Estimated reading time — 15 minutes
Act 2 – Tucker
(suggested track: Get Out Alive, by Three Days Grace
Tucker was beginning to wonder if Abby wasn’t into him anymore. Ever since he tried to help her find out what happened to Wendy, she had been acting strange. They barely hung out anymore, and she was returning his calls and messages less and less. At school, she was elusive, and it seemed like she wasn’t concerned about her appearance anymore.
She had always been a tomboy, preferring to wear jeans and t-shirts over skirts and high-heels. But there was something different now; now her outfits looked thrown together instead of having some sort of cohesion. And her hair, it was like she hadn’t combed it in months. It wasn’t like he really cared about how she looked, but he knew that something terrible must have happened. Did it have something to do with Wendy?
But worse than all of that, she was always acting like someone was following her. Once, when he went over to her house to hang out, she insisted that they close all of the curtains and double check the locks on every single window and door. He had suggested watching a movie, but when he put it on she was watching everything but. Abby kept glancing back and forth between the TV and the hallway, like someone would be walking through there at any moment. Not to mention that she jumped at every sound and her mind seemed elsewhere. When she would look at him, he felt like she was looking right through him.
If she was in some kind of trouble, he needed to know. He hated feeling like he couldn’t protect her, and after all, there was still a killer at large. Granted, Jeff might be long gone if he knew what was good for him. Still, Wendy was missing, and Jeff may have had something to do with it. Tucker decided to stop by her house after school to confront her about what was going on. It had been three weeks since he hacked into Wendy’s computer for her, and since then he has heard no more talk about finding her from Abby.
As Tucker was about to leave his house for Abby’s, he heard the phone ring. He considered ignoring it, but then he remembered that his parents were out for a date night. He dashed into the kitchen and picked it up on the fourth ring.
“Abby is that you? I was just about to come over.”
“No, don’t come over.”
“Why not!? You’ve been acting so weird lately. Are we even still together?”
There was a pause and he heard her take a deep breath.
“I’m really sorry, Tuck. I just…I made a mistake.”
“What mistake?” Tucker asked, desperate.
“It doesn’t matter. I just wanted to let you know that I love you. And also, thank you for everything.”
“I love you too but what’s going on Abby? Is this about Wendy? Have you found her? Is she coming back?”
There was another pause, and then: “I don’t think she’s ever coming back, Tuck.”
“No matter what happens Tuck, no matter what, don’t come looking for me. Don’t ask questions. I want you to keep on living, and have a good life.”
“What are you talking about? Where are you going? Abby!”
“Goodbye Tucker, I love you.”
But she had already hung up. Tucker slowly put the phone back on the receiver and slumped against the wall. He couldn’t be sure; maybe his mind was playing tricks on him. Right before Abby hung up the phone, he thought he heard an ominous male voice chuckling in the background.
Tucker wasted no time jumping into his 1999 Chevy Silverado and speeding over to Abby’s place. It only takes about five minutes to get to her house from his, so when he got there and banged on the door, he was surprised when no one answered.
Tucker looked through the window next to the door, but the house was completely dark. He called out to her, but still, there was no answer. He ran around to the side of the house, and even to the back door, but he couldn’t see or hear anything. She was gone.
After waiting almost an hour on her doorstep, Tucker scribbled a note on some mail using a pen he happened to have in his truck. When he got home, he waited for hours. But she never called him. Finally, he decided to call her and really lay into her.
“Hi, this is Tucker. May I speak to Abby?”
“I’m sorry Tuck, she isn’t home. In fact, I thought she would be with you.”
“No ma’am, I haven’t seen her since we talked earlier.”
“Well that’s strange; I wonder where she could be.”
Tucker paused for a moment. Then:
“I don’t mean to alarm you ma’am, but I think you should call the police.”
It was Wendy all over again. Abby had simply vanished, and no one knew why. Some people wondered if she had gone to find Wendy, others were convinced that her disappearance was linked to the other disappearances happening around town. But a smaller percentage, including Tucker, believed that a certain killer was the culprit. And Tucker was determined to find out if his suspicions were true.
Tucker wasn’t the only one who wanted answers. Abby’s parents were sick with worry, and they exhausted every resource possible in order to find her. They called the police station daily demanding any news that they had. They even had the police go through Abby’s things, unlike Wendy. What the police couldn’t understand was why, just like with Wendy, none of her things were missing. It was as if she had just gotten up and walked out. There was no note, no clues, nothing.
By the time a month had gone by, the police were ready to give up their search and label her as a runaway despite the evidence against that claim. Her parents were frantic. As time went on, they felt more and more alone in their search. Search parties and calls with information were occurring less and the police began to brush them off. They were never the best police force anyway, because nothing really happened in that town. But there was one other person who was not ready to give up.
Tucker began his own little investigation, beginning with asking after her around town. He picked a Saturday morning to begin, and by that Saturday afternoon he had gotten nowhere. No one had seen her the day she disappeared, no one had even seen her around that time because she barely went anywhere besides school in those last few weeks. Tucker was wondering what he should do next when he realized something. The day when everything changed was the same day that he had hacked into Wendy’s computer. There must have been something important on there that she had found after he left. He realized that he would have to go back to her house and find out what it was.
Instead of driving over to her house, he left his car at his house and jogged over to Abby’s. He kept in constant contact with her parents, so he knew that Saturdays were when they both went out to do what they could to find their daughter, whether its search for her, hand out flyers, or haunt the police station for any leads.
Once he got there, he found the extra key hidden in a flowerpot and headed up to her room. Glancing at the clock and noting the time, he quickly went to work. Instead of searching through Wendy’s computer like he had originally planned, he instead logged onto Abby’s. He never told her this, but he knew all of the login information because she wasn’t as careful as she should have been while typing it in.
There wasn’t much on her computer, but there were tons of searches about the old house out in the cornfields. It looked like she was wondering if you could get Internet connection from out there. Puzzled, Tucker checked through her files and there he found tons of pictures of the old house. Tucker began to wonder if that’s where Wendy and Abby were hiding. But, why? He decided he would check it out later. But first, he would check her emails to see if she had been communicating with anyone, besides him.
Upon looking through her emails, he found nothing. Just the dozen or so emails he had sent to her that went unanswered and some other junk. But just as he was about to close out, he caught sight of her spam folder. After considering it, he decided that it wouldn’t do any harm just to check.
All of the messages were from an anonymous sender.
“Okay…that’s weird.” He muttered.
Tucker decided to choose one at random.
You were warned, but you just couldn’t help yourself. And now you know too much.
Tucker narrowed his eyes at the screen. Then he clicked on another, more recent one.
Jeffrey’s coming to get you, Abby dear. You’d better not tell.
Tucker clinched his fists and turned away from the computer. “Jeff.” He said through his teeth, voice dripping with venom. Turning back to the computer, he clicked on a few more. Piecing together most of the emails, Tucker figured Abby had found out something about Jeff, and now Jeff was coming for her. He also knew in his gut that it had something to do with Wendy.
“She better not be dead, you fucker…” Tucker muttered as he held his head in his hands. Fresh tears rolled down his cheeks, he didn’t want to admit what he already knew was true. “I’ll find you Jeff, I swear I’ll–!” Then, it hit him. A simple connection; the common denominator. Of course Jeff had never left; he had been living right under everyone’s noses this whole time. Tucker clicked out of her email and brought up the window that he had used to search Abby’s most recent history. He brought up the most recent search, and there it was. The place where Wendy was found shivering in the darkness, the place that Abby had become obsessed with, the place where no one would think to look. The old abandoned house in the cornfields, that’s were Jeff was.
Tucker didn’t stop to think. Instead, almost in a trance-like state, he put everything back in order, and left the room. When he got home, he wrote a goodbye letter to his parents, telling them that he loved them, and that he was leaving to be with Abby. He wrote it, knowing that he may never return. Some don’t come back when they set off to confront evil.
Tucker pushed his way through the cornfields. He knew the way to the house like the back of his hand. He shook away the thoughts that tried to force their way into his head of him, Abby, and other neighborhood kids playing out here when they were younger. No distractions. They could still be alive, though the chance was slim. Either way, he needed to know everything, or else he would never find peace.
It wasn’t long before he could see the dark house looming before him. Once he had stepped onto the porch, he took a deep breath, and reached for the doorknob.
Tucker whirled around, but there was nothing there but the cornfields from whence he came.
“Abby?” He whispered. He could have sworn he had heard her just now. But that was impossible. It must have been his imagination, or the wind whispering through the fields. Or maybe it was his subconscious crying out for him to get as far way from this place as he could, and it took on the voice of the person who was always on his mind. But it was too late; he was here now. And the fear that gripped him and shook him to the bone was not enough to stop him. Once again he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and opened the door.
The smell of death and rot immediately slapped him in the face and forced him to take a step back. It was so strong that he actually gagged and had to force himself not to throw up. Despite the overwhelming smell, he stumbled into the dark house and tried to find his way around. The house had two stories, including a basement and an attic. He knew that Jeff was most likely on the second floor, that’s where all of the bedrooms were. Tucker closed his eyes as he tried not to think about all the times that he and Abby had snuck out here to make out in the master bedroom. Strangely enough, the house was fully furnished with ancient furniture and old photographs. It was the perfect place for a killer to hang around. But there was no electricity, so how in the world could he survive here.
Darkness. He was a creature of the darkness, that’s why.
After finding the stairway, he started to climb it only to slip on some sort of dark liquid. Luckily he caught himself on the railing, but that also was covered in warm liquid. Tucker quickly pulled his hand away, knowing what it very well could be. He tiptoed up the stairs but stopped at the top. He cocked his head to the side and listened. There was a sound coming from his right. A very distinct sound, like something heavy was being dragged across the floor. Tucker gulped and headed towards the sound. Eventually, he could see a flickering light coming from a room at the end of the hallway. There was also what Tucker assumed to be a blood trail and bloody footprints leading into that room.
The dragging sound got louder as he reached the door. Tucker leaned against the wall next to the doorway and composed himself. He wanted so badly to bide his time and wait for the police, whom he had called right before heading out. They had sounded skeptical, and he knew that they would probably take their time in getting there. A killer right under their noses, and in the most obvious place this whole time? Yeah, right. Still, he was sure they would come. But he couldn’t wait for whenever that may be at the risk of Jeff escaping. So with a trembling heart, he turned and stepped into the room.
The room looked like any other bedroom, except for a few things. For one, there was nothing in it but a large bed, a desk with a computer and one candle on it, and another, smaller, doorway. From what Tucker could make out in the dim light, the walls and floor were covered in splotches of blood, some of them spelling out actual words. Tucker couldn’t read what the words said, but it wasn’t important to him at the moment. What was important, were the two figures in the room that had stopped moving as soon as he stepped in.
The first figure he saw was a young woman lying on the floor. She was dead, her body nearly cut in two and its contents spilling out around her. He could see her empty eyes in the candlelight, wide and staring. She looked to be very beautiful, with long bloodstained blonde hair and grey eyes. Her hand was being held in another hand, belonging to the one who had dragged her broken body all the way up the stairs to this very room. It seemed to be in the middle of dragging her to the second door, because its hand had frozen in the middle of reaching for the doorknob. This figure was standing just out of the candles range, so it was consumed by shadows. But Tucker knew exactly who it was.
The figure dropped the girl’s hand and let the other hand fall to its side. It just stood there for a moment, and then it began to chuckle quietly.
“So…I see you didn’t take her warning to heart hmmm…?” came a voice that sounded like it would better suit a serpent than a human being.
Tucker flinched at the sound of that voice. It sounded much more malicious than what he remembered, but he could still tell who it belonged to.
“What have you done with her!” he demanded, sounding much more confident than he actually was.
“You should have stayed away…heheh…I might have left you alone. But now…”
“Stop fucking around and answer my goddamned question!”
The figure was silent for a moment. Then he stepped over the corpse and into the light. Tucker sucked in a breath as he saw Jeff for the first time in months. The boy he had known in school was normal compared to the creature that stood before him now. The long unkempt black hair and bone white skin were still the same, but now his face was horribly disfigured. His eyelids were gone, leaving behind emotionless eyes with black rings around them that seemed to stare right into Tucker’s soul. His nose was gone too, but for some reason there was no hole where it used to be, just a small white hump. His lips were also gone, so now he no longer needed Joker make-up to give himself a permanent smile. His clothes were the same though, a white hoodie with fresh blood on it, and black pants.
“Jesus Christ…what happened to you?” Tucker asked, more than a little shaken.
“What happened?” Jeff cocked his head back and let out a throaty laugh that sent chills down Tuckers spine. “SHE happened!” He said at last.
Jeff said nothing.
“Why did you take her? Why did you kill her parents? Why did you…what did you do to Abby!?”
Jeff cocked his head to the side and his evil grin seemed to grow wider.
“You want answers hmmm…? Well…I guess I can confide in you…since you won’t be around for much longer.”
Tucker wondered if he should just run. If he left now he might be able to make it out of there alive. But he couldn’t, he needed to know. Besides, the police should be on their way by now, right?
Instead of immediately talking, Jeff casually turned and picked up the girl from the floor and placed her on the bed, careful not to spill anything. He then sat down at his desk and faced Tucker, who still remained in the doorway.
“I’ll have some fun with her later…heheh. Now where should I begin? Oh yes, ever since I was twelve, I’ve had these urges. The urge to kill, specifically. I loved it, and ever since my first kill I’ve been dying to do it more and more and more! It gave me joy like no other to take someone’s life, that is, until I came here.”
Tucker was only mildly interested in what he had to say. He wasn’t at all surprised that Jeff was psychotic. He only wanted to stall, and find out if his Abby was still alive. But then he thought maybe there was a way he could take down Jeff himself, so he decided to listen more carefully.
“As you could imagine, for six years I’ve been on the run from my past. I’d travel from city to city, have my fill of fun, then move on. When I got here, it was easy to make up some bullshit story about living with my great aunt. In reality I just hid out at some rich old bitch’s house who I had kept hostage…for a while.”
Tucker stopped himself from rolling his eyes. He absolutely hated Jeff, a person who would kill without remorse or regard for someone’s life. But in order to find out what happened, he had to keep listening.
“I enrolled myself in school to scout some potential victims.” Jeff went on. “I usually try to pick people who I can gain something from. But then I met Wendy. She came frolicking into my life without warning, and suddenly everything changed. She was changing me. At first I fancied her as my first victim here, but I actually began to…fall for her. Several times I tried to kill her, the first time being after we had sex for the first time. She lay there, fast asleep, and I straddled her and pulled the knife out from underneath the pillow. But as I raised the knife to stab her in the heart, I hesitated. I saw how beautiful she looked sleeping so peacefully, and I hesitated.”
Tucker noted how Jeff’s voice had changed over the course of him telling this story. He almost sounded normal. Like a normal person struggling with their feelings. Too bad he wasn’t a normal person, and this wasn’t a normal love story.
“I hated myself for it, I was starting to slip. I went out on killing sprees less and less, and began to spend more time with her. The second time I was planning to kill her, she told me she loved me, and I couldn’t bring myself to use the axe I had hidden underneath the table to hack her to pieces. And the third time… I was really going to do it.”
Tucker perked up again at the change of tone in Jeff’s voice. He figured he knew what story Jeff was about to tell now.
“I had to get rid of her, so that I would be able to freely do what I wanted. I couldn’t allow myself to have feelings for her. It was changing me and I didn’t like it! So I planned everything out so nothing would go wrong this time. While she was out partying, I killed her parents then waited for her to come home. When she got there, oh, her face was priceless. It filled my heart with such glee to see her in so much pain. Yes, the feeling was back again. I knew I could do it this time! I followed her all the way here, wounding her in the process. I didn’t want any chances for her to escape, so I made sure she wouldn’t be able to run far.”
Tucker nodded solemnly, remembering the wound on the back of Wendy’s knee that never quite healed, just like her broken heart.
“I was so ready to end her, but then…” Jeff scratched his arm and twitched nervously. “Then she kissed me, and the urge was completely gone. It was such a shock that I couldn’t do anything, I just had to get away from her.”
Tucker shook his head. If only you had just let it change you. You could have been happy with her. But instead…
“I went back to the old lady’s house. I couldn’t stay there long because the smell coming from her basement was starting to bug the neighbors. I looked at myself in the mirror and cursed myself for being so weak. I knew I had to do something drastic, think…think…THINK! And then I knew: it was my lips that had betrayed me. I had to get rid of them, so I did. And while I was at it, why not punish myself further? I burned off my eyelids I had no real use for them, and now I would never lose sight of my desires!” Jeff’s serpent-like voice had returned by now.
“And your nose?” Tucker asked, grimly.
“Just an added bonus, to seal the deal.” Jeff then stood up, and looked Tucker square in the face. “There was nothing stopping me anymore. I was transformed; I just needed to do one more thing to make sure I never went back. This time I kept a safe distance from her. Instead I sent her threatening emails, and stalked her at night. I wanted to weaken her resolve by slowly driving her insane. And it worked; by the time I was through with her, she had no will to live and accepted her fate without a struggle. I had won.”
Tucker glared at him. “What did you do to her?”
“What do you think?” Jeff said, teasingly. “I…took her.”
Tucker took an angry step forward, but immediately regretted it. “And Abby? Why did you go after her?”
“She went investigating, just like I knew she would, and found out too much. I did the same to her, only she was much stronger than Wendy. Still, she eventually realized she couldn’t escape from me. Should have heeded Wendy’s warning…hmmm?”
Tucker felt sick. His head began to swim, and he swayed back and forth on his feet. How could something so evil exist in this world? By this time, he knew they were dead, but still he had to ask once more.
“Where are they? Where are Abby and Wendy now?”
Jeff’s unholy grin grew so wide that it nearly split his face in half and he gestured around the room.
“Why…they’re here.” Jeff produced a large knife from the pocket of his hoodie and advanced toward him. Tucker knew what that meant. It meant that the police weren’t going to make it in time after all. Instead of running, like his subconscious was currently screaming for him to do, he simply closed his eyes and thought of Abby.
“They’re right here with us.” Jeff went on, is a harsh whisper. “You can see them if you want. All you have to do is GO TO SLEEP!”
Credit To – Angel Rocket
This is the third entry in the five-part Beware of Those Who Would Do You Harm series.