his home. Eyeing his surroundings, he turned around and looked down the hall he came from, making sure he wasn’t followed. Blinds and better locks, he thought again while looking at the front door. Glancing up to his right he noticed a very large flat screen T.V. Stepping back after seeing how big it really was, Peter started realizing how much money his first victim must’ve had.

Turning back around, walking towards a large couch leading into the corner of the wall, Peter began wondering if Connor would ever notice if someone was in his house. Breaking the silence, Peter heard the front door open and shut and alarmed by the noise, he reached into his jeans pocket and pulled out the guitar wire. While wrapping the end around his hand and holding the other end in the other hand, he walked close to the noise with his back against the wall. Inch by inch under the cover of night Peter moved so cautiously closer to the sounds of footsteps which were now seeming closer than before. While Peter gripped the wire firmly in his hand, his heart raced faster and faster. Sweat forming around his face. His body tensing up. Peter was nervous. Seeing the shoe poke into the living room from behind the archway, he lost all thought and became scared. The one thought Peter couldn’t shake however, poked at him like a sharp stick. What if he sees me before I strike? What if he has a gun? What if I die tonight? The scared and nervous thoughts subsided as Peter lunged down wrapping the wire around the throat of the individual who had just placed his briefcase on the floor. Is this even Connor Brice? Peter asked himself while listening to his victim scream from sheer panic, before strangling the individual. Peter felt his victims hands latch onto his trying to make Peter let go. Breaking the surface of the skin, Peter felt the warm blood pool out of his victims now open neck. While struggling to survive, he heard his victim scream one last time before falling limp in Peters arms. Deciding not to cause more of a scene by screaming as well, Peter dropped the limp body of the individual, allowing the moonlight to shine onto his face. Kneeling down, he looked closely at the face belonging to the man he just killed. He had never met Connor Brice before but something inside told Peter that the man laid out in front of him was indeed Connor Brice. He had no idea how he knew it was him, but Peter was sure it was the right man. It was as if he had met him before.

“Thank god,” He said to himself, breathing a sigh of relief.

As he sat down, he surveyed the living room and noticed a picture frame sitting perfectly on an end table beside the large couch. As he stood up he walked over to the photo which had been caught in the moonlight. To Peters disbelief he saw a family of three sitting under a tree so peacefully. The smile Connor was showing the world in the picture, was perfect. It matched his short brown hair and his brown eyes. Peter looked as close as he could under the moonlight and saw how hard Connors face looked. A man who has been through a lot, Peter thought. Wiping off the blood smudge he left on the picture frame, he looked at the woman next to Connor. They must be together, he thought again looking at how happy she looked sitting beside him.

“Damnit,” Peter said to himself as he placed the picture down. He couldn’t even bare to look at the child sitting between the couple.

While he walked back over towards Connors body, Peter had no idea why he wasn’t crying at this point. Knowing he just killed someone’s father or someone’s husband, he knew he would be distraught at this point. He knew something happened to him, he would never act this way. But that evil smile replaced the tortured frown of his. After standing there staring at the mangled body, Peters knees gave out on him and feeling his knees hit the floor rushed a single tear to his eyes. What have I done? Peter thought while falling to his hands which interrupted the moonlight splashed onto the floor. Blood, Peter thought as he looked at the blood covered glove covering his hand.

“No!” He yelled while ripping the glove off his hand before sitting back down on the floor.

Peter was scared. Scared at what he had just done and feeling his hands shake didn’t help matters. He couldn’t calm down no matter how hard he tried, he started thinking that all of this was a dream and all he had to do was wake up. But when he glanced at the the body belonging to Connor Brice, is when he knew this was reality, and he was awake. No matter how much he wished he wasn’t, the fact is that he was and he couldn’t shake it. Peter watched the blood trickle from the neck of Connor before shutting his eyes tight. As he felt his head collapse and his chin hit his chest, he was happy he was no longer looking at the body that was laying in the moonlight.
After what seemed like hours later, Peter snapped awake and wiped the sleep from his eyes. He looked ahead at the large windows and noticed the moon was replaced with the most beautiful sunrise he had ever seen. The warm morning glow of the sun made everything visible to Peter and he was now able to see how much blood Connor really lost. He stood himself up still shocked at what he had just done and looked around to see if anyone had noticed him yet. To his amazement he didn’t see anyone around even after poking his head down the hall to the front door. Where is everyone? Peter asked himself. They must’ve found me past out and decided to call the police. There on their way right now to get me, he thought again this time allowing paranoia to settle in. He had to leave, he couldn’t get caught. He made a future with Alexis and he had plans to start a family. He shook his head unable to look at the all the blood any longer. While he rushed to the front door he looked at all the family portraits he missed the night before. He saw all the smiling faces of the family Connor Brice had made. Peter was disgusted in himself, but something inside of him told him he did the right thing as he made his way outside into the warm sunrise.

The very same sunrise that warmed Peters now cold body, was also warming the body of Simon Kenrick who was glancing down into the city from his large office windows.

“Jake you abandoned your responsibilities to me. You went off the radar and did what you thought was right. I know what’s right for you,” Simon talked into the phone as he turned away from the window to face his desk.

“Peter is going to find out what you did to him, and when he does I’ll be there to make sure your life is ruined,” Jake responded while on the other line.

“Your petty threats have no meaning anymore Jake. If you want to be intimidating you have to take action which I am doing now,” Simon said before hanging the phone up while he watched a bloodied, distraught and exhausted Peter rush into his office.

Placing his cell phone down on his desk he heard Peter say, “I did it Simon. I did it. I killed Connor Brice.”

“You did?” Simon asked acting shocked.

“Yea I did. I couldn’t let it go. Something was telling me it needed to be done and I would feel better after,” Peter explained while he walked towards the large windows, behind Simon.

“Well Peter I had no idea you had it in you. I’m grateful for what you did it, but I had no idea you were really going to do it,” Simon lied.

“The strange thing is, I do feel better now. I feel a lot better,” Peter replied with a peaceful smile. “Now Somersworth will be safe.”

“And you’ll be safe as well Peter,” Simon said turning around to face him. “You can trust me.”

Feeling Simons hand on his shoulder Peter replied, “I want this to just be between us.”

“You don’t need to worry son. Put your mind at rest. This will always be between you and I.”

Looking worried Peter asked, “What’s going to happen to Connors body?”

“I have it all under control Peter. There won’t be any sign of a murder, believe me. And Peter?” Simon asked.

“Yea?”

“You can rest easy tonight knowing I’m protecting you. And you can be relaxed by the thought that our friendship will be marked in history. It will be the stuff of legends,” Simon explained as he looked on into the sunrise.

Peter looked at the sunrise shinning off all the buildings, the sun beams bouncing off all the sky scrapers. They shown themselves through every coffee shop window and off every car. The cars carried the sun through the neighborhoods until they were protected by the shade. The sunrise glowed in the face of Jake Porter who had been standing in the home of Connor Brice. Body free, the house never seemed cleaner while he scrubbed the floor of the blood stains that sat there before. He raised himself off the floor and looked out the window at the sunrise. He wondered if Peter and Simon were looking at it as well while he began thinking that Simon needed to be stopped. Something has to break this cycle.

“Peter you best be ready for what your getting yourself involved in,” Jake whispered to himself, before closing his eyes to the morning sun.

Short stories

Dreams. How many dream as actually come true for people? My dream? My dream is to become an author. My dream is to get my name out their and to be recognized. The problem, I live in a small town in New Hampshire without many resources at my disposal. I’ve come to WordPress.com to work on achieving my dream so from here on out I will be trying to post my short stories. I would love to get as much feed back as I possibly can. My name is Brad and I have a dream.