** Hey guys. This is the first chapter of a story I'm considering. Please r/r, and be critical. :) I need it. Anyways. Remember, this is just a story, for my favourite (and unfortunatly off-air :( ) television show. I don't know anyone, or anything that has anything to do with the show, blah blah blah... :) -FF **

Chapter 2

Derek's hands slid down to the sides of the steering wheel absently, his fingers latching in where the center met the actual wheel. Thoughs still focused on the night four weeks ago, he didn't notice the girl up ahead. Jason, however, did.

"Why don't we stop, and pick her up?" He asked suddenly, noticing even himself how odd it sounded, coming from him. After seeing some of the things he had working on at Freakylinks, he had made a promise to himself to never pick up hitchhikers, regardless of gender, or in one strange case, species. "I mean, we're in the middle of nowhere out here, Der."

Derek jumped slightly, hearing his name. "Jesus, Jason." Jason only shrugged slightly. He was supposed to be driving, right? "Yeah, alright." He pulled up ahead of the girl, slowing it to a complete stop gently. Rolling down his window, the girl ran to catch up. "Need a ride into town?"

Stepping into the glow of the truck's headlights, he tooking in her long, straight, jet black hair, and pale, wide set green eyes. They glowed like that of a cat's, caught in a highbeam. "Thanks, but I'm fine. Not too much further in." Derek shrugged, and smiled.

"Are you sure? I mean, it's just cornfields out there." He motioned to the sides of the road, lined with row after row of corn, as far as the eye could see.

"Really, Derek. Nos sends words of congratulations to you. She says she's proud of you for choosing the correct town. She's not far now, you know. Good luck. And good luck to you, as well, Jason." The cat-like girl smiled, a row off too perfect teeth sparkling beneath her blood-red lip, and it was hard not to notice the much-too-sharp canines that indented the bottom one.

Fear shot through Derek's body, burning through his limbs, making his stomach turn. Mouth ajar, he turned to face his friend, who only stared straight out the front window, making no sound, nor movements, at all. His blue eyes jumped to the rear view window, only the red glow of the tail lights meeting his eyes. "She- She's fucking gone!" He hopped out of the car, tearing down the side of the truck.

Jason met him around the back. "We're not even there yet, and this place is starting to really creep me out." He commented softly, glancing around. "Lets just get back in the truck, and keep going, Derek. Derek?" Derek had faded off again, searching through the rows, his pale face, and hair reflecting bright red. Jason snapped his fingers in front of his face, fighting back a mad urge to slap him. "Come on, man!"

"Fine, but you drive. I'm like falling asleep here." Jason nodded his agreement, hand returning to the parked vehicle, not so patiently waiting for Derek to follow suit. Instead of sitting up front with Jason, he instead got in the back, stretching out amongst the clutter and equipment. He dozed off almost instantly, dreaming of what his thoughts were so focused on.


***~~***
- 1 week ealier -

"They got into the system again, Derek. And it was a bitch trying to clean it up afterwards. You have to find out who they are, or I'm gonna pull the site down until they give up." Lan said, diving for the pizza Chloe laid on the table.

"Careful. My fingers aren't for eatting." The pretty young psychologist giggled softly, glancing over at Jason and Derek. Both looked half asleep, having been up most of the previous night, and all day, trying to decode some of the messages they'd been receiving in the many e-mails, hacked pages, and everything. "Do you use the phone in the computer, Lan? I have a couple times, but not my favourite type of communication. I always feel stupid talking to the thing."

Lan nodded, her mouth full of melted cheese, and assorted toppings. "Yeah," she finally managed between mouthfuls. "All the time. I've actually got your cellphone numbers programmed in it."

"Oh, shit!" Derek exclaimed suddenly, causing all of them to jump. Lan coughed loudly, quickly excusing herself. "They can get at our phone numbers. Dammit, why didn't I think of that before. Someone called me not yesterday, but the day before. I answered it, but no one talked. I could hear something in the background. It was almost like an echo. It was as though, someone had just said something, before I picked up, but-but in like a huge room. You know, like in gym class in high school, when everything echoed?" Chloe nodded in agreement, and Lan returned.

"Have you guys managed to figure something out yet?" Lan asked, returning to her pizza slice, but much slower this time, in case of more outbursts.

"You alright? Yeah, a town. Funny name, it's called Nightshade."

"I'm fine. As in the plant, Nightshade?"

"Exactly. So I did a little research. It's actually not that far from here. Maybe a days drive? It's just a tiny little town, maybe two thousand people? But it's very elite. I saw pictures of the houses, and they looked more than a little expensive." Derek laid out a series of photos from a portfolio on the floor beside him. The houses looked typical mansions, the fronts lined with pilars, with several large, plate glass windows, and expansive gardens stretched out the front. "But then check out this one." He set the next one away from the others, still quite taken with it.

The house was more like a castle. It stood at least four stories tall, and stretched to the frame of the photograph, and beyond. Ivy, which had obviously been there for quite a while, came all the way up to an upper window, where the vines gently tappered off to expose the silvery grey brick. Statues stood around the doorway, filling the spaces between the cream pilars, which were cracked, and aged, only adding to the atmosphere. The windows were all black, the folds of curtains barely visible behind the glass.

"This is where we have to go."