Sidney Prescott has spent the last eighteen years of her life watching people die.
She had learned over time how to tell the exact moment that a person's life had left them. She could see a change come over their eyes, a sudden flatness that painted itself across their gaze and a stiffness coming into their jaw, a slackness in their lips, even if they remained warm and upright. She knew without any needed research how little loss of blood it could take to be too much, how even a small area of the body being damaged could so fatally impact its whole. She knew the fear and confusion and sometimes utter shock that each person experienced as the reality of their own impending death dawned on them, sometimes not even moments before it occurred, and she knew that although the methods of demise might differ, in the end, death looked the same on everyone.
She had spent years trying to forget those deaths she had witnessed, and discovering that it was impossible. No matter how brightly she smiled and how busily she threw herself into a daily routine, no matter how she isolated herself or hid, no matter how many therapists she saw- and lied to- and how many people she managed to conceal the truth from, Sidney knew deep down that it was useless. There would not be a day that went by, not one, where something in her environment didn't trigger a memory of someone's fear-bright eyes, darting, of someone's blood-soaked body or rattling last breaths. In the day she could see them, out the corner of her eyes, watching her, almost accusing her, and in the nights they haunted her sleep, chasing her, fighting her, trying to drag her back and toss her down, to make her one of them, as she had always just managed to evade becoming. For the majority of her life she had feared not so much the killers, whatever she might tell herself, but the victims, for their desire to cause her harm was driven by an equally personal motive.
And there were so many more of them than there were of those behind the masks.
She was 34 years old now, and it had been three years since any murders had been linked back to Woodsboro or anything to do with Sidney or a plot to end her life. She had become something out of legends more than a woman simply trying to make her way in the world. Her newest incarnation, as the world knew her, was as a woman who had reclaimed her status as a survivor, a heroine, someone who had raised herself up from adversity to be able to oppose anyone and anything that might try to cause her harm or grief. After all, this was the story that she herself had sold to them, typed up in melodramatic prose, painting a careful picture of her newest and most popular identity.
She was now supposed to be a woman with no remaining insecurities or fears, a woman who could meet her struggles head on and fight until she emerged, perhaps beaten, but undefeated and alive, on the other side. And she was. This was true.
What Sidney didn't share with the world, and what she could hardly begin to acknowledge to herself, was that although she was no longer a victim, would never again allow herself to fit that role, she was beginning to wonder if she had come through so far to the other side that she was beginning to toy with the concept of being the villain. And the more the thought lingered in the recesses of her mind, the more it began to root in, until she was almost certain that yes, things were changing, and she couldn't' deny that she was starting to like it.
She thought at first that the nightmares were simply as they had always been before- memories of the dead and dying, her traumatized mind's way of releasing stress and fear through images in her sleep. But it didn't take long for her to recognize, though she would not at first admit it to herself, that although the dreams' violence was the same, the context was different. Sidney was no longer trying to help the victims, no longer trying to save them from dying…she was leaving them, watching them, and feeling no inclination at all to step forward. Sidney was no longer being chased and threatened by a masked being…she herself was doing the chasing. Sometimes it was she who held the knife in her hand, walking forward to the dying with a smile that looked wrong even to her own eyes. And sometimes, when the mask was removed, it was her own face behind it, looking back at herself with vicious triumph.
Sidney woke from these nightmares breathing hard, her heart pounding erratically in her chest, but she felt no fear, no blanket panic or stress, as she always had before. Instead, there was a feeling of excited adrenaline pulsing through her veins, a stirring of what seemed to be enjoyment, even borderline arousal, settling low in her gut. And when she went to use the bathroom, attempting to shake herself from remembering, and caught a glimpse of her own reflection in the mirror, more often than not, she saw that her eyes were gleaming brightly, her lips curved into a strange smile.
She used to avoid watching horror movies or television shows, especially slasher flicks. There had never been a reason to watch them; Sidney could not become frightened and certainly was not entertained by them, having real life examples to compare to. She still didn't watch them now, but she found herself, more and more, looking up videos on youtube of real life crime, watching the news and scanning with intensity for stories of murder and death. And with every described and depicted case she soaked up the details with fascination, picturing it all so clearly that she felt as though she were there.
And she wanted to be.
Sidney had never really been a very hotheaded person, despite the few times she had once punched Gale Weathers as a younger woman. Although she was not above swearing or becoming impatient with someone who was showing foolish or selfish actions, she was at heart a reserved person, whose anger was often stifled by her fear and her caution. She had seen too many times, too vividly, how anger could destroy a person, could cause a person to feel validated to destroy others as well, and she had actively fought to force down anger of her own until it could be used to aid her in necessary self-defense.
But lately, Sidney had noticed herself becoming incensed by even the smallest of slights or irritations…lately, if someone cut her off in traffic or spoke sharply to her in a store, if someone was less than cordial or even simply got her order wrong, she felt a rage flare through her chest that seemed to heat her entire body, and images came to her mind of just how she would like to handle the person, just how to give them what it seemed to her they clearly deserved. The images started mildly, with envisioning of her own hands shoving them down, backhanding them across the face, or pinching their side, but soon Sidney saw herself kicking them on the ground, hitting them repeatedly with her fists, hearing them scream, watching them bleed, and enjoying every moment of it. And sometimes, just sometimes, before she quickly forced her attention away, she thought in her own imagination that she saw something in her hand, something long and sharp and glinting just enough for her to guess, but not quite allow herself to know or see, that it could have been a knife.
Sometimes Sidney's cell phone rings, and a chill goes up her spine before she can check the name flashing across its screen. But it is not fear she feels, but anticipation, not dread, but eagerness. Because she may not recognize the voice on the other line, but she is certain, in those few seconds, that it will be familiar- and perhaps she will have quite a lot to say.
Sometimes she finds herself walking slowly down the aisles of supercenters, pausing in the housewares department, and her eyes rake slowly over the available selection of knives, her fingers drifting over them with a loving caress. And not just sometimes, but each time, she finds herself wandering to the Halloween section, as the fall season begins, her eyes skipping past every mask until they settle on one in particular. Each time her fingers reach forward, slowly stroking over its plastic contours, and she itches with the sudden desire that was nearly a need to slip it on over her own head.
So far Sidney has resisted. But if she ever came into her own desire, she is almost certain that something will happen, something she is not entirely sure she would regret.
Sometimes there are spaces of time missing out of her days, minutes or even hours where Sidney is unsure of where she was or what she did, who she was with or whether she had been anywhere at all. On those days she finds herself scanning the news with even more intensity than usual, unsure of what she is looking for, but knowing all the same that she must. And on those days a hazy suspicion begins to creep into her thoughts, a semi clarity of wondering that Sidney will never dare to voice aloud.
Is she really above it, her own experiences, her own genetics, when twice over, the tendency to kill has run deep within her own family tree? She does not believe in fate, or so she proclaims, but does she truly trust herself, the mask she presents to all the world, to override the mask her hand itches so badly to slip over her face?