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Part 6 of ?
"Unmask the Murderer" Sweepstakes - (inspired by author Rae Vertudez). This is a chance for all of you loyal readers out there to be a part of the "I Know What You Did Last Summer" series! The winning readers will get a brief role in upcoming installments of the series. Want to be an everlasting part of the series? All you need to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, telling who you think the murderer should be and why. The authors of the most creative responses (not the right ones, since that would give away the ending of the series!) will get a brief role - who knows? You could be the one that reveals the killer! (Or, you could be another dead body, but that's beside the point.) All entries must be received by January and winners will be notified by email. Remember, creativity is key!
* * *
Immediately where Part Five left off:
Karen laughed nervously. "Good joke, Pacey."
"Who said I'm joking? Where were you at the time of the murder?" he repeated.
"I was here, taking a shower and then a nap."
"A shower in the afternoon?"
"I always feel better after I take a shower. And I was tired after the long flight," she said defensively.
"Can you prove it?" he pressed.
"I was here and I know I'm telling the truth. That's enough for me. But if you lock me up because you think I'm lying, then the real killer is still out there and he or she will strike again."
"How do you know this wasn't just a one-shot deal?" Joey asked suspiciously.
"I don't. But if you and Dawson are getting all these threatening letters . . . well, you could be next," she said cautiously. Joey shook her head. Karen was just too much. Yeah, I'm going to wake up tomorrow decapitated and floating down the creek, she thought scornfully. Karen gave her an icy stare as if she could read her mind.
"Wait a second, threatening letters?" Pacey questioned, realizing what had just been said. "What letters?" Dawson and Joey exchanged glances, then decided that it would be all right to tell him.
"It started when I got home from college," Joey began.
* * *
11:08 p.m. that night
"In local news, the murderer of Capeside teenager Kristen McGill remains at large. Police have no suspects and questioning of locals has resulted in no leads. The police are examining the area of the murder right now and hope to have more information for tomorrow morning's news. Anyone with information is asked to call the Capeside Police Department at 555-1552," the anchorwoman said in a monotone, as if she could care less that Kristen was in the morgue right now.
"Try to be a little more unfeeling next time, I almost thought you cared," Pacey mumbled at the woman.
"That's just terrible," Mrs. Leery said from the kitchen. "I can't believe something like this could happen in Capeside."
"Funny how something like this happened just at the time Karen arrived," Joey muttered from the loveseat in the living room. She and Pacey were sitting together, while Karen was sprawled on the recliner. Jen, who had arrived uninvited a few hours before, and Dawson shared the couch. All their eyes were focused intently on the set that told the gory details of Kristen's murder. Her senior picture flashed on the screen once again, while a neighbor proclaimed what a "sweet, quiet" girl she was. Pacey's eyes started to well up with tears. Even though he hadn't known Kristen very well, there was something about her that had drawn him to her. Maybe, like Jen had said, it was simply the fact that she was almost exactly like Joey. In both appearance and manner, the girls were incredibly similar. Jen was probably right. Instead of dealing with his pain, he just started chasing after a clone of Joey. He had never completely gotten over her, he realized. The cozy scene before him was almost an exact replica of all those weekends together during their senior year. It had always been Pacey and Joey on the love seat, Jen and Dawson on the couch, and a movie. They were four best friends, sharing an evening together. Except now there was a stranger on the recliner, they barely knew each other anymore, and the murder onscreen wasn't a product of Hollywood. He sniffed unconsciously and realized that the entire room was staring at him.
"What?" he said, wiping his eyes.
"Are you all right?" Joey asked softly, placing a hand on his shoulder. He shook his head.
"Not now." She gave him a sympathetic smile, and moved closer to him. It was a small gesture, but it was the only way she knew to make him understand he wasn't alone. He tentatively placed an arm around her shoulder, drawing her closer. Instinct was telling him that he needed to protect Joey. He was not going to let the same thing happen to her. Although he did a good job of concealing it, the notes that Joey and Dawson got had frightened him. He had let her slip through his fingers by letting her go to Virginia, but the idea of losing her for good was scaring him.
"It'll be all right, Pacey. I'm here for you. I'm not going to leave." He wasn't sure why, but somehow he knew that this time she meant it.
* * *
The Next Morning
"I still think it was Pacey," Karen cried as she flung open the curtains in Dawson's room. He groaned and rolled over.
"What the…? Who's there?" he mumbled, still not awake. Karen jumped onto his bed, landing squarely on Dawson's kneecap. He grunted in pain.
"I mean, it is a little difficult to say he did it when he's on tape in the marina. But, who's to say he didn't have an accomplice? Maybe Mike or Tony was involved, and…" Karen babbled. Dawson rolled back over and buried his head underneath the pillow. Nine a.m. was much too early to be subject to Karen's constant chattering.
"Blah, blah, blah," he muttered as he pulled the comforter over his head; Karen didn't notice that he was ignoring her.
"…and he and Joey did seem a little cozy on the love seat last night. Maybe he's into that whole 'win their trust then slice them open' thing; it's entirely possible. I wouldn't put it past a guy who would beat you up with such little provocation. It's got to be him, right? Dawson, what do you think?" she finished, turning towards him with a big smile on her face. She was evidently proud of her analytical skills. It faded, however, when she heard the faint sound of Dawson's snoring. "Dawson!" she said, annoyed. She poked him in the stomach. "Wake up!"
"Go away," he mumbled. "It's too early."
"It's nine a.m.! I overslept!"
"But it's the California equivalent of six a.m. Definitely too early for normal human beings. Goodbye, Karen."
"I'll wake you after I finish retiling your floor and washing your car," she teased. Dawson grunted again. Karen took that as a positive sign and waltzed out of his room, singing some impossibly chipper and upbeat song.
"That girl needs some sort of medication. Tranquilizers?" Jen said as she climbed in his window. Dawson grunted.
"I guess I'm just destined not to sleep at all today," he groaned. "When did you get here?"
"Five minutes ago. I heard Karen, though, so I decided to wait outside your window until she left. Man, that girl has way too much energy."
"Tell me about it. What are you doing here?"
"Just thought I'd drop in on you, Dawson," Jen smiled. "I was bored and wanted to see how you were doing after last night."
"I'm fine, I didn't know Kristen at all. Pacey, though," he said, shaking his head. "This is really getting to him. Any ideas why? I mean, you've been spending a lot of time with him lately."
"He sort of had a thing for her, from what I could tell. She looked and acted a lot like Joey; there were times I couldn't tell them apart at all. Especially later in the day, when the sun was setting and you couldn't see her face very well? They could have been twins!" she said. "I think that Pacey never really got over Joey and this was his way of having her back, in a twisted way. It was the next best thing for him." Dawson mulled this over.
"Interesting. So, maybe he feels like he lost Joey all over again." Jen clapped her hands.
"That's it, Dawson!" she said excitedly. "You're a genius!" Dawson blushed. Something about Jen's constant praise and attention was bothering him. Not that he minded being told he was wonderful, mind you. He just wasn't used to all of that attention. "So, do you want to do something today? Maybe lunch?" she asked.
"Isn't the viewing today?"
"Is it really? Isn't that kind of soon? Don't they need to establish cause of death and everything?"
"Jen, she was hacked to death. They have all the information they need from her body, too. Her parents probably just want it over as soon as possible. They're flying down from wherever they live in Maine for the viewing and funeral. My mom told me this morning; she heard it from her friend at the funeral home."
"Still, it hasn't even been a day." Dawson shrugged.
"I don't know why. Anyhow, the viewing is today. Don't you think we should go? Even if we didn't know her, it's the right thing to do. I'm sure Pacey would appreciate the support."
"That's a great idea, Dawson. Pacey would appreciate it," she cooed. Dawson raised his eyebrows. Something was definitely up with Jen. She seemed a little too eager to please him.
"Let's see if there's anything new going on," he said, trying to change the subject. Without waiting for a response, he turned on the television and flipped to the news station. Jen practically bounded across his bed and leaned up right against him.
"Amazingly, no one was hurt when the garbage truck flipped over and crushed a small birdhouse. The driver of the truck is…" a man with an obvious toupee droned. Dawson shifted away from Jen uncomfortably. A little self-restraint on her part would be really nice, considering someone was murdered yesterday, he said to himself, glancing sideways at the blond next to him.
"A young boy in New Bedford collected over seventy garbage bags of clothing for the homeless in Boston. This was part of an awareness program sponsored by the New Bedford school system. Its goal is to keep young children informed of…" Dawson sighed. He didn't care about some eight year old in New Bedford or a crushed birdhouse, he wanted to hear about Kristen. I wonder if this is how Pacey feels, he mused as a video of the boy holding two bags of clothing filled the screen.
"New information has been released in the Kristen McGill murder case. McGill, an eighteen year old resident of Capeside, was brutally stabbed to death yesterday evening. As reported yesterday, the police had found a bloody black mask, similar to the one worn by the killer the films "Scream" and "Scream 2", hidden behind a trash dumpster belonging to the marina. Blood tests have shown that the blood on the mask belongs to the victim and it has been entered as evidence in the case. This mask is extremely common and its origin cannot be traced, but the police are searching for fingerprints and other evidence around the dumpster as well as checking the records of stores in the surrounding area for possible sales of a mask like this. Again, the Capeside Police urge anyone with information to contact them." Jen turned white.
"So the killer was wearing the same mask as the killer in Scream?" she whispered. Dawson nodded.
"That's what it seems like."
"Oh my God…can you imagine being stabbed to death by someone wearing something you've seen in a movie? That has got to be one of the worst ways to go," she mumbled. "That's horrible. It's like this is someone's idea of a joke."
"What do you mean?"
"Don't you see it? It's a combination of cheesy horror films. You and Joey got 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' notes and someone murdered Kristen while wearing the Scream mask."
"So?! There has to be some connection. I think this is a serial killer."
"You're crazy, Jen," he laughed. "In Capeside?"
"It does sound ridiculous, I know. Maybe I'm reading too much into this. Still, it's a little freaky to think about."
"What, will some fisherman come by and slice me open with a hook?" he laughed. "It's preposterous, Jen, you've been watching way too many of those films."
"Maybe I have, Dawson. But this is scary, and the last thing I want to be is next in some sick person's living interpretation of bad slasher films. Do you realize how bad this could get? More people could die. And considering those notes, you . . . or Joey . . . you could be next," she said.
"I don't think so, Jen." She stood up.
"Go ahead, Dawson. If you don't want to take me seriously, that's fine, but I don't have to stand around and get laughed at."
"Jen, I didn't mean it like that."
"When does the viewing start?" Dawson furrowed his brow.
"What does that have to do with this?"
"When does it start?" she repeated.
"Two, I think."
"Pick me up at quarter to two. I'll see you later." With that, she was gone.
"A reenactment of teen horror films? It's not possible," he laughed. Then something clicked in his head and he paled. "….Or is it?"
Hmmm...like Kilby would say, A Days of Our Lives ending. I can't help it, I'm a sucker for cliffhangers. And if you'd like to read part seven sometime soon, you should probably consider giving me feedback...it's the only thing that keeps me writing.
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