don't remember my name.
I don't really care.
footprints on the light pine floorboard greeted Tom Locke when he
stepped into the house.
Oh, Lord no, his first thought was. It would be a tragedy that the day he finally got off work early to actually attend dinner, would be the same day somebody broke into the house and slaughtered those he loved.
His muscles tensed in anticipation as he silently placed his leather bag against the wall. He carefully took out the revolver in his girdle and flipped the safety off. He followed the footprints down the hall as quietly as he could. The footprints looked small and female. It definitely wasn't Dee's, because Dee would have had the intruder knocked out cold and probably in jail before he would have known about the break-in. It wasn't Audrey's, because Tom had seen her and Michael fussing in the Oriental Cuisine aisle at the market only ten minutes ago. That narrowed it down to two possibilities – Summer or Andrea.
Even as he
thought it, Summer appeared in front of him suddenly. She wore a blue
bandana and had blood stains on her cheeks and on her blouse. Her
blue eyes went wide in fright when she looked right into the barrel
of his revolver.
"Tom!" Summer cried, hands flying to her lips.
Tom lowered his gun, and blinked at her. "Are you okay?"
"Are you okay?" Summer yelped. "What's with the gun?"
"I..." Tom glanced down at the footprints again, and stepped forward to look past Summer into the room behind her.
splattered against one wall, mixed with deep yellows and bright
blues. Not blood, Tom thought and felt like kicking himself as
he put the gun away. Paint.
"Uh... what are you doing?" Tom asked, rubbing his head in embarrassment.
"Anny felt like redecorating her room." Summer said, glancing over her shoulder before turning back to him. "You're jumpy lately."
"It's work." Tom said, and Summer didn't press the issue.
"You're home early!" Another voice said behind him, and Tom was faced with a girl as tiny as Summer was, with sparkling green eyes and flowing golden hair that almost seemed to shimmer in the light. Her arms wrapped around him spontaneously in a friendly hug, and when she pulled away Tom flushed.
so glad I'm not cooking tonight." The girl added, and flashed him
a sweet smile that could melt the devil. "Wait, why are you home
early? There's nothing wrong at work, is there?"
"No, Andrea. I just thought it would be nice to join you guys for supper." Tom said.
"Yeah, right." She rolled her eyes and gave him a cunning look. "It wouldn't have anything to do with Murray sending you home early, would it?"
"What?" Tom asked, startled.
"I called him this morning and told him I don't care if he thinks he's the sheriff in this town," Andrea picked up a heavy western accent. "I want mah boy home before dinner taime, or I'm comin' after ya."
"Anny." Tom chided.
"Well, what? You don't even know what this place looks like in daylight, Tom, you get in way too late. Do you know last week I didn't get to see you for three days straight?" Andrea said defensively and stepped into the room.
her hands on her hips, studying the mess of paint against the walls,
and turned to him with a smile.
For a moment, Tom thought it was Jenny looking back at him. The smile, the eyes, the hair, the golden sheen that seemed to follow her as if she was an angel. He looked at the room again, and sighed. Andrea might have a somewhat uncanny resemblance to Jenny, but she most certainly wasn't Jenny.
What do you think?" Andrea asked.
"I'm glad it's not my room?" Tom said after a moment, and Andrea huffed at him.
"I think it's great." Summer said. "It's different."
"Hmm." Andrea twirled in a circle, and stopped to look at them curiously. "I've always liked different. I'm thirsty. Juice, anyone?"
Tom followed the girls down the hallway to the kitchen, but paused at the sound of a door swinging open on its hinges behind him. He half-turned to stare at the cellar door. It stood ajar and all he could see inside was inky blackness. Tom frowned and yanked the door closed firmly, turning the key to lock it. It didn't open again.
the girls draped around the breakfast nook in the kitchen, and
accepted the tall glass of juice Summer offered him.
"I'm going to be a little late with rent this month." Andrea was saying. "The royalties are few and far between lately."
"When are you going to get a job, Anny?" Tom asked, annoyed. "I don't like these excuses you keep coming up with. If it doesn't pay, it's not a job."
"I told you, one day my work is going to get the spotlight it deserves and then you'll eat your words." Andrea said, pointing a threatening finger at him. "And writing isn't as easy as you think. There's a lot that goes into it that you don't even know about."
write a book, too, Anny. In a week." Tom said, frowning at her.
"Yeah, but could you write a best seller?" Andrea said.
"Probably." Tom shrugged.
"Please." Andrea laughed.
"So how does painting your room help you finish that book of yours?" Tom asked.
"It doesn't." Andrea said and pursed her lips. "I needed a break."
"From writing?" Tom snorted.
"Yeah," Andrea said uncertainly. "I don't know. I scare myself sometimes. Like, this morning when everyone was off to work, I was working on the scene where my protagonist gets trapped in a chimney when she's trying to hide from her nemesis, and she discovers that there's something trapped in the chimney with her that only she can see and hear, and..." Andrea trailed off, staring toward the kitchen doorway.
glanced toward the empty hallway, and looked back at her. "And you
thought you heard something?"
"Someone." Andrea finally looked at him. She licked her lips, and shifted uneasily. "I thought I heard someone in the house. And the voice was... well... weird. Like... not a real voice. But it's an overload of imagination. I was overdue for a break."
"Maybe you should write about white bunnies and pink ponies instead." Tom suggested.
"Oh, gosh, and next thing you know I'm seeing bunnies and ponies everywhere." Andrea said and giggled.
"Speaking about seeing things. Are you going over tomorrow, Tom?" Summer asked.
grimaced. It had become their way of referring to Jenny indirectly.
Going Over to see Jenny. Tom didn't see the point in it anymore.
She wasn't going to get any better, in fact, she'd only gotten
worse as time wore on. Tom couldn't help the disappointment he felt
after every visit to Jenny. Just thinking about it now made his blood
"I don't know." Tom said.
"I am." Summer said. "She needs you there, too."
"I don't know." Tom said again. "She won't let bygones be bygones."
"It's the trauma." Summer protested.
"What trauma, Summer? Four years later? It's a bit late for trauma to set in, don't you think?"
"You don't know what she had to go through, Tom. None of us do, not really." Summer said.
cleared her throat. "I'll go with you, Tom."
Summer and Tom both looked at her in surprise, then exchanged awkward glances.
"Don't bother. I'm not going." Tom said.
"Fine. Can I come with you, Summer?" Andrea asked expectantly.
"Anny, it's a bit... weird." Summer shook her head.
"She doesn't know you." Tom added.
"So? Maybe that's what Jenny needs. A new face to come say hi. She only gets to see you guys and her family all the time." Andrea said. "Besides, I'd like to finally meet the girl Tom is so hung-over about."
"No." Tom snapped. "Anny, just let it go."
"You know, I've been living in this house with you guys for two years already." Andrea said as Tom got up to leave the kitchen. "What exactly is this big secret about Jenny that no one is willing to discuss?"
groaned when she followed him down the hall and up the stairs to his
"Tom, come on. I thought we were friends." Andrea accused.
"We are, Anny. It's just something we don't want to talk about."
"Just tell me something, Tom. You know I won't let this go until you do, don't you?" Andrea leaned against his door, arms folded across her chest in determination.
Tom sat down on his bed and pulled off his shoes, glaring back at her.
"Fine. But if I tell you, you have to swear not to bring it up. Ever."
"Scouts honour." Andrea flashed him another sweet smile.
"When we were in high school, something really bad happened to us. All of us. And it was because of Jenny that it happened." Tom licked his lips and thought for a moment, frowning hard. "Some... guy, some lunatic had been stalking her and then he tried to force Jenny to become his. I'm foggy on the details, but I remember he ended up dying. Jenny hasn't been the same afterward. She hadn't been the same ever since that guy showed up in the first place."
stopped and looked at her. Andrea's eyebrows were arched in
surprise as she stared back at him.
"No drugs. No murders. No blood and gore?" Andrea frowned.
"No, well... he was crazy." Tom sighed heavily.
"Sounds like a bad rip-off of I know What You Did Last Summer."
"Not really." Tom said and took off his uniform jacket.
"How did he die?"
Tom froze for a second, then reached for a clean shirt.
"Does it matter? He's dead, that's all."
"Did one of you guys do it? Was it Dee?" Andrea dropped her voice to a whisper.
"No, he, uh... he sort of killed himself."
"A suicide!" Andrea gasped, stunned. "He killed himself because why? Because Jenny wasn't interested?"
"It was either him or Jenny." Tom said slowly, and frowned at Andrea's expression.
"He didn't happen to have a name, did he?" She responded to his stare.
"Umm... probably. Can't remember what, though." Tom thought hard for a few minutes, and shook his head with a laugh. "Funny. And I thought I'd never be able to forget."
said nothing. She hesitated in the doorway, and simply turned to walk
Tom watched her go, and tried to squish the unsettling feeling in the pit of his stomach. He took out his police badge and tossed it on the bed behind him.
Maybe he should go see Jenny, but the truth was that he was afraid.
He was afraid of the place she was stuck in.
It's fan-fiction so I don't need to disclaim the characters.
Except for Andrea, and Dr Selven, and the others that aren't
mentioned in the published TFG trilogy - they are all my own
Lyrics are from Evanescence throughout.