Devised - Chapter One - Part One
Saturday 6th March, Moore Household
Diana shot up from her bed. Her heart pounding heavily against her chest, she sat in the darkness and waited for her eyes to adjust. Her long manicured fingernails ran through her chestnut tangles as she swept back her hair and listened. The room was eerily still except for the wind chimes by her open window that tinkled sweetly in harmonizing melodies. Breathlessly, she glanced at the door and fixed her eyes on the polished door knob that glowed in the dark room. She couldn’t be sure whether she had just had a nightmare, or if something had woken her from her sleep.
Pushing her blankets from the edge of the bed, she rolled off the firm mattress and tiptoed over to her window. A cold breeze ran through her body and soon goosebumps covered her pale skin. Outside, it was deathly silent. Nothing stirred down the narrow streets. The moon was full tonight and coldly opposed the warm amber tones of the old Victorian street lamps. Diana watched her breath float from her mouth and disappear in the endless night sky. The houses across the road, which usually looked pleasant and cosy, were now frowning and seemed to loom over the street menacingly with their dark windows and strange shadows.
Her vacant brown eyes then trailed down to the empty parking space where her parents BMW would normally be parked. They had taken it with them on a ferry to Amsterdam. She would have gone with them too if college wasn’t an issue. Her younger sister, Maddie, has just started college and already she had skipped a number of lessons, merely because she disliked the idea of work. For that, both of them were left behind. Maddie was a spur of the moment sort of girl. She was meant to be staying at home tonight to start her coursework, but instead she had decided that she wanted to go to a house party, a few blocks away. She’d probably leave it until the last minute and then scribble some rubbish down a few minutes before it was due in. That was just the kind of girl Maddie was. She never ate proper meals, she never cared much about her appearance and she never ever looked across the road before crossing.
Diana looked at her watch. 3:15 am. Maybe Maddie woke her up, coming in from the party. Without a second thought, she opened her bedroom door and slipped out into the hallway. The floorboards were cold against her bare feet, and as one creaked just above the stair, she found herself frozen to the spot. The gloom from downstairs seemed to be a lot darker and mysterious, like she was going into an ancient basement rather than her minimalist living room. She didn’t dare break the silence and utter her sisters’ name. Instead, she held her breath and carried on moving forward.
The living room was exactly how she left it. Moss green cushions were sprawled out across the white leather settee. An old cup of coffee was set on the glass coffee table, growing a thin skin on the surface of the cold liquid. As Diana bent down to pick up the remote from the floor, her eye caught sight of a wire that trailed across the side of the wall. Strangely, it was cut clean across. She shuffled over to the severed wire and compared the two ends closely. The standby button on the television was still glowing a blood red. Following the wire, it didn’t take long for her to discover that it was actually her phone line that had been cut. To make sure, she lifted the receiver and placed it next to her ear. It was dead. Suddenly, the shadows around her seemed more treacherous. She imagined all kinds of villains, watching and waiting for their first chance to sneak up on her. Her hands rested on her chest, just above her collarbone, as they always did when she was nervous. The warmth of them seemed to calm her down. A bead of sweat ran down her back. Her breathing grew swallow. Who had cut her phone line?
Cautiously, she moved towards the kitchen where she had charged her mobile phone up earlier. Her long hair blew back as she silently hurried through the door into the kitchen area. Her hand ran down the cold marble worktops, feeling for the phone. Her finger caught the edge of a knife and she cried out. There was no way that she had left it there when she went to bed. Panic pulsing through her veins, she faltered for a moment, holding her hand close to her chest. Her heavy breathing drowned out the silence.
She could sense something in the darkness. Someone was here. Someone was in her house.
Finally, her long fingers curled around her mobile phone and instantly she fiddled to unlock the keypad. Then all of a sudden, the lights flickered on and the white light flooded the room, almost blinding Diana who stood shivering in her pyjamas.
“Evening,” the stranger said, his face wide with expression.
Gasping, she turned to face him and backed into the kitchen unit.
He smiled and an indentation of an old scar rippled down his cheek. “You must be Diana.”
As soon as his image sunk into her mind, Diana let out a sigh of relief and smiled back. He wasn’t much older than her and only seemed to be a few inches taller. His hair was jet black and his eyes were big and dark. She was convinced by his long black jacket and shark tooth necklace that he was yet another one of her little sister’s friends she met at house parties. The boy raised his hands up playfully. She couldn’t help but notice the black scorpion tattooed on his left wrist.
“Sorry, I scared you.”
Diana let out another sigh and smiled back. “No- well yes you did but- I mean- I’m sorry, it’s my fault. I freak out a lot.”
“You have a really good reason to. I’d freak out too if a complete stranger just walked into my house in the middle of the night,” he admitted and then held out his hand. “So, my name is Zack.”
Pulling herself away from the kitchen counter, Diana stepped towards him and shook his cold hand. “You already know my name.”
“Ah, you caught me. I’ve been stalking you for quite a while now.”
Diana laughed along with his joke, but once their laughter had faded into silence, it became alarmingly obvious that Maddie’s entrance was a little too postponed. Zack didn’t seem worried at all. “So, what are you doing up so late?”
“You woke me up,” she answered, a little unsure and glanced at her mobile phone. “I was just about to ring Maddie to see where she is.”
Zack’s stare put her a little on edge.
“How long have you known Maddie?”
His smile widened. “A while.”
Silence crept in again as the two characters studied each other. Just by looking in his eyes, Diana could see that he was confident about what he was doing. But what was he doing?
Diana broke the silence and glanced over his shoulder to the dark living room. “Maddie?” Her call was lost in the shadow. “Maddie? You in there?”
She looked back up at Zack whose eyes were admiring and taking mental images of the house in his head.
“Where is she?”
His eyes glowed like a predator, stalking its prey in the dead of night. His face was deadly serious for a moment before his thin lips curled up into a grin.
“Beats me,” he said. “That’s what I want to know too.”
Diana’s stomach dropped as she backed away from him and cornered herself in the kitchen units once more.
“What? W-Who are you?”
“Shame she didn’t lock the doors behind her. How many times have you told her to do that?”
“Get out of my house. I swear to God, I’ll scream.”
“It’s also a shame that there’s no one around to hear it, isn’t it? You could really do with Daddy not being on holiday at the minute.”
“How did you-?” She couldn’t finish her sentence. “Please, just get out.”
“I don’t think I can do that, Diana.”
To be continued...
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