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A Haunted House

Chapter Text

Boze shrugged on her jacket and sat in her car for a few more moments, savoring the sweet lyrics SZA was singing through her stereo. She hated school, she hated everything about it. The bullying, the schedules, the deadlines, the impending doom of graduation. Boze sighed and turned off her car and its headlights and grabbed her bag from the passenger seat. It was a friday so at least she wouldn’t have to deal with school for a few days after those six hours of her time was wasted on material she shouldn’t have to remember.
As Boze walked through the senior lot she passed by Olivia Sui who was parking her brand new car she had received from her parents for her eighteenth birthday. A brand new Audi convertible with red leather interior that Olivia made sure to brag about all over Instagram. Boze wasn’t sure why she even followed Olivia, her main excuse was so she could make fun of her but the real reason was she was too lazy to unfollow her in the first place. Besides, making fun of Olivia’s self obsessed posts was fun anyways. Luckily Boze managed to escape Olivia’s gaze and she made it inside the building without being ridiculed.
With her earbuds stuck in her ears Boze passed through the hallways seemingly unnoticed. She was rather short to begin with so she was able to weave through the masses and make it to her first period class quickly. There was still about ten minutes till class started but Boze always liked getting there early so she could claim her unassigned, assigned seat before anyone else could. It was in the second row right next to the windows, she liked having an escape plan if something tragic were to happen and it gave her a good view of the forest that surrounded the school, along with the rest of the town. Sometimes deer would frolic by the school along with large masses of migrating birds and Boze always liked watching it, even if that meant sacrificing her attention. Government was never her best subject anyways, she was always better at math and science.
She watched the door until she saw her two friend enter, laughing and hanging on one another as always. Boze had known Keith and Noah ever since the second grade when they were all in the same class with one another. They had been inseparable ever since and were overjoyed when they found out they all had AP Gov together this year. She took out her earbuds so she could focus her attention on her friends rather than he music and watched as they slumped down in their desks and dropped their bags next to them.
“Boze did you understand the physics homework for last night? Like at all?” Keith asked as he took out the worksheet they were supposed to complete. It was on the new unit they had just learned, momentum, and Keith was having a hard time figuring any of it out. “I just feel like I’m doing something wrong with all my equations.” He said as he showed Boze his worksheet. She looked it over in frowned at what she saw.
“Yeah dude because you’re only doing half of the equations.” She said as she pulled out her mechanical pencil and reference table. “This cart is asking what the velocity of cart B was after is connected with cart A. You only found the momentum for the carts before they hit one another, you’re supposed to set that equal to what it would be after and then you basically just solve for X.” Boze explained as she wrote out the full equation. Keith nodded along as he watched her write it out then she shoved the paper in her direction so he could complete it.
“Boze you should work for NASA.” He said as he typed the numbers into his calculator so he could finish the problem. Boze just rolled her eyes and took out the homework they were supposed to complete for Gov and listened to the bell blare throughout the school. The rest of her classmates filed into the room and the final bell signaled that school was starting. 7:30 on the dot just like always. Boze slumped in her chair and looked out the window as her teacher meandered around the room collecting the homework.

+++

Boze was walking out of the lunchroom and towards the science wing when she saw a large crowd of people gathering and chanting something. As she got closer she watched as someone with a mess of short blond hair shouted at the head principal. Boze sighed, it was Courtney Miller aka one of the biggest ‘troublemakers’ that attended Lily Town High. Courtney was always getting called to the principal for something whether it be mouthing off to a teacher or for some absurd accusation.
“Hey I didn’t even do this!” She shouted as she pointed to a row of lockers. Painted on the stark white lockers was a crude spray painted pair of eagle wings, still wet and dripping. “You’re just targeting me like the rest of this school! I didn’t do this, I was in chem which is on the other side of the building!” Courtney shouted as one of the school security officers was trying to drag her down to the office. Boze turned on her heal so she could get to the science wing and leave this mess. She believed her though, Boze knew that if Courtney was going to tag something with a set of wings she was going to make it look much nicer than the person who painted the ones on the locker.
But there was no denying that Courtney Miller hung around a pretty scary crowd. She was a member of The Griffins, gang that lived within Lily Town and scared the hell out of Boze. They were run by Mari Takahashi and Courtney was supposedly her right hand. The Griffins were rumored to be drug dealers and stuff like that, rulers of all crime within the secluded town. They all wore faded brown leather jackets that had eagle wings stitched on the backs and most rode hefty motorcycles. Not to mention they all had tattoos, big tattoos of eagle wings on their backs along with many other littered all around their bodies.
Boze finally made it to room G28, her physics teachers room, and she sat down at her normal seat. Noah and Keith had a different lunch period than her which left Boze all alone, so Mr. Hecox always let her eat in his room. Even though she had open lunch Boze didn’t feel like wasting money on gas or take out so school lunches were always relatively satisfactory.
“Anything new?” Hecox asked, not looking up from the book he was reading. Boze observed the cover and saw that he was reading some Tom Clancy book she had never heard of. She just shrugged and took a bite of her BLT.
“Courtney Miller was being dragged to the principal's office while I was on the way here. Someone’s accusing her of graffiting a set of griffin wings on a row of lockers.”
“Accusing or stating the truth?” Hecox asked, flipping the page of is book with one hand and using the other to shove a mouthful of salad into his mouth.
“I think accusing.” Hecox rose his eyebrows but still kept his eyes trained on his book. “Whoever painted the wings did a pretty bad job and compared to the graffitti Courtney has actually done it just doesn’t match up. On top of that she always limits her tags to parts of the building that are secluded and outside, she wouldn’t just paint a row of lockers out of the blue like this.” Boze said casually. Her teacher just smiled and kept reading as she dug into her sandwich.

+++

‘Thank god for early dismissal.’ Boze thought to herself as she rushed out to her car at one o’clock in the afternoon. She was finally able to go home after what felt like an eternity and at six o'clock she was meeting Keith and Noah at the theatre so they could catch a movie. When she got in her car she groaned when she saw how low on gas she was and cursed herself for not noticing until now. Boze shoved her key into the ignition and cussed herself out as she drove to the small gas station/body shop that was located near the center of her small town.
She pulled up next to one of the pumps and shut off her car and popped the gas cover. Quickly she entered her payment method and started pumping gas into her twenty-one year old Honda Accord. As she pumped she glanced to her right and saw the body shop garage doors were open like always and two guys were laughing with each other as the worked on a car. Boze’s eyes widened when she realised who it was. It was Wes Johnson and Shayne Topp. Wes she didn’t mind, in fact he was quite nice and had to unfortunately drop out of high school so he could provide for his family, but Shayne Topp on the other hand was a whole different story.
Shayne Topp was another member of The Griffins and was their supposed ‘enforcer’. He wa constantly getting in trouble with Chief Padilla for bar fights and stuff like that and on top of that he was just generally a scary guy. He had huge bulking muscles and steely blue eyes that almost looked devoid of color. His eagle wing tattoos were loud and proud and took up the majority of his back and Boze watched the feathers shift across his skin. She peeled her eyes away from his very shirtless back before he could notice and soon her car was filled up and she was on her way.
It was just another average day in Lily Town for Boze, average until it reached six o’clock in the evening and Sarah Whittle was reported missing by her mother and father.

Chapter Text

Boze waited in the lobby of the town cinema, Noah and Keith were always late to everything. She had already gone ahead and taken the liberty of purchasing 3 tickets for all of them just so they wouldn’t have to wait in line later, not like there was really going to be one considering it was a friday afternoon movie time during the school year, but she just didn’t feel like waiting around for any longer. Finally they both arrived and thanked Boze for buying tickets and promised they would Venmo her later that night or just take care of dinner.
They all settled into their seats and patiently waited for the movie to start. No one else was in the theatre with them so Noah and Keith continued their conversation they were having when they came into the theatre and Boze checked her phone. She scrolled through her Instagram feed and refreshed it multiple times in case she had missed anything and then went to twitter to see what everyone was talking about. She was about halfway through reading one of Mark Ruffalo’s tweets when the lights in the small screening room flashed on and the owner stood in the doorway.
“What’s going on Joe?” Keith asked as her turned himself around in his seat. Boze set her phone in her bag and took her feet off the chair they were resting on in front of her. She didn’t think they were being too loud, Keith and Noah were whispering and the movie hadn’t even started. Plus no one else was even in the theatre with them so it’s not like someone could complain.
“Sorry kids,” Joe said as he stepped forward, his brown hair was spiked all over the place and he had a defeated look on his face, “looks like the cinema is closed for tonight.” He said sadly.
“What do you mean?” Noah asked as they all gathered their things and walked out of the room with Joe. He just shrugged and ran his fingers through his hair.
“Chief Padilla called and it seems like everything is being shut down for the night. Restaurants, the cinema, even the library. He said something about a missing persons case.” Joe said as he walked behind the register. “Here, I’ll refund your tickets.”
“Not necessary.” Boze said as she furrowed her brows. She knew that Joe needed the money, even in a town where there was one theatre it didn’t exactly mean the place was always hopping. “But what do you mean by a missing persons case?” She asked.
“I’m not sure.” Joe said as he started to shut down the soda machine. “All I know is that Chief Padilla said he was going to drive by in an hour and a half and if he saw any of the businesses open he wouldn’t be pleased. He’s issuing a curfew for tonight because of how panicked some of the parents are getting. The missing person was a high schooler apparently, and you guys know how crazy people can get.” Joe said nonchalauntly. Boze, Noah, and Keith all looked at each other. If it was a high schooler than they would have known this person. So what happened to them?
The three teens helped Joe clean the theatre so he would close in time for Chief Padilla’s visit and were soon on there way. They decided they would just call it a night, Noah’s mom was already frantic and concerned over where he was, and as soon as Boze started her drive home it started to rain incredibly hard. She squinted as she drove, thankfully not many people were on the roads, and as she drove past the local police station she read the sign on the front.
MANDATED CURFEW : SEVEN O’CLOCK
It was so strange for the town to be in such a panic over something like this. It’s not like the town was foreign to crime given that a gang lived within it, but this was so different. Having the town be on total lock down was so chilling, it made Boze wonder even more who could be missing. Even Wings, the tattoo parlour that all The Griffins hung out at was closed. ‘Must be pretty serious if they even followed the chief’s orders.’ Boze thought to herself.
When Boze pulled into her driveway she sighed, her mom wasn’t home because it was a friday and on fridays her mom left town for the weekend to take care of things for her business in a few towns over. Which meant Boze was alone all weekend and while this was usually okay she felt a little unnerved about being alone when the town was on lockdown for the time being. To make matters worse she planned on going grocery shopping after she was supposed to get dinner with Keith and Noah that evening, but now she couldn’t and she hadn't eaten since lunch and there was nothing for her to even make.
She got out of her car and ran to her door so she would be shielded from the rain by the safety of her front porch. As she searched for her keys she looked out of the corner of her eye and saw someone next door sitting on their own front porch, reading. Taking a better look she saw that it was Damien, he next door neighbor who she went to school with and maybe had a small crush on. But in her defense she couldn’t help herself. Damien was the perfect combination of nerdy and funny and adorable. On top of all that he would always get flustered easily and always had perfectly messy hair and wore cute, thick rimmed rectangular glasses that Boze always admired.
“What the hell are you doing out here?” Boze shouted over the sound of the pouring rain. Damien’s head snapped up from his book and looked over his shoulder to see Boze struggling with her keys.
“O-Oh I’m reading!” He shouted back and then pulled up his book so he could she her the cover. Boze couldn’t see it through all the rain though and just nodded her head. “Are you alright?” Damien asked as he continued to watch Boze try and find her house key.
“No!” Boze shouted back but then cursed herself for saying that because she didn’t need to draw any unwanted attention to herself. “I’ll be okay though it’s no big deal so don’t worry about it!” She said quickly, hoping Damien would just go back to reading his book and not think of her as his idiot next door neighbor who lost her damn keys in the middle of a rainstorm.
“Have you eaten anything?” He asked. Boze quietly grumbled to herself and just shook her head no. “Come on over!” Damien shouted and motioned for her to come over with him. “I know your mom is out of town for the weekend and I sometimes see you at the grocery store on fridays, so if you need to eat you can eat here!” He said, a light blush tinging his cheeks. Boze silently debated her options and ended up tugging on her hood and sprinted over to Damien’s house. Her options were either having ideas for dinner, or just eating an awkward meal with her crush. She chose the latter because at least it involved actual food.
Damien opened up his front door and she stumbled inside after him and kicked off her muddy sneakers. His house was so bright and warm. She had been over to it multiple times for dinner parties, and holiday parties, (Damien’s mother and father loved throwing a good party) and his house was always so well decorated and cozy. All the houses in Lily Town were old but most people updated them with new floors and lighting systems but not Damien’s family. Their house still had it’s original cherry hardwood flooring and old, yellow lights complete with the same old chandeliers it came with. The only parts of the house that had actually been slightly updated were the kitchen and two bathrooms but not to the great extent most families went to. But Boze always liked it, it was much more inviting compared to some other houses. On top of that, Boze and her mother never had the time or the funds to update their house at all, so seeing someone with an old house didn’t make her feel as self conscious about her own.
“My parents have been on vacation since wednesday so I guess it will be a nice dinner for two.” Damien said as he scratched the back of his neck and walked to the kitchen. He pulled out two pots and a couple of things from the pantry and freezer. “Luckily my mom went grocery shopping for me though and bought me enough food to feed a small army so really there’s no problem with sharing.” He said as he filled one of the pots with water from the sink.
“Oh yeah,” Boze said abruptly, “thanks for letting me come over.” She mentally scolded herself once again for not thanking him as soon as she set foot in his home. Now he probably thought of her as an idiot and ungrateful.
“If you want I can take your clothes and pop them into the dryer.” Damien said casually as he turned on the stove. He then froze in his tracks and his face turned bright red. “I-I mean I would like, give you other clothes to wear.” He sputtered, Boze just raised her eyebrows in amusement. “Like they would be my clothes if you’re okay with that but if y-you’re not then that’s cool and whatever but-”
“Yeah warm clothes would be nice.” Boze interrupted just so Damien wouldn’t worry himself to death. He raised his brows and pursed his lips, then just slowly nodded.
“Okay well I’ll grab you some clothes then.” He said as he squeezed past her and ran up the stairs to his bedroom. Boze followed him and waited in his door frame as she watched him rummage through a bunch of drawers until he found his smallest shirt and gym shorts. He handed them to her and she went into the bathroom to change. After peeling off the very wet clothes that clung to her body she slipped on the ones Damien had given her. The shirt, which was an black t-shirt that said ‘Class of 2018’ almost swallowed her whole and she had to tie the drawstring on the shorts incredibly tight so they would stay up. She looked in the mirror and noticed she looked kind of ridiculous but then felt how soft the shirt was. She had the exact same one actually, everyone got one in their freshman year, but hers wasn’t nearly as soft because to cut costs Boze never used fabric softener. On top of that it smelled like warm vanilla but also cool cucumbers. ‘Hot boy smell’ is what Boze officially dubbed that scent as, the smell all hot boys had that smelled warm and cool at the same time.
She left the bathroom and handed Damien her mass of wet clothes as he stood right outside the door. He gave her an awkward smile and they walked downstairs together so he could throw them in the dryer. Then back in the kitchen Boze helped him prepare the food he had brought out. Spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread.
“So what were you reading out there?” Boze asked as she dug into her pasta. She twirled a hefty amount onto her fork and shoved it into her mouth. Damien just pushed his food around on his plate and ate mostly garlic bread.
“Invisible Man.” He said. Boze groaned in response. She was also reading it as well for their AP Literature class and absolutely hated it. The book was one of the most confusing things she had ever read and despite the many seminars they held on it, she still didn’t get the meaning behind any of it. Damien laughed at her response. “Do you know why we’re having this curfew?” He asked. Boze just shrugged.
“Well I was at the theatre when Chief Padilla sent out the call to Joe. Joe said something about there being a missing person and that they were a high schooler.” She replied, Damien’s eyes went wide and he nodded along.
“That’s insane! Who could go missing in our town? This place is tiny!” He said in shock.
“That,” Boze said as she pointed at him with her fork that was piled with spaghetti, “is a very good question.”

Chapter Text

Damien flipped on the television and went to the channel eight news station so they could possibly get some more information on what was going on. Boze set her dish and the dishwasher and joined him on his place on the couch. Their shoulders brushed for half a second but both the teen’s faces grew hot at such minor content. Boze cleared her throat and focused her attention on the news. The screen flashed to a video of Chief Padilla in the police station.
“A town wide curfew has been set in place due to the recent disappearance of Sarah Whittle, a local high school senior at Lily Town High. She was last seen in the convenience store at the gas station yesterday afternoon and reportedly never returned home from school that night.” Chief Padilla said sternly, concern laced in his voice. Boze’s breath hitched, Sarah Whittle of all people? Boze had statistics with her and she realised that yeah, Sarah wasn’t at school today. Boze just thought she was sick, it’s not like they were ever close friends or anything but she didn’t realise that Sarah was actually missing.
“I am calling the attention of all Lily Town people who are over the age of thirty to help with a search for Sarah Whittle in the surrounding forests. These woods are thick and dangerous, especially to someone who has possibly gone without any food or water in the past twenty-four hours and is now caught in a rainstorm. The forecast shows no sign of the rain letting up and is in fact supposed to get worse so please dress appropriately for the search. Please meet at the police station in one hour where we will be checking ID, anyone under the age of thirty will be turned away. Please remain inside at all times for the time being if you are under the age requirement, we do not need any more of our young people to go missing. Thank you.” Chief Padilla’s broadcast shut off and the screen returned to the local news anchor.
Boze was confused, a town wide search that only involved people under the age of thirty? Shouldn’t they want all the help they could get? Sure almost three quarters of the town were people over the age of thirty but if they were going to make such a big deal over one missing person then why not pull out all the stops. On top of that she was confused as to why all the young people had to stay inside in the first place, why was it made out to be a crime if they step foot outside. Lightning cracked outside and Damien’s house lights flickered a little bit.
“What the hell do you think happened to Sarah?” Damien whispered, his voice wavering with slight fear. Boze’s scowl deepend and she shook her head.
“I have no clue.” She said as they both watched the grainy security camera footage of Sarah Whittle in the convenience store. She was just milling around it and eventually picked up a small package of candy, paid for it, then left the store. Damien shut off the news broadcast because he was slightly disturbed. Boze felt her phone vibrate and pulled it out of the deep pockets of Damien’s shorts, it was blowing up with messages from Keith and Noah in the groupchat that they shared.
‘Dude what the hell is up with this curfew?’ Noah asked in the chat. ‘I heard the message Chief Padilla sent out over the radio and it’s like they wasn't every fucking young person to stay on lockdown and board up the damn windows.’ Boze rolled her eyes, of course Noah was probably the only person in the damn town who even listened to the radio broadcast.
‘I know dude, my mom is freaking the hell out right now and frantically tearing the house apart to find her galoshes.’ Keith said. Boze watched the chat play out for a little bit, mainly just Noah and Keith talking about how their parents were freaking out for no good reason as they tried to get ready to help with this search going on. She looked out the window and saw some of her neighbors getting into their cars and speeding down their driveways.
“I have no clue what’s going on,” Damien said as he turned to look outside the window with her, “but I’ve got a really bad feeling about it.” The two teens looked at one another for a brief moment, paranoia and fear flashing through their eyes, then looked back out the window at all the water pouring down from the sky and being splashed about by all the automobiles ripping through it.
“Where do you think she went?” Boze asked, keeping her eyes focused on the rain.
“Where is there to go?” Damien responded. He was right, where the hell could she have gone in Lily Town of all places? It was a tiny town in the middle of nowhere that was surrounded by a dense forest. Boze initially thought she must’ve run away, she couldn’t blame her for doing something like that. But then again Sarah Whittle had tons of friends and was popular. She was head cheerleader, she adored Lily Town. Could all that pep really just be an enormous front? Boze didn’t think Sarah could pull something like that off. Boze checked her phone again and saw that it was still blowing up with messages from Keith and Noah.
‘Boze where the hell are you?’ Noah had asked.
‘Damien’s house’ she replied, ‘he invited me over for dinner and now I think I might be stuck here.’ She grumbled as the chat was suddenly filled with her two friends gushing over the fact that she was at her crush’s house for the night. ‘Are you guys alone?’ She asked.
‘Yeah, and I’m really hating it. Now that everyone is gone the house feels creepy as hell and I don’t want to leave my room.’ Keith replied. Noah seconded his statement and Boze thought to herself for a moment.
“Listen,” she said, turning to Damien, “my buddies are stuck at their houses alone and afraid, would it be okay if they snuck over here so they would stop complaining about how scared they are?” Damien’s eyes widened and he frantically nodded his head. He really didn’t mind more people coming over because he himself was also feeling a little queasy about the whole situation going on despite the fact that he was alone with his crush.
‘Damien says y’all should just come over, the more the merrier. It’s getting a little creepy over here as well and we both have a really bad feeling about this lock down.’ she said. ‘Everyone is out trying to get to the police station so if you get on the road now you probably won't get pulled over and sent home by a deputy.’
‘You don’t have to tell me twice!’ Noah said, ‘Lemme pick up Keith first and we’ll be over in ten.’ Boze sighed and set her phone down. Her stomach was churning and she was still thinking about all the possibilities of where Sarah Whittle might possibly be at a time like this. Dead in the forest? A few towns over? Could she possibly be hidden in plain sight?
Before she knew it Keith and Noah were knocking on Damien’s front door. Once they were inside they ate some of the leftover pasta from Boze and Damien’s dinner date and warmed themselves up in his living room. She felt a little safer having a few more people around but she still couldn’t help herself from thinking about where in the world Sarah might be.
“So do you guys have any theories?” Damien asked as Noah and Keith handed him their wet clothes. Damien had also given them a set of his warm clothes because theirs were soaked. At least Boze wasn’t the only one being swallowed by Damien’s clothes, both Noah and Keith were pretty scrawny.
“No clue dude, Sarah is the last person I would’ve suspected to go missing. The girl loved this town more than everyone in the school combined.” Keith said as he seated himself on the sofa. “Do you think she was murdered by someone? Do you think there might be a serial killer out on the loose?” A shiver ran down Boze’s spine at the thought of a possible murderer prowling the town and forest.
“No but I think I know the one person who actually does have a rock solid theory.” Noah said with his brows knitted together in concentration. “I’d bet good money that Joshua Ovenshire had a good idea on where she might be.”
“Joshua Ovenshire? The crazy dude who goes ghost and demon hunting in the woods?” Keith asked. Boze slightly agreed with him, how the hell would Joshua Ovenshire have a good idea about where Sarah Whittle might be? He really was a ghost hunter and wasn’t afraid of hiding it. She had only seen him a handful of times in person and he looked normal but he drove around a dark van that held weird equipment and was known as a nuisance to the police. He was the town pariah if anything.
“Think about it, Joshua is always looking to uncover secrets in our town even though it’s the most boring place in the whole world! He apparently has actual proof of something supernatural living here so-”
“You just wanna talk to this dude because you’re also a believer!” Keith interrupted. Boze raised her eyebrows, both her friends had a point.
“Well think about it, this is the first time anything like this has happened. No one has just disappeared before at least not to my knowledge, but look how Chief Padilla handled it. It’s almost like he knew exactly what to do.” Damien said, defending Noah.
“Yeah because he’s a cop.” Keith retorted.
“Yes, a cop who only deals in vandalism and allegations made against a gang that never fall through. Chief Padilla seemed almost too prepared for this missing person report and organized a search in less than an hour. And how come no one under the age of thirty is allowed and instead we have to stay inside? Why are they all searching the forest instead of coming through traffic cams and checking with neighboring towns?” Damien asked. He looked at Noah who was smirking and Boze nodded her head. They were right, both of them. The town seemed a little too prepared for this missing persons report.
“Fine.” Keith huffed, “We talk to the freak.”

Chapter Text

The rain outside worsened and hounded against the windows. Boze had run back over to her house and with the help of Noah they were tearing the place apart in search of proper clothing and supplies. She had changed back into some of her clothes, a ratty pair of overalls, a long sleeved t-shirt, and heavy duty galoshes, and was now looking for anything that would fit her two friends. She ended up settling on two sets of basketball shorts that weren’t as wide as Damien’s and would hopefully fit them and some old pullover sweatshirts. Noah was able to find an extra raincoat and rain poncho and luckily they had their own boots.
Next came supplies. Boze dug out two backpacks that her and her mom would use for their annual hiking trips and dug around the hall closet until she found several flashlights. She threw one in each bag and grabbed handfuls of extra batteries in case they needed them. Noah was in the kitchen filling up liter water bottles and Boze grabbed all the granola bars that they had. They each shoved the materials into the bags then ran back over to Damien’s house where they could sort everything out as a group.
Keith and Damien had found their own backpacks and ‘survival’ foods along with many more flashlights. Damien even found an old portable radio in his attic and once the batteries were replaced it worked perfectly. They turned it on and listened to the town broadcast in case anything important came up. Once everyone got changed into their proper attire they all worked out who would carry what. Noah was in charge of the radio since he knew how to work it the best, Keith was in charge of most of the food but they all took their own small portions along with their own water bottles, Damien carried the two extra flashlights and batteries, and Boze had the first aid kit Noah had found along with a couple extra clothing items.
It was around eight o’clock at night when they all finished taking their final bathroom breaks and Daien turned off most of the lights in his house. Boze could feel her knees starting to wobble a bit and she thought her spaghetti dinner might come out of her stomach, but she pushed the feeling down and hoped that it was just temporary and that this whole situation was just blown out of proportion.
“Alright.” Damien said, putting his hands on his hips, he looked at Boze and gave her a slightly reassuring smile, “I think we can head out.” Boze tied back her hair into a low ponytail and tucked it inside her jacket. Then she threw on her hood and tightened the drawstrings a bit in case it came loose in the wind.
“Okay, let’s go over this one more time.” Noah said as he shrugged on the heavy rain poncho over his clothes and backpack. “We’re taking my car halfway to his house located at the edge of town. In the car I’m the only one visible, Keith will tuck himself under the passenger seat and dash in the front and Damien and Boze hide under the bench seat in the back, we go slow but not too slow so we don’t draw attention to ourselves and hopefully not get pulled over. We park it off of Clinton Street behind all the shrubbery there and walk the rest of the way to his place.”
“Why are we hiding under the seats again?” Damien asked.
“Because there’s deputies roaming the streets so if we get pulled over I can just come up with the excuse that my car was stuck in the mud and I am just now finally getting home.” Noah explained, he was always so good with coming up with a back up plan. Damien nodded and everyone took a few deep breaths then dashed out the front door.
Once inside Noah’s old van Keith shoved himself under the front passenger seat and Boze and Damien crammed themselves in the back. They used their bags to cover up any remaining part of them left uncovers by the seat and Noah turned on the ignition. He slowly backed out of the driveway and was soon turning out of Boze and Damien’s street.
Boze shivered from under the seat slightly from being cold but mostly from fear. She didn’t really know why they even left the safety of their house at this point, they really should’ve just turned the car around and gone home, but a part of her knew that that would’ve been the wrong choice, a part of her knew that something in Lily Town was not what it seemed and it definitely had to do with the disappearance of Sarah Whittle. Maybe the town wasn’t even looking for her but instead doing something else, something much darker. But maybe they had already found her and were taking her to a hospital because she only had minor injuries and she had only run away from home because of all the stress she had been under. At least that’s what Boze was hoping, but she knew that was never the reality.
She looked over at Damien and realised how much they were touching. Noah’s old van was relatively large but that didn’t mean that they were both sitting underneath the bench seat rather comfortably. Damien’s head was on the other side of the car but their legs were woven together, the mud on Boze’s boots were creating small streaks on Damien’s dark jeans and she hoped he wouldn’t notice. She looked at his face as discreetly as she could and watched how his eyes were filled with worry and how incredibly tired he was already looking. But despite those things he still looked absolutely handsome.
Boze had always thought Damien Haas was attractive. Not many girls at school felt the same way, not that she would tell anyone, but any time someone mentioned Damien’s name they thought of the shy kid who always sat in the back of the room with his nose in a book. He wore thick rectangular glasses and had messy brown hair and wore lots of thick knit sweaters unless he was in a nerdy t-shirt and jean jacket covered in various pins, but Boze noticed he would only wear that ensamble when he was feeling slightly more confident than usual. Damien had a strong and sharp jaw but she didn’t notice that as much as she noticed how incredibly soft he always looked. Not because of the sweaters but because of how he spoke and would call people, ‘dear’ or ‘buddy’ all the time because somehow those nicknames integrated themselves into his lexicon and he used them casually. He was soft because while he was reading he would let his glasses slowly fall down the bridge of his nose until they almost fell off of his face or because when he walked into the school building every morning he made sure to always say hello to the crossing guard even if it was the mean one. Her attention was pulled away from Damien’s face when she felt the car slow to a stop and Keith popped his head out from under the front seat.
“You guys ready to head out?” He asked. Boze nodded and got out from under the seat hastily and helped Noah cover the car with fallen leaves and branches so it blended in with the foliage around it. She adjusted her hood again, tightening the straps, and soon they were all walking through the small clearing in the woods towards Joshua’s house.
Everyone in town knew where Joshua lived, in fact everyone knew where everyone lived because the town was so damn small. But Joshua Ovenshire always had some type of flier hanging either at the local diner’s post board or at the community center that advertised his ghost hunting business and plastered right on the poster was his address. He owned a small cottage located on the edge of the town right where the woods began and Boze cursed him for owning a place so far away from the rest of civilization because at this time of night in the middle of a storm, it was the creepiest place in the world to live.
Once they rounded the clearing they found the small house. Parked out front was his van and the house was illuminated by a green porch light. On his porch was a table that was bungeed to the ground to keep it from blowing away in the wind along with a camera that was securely mounted to the ceiling of his porch covering. ‘Intruders or demons?’ Boze asked herself as they all stepped onto the porch. Noah was the one who had the balls to knock on the door and after he gave it three hard knocks they all heard a muffled voice from inside. As they leaned closer to the door to possibly hear what the voice was saying the door swung open to reveal a tall man with dark hair and glasses.
“What happened to the curfew?” He asked, his voice was deep and questioning.
“Joshua, right?” Noah asked as he untucked his right arm from beneath the poncho that covered his entire body. He stuck out his hand and Joshua shook it hesitantly.
“You can call me Joven.” Joven replied, still confused as to why there where four teenagers all geared up on his porch. “You’re Noah Grossman right?” He asked, Noah smiled and nodded his head, spraying Joven with a couple droplets of water. “What the hell are you and your friends doing on my porch this evening?”
“We wanna know where Sarah Whittle is and why the town is acting to weird.” Boze said, butting into the conversation because she was tired of dealing with formalities when only god knew what the hell was going on around them. Joven smiled and invited them into his cottage.
It was surprisingly roomy inside and pretty tidy which shocked Boze. In one corner was a small kitchen and off to the side was what looked like a doorway that lead to a small bedroom and probably a bathroom. On the far end of the room was a couch and a television that looked like it had been paused in the middle of an episode of a show on Netflix and on the kitchen table was a bunch of random cameras and stuff he used for ghost hunting.
“So you guys noticed it too.” Joven stated as he flicked on a lightswitch. He helped the teens set their bags on the floor and hung up their soaking raincoats and ponchos. “What are your personal theories about what’s going on?” He asked. Most of them just shrugged.
“Chief Padilla was too prepared for this.” Damien said, “It’s almost like he knew that this would happen.” Joven nodded and crossed his arms.
“Good answer!” Joven said as he invited them to sit at his cluttered table with him. “Padilla is covering all this up completely there’s no doubt about that at all but what I think we’re all trying to figure out is what exactly happened to Sarah Whittle.”
“So you’re not sure either?” Keith asked.
“This information only got released like what, two hours ago? I don’t like jumping to conclusions before I deep dive into my specialty investigations, despite what people think about me, I don’t think everything is supernatural and ghost related. I just know that this town definitely has those things s there might be a possibility that there’s a link between a mysterious happening and the supernatural world.” Joven explained. Boze raised her eyebrows in shock, she definitely wasn’t expecting an answer like that from Joven, the guy that everyone called a crazy ghost hunter. If the town was wrong about this guy completely then they have got to be lying about the whole Sarah situation. “But with this curfew, not letting anyone under the age of thirty outside, and this weird search party I’m leaning towards something supernatural. And I think something like this has happened in the past.”
“Where were you planning on starting your investigation?” Noah asked.
“I was planning on heading over to where The Griffins are and asking them about Sarah.” Joven said as he got up from his seat and started packing a few things in a backpack. “But before we do that we gotta pick up my buddy Flitz, he’s not far from here don’t worry.”
“Wait what do you mean The Griffins?” Keith asked.
“Well,” Joven said as he moved to the back room, “if Sarah Whittle was able to keep her secret identity as a Griffin member a secret, then I think the entire town is able to keep something even bigger a secret.” He shouted. Everyone’s mouths gaped open in shock.
“Sarah Whittle is a Griffin?” Keith shouted in surprise. A faint laugh was heard from Joven who was still rummaging around in the back room.
“Hell yeah she was, and last time I checked the news it said that the last time she was seen she was at the gas station and body shop, the workplace of several Griffins.”

Chapter Text

The ride to this unknown Griffin hangout location was, interesting to say the least. They all ended up helping Joven pack up his old black van that had all the back seats taken out and was just a metal shell with a could shelves on one side of the vehicle. They grabbed survival equipment, cameras, recorders, extra food, and a bunch of strange ghost hunting equipment none of them understood. Because all the seats in the back were taken out they had to settle on just sitting in the back holding some of the equipment in their laps.
Once Joven started driving Noah and Keith who were in the least secure positions because they were just sitting in the middle of the floor, were flung into the back of the van. They grasped onto each other as Joven navigated through the bumpy terrain of the forest. Keith aas screaming and holding onto Noah’s shirt for dear life as Joven sat up front and just laughed at them. Damien ended up having to pull Keith into an upright position as Noah was still flinging around the van trying to find something to hold on to. By the time they reached the Lily Town Apartment Complex to pick up Joven’s friend Flitz, they were all strung out across the van, equipment sprawled out everywhere. Both Keith and Noah made sure they were in much more secure positions before Joven started driving again.
Flitz briefly introduced himself to the teens as he slumped down in the passenger seat of the van. Boze realised she had seen him before, briefly at the grocery store a couple of times and maybe once at the library. He was tall, had thick glasses, and a cool graphic t-shirt for a video game she had never heard of. He started messing with the radio until he was able to connect his phone to the stereo and played a Spotify mix. Boze looked at the stereo and saw a song by a band called Dance Gavin Dance started playing, Joven cranked it up and soon the van was filled with a mixture of emo and screamo music.
“So what will you tell the police if we get pulled over?” Damien asked as he adjusted himself and brushed his shoulder against Boze’s, the same electric feeling she had felt earlier cascaded down her arm again but she brushed the feeling aside as she remembered the curfew and how no one was supposed to be out driving. Joven and Flitz just scoffed at his question.
“No one will pull us over don’t even worry about it.” Joven said as he waved a hand in the air, “They’re too busy for starters and they make a pretty big deal out of avoiding me as much as possible.”
“Then how come we always hear about you getting in trouble with the police?” Damien said, Joven rolled his eyes.
“You ever stop asking questions?” He asked sarcastically. Damien’s cheeks flushed from the slight embarrassment and he muttered something under his breath, too quiet for anyone to hear. “I’m just playing,” Joven said, “for some reason Chief Padilla has a big problem with trespassing even though it should be the least of his concerns.”
“Well I mean, it’s still a crime.” Keith spoke up.
“Yeah it’s still a crime but the places we go to have long been abandoned and Padilla certainly has bigger things he should be dealing with.” Flitz as he mindlessly scrolled through his phone.
“Like what?” Keith asked. Flitz smirked and Joven turned down the radio so they could all hear without having to shout at the top of their lungs. “I mean this is Lily Town of all places, the most exciting thing that’s ever happened here other than this missing persons thing is The Griffins sometimes spray pain the side of the community center or they get a little too loud.” Keith said as he still tried to deny that there was even the slightest possibility of supernatural occurrences in Lily Town.
“Okay then how do you explain all the magled animals that have been reported lately?” Joven asked with a quirked brow. Boze looked at her feet, there had been a couple of stories about stuff like that popping up in the town paper. A couple of people woke up to find their beloved family dog dead and mangled in the backyard, someone stumbled across a maliciously half torn apart deer in the outer edges of the forest, and even a couple of scratches were found on a nearby tree where the deer was found.
“I thought those were just mountain lions or maybe even a wolf.” Keith countered.
“Neither of those live in upstate New York.” Damien said gravely as if he was putting some pieces together.
“So what, Sasquatch killed a couple of animals?” Keith asked.
“You read those news articles dude.” Noah said as he wiped down his glasses. “I’m not sure Bigfoot has claws like that.” Keith’s eyes widened and he slumped down into the floor a little further. Whatever the thing was that partially ate animals and left them for dead was proof enough for Boze to realise that everything in Lily Town was not as it seemed.
The van slowed to a stop and Joven and Flitx got out and helped the rest of the group crawl out the back. The van was parked in a back alley somewhere and Joven motioned for them to follow him through the door he was holding open. Boze jogged past him and entered whatever building he took them to just so she could avoid the storm outside. Once she was inside she was met with black and white tiled floors and harsh neon lights.
“Are we in Wings?” She asked. Joven moved past her and knocked on a small black door. Heavy footsteps ascended stairs and the door in the back of the tattoo parlour creaked open to reveal a man with bright orange hair and thin black eyeliner around his eyes.
“Who are they?” He asked in a gruff voice.
“They’re with me and they’re chill.” Joven assured. The man with the orange hair looked at the small group of teens and moved aside so they could go down the stairs. Joven went down first and motioned with his head for everyone else to follow. Boze held on tight to the railing of the very narrow staircase. Her eyes were met with dim lighting and the faint smell of cheese as she followed Joven. The door behind them shut and finally she was at the bottom.
The basement of the parlour wasn’t very big but it wasn’t too small either. Couches lined the walls and a large flat screen was mounted on the wall. Boze craned her head and saw a door that lead to a small office in the back and because they were in the basement the sound of the storm outside was finally drowned out. On the couches sat members of The Griffins and a mass of brown leather jackets was piled in the corner of the room. Boze made eye contact with Courtney who had a scratch on her cheek that she didn’t have earlier at school and Shayne seemed to look cleaned up from his shift at the auto shop. Wesley Johnson was also there, not a Griffin member but she assumed just a friend.
“I see you brought company.” A voice said from behind all of them. Boze turned and saw the queen herself, Mari Takahashi, the leader of The Griffins. She stood there in all her glory, her purple hair was braided in a crown around her head and she wore a loose muscle t-shirt and tight fitting jeans. She reached out and hugged Joven and Flitz, her wing tats slightly visible, and Boze felt like she was standing in the presence of royalty. “Who are your friends?” She asked.
“This is Boze,” Joven said as he placed a firm hand on her shoulder, “Noah is the one with colorful hair, back there is Keith, and this one is Damien.” He said as he gestured to the others. “They are trying to figure out this whole Sarah Whittle situation just like the rest of us.” Mari nodded and slumped down on the couch and flipped open a pizza box and grabbed one of the slices.
“Okay I’m still confused about the whole Sarah being a Griffin situation.” Keith said.
“Honorary member.” Mari corrected through a mouthful of pizza, “Just like our boy Wes over here.” She said as she nudged his side with her foot.
“So then what’s the difference between an honorary member and a full time one?” Noah asked as he took a seat on the side of the couch.
“David’s gotta give you the tat if you want to become a full ride or die.” Courtney explained as she kept her eyes trained on the movie playing on the TV, it was Inception. David, the orange haired man, waved his hand hello at them as he also continued to watch the movie. “But Sarah would never commit to the full tattoo, said her parents would kill her and she couldn’t risk her rep like that. She acted almost like a sleeper agent anyways, provided us with a heads up in case Padilla came snooping in our direction. If she got a tat then all of that would’ve been lost.” Courtney added as she stuffed her mouth with more pizza.
“So you guys were the last ones to see her, was she acting all weird?” Noah asked.
“She was pretty normal, just bought some candy and headed back home. She did shit like that all the time.” Shayne spoke up. Boze raised her brows, that was probably the only time she had ever heard him speak and his voice was different than what she expected. She almost forgot that he was only a nineteen year old kid and not the grown man she thought of him as.
“Okay then this whole situation is weirder than I thought.” Joven groaned as he rubbed his eyes.
“You can always check the library.” Shayne said as he paused the movie which earned him a slap from Courtney. “I think we all know this goes beyond what we can understand and Mari said that all of this seemed way too planned anyways. So why not check and see if something like this happened before?” Shayne suggested. Joven nodded and everyone got up and started grabbing their things.
“Text your brother and let him know we’re coming over.” Joven said.

Chapter Text

Boze was slowly realising that Lily Town was filled with a bunch of liars because Joven seemed to actually have quite a few friends, something a town pariah wouldn’t have. When they reached the library it was nearing nine o’clock at night and the rest of the town still wasn’t back from the search and the storm was still raging outside. The teens ended up riding in the back of Joven’s van just like before and The Griffins piled into Wes’s station wagon. They all pulled around to the back of the old stone building and Joven gave two firm knocks on the back door. The door creaked open and the familiar face of Tanner, the town librarian, came into view. His brows were furrowed at what stood before him; Joshua Ovenshire and his buddy Flitz, The Griffins, and four disheveled teens. But he still moved aside and let them all enter the library and made sure they all hung up their raincoats and leather jackets so the majority of the water was left in the entry way and didn’t get on the slick slab floors of the library.
The town library was actually very nice. Not only was it crafted well from the start and had tall stone arches, stained glass windows, and thick marble slab flooring, it also didn’t have the dingy smell that most libraries had. In each corner there were plushy chairs and the lighting was dim and warm. Tanner also brought in an old record player that softly played tunes from the front of the library as it sat on his desk.
Boze always forgot that he was related to Shayne Topp and were not only related but also fraternal twin brothers. However despite being fraternal they still looked incredibly similar, Tanner just tended to be a bit scruffier and also wore glasses. Not to mention he was not a member of The Griffins, or so Boze thought. Everything could be left up to interpretation now. Another difference was Tanner finished high school early and Shayne ended up dropping out and working at the auto shop full time. Even though Tanner didn’t necessarily have all the requirements and schooling to become a librarian the town didn’t really mind, they needed one anyways because Miss Thomas the previous one had worked there for over fifty years and sadly passed away. Tanner was the best bet the town could make, and now he seemed to spend every waking moment he had in the building.
“I thought everything was supposed to be closed.” Noah said as he meandered through some of the shelves.
“Everything is supposed to be closed but I think everyone in the building is suspicious about this whole ‘search and rescue’ operation Chief Padilla has organized. Besides, I’m not going to close my doors to anyone who just wants to sit and read a book. And now the storm is raging too hard outside I don’t feel that it’s safe to send anyone home.” Tanner explained as he pushed his book cart through the shelves and placed books in their proper spots.
“Wait is someone else here?” Keith asked.
“Yeah in the back, Matt, he hangs out here a lot.” Tanner sid casually as he continued to shelf books. Boze assumed that he was referring to Matt Sohinki who did in fact spent every chance he got at the library whether it be the school or public one. She realised she had never heard him speak more than three words and never saw him without a book or an oversized hoodie. “So what are you looking for today Joven?” Tanner asked.
“Any type of news article that’s similar to today’s events.” Joven said as he walked over to the news section.
“Seriously Joven? How come we don’t just google something like that?” Mari asked sounding slightly annoyed.
“Because I have a feeling that something like this happened way before the internet was even invented. And besides, this is Lily Town we’re talking about. The town that still relies on the printed newspaper for all of its current events. If we’re going to find anything relating to something like this we are going to find it here.” Joven said as he picked up a book called ‘Lily Town History: 1900-1920’. Boze sighed, the old people in this town had nothing better to do than log the town’s history, even though nothing ever happened. They all grumbled at sat down at some of the tables or some of the cushy chairs and grabbed a book on the town’s history that was separated into various years. Joven also pulled out a collection of old newspapers for people to search through.
“Hey look who I found!” Tanner said as he motioned for someone to follow him. Boze looked up from the book she was reading and saw Matt Sohinki pop his head out from one of the book shelves. “You can hep Courtney search through the papers!” Tanner said with a falso enthusiasm as he got back to reshelving books. Boze observed as a faint blush krept onto Matt’s cheeks and neck as he sat across from Courtney who was sprawled out in her seat as she mindlessly flipped through the news papers.
“What exactly are we looking for Joven?” Mari asked as she opened a thick history book spanning from the late eighteen hundreds to the early nineteen hundreds.
“Anything unusual, anything familiar.” Joven said, which sounded incredibly vague, but Boze understood what he meant.

+++

“I found something! I found something!” Damien said enthusiastically as he jumped up from the chair he was sitting in. It had been almost forty-five minutes of everyone collectively trying to find something in the history books and old news papers. All Boze had found was that several houses were abandoned on the outer edges of the farm lands in the early years of the towns urbanization.
“Check it out,” Damien said as he rifled through some of the newspapers he was looking through, “In 1973 there were four reported cases of mangled dogs and three reported cases of half eaten animals that were ripped apart by some sort of animal.” Damien said as he showed people the various news papers that were only a couple months apart from one another. “Also look at the weather reports during these times.” He flipped to the weather sections and pointed at them enthusiastically. “Lily Town was experiencing some crazy weather, most notably extreme thunder and rainstorms.”
“Holy shit.” A couple of them murmured.
“Okay so this was forty five years ago-”
“Find everything you can dating back to the spring and early summer of 1928!” Flitz shouted, interrupting Joven. Everyone scrambled through the papers and history books and aggressively flipped the papers until they found something.
“Mangled dog found in Phlank’s Field!” Keith shouted as he held up a news article.
“Thunder storms worse than ever reported!” Courtney said as she pointed to the article she had found. Everyone kept shouting things that related to each other and their eyes lit up at all the things they were uncovering. Joven and Noah returned back to the 1973 papers and history chapters and found even more damning evidence that supported their case.
“Local high school boy goes missing.” Boze said grimly as she held up a headline dating back to 73. Everyone stopped their excited pointing and shouting and looked at Boze who was holding the paper. She pulled another one from out behind her back that was from 1928 and read it aloud, “Emma Smith, the young woman who was reported missing three weeks ago was found along the hiking trails in the Lily Town forest last friday night. Her body was found mangled, and according to the town coroner, had been dead for several days or possibly weeks before she was found.” She said sadly as she read the news article.
“Holy shit.” Damien muttered under his breath.

Chapter Text

“What could a report like this even be insinuating?” Noah asked while the group descended into chaos. After Boze read the news paper articles about the missing teens and they realised that these events were happening every forty-five years, they all started freaking the hell out. Joven and Flitz were scrolling through their laptops and taking notes while Keith was in almost complete shock. “Who or what could be causing something like this?” Noah asked a little louder, gaining the attention of everyone so they would calm down a little. There was a slight pause but then everyone started rambling again which made Noah roll his eyes and Joven took hold of the situation.
“Okay, okay.” Joven shouted, “One at a time we will share theories as to what this killer might be and what their motives are. Okay?” He demanded. They all nodded and a motioned for people to raise their hands. Matt Sohinki timidly rose his hand first and Joven called on him.
“Well,” Matt cleared his voice so he could speak a little louder, “I personally don’t think it’s a human of any kind. With all these reports of half eaten animals and the fact that these attacks have taken place over such a long period of time, I think it might be some type of creature.” He said as serious as possible. He glanced at Courtney who was resting her forearms on her thighs and nodded along with his words. Keith shot his hand up.
“I don’t wanna completely rule out the possibility of this being a person.” There were a few murmurs, “As a skeptic to all this cryptid and supernatural stuff I want to consider the possibility of this killer being a person first. I’m not denying the possibility of it being a creature but I say we think of it being a person before we think of anything else.” He suggested.
“Agreed.” Flitz said, “I’m leaning towards supernatural a bit on this case but Joven and I have rules which include looking at what’s considered the more ‘reasonable’ options before thinking of something otherworldly.”
“However,” Noah countered, “how does a human suspect align with the length of time that these attacks have taken place in, and what about the animals?”
“Copycat killer?” Keith suggested, “And if they’re into killing people maybe they pregame with animals or something?” It was a semi-reasonable assumption and was good enough for the time being. As they helped Tanner clean up the back of the library that was now almost destroyed they kept spitting out possible ideas.
“Okay, so now that we have a possible theory that appeases the skeptics, what about the believer side of the story?” Noah asked as he put some of the history books back on the shelf. “I think it’s some type of animal that goes into hibernation for forty-five years then strikes a few times before going back to sleep.”
“But how big would this animal have to be if it could take down dogs, deer, and possibly even humans? And how come no one has seen it and there’s not even a town legend about it?” Boze asked. She really didn’t know what to think, both theories were hardly believable because she didn’t want to accept either of them. Which was worse, an ongoing lineage of serial killers and animal mutilators, or a beast that stalks the town at night? “Also one thing still isn’t clear, how come there’s a huge search party going on at the moment but all the young people in the town are not invited?” She asked.
“And where do we start if we wanna find this killer?” Damien added.

+++

Thunder rippled through the sky once more and Boze stayed huddled behind one of the couches in the library. In the middle of the group’s discussion on what the hell was going on Courtney, who was sitting by the window, shouted that she saw police flashers and they all threw the library back together, shut off the lights, and crammed themselves into various hiding places. Boze heard the police car shut off but its lights remained flashing through one of the stained glass windows. The sound of the rain outside was now deafening and she nearly jumped out of her skin when there was a loud knock at the door.
Damien placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder and her skin felt like it was on fire at the contact. She really hated that the whole reason they were hanging out was based off a cryptid murder of one of their schoolmates, but she also hoped that one day they would laugh about how crazy their first date was. If this even counted as a first date. Boze really hoped it was because first dates were always so awkward and to make them unawkward you needed a good activity to do with your partner. Hopefully investigating the town’s secrets was a good enough activity.
There was a loud smash and Boze realised it was someone breaking open the back door to the library. She could hear the sound of the rain much more clearly and on top of that she heard slow and squeaky footsteps start to echo through the library. Her eyes were wide and her hands started to shake and Damien ended up having to cover her mouth with his hand and wrap his other around her waist to hold her steady. The teens were pressed up against the floor and wall behind the sofa and cold see the muddy boots of the police chief strolling through the library, mucky footprints remaining on Tanner’s polished floors.
Chief Padilla looked around the library and he swore he saw lights on inside. However it remained immaculate as always, no lights on, no sign of people, not even Tanner was cooped up in the back office. However in the back lot there were a few vehicles. ‘Must be abandoned’ he thought to himself. His flashlight lit up the room and Boze saw it hit the wall above her and Damien. She squeezed her eyes shut, terrified that he was going to find one of them and at this point she knew that the town was covering something up and he had to be in on it. After fifteen minutes of him squeaking all over the place and shining his light here and there he finally left the library, closing the busted door behind him. They all waited an additional five minutes to make sure no one else was coming and Wes took the liberty of looking out the window to find the front parking lot barron along with the backlot. Everyone came out of their hiding places and Boze and Damien untangled from one another for what seemed like the billionth time that night.
“You guys,” Noah spoke up, realisation painted on his face, “What about the house in Watt Field?” he asked. Goosebumps perked on Boze’s skin from what she just heard and even The Griffins seemed uneasy.
“Dude, no one fucks with the house in Watt Field.” David practically hissed at the teenager. “Whether you believe in ghosts or not, something about that house is off. It’s abandoned for a reason.” The group murmured in agreement with David, Joven and Flitz even seemed hexed by the suggestion. But a part of Boze knew that Noah was probably on to something, no matter how bad of an idea it seemed.
“I think Noah is right.” She said loudly, jarring everyone. Damien rose his brows and Keith looked like he was going to pass out. “Clearly something wrong is going on in the town and the only place that this town collectively avoids is the house in Watt Field. What if the town avoids that house for a reason? What if there’s something there that could explain all of this?” She asked. It did make sense, no one messed with the dilapidated house in that field. Rumor had it that the house was haunted with a ghost or a demon. But even if you were a skeptic you didn’t come within thirty feet of the house, let alone visit the field as a whole. Like David said, something about that house was off.
“Come on Joven, you have to agree with me on some level.” Boze insisted. Joven’s brows were knitted together in concentration.
“I’ve never even given the house in Watt Field a visit.” He admitted. Everyone’s jaws dropped, the paranormal hunter hadn’t even visited the most paranormal spot in Lily Town. “Trust me, I tried,” he said quickly before anyone could give him shit for it, “but the second Flitz and I even got on the property I felt like I was going to throw up or pass out. There’s something wrong with that house and I really don’t know what or why that is.” Joven defended. He sighed and took off his glasses so he could rub his eyes harshly, “But Boze and Noah are right, I think it’s worth a visit.”

Chapter Text

Boze started to regret her suggestion that they visit the house in Watt Field when everyone piled into their respective vans. As she climbed into the back of Joven’s van, the time nearing ten-thirty, she felt her hand get clammy and her breath hitched. She had never dared to even go near Watt field, no one did of course, but now she was going head on into their field and the abandoned house that sat within its wildflowers. The rain was still going on outside and it hounded against the van as Joven pulled out of the library backlot.
Tanner remained at the library and David offered to stay behind with him in case Chief Padilla came lurking again. The reason as to why Padilla even came to the library in the first place was a mystery, or why he was even in the town when he was supposed to be leading a search party was still a mystery, but the group decided to let it remain a mystery for the time being. They could figure out his motives later, first they had to see what could possibly be going on inside this house.
Boze took a deep breath and tried to center herself. For a brief moment she had completely disassociated and drowned out the ongoing banter that the others were taking part in because they were trying to make light of the situation, Joven and Flitz were singing along to the radio and Keith and Noah were talking about who knew what. Damien noticed Boze’s sudden deep breath and took a brief moment of hesitation before lightly placing his hand over her hand that was resting on her knee. She looked at him, a jarred expression on her face that soon melted into a faint blush, and then properly placed her hand in his so they could hold hands for real. Neither of the teens dared to look down at their handhold bun instead focused on the water droplets that littered the floor of the van they were sitting on.
They sat in the van for about twenty more minutes as Joven cautiously navigated the vehicle through the rain and they soon reached a brief clearing at the edge of the forest. The van shut off and Flitz swung open the doors to usher the teens out. At this point, there was a small break in the rain so it was now just a drizzle, but Mari had checked the radar and saw that there was soon going to be much more rain to come. They took this opportunity to camouflage their cars as best they could as Flitz and Joven set up some video cameras and examined some maps they had brought.
“Okay,” Joven said as he held out a rather large map that covered the forest that surrounded Lily Town, “we are over here on the west edge of the woods.” Joven pointed to the spot they were at. The map indicated that there was a thick span of woods that separated them from Watt Field. “We have to walk about two miles till we reach Watt Field because as you can see,” he said gesturing to the forest behind him, “the woods are way too dense and narrow for us to bring the cars through and I can already tell it’s getting muddy. If you’re going to break out your flashlights I suggest you do so now.”
Joven was the leader of the group and Flitz held up the back as the young people navigated themselves through the dense forest. As Mari predicted, the storm started to pick up again but this time it was windier and Boze ended up having to tighten the hood on her jacket so it was stay on her head. Most of them were holding hands with the exception of those who were holding flashlights, but Boze and Damien kept a firm grip on one another. Unfortunately it was a new moon, which made it extra dark and really amped up the scary factor.
Suddenly, there was a rather large cracking noise that sounded behind the group. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks and it wasn’t until Flitz turned around that everyone started moving again. He waved his flashlight through the trees and illuminated nothing except pine trees and bushes. The crack sounded again, along with a slight scuttle, and Boze’s breath really started to pick up. Courtney let out a slight squeal and almost tripped as she fell backwards, grabbing onto Matt’s jacket.
“What, what happened?” Joven asked as he waved his flashlight around with the others. Courtney just pointed in a to an area that just showed brush and a large trees. Boze looked closely at the area she was pointing to and grabbed the flashlight out of Noah’s hand so she could get a better look. She would’ve just let it go except for the fact that the bushes Courtney was pointing to was moving, like someone had run past it and brushed it with their body.
“What do you see Boze?” Noah asked as Boze took a step closer to the area. The bushes stopped moving at this point as were only rustling from the rain, but it wasn’t until Boze saw strange prints pressed into the mud that she really started to worry. She motioned for everyone to move closer, most notably Flitz who had a camera.
“Joven,” She asked in a soft, yet scared voice, “What kind of prints do those look like?” The group all had wide eyes as they all looked down at the prints in the mud and the only thing that was heard was the sounds of the rain.
“Are those,” Joven kneeled next to the prints, “handprints?” he asked. Flitz caught the prints on the camera that was recording and angled it up at Joven’s confused expression. “Why the hell are there handprints in the mud?”
“Do you think it could be Sarah?” Keith asked as he used is light to illuminate the prints. “Maybe she fell down on her hands while she was stumbling through the forest and those are her prints.
“Wouldn’t she have noticed us walking like, ten feet next to her?” Courtney asked.
“Maybe the rusting and cracks we just heard weren’t from her, maybe these prints were from earlier and a deer just got startled by us a couple of seconds ago.” Keith countered. Boze and the others shrugged, it really wasn’t the most ridiculous theory they had heard all night and she would rather agree with that one than the possibility of something else lurking beside them. They decided to keep moving rather than focus on whatever the prints could be from.
As they walked they all tried to ignore the sudden cracks and scuttles they would hear. When something would screech off in the distance Boze convinced herself that it was just a bird. And when Boze thought she saw a faint outline of a rather large pair of antlers, slinking several feet away from her, she knew it was just a deer or the branches on the trees. At least that’s what she saw when she pointed her light in that direction because if it wasn’t those things, then what could it be?
Damien held her hand tightly as he trailed behind her and only kept his eyes on the various beams of light that the others were producing with their flashlights. He also mentally scoffed at what this night had become. What had started out as a potential, slightly romantic night he could’ve shared with his long time crush had turned into a supernatural hunt extravaganza completed with the town gang members tagging alone. Not that he was complaining though, a potentially ‘illegal’ search party seemed to be a pretty good ice breaker. There hadn’t been a truly awkward moment all night, just terrifying ones that also included this walk through the woods that he was enduring. But hey, at least he got to hold Boze’s hand, which really did make things slightly better.
It felt like an eternity as they all walked the approximate two miles that would lead them into Watt Field. But soon the forrest started to thin out and the harsh forest floor began to turn into soft, mushy grasses that was littered with flowers that were now pummeled into the ground by the rain. They all finally stopped at the very edge of the clearing and looked out into Watt Field. Boze took in a sharp breath as she glanced over the hills and valleys of the vast field. It was covered in yellow flowers from what it seemed and even though she had only ever seen Watt Field in the form of photographs, they really didn’t do it any justice. Watt Field could’ve been beautiful if it weren’t for the nasty feeling it created in your stomach. Boze already felt like she was going to vomit as they walked through the woods, but now as she looked out into this field, and gazed upon the old house that was far off, she wanted to just pass out and die.
She looked at the others then Damien who all had the same look of pain on their faces. This field was literally filling their minds with dread, making their bodies feel heavy and their stomachs incredibly weak. But Boze knew they had to push through those feelings and forced herself to take a step forward and keep walking.

Chapter Text

As the group slowly approached the house anticipation was growing at an intense rate. The feeling of dread was now taking over their stomachs, Boze really did feel like she was going to vomit at this point and if she did, she really hoped Damien wouldn’t see it. Nothing like vomiting on your first date where you go ghost hunting and team up with a local gang.
The small yellow flowers that littered the field and were barely visible through all the rain and refracted flashlight beams almost seemed like a mockery of what this place was known for. This alleged haunted house was rumored to house demons and poltergeists from people who once lived in it. While there was no viable proof the town never tore the house down because of how much people hated getting near it. Boze thought the whole ‘feeling of dread thing’ was fake until she stepped foot in the field, that maybe she was only feeling dread because she was told she was going to feel it, but no matter how hard she tried to calm herself from the minor panic attack she was experiencing the feeling never went away. She was holding onto Damien’s hand with a white knuckled grip at this point and was still obsessing over the things she had seen, or at least thought she had seen in the forest.
The brushing of the foliage had definitely thrown them off but the handprints in the mud was upsetting Boze the most. They looked so human, so perfectly human, but could they really be Sarah’s or could they possibly be from something else and if it was from something else than what could it be? Of course there was no such thing as monkeys that lived in upstate New York and no raccoon could grow to be large enough to have human sized hands, so what could possibly have created those prints. Boze hoped that Sarah had just tripped and fallen at some point, and she hoped that Sarah was in this house so the mystery could be solved and all of this could be over.
Boze shook herself from her daydreaming and realised that they were all now in front of the house in Watt Field. The house was a two story building that had a narrow front entry way and an extension that came off the left side. The brick as the front of the house was coming off and towards the back it had all been blown off, revealing the rotting wood that the house was built with. The roof was caving in on the side and several fallen trees littered the back of the house. The front entry porch still had some of it’s paint, a deep blue that was now chipping off of the old carved wood that made up the porch. The door to the house was long gone along with the glass and shutters for the windows. No one had taken a step closer to the house as they stood in front of the wide open doorway that lead into a dark void of a house, mostly because they were scared, and because the steps leading to the porch were busted.
“Wh-What do you think is inside?” Mari whispered in a scared voice. She was clutching onto Wes and Shayne’s forearms out of fear.
“Probably just a whole bunch of nothing.” Shayne reassured her, even though a part of him knew that maybe there was something inside the house. Something terrible.
“Yeah, it’s just a whole bunch of nothing.” Damien whispered into Boze’s ear because he noticed how badly she was shaking. She held onto his arm and leaned into his side for support. She was absolutely scared out of her mind at what could possibly be in there. While shutting her eyes tightly, Boze took a deep breath in an attempt to calm some of her nerves. Joven moved so he was in front of the group again and they all filed into a messy line behind him and once again linked hands with one another.
“We stick together no matter what.” Joven said loud enough for everyone to hear. “No matter what we see in here, whether it’s nothing or a very big something, we stay together and no one gets left in here alone. We walk as a group.” They all nodded in response and as Joven held Matt’s hand and a flashlight in the other, he took a large step so he could get onto the porch.
They all slowly started to shuffle onto the porch and Joven took the first step inside the house and waved his flashlight beam around so he could get a sense of his surroundings. As they all filed into the house and shone their flashlights around the room, they saw the decaying sense of the house. The floor was smashed in at some places, there was rain pouring in through the windows which was making the wood erode and rot over time. The room they were in seemed to be the remnants of a living room that lead into a dark back hallway. Joven reluctantly lead the group forward.
“Look, look!” Damien whispered loudly as he let go of Boze’s hand to point at markings that lined the hallway they were in. Boze turned around and saw on the other side of the hall were similar markings. “What the hell are these?” Damien asked as he ran his hand along the marks. Boze got a better look at the ones on the other side of the hall and realised they were deep scratches that tore what was left of the damp wall paper that was still plastered to the wall. They were a few feet above her head and spanned the whole hallway, long and deep, like whatever put them there had put them there multiple times.
Boze took a step back out of the hallway then held her arms out so she was in a t-pose. The hallways was still slightly wider than her wingspan but as she took a long stride forward and her arms slightly went up, her hands followed along the slight peaks and valleys created by the scratches in the wall.
“What’s large enough to drag against the wall like that?” Wes asked as he kept examining the scratches. “And how tall would it have to be if the scratches are this high up?” Boze stopped suddenly in her tracks and pieced everything together.
“Antlers.” She said abruptly, her eyes wide and he fingers clenched. She looked up at Damien who had a worried expression plastered all over his face. “I thought, I thought it was just the tree branches.” Boze choked out as she started to cry. Damien rushed to her side and cradled her face in his hands.
“What the hell are you talking about Boze” He asked as he tried to wipe her tears off her face that were now mixing with the rain water already on it. “What do you mean antlers?”
“Don’t you get it?” She asked, turning to face the others, “Out of the corner of my eye as we walked in the woods I thought I saw a large set of antlers slinking through the trees, several feet off in the distance. And now we’re here in this damned house, where there are these huge scratched carved into the walls and how do you think they got here?” Boze said in disbelief that bordered on hysteria. “Dear god do not tell me I was the only one who thought they might’ve seen the antlers in the woods?” The group remained silent and only glanced at one another and Boze in an uncomfortable silence until Keith of all people took a step forward.
“I saw them too.” He said quietly. “I swore I saw a flash of a set of antlers in the light of somebody’s flashlight after we saw the prints on the ground.” Everyone started to look very alarmed as they stood in the hallway with the daunting scratches on the walls. Keith gave Boze a look of solidarity to assure her that she wasn’t insane. Amidst the quiet panic Noah saw something disturbing on the single dry patch of floor at the end of the hallway.
“I swear to fucking god.” He muttered under his breath as she shined his flashlight on the floorboards. “Can we get one fucking break.” Noah raised his hand and shouted for the others to come and join him so they could all see what he had found.
“What the fuck are those?” Shayne asked in a wavering tone, mortified at what he was looking at. Shaking his head he took a step back from the floor and moved towards the back of the group. Noah just shook his head as he kept his flashlight beam angled at the floor.
“I don’t know, but I don’t think Sarah Whittle tripped and fell on the forest floor.” He said as he looked down at a set of handprints, the same size as the ones imprinted in the mud and were a relatively large distance away from each other, the same way footprints would be spaced apart.

Chapter Text

Boze was looking down at the floor and trying to breath. With the discovery of the new prints, everyone had gone into a silent panic. She clenched her fists by her sides so hard she could feel her fingernails prick into the palms of her hands but ignored the pain as she continued to dig harder into her skin. She followed the prints with her eyes and saw them leading up the staircase next to the group, faintly disappearing with each step. She took a deep breath and pushed past the others so she could go up the stairs.
“Boze!” Damien whisper-shouted, too afraid to speak at full volume, “What the hell are you doing, are you crazy?” He asked as the others turned to look at her with terrified expressions written all over their faces. Boze just looked down at the prints on the stairs, released her clenched fists, and gripped the handrail.
“Sarah is up there.” She said softly. “We came here to find her and bring her home.”
“But we don’t know what else is up there!” Keith said hurriedly. He grabbed her arm and tried to drag her down the stairs but Boze wouldn’t budge. “I don’t wanna die tonight!”
Joven watched as the others tried to coax Boze to get off the staircase and leave the house with them and he saw her stubbornly stand in place. He wiped his brow from all the rain and stress sweat and let out a breath he didn’t realise he was holding in. Then he joined Boze on the landing of the stairs. “She’s right,” he said, “we came here to find Sarah and she might be up there. We can’t give up now.” He pleaded. They group focused their attention on him and started to weigh their options.
“Fine.” Keith said reluctantly, the others nodded in agreement and all got back into formation. Damien slid his hand into Boze’s and decided to ignore the sticky sensation of blood that was on her hands, and they all slowly ascended the staircase.
Once they had finally all gone up the steep, rickety stairs they all took a moment to look at their surroundings once again. The upstairs was just a narrow hallway with two doors on the left and one on the right at the very end. Everyone used their flashlights to look at the hallway that once again, had long scratches high up on the walls and faded handprints on the floor. The worst part was the door at the end of the hall on the right was open just a crack while the others looked like they hadn’t been opened in years. Boze took the first step forwards once again and clutched Damien’s hand as she lead the group to the door at the end of the hall. Once she reached it, she shut her eyes and quickly swung the door open, ready to face whatever was on the other side.
Disgust, her nose was filled with the worst smell she had ever encountered in her life.
Buzzing, Boze’s ears were filled with a loud buzzing noise.
Horror, she saw horror once she finally managed to open her eyes and see what was in front of her.
There was a chorus loud scream and the sound of something falling on the ground. It was Matt’s flashlight that dropped out of his hand once he saw what was in front of him and Boze couldn’t tell who exactly screamed, maybe she did but she had no clue. Then the sounds of panic filled the air along with sobs and faces being covered because everyone was trying to avert their eyes. But Boze couldn’t peel her\s away from what she was looking at, something that looked like it was pulled straight out of a horror film. Something that made her want to rip all of her clothes off and then her skin because suddenly everything that was touching her felt nasty and wrong and she just didn’t want to feel anything. It made her want to puke her guts out and beat the hell out of her brain until it forgot what she was looking and she wanted to gouge her eyes out so she never saw something ever again because she knew that no matter what, she could never get this image out of her brain. She heard someone vomiting next to her and out of the corner of her eyes she realised it was Damien. Scratch that, more than one person was vomiting which contributed to the awful smell of the room and the people who weren’t vomiting were crying or trying to console those who were crying.
Plastered on the wall in front of her, Boze was looking at the remains of Sarah Whittle. The body was naked and crudely nailed to the wall with her eye still open and her mouth ajar because she had died screaming out in pain and terror. The bottom half of her body was ripped off, intestines hanging loosely, and the floor was covered in blood and ripped up, or chewed parts of her body. Rammed into her skull was a set of pure, white antlers that were large and took up the majority of the wall. Boze realised that the strange substance that wasn’t blood leaking out of her skull was mashed up brains, slowly spilling out of her head. Sarah’s skin was a disgusting color that was so pale is was now turning translucent. She had been dead for at least two days now and had been left here. To rot. Her torso covered in disgusting claw and teeth marks, her arms limply hanging against the walls, the rest of her body straining against the nails that were ripped her hands slowly off the wall and flies buzzed all over her body and fed off the dried blood.
It wasn’t until Boze looked directly into Sarah’s cold, dead eyes that she finally gave into temptation and vomited her spaghetti dinner all over the floor next to Damien’s vomit. Then as she heaved she began to cry which made her become more violent with her throw up, she was practically screaming at that point as the last of the contents in her stomach went out onto the floor and her throat was burning with stomach acid. When she brought her head back up all the sounds she had previously drowned out returned and the room was filled with violent screams and sobs as none of them could look away from the horror on the wall. Boze felt a pair of arms wrap around her waist and drag her out of the room.
Damien went back in and started dragging the others out so they could leave this horror behind and hopefully, not become the next victims. As the others stumbled out into the hall, Wes carrying Mari in his arms, Courtney relying on Matt for support, Keith and Noah crying into the others shoulders, they all stumbled down the stairs and ran out the door and out of the house. Once they were out in the field again, Shayne stopped running and threw up again and the others either followed suit or started crying once more.
Boze wanted to die now that she knew her classmate was legitimately dead in the most gruesome way possible. She also wanted to die because they still had to walk through the haunted forest in the middle of the night while whatever creature had killed Sarah was still roaming the woods. She felt disgusting, like she had been violated but had also violated something else. She wanted to forget this ever happened and she cursed herself for even convincing the others to leave their houses that evening. She wished her mom was with her, she wished it was yesterday or any other time that wasn’t that particular moment.
“We have to go.” Damien told the others and he pushed them in the direction they all came. “We need to get out of here and call the police or do something. We have to go and we have to go now. We have to run back to the car as fast as we can and we cannot and will not look back at this house.” He insisted as he helped some of the others up and used the rainwater that was falling from the sky to help wipe away the vomit that was on his chin.
Just as they all started running there was a rustling sound that echoed across the field along with a strange call. It sounded like a microphone ringing through the air and gave Boze even more goosebumps that she already had.
“What the fuck?” Wes muttered as he motioned for everyone to crouch down and try and hide themselves. “That sounds like an elk bugling.” He said.
“So?” Shayne said.
“Elk don’t live in New York.” Wes replied. Then there was a loud, metallic roar that sounded through the field and echoed loudly. The rustling increased and so did the sound of strange and uneven footsteps. Boze strained her eyes to see what it was then they widened in horror.
Large antlers, a set of very large antlers attached to the most horrific creature she had ever seen.

Chapter Text

As the group crouched amongst the taller grass in the field that was some distance away from the house they looked at the monster walking through the flowers and looked like nothing they ever could have imagined. All of them were trying not to scream or vomit or pass out with each step it took but instead tried to remain as quiet as possible as they feared for their life as they hid. Boze and Damien were now holding onto each other and had tucked their heads into the other shoulder as they tried to look away from the thing, but still caught an occasional glance at it because they couldn’t stop their mind from being to intrigued get horrified at the same time.
It was big, at least six feet tall and had a large set of sharp, talon like antlers that swept several feet from its head. The jet black antlers were glossy as protruded up, out, and then curved around the front of its head which confirmed Boze’s suspicion that the large scratches on the walls were from a set of antlers. Its body was toned in muscle and it had a thin layer of skin that stretched across its body in the color of shadow gray. It had the body similar to an incredibly large deer or perhaps even a moose. As the creature got closer Boze could make out even more terrifying features about the monster.
It’s front legs didn’t quite look like the front legs of any type of animal at all but instead looked like human arms, adorned perfectly with large human hands instead of feet. Everyone realised the the handprints in the forest and house were most definitely from no human but this creature, that looked like a horrifying animal that no longer looked like it walked on all fours but instead looked like something crouching down and walking on its hands and feet. The back legs however still looked like that of an animals and it had large hooves but above the hoof was a terrifying curled claw on each leg, almost like a dinosaur.
But Boze found the head to be the most disturbing. It hung low unlike any deer or moose, most likely due to the weight of the incredible antlers it had, and it had no skin on just that one part. The head was just a skull with faint buts of exposed muscle attacked to it’s jaw but other that than it was exposed. It looked sinister, it’s eye sockets were deep and empty, and instead of the herbivore teeth it should’ve had there were small, razor sharp teeth in their place. She shuddered at the creature as it continued to walk at its agonizingly slow pace towards the house.
It suddenly raised its head up and let out the bugling noises once again before letting out the disgusting metallic noise that sounded like a bunch of human screams mixed together. After it let out the painful roar, lights appeared in the distance. Everyone looked out to where the border of trees was and pouring out from it was the town.
They emerged from the trees slowly, everyone in the town above the age of thirty, everyone who was supposed to be helping with the supposed ‘search party’ for Sarah Whittle. But then it dawned on the teens, they had killed Sarah Whittle for whatever reason, and now they were following this creature back into the house to possibly kill again. They held their breath as they waited to see what would happen next.
A group of men broke through the trees, their flashlight beams moving wildly as they tried to control whatever they were holding. Screams and cries echoed throughout the field as they wrestled with whoever they were holding.
But Boze’s heart stopped, she recognized that voice.
“Oh my god Olivia Sui.” She whispered as quietly as she could. Damien and the others whipped their heads in Boze’s direction as the screams continued and Boze was now shaking even worse. The most popular girl in Lily Town High, the same one that would bully Boze, was now being lead up to a murder house for slaughter and would have the same terrible fate as Sarah Whittle. Their blood curdled as Olivia tried to escape the mens grasp as they all followed the creature. “We have to do something.” Boze said. Despite Olivia’s actions, she was just a petty bully but that didn’t mean she should be sacrificed to some horrific monster while the entire elderly community of Lily Town watches.
“How the hell are we supposed to do that?” Noah asked frantically. “How are we supposed to save her when they might just take up the opportunity to just sacrifice all of us and Olivia! We are going to die!” Even through all the rain Boze could see tears spilling down Noah’s face as he tried to suppress the possibility of being gutted like a fish and pinned to a wall while the horrific elk-like creature ate him alive.
“The town won’t kill us as long as we kill that thing.” Boze countered. “It might be big but there’s like twelve of us and all we need to do is get one good hit in and all of this is over.” She tried reasoning but everyone still seemed incredibly hesitant and just wanted to go home, or maybe even die as long as it was in different circumstances. “Please tell me we have some type of weaponry.”
Everyone who was in The Griffins, Wes included, pulled out relatively large pocket knives from their back pockets and Flitz and Joven wrestled around in their bags. Joven eventually pulled out a machete and Flitz got a hunting knife. “Jesus christ you carry a fucking machete with you?” Shayne said in disbelief, Joven just shrugged. “And you haven’t brought it out until this moment?” Shayne added.
“Obviously everyone is freaked out that I have a machete so I didn’t want to bring it up unless we absolutely needed it, like right fucking now.” Joven replied in a panic. Mari just shushed him and everyone just pushed that problem aside. Boze remembered that she had brought a small knife of her own and Damien and the others did as well.
The Griffins took charge as they had more experience when it came to planning a fight. Shayne would lead the charge to rescue Olivia along with Courtney, Matt, Noah, Keith, and Boze while the others, who were either taller, had the best weapons, or the most fighting experience, would take on the beast. The rain picked up once more, clouding the field a bit, but they all gripped their weapons and stood from their hiding place, revealing themselves to the town and the beast.
“Put her down!” Boze screamed across the field. She clutched her knife in her hand with a white knuckle grip and stared down the townspeople, too afraid to look at the hideous creature that stood in her peripherals. However Damien looked right at it and the monster was stuck still, looking right back at him with hollowed out eyes. Mari started yelling and the others joined her and they all started to run across the field, knives in their hands and blood on their minds. They fanned out and headed towards their targets. The creature let out a horrendous roar back at them and charged in their direction at an incredible speed and the town took a defensive stance and tried to move Olivia away from them.
Mari slammed down on her knees just in time to skid away from the beast rearing its head at her and shiving it’s sharp antlers almost directly into her skull. She kicked one of its front legs that looked like a human arm right in its elbow and a terrible crack let out, signifying she had broken the bone. The creature screamed directly in her ear and her blood felt like it was curdling. Flitz took this as an opportunity to swipe at the beasts neck with her knife but the beast caught on too quickly and trusted its head in his direction, flinging Flitz to the ground.
Meanwhile Shayne had just punched the school nurse in the face as he tried to get to Olivia. Boze wove her way through the crowd and dodged attacks and eventually just settled on crawling and swiping her knife at people’s ankles and watched them tumble to the ground. Eventually she got to Olivia and the men who were restraining her. She sized them up and soon realised she stood no chance. However Courtney let out a war cry as she came out of nowhere and tackled one of the men to the groud. Matt was trailing behind her and kicked the other man in the shin, causing him to fall to the groud giving Matt the opportunity to knock him on the back of the head. Boze grabbed Olivia by the arm and dragged her through the crowd. Noah and Keith found her and helped defend the two girls from the crazed townspeople and eventually they were in the clear.
Damien’s heart was pounding as he was using his hands to grip onto the creatures mouth as it was now on top of him and trying to bite his head off. He looked away from the creature and felt his muscles strain as he tried to push its head away from his face. It's cold breath fanned across his skin and he felt tears prick in his eyes. Then he heard a gutteral group of screams go off right by his face and he looked up to see Flitz Wes lodging his knife into the creatures stomach.
Boze looked across the field as the scream let out and the townspeople started shouting in horror. She sprinted across the field before the townspeople could and skidded through the mud as she reached Jovens body. He was barely conscious and had a small puncture in his shoulder from the beasts antlers. She wrestled his machete out of his hand and swung it at the creature with all her might as it still stood over Damien and had Wes’ knife lodged in its body.
The most disgusting noise let out as the blade hit the creatures neck and lodged itself deeply into the skin. Blood poured out onto Damien’s face and shoulders and also sprayed onto Boze. The creature let out a moan filled with pain and she withdrew the machete and swung back down once more. It’s head practically fell onto Damien, covering him in a mess of blood. Blood also skewed out from the now headless body of the creature and onto Boze and anyone standing near it.
Damien got out from underneath the head and stood next to her, covered in sweat, blood, and mud and Boze was the same. The townspeople, some feet away, looked at her with a mixture of awe and horror. But Boze took it one step further. She stepped on where the large antlers of the beast met with its head and snapped off the right antler then the left. She grabbed the skull off of the ground and held the large bone up in the air for everyone to see.
“Would someone,” She screamed so loudly it echoed throughout the field, “like to explain to me what the FUCK is going on!”

Chapter Text

It was a ridiculous scenario. A large group of young adults and teenagers, two of which were covered in a ridiculous amount of blood and another two both carrying the ginormous and gory head of a terrifying creature, all being lead into the station by Chief Padilla himself. When they got there, Boze saw the faces of her physics teacher Mr. Hecox and the owner of the town cinema, Joe, and they were shocked at the sight before them.
Just about every elderly person in town was in handcuffs being lead into the station by the other deputies or members of The Griffins. Chief Padilla was horrified at the sight he saw when Matthew Sohinki had called him and told him to get every available police officer to Watt Field as fast as he could. The guts littered on the ground by a strange monster he had never seen before, the terrified face of Olivia Sui, the sullen faces of the townspeople he thought he could trust. Grief and guilt washed over him immediately, and it only got worse when he heard the reports of what was pinned to the wall inside of the house. As the deputies processed everyone as fast as they could he pulled aside the group of young people.
“Please, please understand that no one on the police force, myself included, and Mr. Hecox and Joe knew what the hell was going on. When I sent out the announcement about the search party I genuinely meant that we needed a search party and I wanted all young residents to stay inside for purely the matter of safety and so no riots were started for the protection of The Griffins.” Mari gave him a slight nod that indicated her gratitude and everyone else genuinely believed Padilla. “I’ve already notified your parents and those of you who have guardians who are out of town have already sent word that they are on their way home.”
Boze’s eyes widened. She had almost completely forgotten about her mother who was out of town for the weekend for her job. She looked over at Damien and saw he was having the same realisation that his parents were out of town and he hadn’t given them a thought all night. ‘Well at least my own mother isn’t caught up in any of this.’
“Now, would any of you like some coffee and the ability to participate in a police interrogation?” Chief Padilla asked as he rubbed his eyes and took off his tan, wide brimmed hat.

+++

Boze was standing in the small interrogation room in front of the mayor of Lily Town himself. She was still covered in a large amount of blood and the decapitated head of the creature sat on the table in front of her and the mayor. Padilla said Boze might as well ask a few questions before him because she seemed to have a better idea as to what the hell was going on. It was nearing two o’clock in the morning and the two cups of coffee Boze drank prior were only just setting in.
“Care to explain what this is?” She asked, gesturing to the head on the table in front of her. Behind the one way glass, everyone and a few deputies who wanted to know what this whole situation was about crowded around the glass and listened carefully to what was happening in the interrogation room.
The mayor just rolled his eyes which made Boze frustrated and prompted her to just push the head closer to him. The previously crisp white bone of the skinless skull of the creature was now caked in blood and mud, it’s razor sharp teeth looking even more ferocious. “Our town's most prized possession, a long term agreement.” The mayor said through clenched teeth.
“Explain the agreement.”
The mayor snorted.
Boze took out her pocket knife and slammed it into the creature’s skull, shattering the bone around it.
“Fine!” He said exasperated. Boze pulled her knife out of the skull but kept it clenched in her hand in case she needed it again. “The agreement was established centuries ago back when the town was founded.” The mayor said through mumbles and shaky hands. “Legend says the founders of Lily Town made a deal with this creature, a god, who would provide the town with prosperity as long as the town granted it with young blood every forty-five years!” Boze rolled her eyes, so just like everything else in America, Lily Town was created at the expense of human lives.
“Think about it, no one ever truly leaves Lily Town and when they do it's a rare occurrence. The town always prospers economically, our maple production in the winter never falters, our crops always thrive. The most disturbance we have is from a small group of vandals. The god promised us prosperity and he delivered!” The mayor looked up at Boze harshly, “And you killed it and now the town will slowly turn to dust.”
“About fucking time if you ask me.” She said exasperated. Boze was suddenly realising how tired she was, how much she wanted to go the hell to sleep. “This town offers nothing and even though I never could’ve guessed that it shelters a cult that worships a murderous god of all things, I’m not exactly surprised.” She waved her knife around as she spoke and the door clicked open.
“Hey Boze, I think I can take it from here.” Chief Padilla said as he paused in the doorframe. Boze only nodded and left the room so she could finally just take a seat out in the hall.
Damien was sitting on the floor outside of the interrogation room when she walked out. Boze closed her pocket knife and tucked it into her back pocket and sat on the floor with him. Both were finally out of their rain clothes, Boze’s feet ached from being in galoshes for so long, and despite the fact that they were wearing waterproof clothing when they were hit with a wave of the beasts blood it had somehow seeped into their jeans and tops of their t-shirts.
Boze’s face wasn’t all that bad but Damien’s had gotten covered in blood because he was underneath the creature when she decapitated it. He had been able to wipe the majority of it off but there was still quite a bit plastered in his hair along with lots of dried mud. To say they smelled horrendous was an understatement.
As they sat on the floor next to one another with their feet outstretched and their shoulders slouched up against the wall Boze couldn’t help but smile. “So I’d say this was a relatively eventful first date.” She said while nudging Damien’s shoulder. He smiled and leaned his head up against the wall and had his eyes closed.
“Oh thank god you considered this a date as well, I thought it was only one sided.” Boze smirked and rested her head on his shoulder. “But it wasn’t our first date. This was definitely second date material.”
“Oh?” She asked. She felt his chest vibrate as he hummed in response. “Well then what was the first date?”
“Dinner, our spaghetti dinner was our first date.”
“I think I threw all of it up.”
“I did too, don’t worry about it.”
Boze smiled and nestled further into Damien's chest and felt and arm wrap around her. Somehow the t-shirt he was wearing was still soft and held the faintest smell of his cologne, she took a deep inhale and wrapped her arm around his waist. Damien’s thumb made small circles on a bit of skin that was exposed, lulling Boze to sleep in the bustling police station. He peeked one eye open and saw her tiny sleeping body sprawled out and woven into his, and he smiled.

Chapter Text

Boze sat on her bed and soaked in the warm sun that streamed through her window curtains. Her mom was at work but would be home in a couple of hours which made Boze happy. Her mother had also postponed the rest of her weekend trips for the month so she could keep an eye on Boze which she was thankful for. The whole situation that occurred last Friday night was a mess and she was happy to finally be out of all of it.
Just like everyone else who was still in high school and endured the events of that night, Boze had the entire week off of school. She still kept up with her homework because her teachers sent her the notes and assignments all at the beginning of the week but Boze needed something to keep her mind off of her memories so she got it all done by Tuesday night. Now she had the rest of the week to herself. It was only Wednesday afternoon and she had watched TV all morning and was now reading a book while being cuddled up in her bed.
A few taps sounded from her window and Boze set down the copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey and walked over to her window where she saw Damien standing in her backyard holding a few pebbles in his hands and a big smile was plastered on his face. He was still wearing one of his cozy sweaters, his hair was all messy, and his glasses were a little crooked but Boze couldn’t help but smile. The two teens had taken some time off from seeing one another, the last time they were with each other was when they fell asleep in the police department building on the floor. After their parents had woken them up they decided to take some time off just so they could be my themselves for a few days and Boze was glad Damien was certainly happy to do that with her. Sometimes you just have to be by yourself, just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely.
Boze slide open her window and peered down at Damien who was two stories below her. “This is probably the most cliche thing in the world.” She joked as she rested her chin in her hand that was propped up by the windowsill.
“Well if you let me up it would be even more cliche which is what I’m going for at the moment, and leaving me down here is really ruining the moment.” Damien said as he squinted his eyes and looked up at her. Boze rolled her eyes sarcastically and shrugged.
“Are you really going to try and climb up the ivy on the side of my house just to get into my bedroom? I can open the front door ya know.”
“I think at this point I legally have to try and climb up the side of your house.”
After a few failed attempts of Damien getting about halfway up the side of the house and then proceeding to rip a chunk of the ivy off the wall, Boze ended up coming downstairs and opening the door for him and allowing him to come inside. They both ran up the stairs so they were back in her room and fell down on the floor beside the bed and bookshelf that was in the room. Damien looked around and smiled. He had never been in Boze’s room before, or any girl’s room before, and he loved her room so much he thought he never needed to see any other bedroom again.
Her walls were periwinkle and had several posters hanging up relating to Wonder Woman or Thor, along with several postcards taped to the wall and fairy lights that were strung up around the room. Boze noticed his wide smile and heat rose to her cheeks out of embarrassment.
“It’s not that great ya know.” She said as she poked his side. Damien took her hand in his and gently pressed a few kisses to her knuckles which made Boze want to die because the gesture was so innocent, and they both really needed something innocent at the moment. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer to his body until he was essentially holding her small frame and her head was resting on his shoulder.
“Anything interesting happen recently?” He asked, Boze scoffed and rolled her eyes again. “Nothing out of the ordinary?” Damien said with a stupid smirk on his face. Boze just shrugged and started playing with the ends of his hair and which made it even more messy.
“Olivia Sui asked me to go out to lunch with her tomorrow.” She said casually, Damien’s eyes widened at the statement and Boze laughed. “I know, I know it sounds absolutely insane but she seemed pretty genuine over the phone. I guess after we saved her life she wants to apologise and I’m not really opposed to that. Her bullying never really hurt me but was more of a nuisance if anything, there’s nothing wrong with starting over. I think we are all going to have to.”
Damien hummed in response and carded his fingers through her hair as she started to rant about all the AP Literature homework she had to complete and how interesting 2001 was. He watched her get all passionate about the book as she started talking about her favorite parts so far and how she was angry she had never read the book until now. “I think there’s comic books.” He added absentmindedly. Boze then started talking about how she now needed to buy them if they existed. After a while her rambling slowed down and both teens just enjoyed the silence for a few moments, appreciating the sunlight that was coming through the window and how it felt war against their skin. A stark comparison to how the rain was on Friday night.
“Boze?” Damien asked, breaking the silence. Boze looked up at him and quirked an eyebrow, “Do you ever think we will be able to get over it?” He asked with furrowed brows as he continued to look out the window and stroke her hair.
Boze thought about it. The town let some type of ‘god-like’ creature take the lives of those who were innocent. Over half the town was involved in the whole scandal and the police force collectively agreed to keep the situation on the low and asked rather forcefully for everyone involved to leave the town and never come back. The house in Watt Field was going to be demolished on Friday, Sarah Whittle’s memorial was on the day after, and Mari Takahashi was working with the police to help make the town a safer place and have them better understand her small ‘gang’ of friends. Things in Lily Town were changing for the better but even if everything that served as a reminder of Sarah and whatever that thing that was on Watt Field was, Boze didn’t know if she was ever going to truly forget what happened that night. The next time it rained she would think of it, every time she thought about the first few romantic or intimate moments she had shared with Damien it would bring her back to that night, even the woods surrounding the entire town would serve as a reminder.
“I’m not sure if we will ever be able to truly get over something like that Damien.” She said as she sat up to face him. “But I think with time we will be able to accept that it happened and that we had no control over what happened because we didn’t know what was really going on up until the last few moments of the whole ordeal. Over time we will probably me able to rid ourselves of most of the trauma and details of what we saw, but that night will always remain in us forever and help shape us for the better.”
Damien sighed and looked into Boze’s eyes. A sad smile, one that had been through a lot, crept onto his face and he said, “I like that, I like that a lot.” before leaning in and pressing a soft kiss on Boze’s lips. When he pulled back they looked at one another and embraced in a warm hug on Boze’s bedroom floor.
“I like what we have Damien, I like you a lot and no one else will understand how I feel sometimes and I’m okay with that.” Boze whispered as she hugged him tightly. He nodded into her shoulder before letting out a quiet sob that soon turned into a very hard, ugly cry.
Boze held Damien as tears streamed down his face and onto the floor. She took off his glasses and set them on her nightstand, then went back to holding him and running her fingers through his hair and whispering soft words of encouragement in his ear. “It’s going to be okay Damien,” She said as she blinked away a few tears that were forming in her eyes, “There are so many people who love and care for you, myself included. We’re going to get through this and I’ll be with you every step of the way.”
A few flashes of the horrid memories went through Boze’s mind as she spoke to Damien in hushed tones. She knew those images were going to be in her brain for a while but they were in his as well and everyone else who was there that night. “I love you.” She said softly as Damien continued to cry. “And I always will.”