As far back as I recall: Farra Stevens was known as a great woman. Lots of men love her and they want to marry her real soon. Sadly, she's terrible at a romance. She fell in love with 5 boys, and they all ended up dumping her. She fell in love recently with a boy named Brendan, who became her fiancé in time. He was the only guy she ever loved.
Well, to make a long story short, Brendan invited us to celebrate the upcoming wedding. He lived in a small house next door to a disgruntled man who hated his guts, ever since he moved out on his own.
In any case, we were about to celebrate Farra's newfound happiness… except…
Five years ago…
Farra was busy setting up the dishes on the table. Brendan had to step outside after he made a phone call. Minutes later, he returned with a sprained arm.
"Oh, hey, Brendan," Farra said, "Where were you?"
"Oh, you know, going out," he replied.
Brendan Thomson, age 25, a college graduate from the University of Florida, who graduated with Farra. The guy is dressed in a red and orange shirt with black jeans and brown boots. He also has a short dark blonde wavy hairstyle, like those boy bands you see. Anyway, he and Farra once knew each other in high school. He had a semi-related crush on her. From what I hear: he used to play college basketball for those darn Gators, but turned the NBA down after his 3rd year. Currently, they are boyfriend and girlfriend for 7 months.
"Are you okay today?" She asked, "It's like you're extremely fatigued."
She approached him and tried to hug him. Brendan stepped back.
"Um, maybe later," he said in a nervous state, "I had to go visit him."
"Oh, you mean Mr. Lancaster from next door?" Farra asked.
"I don't even want to talk about him anymore," he stated, "As long as we party, just to get his goat."
"What's with you and you grudge with the next door neighbor?" Farra muttered.
"In any case, I'm glad Peter will get the chance to meet you," she giggled, "You know how much I'd love to be hanging with the greatest man of my life."
Brendan then said, "Oh, it's no problem."
Farra continued to set the table as Brendan made an important private call. Farra, a little nosy, decided to listen in. She let out a quiet sigh, after learning that Brendan is calling Mr. Lancaster.
Hours later at 5pm, the gang came by to Brendan's house via limousine. We stepped out and went to the front door. A giant man, at 6'5", with short dark brown hair, dressed in a red t-shirt and black pants, stepped out first.
That's me, Peter Giese (Age 22). I'm Farra's best friend for ten years (at the time). We sometimes act as rivals; you know like Yankees/Red Sox, or cats/dogs, or something like that. I'm somewhat of a get-going guy, with my burst of energetic challenges; hence my rivalry with Farra.
Heather, dressed in a pink blouse and light grey pants, stepped by the gate, groaning and rubbing her legs. She rubbed her medium-length auburn hair and leaned a bit on the gate.
"Man, I hate coming to a swanky place in the 'burbs," she groaned.
That's Heather Dunn-Nevins (Age 23); or H.D.N. for short. She was recently married to a British person, whom Percival and I know really well. She's the ONLY member of our clique to have a child. She has a beautiful girl. Anyways, she's also related to one of our friends. For some reason, she finds Farra to be very well friendly.
"Stop your griping," Percival said, "It's great to meet Farra's fellow classmate from college."
This here is Percival P. Gaynes (Age 20), the Scrooge McDuck of our circle of friends. He's has a lot of money, after owning stock at the age of 15, thus becoming the richest person in the group, not the world. He's the step-brother of Heather, in which his mother married her father. He, Farra, and I love to hang out together in the old days, before he went all money hungry, and before we met Heather. He's not half bad.
"Anyway, I'd like to meet him," he said, adjusting his black tie. He was dressed in a white shirt, beige vest, and black workpants.
A boy stepped out, dressed in an orange shirt and teal jeans, with a brown haired crew-cut. He was carrying our luggage.
And then there's this guy, Steven Cooke (Age 23). All he does is become a snob. He's our resident loser. He never does anything popular, even for a jerk like him. I often pound him to a pulp, whenever he becomes outlandish and jerkily towards ANYBODY. But he happens to be an artist, especially since his painting and music sucks. Though, we respect him from time to time.
"Are we there now?" Steven sighed, "I think I need some pointers from a college grad."
Percival approached the limo driver and said to pick us up in the morning. The limo drove off. We all stepped up on the front stoop and I rang the doorbell.
"All right, Farra told us to act like we're her friends; which means there will be NO fighting, NO cursing off, and NO ripping on people!" I declared, "We don't want to embarrass her in front of her boyfriend."
"He's right," Heather said.
Farra opened the door, dressed in a white sweater and blue jeans. Her long blonde hair waved slightly in the breeze.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention HER in the equation. Farra Stevens (Age 25) is my best friend/rival. Nothing more, nothing said. She lost her father when she was 3 in an accident. She often acts like a brash woman, but she gets emotional on occasions. Think of it as your own tsundere in the group.
"What a surprise," she said, "I'm glad you could make it."
We all stepped in. Farra said to make ourselves at home. Steven, Heather, and I sat on the couch, while Percival sat in the red armchair.
"Swell digs you got there, Farrasteen," Percival smiled.
"Thank you, but I appreciate it if you do not call me that." Farra retorted.
I relaxed a bit and asked, "Say, Farra? Where's your BF? I want to shake his hand."
"Oh, please, he's probably going shopping at the last minute to get some food," Steven grumbled, "It's not like he's husband material."
"I agree," Heather added.
"Oh, brother," Farra sighed, "Look, we're ordering a pizza. I'm not saying that I have made you something delicious for you to try--."
"WE DON'T WANT ANY! WE'D JUST GET HUNGRY!!!" We all shouted.
One other thing to add: Farra is a lousy cook.
Farra turned away and groaned, "If you weren't my friends, I'd haul your asses out of here."
Percival then comforted her and said, "Oh, don't feel awful. You know well that you would like to have us as company."
"If things go awry, I should be able to hire new friends," she thought.
Brendan returned with a bag full of beverages. Farra stated that only a few people cannot drink liquor. He bought an assortment of juice and soda, sans liquor.
"Sorry, I'm late, you guys," Brendan huffed, "It was a long way back to the convenient store."
"Nya…" Heather yawned, "Where's the booze?"
"Booze? Oh, I knew I forgot something…" Brendan snarled.
"You dummy brain!" Farra shouted, "Why the hell did you buy all this sugar water?"
"Well, you told me to get you some non-alcoholic beverages for our non-drinkers."
Farra pointed at me, and stated to Brendan, "THAT'S the guy, doofus!"
"Now, now, let's not fight," Percival said, waving his hands, "I'm underage, too."
"Well, as long as you guys are okay with it, I'm fine," Farra sighed, "Besides, someone cannot hold a cold one in her system."
Heather was crossed, knowing she cannot hold her liquor.
"Listen, can't we just get on with the party?" Steven cried, "I cannot wait longer!"
Farra approached us and introduced us to Brendan.
"Allow me to introduce you to my friends: my best pals, Peter Giese, Percival P. Gaynes, and Heather Dunn-Nevins, and this bottom-feeder here is Steven Cooke."
"Bottom Feeder?!" Steven thought, "At least no one called me a loser yet."
"Nice to meet you all," Brendan smiled.
"So, when do we eat?" I asked.
Farra scolded and shouted, "Will you stop thinking about food?"
Brendan replied, "It's okay. I just came back from the store after I visited Mr. Lancaster."
"Who?" Steven asked.
"Mr. Lancaster, his next door neighbor," Farra responded, "He and him are at a feud next door."
"In others words… a rivalry!" I shouted in energy.
Farra groaned with her hand on her face.
"Pretty much," he stated, "But he was to come by, if and when we goes bananas in this house."
"I'll try my best to be a gentleman," Percival grinned.
"Come on! I'll take you on a grand tour," Brendan insisted.
"I'll go!" I said, "As long as the others follow."
Percival and Steven wanted to go with Farra. Heather insisted to go with me.
"Okay, we'll be upstairs," Farra said.
We all went our separate ways, only to take a tour of the house. Farra showed Percival and Steven its 5-room bedroom. There's a single bed for each room, except for the first room, with a double bed in it.
"I take it this is your room," Steven asked.
Farra responded, "He and I have been sleeping together in this room."
"Why five rooms?" Percival retorted.
Farra responded, "That's because the rest are guest bedrooms. He normally uses each room for his fun and games on a daily basis. Though, Mr. Lancaster hated his noise every day."
"Are you sure that's right?" Steven inquired, "I mean I had next door neighbors more annoying than Percival and Peter combined."
"Yeah, except that these rooms are closer to his house." Farra said.
Percival and Steven stuttered in shock.
"Say, we should place our suitcases in each room," Percival suggested.
"Right! Dibs on Farra's side, across the hall!" Steven called out, carrying his briefcase.
Meanwhile, Brendan, Heather, and yours truly were in the garage. We looked at a cool convertible. He owns a 1996 red Pontiac. He's a sucker for late 20th century knick knacks, especially cars from the past decade.
"WHOA! Awesome!" Heather gasped, "That car is awesome!"
"Stop drooling," I muttered.
"So, do you and Farra take a ride?" I asked Brendan.
"Not occasionally. But she and I love to make out in the car. Just a usual cliché, eh?" Brendan replied.
I was confused, but Heather nodded at his remark.
"You're right. I'm glad I met my husband when he and I made out in a car like that."
Brendan and Heather decided to walk out of the garage, as I looked at his hardware table from a distance. I was about three feet away from his tools, trying so hard not to touch them. I looked at a giant red tool shed. I walked forward and tried to open it.
"No, don't!" Brendan cried out.
I stepped back and was concerned.
"What's wrong?" I asked, "Are there some things I shouldn't look at?"
Heather grew suspicious, when Brendan nervously said, "No, it's my secret shed. I keep the best tools in my shed."
Heather then snapped, "All right, all right! Guys, I'm tired! Can we head back?"
We all agreed. Brendan and Heather left to the front room, while I stayed. However, I sniffed; in the garage, there was a scent of a warm, yet familiar odor. I couldn't figure it out, but it could be… something rather mysterious.
"This scent feels awfully familiar…" I thought, as I head back in.
Thirty minutes later, we arrived at the living room. Brendan wanted to make an announcement. We all sat by the couch and saw Farra with Brendan. Percival was feeling a bit uncomfortable.
"You all right, bro?" Heather asked.
Brendan made his announcement, "Well, people, since you are all here I thought I wanted to tell you something about your friend, Farra. We've only been going out for months now."
He held Farra's hand and kneeled down, "Farra, I wanted to say this to you for a long time. Will you stay with me forever?"
He proposed to Farra! I was stunned, Heather was in awe, and all Percival could do was shake in anger.
"Brendan… I… uh, well, I, you see…" she stuttered.
"Go on, say it…" Brendan said.
She held him tight and said, "Yes. I'll marry you."
He gave her a ring and placed it in her ring finger. They kissed afterwards.
"Nuts to this," Percival walked off.
Steven followed Percival; I left to go to the kitchen. Heather, for some reason, stayed on the couch glancing at the romantic moment.
Two hours later, we partied hard. We played party games, ate pizza and burgers, and we even danced throughout the night. All Farra could do was sit on the couch, smiling.
"Say, Peter," Steven asked, "What's bothering you?"
I was all upset over Farra's boyfriend-turned-fiancé.
"Don't you think this is too obvious?" I asked him, "How can a weird, yet disgusting creature, like him fall in love with my BFFL? (Best Friend for Life)"
"Maybe because it was time," Steven said, "She's happy now."
He then grinned evilly and said to me, "Well, despite the fact that this party was awesome, nothing weird has happened yet."
Oh yeah, I am a magnet for bizarre stuff around my friends and others. But THIS was about to be a semi-bizarre moment like no other.
"Be patient, Tortellini, the night is still young; even I know it won't happen today," I responded.
Percival stepped in and growled, "Bastard! Who does he think he is?"
"Who are you talking to?" Steven smugly asked.
"Him." Percival replied, pointing at Brendan, who was kissing Farra.
The three of us were concerned over Farra. That's when Heather stepped by us.
"You boys are hopeless," she said, with a slice of cheese pizza in her mouth, "Maybe one day you'll have a love of your own."
'Stop being so rude, sis," Percival snapped, as he wiped her face with a napkin.
Heather stepped back in annoyance. Steven chuckled a bit.
"At least I have a girlfriend!" I shouted, "You guys wouldn't know love if Cupid's arrows gouged you right in eye sockets."
Steven grumbled, "At least you're somewhat single. Better off being old and alone…"
"What did you say to me?" I yelled.
Steven ran off and I chased after him. Percival and Heather followed. Brendan heard wind of it and got up from the couch.
"What are they doing?" He asked.
Farra replied, "Leave them alone; they fight like animals all the time."
"Really? Let's hope they don't smash my car," he stated, as he declared that we were heading to the garage.
Brendan and Farra got up and went there.
At the garage, Farra tried to break up the squabble. Brendan then informed us that we must spend the night here. However, some of us were in awe over the garage, the size of a giant warehouse.
"This place is huge!" Percival cried.
"How do you even work on this car with humongous space?" Heather asked.
Brendan then told the story about how he and Mr. Lancaster were sharing a garage like this:
"Edward Lancaster (age 38) was my next door neighbor. He's an expert at tools and such. He worked as a mechanic in college and moved on to bigger things. He currently works at a local auto shop far from my house. Sometimes he comes home, all disgruntled. But every Sunday, he works with me in the garage, working on my car. It has been running okay, but sometimes there might be problems. Sundays is the ONLY day he's in a good mood. Every other day, he snaps at me, trying to get some sleep. But, he also hates me for my constant noises.
"So, how come you hate him?" Heather asked.
"Well, the man has been working hard. And on occasions, he yells at me for making too much noise in the late night," Brendan responded.
"What do you do late at night?" I asked.
Brendan replied, "I sometimes listen to rock music. I'm a fan of these new age indie bands."
"I always thought indie bands were from India," I exclaimed.
"Shows what you know," Percival said to me, "Indie means 'Independent', which means like non-professionals. Think of it as like minor leagues of music."
"Yeah, you're right," Heather stated, "But I want to know if he's telling the truth."
For some reason, we sometimes have been known for detective work; that's why our motto is "We do anything", especially detective work.
Heather asked Brendan, "Tell me, do you know much about him, despite being a next door neighbor?"
Brendan replied, "My mother and father were once good friends with him. Though, they only met him on rare occasions."
I asked, "How come?"
"Mom and dad were killed in a car accident," he explained, "Luckily, Mr. Lancaster and his wife, Audrey, attended my parents' funeral, after hearing the news."
"Wait, you never mentioned clearly about their deaths," Steven declared.
"Quiet, you!" Percival snapped.
"Oh, he told me all about it," Farra said.
She exclaimed to us about his parents' death:
"Brendan told me that his parents died in a car crash. Five years ago, they were on their way home from a party. They were both drunk and woozy. Luckily, Melanie Thomson was much focused. His husband, James, was too intoxicated. They were driving home in the dead of night. Melanie was driving perfectly, despite the fact that she had a couple of beers. I'll never understand that about her."
"But then, my parents ended up in a car crash around the corner of Eastern Street and Mikulski Avenue. They car collided into a giant stoplight. Sadly, there were no survivors. The pole broke in two and slammed the front of the car, killing my parents in a barbaric matter."
"I see…" I said.
Steven stated, "Well, it was a sad story, but I'm surprised you lived by yourself at the time."
"When I was in college, I heard the call that my parents died," he said, "I was shocked and scared by it. I dropped out of the basketball team and finished studying in my 4th year. I managed to live by myself after my days in the dormitory."
"I heard you're a Florida Gator, correct?" I asked him.
"He is," Farra smiled, "He was a point guard. He was to compete in the NCAA Tournament, but he ended up dropping out in February, the month that his parents died."
"We should go see Mr. Lancaster when we have the chance," Heather suggested.
"There's still one more thing I need to ask," Percival stated.
He asked him, "Why do you hang out with him on a Sunday?"
"It's his day off," Brendan replied, "He never works on a Sunday. Despite the fact that I was noisy, he sometimes works with me in the garage."
"See that tool kit over there?" He pointed at the table with tools, next to the red tool shed, "That's my personal tool set. And that shed there is my personal area. It's where I usually use my favorite tools."
"Oh, yeah," I smiled, "You mention that to me earlier. How come you stopped me?"
"I, uh, well, let's just say that only I and I alone can touch these tools," Brendan said.
"Oh, that's why. I'm sorry." I apologized.
Heather and Steven grew a bit impatient. They started to leave.
"Where do you think you're going?" Farra snapped.
"I'm tired! I want to go to sleep!" Heather moaned.
"Me, too!" Steven snapped, "I want my beauty rest."
"Fine… you guys go on ahead," Percival snuffed.
"To be honest, it's getting late," Farra said, "We should sleep tonight."
I stepped away and said, "Well, I'm going to the fridge and raid some snacks."
Farra snagged my ear and bellowed, "Touch one morsel of food and I'll staple your lips shut!"
"Well, we should go to sleep," Brendan said, "I better show you to your rooms to sleep in; since you placed your suitcases there earlier. You know we have 5 bedrooms. Farra and I will sleep in our bedroom. You guys do whatever you want and rock-paper-scissors for it."
"No need," Percival said, "We placed our luggage in their respective rooms. You room is intact."
We all left to our rooms, except I was in the garage and I ended up speaking some words, which began the nightmare.
"Seriously, I am SO hungry!" I moaned.
Heather whined, "Me, too!"
Farra then snapped, "Tough! We're sleeping! No one touches my fiancé's food!"
Heather then shook her head and said, "But I'm hungry…"
Then I said, "You know, guys. It makes me feel like I want some English food, because that's the first time that I've smelled a delicious aroma that is exactly like blood."
We stopped by the doorway, in a gasp.
"BLOOD?!" Everyone, except me, cried.
Steven smelled it, too. So did Heather.
"You're right," Heather said, "It does smell like blood. Now that you mention it, Brendan, Peter, and I were the last to enter the garage before the party started."
"You're crazy," Percival snuffed, "I stepped out to the garage two hours ago, minutes after Brendan proposed to Farra."
"What were you doing?" Heather sneered.
"Never mind that!" Farra cried, "Peter, where did you smell it?'
I picked up the scent and pointed at the big red tool shed.
"It's coming from over there!" I shouted.
We ran to the shed and smelled it again. The scent was stronger than before from close. It was blood. I tried to open the door, but it was stuck.
"Guys, a little help here!" I cried out.
Brendan, Percival, Steven, and I grasped the handle and pulled the door open at the count of three.
"1… 2… 3!!!"
The door flew open and we stumbled down. From inside the shed, there was a person inside. He fell out of the shed, into the concrete face-first in front of the girls, and was motionless. He was covered in blood.
Heather let out a shriek.
We got up and saw the person on the ground. We were all in shock when we saw who it was: Mr. Edward Lancaster.
Farra cringed, "Mr. Lancaster?"
"No!" Heather sobbed, looking away.
"But… but how?" Brendan asked in fear.
All we know is that a murder has taken place. But we have yet to confirm it. Mr. Edward Lancaster was killed here in this garage. But how did he get here?
To be continued…