The trip to Paynton, Saskatchewan was long. Fourteen hours of non-stop driving, just to go to this creepy town to make my boss happy.
"Allie, journalists need ground-breaking stories." He had said two nights before I made my trip. He looked at the papers he was holding in his hands, the ones I had just watching him quickly read over. He threw them on his desk. "Not some sob-story about pregnant teenage girls I wont accept this. Get another story or you're off this newspaper." I nodded. I admit, I'm a little terrified of my boss, but that's only because he can fire me and therefore send me crawling back to my mother for money, yet again. There's nothing more terrifying than that. I watched silently as he stomped out of the room, muttering about how hard it is to find good employees these days. I fought the urge to stick my tongue out towards his back. He slammed the door when he left and I was forced to leave as well , and find a new and exciting story, which led me here.
I sped through a light. The only good thing about coming here was that I could drive as fast as I wanted and no police were going to give me a ticket. No police in probably 300 miles. It was late. Midnight at least, and I was exhausted. I was looking around for any sign of welcome for me, even though I wasn't even in the town yet. That's when I saw it.
"Welcome to Paynton, Saskatchewan," The town's sign read. The paint was chipped, and it looked as if a bear had eaten off the top half, but then realized how bad it tasted and spit it back out, back onto the top. I drove by quickly, noticing, but figuring it was just some stupid kids, trying to scare people, the graffiti words lettered messily across the bottom, "There's a reason we call it pain-ton, and you'll just have to find out."
I was really hungry and I was pretty sure there were no restaurants in this god-forsaken town, so I stopped at the 24-hour truck stop at the very beginning of the town. I parked my car in the vacant parking lot and walked inside. There was a boy about my age working the counter. He looked friendly enough.
"Good evening, miss," he greeted me when he heard the jingle of entrance bells, when I walked in. I nodded and smiled in his direction and headed for the bathroom, then came out and scouted out some snacks. I finally made it to the counter and placed my fifteen items on the counter. He smiled at me.
"You're new around here." It wasn't a question.
"Uh, yea," I replied. "I'm just here for a little. A couple days."
"Yea, well, you shouldn't be outside this late." He said with a concerned look as he packed everything into bags. Thanks, Dad, I thought spitefully.
"Thanks, but I'm pretty sure I can take care of myself. Just out of curiosity, however, why?"
"Bad things happen at night." He said simply, his smile gone.
"Oh, you're talking about the murderer going around here right? About, how tourists stopped coming here because they were all getting killed off whenever they came in. People come in but never come out? Right?" I was getting a little excited, but only because this was the reason I was here. This was my story. There was a story about murders happening. My friend had told me it personally, and her sister was one of the town's missing. A couple months ago, people would come through here and wouldn't make it to wherever they were going, then whoever they were going to would come and look for them because none of them would answer their phones. They were killed too. No one had enough guts to come check it out until me. Allie Thompson, Super Detective. So, then, whenever someone would mention this small town, at least one person would take it upon him or herself to say, "They go in, but never come out. "
I noticed he wasn't answering my question, and that I was so deep in though I had my elbows leaned on the desk staring at his face without really seeing it, I saw it now, however. I saw it staring out at the window with "horror" written all over it. She was watching the window. I looked too, and saw a man standing at the window, simply standing there. knocking. His face was fixed on me. Oh, come on, I thought. The doors open. Are you stupid? I shook my head and headed for the door. I only made it one step before the boy was screaming "no" and running to the door with a key. The man saw him and started for the handle. But he was too late. The boy smashed the key into the lock and turned. Then ran back. When he came to where I was standing, he grabbed my arm and pulled as hard as he could, almost ripping off my arm. The man had gotten angry and was banging on the glass door. That when I realized a sweater hood hid his face.
"Run!" The boy screamed at me, and I immediately obeyed. Something about the lack of knowing what his face made me feel unsafe, and terrified. The counter boy ran me into the back storage room and locked that door too. We waited until the vigorous banging stopped from the shop room. Finally, he looked at me and spoke.
"I'm so sorry, but what in the world were you thinking, opening the door to him?" He was breathing heavily, and so was I. My mind was so filled with shock, and fear, I couldn't even answer him. I guess, after a long three seconds, he realized how my eyes were still bulging out of my eyes, emanating fear like it was written across my face, and the fact that I hadn't answered his question. Maybe, it was because I was violently shaking that made him say what he did next.
"Oh, god. I'm so sorry. Hey," he grabbed my shoulders, " breath. In, out, in, out. That's it. It's going to be okay. You just have to breath." Finally, my breathing slowed. I looked him in the face and asked him the first of many questions.
"Who. Was. That?"
"That's, um," he seemed to be fighting some internal conflict. Finally, "I don't think you want to know." He said slowly. This time I grabbed his shoulders.
"I need to know, I need…" I didn't know what I needed. I swear that if he hadn't saved me, I wouldn't have seen tomorrow. "I need to know your name." I thought suddenly, and spoke without thinking. He laughed in spite of the situation.
"Brandon. And yours?"
"Allie." I grimaced. Next question.
"Those stories I was talking about before… well, before that… are they true? I want the truth, I can handle it." I pronounced each syllable with an edge of anger in my voice.
"Okay." He looked ashamed. "Yes, they are. There's a man, goes by Jefferson, is suspected, but everyone's afraid to go to police. Last person that was killed, and found, there was a note attached to him, the victim, saying, "Police will just make everything more complicated, and you'll be next. That was to a guy, just a little bit older than me, and he went to police, despite the warning and within the next week he was missing, too. Stories float around here about what he does to his victims, but that's just stupid teenagers at the high school down the road. I would tell police, if I didn't want to die." He looked away, ashamed.
"Okay," I shivered, "Who was that man there?" I swung my head in the direction of the storeroom.
"Now, that's a mystery. Creepy though." He looked in that direction. Then looked at me. "I mean, he was just staring at you. All creeper like." He looked at his watch suddenly. "I don't feel safe going out there 'til morning, like I said, bad things happen at night. SO, I think we should stay here tonight." My head automatically nodded. His cheeks pinked over and he looked down, his eyes slightly slanting toward me. "Uh, could I borrow your phone? I need to call my mom to tell her I'm staying here with you, and, uh, what happened, and everything. She worries a lot."
"I understand," I hand him my phone. I can't help but laugh at him. He smiles, and I lie down to sleep, almost positive I won't be able to sleep. I close my eyes.
When I awoke, it felt like I had slept for about twenty minutes. My mind was still groggy and my neck ached from sleeping on the floor. I looked around me, at the storage room; my eyes finally made their way to the door in front of me. A note lay on the ground. My hand trembled as I picked it up.
"I can't wait 'til you wake up and find me," the unnerving note read in an elegant script, quite odd, I thought, for a killer. I looked around me again, this time in a frantic search to find Brandon, but he isn't there. I had to find him; there was a chance that he could be dead from that awful man. I could feel the sting of tears in the back of my eyes but I fought them off to stay strong. I stood up slowly, but I knew that with every second I let slip by, my confidence and courage is slipping by, so I sped up my mount and quickly grabbed the doorknob, twisted and pushed. It was open. I walked into the storeroom, calling Brandon's name, and silently trembling on the inside but the only thing I saw were treats and a broom lying against the farthest wall. When I had gone through all the aisles, I finally noticed the man sitting at the counter with his back turned to me. I held my breath and bit my tongue to stop the scream mounting in my throat.
"Well, Allie, this is sooner than I thought, but never soon enough," his voice was nothing like in movies. It was smooth and sweet sounding, almost fatherly. It reminded me of honey and it soaked me in fear.
"What do you want from me and where did you take Brandon?" I spit out, imagining it sticking to the back of that hideous sweater head. All my fear was put to the back of mind, and a new determination to live was placed in front.
"Ah, ah, " He replied mockingly, "One question at a time, darling. So many questions, so little time." I couldn't stand here and wait for him to kill me. Think, my mind screamed at me. What could help you out of here?
Then it hit me. The broom. I looked toward it. If I was fast enough, I could get it before he turned around, and I could run, and find Brandon, then we could find a way out of this awful place. Okay, I steadied myself mentally, three giant steps and you can get it; just don't make a sound. I moved my foot. Two more. I took a second step. Okay, one more and you there. Three steps. I wrapped my hand around the stick and held it tight, he was still rambling on about something. Okay, now all I have to do is run over and hit his head. Steady now, Three, two, one. I heaved myself forward and ran he turned half way then smiled and I felt something pierce my back. It hurt so badly. Like someone had stuck their hand in my back, twisted, and pulled out my spine. I felt the trickle of blood down my back and saw the glint of the blood-covered knife behind me. Then my sight went fuzzy and I slowly fell to the ground with a loud thud. It was hard to breath and I knew I was minutes from being dead. Then something stepped into my view.
It was Brandon. He held a knife covered in blood and he was smiling. "Surprise," was all he said. Finally, the man from the counter came down and stood there. They looked at me, and then the man patted Brandon's shoulder. Brandon was still looking at me. His face held a look of comic assurance. Like somehow, by killing me was like watching everyone read and love a comic you wrote.
"Thank you, son, you know how much I hate nosey tourists." The honey like voice was the last thing I heard and then I died.