36 | Lindsey

323 36 13

OCEAN CITY

SUNDAY

5:17 AM

42 HOURS, 43 MINUTES UNTIL DEADLINE

"I'm panicking."

"You don't say." Mary rolled her eyes as Lindsey paced back and forth around the kitchen table, her eyes glued to her feet and her hands shaking. "You're freaking out enough for everyone in this room."

"Can you blame me?" Lindsey asked, "We're stranded, two hours away from home, without a car or a way to get back, and we're trusting that this insane stalker who killed all four of our siblings isn't going to do the exact same thing to Jordan." She checked her watch anxiously, "Do you think she's there by now?"

Roland shook his head.

"Probably not quite yet. Maybe in the next half hour."

Jordan had left the beach house an hour and a half earlier, taking Michael's car and ignoring the complaints of the other four as she went. No one thought they had a real chance of convincing her to stay, but they tried anyways.

Lindsey had watched Jordan drive away with a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach. Something was going to go incredibly wrong because of Jordan's decision. They were trying to outsmart someone who had been at least three steps ahead of them at every turn. There was no way that even the five of them combined could take this monster.

And yet Jordan was leaving to confront them alone.

Lindsey kept pacing around the kitchen table, her eyes on the floor until something caught her gaze from the corner of the room. There was a soccer ball—an old soccer ball that was black and gray rather than black and white, but it was a soccer ball nonetheless.

She stopped pacing aimlessly and instead walked straight for the ball, picking it up and tucking it under her arm.

"I'm walking to the beach to kick the ball around." Lindsey informed the other three, "Call me if there's any problems."

Michael and Roland nodded while Mary stood up out of her seat.

"I'm going with you."

Lindsey raised her eyebrows. Mary Hadden, playing soccer on the beach at 6:00 in the morning?

"What?" Mary asked defensively, "It's not like you're going to kick it to yourself."

***

"I feel like something bad is going to happen." Lindsey spoke for the first time since the girls had arrived at the beach. The sand was cool on her feet and the breeze tasted like salt, blowing her hair back and forth in its ponytail. Soccer calmed her down like nothing else could; even just kicking the black and white ball back and forth between her and a girl with absolutely no athletic ability whatsoever was helping her to become less panicked about their situation. It hadn't totally erased the thought of Jordan and what she was doing from Lindsey's mind, but it was a start.

Mary kicked the ball as hard as she could and Lindsey ran six feet to her right to ensure it didn't roll away.

"Why?" Mary asked as Lindsey retrieved the ball and kicked it back to her, it landing directly at the other girl's feet, "Jordan isn't the smartest, but she's capable of doing this."

"I know she's capable." Lindsey replied, "But I just feel like the stalker has something planned. Like they're going to kill her or kidnap her or do something that teaches us a lesson for trying to trick them."

"They don't know we're trying to trick them, though." Mary replied, the alliteration rolling off her tongue, "I don't think they have the upper hand this time."

Lindsey shrugged.

"I don't know. I feel something weird. Something's off—it's like we're going to be blindsided just when we think we're gaining ground."

The girls kicked the ball back and forth in silence for a bit longer, their eyes trained on the sand instead of each other. No one was ready or willing to say anything other than what had been said already; it was terrifying to think that Jordan was out there on her own, facing someone who had killed everyone close to them.

Lindsey kicked the ball to Mary and the queen bee trapped it easily before kicking it at Lindsey—or, trying to kick it to Lindsey. The ball ended up flying into the ocean behind Lindsey, bouncing along the shallow waves towards the sand.

"Sorry." Mary said, "I'm not very good at this."

"It's all good." Lindsey replied, already heading for the water. "I'll get it."

The ocean was absolutely freezing; early fall didn't exactly scream warmth. The waves lapped at her ankles as she reached in and grabbed the ball, shaking it slightly to get as much water off of it as possible. She stepped out of the water and shook her ankles, watching as the water flew off and created dark polka dots in the already damp sand.

As Lindsey walked back to where she had been standing before, something caught her attention from the corner of her eye. Something was sparkling in the rising sun, embedded in the sand just a few feet away from the girls.

"Hold up." Lindsey called to Mary, walking over to pluck the object out of the sand. It was a glass bottle with a rolled up piece of paper inside, and looked like it had been there for a while.

"Hey, this is cool." Lindsey brought the bottle over to Mary. "It's probably a love letter or something."

"Well, open it." Mary ordered, bouncing up and down slightly. "We can read about someone else's life instead of worrying about our own."

Lindsey took the cork off of the top and banged on the bottom of the bottle until the note fell out, rolling along the sand.

She picked it up and unraveled it, her eyes glancing at the note once and realizing it was most certainly not a love letter.

"Mary...Mary..."

Mary looked over Lindsey's shoulder and gasped, shaking her head.

"How—"

Lindsey stared at the page, covered in cut-out letters from magazines like something directly from a serial killer.

Probably because it was.

I hope you said your goodbyes, Miss Marcum.


A/N: I HAVE A QUESTION

So I think the next book is going to be a prequel of sorts, where the main characters are Eddie, Victoria, Erin, and Neil. Does that sound like something you guys would like? or maybe a combination of a continuation of these five plus flashbacks to the older four's perspectives? Let me know what you think.

-Katherine

-Katherine

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