“Global superstar, Sandy Moss was found dead at her home yesterday morning. There have been no official details released of the cause of death although early reports suggest that foul play is suspected. Her husband, Travis Davies, and the family’s butler, Broof Hogwash, are currently in police custody.
Sandy Moss was most well-known for her roles in multiple blockbuster movies. Her career spanned two decades and included a multitude of Starlight Accolade winning performances, most notably her depiction of Clarissa, a mother desperately trying to save her dying son, in A Kind Heart, a role that saw her catapulted to fame overnight.
Sandy was also well-known for her philanthropy; funding both the Willow Creek Soup Kitchen and the charity Sims Safe At Home.
Police also continue to search for April Moss, 18, who has been missing since Sunday. Concern is growing for April who is described by those who know her as ‘vulnerable and unworldly’.
Stay tuned for updates as we receive them.”
“What are we going to do now?” Faith fell back into the chair, the news still rolling behind her. The three of them had been watching it all day as they simmered in the aftermath of the revelations. “We can hardly go out hunting in bars now everyone is looking for you.” She glared at April.
April couldn’t help staring at the television. It was so strange seeing her own face on it. She wondered where they’d got that picture. Who would describe her as ‘unworldly’? She didn’t know what it meant but it sounded very exotic. “You two can still go. You’ll have to bring mine back.”
“Like a pizza delivery?” Faith snorted. “I’m not gonna risk bringing anyone back here, not now.”
“Well what do you suggest then?” April asked.
Faith thought for a while. “We’ll have to go and hunt for hikers, I guess. Or hitchhike and see who stops. I don’t know.” Faith scratched her head. “Does the book say anything about whether we can live off animals or anything?”
April shook her head, thumbing through the tome. “It says we need to feed from humans as it maintains our… humanesque form and functions.“
“Great,” Faith murmured. “So I guess catching deer is not an option then? I don’t want to be growing antlers or shitting in the woods. Hitchhiking it is.”
Melinda laughed, “Yeah, because no psychopaths ever stop to pick up hitchhikers, do they? That’s a much safer option than a vampire ready meal.”
Faith had noticed something under the sofa, but she tried not to react. “Come on, April. Let’s go now. I’ll flag them down, you just lurk in the bushes or something. I’m going to need to borrow your tiniest skirt.”
The two of them headed upstairs. Melinda took a moment to compose herself, resolute in her decision.
She pulled her phone from her pocket, tapped the map app. She switched to satellite view and zoomed in around the local area. She was looking for anywhere she could see a good break in the trees. Anywhere she could get an unobstructed view of the stars.
It looked like there was some sort of cliff about 2 miles to the east.
That could be perfect.
Faith and April had returned and Melinda hastily stuffed her phone back into her pocket.
“You’re definitely not coming, Mel?” April had settled beside her, taken her hand. “You do realise that if you don’t go and feed you will probably just attack someone, right?”
“I know.” Melinda wasn’t great at lying but, screw it, they’d been lying to her this whole time. She tried to sound casual, “I found a guy hiking in the woods last night while you were at the club, so I drained the dork.”
“Did you… kill him?” April asked.
“Yeah, sure, why not?”
“So what will you do tonight, Mel?” April asked, her voice shaking.
“Might go find another one. Then I’ll probably watch a horror movie.” She couldn’t seem to stop herself now. “The goriest one I can find. All the guts and squishy bits. I could do with a light laugh.”
“Right.” April gently stroked Melinda’s arm. “Are you sure you’re OK?”
Another lie, why not? “I’m fine.”
As soon as they’d cleared the gate, Faith turned to April.
“What the actual hell have we done?”
April sighed. “I know. If I’d had to put money on which of us would turn out to be a murderer, I’d have bet on you, not us. I guess you’re just a rapist.”
“Oh, I’m just a rapist, what a relief.”
“That’s still a bad thing to be, Faith.” April said, once again missing the sarcasm. “Who’d have thought that she’d become so brutal, so heartless? What are we going to do with her?”
“I think we should let her leave us.”
“No! She’s mine. She’ll go to Lilith.”
“If that’s where she wants to go, fine. She’s not Mel anymore. She’s miserable and cold and running wild. She can’t keep killing random men, April. Whether Lilith helps her or turns her into a pie, the problem is solved.”
“I’m not letting her go!” April stamped her foot. “We can give her more time to come to her senses! We should go and see if we can find that guy she had last night. Do you think she dumped him in the same place she dumped Paul?”
Faith ran her hands down her face. “Bloody hell! The ravine will be full of them at this rate.”
Melinda watched the two of them from the window as they headed towards the path that took them to the main road. Then she felt around under the sofa for where she’d hidden her backpack.
She would go to that cliff. She would see the stars.
She wouldn’t come back.
Five glasses in and it was starting to have an effect on her empty, animated corpse. Lilith had only gone to the bar to see if she could find her brother, but Joe, the bartender, had a great way of tempting her to spill her secrets and that way was called absinthe.
He poured her a fresh one. “Bad day at the surgery, Doc?”
“Or has this got something to do with your wayward brother?”
“It always has!” Fred, the local drunk, laughed. “Do you know what you need, Lily?”
“I’m sure you’ll tell me.”
“You need to go get yourself a man!”
Perhaps I do. “Are you offering, Fred?” Lilith asked, only half-joking.
Fred laughed, “Forty years ago, I might. I’m way too old for you now, darlin’. I’m not like that creep, Will, fondling teenagers under the table.” He thumbed across the room at no-one in particular.
“You got teenagers to come in here?” Lilith asked, surprised.
“Yeah,” Joe said, “Three girls! Guess we’re getting trendy! I don’t think they were quite old enough to be in here, mind, but I only served them lemonade, even when Will started trying to get them drunk.”
“The slimy git.” Fred hiccuped.
Joe chuckled. “I charged him through the nose for the shots of water he was plying them with. They didn’t seem to notice it wasn’t alcohol. Thought if I kept them clear-headed they’d avoid him like the disease he is. I feel for his poor missus. Not been two months since she gave him a son and he’s already screwing around, again.”
“Females! They just don’t know what’s good for ’em,” Fred said, cradling his beer sadly, “Letting themselves be taken in by the likes of that sack of shit. Pardon my language, Lily.”
“He hasn’t been in since and he’s usually in every night. Maybe Beth finally chucked him out,” Joe mused.
Lilith was probably the only woman within a ten mile radius that Will hadn’t managed to lure into his truck. Not for lack of trying on his part. She’d often been tempted… but only to drain the smug smile off his face.
She had an inkling which teenager might have left with Will. She hoped Faith had drained the rat.
“Some people need to realise when it’s a lost cause,” Fred said. “Like you, Lily. It’s none of my business, but,” Fred started and Lilith rolled her eyes, “now Caleb’s got his girl, you should probably back off a bit, love. Leave the poor guy to his life.”
“Yeah. He was in here the other night, necking that green stuff, talking about ‘the most beautiful girl in the world’. Said he’d completely effed up.”
Lilith emptied her glass and held it out for a refill. “Did he now,” she stated, dispassionately.
“I told him to go see her, smooth it over. Take her a gift, you know you ladies like that kind of stuff.” Fred nodded, wisely. “‘Bout time he found a nice girl, if you ask me. Good-looking fella, your Caleb, despite his strange hair. He can’t live with you forever.”
“Hit me again, Joe.”
“I think you’ve had enough, Doc.”
“I’ll know when I’ve had enough.”
Joe sighed and reached back towards the bar. Lilith could hear his thoughts as he rued her drunkenness; could hear Fred’s as he fantasised about those exact girls who he was ‘way too old for’. She tried to focus on sounds that were actually there, the commentary from the television. Sport, as usual.
“Joe, put something else on,” she said, her face still resting on the bar.
Joe set down the drink he’d poured and changed the channel. The reporter announced the story of the day.
“Holy hell,” Lilith gasped.
“Hey!” Fred called, pointing at the screen, “She was in here the other night! The blonde girl!”
“Are you sure?” Joe squinted at the screen. “You know, I think you’re right! Should we tell the police?”
“No!” Lilith shouted. “I mean, no point, right? They’re probably miles away by now.”
“Yeah, suppose. Plus they were in here on Saturday and the report says she went missing on Sunday. You don’t think Will had something to do with it, do you?”
“Nah. They’ll find her soon enough, Joe,” Fred said. “Look at her. Movie-star good looks. She’s not going to be able to hide out with us common muck for long.”
Joe looked back at the screen. “Eighteen… I could’ve served her after all.”
Lilith watched the images on the television flash before her eyes. She tried to focus on the conversation around her and not on the burning rage that was threatening to release ten levels of hell.
The fact that Caleb had, once again, brought disaster right to her doorstep in the form of a pretty face.