Epilogue: A Dangerous Game

The motorcycle roared down the open highway, the only vehicle around for miles. Its headlight cut through the black night, carving a path down the winding pavement. Up ahead, the glow of lights from a gas station perched near the edge of a cliff reached out, drawing the motorcycle in. The vehicle left the highway and eased into the gas station's parking lot.

Its rider lowered the kickstand and reached up to remove their helmet. Carmel Williams shook her long black hair free from her helmet. She ran her fingers through her hair, smoothing her silky locks. She stood from the bike and placed her helmet on the seat. She knelt down, looking into one of the rear view mirrors to survey her messy hair. Carmel was a decidedly average girl with nothing particularly outstanding about her appearance save for her eyes. Her right was a deep chocolate brown while the left was black. It was the only thing about herself that she genuinely liked. It made her feel unique.

Carmel hesitated as she made her way toward the gas station. She stopped before she went inside and moved instead toward the railing that ran along the edge of the cliff. It was a cold, blustery night and the wind whipped around her as she peered down into the valley where the small town of Mistbrook Falls lay in sleepy silence. Carmel had only been there once before, although in a way it was her home. She had been born there, she would have grown up there, but it hadn't been meant to be. Life had interfered.

Moments later her phone rang, shocking her from her thoughts. She reached into her pocket and dug the device out. She didn't recognize the number, but when her phone kept ringing she decided to answer it.

"Hello?" She said curiously.

"Hello, Carmel," said the strangest voice she had ever heard. It was deep, but distorted; as though it were being electronically disguised. "You don't know me, but I know all about you. Your brother told me so many things."

"My brother?" Carmel asked, surprised. "You... you know Steven? Did he ask you to call?"

"No," said the strange voice. "As to that, I have some bad news for you. Steven is dead."

"What...?" Carmel choked out, tears welling in her eyes. Steven had been her closest friend for so many years. They had only met in person once, years earlier, but they had remained in constant contact ever since. She had driven all the way from Tallahassee to see him and now...

"What happened? Who are you? I... I don't understand."

"All in good time," said the voice. "Has Steven... did he tell you anything about what he was doing? About what we were doing?"

"He... he told me about the girls, what they did to Miranda," said Carmel nervously. "About how he was treated just because he was gay. He told me back when it happened, and... he said he was going to make them pay, but he never..."

"He and I have been working tirelessly to make those bitches pay," said the voice. "We were united in a common goal, if for different reasons. We wanted to destroy them. Steven was their friend, or so they thought. He was able to get close to them, earn their trust. Tonight was supposed to be our grand finale. It was to be the night we made them suffer for their sins. Instead, those bitches killed him. They'll claim self-defense, worm their way out of punishment. It will be up to me to see to their punishment... but I will need help. I need someone who can operate like Steven did, close to them. I need someone who can help me destroy them."

"And you want that person to be me?" Carmel wondered. "Why? Because they killed him? Because you claim they killed him? How am I supposed to know any of this is true?"

"It's true," said the voice. "Every word is true. You're on your way into town, after all. Come on down, spend some time in town and see. Meet my pretty little liars and see them for who they really are. These people... they think because they're pretty and popular and rich that they run this town. They think they can do whatever they like and no one will stop them. They think they can ruin lives, break hearts, destroy relationships and no one will ever make them pay. I'm going to make all of them pay. I've got a new plan, Carmel. A way to ruin them, but I'll need help."

"I... I'll come to town," said Carmel slowly. "I'll meet these people and... and I'll find the truth. If you're being honest, if they really did kill Steven... I'll help you."

"Fantastic," said the voice. "That's good."

"How will I get in contact with you?" Carmel asked. "Whatever I decide, how will I tell you?"

"I already know what you'll decide, Carmel," said the voice. "But don't worry... I'll text you. Goodbye, Ms. Williams." The line went dead. Carmel glared down at the town of Mistbrook Falls. As a light snow began to fall upon the sleepy town, tears began to fall down Carmel's cheeks. Her happiness at finally being there was completely gone. Her brother was dead and if this mysterious partner of his was telling the truth then his killers were going to go unpunished.

No, she wouldn't allow that. She would go into town and uncover the truth. If she didn't like what she found, she would see to it Steven's killers paid the price. Mistbrook Falls would run red with blood in Steven's name. She swore it. She turned away from the view of the town bathed in moonlight and headed for her bike. As she walked, her phone chimed. It was a simple text message from a private number, but she knew exactly who it was from.

We're playing a dangerous game and it's our move. Welcome to the team, Carmel -JTG