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.
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24. Twenty-Three

 

We sat staring at the maps for a long time, like the similarities were too surprising to talk about to start with. Then Ric got up from the bed and was pacing around the room, clearly thinking to himself.

I cleared my throat and spoke up again, "so, what do we do next?"

"That's what I'm trying to work out," Ric replied quietly as he continued to pace. His feet scudded against the floorboards as he moved back and forth, sure to ware down the varnish soon. Then he stopped at the end of the bed and faced me. "Cameras."

"Cameras?" I repeated as more of a question.

He strode to his desk and flipped up the lid of his laptop. "We need cameras."

I paused slightly before I got up too, hovering by his shoulder to watch what he was doing. He'd loaded a web-page for night vision cameras. 

"This is what we need," he said as he scrolled. "If we can set these up around town, in the places where I saw things and where attacks have happened close by, it might capture something." He sounded excited as he spoke. "People can't argue with video footage."

I didn't want to suggest that people might say it was faked. I'd seen plenty of ghost footage online with mixed opinions. Half as many people thought it was faked as it was real.

"But they're expensive," I mumbled quietly and my eyes had widened slightly at some of the prices. I was pretty sure selling the entire contents of my room wouldn't even cover it.

"I'll pay, I have money," Ric said absently as though it wasn't a big deal. He didn't want his plan to be deterred by anything, and I understood why. He'd obviously had this torment him for a long time, with people not believing him, and if he could prove it, then he could show them wrong. I knew what it was like not to be believed so I just nodded and let him continue.

Once he'd completed the purchase he sat back down on the bed and looked at the map. "I think we should start here," he suggested and I peered to where he was pointing. The hedgerow and patch of trees at the side of the school. "Obviously the most brutal attacks happened here, both on humans. The bushes and trees would have been coverage enough for people not to see anything before it came out to attack." He swallowed hard. "And I saw something there once."

I sat beside him and nodded. "Okay."

"We'll give it a few nights, if we get nothing, we'll chose a different place," Ric continued and I nodded again. I was slightly overwhelmed by the sudden plan after all these nights not knowing what exactly to do, how to even find the monster, now we had a more solid plan.

"So, we just wait?" I asked quietly. I was pleased about the plan but I still felt pretty helpless right now. It was just lurking out there somewhere and we were going to wait for a camera.

It was Ric's turn to nod. "We'll have to. The camera will be here soon, I hope so at least. And then we can put it in place." He picked up the map again and looked at it more closely. "They were always near green areas."

"Provides a place to hide I guess," I replied. "It might explain how other people haven't seen things."

Ric sighed and lent back so he was lying on his back. I watched him carefully.

"Your posters weren't a bad idea," he suddenly commented. "Maybe other people have seen things, they just haven't wanted to come forward." He sat up abruptly again and smiled at me slightly. "I can put something in the paper, more people will see it then."

I nodded eagerly and he smiled fully.

We then went back to the maps and for a few hours, we speculated where the monster could be hiding permanently. Was it in one of the green spaces around town? Then we talked about what had happened in the field, how it had been so quick to take that cat and how it was odd that I hadn't seen anything else in the field. Ric suggested that being the second camera spot and I agreed. It was 6.30 before we knew it and Dalton was at the door saying dinner was ready. 

It was an awkward few minutes as I followed Ric into the kitchen and Mr James eyed my clothing curiously till Ric explained the bike incident. We then sat at the counter and he passed us plates of pasta.

"I'm sorry, you didn't have to make me dinner," I said quietly feeling my face glowing from embarrassment. "I didn't realise the time."

Mr James just smiled at me kindly. "It's quite alright." He laughed gently. "I usually make too much food at once anyway."

I tried to smile back but it came back as more of an awkward almost grimace. I busied myself with forking at my food nervously. It wasn't like it was the first time I had had dinner at someones house alongside a parent, but something about this was more awkward.

"So, Dalton tells me you're in the same year?" Mr James spoke up.

I nodded slowly as I chewed and swallowed my mouthful.

"What subjects do you do?" he questioned.

"English Lit, History, Chemistry and Media Studies," I replied swiftly. I'd grown accustomed to reeling them off to fellow students nearer the start of the year.

"Wow, very academic subjects," Mr James commented. "You must be a clever girl."

I tried to stop the blush creeping up my face. "It's a lot of work."

"It must be," Mr James agreed with a little nod, and he looked round at Dalton. "Dalton always seems to be swamped with essays to do."

He nodded and I flickered my eyes to him. He avoided my gaze quickly like there was something offensive about me looking at him. I frowned slightly but chose to go back to my food and not let it bother me.

"Have you thought about uni options?" Mr James went back to questioning me.

I swallowed my mouthful again and replied, trying to sound polite, "I still have to complete the second year of Sixth Form too."

Mr James nodded. "I suppose." He looked at Dalton again with this proud little smile on his face. "You want to get into Cambridge, don't you?"

Dalton shrugged. "Maybe."

Silence fell between us again in which I forked the last stray bits of my food around my plate and hoped Ric would announce we could leave the room soon. However, Mr James didn't seem done with the conversation.

"Cedric tells me you might be writing a story for the paper," he said and I blushed nervously again.

"Um, maybe." I cast a little look around at Ric for some kind of confirmation and he smiled at me.

"Yeah, we're working on something," he added. I saw Dalton shift awkwardly in his seat looking like he wanted to speak but he didn't. I reminded myself about what Ric had said, how Dalton thought he was 'relapsing'. He probably thought I was encouraging him too much.

"It's nothing too much," I said trying to get Dalton to look at me, "just some missing sheep and things."

Dalton kept staring at his plate, gripping his fork tightly. Mr James hadn't seemed to notice as he smiled across the table at me. "Well, I'll be happy to have a read when it's done and think about publishing it."

I tried to smile back, feeling thankful as Mr James got to his feet, rearranging his crutch and taking his plate towards the sink. Ric stacked up the rest and joined him at the sink. I took the opportunity to look at Dalton, try and get him to speak to me. He was however determined to keep staring at the table and ignored me. I wondered if April had told him about everything that happened, and guessed she probably had. That meant he was most likely annoyed with me too.

I flipped my eyes back to Ric who gestured at me to follow him out of the room. We went back up to his room.

"Sorry he asked all those questions," Ric said and I just shrugged. It had been awkward but it was what parents did to new friends I guess, it was just a normal reaction.

I sat down on his bed again and pulled my bag towards me. When I pulled my phone out I swore under my breath. I had numerous texts from my parents asking me where I was.

I quickly typed out a reply: Sorry, I was at a friends. I'll be back soon.

I got up again and tested how tender my ankle was still. It wasn't so bad but it would probably still ache when I had to bike all the way back home.

"I better go," I announced, "my parents are kind of angry."

Ric sat up straighter and I thought I saw his face fall slightly. "Oh okay." He stood up. "You sure you're okay to bike home?"

I nodded my head, putting my phone back into my backpack. After a few minutes of discussing when the camera might arrive and going over what our next step was, Ric walked me back to the front door. I hobbled down the front steps, pulling the bike upright from where I had dropped it earlier.

I was about to get on when Ric called my name again and I looked back at him standing in the door, the light from inside flooding in an orangey yellow glow around him. He looked even more striking with his black hair in contrast.

"Everything will be okay," he called and gave me a gentle smile. "April will come around eventually. We'll get some actual proof."

I was glad he had said it even though I was sceptical that April would ever speak to me again. It put a slight smile on my face as I got back on my bike and started to head home. My ankle throbbed as I peddled and the whole of my right side was still sore but I tried to ignore it.

As I finally got home and made my way inside, I was feeling particularly tired and everything ached. I just wanted to go to bed but mum put a stop to that.

"What happened to your clothes?" mum first asked as I walked my way through the front door. She'd emerged from the lounge, hands on hips.

"Er, I was biking in the rain, they got soaked," I explained.

"Who's clothes are they?" she asked and she narrowed her eyes at me.

"Ric's," I replied as I was slipping off my shoes and edging my way to the stairs.

Mum continued to stare at me with hands on hips, grounding me to my position.

"Do we get to meet this Ric guy you've been spending so much time with?" she questioned and I looked at the floor instead of her as I shrugged. "How do we know he's okay?"

"Because he is," I replied and raised my head again, crossing my arms slightly. They'd never judged my decision to be friends with April, I guess Ric being a boy meant our friendship was under more scrutiny.

"Was that attitude?" mum snapped at me and I wanted to tell her she was the one with the attitude right now, but didn't. That wouldn't have gone well.

Instead, I said nothing and looked back at her as blankly as I could.

"I don't know, Felicity. There's something going on with you," she mused and sighed dramatically. "You seem moody all the time."

I raised my eyebrows. "I'm not."

She frowned back at me. "You're always sulking about now. Getting yourself into a crash situation, and that other night, sneaking out and then going to someones house without telling us first." She sighed again. "This isn't like you... We're worried about you."

I avoided her eyes again. I didn't like what she was saying. I had a reasonable explanation for why she thought what she thought, and it definitely wasn't just because I was moody.

"Felicity, please look at me," she said sounding more demanding. I slowly raised my eyes, squeezing my fingers together tightly. I hated being 'spoken to' by my parents, it rarely happened so when it did, it was more emotion wrenching.

"I'm fine, you don't need to worry," I replied quietly and willed my face to remain non-descriptive.

She frowned some more at me. "A girl was murdered."

I felt myself flinch as I said quickly, "I know, mum." I didn't need to be reminded.

"We just don't want you running around alone at night, okay? And if you're going to someones house, tell us first so we don't have to worry so much," mum told me and her tone had softened slightly. "We know it's been scary and it's affected everyone around here. I just thought you would have more sense than to run around at night time."

I nodded slowly, the longing to just go up to bed and stop being interrogated increasing. There was a dull ache in my ankle from standing stationary which wasn't helping my emotions.

"Can I go now please?" I asked slowly and mum sighed dramatically again.

"Fine, but please, Felicity, be more responsible."

I nodded again and edged my way further towards the stairs. With one foot on the bottom step I turned back slightly and looked at her. She was watching me, her brow furrowed and arms still crossed. I had to admit I knew the worry meant she cared. "I'm sorry for worrying you," I muttered before I turned back around and continued up the stairs.

Once in my bedroom I collapsed on my bed and a huge sigh shook through my body. Today had been eventful to say the least and all I wanted to do was sleep, but then my phone buzzed. I sighed, crawling out of bed again to find it from my bag. The world obviously didn't want me to relax yet.

I pulled my phone out and frowned as an unknown number flashed on the screen. I sat down on the end of my bed and answered it. 

"Hello," the girl at the other end started.

"Um, hi."

"Are you the girl who put up those posters in school?" they asked and I felt my heart jump in my chest.

"Yes." I couldn't keep the excitement out of my voice. I hadn't expected anyone to call after April had ripped them down.

The girl sighed. "It's Abi-Rose." My eyes went wider with surprise. I certainly hadn't expected her to be the caller, not after what she had said to me at the town hall. I waited for her to continue with bated breath. Finally, she spoke again, her voice wavering slightly. "I... I think you were right."

"A-About?" my voice shook slightly with anticipation.

"The claw marks."

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