Claw Marks and Corridors

Felicity saw something she shouldn't have. A dead girl in the bathroom at school. Not just any girl, Robin Cross, the head girl. Since that night all she's had in her head is images of a creature ravaging her body. But Robin was just stabbed excessively, right?

Felicity's life is shattering as she struggles to find the truth and anyone who will believe her. Even the corridors start to not feel safe anymore.

*First Draft*

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Author's note

This is a first draft, meaning that a couple of the chapters are going to be changed/need serious editing at some point! Please bare this in mind.
AA

13. Twelve

 

Realising I had no way to get home now I walked my way back down the high street, crossing my fingers as I approached the vegetable store. Luckily, dad was still about, packing up some of the crates. When I got close enough, he spotted me and frowned in surprise.

"Hey, Fefe," he called as I followed him inside the shop. He dumped what was in his hands down.

"I need a ride home," I commented and he smiled over his shoulder at me.

"Mum's gone to get Kitty from a friends but she'll be back for me soon," he explained. "I'm sure you can tag along."

I laughed slightly. "Thanks. Not like I'm your daughter or anything and it's your duty to give me a lift."

Dad laughed back at me and rolled his eyes. "You're always the epitome of hilarious comments."

"Epitome," I repeated. "Oooh, big words."

Dad laughed again as he was fiddling about with the money in the till. We had a better relationship than I did with my mum. We didn't talk extremely often but when we did, it always put a smile on my face. Even if he called me Fefe just to annoy me.

I leaned up against one of the wooden stands, as I watched him count out the money. Dad had lived in Rook Valley as a kid, he'd gone to Valley Rook's high school too.

"Dad," I suddenly spoke up again and he nodded his head, still obviously counting. "Do you know the James family?" I questioned. "The ones who run the Rook Valley Times."

Dad didn't reply for a little while, coming to the end of his counting before he looked up again. He rubbed at his stubbled chin in thought and then replied. "You mean Simon and Tululah James?"

I shrugged. "I don't know them, but if we're thinking of the same family, they have two kids that I know. Dalton and Cedric."

Recognition passed over his face. "Oh yeah. I know them. They're Simon's kids."

"What do you know about Tululah?" I asked, trying to seem casual with my question but dad looked over at me curiously. 

"Why do you want to know?" he questioned and I shrugged.

"I just wondered, I know you've lived in this area all your life," I replied and tried to smile innocently.

He started depositing the cash into a different lock box now. "Well Simon was in my year at school. Tululah was some girl from a private school, I never really met her, only at the wedding. They run the Times for a bit together, but then Tululah seemed to just vanish off somewhere."

"She's back in town," I told him and he frowned.

"I never really knew Simon well enough to ask why she left in the first place," Dad commented with a shrug. "Now, are you going to tell me the real reason you're asking all this?"

I shrugged again but dad gave me a look. "I'm kind of friends with his sons. Dalton didn't turn up for school so April and I went to check at his house, and some woman answered the door. I guess that was Tululah."

Dad just continued what he was doing, locking the money away. He didn't seem bothered by the news.

"Cedric is acting really weird," I commented but it was more to myself. I knew I didn't know him very well but the way he had acted was definitely strange. It was definitely all to do with his mother appearing.

Dad walked to the back to grab his coat and smiled across the room at me. "I thought you only had one friend."

I snorted with laughter. "Thanks dad."

"I didn't mean it like that," he replied with a roll of his eyes. "Just April is the only person that's come over to the house."

I just shrugged. "I only met Cedric a few days ago and Dalton is April's friend, she introduced me to him a week or so ago."

"That will be why this is the first I've heard of them," dad said in a understanding tone. He picked up the locked cash box and I followed him out of the shop as he got keys out of his pocket, ready to lock up.

We waited on the side of the road together, dad informing me that mum was probably going to be here in a few minutes. Soon enough I saw our scenic car come trundling down the road and pull up alongside us. As I got in mum frowned back at me.

"I found this scallywag walking around and said that we could give her a lift home," dad said as he got into the front and I scowled at him.

Mum just rolled her eyes and started to drive off again. She never did like my dads jokes about anything.

I lent back in my seat, my rucksack on my lap, heavy against my legs. Mum had found me an old one in the garage to replace my ripped one. It was bigger than the last one so all the additional monster books fit easily in beside my textbooks. It didn't mean it wasn't still ridiculously heavy though.

I closed my eyes as we drove on, glad that Kitty was fast asleep in the car seat next to me, so it wasn't noisy. It had been a strange day and I was still confused. I knew it wasn't as scary as Robin's death and every thought that came with that, but I couldn't help thinking about Ric's mum, how odd it all was. He said Dalton was fine, but why hadn't he come into school? And why was Tululah so grumpy and demanded that Ric didn't stay in that park with me?

I wanted answers about that now too. I guess I had another mystery to add to my ever growing list.

When I got home I decided to call April because I felt like she deserved to know what had happened. After a brief pause in which she was annoyed that I lied, we continued to discuss how weird it all was. She was still confused about Dalton.

"I just don't understand, Fe," she mumbled sadly down the phone. "We've got so close, he always messaged me back but now, nothing. I know you said Ric said he's fine, but that still doesn't explain anything."

"I know," I agreed, "but what can we do? We can't storm their house and demand to know."

"We could do!" April exclaimed. "What if that grumpy evil mother is holding Dalton hostage?"

"April," I said loudly so she stopped her mad theory. "Ric would have said something more if that was the case."

April sighed loudly down the phone. "I still think we should storm the place though."

"Ric just said they were having family issues, that's why he couldn't reply properly," I explained again, "that might be the same with Dalton."

"But at least you heard something from him!" she snapped and she sounded annoyed, but soon sighed again. "Sorry, it's just if Ric, who you've known for a couple of days made an effort to meet you mysteriously in a park, I'm sure Dalton could do the same for me."

"We don't really know what's going on, April," I replied, trying to calm her down, "we shouldn't make too many assumptions."

She sighed again. "Yeah."

"And Dalton might be in tomorrow, so you can speak to him all about it then," I continued.

"I hope so." April sounded sad.

"It's going to be fine," I tried to reassure her.

But Dalton wasn't in again the next day, or the next, or even the next. By Friday April was positively livid, deciding to act angrily to the situation rather than worried. I kept trying to tell her it was all fine but maybe it really wasn't. Maybe we did need to do something more.

April still wanted to storm the house, so I said yes, on the condition that we didn't break anything and it was as peaceful as we could make it. We drove down to the small car-park and walked briskly to the building. April knocked, looking fierce. It was an odd expression on her face. She wasn't usually like this at all.

Tululah James appeared at the door again and glared when she saw us there.

Before she could immediately shut the door on us, April stuck her foot out. "Please, I need to see your son."

"I already said, he's not here," she snapped back.

"I don't believe you," April replied and she crossed her arms firmly.

"I don't have time for stupid whiney girls," Tululah grumbled and tried to shut the door again. I helped April keep it open.

"At least if he's not here, tell her where he is," I added in and she just glared over at me.

"I'm not happy about you hanging around with my son in that park either," she snapped and I raised my eye brows.

"It was all of 2 minutes he was there," I told her. "Can he not go outside?"

Tululah looked even more annoyed. "I can call the police on you."

"All we want to know, is if our friends are alright," April told her and instead of fierce she was now looking upset. "Please," she added, sounding desperate.

Tululah was having none of it. She tried to shut the door again.

"Please!" April called again.

"Go away, or I will call the police!" Tululah screeched.

Suddenly, footsteps sounded behind us and a gruffly sounding voice, snapped back, "that won't be necessary."

I looked between Tululah's angry face and back to the mans behind us. He had the same sharp cheek bones as Dalton and Ric, a black crop of curly hair on his head. I presumed it was Simon James, their father. He hobbled up the path towards us, leaning heavily on the crutch on his right, a large briefcase in his left hand.

"Has she been bothering you girls?" he asked kindly as we stepped back slightly to let him through.

"We're just worried about your sons," I commented quietly and Mr James nodded.

"I've been worried too," he replied and he climbed up the steps. The look he gave Tululah was like molten lava. "I see you've been breaking windows again," he commented and jerked his head to the left.

She looked like she was eating wasps as she backed away. Mr James stepped through the front door. "Where the hell are my boys?" he asked her darkly. "Cedric! Dalton!"

April and I watched carefully through the door, feeling a little intrusive but I also knew we were both intrigued. I saw Cedric come out from the door opposite, looking as pale as ever. He caught sight of his father and looked so relieved, it was almost like he was going to cry. "Thank god," he mumbled and he rushed to take his fathers briefcase and coat as he pulled it off. 

Tululah was standing watching still with an awful expression on her face.

"She took Dalton to that school," Ric whispered but I had heard him. April and I were still unnoticed on the doorstep.

I felt April grip my arm next to me.

Mr James glared at Tululah, and then looked back at Ric with a more reassuring smile on his face. "Don't worry, I'm here now. We can put things right again."

Ric nodded and glared at Tululah as well. "I didn't know what to do, she just came crashing in here, quite literally through the window. I couldn't get rid of her!"

Mr James shook his head at Tululah in disgust. "Don't worry, the police can get rid of her."

I watched Tululah lean back against the wall, swallowing hard but still looking grumpy. Then she turned her head so she was facing April and I. "What about them? Don't they need to go too."

Mr James looked back at us but smiled politely. "I presume these are concerned friends of yours, Cedric."

Ric nodded quickly as he looked over at us. "Yeah, they haven't done anything wrong."

"Take them upstairs to the lounge, and I'll deal with her," Mr James ordered. I thought I saw Tululah shrink back slightly.

Ric gestured at us and April and I slowly made our way inside, passing between Mr James and Tululah. We followed Ric up the stairs and into the lounge where he sat down on the sofa looking extremely uncomfortable. We sat down opposite him and I shared a momentary look with April. She looked crossed between in shock and still worried.

"I guess you are both a bit confused," Ric muttered and I nodded.

"I'm sorry we came to your house again, but we were just worried," I apologised as maybe it was rude that we had tried to interfere.

Ric just shrugged at me. "It doesn't matter. It's just nice you care." He smiled slightly and then he sighed. "That awful woman is my mother, unfortunately."

"You don't have to explain everything if you don't want," April said kindly. "But please tell me about what happened to Dalton."

Ric looked at her a little sympathetically. "He's in a posh boarding school right now. Mum has always been determined that her kids should go there, so she forced him to as soon as she got here."

April looked worried but Ric smiled at her. "He's honestly fine. Probably annoyed, as am I, but he'll be back soon. Dad will go and get him."

She nodded and tried to get rid of her worried smile. Ric looked at me instead. "Thanks for meeting me by the way. I know it was probably confusing but I just wanted to get away from my mother and explain why I hadn't asked dad yet. But then she interrupted me." He sighed. "She likes to control everything."

I saw that from the way she had marched him off.

"I'm 20 but she still thinks she can make me do whatever she wants," he replied and sighed again. "Dad was away for longer than a day, she somehow found out so she swooped in to try and take over... but we don't want her here."

I nodded slowly, letting him speak. He had obviously waited to get this off his chest.

"She's not the mother she used to be," he commented, "she changed a lot when we were growing up, became so controlling of everything, so dad asked her to leave and she did but every now and again she things she can just waltz back in and do everything her way."

He looked sadly at the floor. I didn't know what to say and as I looked round at April she had a horrified expression on her face.

"How awful," she whispered.

Ric smiled sadly at her but soon passed it all off with a sudden laugh. "You two have only known me like a couple of days and you already know some deep dark shit from my life."

I almost laughed too. "I guess, it brings us closer together much more quickly than average people."

Ric nodded. "Yeah." He sighed. "This wasn't exactly how I viewed our friendship going but hey ho, nothing like a crazy arse mother to bring people together."

April giggled like usual and Ric smiled back. He seemed much more relaxed now, less burdened with worry and sadness like he had been before. I was glad there was some reasonable explanation for the mysteriousness. If only finding out about Robin's death was as easy.

There was a loud commotion downstairs and Ric rushed to the door, standing at the top of the stairs. I went on tip toes and looked over his shoulder to see Mr James holding the door open as Talulah was being hauled out by two officers.

"This isn't the end!" she screamed. "I will get my way."

"Not if we can help it," Ric muttered darkly. Mr James shut the door on her screaming and looked up at us. He smiled.

"I'll just make a call and get us our Dalton back," he called up to us. I thought I saw April almost burst into happy tears. "Sorry about all this commotion girls. It's not usually like this."

We both just smiled back at him before he disappeared through one of the doors on the left. Ric, April and I went back to the lounge. We sat on the sofa and watched TV, laughing at funny jokes in programmes. It was weird how relaxed we suddenly all were. Ric had been right, the situation had brought us closer together in a short space of time and I was happy things had worked out okay.

As I looked across at April and Ric I hoped that with friends by my side I could start to feel better. Robin's death had clouded my thoughts, and made me paranoid about almost everything. These two people seemed to ground me to that room, made me feel like I could still be happy. I didn't have to worry so much.

But I also knew I was still going to work hard to figure things out. I wouldn't rest completely till the plot was all rolled out and I could understand completely what happened to Robin, how it came to happen. If there was a monster out there, I wanted to be able to make it go away, but first I needed to find it.

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