"Black Angel "
Disclaimer: I own EVERYTHING. I'm serious. Even Old Town. (Because I made it up)
Rated: PG-13 for language, violence, disturbing scenes, child abuse and alcohol content(at least I think I have all of it...)(I think all we need is a good lemon and I can jack it up to R :P)
A/N: I did the first chapter of this when I was 15 years old... I am now 17. It died on me a long time ago, and I abandoned it. I have a couple of pictures on Elfwood for this, and apparently it's inspiring people to BUG me about this. So finally I touched it up a bit, and here it is. *bows* ;)****
Kevin Anthoni Jennings was no name for a girl, and the whole of Old Town, Colorado, knew it. This wasn't all they knew about Kevin, of course. In a small place like Old Town, no sixteen-year-old girl could get away with anything. This didn't bother Kevin too much, since she wasn't a trouble child or rebellious teenager. She mostly stayed indoors, and avoided the whole of sixty people in town. A wise move too; no one in Old Town trusted Kevin, for reasons she couldn't control. A family name was something Kevin couldn't escape.
The Jennings were a long line of cheating drunks who seemed to control the town, as there was no mayor of any sorts. Old Town residents found electing an actual leader was unnecessary. Jim, Kevin's father, was no man of power. However, he held the people of Old Town with an iron fist. Whatever Jim said, was followed without question. No one argued or demanded that the drunk of a man be thrown in jail, or exiled from the town. No one would dare do that to Jim Jennings.
Kevin was no town favorite, thanks to Jim. His former wife and Kevin's mother, Annie, was a woman the townsfolk never spoke of. Jim never spoke of her much either, but when he did all that came out about Annie was bad. And Kevin never dared to ask more of him.
Old Town itself was pleasant to look at and even to visit. Greenery covered the whole of it and in the Spring it smelled like a rich perfume that only the richest women wore. In the Winter it covered itself in a royal robe of snow that would calm the wildest souls. The town was mostly grass, trees and streams. The 'busy' part of town was ten stores, a bar and a hotel. Houses were spread few and thin and only about thirty of them. The hotel itself was never busy, considering that only close relatives of the families would stay and they usually slept at their houses. Nothing important ever happened, and everyone was content.
On the south side of town was the graveyard. Every town, big or small, must have a graveyard, and of course every small town has their separate suspicions about the graveyard. An old abandoned church centered in the dark, gloomy area of land. Despite the beauty of Old Town, the graveyard scene remained desolate and lifeless. Gnarled trees and cracked ground was all that graced it. No one ever entered the graveyard excepting to bury a dead body, of course. Legends surrounding the place kept many people out, and people are always willing to believe an old suspicion.
And, of course, every town has a church. There was one small one in the center of the town, next to the city hall. Everyone attended when they could, but no one abided by any of the sermons. As soon as the service let out, they walked over to the bar which was across the street.
One particular Sunday, Kevin attended the church alone and sat in the same pew she had for years. Alone, as no one sat with her, or talked with her. She knew her father was across the street watching the game and shouting at the television, making a mess around the bar, perhaps even getting in a few fists fights.
Kevin pushed the thoughts away and focused with all her might on the preacher as she fiddled with her faded brown dress. It was the only one she had, and it made even her plain honey-colored hair look pleasing.
"God Himself has never made a mistake," said the pastor. "We might very well think that, as we look at friends, family members, or complete strangers who wander in the darkness and cause trouble for God's kingdom by leading others astray. We cannot let this put us down. We must fight for our Father's kingdom in Heaven, we must fight for more souls. We can't let the sins of the world affect us. We are all sinful, and sometimes temptations we give into haunt us for years. But with strength from our God, we can overcome the guilt that comes from Satan, and continue on our mission."
Kevin let the words sink in and closed her teal-colored eyes. Her father was a good example of the world's sins and everything that held her down in her life. Coming home to an often abusive father tended to draw Kevin's attention away from anything good or holy.
The girl glanced at the stain glass window next to her and moved her arm into the light. She smiled lightly as the beams from the window's light made her bare skin a mix of blue and gold from the design. The warmth from the outside sun was comforting, one of the things she liked about Sunday mornings.
Before she knew it, the sermon was over and people rushed from their places on the pews and hurried to the door. No one stopped by the offering plate. Kevin often wondered how the old church was able to stay in business. The pastor moved to the place in front of the pulpit and frowned at the plate. He too, obviously, was wondering this same thing.
Kevin quietly approached the clergyman, clutching her old bible nervously. "Pastor Stevens?" She asked softly.
The pastor looked up. "Kevin," replied Stevens, seeming almost surprised. His eyebrows raised into his large forehead. "You're.. still here." It wasn't a question, and his tone wasn't kind.
"Yeah," replied Kevin. "I.. I just wanted to say I liked the sermon. It made a lot of sense."
The clergyman looked at her a moment, forcing a very painful looking smile. "Thank you," He said coldly.
"Oh. And..." sighing, Kevin dug down into her small purse hanging from her shoulder and a second later pulled out a handful of coins. She dropped them into the bucket and the clinging as they hit the bottom rang throughout the empty sanctuary. "I figured you deserve it, you know. It's not much."
Dr. Stevens peered down into the offering plate with a nod. "I appreciate it, Kevin," He said as stonily. It sounded a lot like the tone of voice he used as he mentioned fire and brimstone in one of his sermons. He straightened his robe. "Don't you think it's about time you head home, Ms. Jennings?"
Kevin looked down and repressed a surge of resentful anger in her chest. "Yes, sir," She said as her face grew a soft pink. She turned and hastily exited the old church, listening as the clergyman picked up the plate and walked to the back room to count it.
The bartender was a man with a noticeable gut, but otherwise rather thin, and barely in his fifties. With a balding head and small watery eyes, he was a meek and friendly sort of fellow, but had little tolerance for some people. Especially some of the ones who, for the past three hours, had been trashing up the bar while yelling at the sportscaster.
"Hey, Jeep, hand me another brandy, will you?" shouted one of his customers while laughing at a crude joke the man next to him had told.
Jeep remained expressionless while took out a large bottle and poured the contents into a small glass, handing it to the drunken customer who went right back to shouting at the game.
He sighed and began to wipe the counters with a dust rag when one of the regulars sat down and laid his arms right where Jeep was trying to clean. He looked up at him with a frown.
"The church over with?" The man asked gruffly.
"Sure," Jeep shrugged and lowered his head, causing a sagging double chin to bunch up. He continued in his work. "You heading home, Jim?" he asked rather casually, but with a cautious edge.
"Not yet," said Jim, taking a sip from the glass next to him.
Jeep's watery eyes remained on the dark wood and he stopped cleaning. He hesitated before uttering his next words, "Kevin should be home... you might want to--"
"I'll decide what I do with my own kid, okay?" snapped Jim rather loudly, silencing the room. Every widened eye turned to the drunk and the flustered bartender. Jim leaned closer to Jeep. "Understand, drink-mixer?"
"Er. Yeah," squeaked Jeep, his face the color of sour milk. He avoided Jim's gaze, turning and hurrying to the kitchen. "I got you, Jim."
The only sound was the television as some player from the opposing team scored. No one made a sound, all staring at Jim Jennings.
Jim glared at them all in turn. "Go back to your booze and stop staring!" He shouted. Everyone promptly obeyed, though no one was in the mood to go back to shouting at the game.
As Kevin hurried home, she inwardly screamed at herself. No one in this town liked her, why had she figured the preacher would? Why should he be any exception to the rule? Kevin ignored the gnawing in her stomach. The same one that almost made her sick every time she was scolded, rejected and hated for no reason.
Kevin slammed the rickety screen door and hurried up the creaking, smelling stairs to her bedroom. Closing and locking the door, she plopped down on the bed and a decent cloud of dust exploded like the result of a bomb under her. She sighed and waved her hand in front of her, squinting and coughing softly. She made a face.
Lying on her back, she cocked her head and examined the age-worn and thin blanket covering the bed. She craned her neck to look at the single window next to her bed. It was without glass with two rather useless boards lazily nailed in place. Old gray curtains were gently blown by the soft breeze from outside, a breeze that made her almost freeze at night in the dead Winter. Often in those times, she'd sleep in the basement or the living-room, or wherever there was warmth. On the ground next to the refrigerator often worked.
Kevin heaved herself from the bed and kicked off her shoes, letting her bare feet touch the wooden floor. She walked carefully so she wouldn't catch any splinters. She tiptoed down the stairs and walked across the dusty living-room and filthy kitchen to the back door, which was in worse shape then the front. She carefully pushed it open and stepped out onto the dirt, closing it behind her.
Knowing this was probably a bad idea, she made her way through the dirty backyard, junk strewn everywhere. When she finally reached the cool grass, she broke into a swift run, hurrying through the long field toward the small creek that lay a few hundred feet from her house.
She almost fell into the cool water and pulled up her already short dress so she could go knee-deep. She smiled as a few small fish swam around her legs.
The sound of a car made Kevin turn and look toward her house. She went pale when she spotted her father park his old beaten down truck in the driveway and call for her as he went inside. She leaped out of the creek, scaring the fish away. She ran as fast as her legs would carry her across the field and the yard. She stopped dead at the door and very quietly pulled it open, stepping inside. She almost bolted into the living room but she heard her father screaming for her and she hid behind the kitchen wall.
Only a few minutes later, when Jim realized Kevin wasn't upstairs, he stormed into the kitchen. He stopped in mid-yell when he saw Kevin seated in a chair, wiping off a dirty dish. She looked up.
"You been in here the whole time?" asked Jim suspiciously.
Jim looked over his daughter with a frown. "Why's your dress wet?"
Kevin shot a look down at the brim of her dress and mentally slapped herself for getting it wet at the creek. But of course she wouldn't tell her father this. "I.. spilled some water from the sink."
Jim looked very doubting of her story, but just shook his head and did a half-turn toward the door. "Get me a beer, I'm going to watch the game." He muttered before walking to the living-room
A moment later, he sat on the old faded gold-colored couch with cigarette burns and dog hairs covering its once beautiful state. He shoved another cigarette into the fabric as Kevin handed him the cold beer bottle. He took it without a thanks and didn't remove his eyes from the television as the sportscaster yelled too quickly to even take a breath.
It wasn't long before Jim noticed Kevin was still standing, her teal eyes downcast and her face flushed. He glared at her. "You going to ask me for something?" He asked, taking a swig of his beer.
"I was just wondering," said Kevin quickly, chancing a look at him. "If... you know, I could go down to the library for a while."
"It open on Sundays?"
"Whatever, just go... it'll be quieter 'round here at least." He said, waving her off.
Kevin hurried out the front door as Jim began to yell at the game.
Kevin walked into the small town library and instantly felt more at peace. The whole place was full of books on huge tall shelves that she remembered being almost frightened of when she was a child. A dusty air could be seen from the light from the windows high up on the tall walls. Several small tables contained people busily reading and taking notes from the books.
The girl noticed and unfamiliar face, located in the Foreign books section. She was a young, trim woman dressed in loose khaki pants and a clean-cut white shirt. A red bandana was around her neck and a pencil in her mouth. She wore small glasses and her auburn hair was pulled up in a neat bun. She obviously couldn't find what she was looking for as she sighed and put away the book she had been examining.
Kevin peeled her eyes off the stranger and looked at the librarian, who was an older woman with more wrinkles then stars in the sky. Her hair was a noble silvery white color and pulled in a sloppy bun. She looked up as Kevin approached.
"Hello, Mrs. Rose," said Kevin cheerfully, smiling and tucking a bit of her honey-colored hair behind her ear.
"Kevin." responded the woman coldly.
Kevin's smiled faltered. The woman at the Foreign section looked over at them and raised her eyebrows. "Um.. I was wondering..." said Kevin cautiously.
"We don't have any new books on singing," said Mrs. Rose flatly, as if she had said it a hundred times. She was giving Kevin a cold and exasperated a look. "I've already showed you everything we have, you've already checked out everything we have at least once. We haven't gotten anything else since Friday, now leave me alone, Kevin."
Kevin didn't say anything as she fought back tears of anger. She just turned and went to the Fiction section, listening with rage as another person went up to Mrs. Rose, and Mrs. Rose greeted them quite pleasantly. Kevin took in a shuddering breath and stared up at the thin bookshelf where she pinpointed a book and reached up to pull it out. She walked over to an empty table and lay the book down, opening it and instantly pouring herself into it.
The young woman whom Kevin had noticed before put a book away. She walked over to Kevin and sat down across from her. A moment of silence passed, and Kevin didn't take any notice of her. The woman smiled in amusement. "A good book, is it?" She asked in a thick British accent.
Kevin almost jumped up from her seat, squeaking and blinking up in surprise at the woman. "Oh... yes," she said, shaking her head to clear it. "I'm sorry... I didn't see you there."
"Then it must be very good," said the woman. "I find often myself that a good book can keep you so wrapped up that a plane could crash in front of you and you wouldn't blink."
Kevin smiled slightly and stared curiously at the smiling woman. "Are you from England?"
"Raised in London since I was three," said the woman with apparent pride. She thrust out her hand and smiled sunnily. "My name is Elizabeth Anne Waters. Please call me Liz."
Kevin smiled rather awkwardly and shook her hand. "Kevin Anthoni Jennings," She said. "Most call me... Kevin."
"Odd name for a girl," said Liz, contracting her eyebrows slightly.
"I don't mind it really. It could be worse. Like Frank or something."
"I suppose," smiled Liz. She peered over at Kevin's book. "What are you reading?"
"Phantom of the Opera," said Kevin, blushing and smiling. "It's my favorite."
"Ahh, a classic and beautiful book!" Liz beamed with approval, her amber colored eyes gleaming with pleasure. "Are you a fan of depressing tales, Kevin?"
"Oh, no, it's not that," explained Kevin. "It's just... I love anything to do with music or singing. Singing especially. See, I want to be a singer someday."
"Ah, well," said Liz. "I guess I'll just have to hear you sing one of these days."
Kevin looked a bit puzzled for a moment. Then, hesitantly, "Um.. Miss Liz--"
"Oh please, just Liz."
"Liz." Kevin corrected herself. "What are doing in Old Town?"
Liz looked very serious all of a sudden as she spoke. "I came here because of the legends and myths surrounding this place. I very much enjoy studying these kinds of things. Anything at all to do with the supernatural--"
"You mean the graveyard," interrupted Kevin.
Liz blinked in surprise. "Yes."
"There's nothing there," said Kevin, closing her book without saving her place. She had read it many times anyway. "Nothing but dead land, gnarly trees, gray bushes, broken glass, and tombstones. I've been in there before." She paused, blinking nervously. "But... not at night."
"Never at night?"
"No. I almost did." shuddered Kevin. She noticed Mrs. Rose glare at her and she lowered her voice, leaning toward Liz so she could be heard. "After dark is when all the sightings come. Shadows, strange winds, weird stuff like that. People here even say they can hear some one singing once in a while. Usually on a full moon, when it's real bright at night."
Liz was hooked, her amber eyes widened with curiosity. "A woman's voice?"
"No, a man," said Kevin. "Kind of different, if you ask me. I thought all haunting singing voices were female." She shrugged and continued, "They say he has the voice of God's angel and about that same mystery. Whoever it is has never been seen. Ever. Only heard."
"Really!" whispered Liz, wringing her hands in excitement.
Kevin squared her shoulders and looked smug. "I don't believe any of it," she said. "I've never seen or heard it myself, after all."
"And what else could you tell me?" asked Liz, gesturing for Kevin to keep going with the story. "I mean about this mystery angel."
"Oh. Well, apparently he's been there for hundreds of years," said Kevin casually, as if she were describing some sweater on sale. "Cursed by an angry witch, or something like that. They say he lives in the old church in the graveyard and only comes out at night, which is why people see things after dark."
"Fascinating!"exclaimed Liz, grinning like a child on Christmas morning. "Well, that's certainly settled! I must to look into this one."
Kevin snorted and folded her arms. "It's all just talk, you know. Fairy tales and overexcited imaginations."
"Still, it's worth a look," Liz paused, thinking. She stood up abruptly and grabbed her bag. She smiled at the girl. "I know! Perhaps you can help me, Kevin. I really don't know anything about Old Town. And you've probably been living here your whole life, haven't you?"
"Yes," said Kevin, puzzled.
"Right, so... would you? Help me, I mean."
Kevin thought about this for a while. No one really liked outsiders, and if she were to help Liz, the townsfolk would loath her even more. But Kevin even considered herself an outsider, some one who didn't fit in. She shrugged and spoke, "I'll have to run home for a pair of jeans."
Liz beamed. "Oh, I knew I could count on you! I'll just drive you home in my car, would that be all right?"
"I don't live far from here," Kevin told her as she followed the British woman from the library. Liz laughed softly.
"Then it won't take long, will it?"
Kevin raced from the house, and turned around to very quietly close the door. She then swiveled around to run to the car, where Liz was patiently waiting. Kevin was dressed in faded blue jeans, which she had had since age twelve, a khaki vest and white T-shirt with a hole in the shoulder. She wore her honey-colored hair in a ponytail, a baseball cap shielding her face from the afternoon sun.
She didn't bother opening the door to the red convertible. She leapt over the door and sat hard into the passenger seat, fastening her seatbelt with a wary glance at the house.
"My dad didn't cause trouble, he was sleeping," said Kevin, still looking nervous as she faced Liz.
The woman smiled, looking slightly puzzled. "Ah, good. Let's get going then," She said, releasing the brake and tearing away from the driveway.
"You've been here before," marveled Kevin as Liz stepped out of the car. They had driven to the edge of the graveyard, the only place as close to it that still was green with life. Kevin stared in shock at the small tent, with scientific equipment and books everywhere. A burned out lantern hung from the tent opening.
"Yes I have. Only taking pictures, and notes," said Liz. She grinned as she stuffed some leftover food left out into a tin can.
Kevin climbed out of the car, slammed the door, and walked over to the fence. She leaned her elbow on the old wood and rested her head on her hand. She stared at the old church silloughetted against the bright blue sky, her thoughts a mix of curiosity and awe. As if a sudden idea occurred to her, she turned to Liz. "Why were you at the library?"
Liz looked up from a book she was gazing through. Her eyebrow was raised. "I thought I could find a book or some form of information about the legends of this place," She squinted as she looked in the distance at the old church. It was quite a distance. "The townsfolk here didn't seem eager to share. I asked around, and eventually resorted to the books."
"They're not very open to outsiders," said Kevin bitterly.
"I noticed," muttered Liz, staring piercingly at her. "You seem to be."
"Me? I might as well be an outsider," Kevin heaved herself up to sit on the fence and face Liz. "I'm not a very popular person around here."
"Hmm," Liz pursed her lips a moment. "May I ask why?"
"I don't see why not," said Kevin. "Though asking won't do you any good. I'm not even sure why they don't like me. Family ties or something, I guess."
"Huh," Liz considered this a moment before picking up a pair of binoculars and standing up. She peered through them at the old church, then looked at Kevin. She smiled cheerfully. "Shall we?"
Not soon after they entered the old church did Liz get right to work. Kevin stared around warily and kept out of her way. She obviously didn't like the church very much. Its age wasn't afraid of being shown. Dust covered every article, wall and ceiling fixture. Every step they took caused a dangerous and weary creak. Several of the elaborate stain glass windows were broken and some so faded that the color had died completely.
"Some of these objects could be well over three hundred years old," Liz was saying, mostly to herself as she examined a cloth that had been hanging on the wall behind the pulpit. She nudged her glasses further up on her face, getting a bit of dust on her nose.
"Including the floor," complained Kevin, wincing as she stepped gingerly around the creaking wood. "Makes me more nervous then the attic back home, and trust me; that wood is as thin as paper."
"I doubt the floor should be trouble in most parts," said Liz, not looking at her. "People even three hundred years ago were smart when they built."
"Smart or not, they're still three hundred years old," Kevin whined.
Liz looked at a banister. She gently ran a finger down the hard wood and pulled it away, covered in thick dust. "Amazing," she said, adjusting her glasses again with her other hand. "It looks like on one's been here for years, decades!" She swept the large room with her eyes quickly. "Nothing seems to be wrong with it. I wonder why they left it here..."
"Some more stupid legends probably," suggested Kevin. She scowled kicked a door that looked like it led to a closet.
The door, obviously as old as the rest of the church, instantly fell from its hinges and landed with a booming slap, creating a thick fog of dust. Kevin yelped and jumped away. She muttered something that sounded like "oops."
Kevin and Liz coughed their way through the fog, waving their hands to try and clear the dust. When it finally thinned enough to see clearly, they both peered into the dark closet. Kevin, the first one to see the contents of it, screamed and ran around behind Liz in terror.
Liz stared, completely fascinated, at the in tact human skeleton hanging from the top of the closet by a rather short noose. She reached in her pocket and pulled out some disposable plastic gloves. Grinning madly, she pulled them on and traced her fingers down the bones.
"This..." She said thoughtfully. "Could be a good reason."
"All right, I scared now," announced Kevin, trembling and looking very ill as she watched Liz work. "C-can we leave before something else happens?"
"I thought you didn't believe in legends and curses?" asked Liz, her eyebrows raised. Not that Kevin saw them, as Liz kept her eyes on the skeleton.
"I lied then," grumbled Kevin, rubbing her arms. She stepped over to one of the broken glass windows and peered outside. "Oh no... the sun is going down, Liz! It'll happen soon."
Liz completely ignored Kevin. "Strange..." she said, her voice barely audible. "This skeleton doesn't look three hundred..." She bit her lip as she snapped a fingertip off. She took a small plastic bag from her pocket and put the finger inside, sealing it up. "I'll just have to study this."
"What a desirable weekend plan," snapped Kevin almost angrily as she grabbed Liz's arm. "Can we go now?"
Liz looked at Kevin, then outside before standing to her full height with a long sigh. "All right, let's go."
"Does tomorrow sound good to you?" asked Liz as she stopped her car in front of Kevin's house. Kevin didn't answer right away. She swallowed hard, staring at the three trucks parked in the yard. Her father had company over.
"Yeah, sounds great," she said, forcing a very pained smile as she pushed the door open and stepped out of the car.
"Ten o'clock tomorrow morning?"
"Yeah, all right," said Kevin. Sighing, she closed the door as quietly as possible. She walked very quickly up to the front porch and turned to wave halfheartedly as Liz drove away, leaving a cloud of dirt behind her car.
"Here's goes nothing," she groaned to herself. She stepped inside very carefully and slowly pulled the door shut behind her. She could hear the loud voices of her father and three other men. She recognized every voice, knowing them from some of her father's gaming nights where he and a few buddies gathered in the kitchen or livingroom playing cards. It was one of the many things she knew that she wasn't supposed to know about, especially the fact that they gambled illegally.
As silently as she could, she crouched and crawled up the staircase, hoping to get in her room before she was seen. She was about to reach the top of the stairs when one man, his name Eddie Cornwall, said something that made her stop moving.
"Her name is Lizbeth Waters, or something like that," he grunted.
Kevin swallowed her breath and hid behind the upstairs wall, listening intently, her hands clutching tightly to her T-shirt.
"Elizabeth Waters," echoed Jim thoughtfully. "And... just how long has this 'Elizabeth Waters' been here? Where is she from?"
"One question at a time, Jim," one man said. Kevin recognized him as Jack Nickle, a rather large man with a red face. "For one, she's only been here about two days, mostly kept around the graveyard."
"I see," growled Jim. "And where is she from?"
"She sounds pretty British to me," said another voice, Bill Xander. "Can't mistake that accent for nothing. And she sure ain't no Aussie. Skin pretty white, and ain't most Aussies tan?"
His question wasn't answered. Instead, Jim summed up a few things and spoke darkly, "she's been asking about the church?"
"Yeah," they answered.
"We'll just have to do something about this British bitch then," muttered Jim.
Kevin leaned closer so she could catch a glimpse of the four of them. Almost instantly she lost her footing and tripped a step down, yelping and grabbing the banister for support. Every man heard her and Jim snarled. She felt a lump of fear catch in her throat as she tightly closed her eyes, listening with terror as he stormed up the stairs.
She gasped sharply as he painfully seized her arm and jerked her up to her feet. "How long've you been standing there, girl?" He spat absolute fury with the last word.
"O-only a second, daddy," squeaked Kevin, her eyes wide with forced conviction. She was used to feigning innocence, even if it hardly worked. "I swear."
"What did you hear?"
"Um. Something about a-a female dog, daddy... nothing else," said Kevin, biting her lip. There was no way Jim would have let her repeat the actual word. Any excuse, after all, to punish her.
Jim tightened his grip on her arm, his dark eyes blazing with anger. Kevin winced and had to stop herself from whimpering. She knew very well that her father hated her whining or complaining.
"What're you doing down here, anyway?"
"I was just gonna get a drink, daddy... I was thirsty..."
Jim scowled for a second and she was halfway between being hopeful and terrified. He suddenly threw her down to the stairs. She slammed down, hitting her chest on a corner and getting the wind knocked out of her. Trembling, she coughed and gasped to catch her breath.
"Get back to your room," ordered Jim coldly.
Kevin didn't move, still gasping.
"I said NOW!" roared Jim. He swung his foot mightily and connected with her stomach. Her body jerked into a fetal position as she sobbed and clutched her side. She stared up at him in fear, whimpering. She instantly stood and scrambled up the stairs, running to her bedroom in tears. Jim scowled and walked back down to the living-room
All three men stood, staring with pale faces. Bill Xander was shaking and gripping the arms of the chair.
"Now," said Jim, as if nothing had happened. "Where were we?"
Elizabeth Waters sat in her dimly lit tent with a lantern hung directly overhead. She was bent over a small science set, examining the fingertip of the skeleton she and Kevin found in the church. Her mouth was loose and her breaths long and shuddering. She was always like this whenever she found something interesting, as this most fervently was. It seemed as if no one had even been inside the church for three hundred years. Yet according to her studies, the skeleton was only a hundred years old, give or take.
She licked her dry lips and leaned over to scribble another note in a blank book. She stopped in mid-sentence. For some reason, she suddenly found something strange about her pencil. She narrowed her eyes and turned the pencil over. Sighing, she realized this probably only meant she needed some sleep. There was nothing extraordinary about her pencil.
A soft sound outside the tent made Liz cry out and jerk up head up so quickly that she knocked the lantern down from its post. It fell atop her notebook and the paper instantly caught fire, flaring up cheerfully.
"No! No, no!" groaned Liz. She quickly grabbed her thermos, popped off the top and drenched the burning book with water. The fire died, leaving her in complete darkness.
Liz sat, staring at her very dimly lit and ruined notes. She cursed under her breath and only then noticed that she was sitting in almost complete dark, except for the half-moon outside. She moved to put away her science set when a quiet, almost unnoticeable sound met her ear. She froze, and knew it had been the sound that surprised her, and had now started up again. She listening.
When the sound grew steadily louder, she crawled out of her tent and stood in the dim moonlight. She turned and stared at the church.
"Oh my God..." She said breathlessly when she realized what the strange sound was.
Some one was singing.
Jim Jennings was in no state to stop Kevin from going anywhere the next morning. Apparently he was in the middle of a hangover, and was snoring loudly on the living-room couch. Kevin rolled her eyes at this and easily slipped out of the door and into Liz's car. They drove off quickly, neither saying a word for a long while.
However, once they arrived at Liz's camp and awkwardly stepped out of the car, Kevin spoke tentatively. "What did you find about the skeleton?"
"Oh," breathed Liz, her eyes downcast. "Nothing too important really, only that it's about a hundred years old."
"It's that old?"
"That young, actually," said Liz pointedly, looking up at Kevin and frowning. "Considering how old the church is."
"Oh. Right," blushed Kevin. She sighed and adjusted her T-shirt, looking at Liz rather Self-consciously. Kevin was wearing the same outfit she had on the day before, while Liz was dressed in jean shorts and a pink button-up shirt tied into a knot near her navel.
"Did you manage to get past your father last night?" asked Liz.
Kevin froze and looked rather pale. "Oh. Er. That's something I need to tell you about... I think you might be in trouble."
"What do you mean?" asked Liz. She looked up with wide eyes as she tightened the laces on her hiking boots.
"When I got there last night, my dad and three of his friends were there and... they were talking about you, Liz."
Kevin nodded, her eyes wide. "They didn't seem to happy about you," she frowned and sat on the grass in front of Liz. "My dad said there had to be something done about you."
Liz looked apprehensive. "What does that mean?"
"I don't know exactly, but usually it means trouble."
Liz sighed and ran her fingers through her loose hair curly hair. She focused her amber eyes on Kevin. "Anything else?"
"No," again Kevin looked pale and rather thin. "He... caught me before I could hear anything else useful."
"Was he angry with you?"
Kevin hesitated for a moment, looking away. "Yeah."
"He hurt you, didn't he?"
Another pause. Kevin swallowed. "Yes."
Liz stared at Kevin for a while. After her gaze wasn't met, she sighed and continued on, "I found something else last night," She said.
Kevin looked up this time. "Er... what?"
"I'll show you," said Liz with a beaming smile as she stood and offered her hand to Kevin. Kevin reluctantly took it and Liz led her to the church.