Sever (Slayer Society #1), p.1Jesse Grey / Thrillers & Crime
Copyright 2017 Jesse Grey
Table of Contents
Prologue – To Die For
1 – Where It All Began
2 – Drop Dead
3 – Introductions
4 – The Slayer Society
5 – Beginnings
6 – Stake Out
7 – Breaking & Entering
8 – Confess
9 – Where Shadows Dwell
10 – Echoes
11 – Deep In Darkness We Begin
12 – The Siren Song
13 – Into The Depths
14 – She Knows Things
15 – A Vessel And Her Skeletons
16 – Homekilling
17 – One Of You
18 – Morior Invictus
19 – It’s Her
20 – Found
21 – That Night
22 – What Happens Next
About Jesse Grey
TO DIE FOR
Six Months Ago
“This is bad.”
They all knew it was true. They knew the moment that they had stepped foot onto the land of Armor Falls Cemetery that their night had gone south. The four of them were a collective of panic while they stared down at the fallen body in front of them. A dead body. One of them, a tall man with hair as dark as the hour around them, paced in front of the body as his three friends stood shell shocked at the situation.
“This is really bad.” he said once more.
The only girl of their group, a beautiful brunette with long flowing tresses, ran a hand through her hair. “Where is he? Where’s Sumner?”
“Lissa, who cares? There’s a body!” The pacing man regarded her.
“He lured us here. We have to find him.”
Another young man of the group, with short brown hair done up in a pompadour style, stepped away from the body. “We need to get out of here.”
“Where do you suggest we go, Mercer? The police? Arclan?”
“Somewhere that doesn’t involve us staring at a dead body, Bridge!”
The last of the group, a slightly scruffy buzzed blond, locked eyes with each of his friends. They couldn’t lose it. Not now. There was a murder involved, and Sumner was nowhere to be found. They couldn’t lose it now when they were so close to losing it all.
“We’re going to prison. I’m gonna get life without parole.” Bridge said with rigorous finality.
“No one is going to prison.”
Lissa eliminated the small distance between the tall blond and herself in response to his stiff words, grabbing his hand gingerly.
“Abram, please tell me you have a plan.”
He looked around, his eyes locking on the woods on the outskirts of the cemetery just behind them. The only option seemed to be alarmingly obvious.
“Grab a leg.”
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
An alarm with a powerful screeching pitch brought Abram to a rushed consciousness. A sigh left his lips as he rolled over and thrashed his clock to a much needed silence with his palm. He ruffled his thick and short dark blond hair as he rose from his bed, shaking the nightmare he had relived during his slumber. That night played back over and over since he’d gotten home, like a cold that refused to leave him.
The blood. The dirt. The body.
He shook himself mentally. He had to push it as far out of his mind as he possibly could. He had other things to worry about.
Throwing off his deep red comforter, he made his way over to his fulllength mirror, smiling at his toned, tanned skin physique that he’d been working on since he’d been...away. Of course, he averted his gaze from the scar on his chest. The one just above his heart.
He checked his phone, more out of habit than anything else, to avoid the traumatic scar. It wasn’t like he’d seen any of his friends, let alone heard from them, in the month since he’d been released. Not a single call, not a single text. Not even Lissa had responded.
“Abram, you better be up and getting ready! Breakfast is almost done!”
His mother’s warning caused him to smile. If there was one thing he was thankful for since he’d been home, it was just how supportive his family had been since he’d been to Arclan. He took a quick shower before he found himself ready and heading downstairs, where his mother was quick to usher him to the kitchen table, the buttery aroma of waffles wafting through the air.
As Abram sat down, he noticed that his little sister was reading the newspaper, and the headline gripped his attention.
“Let me see that.”
He grabbed the paper immediately out of her hands, turning his attention back to the headline that read ‘Six Months Since Student Stabbing’.
Abram scoffed as he saw a picture of his friends and himself snapped right after they had buried the body. Not that the forensic photographer or even the police knew that.
His mother took a seat, joining the family as she sat multiple plates of waffles and various syrups on the table. November St. James, her ebony skin glistening, gave her son a warm smile, causing him to mirror it.
“How are you feeling, darling?”
“I’m fine, Mom. Just ready to get my first day back over with.” He set the newspaper on the table, but his sister had moved on to her phone to browse the latest in pop culture news.
Abram’s father, the usually stoic Steven St. James, put his phone down from checking sports scores and addressed his son. “Abe, if you’re not ready—”
“No!” He shouted a little too quickly. “I mean, no. I’m ready, Dad. Honest. I just don’t...it’s just going to be weird to be back in those halls.”
He didn’t need to add that it would be weird without Sumner. It was so strange to Abram. He could hate Sumner with every atom he mustered and at the same time, he still missed his former best friend. He cleared his head. He couldn’t dwell on Sumner. That part of his life was behind him now. He needed to figure out what was going on with his other friends instead of dwelling on the person that had tried to kill him.
“Willa, what have people been saying?” Abram asked, eyes glued to his sister’s expression.
“Nothing,” she said calmly. “We haven’t told them about anything."
Slowly, he eyed every member of his ebony skinned family, a contrast to his own sunkissed ivory. “You guys haven’t told the world that I was in a mental institution?”
November grabbed her husband’s hand comfortingly before speaking. “Sweetheart, of course your friends’ parents know, but we asked them to keep it to themselves after your friends visited because…” she trailed off, but then looked to her husband to finish.
Steven cleared his throat. “We wanted you to decide. So much control has been taken from you the past six months and we didn’t want to add to that. If you want to tell everyone exactly what happened, we support you. If not, we’ll continue to keep our lips sealed.”
“What we’re saying, is that you have a choice. This is your life and you get to choose what you do with it.”
Abram, feeling completely overwhelmed at the kind hearts that made up his family, felt tears rising within him. “I can’t believe you guys...trust me that much.” He immediately got up and embraced his parents, smiles grazing their lips. Abram turned to his sister. “And thank you for not saying anything. I know how hard that must be.”
Laughing, Willa threw her arms around her brother. “You’ll do great, Abe.” They parted, allowing Willa to grab her keys and purse from the kitchen island. “I’ll drive you. Don’t wanna be late for your grand reentrance.”
Mentally rolling his eyes at the fact that he’d been denied driving privileges for the time being, Abram nodded and grabbed their already prepared backpacks and bid their parents adieu, knowing that this moment of joy he was feeling would never be the same once he stepped foot into Westbrooke High for the last first time.
Westbrooke High School was buzzing with students who wanted to get there early, not that there were many of them. One of the few early birds happened to be Bridge Mathison. He was nervous, but not for reasons he normally would have been. He should be nervous by the fact that he was editing the school’s literary magazine, or that he was trying out for captain of his school’s basketball team in a few months. But no, he was nervous to see his friends.
It’d been so long, too long, since he’d seen them. Especially Mercer, whom he had always been closest to. Not to mention that Abram was probably still in Arclan. He hadn’t seen any of his friends since they had visited Abram just five months ago, just a month after everything had gone crazy with Sumner.
Brushing his thoughts aside, Bridge decided to get some early drafts for the literary magazine in the computer lab done. But as he headed down the school’s main hallway, he saw a familiar face heading into the school.
It was Mercer.
Bridge’s first instinct was to run and throw his arms around his best friend, to end their months of silence. But Mercer took one look at him and went down the opposite hall.
“Mercer!” Bridge called after him, but the taller boy kept hustling away from him like he had acquired the plague in a gristly manner.
He started running after Mercer then, grabbing him by the shoulder and spinning him around to face him. Despite the situation, Bridge smiled. Mercer had always been cute, but with his new tan, Bridge had to admit he was probably the hottest guy at Westbrooke, with his styled brown hair and ocean blue eyes that spoke of warm summers, and that definitely didn’t hurt his case at all.
“Bridge,” Mercer began.
“Where have you been? I haven’t heard from anyone since...Arclan.” Bridge paused to gauge Mercer’s reaction, which was plain and unnerved. “I called, texted. What happened?”
Mercer sighed nervously before looking into Bridge’s chesnut eyes. “I just got back into town.” he explained. “I’ve been in Louisiana.”
Bridge’s brow furrowed curiously. “Louisiana?”
He nodded. “Visiting family with my dads.”
“To get away from everything.” he sighed again. “They’ve been really worried about me since that night.”
“We’re best friends, Merce. It’s been really tough these past couple of months.” Bridge stopped himself before he blurted out something he wasn’t quite ready to discuss.
“It’s been hard for all of us, Bridge. Listen, my dads are freaking out on me about everything that happened six months ago, and that trip to visit Abe didn’t help. They don’t want me to get into any trouble this year.”
“What happened with Sumner wasn’t your fault. It’s not like we can’t be friends or something stupid like that.” Bridge watched as a cloudy expression settled over Mercer’s features. Before he could open his mouth again to explain, Bridge realized what was going on. “Are you kidding me?”
“Bridge, I’m sorry.” To his credit, Mercer did look really upset, but Bridge just shook his head. “I don’t think we should hang out anytime soon.”
Not letting him give a rebuttal, Mercer turned on his heels and disappeared out of Bridge’s view. He scoffed to himself. If it had just been the fact that Mercer was stuck in Louisiana with no service for his reasoning as to why he hadn’t spoken to him, Bridge would have understood. But the fact that he was avoiding him because he thought he would cause trouble? Unacceptable.
A storm of fear overcame Bridge. Had Mercer told his dads about what really happened that night? About what he had done? They had made a pact to never tell anyone, but could his dads’ constant worry have pulled the information out of him?
No, that was crazy. Mercer wouldn’t betray him, any of them. They’d take their secret to their graves.
Bridge didn’t have time to think about it too long because students started to enter the school by the swarms. And when he saw Willa St. James, he immediately beamed. He’d always been friends with Willa through Abram but ever since the rest of his friends had seemingly pushed him away, he’d never been closer to her.
“Hey!” she exclaimed, running up to him and hugging him tightly.
“You look amazing!” Bridge said, regarding her lavender Chi Chi London lace dress with matching wedge shoes.
Willa laughed and gestured toward his blue and yellow plaid button up and his dark green Levi’s, topped off with a dark gray hat that he wore backwards. “Not looking too bad yourself.”
“I feel like I haven’t seen you in a month.” he admitted.
“Yeah, I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA. I’ve just been dealing with stuff with Abram.”
He smiled weakly. “How is Abram?”
A wicked grin curved Willa’s lips upward. “Ask him yourself.”
Eyes widening, Bridge turned to see a smiling, clean shaven Abram, obviously waiting for Willa’s set up to make his appearance. Bridge laughed as he enveloped Abram in a huge embrace, much like he had wanted to give Mercer earlier. He shook himself mentally as he felt tears licking the edges of his eyes. He’d missed Abram so much. Six months was too long to go without any of his friends.
Coming out of the hug, Bridge realized that Abram was having the exact same problem with keeping his emotions in their respective stables.
“I’ve missed you so much.” Abram said, clearing his throat.
“I’ve missed you too, Abe.”
“I’ve been trying to reach you guys.”
“When did you get back?”
“Almost a month ago.” He smiled, an undertone of bashfulness laying beneath it. “Just been trying to adjust.”
Throwing up his hands, Bridge laughed. “I wish I’d known.” He then noted just how amazing Abram was looking. “You’ve bulked up too.”
Nodding, Abram laughed. “Yeah, I have. But we can catch up later,” Abram grinned before his expression grew more curious, a tumbling of thought redirecting his focus. “Have you heard from Lissa?”
Bridge shook his head as Willa jumped back into the conversation, the former noticing that people were beginning to whisper and cut eyes in their direction.
“None of us have,” Willa explained. “It’s really weird. It’s like she’s fallen off the grid.”
Abram just affirmed his sister’s accusation, but Bridge could see the concern in his eyes. After all, before that night, Lissa and Abram had been together and so obviously in love. And they hadn’t spoken in almost six months? Bridge couldn’t imagine what Abram was going through with being back to civilized life in Armor Falls.
Suddenly, Willa’s eyes grew wide as she spotted someone behind Bridge. She turned to her brother in frantic movements. “Abe, I was supposed to tell you something on the way here but I completely spaced.”
Bridge turned to see what the fuss was about when he felt a blackout approaching his senses. A guy waved at Willa as he raced toward them. Then the stranger’s eyes fell on Bridge and they grew the size of cantaloupes.
He recognized the guy from last night.
The handsome Armenian, with lines of concern aging him more than he actually was, stopped just in front of them, his brown eyes expanding as he realized that Bridge wasn’t a mirage and really was standing right in front of him.
“Bridge, what are you doing here? Student teaching or something?”
“Um, he’s here for senior year?” Willa laughed lightly.
His confusion furthered. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Can we get back to what I’m supposed to know?” Abram interjected, looking from his sister to Ben.
Ben looked away from Bridge and moved between the siblings, sticking out his hand for Abram to shake. “Sorry. I’m Ben Magnus.”
Abram laughed, shaking his hand swiftly. “And I care…why?”
Willa adopted her nerves and stirred cautiously next to them. “Mom and Dad wanted someone to look out for you and transition you back to everything.”
“My dad recently started working with yours,” Ben explained. “I’m a psych major at Heartmyth University, a senior, and they just wanted someone for you to go to if you’re ever feeling...off.”
Bridge watched as Abram scoffed in annoyance. “So much for giving me control over my own life.”
“I’m just going to be here when you need me. Kind of like an advisor. Your sidekick. And I’ll drive you wherever you want to go.” Ben smiled.
“Wait, you can’t drive?”
Everyone turned to see Bridge looking terribly uncomfortable and perplexed.
“Yeah. Because I can’t be trusted, right?” Abram yelled, storming away from everyone and adding to the stares they were already collecting as people continued to pass by.
Flustered, Willa went running after her brother, leaving Bridge and Ben alone together.
“What the hell, Bridge?” Ben closed the space between them, keeping his voice low as more and more students piled into Westbrooke High. “You told me you were a freshman at Heartmyth last night!”
Bridge sighed. “Ben, I’m sorry but—”
“Are you even eighteen?”
“Technically?” Bridge winced sarcastically.
“Chill out, Ben. I turn eighteen in two months. What we did—”
Bridge reached out to touch Ben’s arm, but he recoiled like Bridge was a leper, reminding him once again of his brief encounter with Mercer.
“When we met at that party last night,” Ben began. “The only reason we hooked up was because I thought you were in college, not high school.”
“Ben,” Bridge grabbed his hand, but once again he acted like his touch would incinerate him from the inside out.
“Enough. What happened last night was a onetime thing. I’m not gay.”
Bridge couldn’t help but laugh despite the weird occurrence. “Well you might not be, but your ass sure was last night.”
Ben coughed at his abrasiveness, looking around to make sure no one was listening to their conversation.
“What’s the big deal? We had fun last night. No need to label anything.” Bridge nodded.
“It’s more complicated than that.”
He didn’t know what the issue was. Maybe Bridge had fudged a few of the details during the back to school party at Heartmyth last night, but they had both been pretty drunk and Ben had an amazing ass and...one thing had led to another. It’s not like they were hurting anyone.
A titter sounded from behind them. A beautiful blonde spun Ben around and hugged him invitingly. Bridge’s eyebrows raised inquisitively as the woman turned to meet Bridge’s, smiling.
“Oh, sorry,” she laughed. “You must be the student Ben is advising. Abram, right?”
“Uh, no. I’m his friend, Bridge.” he smiled nervously. “And you are?”
The woman laughed. “I’m Paige Honeycombe, the new guidance counselor.”
“Oh. Nice to meet you. How do you know Ben?”
Ben shifted awkwardly as he opened his mouth to speak but Paige silenced him by holding up her hand, Bridge’s eyes brightening at the ring on her finger.
As Ben chuckled oddly, Paige beamed exuberantly, and Bridge stood there speechless as he stared at the man he had just slept with and the woman he was lying to about it.