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ProfNigma Stories #10: Schneider’s Island #1

iCarly/Victorious: Schneider’s Island #14 – Bang Sigh

[Author’s Note: I do want to explain something. As I was writing, I realized that this chapter was going to be extremely dark and painful. It is not for the easily upset. And because of how tough this chapter is, I thought that my planned ending, my true ending, was a bit darker than I felt many readers would want after all that, so I decided to write two. And so you can choose which you want to believe. The ‘happier’ ending will go along with the story, and then after a break, for those that want to read it, I have the ending I believe is more realistic. Without any further ado, here we go…]

Schneider’s Island, 1995

“Are you sure?” Robert Singer said, almost panting as he paced around his cabin, staring at his long-time ‘secret’ girlfriend, who held a small white plastic stick in her hands. “Those things can be very inaccurate, Sarah.”

“That’s why I used 3…” she muttered, sinking into his chair. “All came out the same way. Big shiny plus sign.”

“Well, you can’t…” Singer started, with a huff, realizing what he was actually suggesting. “Steven is going to know it’s not his if that baby just suddenly appears. Doesn’t take a friggin’ math whiz to understand how long 9 months is.”

“Plus, he’s incapable.” Sarah sighed, looking all around the room, which had been her safe haven and an escape from her lonely life when Steven was deployed, when Spencer was just too much to handle. Bobby had been her rock and she couldn’t help but love him even though she could never have a future with him. “That’s why we got Spencer.”

“You know that boy is the spitting image of the two of you,” Singer said, taking a seat opposite his girlfriend.

“I know…” she said, standing up to look out the window at the young boy chasing seagulls with some of the locals. “You can thank Steven’s late br*ther Keith for that one, but that guy and his wife were assholes so it’s probably for the best. I know we should probably tell him the truth one day, but he seems like such a happy k*d. Steven seems set on him being our son, and not ever worry about the truth or anything like that. But deep down, I just don’t have that connection with him. I just look at him and see Keith, and I just don’t care.”

“Surely you don’t mean you don’t love the k*d after this long?” he said, sitting up straight in the chair to look at her, his mind racing with this development.

“You just implied I need to abort a ch*ld that I actually want, and you want to lecture me about love?!” she suddenly turned on him. “I’m not getting rid of this baby, so you might as well get ready to tell Marissa the truth. I can accept whatever Steven has to say. Maybe we can-”

“No…” he said, coolly, “Marissa’s about as barren as it gets, and it would kill her to know that I not only cheated on her, but was having a baby with one of her best friends.”

“Then let it kill her. We deserve this,” she said, getting in his face. “I deserve this. To be happy. To have a f*mily with the people I love.”

“And I’ll just sit here and wait for him to come back from duty and put a bullet or 10 in me for sl*eping with his wife?” he said sardonically, throwing his hands in the air. “Either get rid of it, or never talk to me again. That’s my ultimatum.”

Sarah didn’t know what took over her, but she lunged at the partner in her illicit affair, and slapped him as hard as he could, trying to scratch his eyes out, before he finally got her off of him.

“No!” he said, kicking her in the side and rising above her. “Get out, you crazy bitch!”

Sarah simply nodded, her composure returning as Singer watched her grip her side as she struggled to walk toward the door, crushed more by the emotional pain than the soon to be bruise forming just over her k*dneys.

* * *

“Did you ever truly care about him?” Carly asked, not making eye contact with her mother as they stood over her ‘br*ther’s’ body.

“I don’t believe so,” the woman said coldly. “He wasn’t my ch*ld, and I was just expected to treat him like he was when your good for nothing ‘father’ couldn’t even give me one of my own.”

“I think I loved him,” Carly said, cocking her head to the side. “He practically raised me for half my life. Though I probably took care of him more… he was a good br*ther. That’s why he was so much harder than any of the others. I tried to put on the brave confident face you showed me, but killing my br*ther was-.”

“But he was not your br*ther,” Sarah Shay snapped. “Never was. He only pretended, and that’s all anyone has ever done in your ‘f*mily’- pretend.”

“Except for Freddie,” Carly said, with a sigh. “I don’t think he was pretending to care about me for so long.”

“And look where that got you…” the woman sneered. “You cannot lower yourself to weakness. All Steven and this bastard ch*ld ever did was make you weak, to subjugate you like what they wanted you to be. He served his purpose, and now you need to finish the job.”

“Are you ok, mom?” Carly asked, finally looking into her mother’s eyes. “I know that escape wasn’t necessarily easy. Did Andre-”

“The black k*d didn’t embarrass himself, if that’s what you’re asking. Put up a brave fight… which is more than I can say about most of these overgrown ch*ldren.”

“You can thank Jade for that then…” Carly said, rolling her eyes as she said the former Goth’s name. “Every other person she invited I thought might be a potential risk.”

“Believe me, I intend to thank her…” her mother said. “Speaking of, we need to talk about Freddie and-”

“SPENCER?!”

The two Shay women froze for a few moments before Carly rushed to the important part of this meeting. “Pretty sure that was Freddie… Look, mom… the Coast Guard is on the way. They got through and we maybe have a couple hours to finish everything up.”

Sarah nodded quickly before the two of them headed up the hill and out of sight of whoever it might be that was heading toward Spencer’s body.

* * *

“Come on, sweetie… just a little bit further…”

Tori was doing her best to carry Savanna, but after quite a bit of running, the 4 year old had gotten significantly heavier. Now running together with Tori almost dragging the young ch*ld, praying that they would find this boathouse Spencer and Carly mentioned soon.

“But I’m tired… and my legs hurt…” Savanna whined, and while normally Tori would be in control of her emotions and relax the scared and tired girl, this was not one of those times.

Luckily for the small girl, she didn’t have to face the fierce Vega temper, as the two finally saw the boat house, tucked on the very edge of the island, and they couldn’t help but feel a deep relief that they were on their way to somewhere that was possibly safe. What Tori did not count on, however, was that barrel of a gun that would be pointed right in her face when she arrived.

“Whoa!” the singer exclaimed, as she nearly fell backwards from the scare that the blonde guard gave her, prepared for any threat that might emerge. “Sam?!”

“Oh…” she said, rolling her eyes and raising her weapon. “It’s just you two. Get bored at the police station?”

“The lady got out!” Savanna exclaimed, still feeling a bit scared from Sam pointing the gun at her.

“Are you fu…” Sam caught herself, looking at the young girl. “Are you friggin’ k*dding me, right now?”

“No ma’am…” Savanna said, hoping Sam wouldn’t go off on her like she did the adults.

“I know…” the blonde muttered, looking to Tori for an explanation, but instead turned all the way around and punched a wooden beam in the boathouse. “How the hell did this exactly happen?”

“We don’t know…” Tori said, dodging eye contact. “She just burst out. We think someone must be helping her.”

“I friggin’ knew it!” Sam said, punching the beam again. “Spencer has been in cahoots with the crazy b… witch since day one. I should have-”

“I don’t think it was Spencer,” Tori said, covering Savanna’s ears even though it didn’t exactly stop the damage of badmouthing her father. “He and Carly were in the woods together and he gave us directions to come here to you.”

“What about Andre?” Sam asked, knowing the answer already, but when Tori offered nothing more than a shrug, the already temperamental blonde became livid. “That’s all you can-”

“He held her off while we escaped. I don’t know if he’s okay or not… but it’s thanks to him that Savanna and I made it out of there.”

“This bitch has got to die.” Sam’s eyes were closed now as she sank down to sit on the floor. “Dude was the one decent guy left on this island, and he was sweet and funny, and… and he at least listened to my thoughts on putting that crazed cunt in the ground and-”

“Sam!” Tori said, her eyes wide due to the language, but Sam simply rolled her eyes and prepared to continue.

“HELLO… SCHNEIDER’S ISLAND, DO YOU COPY?” came the radio voice which stopped the blonde’s tantrum.

“This is Schneider’s,” she said, leaping for the radio. “We have an emergency.”

“WE KNOW, SCHNEIDER’S. WE ARE STILL FACING WEATHER.”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “Things have changed. The killer we captured has gotten loose on the island, and we need you guys to really hurry it up over there. We need all the help we can get.”

“ROGER THAT, SCHNEIDER’S. WE WILL SEND MORE LAW ENF*RCEMENT OFFICERS ALONG WITH THE RESCUE TEAM.”

Sam sneered at the radio and considered smashing it like the ones in the police station, but she knew they needed it, even if the cops were going to be absolutely useless. Instead she pulled her fist back and slammed it into the same beam of the boathouse, which apparently knocked some-thing loose as the beam began to lurch and creak.

The three young women looked above them, as a large shape began to shift, revealing that it was actually a boat, and suddenly it began to fall to the ground, heading straight for Savanna. Sam managed to move out of the way, but as Tori pulled Savanna away, the bulky boat hit the pop singer’s arm and a sickening sound emerged from amidst the dirt and debris created by the crash.

Once it was clear, Sam raced over to Tori, and it only took one look to see that the arm was broken. But Savanna was alright and, maybe it was the adrenaline, or something stronger, but that seemed to still be her only focus.

Once Tori’s injury was accounted for, the other elephant in the room became the primary focus- this boat. It had a motor and as far as Sam could tell, it seemed to actually be fairly serviceable, despite only being big enough for a few people. For the first time, in what felt like years for the web sidekick, she felt a true glimmer of hope.

“Girls…” she said, looking Tori and Savanna in the eyes, as if to prep them for what would no doubt contain profanity. “We’re getting off this fucking island.”

* * *

“Carly?!” Freddie called out. “Spencer?!”

“Freddie…” Jade said, holding close to him with one arm, and holding her dress up with the other as they headed through the woods, trying to make as little noise as possible. “Are you sure we should be making this much noise?”

“We’re just trying to find the others,” he said, stroking her hair and kissing her forehead, knowing she was scared. “The woman is locked up. I’ve got my gun just in case someone else tries to kill us. We’re ok.”

“I know… but someone or something made those noises back at the inn, and I just-”

Jade stopped as she felt Freddie not only stop moving, but begin to pull away from her entirely, his focus honed in on something in the distance. It didn’t take more than a few seconds to figure out what he was staring at.

Spencer’s body.

“Oh no…” she said, her eyes widening as she moved behind Freddie as he slowly approached his long-time neighbours’ lifeless body. He leaned over to check for any vitals, but Jade pulled him back. “Don’t get too close, babe.”

“I have to see if he’s got any signs of…” Freddie started. “The way we talked… the way I left things with him. The things I said…”

“You can’t blame yourself, Freddie…” she said, seeing the tears begin to well up in his eyes. “It’s o-”

“Don’t you dare just say it’s ok,” he said, getting on his knees. “It’s not. It never will be. I have to live with what I said and did. But mark my words… no one else is going to die here.”

* * *

Seattle General Hospital 1996

“And you two are absolutely sure?” Marissa said, looking through the glass at the two babies closest to the window. She couldn’t bear to look over at Steven, and she already couldn’t bear to even make eye contact with Sarah, wherever she was in the hospital. Ever since she found out that her ex-boyfriend had not only cheated with her, but also fathered her babies, the nurse had a hard time even being around Sarah Shay. “It seems wrong to separate them.”

“It doesn’t matter what she thinks… I know it’s for the best,” Steven said, speaking for both him and his wife, whose opinion he really didn’t care to bother with. He had seen that she paid for her transgressions, and he felt that she would not break their vows ever again. “We already have Spencer, so I don’t need another boy. I don’t need a girl either, but Sarah seems to think we should keep one of them. Given how much the boy favours Robert, I believe the choice was simple.”

Marissa stared down at the twin babies and was actually surprised how much they looked like each of their parents, and figured it was best for it to happen this way. She sighed as she began to wonder if she would ever tell him the truth about his scumbag father or that his mother was the woman right across the hall. It didn’t take her more than a few glances to fall in love with the tiny baby boy, and it didn’t take much convincing either for Steven to talk her into formally adopting him right away. She had no idea how Sarah felt, and honestly, she didn’t care. It was clear that she wasn’t okay with this, but there was this stinging petty feeling inside the nurse that just thought ‘Good… let her have to see her son grow up without her.’

“What if they ask questions?”

“Marissa…” Steven said, not losing his stern composure. “The k*ds will only know and believe what we tell them. I’ve already got a birthday in mind for Carly, my mother’s, and she won’t know the difference, because we will be the only parents she’s ever known. Just like Spencer. Just make up a lie for him and that will be that.”

“This just seems… wrong,” the nurse said, watching the k*ds interact and hold hands. “I mean, I’ve already made the preparations, but seeing them now… I just don’t know.”

“Look,” Steven said sternly, turning her body so that he could look into her eyes. “I don’t want that k*d. So either you can take him, and I know you want a baby, and you’ve already fallen for him… or he can get thrown into the system with the rest of the unwanted k*ds. No muss, no fuss…”

Marissa closed her eyes for a moment, gathering her thoughts. “I guess so. But I reserve the right to tell him the truth when he’s older.”

“Do whatever you want, Marissa. We’ve been friends for a while, and I know you’ll be a good mother, even if you can’t seem to move out of that death-trap you call an apartment building over at Bushwell, and that’s why I feel like this is the right thing to do.” Steven narrowed his eyes, with a deep sneer and pointing his finger at her. “But let me be clear, if I ever see Robert again, I will kill that son of a bitch on sight.”

* * *

Up above the grieving couple, Carly and her mother sat and watched them mourn Spencer, silently focused on figuring out the next part of the plan. Sarah knew what she really wanted here, but from the look on Carly’s face, she could tell her daughter was beginning to have her doubts.

“Now is the time to act when it comes to splitting those two up permanently,” the woman whispered to her daughter. “You know what you have to do if you truly want to be happy.”

“I know, mom…” Carly said with a deep sigh. “I guess I was just hoping…”

“As I have taught you, though f*mily is important, love can blind us. Love makes us weak. To be stronger we must destroy the love in our ‘s no hope for him. I wanted us to be an f*mily, but he’s made it abundantly clear he doesn’t want that. He just wants her. And so he needs to know suffering…” Sarah’s eyes flared with a fiery rage, clearly seeing so much of Singer in their son. “Then we can offer him a choice, but we can’t exactly get our hopes up, can we, sweetie?”

“No, mom…” the former web star began to breathe deep, closing her eyes tightly, trying desperately to gain her composure. “I understand now… I will have to kill Freddie.”

* * *

Schneider’s Island 1997

Sarah Shay ran through the inn, her clothes caked with the bl**d of a maid that had unfortunately caught her in the act of slitting a rude guest’s throat. The maid seemed like a nice enough girl, but there could be no witnesses for what she had planned for each and every person on this is-land. They would feel her pain. Specifically Bobby and Steven.

She knew that the life and rescue boats would be coming soon, but she had no idea that they would arrive so quickly. Silently she cursed herself for waiting until the winter for this, rather than the summer which made it hard to get in and out with all the fog and migrations. There was so much more carnage she wanted to exact on every person here. And she had yet to see that coward of a deputy.

Out the window, however, she saw something even more frustrating. Steven, Spencer, and Carly. Her ‘f*mily.’ She paused for a moment and saw them racing for the pier. She had planned to make an example out of Steven. To torture him and make him suffer, but as she watched him run with that baby carrier, she knew she didn’t stand a chance. He was actually protecting the ch*ld, and she would never stand a chance. This strange moment of clarity caused her to freeze, feeling the sting of regret; not for the killing, but for how badly planned this was. If she wanted to really make people suffer, this was not the way- killing each and every one and then dying in a bl**dy shootout.

Sarah took a deep breath and knew that her grand scheme wasn’t done. She needed to get away from here and out of the way if she ever wanted justice for her suffering. She stared down at the lifeless body of the maid, and quickly gathered her thoughts. She d**g the body down to the incinerator/furnace in the basement, and quickly undressed. Slipping her clothes, as well as all of her identification onto the dead maid, she then loaded her up into the furnace, before grabbing a spare uniform from the storage closet.

The young woman easily slipped into the crowd of frantic islanders, and made her way to the marina. As she walked by she saw Singer and Steven almost side by side, cornering a bl**d soaked foreigner that had gotten in her way. His wife or girlfriend was dead, but she silently cursed her-self for not finishing the job on him.

She was happily stunned when Bobby unloaded his gun on the European tourist, and that was the end of Sarah’s loose end. She raced toward a quickly filling boat of survivors and put on her best scared face, as the boat took off, and she felt completely confident that she’d be back and strike where it would truly hurt them.

* * *

“I don’t understand…” Tori exclaimed, trying to figure out how to put the adult life jacket on Savanna with just one hand, and without it negating the entire purpose for it, “why don’t you just come with us?”

“Because…” Sam said, annoyed that her conscience was bothering her as she jerked on the cord to start the boat, “Carly and Freddie are both still out there somewhere, and I don’t think I could leave, knowing that I abandoned them. Probably did that too much already.”

“What about my daddy… or Miss Jade?” Savanna asked, looking helpless in the oversized safety vest.

“Well, if they’re around too, then I guess I will help them too.”

Tori shot a look of disgust for the way that Sam was talking, right in front of Spencer’s daughter, but secretly she hoped Sam would find Jade too as the girls definitely needed to talk. “And you’re absolutely sure about this?”

“I’m positive, Tori… and-”

“Then all three of us should stay…” Tori said, defiantly, feeling shame still from the last time she tried to leave the island risking the lives of the others. “It’s only right.”

“No, it’s fucking idiotic is what it is…” Sam said, shaking her head at the newly brave singer. “You both are completely goddamn useless between your broken arm, and… well, Savanna being an actual baby.”

“I’m not a baby!” Savanna screamed, clearly showing that this was quite a sore subject for the tyke. “I’m almost five!”

Tori stared at Sam, as if eye contact would change the blonde’s mind, but as she ripped the cord one last time, and the engine fired up, the answer became abundantly obvious.

“Tell Jade I’m sorry…” Tori said, praying that she could actually deliver that message.

“Yeah yeah yeah… we all got regrets,” Sam said, rolling her eyes and pushing the boat off as far as she reasonably could. The blonde waited for a few moments outside the boathouse taking several deep breaths, praying for their safety as they headed out into the open water, and praying that she had not just made a huge mistake.

* * *

“Carly?!” Freddie shouted, practically running through the woods now. “Carly?! Can you hear me?!”

Jade was doing her best to try and keep up with her fiancée as he rushed through the woods, much more interested in finding his long-time friend and former crush than anything else at the moment.

“We need to just go, Freddie…” Jade said, reaching to touch his shoulder.

“Carly’s probably out here looking for Spencer, and she can’t…” he stared into Jade’s eyes, his distress so clear, it was almost haunting. “I can’t just let her find him… not like that. She’s gotta be out here looking for him and-”

“He’s dead, Freddie!” Jade said, almost slapping him to make him face reality. “Whether she finds him or not doesn’t change the fact that he’s dead and we need to get the fuck out of here if that psycho bitch is back on the loose.”

“But-”

“Look…” she said calmly, her temper starting to wither. “Let’s just head back to the boathouse. Carly knows the way and she might have gone there looking for him. I’d just feel safer there.”

Freddie really wanted to argue and keep searching, but he couldn’t. She was right… “Alright… let’s go to the boathouse. Worst case scenario, we can just wait for the others there.”

* * *

“Coast Guard, do you copy? This is Schneider’s Island…” Sam said into the microphone, silently cursing herself for not going with Tori and Savanna still. “Coast Guard, Coast Guard, do you copy?”

“COAST GUARD HERE, SCHNEIDER’S.”

“Still pretty urgent you guys get here, but there’s a small boat on the… west side of the island. Two of our injured are in there.”

“ANY CRITICAL INJURIES, SCHNEIDER’S?”

“Nothing critical,” Sam said, still shaking her head, and so, so focused on the conversation, she didn’t even notice that she was no longer alone in the boathouse. “One’s a small k*d, and the other has a broken arm. Two females.”

Carly slowly slipped the knife from her pocket, ready to make this go as quick as possible, but hearing that Sam had gotten Tori and Savanna out completely complicated things. The former web star had to think fast if her plan was going to work out.

“ALRIGHT, SCHNEIDER’S WE’LL BE ON THE LOOKOUT.”

“Thank God,” the blonde said, rolling her eyes, and turning around slowly, just in time to see that she wasn’t alone. “What the shit, Carls?!”

“Sorry, I-”

“WHAT WAS THAT, SCHNEIDER’S?”

“Sorry,” Sam said into the small receiver. “Another survivor here, Carly Shay, snuck up on me. Was still holding the button down. My bad.”

“Did I hear that Savanna and Tori were able to get away?” Carly asked innocently and inquisitively.

“Yeah…” the blonde said, tucking her hair behind her ear and putting her gun against the wall behind her. “Found an old boat, and after hearing that psycho bitch was out, I thought it was best. I told you guys we needed to put a fucking bullet in her brain and be done with this.”

Carly put on her best stunned face at this revelation. “What?! How did she get out?!”

“I don’t know, but I…” the former sidekick paused for a second, and thought back to what Tori had said about running into Spencer and Carly after they had escaped the police station. “I thought-”

“Why didn’t you go off with them, Sam?” Carly interrupted, hoping to distract her from whatever info she had rattling around in her already practically empty head thanks to booze and depression, since she was so easily to get off topic. “If she is loose, why not get in the boat with them? Was there not room?”

“There was, but… I mean…” Sam said, shaking off whatever thought she had going beforehand. “Someone had to stay here with the radio… and in case you or the others needed any help. You are my best friend, you know, Carly.”

“That has to be…” Carly said, offering an almost smile as she spoke, her eyes narrowing a bit, “the single dumbest thing you have ever done, Sam.”

Carly delivered a soft punch to the blonde’s shoulder, which threw her ‘best friend’ off a bit, unnerved by how calm, and almost a bit giddy, the dark haired girl had become.

“Carly, what-”

“SCHNEIDER’S, DO YOU COPY?”

“Yes, we do,” Sam said, leaping toward the radio. “What’s up?”

“MISS PUCKETT, WE HAVE A CHOPPER ON THE WAY TO PICK YOU GUYS UP, AND ANOTHER BOAT COMING IN SHORTLY AFTER. I’D SAY ABOUT AN HOUR OUT, POSSIBLY LESS.”

“Fuckin’ A,” Sam said, now grinning ear to ear. “That’s great.”

“YOU NEED TO TAKE MISS SHAY, AND THE OTHERS TO THE MARINA WHEN THE CHOPPER LANDS THERE.”

Unbeknownst to the suddenly happy blonde, Carly was going over the blonde’s gun, and quickly swapped her gun for Sam’s, putting it right back into its spot.

“Sounds great, Coast Guard. Thanks,” Sam said, putting the receiver down, feeling unbridled hope throughout her entire body, but she still felt a strong pang in her gut. “Where’s Spencer?”

“I don’t know…” Carly said, taking a seat near the door. “We got split up in the woods when we were on our way back. I was kinda hoping he came back here.”

“Well, if the bitch is on the loose, and your br*ther is missing too, than it doesn’t take a genius to see the bad fucking juju that I, once again, warned you guys about.” Sam took a second to find her gun again. “First thing’s first, we need to find Spencer, and as soon as we do, we find the others and let them know the update.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Carly said, following her ‘best friend’ out of the boathouse, carefully planning when to make her next move.

* * *

“Spencer?!” Carly called out, slinking behind Sam. “Jade?! Freddie?!”

“Can anyone hear us?!” Sam called out, but still they were getting absolutely nothing for a response back after nearly 10 minutes of walking. “This is a waste of time…”

“No, it’s not…” Carly said, her friend unable to see her slight smirk. “I just can’t quite figure out how she could have gotten loose after all that rope and putting her in the cell.”

“Hell if I know…” Sam mumbled with a slight shrug, raising her gun at anything and everything that moved, ready to fire the moment that woman entered her sights.

“Maybe you guys were right and she was getting help from someone in the group,” Carly said, beginning to just chatter at this point. “Maybe they let her out.”

“Yeah…” Sam said, not even attempting to look at Carly as she spoke. “I’ve been giving that some real thought. I don’t really know if it could have been Spencer since he was never near her or her cell. I mean… I don’t think he even saw the bitch.”

“What if she had a k*d…” Carly said, almost taunting the blonde with the idea. “She looked old enough to have a grown up k*d.”

“If she had a k*d, they’d have to be a fuckin’ ghost…” she fired back. “That’s only way they slipped through all the group and let her ass out.”

“Or maybe they’re someone inside the group.” Carly said, just waiting for Sam to catch on so she could put an end to this. “Hell, I tied her up with you guys… maybe I slipped her something to set her free.”

“Whatever, Carly…” Sam rolled her eyes. “Fine… let’s say, hypothetically, you’re right and she has a k*d. They’d have to be as fucked as her… and we’d have noticed; a fucked up and twisted piece of shit like that.”

“Maybe they aren’t crazy or anything like that… maybe they are just angry,” the former web star said, her smile nearly evident in her voice. “I mean… if your mom was a murderer, and you were lied to about her your whole life… that would make you pretty mad. I’d be pissed.”

“Give me a goddamn break, Carly,” Sam said, now fully turned around for a moment. “We have just sat here for the last week watching every single person that we care about and love be murdered by some psychopath. We have a fucking reason to be pissed. Not some whiny little bitch momma’s boy or girl.”

“I don’t know about that, Sam… all those lies and secrets about their mom, and a father who doesn’t even know she exists, and being stuck with people who never really wanted her… or him… all that is enough to make someone go crazy. And if one day, the mom showed up and shined a light on this huge conspiracy, exposing the truth behind everyone’s lies. If that were me, I’d certainly help get some revenge, and-”

“Can you fucking shut up with this shit?” Sam asked, looking back again, her eyes narrowed, showing that she was clearly done with Carly’s word vomit. “You’re freaking me the hell out, Carls.”

“Sorry,” the former web star said, almost in a monotone. “I guess I talk when I get nervous. I’ll stop…”

* * *

“Where is everyone?!” Jade said, after she and Freddie burst through the boathouse door, utterly shocked the place was completely empty.

“I don’t know…” he said softly. “Sam was supposed to stay here with the radio.”

“And Spencer and Carly should have been back by now with the others,” she finished. “I don’t like this, baby…”

“Me either, Jade,” he said, taking her hand. “But something happened here. That big thing blocking the roof is gone, for one. Plus, it looks like something big was dragged from in here.”

“You don’t think it was a body… or bodies, do you?”

“I don’t think so,” he said, getting on his knee. “There’s no bl**d or anything. But whatever was dragged was big… bigger than a person for sure. Maybe a boat.”

“You should try the radio…” Jade said, taking a seat near the door, still holding her dress above her feet so it wouldn’t be damaged. “They may have sent out an update or something. Maybe Sam contacted them before she left with a boat.”

“Whoa,” Freddie said, his eyebrow raised. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I would like to believe Sam wouldn’t just bolt with a boat like that.”

“But we can’t rule it out,” Jade shot back, her clear disdain for the blonde abundantly obvious.

“Hello…” Freddie said, grabbing the receiver on the radio. “Can anyone hear me… this is Schneider’s Island.”

“COAST GUARD HERE, SCHNEIDER’S. DO YOU HAVE AN UPDATE?”

“Actually, I was hoping you could help us with that,” Freddie said, holding his breath for good news. “We got to the radio, and there’s no one here.”

“I TOLD THE OTHERS, SAMANTHA PUCKETT AND CARLY SHAY, THAT WE WOULD BE THERE SOON. ABOUT 30 MINUTES NOW. AND TO MEET AT THE MARINA. THEY MAY HAVE ALREADY LEFT. WE ALSO RECEIVED A REPORT THAT A BOAT WAS OUT THERE WITH TWO PASSENGERS.”

“Thanks…” Freddie said, feeling a sense of relief that help was on the way, but with Tori, Andre, and Savanna still unaccounted for, there were still a number of issues. There was also the thought that Sam and Carly might be the ones in the boat, but why would they go if they knew help was this close? “We’ll see you at the marina then…”

“We should make our way over there…” Jade said, trying to remember exactly where they were. “It could take a while to get to the marina. Maybe the others will be waiting there.”

“Maybe…” Freddie nodded, as he pointed the way toward the door, grabbing a couple flares before he headed out the door. “I was feeling good but after seeing Spencer… I just can’t help but feel like this isn’t over yet.”

* * *

“We should head by the sheriff’s station,” Sam said with a heavy sigh, feeling like she knew the answer. “Spencer might have gone there once you guys split up. Maybe to see if Andre’s still there. He could help us.”

“I doubt it,” Carly said sardonically. “Andre’s dead.”

“You don’t know that Carly,” the blonde said, clinging to the hope he might still be ok. “I heard he fought the woman… there’s a chance he could have made it and-”

“No… He’s definitely dead,” Carly said with certainty, almost as if she was answering a question in class. “Spencer too.”

“Look,” Sam said, stopping short, her teeth gritted tight as she faced her friend, “I get that you’re scared and things seem a bit hopeless, but this dark shit needs to seriously stop. You have no idea who is alive and dead right now, especially since you couldn’t find Spencer.”

“Actually, I do,” Carly said with a smile. “I know he’s dead because I killed him. I also killed that weird teacher.”

“Carls…” the blonde reeled back in horror, still clinging to the idea that this was all some sick joke. “What are you doing?”

“I’m starting a new life, Sam,” she said calmly, pulling her knife from her pocket. “A life free of all the binding lies that have kept me burdened and trapped in this life. And as my oldest, and closest friend… you deserve to know the truth before you die.”

“What?”

“To be fair, I’ve only killed a few people. Some meaningless folks back home mostly, but there have been a few here. My mom did most of the heavy lifting… or killing, I guess I should say. Though she did lift a lot of-”

“Carly!” Sam said, feeling tears well up in her eyes. “We’ve been friends since we were out of diapers. Whatever this is, you don’t have to-”

“But I do have to, Sam… That’s what sucks.” Carly revealed the knife to her friend, toying with it, sliding her fingers across the blade. “To get what I truly want, I have to do all of this. And that includes killing you, I’m afraid.”

“Don’t…” Sam said, raising the gun, finger trembling on the trigger. “Don’t make me do this… All this death… this isn’t you.”

“But you’re wrong… and you’re not going to shoot me,” Carly smiled as she spoke, as if this was about a newfound religion. “I know all about death. I killed that psychic bitch to show her what real Death card looks and feels like. I rigged the bomb that killed Gibby too. And it should have taken out that slut of a s*ster-in-law too, but mom was more than happy to finish the job on Amy.”

“No… you-”

“I knocked out that spoiled cunt Trina, and I almost got Jade in the pool that night too, but, of course… no luck there.”

“Stop!” Sam screamed, her arms shaking as she prepared to shoot her friend. “If you don’t want me to put buckshot in you… you need to stop right now.”

“You remember that weird gangly k*d with the glasses and blonde curly hair? From Hollywood Arts? Little shit figured it out, snuck here, and…” Carly started laughing, as if the funniest joke in the world had just hit her. “And before he could tell literally anyone, I snuffed the life right out of him. It was a great moment.”

“You’re insane…” Sam said, pointing the gun at Carly’s face and winced as she fired it.

And nothing happened.

“Told you…” Carly said, waving her finger as if to say ‘tsk tsk tsk’ before pointing at her own shotgun. “Can’t exactly fire a gun without any ammunition. Guns are weird like that.”

Sam shook from fear and rage that was filling her body, flipping the gun to use like a bat, and after a swing that missed, Carly smiled, looking past the on-edge blonde.

“Hey, mom.”

“Seriously?” Sam said, shaking the shotgun like she was up at bat.

“You might want to turn around, Sam,” Carly said, pointing with her knife. “The Slasher is right behind you.”

“You think I’m stupid enough to fall for that?”

“I think she does.” Sam’s eyes widened, as she realized who that voice belonged to. “And you missed your one chance to leave… so you’re pretty fucking stupid, I’d say.”

Her reflexes going into overdrive, Sam swung the gun behind her hitting Sarah squarely in the chest, but before she could turn around, she felt a sharp pain in her lower back. Her strength slowly felt like it was leaving her body and the pain was excruciating. This doubled when Sarah re-gained her composure and shoved her own knife right into the blonde’s chest.

As the life slowly drained from the blonde she heard her best friend, and most trusted ally in all her life, whisper something into her ear as bl**d poured from her mouth.

“You never should have fucked Freddie…” Carly pulled her soon to be lifeless friend closer, gritting her teeth. “He was all mine. We were supposed to be each other’s firsts…”

Pulling their respective blades up a few inches, and then out from her body, the two Shay women looked down as Sam’s body crumpled to the dirt below.

“You did great, honey…” Sarah said, stroking her daughter’s hair. “The look on her face when she realized the truth is what true beauty looks like. Fear and regret.”

“She made it easier than it was with Spencer for sure,” Carly said, pushing Sam’s body toward the slanted hill with her foot. “But I guess it’s time for the big finale.”

Sarah nodded and ran towards their destination, as Carly loaded the shotgun Sam had dropped before firing it into the sky twice.

* * *

“The shots…They came from that way!” Freddie said, almost dragging Jade along with him toward the sound of the gunfire. Both of them were beyond exhausted and an escape on the way was the light at the end of the tunnel they just couldn’t seem to capture.

“What if she has the gun? What if this is a trap?” Jade said, clinging to Freddie praying that this nightmare might finally come to an end. “Wouldn’t be the first time we were led somewhere just for that psycho to try and kill us.”

“Maybe,” he said, confidently. “But we have a gun too. And if it was Sam or Carly or anyone else, I don’t think I could risk not coming to their aid.”

“One of these days, Benson,” Jade said, using his last name to show her annoyance, “your good Samaritan bullshit is going to get us killed.”

As they ran, they tried to pay close attention, but as they rushed down a path, they came face to face with the butt of a gun. Freddie pulled Jade out of the way as the weapon slammed against his shoulder.

“Freddie?!” Carly exclaimed, seemingly horrified that she had hit him. “Ohmygod, I’m so sorry!”

“It’s fine, I-”

“And why exactly are you swinging at us, Shay?” Jade asked giving Carly an intense glare.

“I saw the woman… I think she got free or something. I shot at her, but I missed.”

“Fucking useless…”

“Jade,” Freddie said, rubbing his shoulder while he gave a stern look to the former Goth “I’m glad we found you, Carly. We were starting to get worried we were the only ones left.”

“Yeah, I can’t find Sam or Spencer anywhere. Do you think they’re at the boathouse?”

“Carly, I…” Freddie said, a lump growing in his throat. “I don’t know how to tell you this but… Spencer. He’s… gone. We found his body in the woods about half a mile from here.”

“What?!” Carly said, falling to her knees, burying her face in her hands. “How? He was… We were only splitting up so he could check on Savanna… have you seen her? Does she know?”

“I don’t know…” he said, rubbing her back and neck, unsure how exactly to comfort her. She was always the better person when it came to com-forting. “We haven’t seen or heard from her either and-”

“I want you to take me to him,” Carly said flatly. “I need to see him.”

“Carly,” Jade said, “you really don’t-”

“I do. Please,” she gave Freddie a pleading and desperate look, “for me.”

Freddie looked at his former love then back to his current, and future, one looking for her thoughts, but Jade simply threw her hands up and shrugged.

“Alright…” Freddie said, offering his hand to help Carly up. “We’ll go, but I’m telling you that you don’t need to see this, and secondly, if you can’t hit anything with it, just give Jade your gun.”

Carly easily relinquished the empty shotgun to Jade knowing it was useless, hiding her happiness that this plan was going pretty well so far.

* * *

“He’s right up here, Carls,” Freddie said, grabbing her hand to warn her once again. “But really, take it from someone who saw both his parents killed in the last week, you don’t want to see it. You can never unsee it.”

“I know,” she said back, and Jade couldn’t help but feel like deep down, Carly didn’t seem as affected by this as she should have been. “Where up here?”

Freddie began to point and speak, but he was instantly taken aback when he saw what was in the path: nothing. Spencer’s body was gone.

“He was…” Freddie said, rushing ahead to the spot where his former neighbour’s body had lain. There were clear drag marks, and the bl**d was still there, so it was obvious he had been moved somewhere. “He was right here…”

“Then maybe he’s ok,” Carly said, hopeful. “Maybe he crawled to safety and you just didn’t make sure he was dead.”

“Carly, we checked,” Jade said. “He was cold, and he was gone.”

“How dare you say that?!” the former web star said, jumping into Jade’s face. “He’s my br*ther, and he might be ok. He has always been there for me, and been supportive and taken care of me. I’m sorry your parents are dead, but don’t just assume everyone else is too because of that.”

“Whoa,” Freddie said, getting between them. “Look, Carly, I get it. But we both checked, and I hate it more than anything. Spencer was a good guy, but he’s dead.”

“Whatever…” Carly said, still showing that she was unwilling to face the truth, even though she knew the whole situation intimately. “Even if he is… gone… we should still follow these tracks and drag marks. We have to find him.”

“What about Sam?” Freddie asked, with a sigh as he really didn’t want to chase a ghost here and would prefer to focus on the living.

“Haven’t seen her since we were all at the boat house,” Carly fired back, moving ahead of the two of them. “I guess she’s still back there at the radio. After this, we should go talk to her.”

“Well, she’s not there anymore,” Jade said, feeling a pang in her gut that this felt wrong. “The place was empty when we got there…”

“Huh…” Carly said, not even looking back as she narrowed her focus on the trail. “It looks like this path leads to the church, guys.”

While the web star strode forward, Jade pulled Freddie back a bit so they could talk.

“This doesn’t feel right, babe…” she whispered.

“I know…” he fired back, “but Carly really wants to see her br*ther and get closure. We just need to be ready for what’s probably a trap.”

“Not about that,” his fiancée replied. “It makes no sense why Carly and Spencer would split up in the first place. No matter how safe it seemed with the woman caught… splitting up is just stupid.”

Freddie began to respond, but as he watched Carly enter the church, he quickly realized he didn’t exactly have an answer for that concern.

“I never would have left you like that. No one would leave someone they cared about all alone in the woods like she did.”

“Shhh…” Freddie said as they approached the door, not wanting Carly to be made aware of Jade’s suspicions. “Let’s just keep an eye out. But I don’t think you’re wrong that this feels off.”

Freddie really didn’t have to shush his fiancée to silence her once they entered the church as that job was done almost immediately. The two of them stared in horror at the sight hanging just above the pulpit, where Carly, standing in the center of the church now, was frozen in place staring as well.

Spencer’s body had been hung like Christ, arms spread with hands bound to the cross’s arms, with nails through them. His bare feet also had been stabbed through to keep him in place apparently. What was truly horrifying, however, were the even larger nails through each of his eyes. The flickering candles beneath him offered a terrible vision of true horror.

“Spencer!” Carly called out, dropping to her knees, knowing full well he couldn’t hear her, but she tried her best to put on a show of tragic agony, and while most of it was acting, she really was surprised at how fast her mother had gotten the body posed like that. “Noooo!”

Freddie instinctively moved behind his long-time friend to comfort her, placing his hand on her shoulder. “I’m so sorry, Carly… I didn’t want you to see him, and certainly to never see anything like this.”

“I… I…” Carly bawled, placing her on hand on top of Freddie’s, almost offering a half-smile at his comforting touch. “This is terrible.”

Jade had kept her distance, planting herself by the door, knowing that something felt very wrong about this entire ordeal, but she could only pray that she was wrong, and that Freddie was right to trust Carly. A small chill shot up her spine, as if she had some extrasensory alert, and she swiftly moved left, unsure of the reason.

Her fears were well validated when a large knife narrowly missed her as the woman lunged from a side closet of the church. Jade attempted to scream, but the woman recovered from the miss and pushed the almost bride back into a hard wooden pew, knocking the air from her lungs. She recovered fast and began to rush the woman to wrestle her, knocking the woman so hard into an opposite pew that it cracked and fell with their combined weight and f*rce.

The commotion alerted Freddie almost instantly and the former tech producer left Carly to join the fight against their enemy, but before he could he felt an arm jerk on his.

“You can’t!” Carly said, pulling him toward her as she got up. “You can’t fight her, or she’ll kill you both.”

“The hell I can’t!” Freddie shouted, pulling from Carly and jumping into the fray.

Freddie knew there was not time to waste to save Jade, and while he knew she could take care of herself pretty well, there was no way he was going to risk her life on that confidence. Especially when it involved the life inside her in such danger.

He lunged at the woman who was getting back on her feet and quickly smashed her up against the wall. But in his f*rce, he missed the woman’s knife and took a bad slice to his left arm.

“Run!” he called out to Jade and Carly, as he tried to keep the woman in place with his one strong arm. “You have to-”

WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP

The four of them suddenly froze as the sound rang out overhead, almost vibrating the building, signalling that the helicopter must be about to land on the island.

“That must be the Coast Guard!” Jade shouted out, getting her bearings back on her feet. She looked Freddie in the eyes as he tried to wrestle the woman into place as everything just stood still for a few moments. She knew he could see the hurt in her eyes, but the look in his told her that he was okay with this. Taking a breath to tell her that she was doing what she had to, Jade took off out the other side of the church.

“Carly!” the woman screamed at the stunned former web star, pushing a stunned Freddie off her and onto the ground. “She’s going to get away!”

Carly suddenly snapped out of whatever funk she was in, and shook her head before rushing after Jade.

The horror of the situation hit Freddie like a ton of bricks. Carly, he thought, she was in on this all along. One of, if not the one, his most trusted friends. She did all this. It was as if something inside the long-time nerd just snapped completely and he completely lost himself to his rage.

Freddie grabbed a flare from his coat and struck it, lighting the darkened church once more. He slammed the lit flare into the surprised stomach of the woman, pushing to keep it there as he could smell her flesh burning.

The woman screamed like she’d just been possessed, and wildly swung at him to get the burning off of her, and after several struggled shots, she finally landed one and knocked the flare from his hand, sending it toward the table with the candles.

Now weapon less once more, Freddie tried to get up on his feet, but the woman was too quick and mounted him, ready to drive the knife into this throat.

Freddie managed to get a leg in place and launched the woman back several feet with a leg thrust, upsetting her balance and giving him a chance to regain his footing. It was at this moment, he finally noticed that the church was now on fire. The flare was completely engulfed now so he grabbed the closest thing to him, a Bible, and prepared to beat the woman with it, but a shout from behind him stopped him cold.

“Stop!”

Both Freddie and the woman stopped and looked toward the fiery front of the church where Carly stood with the shotgun in hand. The woman smiled at her daughter as she swiftly came behind Freddie with the knife at his throat.

Carly squeezed her eyes closed, hearing their voices, but all of it drowned out by the choice that she had to make. With a deep sigh, she threw her eyes open and fired.

* * *

Seattle 2010

“I can’t believe this is happening…” Freddie said, taking a deep breath as he took in all that Carly had to offer. His body may have been killing him from the taco truck incident, but this… this was something truly magical. The girl he had spent years pining for, after being shut down, emotionally abused, and kept from her by Sam and his mother, was now inches from his face with lips that cried out to be kissed more. He shocked himself a couple times just to make sure this was truly real. “Wow,” he smiled, never wanting to lose the taste of her lip gloss from his own, “this really is happening.”

“It sure is,” she said, leaning closer to him. “You want it to happen again?”

“Right now?” Freddie asked, panicking that his mom wasn’t around, and what that kind of freedom entailed.

“Oh yeah,” the web star said practically purring. “Right here, right now.”

Their lips softly met once more, savouring the moment and tasting each other, and both were amazed and how good and how right this felt. He shifted upwards a bit to sit up so that she wasn’t leaning down as she began to straddle his waist, not wanting to hurt him in any way.

Carly’s body felt like it was on fire, and she wondered if kissing Freddie was this amazing, what would sex be like once they were married. Freddie’s mind went to the same basic place, but with his ramped up hormones, he wasn’t exactly focusing on the wedding being the time or place for their first carnal encounter.

His free hand moved up her back as the kissing intensified, and as his fingers moved across the impression of her bra through her shirt, he began to fantasize about what might be underneath. No longer was his mind on the kissing, as his body was just automatically taking care of that activity, and all her wanted to do was to make Carly his forever.

As Carly ground into the 15 year old, she began to feel a build-up of her own, and the stiffening happening near where she was planted did little to shake her body’s desires.

“Hang on…” he said, pulling from her lips so that he could look her in the eyes. As his eyes truly saw her, her dark hair hanging down, seemingly dishevelled from how into the make out session she was, he silently cursed himself for interrupting. “This is getting…”

“It’s too much…” she completed, looking down and feeling a bit of shame before trying to climb off him. “You’re not into this like-

“No…” he said, trying to keep her there. “It’s not that I’m not into this. Because clearly I am very into this. I just… I don’t want things to happen too fast and just being with you like this is just… it’s too perfect, and I don’t want something to happen that we might regret.”

“You think you’d regret me if we…” Carly said, unsure of the words to say here.

“No.” Freddie looked her in her beautiful brown eyes and saw the innocence and the desire battling in her mind, and knowing the same thing was happening to him. “We’re just young, and I just don’t want us to do anything we aren’t ready for. We have time for that. We can have plenty of time for anything and everything together. Rest of our lives maybe…”

Carly smiled at him, and felt a tear building up. She leaned down and kissed him softly and innocently. “Fine… we can just lay here and kiss… nothing else…”

The way she said it, almost sounded like it was to taunt him, but Freddie shook his head. “Let’s just enjoy what we have… to have exactly what we’ve always wanted.”

Carly leaned down one last time before climbing off his lap and whispered something into his ear, which made him grin before gripping her waist with his one good hand.

“I’ve never wanted anything more,” he whispered back kissing her lips once more as the two began to drift into a blissful, but fairly innocent kissing session, unaware that this moment was going to change everything.

* * *

After a quick sprint, Jade had lit her flare as well, but thanks to the thick trees and a terrible sense of direction, she wasn’t having much luck at all signalling the chopper or finding the best way back to the marina. It didn’t help that every fibre of her being wanted her to go back to the church, but she knew she couldn’t. Freddie gave himself up for her and it would be a waste of his sacrifice… if something did happen. She had to keep telling herself that he was alright- that he was strong and smarter than anyone she’d ever met- and that he’d be meeting her soon at the marina. But when she heard that gunshot a few minutes before her fears and hopes reached a breaking point.

“Jade!”

The former Goth suddenly spun around to see Carly running down the hill after her. Jade had no idea what to make of this but she seemed like she was ok… but she was also alone.

“Where’s Freddie?” she quickly asked her suspicious wedding planner.

“I’m… sorry,” Carly managed, offering her strongest acting ever displaying layers of sympathy. “She got him… I tried to save him but I wasn’t strong enough to. He told me to run.”

“Yeah…” was all Jade could say, her tears long used up, and knowing that she would grieve as soon as her and the baby were safe again. “We just need to those helicopters.”

“Any idea where we’re supposed to meet them?” Carly asked, making Jade’s hair stand on end.

She should know that… Jade thought. The radio mentioned her by name as being with Sam when the instructions came through. Her mind flashed back through the last week and she suddenly realized that Carly wasn’t still here by accident.

“The marina…” she said slowly, seeing Carly pull a knife from her pocket, feeling the slow horror that she was about to be attacked.

“Get down,” Carly screamed out, pushing Jade out of the way as the woman rushed her, and Carly winced as she drove her knife up through the chin of her mother, who was bleeding profusely from her new gunshot wound and the deep burns on her stomach. The woman looked completely stunned by her daughter’s actions and shook violently before she hit the ground with a hard thud.

As Jade looked at the scene in horror, she finally saw the Shay women side by side, and everything just clicked, and there was no denying the truth of the situation now.

“You… it was you…” Jade said, backing away from Carly as she withdrew the knife and stared at Jade with a look that simultaneously showed menace and sympathy. “All of this… it was you… and that was your… mom?”

“Shh…” Carly said, putting the knife to her lips. “It’s all over now. You don’t have to fight anymore.”

“Fuck that!” Jade screamed as she threw the flare at Carly and turned around, attempting to run from the former web star. She made it nearly 50 feet before her dress betrayed her, and she began to trip, luckily catching her balance on a nearby tree.

This was not completely fortuitous though as she quickly felt a pair of hands on her head and before she could struggle they thrust her head for-ward into the hardened bark, dropping the bride-to-be.

The last thing Jade saw as things started to go dark was the image of a white helicopter overhead, moving as if it was in slow motion.

* * *

Tori Vega had no idea how long she’d been sitting in the small white office of the Coast Guard. Her sense of time had been completely broken by this entire experience, as well as her memory. Savanna sat beside her, chowing down on donuts and orange juice from a nearby table. Tori barely remembered the girl being out of her sight, much less getting a pile of food. She still hadn’t eaten, her stomach seemingly disappeared in the last couple days, and anytime she even thought of food, the images of her friends’ fates appeared in her mind, and eating was out of the question.

“Excuse me, Miss Vega?”

Tori hadn’t even noticed the door opening, and if the man in the doorway hadn’t have spoken, she still might not have. “I’m sorry… yes?”

“My name is Agent Dunn, and this is Agent Mills,” the well-dressed man said, pointing to the younger woman standing behind him. “We’re from the FBI. And we’d like to ask you a few questions.”

“I like questions!” Savanna said, clearly riding a sugar high “Did you find anyone else?”

“Could I borrow Savanna for a few minutes, the female agent said sweetly, but there was a clear look of trouble on her face. “We just need to have a talk about everything, and I’m not sure if she needs to be in here for this next part.”

“I’m right here,” the young girl said, earning a slight smirk from the two agents, but Tori was beyond a sense of humour and just nodded.

“Sure,” she said, reaching to give the girl a quick hug before she joined the female agent in the hallway.

“He’s gonna tell you everyone else is dead, Miss Tori,” Savanna said with a sigh before taking Agent Mills’ hand.

“Alright,” Dunn said, closing the door behind them and shaking his head, placing a thick manila folder on the table. “Now, if-”

“Is she right?!” Tori exclaimed, a fire in her eyes, but the man offered no response to the question. “What about Jade, or Savanna’s father?”

Instead, he opened the folder to retrieve a picture of a smouldering building that Tori quickly identified as the church. “This church was burning down when our people got there, and we found some bodies, but we’re waiting on DNA to be sure about our findings and-”

“Just tell me…” Tori said, feeling her stomach twist up into an excruciating Gordian knot.

“We believe we found the bodies of Spencer and Carly Shay as well as Freddie Benson, and unfortunately, yes… Jade West as well, in the fire, but like I said they were badly burned.” The agent cycled through various pictures of her friends, clearly pulled off Slap and other social media sites. “We’ve also discovered the bodies of over 20 other people, most of which belonged to your wedding group, throughout the woods.”

Tori’s eyes widened, and her head began to feel adrift in a sea of thoughts that she wasn’t even able to comprehend at this moment. She took a deep gulp and looked the agent in the eyes, “So, were there any survivors?”

“The best we can tell so far, with the exception of some locals who have been stranded out to sea for the last couple days on defective or tampered boats,” Dunn reached out and put the pictures back into the folder, “you and that little girl in there are the only survivors of Schneider’s Is-land.”

* * *

Freddie sat up in bed, fresh form a horrifying nightmare, and took several deep breaths, his brain cycling through what he had just been a part of, and when he realized he was comfortable in bed, he released a quick sigh of relief.

“Whew,” he said, his eyes shut once more as he gripped the sheets around him. “Thank god that was just…”

His words trailed off, as his senses truly started to return to him. This room didn’t smell right. It wasn’t his room. Freddie was afraid to open his eyes again for fear of what he might see, but he eventually braved the task. No, this wasn’t his room. Not his room at his apartment, or his room at the inn… this was somewhere different. Somewhere new. There was a mirror and a couple big paintings of birds, and a small window.

Pulling back the covers he found himself in nothing but boxers, but a quick scan of his body showed that all the battle scars he had amassed over the last week were in fact still there. In fact, not only were they still there, but they had been treated and bandaged. At first he thought he might be in a hospital… maybe someone found him and got him to a doctor. But this was no medical office or establishment. This was a home. And from the look of it, it was somewhere nice.

Freddie felt his muscles weakened as he attempted to climb out of bed, feeling a sense of atrophy from not moving in a while. His legs were wobbly but after a few minutes of holding himself up by the bed and nearby table, he finally found his balance once more, intense soreness rocketing through his very being. The former tech producer made his wobbly way to the window and peered out, seeing nothing but the vastness of the ocean from it.

He took several deep breaths as he looked around the room, afraid to even speak, for fear of whatever this was. Freddie felt even more concerned when he took a look in the mirror, the strain on his body inevitably clear and he looked like death warmed over. But the really chilling part had to be the folded clothes by the mirror with a note that read:

Freddie, Come downstairs when you’re ready.

Freddie knew that handwriting well, and while his first thought was comfort that Carly was taking care of him, the weight of the situation took hold, and he remembered her role in all of this. He checked the clothes over twice before slipping them on, feeling a slight chill from the temperature of the house as much as the emotional tingles.

Opening the door, he faced a small flight of stairs which he carefully descended, but began feeling incredibly woozy with every step that he took until he reached the ground and his nauseous feelings ceased.

The cabin he was in seemed incredibly nice and well furnished. Whoever lived here was certainly well off, and part of him hoped that they were out of town for what had transpired on the island. As he turned around, hearing subtle noises, his feelings of dizziness returned and he found him-self gripping door frames and furniture as he moved around.

Though he was barely on his feet, he was still at the ready, arms up to attack whoever and whatever might be in the house with him. A louder scratching sound led him to a nearby window, and a chirping bird, causing him to breathe a sigh of relief and smile for being so stupid.

“Hey.”

Freddie nearly jumped as he spun around to see Carly standing in the kitchen, with an apron on, and a deeply warm and friendly smile on her face. The hopeful look on her face stunned surprised her former iCarly partner, and she seemed lost about what to say next, as the words weren’t really coming to him either.

“I’m so nervous about all this,” she said, wiping her hands on her apron, clearly covered in flour. “Can I… uh… get you some breakfast? I made pancakes.”

“No!” Freddie fired back before he even realized the words had left his mouth.

“I’m… sorry,” Carly said, a hurt look growing across her face as she seemed to stumble over her words. “I’m sorry about the whole thing and I promise that I will explain everything. But you need to eat.”

“I’m not eating,” he said firmly, his voice cracking a bit from a clear lack of use. He stared his best friend in the eyes and for a moment, he saw the glimmer of something sweet and innocent.

“I get that you’re upset, but the important thing is that I chose you, Freddie.” She certainly seemed confident in her words and the way she was saying them… it felt like the real Carly and not whatever nightmare he had about her. “I chose you. I chose love… over f*mily.”

“The Slasher was your mother…” Freddie said, half remembering, and half putting the thoughts together himself.

“Our mother technically,” Carly said, reaching over to the stove to heat up the stove top for cooking. “We have the same mother, Freddie. That’s usually how twins work.”

“Twins?” he said, backing up slowly, unable to even process this answer that she gave so nonchalantly. Without another word, he bolted for the door, but found it locked tight. The windows were reinf*rced as well. This was clearly a house built to keep him trapped. Freddie moved toward the kitchen, never taking his eyes off her, or his newly spotted chef’s knife in her apron. He opened drawers but there were no knives, or utensils of any kind that he could see. She’d thought of everything.

“There’s nowhere to go, Freddie,” Carly said softly before Freddie raced through the house again. “I would never hurt you Freddie… I hope you know that.”

Retracing his steps as his head pounding dizziness increased, he found his way back to the room he started in and shut the door, quickly realizing the lock was on the outside. He slammed the door shut, and waited beside it, breathing heavily, and ready to attack her or at least push past her if she came in.

Instead, there was a gentle click on the door, signalling that she had locked him in there.

“You’re making a big deal out of this,” Carly said, sweetly. “I promise that everything is ok now. I’m still the girl you knew since we were little. The girl who lived across the hall and who spent every day with you working on the biggest web show of the late 2000’s. I’m still Carly.”

“The Carly I know would never do the monstrous things that happened on that island.”

“I had to do it, Freddie… for us,” Carly sounded incredibly sad and defeated as she spoke. “I know you’ll see that in time. We have all the time in the world now. To be us. Free of everyone and everything. Just like we talked about.”

“We never talked about anything like this, Carly…” Freddie said through gritted teeth.

“Remember when you got hit by that truck saving me?” Carly asked, seemingly camped out behind the door now. “I think about it every day. Seeing the lengths that you would go for me. Having our first kiss afterward. All alone. We were so nervous about that moment that I think we always wanted deep down, and you held me and you told me then- You wanted to be together forever, just the two of us. Now it is my turn to go to those great lengths for you- we can stay here forever, and no one will ever bother us or interrupt us like your mom… or your fake mom at least. I had to kill our mom.”

Freddie had to shake his head on that last sentence. “What?”

“It’s not important,” she said, and he could hear her put weight against the door before clicking it again. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to abandon this pancake idea… maybe I’ll fix some lunch instead. I hope you’ll join me when you’re ready.”

Freddie buried his head in his hands and stared at the now silent door, feeling dizzier the more thought he gave to this entire situation. He trudged over to the bed and dropped on the edge, desperate to not only escape, but to help Carly out of whatever brainwashed funk she was in. She killed the killer… or his mom… their mom.

“Ugh…” he said to himself, the thoughts swimming through his mind. He took another look at himself in the mirror and stared into the eyes of someone with absolutely nothing to lose.

* * *

Minutes later, Carly was well into putting a couple sandwiches together for lunch, bologna and cheese, which she really hoped he liked. She wasn’t much of a chef, but she really wanted to learn. Freddie deserved a housewife, and someone that could cook, clean, and take care of him, and she was determined to show him that that person was her.

Suddenly, just as she was getting the mayonnaise perfect on the bread, a crash erupted from upstairs. Carly dropped the bread and readied her knife, the leftover mayo still on it, to check on him.

“You ok, sweetie,” she said nervously, but there was no response.

What she found however was Freddie Benson, eyes aflame and hand bleeding, holding a jagged piece of the mirror from the room, standing at the center of the stairs.

“Freddie!” she exclaimed. “You hurt yourself. What are you doing?!”

“Get out of my way, Carly…” he said coldly. “You are sick, and you need-”

“I know,” she said sheepishly, hanging her head down, and putting the knife back in her apron. “I know I’m sick and that I need help. And I can’t blame you for being mad at me. And you shouldn’t blame yourself either. You had no part in any of this. I mean, Mom kinda wanted the three of us to be a f*mily together, but she was really crazy. That’s why she had to go.”

“But, Carly, you are just as-” his guard dropped subtly.

“I really hated messing with your wedding,” she continued, eyes avoiding his. “I had to take the lead on planning the wedding. It was the only way I could think of to get you here.”

“Just so you could murder all of my friends and destroy everything and everyone I loved?” he fired back, raising his makeshift shiv.

“Well, it was just part of the plan. Casualties of war and all that. As for the wedding, I know…” she backed off down the stairs a bit. “It was going to be so beautiful, and I promise that I will find a way to make ours so much better. Nicer. And I know the guest list is probably going to be pretty slim, they aren’t really what matters at a wedding, are they?”

“But what about Singer?” he said, glaring into the starry eyes of his former crush and current… s*ster. He still struggled with that idea, too much to even acknowledge their romantic past. “He was my… or our dad. And she… our ‘mother’ just killed him. How was that reuniting the f*mily? He was a good man deep down.”

“But was he?” Carly said, her eyes narrowing for a few moments as her anger began to bubble up. “The ‘good’ sheriff looked after you, watched you from afar, and took care of any sort of support he could offer. You know what dear old dad gave me? Jack. Shit. He never even acknowledged me. Even when he looked dead at me when you brought him to the inn. He looked right at me… and then through me. His fucking daughter.”

“But he didn’t even know about you, I don’t think. He-”

“Instead,” Carly said, waving the knife around once more, “I got an overbearing father that abandoned me every other chance he got, but still put so much hate in fear in me, it’s no wonder I ended up this way. He lied, kept my true history a secret, and left me in the care of an idiot manch*ld that I raised more than he raised me. Thank God, he was adopted. I shudder at the thought now that I believed I was related to him. But all of that is in the past. I made sure of it. Now, it can be just us.”

“But,” Freddie said, shaking his head as he took a step down toward her, knowing she was on edge at this point, “we are br*ther and s*ster. As tough as that is for me to face, we can’t do-”

“No one would ever know but us,” she shot back, a sweet smile going back to her face. “It’s really not a big deal. Genetics have nothing to do with love, Freddie.”

Freddie took a deep sigh and tried to manage his balance on the stairway wall.

“Come on down to the living room. I can tell you everything,” she said, dropping the knife back in her apron. “I made some sandwiches, and I hope you like them. Our kitchen really isn’t stocked much. I will probably get some necessities once all this calms down. It’s been a couple days, but the cops just can’t seem to let this whole thing go. I promise everything is going to be just fine.”

Freddie took a few deep breaths and felt that he could at least get some answers, and use that time to figure out a way from this nightmare. “Ok…”

“Yay,” she said, running to grab the two paper plates featuring sandwiches and chips. After handing him one of them and pointing toward a chair, she placed hers on a couch before going after a couple cups of juice. “If it’s bad, you don’t have to eat it.”

Freddie eyed the food, unsure about taking a bite, but Carly claimed she meant him no harm, and if she was telling the truth, which she seemed to be, if at the very least it was her truth. Cautiously, he put the mirror piece in his lap and took a bite of the sandwich.

And it was the best thing ever. Not eating actual food for a few days had put him so far out of his mind that anything he ate would taste like perfection.

“So, here’s the gist of what happened… or at least the parts you don’t already know.” Carly took a big bite of her sandwich and washed it down with her drink before she continued. “So our parents had an affair a long time ago, which made us. Your dad wanted her to abort us, so yeah, there’s that father of the year. Obviously she didn’t. Steven made her give you up to your fake mother for whatever reason, and a year or so later, mom just snapped. Jump 17 or so years, and you and Sam left me behind to go to college. And with Spencer being busy with his stuff, I was working at that department store while I was in college… sophomore year, just for spending money. I guess my mom saw me in there and she flagged me down after work, and it was like a door opened in my life when I met her. She told me everything. It was amazing. My mom, who I thought died in a car accident just appears and she just loves me unconditionally. I had everything I ever wanted. Well, almost everything.”

As Carly looked at him, Freddie began to feel queasy, still unable to process that she was not only his s*ster but so in love with him she’d kill for him.

“She made me feel the belongingness and love that I lost when you guys left me behind. And she gave me all sorts of direction. Within a couple years, she helped me ease my stress by teaching me to kill. To get what I wanted by just removing threats to my wants and desires.” Carly paused and took another bite of her sandwich a long swig of juice before smiling at him once more. “This is really awesome… we really should have sat down and talked about all this a long time ago. Very cathartic.”

“The Carly I knew would never have done any of this…” he said, pushing half his sandwich and most of his juice away. “There’s help for you… treatments. We need to get you to a doctor. You were brainwashed by your mom, and you just need help understanding that.”

“Oh I had the urges long before I met her. I fell in love with you before I met her. I always just shrugged them off as teenage impulses, and I never shared them. I let my dreams relieve those feelings. But my mom. When she told me everything I had answers. Reasons, even. I knew who I was and who I was supposed to be.” She finished her sandwich and took his plate to the kitchen, talking nonchalantly as she moved, unaware that Freddie was gripping his shiv again. “I mean… all those killings the last couple years around Seattle that were rumoured to be the Slasher? I reported on a few of those, and I knew they were actually half right. Mom did most of them, but there were a few that I did myself. That’s the thing movies never tell you- killing takes work. Takes practice. Takes a certain type of person. That’s why you couldn’t kill the big bad Slasher anytime you had the chance. You aren’t a killer.”

“Oh my god, Carly…” Freddie said, getting frustrated with this whole routine when it was clear she’d been brainwashed. “Don’t you see that she messed with your mind? You’re becoming just like her. You are the same as her now.”

“No!” Carly shouted back, showing how easily she could move through emotions. “I am nothing like her. She wanted to kill you and I saved you from her in case you forgot. Mom thought you had to kill the ones you loved to feel complete. I knew there was a different way. A better way.”

Freddie suddenly was sent back to the church, his last memory. Carly was standing in front of him while the woman had a knife to his back, and they were talking but for some reason he couldn’t hear or remember the words, and Carly just fired, and he remembered wincing, but there was no pain. And the last thing he remembered was Carly hitting him with the butt of the gun.

“You didn’t kill me…” he muttered, still trying to understand.

“Well, of course not, silly,” she said, coming closer to him still smiling sweetly. “You can’t just go around killing the people you love. That’s insane. That’s where mom and I differed. She chose death and destruction. I chose life. A life with you. No one else. No lying parents, no jealous friends, no Jade, and no-”

“NO!” Freddie screamed, knocking a table over. He didn’t know exactly came over him, but the moment she said Jade’s name, nothing else mattered, and he completely lost control. He ran as hard as he could and kicked the reinf*rced glass of the doors and by the second kick, it shattered and he was able to make his way out.

It was then that he realized that he wasn’t even on the island anymore. It was a very small island, almost half a mile from the shores of Schneider’s, and really not much larger than the land the house was on. Knowing that Carly would probably be right behind him, he raced around the house, searching for anywhere to hide from her and collect his thoughts. But the more he moved, the worse he began to feel. Finally, he reached a door to a garage and slipped in there to regain his composure and keep an eye out for her.

“Mmmphm”

The noise scared him and he practically jumped as he turned to face a sight he was simultaneously overjoyed and horrified to see.

It was Jade. Still in the wedding dress, but tied up and gagged to a chair in a small k*ddie pool, seemingly soaking the bottom of the dress in the few inches of water that sat in it. Jade looked awful. Her hair was a wreck, and her dress was so dirty and tattered it was completely making him retch just looking at her.

But she was alive… and that was something.

Jade saw him and her eyes widened, and Freddie began to move toward her but he realized a bit too late that it wasn’t him that her eyes were trying to express about. Carly had a c********* soaked rag over his face, and since he was already weak and off kilter, in a matter of seconds, he was out like a light once more.

“Well,” Carly said looking to Jade with a look of pure menace, “that worked out about as well as could be expected.”

* * *

When Freddie awoke again, it was a far less comfortable situation. He was just as undressed, left in nothing but boxers once more, but the bigger concern was how he was upright. And shackled by his hands and feet to what felt like old metal bedsprings. His foggy vision slowly cleared up a bit and he realized it was notably darker. That it was almost certainly evening now. But he could still make out Jade, still seated exactly where she was before, but now they could clearly see one another. It how she looked earlier was horrible, he didn’t even know if there was a word for what he was looking at now.

There were streaks across her face from tears. Bruises on her arms, and several clear cuts all over her. Her forehead was bleeding a bit and she had a notable gash on her lower arms.

But the two of them were far from alone. Carly now sat on a small stool facing them, wearing a nightgown which would have been incredibly sexy it wasn’t for all the murder and k*dnapping. She had clearly gone out of her way to make herself look great for the situation.

Freddie attempted to speak, but realized fairly quickly that he was gagged as well.

“Sorry about that baby…” Carly said, rushing to him and pulling the tape off as softly as she could, while her other hand stroked his chest in a way that was no doubt meant to be sensual. “I’m sure you have-”

“Why is she here?” he blurted out, looking over at Jade.

“So, you’re not happy to see her?” Carly said, raising her eyebrows. “I would have thought you two would be over the moon to see each other. I mean, the moment she saw you, everything certainly got a little easier. At least for me.”

“Just tell me,” he said, trying to keep his cool since he was dealing with a psychopath here. “You killed everyone, except the woman I love. Why? To torture me?”

“Oh no…” Carly said, reaching to cup his cheek, no longer impeded by his anger or will to get away from her. “I told you I never want to hurt you. But unfortunately, I’m in a bit of a pickle here. See, technically, none of us are alive.”

The startled look on Freddie’s face made it abundantly clear that she needed to further explain this entire situation.

“So, there are four charred bodies in the church on that island, which is now just a pile of ash. One for each of us, and Spencer’s of course- he was just hanging around anyway.” The fact that Carly paused for a laugh there made Freddie’s stomach churn even further. “Anyway, they all have our ID’s, info, etc. on them so no real need to check too much on whether or not they are us. I even went through the trouble of getting some bodies that looked like us days earlier. It was not easy, and mom barely helped me. So, yeah… everyone already thinks we are dead.”

“That doesn’t answer my question…” he said gritting his teeth.

“Fine… mom wanted to kill her off pretty early. The swimming pool incident actually. But…” Carly rolled her eyes, “that didn’t exactly work out, and I realized at that point that she was too important to just kill off before the end. We needed her.”

“Carly,” Freddie said, his eyes narrowing and fighting the steel cuffs as he asked once again. “Why. The Fuck. Is. Jade. Here?”

“I’m getting to that…” Carly said, pulling her stool closer to Freddie. “Ran into a problem with the ‘no survivors’ plan. The holier than thou bitch and the brat managed to get away thanks to a certain blonde that really should have been done in first. They knew who was left. They knew that my mom was not working alone. So the plan had to change. The extra killer needed to be someone who was still here. Couldn’t be Sam since she saved them. Couldn’t be Spencer since he was kinda eliminated as a choice. That just left the three of us. Couldn’t have them looking for us if we are going to have our life together so Jade became the one.”

“You’re going to frame her for all of this?” Freddie asked, looking at Jade, who just stared at the floor.

“I’m doing it for us… don’t you realize that?” Carly said sweetly pressing her cheek to his pectorals. “If she’s the accomplice and they have her body, then we will be in the clear. Soon, we will be able to just exist in the world, and no one will know anything. All that really is necessary is a confession from her to seal the deal.”

“Well, you sure as hell won’t get that from her…” his voice trailed off as he looked to Jade who seemed to be crying in her seat, now almost hunched over, or as hunched as her bindings would allow.

“I already have, Freddie,” Carly said moving to the edge of the spacious garage to retrieve a piece of paper. “It’s funny really. For the last two days I’ve had her here, she has fought me tooth and nail… literally… about this confession and she would never do it, but one look at you, and knowing that you were alive and well, and she just crumbled like the paper she wrote on. In a choice between you and her, it was an easy call to make.”

Jade screamed through her tape, but no words were remotely intelligible, rocking back and forth in her chair.

“I don’t buy it, he said, struggling against the metal bindings as well. “I can’t believe I ever shared our secret with you, but Jade’s got two lives to live for. Even if she wanted to save me, she knows that she, and the baby, are way more important than my life. She would never sign any confession.”

“Of course…” Carly said, sauntering over to him again, replacing the tape with a fresh piece of adhesive before walking over to Jade. “It’s kinda funny you mention that…”

Without warning, besides a sudden horror in Jade’s eyes, Carly grabbed the former Goth’s hair, pulling it back with one hand and delivering a hard punch right to Jade’s stomach. Over and over again. Freddie screamed into the tape, tirelessly fighting the cuffs and practically cutting his wrists to escape them. But he wasn’t having any luck as he watched helplessly as Jade was beaten, the reflection of Carly’s smile barely visible in the window.

Carly pulled Jade’s head closer to her own, whispering loudly, “I think he wants more of a show…” The former web star pushed Jade’s chair for-ward, putting her face in the near foot of water, which she couldn’t escape from, or even have a chance to breathe still trapped, hunched, in the chair. After a few seconds of struggling, Carly lifted Jade up by her hair again, kicking her in the stomach once more, before dropping her back in the water. She did this three more times before setting Jade back up like she was, the former Goth powerless and desperate to breathe.

Freddie was crying now, feeling utter pain and terror at the monster standing before him and what he had done to his one true love. To her body… to what was inside of it. He could barely make a sound as his eyes apologized to hers for not saving her from this fate. But hers showed nothing but pain and defeat.

“That’s been my workout regimen for the last couple days actually,” Carly said, putting some water on her hand. “Finally putting that Shelby Marx training to good use, I’d say. Three or four times a day, coming down and working out my frustrations on this one. I mean… her over me? That mystery is enough to get me on edge. But then I realized… it had to be the baby. I hope you can see now that you don’t have to worry about that. There’s nothing chaining you to her any longer.”

Carly looked over at Freddie and went back to her stool to touch him as she spoke casually about her atrocities.

“So this whole baby thing, I wouldn’t probably be too worried. I mean, the thing’s taken a few dozen punches and maybe ten or…” she looked over at Jade’s whose skin was bright red, giving a look of confusion before asking a question she knew couldn’t be answered, “How many kicks have you taken? At least ten or fifteen. It’s been a pretty tough time. So that bugger’s probably done for, or at the very least so fucked up, you probably wouldn’t even want it. Better off dead, for sure.”

Freddie couldn’t contain his rage any longer, and shook the bed frame so hard it began to fall over, nearly foaming at the mouth behind the tape as his skin reddened as his internal fire shot up. Carly rushed to his side and lifted the frame back to its place and kissed his hot cheek before she continued.

“Look, I don’t understand why you’re the one so upset right now,” Carly said, stroking his arm as he tried to jerk it from her. “I saved you. I’m the one who had to make the real sacrifices. To go out and kill all those people. To kill our mother. All so we could be happy and left alone by the world. Jade’s the last person I have to kill, I promise… and we can just be together. I will never kill again after today. Love is such a powerful motivator.”

Freddie stared at the girl he’d known for over 20 years. Who he was in love with for so long. Who gave him an outlet for all his skills and gained him so much real recognition. And for a few moments, he saw her as she used to be. Who she was before this whole ordeal, and he gave his most sincere eyes.

Carly smiled and returned his affection coming close to him to unleash his tape but the moment it was off enough, he tried to bite at her fingers, the rage back in a flash. She had to admit he was a better actor than she had given him credit for. She slammed the tape back on his face and shook her head.

“If this is about the baby, we can make a new one. It would be fun,” she said, looking over his body. It had been years since she felt his touch but she would never forget that one night he made her his forever. “In fact, that’s half the reason I got dressed up. So we could make one right now.”

Carly backed up a bit so that she was sure he could see her, and then turned her back to him before bending over, and sliding her panties down her legs, making sure he could see tight ass and toned legs. She took the underwear and approached Freddie with it, who tried not to look at her or think about what he had just seen. This became ten times worse when he felt the fabric on his face and could inhale nothing but her scent.

Despite all his anger and hate, Freddie Benson was still a man, with urges, and the smell brought him back to the times they had been together, and his body began to involuntarily respond. He shut his eyes, trying to forget it all and desperately shaking the panties from his face, but she had hooked them on his ears so he had no choice but to inhale them.

Finally braving a look, he peeked through the leg hole on his eye, over at Jade who was practically bursting with anger, shaking in her chair, but careful not to fall over again. Then he made the mistake of looking at Carly.

She was naked in front of him now, and when their eyes met, she wasted no time with her assault. Her hands rubbed and down his boxers, which were tenting far too quickly which he felt immense shame for. Carly knew he couldn’t help his physical response and she was counting on that. Before even getting dressed this evening she had made the call not to let him know how she had done this more than a few times while he was unc*nscious over the last couple days. Mixing sl*eping pills with erectile stimulants kept him d**gged enough to take advantage of. And she was alright with that because eventually, she knew he would come around make love to her like he was supposed to.

Freddie jerked and pulled his hips from her as much as he could, but her mobility always got the better of him. She dropped to her knees and pulled his boxers down, to orally please him, but when he aggressively thrust at her eye, she knew he was just trying to be difficult.

“Fine…” she muttered, rising from her position and heading to the side of the garage. “You don’t want to play nice and work towards our future f*mily, that’s just fine. I can fix your attitude, mister.”

When she came back less than a minute later, she held a battery and some cables, and Freddie instantly knew what she was going to do to him… but he wasn’t completely right about the who.

“I was going to make her death something nice and simple. A quick death on my knife, no suffering as a gift to you. But if you fight me, she will pay for it.” Carly placed the battery between Jade and Freddie and attached the cables. “I will make it slow. I will make it as painful as humanly possible. I will fry her right in front of you, and you will hear her every excruciating scream as she becomes nothing more than the charred body I left for her in the church.”

Freddie looked to Jade, who gave a look of sympathy, as if to ask what she was supposed to do with that, and their eyes were filled with questions and fears. Eventually, Jade just looked away, and bowed her head. The former tech producer took a deep and long sigh before nodding.

Jade wouldn’t dare look at what was happening a few feet away, but she could hear it. And that was more than enough. She wished Carly had just fried her, or drowned her from the start. The grunts and moaning got louder and she could tell the things Carly was saying were just to torture her, but it didn’t matter. They were because of Freddie. She tried to cry to herself, but the tears were all dried up and there was nothing left for her as dehydration was making its way through her. No matter how long her life was, the overacted screams and sounds would haunt her until then for sure.

* * *

She had no idea how long it lasted, or if she had fallen asl*ep or something, but Jade practically jumped when she felt Carly’s hand on her shoulder. Jade tried her best to attack the intruding limb, but she was powerless to do much of anything.

“It’s time now…” Carly said, almost trying to be reassuring. “This is all going to be over soon, and you can finally be at peace, Jade. So, I’m going to let you go. But trust me, you don’t want to fight or run. If you do, Freddie will pay for it.”

Carly slowly removed the tape as Jade struggled to speak.

“You won’t… You won’t kill him,” she managed. “You’re obsessed with him.”

“True,” Carly said, revealing the small pistol in her hand. “But I don’t exactly need all of him. He’ll learn that the pain is just a lesson in love. But you wouldn’t risk his suffering, now would you?”

Jade breathed a deep sigh signalling that she agreed, and Carly began undoing the tight tape slowly, pulling the hairs from her wrists before moving to her legs. The former web star did what she could with one hand, all the while keeping the pistol aimed at Freddie, just in case there were any sudden movements.

The hopeful bride slowly began to move her limbs once Carly had freed her, attempting to stand, but the sheer weight from being tied up for three days straight took its toll and Jade fell over in the tub, sending water everywhere. Jade pulled herself up, wringing the water from her hair, and felt the chair to help her ease her way up and balance herself. As she stood, she stared at Freddie, still nearly naked and his eyes were watering with sympathy and pain, feeling utterly powerless in the face of this nightmare.

“Do I at least get a final request?” she asked, looking to Carly who was impatiently tapping her foot.

“Yeah…” she said with deep annoyance. “I was pretty rough on you, but I think we all know what’s best. Since you complied pretty decently, I feel it would be heartless to not allow you-”

“I want to kiss him one last time,” Jade said, wanting to end the constant monologue.

“He needs to move on…” Carly fired back. “But everyone needs closure, so go ahead… but I’m watching you.”

Jade didn’t hesitate, sauntering over to Freddie, her eyes bl**dshot but still full of the love and kindness he had always seen in her. He tried not to wince as her lips touched his, knowing this would be the final time. But for a few seconds, the pain disappeared when he felt her soft welcoming kiss. He reciprocated as she held his hands, both eager to savour this likely final moment. Her tongue slipped into his mouth as she inhaled his very essence, praying for a miracle.

“That’s enough,” Carly said, putting her hand on Jade’s shoulder and pulling her back. “Let’s go outside.”

And that’s when she saw the smile on Jade’s face that sent a furious fire back through her body.

“What’s so funny?”

“You,” Jade shot back, biting her lip to savour every bit of that kiss. “I just realized that it doesn’t matter what happens next. He will always love me more than you. You will never matter as much-”

Like lightning, the back of Carly’s hand flew into Jade’s cheek, knocking the hopeful actress against a bench, spilling tools and screws all over the floor, as Jade joined them there.

“You shouldn’t have made me do that, Jade,” Carly said, sounding almost happy at this event. “I really was planning to be nice about this but when-”

“Be nice about this, bitch!” Jade screamed, driving a screwdriver from the floor deep into Carly’s foot, through her sock and shoe causing the dark haired young woman to drop the gun and nearly fall back.

“FUCK!” Carly screamed out, grasping for Jade as the former Goth moved across the floor to the garage door and taking off. “I’m going to fucking roast your intestines you piece of shit!”

Carly shot Freddie a glance as she pulled the screwdriver from her foot, breathing deep with a hate in her eyes he hadn’t ever expected to see in his ch*ldhood friend. Taking the tool hand, Carly took off after Jade, limping along, but still moving quickly.

Happy to finally be alone, Freddie unclasped his hand to handle the small hair pin that Jade had slipped him during the kiss. He hadn’t picked a pair of cuffs since their second anniversary, but he prayed he still had the skill for it. He had to put an end to this once and for all.

* * *

“There’s no point in running!” Carly called out to the empty air, hearing faint sounds of someone running. “We’re all alone out here!”

Jade wanted to run, and just sprint, and when she got out the door she felt like she could run across the ocean to the island, but the more she moved, the worse she felt, feeling utterly defeated from the lack of food and water she’d gotten over the last couple days. Even worse, it was dark enough that she couldn’t really see where she was going. So when she reached a pretty steep drop from a cliff nearly 50 feet up, she paused knowing that it had just as much of a chance of killing her as Carly.

That pause was all Carly needed to reach the talented former Goth and soon the girls began to circle one another, each hyper vigilant of what the other might do.

Jade, after doing as much fight as humanly possible, finally reached her moment of fight. She lunged at her captor, but her movement was too obvious, and the former nice girl was able to seamlessly dodge the move and drive the screwdriver far into Jade’s thigh, sending her to her knees, screaming.

“When you learn to kill people quick and effectively, you learn things about anatomy,” Carly said, gritting her teeth with every other step she took as her small shoe was practically crimson at this point. “That’s your femoral artery. The moment that thing comes out, the clock starts. You’ll bleed out in minutes.”

“Grrraahhhhh” Jade screamed, wanting to pull the thing out, but knowing it could kill her kept her frozen. She could barely move now. Crawling to a nearby tree. “Fine… why not just… pull the fucking thing out yourself. I’m fucking dead already… right?”

“It’s better this way,” Carly said checking her foot and her temper slowly growing. “By making the choice yourself, it gives you actual closure. And the longer you sit here and wait, the worse it will get, which works for me because you deserve to suffer. How am I supposed to dance with him with a fucking hole in my foot?!”

Carly’s temper flared, her facing getting red hot, but part of her smiling as it was all over now. Once Jade was dead, she could sink the body in the ocean, plant the note on the island, and have her happy ending with Freddie.

“I’ve never been much of a dancer…”

Both girls looked over their shoulder at Freddie, still clad only in boxers, but brandishing the small pistol now, leading to two very different reactions from the two women.

“H… How?” Carly stammered, wide eyed.

“That kiss was more than I could have ever hoped for,” he replied, moving between Jade and Carly, keeping the gun trained on her. “It’s time for this to end Carly. You’re going to rot in prison for what you’ve done. But maybe they’ll give you the help you need.”

“I don’t need help!” she screamed, running towards him to attack him, but he dodged her. “Everything I did, I did for love! For us!”

“There is no us!” he shouted back. “I love Jade, and that’s it! There will never be an ‘us,’ Carly!

“There will be in a minute!” Carly said through gritted teeth as she reached towards Jade and pulled the screwdriver out of her thigh.

BANG!

Carly had only gotten half an inch of the tool from Jade’s leg when the shot rang out. It scared her more than anything, but slowly she began to feel something else. Deep in her stomach. Pain. Shooting, burning pain. She stared wide eyed at him for a few seconds unable to process that he would actually hurt her. Until she looked at the red all over her hands and her nightgown, it still seemed surreal.

“You… don’t really… love me?” she said, her voice wavering as she propped herself up on the tree. A terror grew in her eyes that this truly could have been all for nothing. “Did you… ever care about me?”

“Of course I did,” he said, lowering the weapon. “We were friends for twenty years, but-”

“Then there’s still hope…” she said with a half-smile before rushing Freddie who narrowly dodged her, but realized too late that she wasn’t his tar-get.

“Noo!” he cried out, but it was too late.

Carly launched herself from the rocky cliff into the water below. But as Freddie heard the subtle thud, he stared in horror as she missed by inches, barely splashing in the low tide, her body now still on the rocks below.

“Please… please tell me that cunt… is fucking dead,” Jade managed as he rushed to her side.

“She didn’t make the jump…” he said, shaking his head. He wanted her to get help. She needed help. But right now, Jade needed it more. “You’re not bleeding out, are you?”

“No…” she whispered, knowing her dress was completely ruined, a testament to the state of everything in her life. “Carly only pulled it a little bit… hurts like an almighty bitch, but I’m not dying yet.”

“Ever,” he said, helping her to her feet. “Let me get you to shore. We need to get you to a hospital.”

“Just don’t… ever leave me again,” she whispered, wincing with each step she took, even if he was practically carrying her. “And don’t ever let an-other woman fall in love with you.”

“Besides you, right,” he tried to joke, unable to process much of anything.

“Pretty sure you used up everything I could give you,” she said, rubbing her stomach softly, feeling the deep pain, both physical and emotional that stung with a bare touch. “We’re never going to be ok again.”

Freddie tried not to focus on her words, but he knew the moment she said them that she was right. This wasn’t going to be some fairy tale ending. This was something apocalyptic for a relationship. But as he looked at her, he felt a twinge of hope: They were alive. It wasn’t much… but for the moment, it was enough.

Had they looked over the cliff once more, however, instead of heading toward a boat, they would have seen that there was nothing down there. Just a small red trail that was slowly disappearing with each wave that passed by.

Perhaps love truly is a powerful motivator…

* * *

[-AUTHOR’S NOTE: So there we have ending number one. A bit clichéd, I know, but I thought for the purposes of the story and the horror angle we were taking, that a clichéd, formulaic ending seemed right. For me, though, I wanted something that was more true to characters and the story itself.-]

* * *

“There’s no point in running!” Carly called out to the empty air, hearing faint sounds of someone running. “We’re all alone out here!”

Jade wanted to run, and just sprint, and when she got out the door she felt like she could run across the ocean to the island, but the more she moved, the worse she felt, feeling utterly defeated from the lack of food and water she’d gotten over the last couple days. Even worse, it was dark enough that she couldn’t really see where she was going. So when she reached a pretty steep drop from a cliff nearly 50 feet up, she paused knowing that it had just as much of a chance of killing her as Carly.

That pause was all Carly needed to reach the talented former Goth and soon the girls began to circle one another, each hyper vigilant of what the other might do. They gave each other a few fake lunges, until finally Jade went for it, practically grunting as she tackled, hoping to knock the former web star off the high cliff.

Carly, however, saw the move coming from a mile away and dodged her without much trouble, and the Hollywood Arts mean girl lost her footing and for the second time in a week, started to fall from a cliff. Her fingertips gripped as tight as they could on the hardened and sea slicked rocks, and she knew she couldn’t hold on for long. Carly leering overhead didn’t help much either, but she seemed to lose her interest after nearly a minute of standing over the former Goth, which made Jade simultaneously scared, and relieved. She just needed to take this fall slow enough that she could get down without much relative pain, like when she fell with Spencer.

This time, though, she was rescued as a strong hand, one that she’d held more than a few times, shot out to pull her back onto the ledge. Freddie was deadly serious but there was a glimmer in his eye at the moment they were sharing. He always loved adventure and playing the hero so now that he had his chance to truly do it, he was clearly pleased with himself.

“Thanks,” Jade muttered, her eyes locked on Freddie. Who was now dressed somehow with pants and a shirt, and what looked like Carly’s pistol in his pants. “Did you really get dressed rather than come save me?”

“I thought it was important… and as for the saving, you never have to thank me,” he said, eyes darting around for Carly. He saw her run away and considered chasing her, but Jade was his priority.

The couple looked around for a few moments, keeping their backs to the cliff just in case. Carefully they began to walk towards some trees hoping to find a boat or something to get away, praying Carly hadn’t gotten to one first. As they slipped by the tree however, they didn’t notice that there was an extra shadow behind it.

Before either of them could even process that Carly was now behind them, the dark haired young woman struck with the screwdriver, sending it right into Jade’s thigh.

“When you learn to kill people quick and effectively, you learn things about anatomy,” Carly said, gritting her teeth with every other step she took as her small shoe was practically crimson at this point. “That’s your femoral artery. You’re already dead. The moment that thing comes out, the clock starts. You’ll bleed out in minutes.”

“Grrraahhhhh” Jade screamed, wanting to pull the thing out, but knowing it could kill her kept her and Freddie frozen. She could barely move now. Crawling to a nearby tree, she settled, staring at Freddie who now had a gun pointed at Carly.

“Carly…” Freddie said, a deep pain in his voice as he stared at the woman who had been an incredible friend for 20 years… and in 20 days, had ruined his life. “Please stop this… you need help.”

“I’m done,” she said sweetly. “Jade was the last one, and all she has to do is die and it will all be over. No more murder or horror or pain. Just joy and peace for us.”

“You’re still sick!” he shouted, the gun shaking in his hand.

“And you’re still not a killer, Freddie,” she said matter-of-factly, moving into position so that the three of them could form a triangle. “Everything I did, I did for you. For us. And-”

“Why don’t you get this?!” Freddie was practically crying. “There is no us. There never really was an ‘us’… there never will be an ‘us’.”

“Of course,” she replied, pointing at Jade. “Not as long as she’s in the picture. I know that.”

“You don’t know-”

“Goddamit, Freddie… Just fucking kill the bitch!” Jade growled through clenched teeth, cutting him off, while she tried not to mess with her injury.

“He won’t kill me,” Carly replied, giving a look of accomplishment. “That’s how I know the truth about his feelings.”

“Oh yeah?” Freddie asked, raising the gun to her face, knowing at a few feet distance, there was no way he could miss. His hand trembled as he took aim. His fingers cramped and his hand felt like it could fall off from all the shaking. He lowered, then raised, then lowered the weapon over and over, tears beginning to stream down his face. He looked to Jade for a moment, but saw only hate in her eyes. “I can’t do it…”

“Ex-fucking-scuse me?!” Jade cried out.

“She’s sick and needs real help. Killing her wouldn’t solve anything. Won’t make us feel better about all of this…” Freddie took a deep sigh, knowing that Jade was disappointed in him. “It will only make us feel worse about ourselves. I don’t love her. Not that way that she thinks or wants, any-way. She needs to be locked up and that’s all there is to it. Murdering her here, unarmed, in cold bl**d… that isn’t justice. This isn’t right.”

“She deserves to die!” Jade fired back.

“You…” Carly said, looking into his eyes, perhaps for the first time, truly seeing what emotion really was behind his eyes. “You don’t really love me?”

“No…” Freddie said, trying to sound sympathetic, which was killing him as he could see the reality of the situation truly hitting the girl like a freight train. “I really don’t. You were a good friend and meant a lot to me, but I never loved you the way you thought I did. But you need help. Surrender and help me save Jade, and we can get you what you need.”

“So… all this,” Carly said, waving all around her, “was for nothing? Murdering my f*mily… my best friend… the things I did-” The former iCarly star hit the ground, getting on her knees, with her hands in the air, clearly surrendering to the moment.

“For nothing,” Freddie finished her words, keeping the gun pointed at her, even if he couldn’t kill her, he could stop her if she did something drastic. “You have to pay for-”

“Pay?!” Jade screamed out. “She has to fucking die! She deserves to die!”

“Babe…” Freddie said, trying to maintain calm since Carly seemed calm. “She’s broken now and isn’t a threat. I’m not going to kill someone who is already broken. Look at her… she is facing her sins and-”

“No…” Jade said, shaking her head, and getting to her feet, the bl**d now turning the beautiful dress into a crimson nightmare. “This is Carly. She’s a monster with no remorse. This isn’t like what you did to Alex, or when Beck hit Tori, or what happened with that professor that fucked Sam… This is the girl who murdered my parents, your parents, our… best friends. The horrible creature that sits right fucking there…”

Jade couldn’t even finish, she was breaking down in tears, and her body was weak. Freddie rushed to her side, but she pushed him away.

“She has to die… if for no other reason…” she wheezed through her pain and her sorrow, “than for what she did to me. What she did to us… all three of us. She… she… she killed our baby!”

“And she will face justice for that-”

“Yeah she will,” Jade said, with a glimmer in her eye as she gathered her strength for one last moment. “RIGHT FUCKING NOW!”

Jade gripped the screwdriver in her hand and jerked it out, and in one swift motion, drove it right into Carly’s left eye, driving it deep enough to almost go fully through. Her task finished, her body gave out as her leg began to spurt bl**d out.

“NOOOOOO!” Freddie screamed out, knowing he was powerless in this moment.

Carly’s limp body fell to the side, and Freddie jumped it as he rushed to Jade’s side, tearing pieces of his shirt so he could make a makeshift tourniquet. He went to work, tying it tight on her upper thigh, but Jade was losing herself pretty quickly.

“Stay with me…” he kept saying over and over. “Please don’t let me lose you too…”

Freddie held her close, pressing his face into her hair every so often, fighting back tears at the fear of losing her. He got his shirt as tight as he could, but he knew it probably wouldn’t be enough.

“Here,” he said, breathing deeply as he reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. “Call 911 if you can get a signal. Don’t stop trying… I will try and flag someone down for help. There’s gotta a boat nearby.”

He raced past her, screaming for help at the top of his lungs, and as Jade sat there, staring at the phone, she couldn’t tell if she was slipping away or if he really was moving so fast away from her for some help. She punched in the number, but before she could hit the Send button, she just lost interest in it. Freddie couldn’t do the one thing he needed to. The ramifications of that echoed in her mind as she began to slip further and further. She tightened the piece around her leg more, feeling renewed energy, but her focus was not on calling for help anymore.

There was something on his phone screen that she wanted to see. He had told her he’d show it to her after the wedding, but that seemed pretty unlikely at the moment. It was a video that he had been editing on his phone and computer as a wedding gift for them. Jade’s mind flashed to the wedding, or at least what it should have been. Flowers and her friends everywhere. Cat, Tori, and Noelle standing up there in their dresses while Andre, Nate, and Spencer stood on the other side in their tuxedos, all standing in front of Sikowitz. Even her dad was there, right beside her as she walked, catching glances and smiles as she moved, feeling her beautiful dress warmly hugging her body. And right there at her destination was Freddie. He looked so amazing, she thought, so handsome.

The church was getting brighter and brighter, and just as she reached the steps to the alter, she looked out into the crowd. Gone were all the people she thought were there; all now replaced with a rat faced girl with dark brown hair, all in various states of bl**d and gore covering them. Carly stared at her menacingly and all of them started to approach her, each brandishing one horrible weapon after another.

Had a spider not crawled over her hand, she wouldn’t have snapped from the nightmare, but in an instant, her jump moment took her back to reality. Still bleeding, still holding the phone. She couldn’t hear Freddie anymore, and she was alright with that. He didn’t need to be here for what she knew was coming next. Slowly, she started the video, and subconsciously, loosened the ripped shirt on her thigh.

“Hey babe,” a voice said as the video began, fading from black, which she soon recognized as her own. The smiling and glowing girl in the video, under the wedding banner of the boat, was almost unrecognizable from how Jade looked now. “I know this is something that other people might see, so I won’t say everything coming to mind. But I want you to know that I love you and I cannot wait to have our lives officially begin as one. I literally want to marry you right this second… but I guess the anticipation can only make things better.”

“Hey,” Robbie said, the video doing a quick cut to him, as he nervously shuffled back and forth. “Thanks for inviting me to the wedding and everything. I really hope you guys are happy together. On an unrelated note though… is that Tasha girl single? Because I would-”

Jade almost pulled a grin, not only with how ridiculous her former classmate had been, but also with the way Freddie so eagerly cut away from him. Though as the picture phased out from black to the next interview, she felt less elated. But sad nonetheless.

“Hello, my widdle wedding gwoom…” Mrs Benson said, somehow showing her overbearing nature in very few syllables. “Now I know you know that Jade’s not exactly my favourite person, but I don’t think any woman is going to be as good to you as I will. But,” his mother continued, looking beyond the camera and starting to get a little dreary eyed, “if it had to be someone, I’m glad it’s Jade. You treat my boy right, little lady.”

“Ay yo…” Andre said, stumbling into focus as the next interview started up. He had clearly had a few drinks, and seemed to be extremely distracted by each and everything around him. “I… am soooo… proud of you guys. I mean, you guys deserve all the happiness in the world, and it really means a lot that I get to, like, be in this wedding and stuff. And I’m, like, fine… being the only black person here. Doesn’t weird me out at all. Be-cause you guys are my friends, and I love you. And yeah, like, it’s been a while since I was with someone, and I’m like permanently single or whatever. But I think I’mma turn that corner soon. Have something like you guys have.”

“Like a vagina,” a deep, twang laden voice said before popping into frame. Nate smirked at his horrible joke. Andre shook his head and walked away, leaving the cowboy to raise his beer, though from the look of it, like Andre, this was far from his first. “You guys are real lucky to have each other, and seriously, I wish you guys the best. Cannot wait for this wedding.”

There was a brief pause, almost as if this part was a bit more of a rough cut, but once she saw the blonde haired interviewee, it was somewhat clear why this part might be a bit rough around the edges.

“Fredward…” Sam said, clearly a bit dr*nk as well. Jade’s non-pain driven thoughts moved to think why this might be such a recurring theme. “I know I said I wouldn’t cuss or say anything just in case your future k*ds watch this. But knowing them, they’re going to know me as the bad seed aunt, so I will take it. I am so fucking happy that you’re happy. I mean that. You guys look great together today. Almost as good as you and me…” Sam’s face showed that she didn’t exactly mean for that to come out the way it did, but she nodded and walked away from the camera as it slowly dropped down and cut to black in an instant.

“I don’t know you very well young man,” said a voice, visually unclear from the way the camera was pointed, but the deep bravado was impossible for Jade not to recognize- it was Sikowitz, “but to my favourite student, who I think might kill me if I didn’t call her that, I wish you the best of luck. I am so very proud of you. Though, you know boats are not my thing whatsoever so perhaps a different mode of transport would have been better, Jade.”

Jade wiped away a tear as she watched the man, who for a few years, was more of a father than her own smile and toast his coconut drink to the camera before fading to the next interview.

“It’s on now, Mr West,” Freddie said from behind the camera, obviously.

“Sweetie,” her father began, moving into frame with her mother. They looked so regal, and so out of place with everyone else surrounding them on the boat. “I haven’t even seen you in your dress but I am amazed every day at how much of a beautiful young woman you’ve become. I know I never believed much in this whole acting thing, but all that ever has, or ever will, matter is your happiness.”

“Though I doubt this is the road to it,” her mother chimed in, showing how much of a snappy and bitter dr*nk she was before her husband placed his hand on her to signal silence.

“What she means, Jadelyn, is that marriage is not easy and it takes a lot of strength and patience.” Mr West took a moment to clearly look be-yond the camera at Freddie. “You just better take care of my little girl, young man. Treat her right…”

The way her dad looked into the camera after that made Jade shiver again, possibly from the bl**d loss, but it felt like the very moment he died and she was left with her unsaid feelings for her workaholic father.

“Hey,” Beck said, pushing his hair behind his ear and looking down for a few seconds, clearly thinking, before he gave a tilted glance toward the camera. “I guess I should say congratulations for you guys. I, uh, hope you two are happy… or will be happy, I guess.”

Beck seemed like he wanted to say more, but something caught his attention, and after seeing a dark skinned hand grab his shoulder, the identity of the distractor became fairly obvious.

Jade’s stomach turned as Spencer, Amy, and Savanna came into the picture, all together like a classic f*mily portrait, and her heart broke for them, even if Savanna got away.

“Hey man… super proud of you. And I don’t know you as well, Jade, but I’m really glad you guys are together. Perfect pair. So big congratulations. Got a heck of a present coming to you after the wedding. We-”

“You need to have some babies soon, Uncle Freddie,” Savanna interjected. “I’m the only k*d here.”

“Believe me,” Amy said, smiling sweetly. “You’re going to want to wait a while before doing that. I know from experience. But then again, I also know from experience that you don’t always get a choice.”

Spencer laughed as he squeezed his wife and daughter. “You’ve been a heck of a friend to me, and especially to Carly. I can honestly think of you as a br*ther, man. Yeah!”

Spencer toasted the camera with a deep smile, so full of happiness and hope that it just twisted Jade’s stomach further.

“Jade and Freddie!” Cat said, practically sing song-y as she slid back and forth by Noelle, her speech slurred and a drink in her hand. “You guys are sooooo lucky. I wanna get married, like, super bad. But Noelle says we can’t yet. I’m like, it’s not 2007 anymore… we’re gay and in California… it’s like, the thing to do.”

“We’re really excited,” Noelle said, cutting her off, both in speech and in drink form. “This wedding will be my first in a while, and I really am looking forward to it. Thanks so much for inviting me.”

“No, I can’t…” a new voice said, before the screen went to black again, but as the picture revealed a bit more, Jade’s heart almost skipped a beat when she saw it was Tori, and she was crying almost as much as she was now. “I don’t want her to see me crying.”

“Then take a few seconds,” Freddie’s voice said before there was a quick break. When the picture returned, the aspiring star had gotten herself together.

Tori rolled her hair around in her fingers and avoided looking right at the camera, but she still spoke, looking all around and above the direct eye contact. “Just wanted to tell you guys… that I love you both… and that I’m super happy for you two and I just… just hope I can keep it together at the wedding…”

Tori then broken down in tears once more and she could see Freddie reach over to comfort her, but she pushed him away and headed back into the crowd. Jade swallowed her tears, feeling more and more lightheaded with each passing moment, but even with that the pain of seeing how much pain Tori was in even then, made her feel so much worse.

“This is so exciting, right?!” Carly said, jumping up and down in the frame. Jade’s teeth gritted tight and she wanted to kill the video, but she just didn’t have the strength. “My best guy friend is getting married! Thank you so much for letting me plan and prepare for this thing, Freddie. I literally cannot wait to get there and show you and everyone else everything.”

Carly looked into the camera, and of course Freddie couldn’t see it when he was filming this, but her eyes told Jade everything about her feelings.

“I really put myself into this thing, and I’m worried you won’t like it in the end.”

“I’m sure Jade and I will love it,” Freddie said back, and Jade saw the subtle tick in Carly’s expression when he said her name.

“I’m sure…,” Carly smiled happily once more. “This will be a wedding no one will ever forget. Because I love you… both… and Jade, if you’re watching this, you should know to take care of this guy.”

Jade was so filled with anger that she wanted to run to the cliff and toss the phone screaming, but her legs weren’t really responding, and she was feeling really cold. She thought it was over, but then the loud crackle happened as Freddie’s fingers ran over the microphone apparently.

“Hey babe…” he said, staring into his own camera now, clearly off the boat and in his own room at the inn.

Jade’s heart melted, and she felt a bang of sadness, followed immediately by a shot of anger. Her mind raced as to why he couldn’t just kill Carly. If he had just done that, this would have all been different. She wanted so desperately to be mad at him, but she knew that she chose to kill Carly, and it was her rage that was going to kill her soon.

“I just wanted to tell you I love you. I hope I’m sitting next to you as we watch this, but if I’m not, I’m sure I can’t be too far away since I never intend on leaving you again.” Freddie smirked as he pulled out a photo. “I know you’ve felt weird about us staying at your parent’s old house after everything, so I’ve been saving up in secret and… I bought us a house. For you and me. And the baby of course. Big house for our growing f*mily, a nice sized yard to play in, and it has everything we could hope for.”

Jade’s body shivered hard, desperately trying to stay conscious as she watched, stroking the screen with all her energy.

“I have never and will never meet someone else like you, and I can never tell you how much I love you. I know I should probably not reuse stuff from the vows here, but I swear I will treat every moment I have with you from this moment forward like it’s our last.” It was clear, Freddie was tearing up too, but with joy as he smiled, almost right through the screen and into her soul. “No matter what comes along, nothing could ever or will ever stop me from loving you for all eternity.”

The video froze on his smiling, hopeful face, and Jade began to feel completely woozy, dropping the phone by her side, but never losing sight of his face as she fell with it. She felt a sense of peace and euphoria coming over her now. She could feel she was in something wet, and it never occurred to her that it could be from her own body.

Jade pressed the phone’s image, now completely pixelated, or that was how she was seeing it, and she kissed him one last time, and breathed a soft sigh of acceptance.

Updated: October 21, 2016 — 1:18 pm

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