“Scarlett!” the distant voice of her friend calls out, the words fluttering through her head as she fades in and out of the two realms she shares her life with. Again called for by the woman in the driver’s seat, Scarlett remains battling the urge to fall asleep before the sudden sting of a hand to the face jolts her back. “What the fuck?” Scarlett shouts, tending to the handprint on her face as she brushes off the apology from Victoria. “Well you weren’t answering me when I called for you, so I went to the next best thing” the driver replies, watching as Scarlett adjusts the seatbelt, keeping it from continuing to strangle her.
“How are you staying awake?” Scarlett asks, still fighting to keep her eyes open through their obvious want to close for even a few minutes. “We’re either about to become missing people or already have been, so that’s a good motivator” Victoria replies, instantly pushing Scarlett into an apologetic state of mind, having been the one to push them onto this track to begin. Reaching out to turn the dial on the truck’s console, Scarlett’s hand finds a similar fate as her cheek did a few moments prior. “Vic, cool it with the slapping!” Scarlett says, watching the driver apologetically bounce her head up and down.
“Sorry, it’s… Well, it’s a stress reliever” Victoria replies, putting a smile on Scarlett’s face. “Keep it up and I’ll have to get us into couple’s counseling” Scarlett jokes, pushing the fear of being their own providers aside for the few seconds. On the long road into Baton Rouge, the headlights of the car spot out a few ambitious rain drops beginning their crash into the ground. “We should find a place to settle in for the-” Scarlett begins, pausing to check the clock as it near five o’clock in the morning. “-Well, morning” Scarlett concludes, bringing about more laughter, finally getting Victoria to ease the worry for the first time since their original departure.
Passing the ‘Now Entering Baton Rouge’ street sign, the rain quickly begins to come down hard, forcing the girls to pull off to the side of the road. “Fuck it, we’ve got soft seats. We’ll settle down here for a few” Scarlett says, presenting it as a solution as the dry sand below quickly turns to mud. Turning the key and powering the car down, the two girls look to each other with an expression of worry. “Everything’s gonna be alright” Scarlett says, watching the smile on Victoria’s face assure her that the pair are on the same page. “I trust you” Victoria says, the little under the week she’s known her feeling like a lifetime.
“Is it weird that I trust you this much?” Victoria asks, watching Scarlett smirk and drop her head against the headrest as her seat turns into a recliner. “We’re a strange set of clairvoyants. If this doesn’t give us the free ticket to become BFF’s, I don’t know what can” Scarlett replies, reassuring Victoria that she isn’t losing her mind. Without response, Victoria nods to herself and drops her seat back, taking in a deep breath as the two girls close their eyes, having earned their return to the realm beyond.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
Sat to the chorus of phones ringing off the walls and the unprovoked uneasy feeling in the air, Rachel and the Benson’s sit patiently waiting to declare their daughter a missing person. Her leg tapping against the floor until the hand of her husband prompts her stop, Nora watches the officer stationed at the front desk as if he was just going to drop everything to help her. “What is taking so long?” Nora asks herself, ultimately finding small but existing reassurance in Al’s promise that she’s perfectly fine.
“Why would she just disappear like this?” Nora asks, resting her head against her husband’s chest as he pulls her close. “We don’t know that she meant to disappear, Nor” Al says, “For all we know, she went out trying to buy you a surprise present and got spooked by everyone looking for her. We just don’t have answers, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing from top to bottom.”
Finding herself in a similar position to what she normally finds herself in, Nora refuses to argue, putting her faith in Al’s composed response, hoping for it all to just be a case of being too blown out of proportion. “Bensen?” an officer calls out, reading off a clipboard and capturing the focus of the distraught mother like a moth to a porch light. “Yes, yes that’s us” Nora says, swiping the hair from her face as she shoots to her feet, following the officer’s hand directing the trio to an office in the back.
“And when did you last see her?” the officer asks mid-conversation, told the events exactly as they unfolded. “Do you know this friend?” the officer asks, both parents looking back to Rachel as the teenage girl stands against the wall directly beside the door. “Her name’s Victoria. I don’t know her last name, she just started at our school” Rachel replies, challenged by the follow-up question of whether or not Scarlett had ever had prior interactions with the girl.
“She told her where to find one of her classes in the hallway a few days ago, but I haven’t seen them interact with each other other than that.” Writing this down in the notebook, the officer asks Rachel if she has any reason to believe Rachel to be a threat to Scarlett’s well-being. Stuttering for a second, the brief hesitation enough to captivate the three adults now staring at her as if she were on stage performing on Broadway. “Not that I would know of” Rachel replies, pausing for a second before admitting that she doesn’t have anything to base that off of.
“Do you have any reason to believe that Scarlett would run off without saying anything?” the officer asks, Rachel’s response being interrupted by Scarlett’s mother assuring the officer that she would never. Folding his hands together and taking a brief glance towards the floor, the officer apologizes to Nora. “Ma’am, I understand your concern. As a parent myself, and I can assure you that we do not always know our children as best as we think we do.”
With that statement, the officer looks back to Rachel and asks the question a second time. “I’m not asking you if she has done this in the past, but as someone that is close with her on the level of an acquaintance, would your assessment of her indicate that she would be the kind of person to run off without saying anything?” With the question, Al keeps his eyes forward as Nora plants her own on Rachel, watching the young girl give her answer as if she was a television program reading off the lottery numbers.
“Knowing Scarlett…” Rachel begins, taking in a deep breath as her eyes find Nora for a brief second before wavering off. “...If there was a good reason for it, I’m confident she would.” With this assertion made, Nora looks away with disappointment. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Bensen” Rachel says, watching a hurt smile come over Nora’s face as she nods to the girl.
“That’ll never get old” Scarlett says, gliding her hand over her skin as the pleasing touch of her skin turning from synthetic into flesh acts like a fetish. Vic appearing beside her, gliding her hand over her skin much the same, the two look to each other as if they know exactly what the other is thinking. “It feels like winning a marathon, don’t it?” Scarlett says with a smile, watching Vic humorously shake her head and head into the main street.
“Wait, why are we out here?” Scarlett asks, not needing to hear anything to feel Esotera popping into existence behind the pair. “As I said, a much more open environment will be beneficial to you two” Esotera replies, joining the girls in their stroll down the street. “Where is everyone?” Scarlett asks, noticing the downtown area of Baton Rouge lit up, ready to impress the existing nightlife without any signs of the night’s life to be seen.
“This is your dream, not theirs” Esotera responds, placing her hand to the door of one of the buildings before popping onto the other side of it. Looking to each other as if they were about to open presents on Christmas morning, Scarlett and Vic walk up to the doors and attempt to lean on them, only to fall directly through and drop to the ground in the entry way. “Ow, what the hell?” Scarlett asks, dusting herself off as Esotera fails to hide her enjoyment.
“Funny is it?” Scarlett asks, pointing her hand forward as if to grab Esotera, only to be sent flying back into the wall, disappearing through it as if it were never even there. “Where the fuck did she go!?” Vic asks amusingly, telling Vic to check out the opposite wall just as Scarlett crashes through it and drops to the floor. “I’m too good for your powers to work on me, little one” Esotera jokes, turning around to walk into the building as Scarlett gets to her feet.
Throwing her hands forward with a smile, Scarlett is sent crashing through the windows without Esotera having to lift a finger, eventually crashing through the opposite side of the building once more as Esotera lifts an eyebrow. “Did I not already have this discussion with you?” Esotera asks, watching Scarlett pick the splintered wood from her hair and reply with a simple but firm “Bite me.”
“Follow along” Esotera exclaims, laughing at the muttered name calling of ‘show off’ from the upstaged young blonde. “Where are we going?” Vic asks, following Esotera and beginning an ascent up a never-ending stairwell colored with a splash of bright red. As they continue their ascent without question, the bright red lights begin to flicker, with the stairwell beginning to rumble until the sight of something large near-miles above acts as a massive shadow. “What is that?” Vic asks, noticing the growling of the original beast from their introduction into the realm beyond.
“What do we do?” Vic asks, only to cut herself off and ask why the beast keeps growing closer. Suddenly the sound of twisting metal accompanies the task of dodging falling bolts and screws, turning their current predicament into one more dire in nature. “We have to get out of here!” Scarlett shouts as the beast rapidly falls closer to them, and the metal stairs beneath their feet begin to shake rapidly, threatening to collapse at any moment.
Suddenly, the touch of Esotera’s hand grabbing their wrists and squeezing tight snap them into a seperate room, lit with a natural white light and the feel of something safe from an earthquake. “What the fuck was that?” Scarlett asks, her request for further information blocked when a horde of disfigured monsters race from respective empty rooms, making a break for the duo. Attempting to call for Esotera, Scarlett notices their overseer having disappeared, leaving the girls to fend for themselves.
“On the desks!” Vic shouts, climbing onto one as one of the seemingly thousands of the disfigured inches closer to Scarlett at a full sprint. “Scarlett!” Vic shouts, watching the girl nail a backflip onto the desk’s surface. Service weapon in hand, Scarlett blows the disfigured head into bits and joins Vic in running along the desktops as if they were playing a massive game of ‘the floor is lava.’
Before long, the girls break out their shields and toss them around when necessary, wiping hundreds of the disfigured into death in the snap of a finger. Shot after shot taking down the disfigured as if they were beating a video game level, Scarlett and Vic dash through the workspace wiping away and taking out the disfigured, which only continue to pour from their pockets.
“Vic!” Scarlett calls out, watching the girl wipe out crowd after crowd of the disfigured. “Send a shield at the ground!” Scarlett shouts, taking aim and firing off as ordered, disappearing through the walls as Vic soon follows. Not having seen what happens like Scarlett, Vic watches the ground she once walked disappear in the blink of an eye as she throws herself through one room after another before finding herself popping through the roof.
“Holy fuck!” Vic shouts, her words extending as her ascent reaches its peak, sending her back down slowly before the pace picks back up, ending with her slamming into the office floor and sending a shockwave throughout, wiping every single disfigured from existence. Looking at her posture to notice herself having unintentionally landed a superhero-like pose, she looks towards Scarlett as she smiles from ear-to-ear. “Super fucking cool, isn’t it?” Scarlett calls out, admitting that her sneak attacks on Esotera ended up paying off.
“I knew they would” Esotera exclaims, reappearing before immediately watching Scarlett try to take aim at her again, only to send herself ripping through the office walls once more and crashing through the opposite side. “Learn your fucking lesson, please!” Esotera proudly exclaims, with Scarlett pointing towards her, promising that she’ll get one over on her someday. “When that day comes, I’ll probably kill myself” Esotera says, watching Scarlett wrinkle her nose and shake her head.
“Why did you bring us here?” Vic asks, switching the conversation onto what she hopes to be a more productive path. “Find out for yourselves” Esotera suggests, opening every door in the office before popping out of sight, leaving Scarlett and Vic to their own work. Shrugging towards Vic, Scarlett walks down one of the many maze-like hallways in an effort to randomly pick at what is made available to her.
With the dawn of a new day arriving over the horizon in the form of the sunrise, Rachel finally puts an end to the car ride from hell in the driveway of the Bensen’s. “Thank you again, Rachel” Nora says, quickly getting out of the car and heading for the house. “If you need us to explain to your parents why you were out all night, let me know” Al says, making for the door before pausing for a moment, noticing Rachel’s head sink.
Knowing how much Rachel’s concerns took a backseat to their own throughout the night, Al gently taps the young girl on the shoulder and does what he can to help put her worries at ease. “I’ll never claim to know everything about my daughter, but I know she wouldn’t just voluntarily go after danger.” Al looks Rachel in the eyes and promises her that Scarlett will show up. “It’s not a matter of ‘if’, it’s a matter of ‘when’, alright?” Al asks, watching Rachel offer a brief half smile before the man exits the vehicle.
Pulling out of the driveway, Rachel’s phone goes off, vibrating like a bat out of hell as a piercing alarm escorts it. Noticing the amber alert for both Scarlett and Victoria, Rachel puts the phone back down and heads for the highway. As she fights off any exhaustion, Rachel thinks to herself for a moment before stopping the car on the side of the road. Pulling up her phone once again, Rachel looks through the text log of her past conversations with Scarlett before her eyes widen, spotting something of interest. Suddenly, Rachel does a complete u-turn and drives off to the opposite end of town than what she searched the night prior.
Locking the front door behind him, Al walks into the kitchen to find his wife already sat with a cup of coffee at the kitchen table. The room still mostly darkened by the lack of the sunlight, Al takes a seat beside his wife and places his hands over his wife’s. “She wouldn’t just run off, would she?” Nora asks, trying as best as she can to make sense of things that don’t make sense.
Watching the pain of not knowing whether or not her daughter is safe visibly weighing on his wife, Al tells her to keep from the worst case scenario from overwhelming her. “Keep your hopes out that she’s just out somewhere and doesn’t have her phone on her” Al says, grasping at whatever straws he can pull from the tower of possibilities.
“Did we do something wrong?” Nora asks, her question remaining unanswered as Al lightly pats his wife’s hands, refusing to let Nora continue to needlessly second guess herself.
Walking up to the managing office and knocking on the door until her call for help is answered, Rachel finds herself approached with a goateed man in a plaid robe. “Looking for a room?” the man asks, fighting off the exhaustion of being awoken in such a way. “No, can you tell me if you’ve seen this girl anytime since yesterday?” Rachel asks, holding up a picture of Scarlett on her phone.
Unfolding his glasses and looking at the screen, the man admits that she and another girl have a room just at the end of the motel. “Sir, those girls are currently listed as missing people. Can you please do a wellfare check on that room?” Rachel asks, watching the man walk over to a wall and free a backup pair of keys.
Making the long walk to the end of the corridor, the man gives a few knocks on the door before unlocking it, entering the room and asking Rachel to remain outside. Surveying the room, still with the television on and turned to the news, the man finds no sign of any current residents, with all of Scarlett and Victoria’s belongings having been taken. “Sorry, kid. They’re not in here” the man mutters, still groggy from the sudden wake up call.
Hand to her head with the hope of anything falling out of the sky, the woman asks if the man can give her anything that may help find them. “I’m not supposed to give out that kind of information” the man replies, watching the girl place her hand to her hip and ask if he genuinely believes her to look like a threat to their well being.
Letting out a deep breath before thinking over whatever he can come up with, he mentions a truck with a mid-2000’s look. “Not something too modern of flashy. Pretty sure it was a Silverado… A Chevy” the man says, watching the woman take down the info in her phone. “Pretty sure they left before 11:00 last night” the man adds in, remembering them not having answered the door when he went around offering new towels.
“Thank you, I appreciate it” Rachel says, returning to her truck and calling the Bensen residence, offering them the new information. Upon hanging up the call with Scarlett’s family, Rachel tries Scarlett’s cellphone again to no response. Gently placing her phone back into the console, Rachel slams the steering wheel once before pulling out of the lot and returning into Prairieville.
“Anything?” Scarlett calls out, shuffling through folders of blank papers and cabinets of unmarked files. “Nothing” Vic replies, frustrated enough to carelessly throw a folder of loose papers to the ground, laying them out before scanning the barebones room once more. “Why does this place have so many papers just laying around everywhere?” Vic calls out, blindly tossing folder after folder around the room, letting papers fall to the ground in a heap wherever they please.
“If everything in here is blank, let’s just look for the things that aren’t” Scarlett suggests, reaching onto a random desk beside her with a nameplate, the letters on it all scrambled and mangled with reckless abandon. Surrounding her at every side are eggshell covered walls, generic brown desks, gray plastic chairs and pearly-white sheets of printer paper. “Everything’s all bland” Scarlett calls out, catching Vic’s eye for a moment before the girl on the other side of the building suggests they look for what stands out.
Leaving her little nook at the same time as Vic, the two girls meet at the back of the main working space, eying a common cat poster across the room from them. “Just hang in there” the poster reads, putting an eye roll in the motions of the girls as they approach it, staring down the only thing out of place in the room.
Being the first to reach out, Scarlett shrugs her shoulders and tears the poster down, revealing a window to a much more vibrant side of the realm beyond. Walking over to the regular building’s windows to find a few neon lights every other building, the sight in this new viewing point offers a much more vibrant and lively city. “That’s not Baton Rouge” Vic points out, watching Scarlett remove the very realistic photo from the wall to reveal more eggshell coloring.
“No, it’s n-” Scarlett begins, stopping herself as she takes a glance at the window Vic had just come from. Looking down into the street, the entire area lights up in exquisite, other-worldly colors they never even dreamed of seeing. Unable to let out more than a little “Woah”, Scarlett places her hands to the glass and feels a warm, welcoming surface. Feeling a cold wind dancing across the back of her neck, Scarlett gets the strange desire to push forward at the window keeping them sectioned off.
Casually walking forward, Scarlett emerges through the front door of the building she just accompanied, lost in a crowd of fun-loving people dancing on the vibrant Baton Rouge square. Soon joined by Vic, the girls take a step into the middle of the road, void of cars but not of life, and stare up at the dark sky lit by the luminescent sights of bright neon bliss.
“I’ve never seen it look like this” Vic mutters, her breath being stripped away by the beauty of the life around her. “This is the realm beyond, I think that’s kind of the point” Scarlett replies, watching Vic take in the sights afforded to no one other than the pair. Taking the walk through the city, watching the smiles on the faces of people they aren’t even sure exist in the realm of reality, the two girls find themselves lost in the shuffle, and don’t seem to mind at all.
Scarlett tapping her arm, Vic follows her blonde friend into an open bar with smooth jazz circulating in ways that almost seem visible. Surveying the place as if they were unseen spectators, Scarlett and Vic take two seats near the window, taken aback by the sights both outside the bar and inside. Sitting back into their seats and looking at the sights afforded to them, Vic and Scarlett glance towards each other with pure smiles.
“I never thought I’d see it all look like this” Scarlett says, watching the road outside begin to part, making way for a line of golf carts and go-karts setting off fireworks. Watching the parade pass by with a smile on their faces, the feeling starts to fade away once the cold air starts brushing against Scarlett’s neck again. In the sky, the sight of the shooting star dashing across the sky is found once more.
Suddenly, the crowd begins to space out once more, this time directly in front of Scarlett and Vic’s table. With an uninterrupted view of the street, the joy and amusement begins to fully wear off once Vic points out that she now spots the shooting star Scarlett had been talking about. “What? I thought you couldn’t see it?” Scarlett calls out, watching the surprise on Vic’s face match the surprise of her own.
Suddenly, the surprise is replaced with horror as the black van from the night prior slowly rolls to a stop in front of the girls. Without needing to say it, Scarlett and Vic both recall their exit the night prior and take the moment to burst from their seats. With the clothes on their back and the hairs on their head going wherever the wind takes them, the girl hurry for the back of the bar before the sudden sensation of flames torching their skin returns them to the realm of reality.
“Ma’am?” a uniformed officer asks, the sudden burst of light from the explosion turning into the sudden burst of light from his oversized flashlight. Knocking on the window beneath the pouring rain, the officer awaits a response until the pair of girls finally awaken, rolling down their windows and shielding their eyes from the harsh light. “Good morning officer” Victoria replies, rolling her seat up as Scarlett does the same.
“You girls got somewhere to be?” the officer asks, noticing the soft tone in Victoria’s voice hesitating to be immediately upfront with him. “Car break down?” the officer asks, repeating his question a second time after Victoria fails to properly hear it the first time around. “Oh, yeah. We’re just waiting for the tow truck and sort of dozed off” Victoria replies, giving the officer a smile.
Glancing back to his cruiser, the officer opens Victoria’s door and suggests she step out of the vehicle. “I’ll drive you two out to the tow lot, get you out of this rain” the officer says, waving off Victoria’s hesitation to step out of the vehicle. “I said step out of the vehicle ma’am” the officer says for a second time, this suggestion sounding more like an order. Not willing to cause a stir and still shaken from running off from Prairieville, Victoria obliges, stepping out of the car despite Scarlett’s suggestion otherwise.
Slamming the door shut behind Victoria, the officer leaves Scarlett alone in the front seat and walks her friend towards his cruiser, sliding his finger down her cheek in the process. Spotting this, Scarlett unclasps her seatbelt as the officer holds the backdoor of his cruiser open, catching his attention as she notices Scarlett’s door open. “Ma’am, I’m gonna need you to stay in the car” the officer warns, one hand on his gun as the other starts lightly shoving Victoria into the back of his car.
“What are you doing?” Scarlett asks, rounding the back of the car directly into the sight of the cruiser’s dash cam. “Get back in the car, ma’am” the officer says, his gun now taking aim at Scarlett, who stops in her tracks at the sight of the officer still trying to shove her friend into his backseat. “You can’t do that!” Scarlett shouts, struggling to move with the gun aimed at her and the sights before her unfolding.
“I’m not gonna say it again ma’am, you get-” the officer begins, stopped when Victoria fights him off and tackles the gun out of his hand. “You bitch!” the officer shouts, slapping Victoria across the face before lunging to the ground, the gun he’s aiming to retrieve instead picked up by Scarlett and aimed at his head. Understand his current predicament, the officer holds his hands up and crawls back towards his car, walking in front of it.
“Put your hands in the air!” Scarlett shouts, the officer doing so as he stands directly in front of the vehicle’s hood. “Give me your cuffs slowly!” Scarlett demands, watching the officer lower one of his hands towards his belt loop before glancing over to her friend as she climbs up from the ground. With the small moment being more than enough, the officer’s second hand flies down towards his belt and grabs hold of his taser. Noticing the turn of events unfold through the corner of her eye, Scarlett places her sight back onto the officer and instinctively pulls the trigger as he frees the taser from his belt.
Still standing, Scarlett fires another two shots and watches the dirty cop collapse to the ground, the taser falling to his side with him. Still, Scarlett lowers the gun to her stomach as Victoria walks over to survey the sights for the first time. “Scarlett, wha… What did you just do?” Victoria asks, watching Scarlett’s lip quiver as she slowly walks up to the body. Illuminated by the headlights, every detail from the loose strands of her hair to the strings from her sweater sleeves find themselves clear as day beneath the morning dawn.
Standing by her side as they stare at the body, Victoria turns towards the car, noticing the blinking red light atop the small black box in the center of the window. “Shit” Victoria says, both she and Scarlett staring directly into the camera as it continues to record. “We need to go” Victoria says, lightly pulling Scarlett’s arm as the gun drops from her hand. “Scarlett, we need to go” Victoria repeats, her pull on Scarlett’s arm growing more stiff as she tugs the blonde towards the car.
From the camera’s perspective, the girls climb into the vehicle on either side and drive off into the morning sky, leaving the deceased officer laying in a pool of his own blood. Kicking up the wet sand beneath their tires onto the body, the girls disappear beneath a hill as the footage rolls on. The sights of a morning sunrise for twenty minutes before an onlooker stumbles across the scene calls in police make it seem like nothing more than an art-inspiring clip. The runaway girls, now with their actions having stained their hands with blood, only darken the target on their back with a much brighter, bolder bullseye.