Staring blankly into his computer screen, Avon loses track of time, his mind wandering into dark places, fingers typing out a few pointless words on his screen, only to be erased moments later, time after time again. Pushing the front door in, Penny looks off into the depths of her home, finding her husband still sat where she left him earlier in the day, the dark sky having overcome the backyard just beyond him.
“Avon, it’s been a week” Penny says aloud, Avon’s posture remaining unchanged, the woman’s coat falling from her shoulders as she calls for his attention once more. “I heard you the first time” Avon replies, his gaze unwavering, eyes still pressed upon the screen as further words leave his lips. “She got up and left in the middle of the night and hasn’t been heard since” Avon explains, pushing himself away from the table and slamming his laptop shut, “we know what happened.”
Leaning against the wall, Penny watches her husband walk into the kitchen and start a pot of coffee, the concern she holds only outmatched by curiosity toward what’s becoming of her husband. “We don’t know anything for sure” Penny responds, Avon stopping his progress in the kitchen, the glass pot held in his hand as a mug dangles from the other, head hung toward the ground at the sound of his wife’s refusal.
“They spray painted the word ‘gone’ at the library for the whole town to see” Avon replies, his eyes turning over his shoulder to look back at the woman, “they came back to finish the job with me… And now they did the same with her.” Starting the brew, Avon leaves the kitchen, his feet taking him to the depths of their home just as Penny’s phone begins to buzz, her eyes lowering to the screen.
“I’m heading out again, I’ll see you soon” Penny calls out, throwing her jacket back on as her dismissive husband tells her to have fun, the front door slamming shut angrily as she walks out of it.
Car screeching to a halt outside the local tavern, Penny emerges from her vehicle with her eyes set on one woman sat at the door, a smile being offered the moment eyes connect. “I’m glad you could make it!” Anne calls out with a smile, her arms held open, awaiting an embrace. “I’m glad I had a spare dress in the car” Penny responds, feigning her delight, a gesture which Anne notices immediately.
“Let’s get a drink” Anne replies, disguising her curiosity with a need for inebriation. Two shots running down their throats, Anne and Penny get comfortable, the night beginning to feel young, it’s one leg in the grave returning to ground-level. “What’s going on, Pen?” Anne asks, breaking the ice with the vaguest question she can think of, already knowing the answer she’ll receive.
“Coming down from a long day of work, what about you?” Penny responds, the vagueness of her response intentional. “Trying to treat a friend who’s clearly got something on her mind to drink and a night on the town” Anne replies, her head resting against her hand, “did you and the hubby get into a fight?” Beginning to flash a playful smile, Penny’s expression suddenly falls into a less enthused face, head shaking as the music continues to blare throughout the building, dulling their voices.
“Avon’s not handling it any better than he was last week” Penny responds, Anne nodding at the reply, almost as if she expected such a result. “I don’t know what you were expecting, Pen” Anne replies, lifting a third drink to her lips with a shrug, “they got along really quickly.” Squinting, Penny looks toward the woman with confusion, requesting she clarify what she’s trying to get across.
“Don’t get me wrong, I think men can be friends with women, but…” Anne begins, stopping herself mid-sentence, trying to find a gingerly way to phrase her point, “...but not like that.” Lost in translation, Penny reminds Anne that she’s not being any less vague now than she was before, a statement that allows Anne the freedom to remove the training wheels from her point.
“I find it really odd that he befriended her so quickly” Anne responds, both hands lifting into the air, a show of surrender, “I’m not trying to ruin your marriage or anything, just pointing out some really strange stuff.” Looking away, Penny shakes her head, unable to find adequate words to respond to Anne’s statement with, feeling herself going to battle with her inner thoughts.
“Alright, I’ll keep my mouth shut about it from here on out” Anne exclaims, waving her hands in the air with an understanding of where their conversation is leading, not wanting to prod at the issue too heavily. “Just know, that I’m genuinely trying to look out for you” Anne continues, one hand laid against Penny’s arm, fingers the last to pull away as Anne’s hand returns to her drink.
Looking away from the woman, Penny thinks to herself, thoughts bundling up within her head until her lip is sucked into the corner of her mouth, head slowly turning back toward Anne. “No, continue” Penny replies, flashing the woman a mostly-hidden smile, the expression on her face telling Anne that she wants to hear more.
= Remedy Hills is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and his entity of Pacer1 from the start of Season 1 onwards =
Pulling into a nearby gas station along the eastern coast, Beth emerges from her vehicle beneath broad daylight, hand instinctively reaching for the card in her wallet. Lifting the flimsy piece of plastic toward the machine, Beth pauses, her eyes travelling to her card with caution before returning it to her purse, a wad of cash being removed from the bag instead.
“Evading the law?” a voice calls out from nearby, the woman turning around with confusion to find a man staring toward her with a smile. “What?” Beth asks again, offering the man a cold greeting, which he returns with warmth, gladly repeating the question. “Are you evading the law?” the man asks with a laugh, “y’know… ‘Cause you’re paying with cash instead of your card?”
Looking back to her purse, the woman nods at the man’s joke, offering him the smallest amount of satisfaction. “I don’t like using my card for anything other than withdrawals” Beth responds, returning to her task, the conversation ending as quickly as it had started. “Pretty reasonable” the man quips, accepting the dialogue to be over, simply taking his efforts in the small-talk away in favor of placing it toward filling his car.
Seconds pass as silence fills the station, Beth glancing into the curtained-window of the store to keep her eye on the man behind her, just going about his day as a normal individual. Feeling bad for the cold shoulder-routine, Beth strikes up the small talk once more, inquiring of the state she currently resides in. “Rhode Island” the man replies, his breath wafting through the cold air, the shoreline not doing enough to make the temperature much higher.
“What’s your name, again?” Beth asks, turning toward the man, her eyes leaving the window for the first time since they found it, “I don’t remember if you told me or not.” The pump suddenly jolting in his hands, the man returns the nozzle to the machine as he introduces himself. “Harlington” the man responds, giving the woman as warming of a greeting as the cold temperatures will allow him, “Harlington Spears, more specifically.”
The pump in her hand now jolting all the same, Beth concludes her efforts and returns to the front seat of her car, giving the man a nod. “It was nice to meet you, Harlington Spears” Beth replies, ending their short conversation before she closes the door behind her, “you take care now, Harlington.”
“Will do” the man mutters beneath his breath, nodding to himself as Beth’s car kicks up dirt on its way through Rhode Island, “I will certainly try to, at least.”
“Stop it” Jake says aloud, Beau’s fidgeting hand calming, letting the pen pressed between his fingers dangle over an open folder. “Stop what?” Beau asks, Jake looking away from crime scene photos to allow his eyes to set on the pen in Beau’s hand. “You keep tapping that damn thing on the desk and it’s annoying” Jake responds, watching Beau lean back in his chair, an apology being offered by the younger officer.
“I’ll stop tapping my pen on the desk” Beau promises, Jake thanking him sarcastically before glancing back down. “Sure thing” Beau replies, leaning forward to stare toward the open folder once more, quickly returning to his annoyance of Jake, tapping his pen upon the side of his computer monitor. “Alright, Beau… What the hell?” Jake responds, Beau’s pen immediately being tossed onto his desk, the officer leaning back in his seat with his eyes upon his partner.
“We find a dead kid stuffed in the woods knowing damn well who did it, and we’re stuck here on desk duty” Beau replies, Jake’s head leaning forward, unapologetically confronting his fellow officer. “You’re the one who outright said ‘we know who did it, let’s go in and take him’ to the goddamn chief of police” Jake responds, “I’d be less angry at you and more angry about all of this if you would’ve kept your fucking mouth shut.”
“We know who did it” Beau replies, his head leaning equally as forward as his partner’s does, “if getting tunnel vision on Avon was uncalled for, getting tunnel vision over these fucks is mandatory.” With a sigh, Jake hands his head, fingers pressing against his temples as he considers where to lead the conversation. “I agree with you and you know that” Jake responds, eyes returning to his partner, “but you can’t, under these circumstances, show bias without proof.”
“Enough with the ‘hotshot cop with a cluttered mind’ fiasco, you know exactly what this is” Beau replies, Jake’s face falling, his mind already predicting which way this conversation is going to go. “They don’t want you interacting with Rico Martinez again, I know” Jake responds, the sides of his hands pressing against his own desk, “but there’s a good reason for them to not want you putting your name on that man’s hitlist.”
“Yeah, there is… Not having the balls to put me before a trial by wolves” Beau replies, “but unfortunately, the only way we’re ever going to get enough dirt to touch this guy is if someone here grows a pair of balls.”
Slamming his hands against the desk, Jake stands from his seat and directs Beau further into the station, their journey carrying them all the way to the interrogation room. “Can you think straight, even just for one moment?” Jake asks, slamming the door shut behind him, turning off the microphones, “you’re talking about using yourself for human bait… Why can’t you hear how ridiculous you sound?”
“Because I’m too busy focusing on the reason for why I’m doing it!” Beau responds, arms extended, his voice now lifting into a yell, “I’m too busy focusing on how we let two people die, two more people stand around like ducks, and we just sit on our asses while it happens!” Annoyed, Jake pulls two chairs away from the table, taking a seat opposite Beau before leaning in, setting up a less-tense scene.
“Until we find a body, what we’ve really done is let one kid die, one woman go missing, and two people stay at home as per their choice” Jake explains, watching the disappointment come over Beau’s body, back arching forward as his head slumps forward. “You know I have nothing against Pat, but I can’t stand the fact that he’s taking on this case on his own” Beau replies, “I don’t care about what the King’s wanted, they’re the targets for a group of thugs with a mafia complex.”
Leaning back in his chair, Jake looks toward the distraught Beau, knowing his greatest desire in the moment being to return to the case on active duty. “Okay, we’re gonna do something about it then” Jake responds, pulling himself out of his chair and returning to the door, Beau left sat in his seat for a moment before deciding to follow along.
“Chief, we’d like to talk to you” Jake asks as he pushes his superior’s door open without warning, the woman sat behind the desk asking if he’d ever learned his manners. “I have, but clearly, I’m partnered with someone that makes it difficult to hold onto them” Jake replies, giving Beau the side-eye, “despite that, I’m gonna need to demand we be returned to the case immediately.”
Rolling her eyes, the police chief asks Jake if this is supposed to be a joke or not, Beau doubling down on the demand himself. “No, Chief of Police Whitehead, it is not” Beau remarks, the woman pulling her head back jokingly upon her name being recited. “Please refer to me as ‘Dana’ the next time you wish to use my title... it sounds better” Dana responds, “it also sounds a lot better than giving into this request knowing how ‘hothead’ over there has dealt with his benching.
“Chief, please” Jake replies, the woman’s focus returning onto the veteran officer, his request being much more difficult to turn down than Beau’s. “We’ve opened up a whole can of worms with this case and it’s only going to get messier” Jake explains, refusing to sugarcoat their findings, “at least let us see it from start to finish.”
Glancing off to the side, Dana stares at her mantle of trophies and accomplishments, recalling the effort and chances, spent and taken, in order to obtain them. “If either of you make me regret this decision, I’ll make sure you never uncover yourself from paperwork, Officer Mansoor” Dana explains, her eyes moving away from Jake and returning to Beau, “and I’ll make sure you, personally, place your badge in my hands, Officer Donovan.”
“Yes, ma’am” Beau responds, Jake’s head turning toward him with a half-smile, Beau’s appreciation made clear. “Thank you” Beau responds, watching Dana’s lips do their best to hold back a smirk, her head nodding forward, accompanied by silence, both men departing her office.
Sat at his laptop, Avon lets his fingers dance along the keyboard as his front door opens, Penny stumbling into the main foyer as a taxicab drives off. “Are you drunk?” Avon asks, half of his face hidden behind the computer screen, only his judgmental eyes visible from Penny’s position. “No, of course not” Penny replies, Avon continuing to remain seated, unwilling to move until his wife gives him the reason he suspects she will.
“Anne is a great influence on me” Penny says, her words slurred heavily, hand pressed against the wall to keep herself upright. “That’s my cue” Avon mutters to himself, leaving his seat and walking up to his wife, one hand over his neck as he leads her through the home, their bedroom appearing to her as the most sought-after prize. “Your head is gonna hurt in the morning” Avon mutters, a still-woozy Penny laughing as his words are said.
“You’re so good to me” Penny drunkenly quips, Avon’s laughing at her response as he tucks her into bed, shoes being removed from her feet and dropped to the floor. “I’m your husband… That’s my job” Avon responds, pulling the comforter up to the woman’s neck, the smile on her face the only thing he wishes to see in the moment. “Thank y-” Penny replies, unable to finish her reply before falling asleep, Avon left leaning toward her, giving her a peck on the forehead before turning out the light.
Returning to the living room, Avon steps up to his place at the dinner table with his hand on the laptop, feet stopping the moment his eyes stumble across something in his backyard. Pressing his free hand to his back pocket, Avon slowly closes his laptop and approaches the backdoor, gently sliding it open to expose himself to the harsh winter air. “I thought I got rid of you” Avon mutters to himself, finding a man in dark clothes and a smiley face mask standing in the middle of his yard.
Descending the staircase, Avon looks toward the figure with concern, his hand turning on a newly-installed light, illuminating most of his backyard in a single moment. As the light floods through his yard, it stops just at the start of the treeline, another curious sight befalling him. “There’s more of you” Avon mutters once more, the start of the forest hosting a frontline of men dressed in the same way to the lone figure in the backyard, all watching the encounter from afar.
“I see how it is” Avon calls out, arms held outwards as if he were daring them to take their shot, his feet carefully leading him forward, focus placed on the lone figure. “So you fail to take me out three times, and walk around here thinking ‘the fourth time’s the charm’ huh?” Avon calls out, eyes now permanently placed upon the single figure, which stands stoically, “what makes you think it’s going to work out for you this time around?”
Each step pressing grass further beneath his shoes, Avon carries himself forward, his hand placed against his back pocket in anticipation, the figures near the woods watching carefully. “Go ahead, tough guy” Avon challenges, now stood just a few feet away from his trespasser, breathing heavily, “try again.”
Unmoved, the figure continues to stare blankly at Avon, leaving the homeowner confused, his eyes looking back to the empty porch to find nothing. “Did you hear me?” Avon asks, looking back to the solid figure, stepping off to the man’s side as he continues to gode his would-be killer into making the first move, only to stumble upon a curious result. Despite now being to the figure’s right, Avon is unable to get the man to look at him, his body still positioned toward the home.
Eyebrow lifted, Avon looks around confused, reaching for a rock on the ground before tossing it at the figure, the stone simply bouncing off the top of it’s head to no response. Considering this to be a strange tactic, Avon removes a pocket knife from his back pocket, releasing the blade before cautiously marching toward the figure. Within seconds, Avon stops himself once more, the crowd of figures in the distance watching on at the curious sight, uncertainty looming over everyone.
Eyes falling upon the figure’s hand, Avon notices the body to be stiff, almost as if it weren’t alive at all. Skin pale, fingers unmoving and veins lacking color, Avon begins to put the pieces where they belong, his knife still held by his side, blade pointed toward the body. Now confident, Avon descends within inches of the body, his free hand reaching out to the mask, fingers slipping beneath the hard-shell plastic before pulling upwards.
Velcro undone, Avon watches the straps of the mask undo, allowing the shell to fall to the ground, accompanied by Avon himself once the sight hidden away is revealed to the world. “What the fuck!?” Avon shouts at the top of his lungs, Steyson’s corpse looking off at the distance before him, the horrified expression of a man knowing he’s about to die remaining plastered beneath his skin.
“And they just vanished?” Beau asks, a few minutes having passed between the encounter and the police’s arrival, Avon cooperating as best as he can. “That was it” Avon responds, stood on his patio, both Jake and Beau gathered around him, “they were there, I pulled the mask off, and they were gone before I could look at them again.”
Taking in a deep breath, Jake looks out at the backyard, Steyson’s body used as a human scarecrow only allowing him to see the occurrence from yet another perspective. “I know we didn’t tell you yet, but we found Steyson’s fingerprints in that water tanker” Jake exclaims, prompting Avon to look toward him in confusion, “the person that tried to drown you is now set up as a decoration in your back yard.”
His head shaking, Avon pulls his head away from both officers, redirecting his view into the starry, night sky above. “Unbelievable” Avon mutters beneath his breath, mouth agape as his suspicions are finally confirmed, “so I’ve got a group of guys, not just one, coming after me.” Shrugging his shoulders, Jake allows Beau to take control of the theories, already pressing one of his own inside his head.
“So a group of criminals are trying to target you, for god only knows what reason, and they’re killing their own people for getting caught” Beau exclaims, Jake challenging the theory, a factor Beau is quickly intrigued by. “Maybe it’s not all that simple” Jake replies, looking back out toward the professional display presented to the group tonight, “what if they were extra mad at our scarecrow for trying to put the dagger in your heart?”
“Wait, are you saying they don’t want him dead?” Beau asks, Jake letting out a confused sigh, hand held out toward the display. “He tried to kill you, and they killed him… Then they presented him to you on the closest thing they can get to a silver platter” Jake explains, “does this grandeur really feel like something a killer would do if they wanted their victim dead?”
“So, one way or another, we’ve just got a big group of people trying to make my life a living hell?” Avon questions, his head turning toward both officers, neither holding a reassuring answer. “Beau, Jake!” Pat shouts from the yard, looking up onto the patio where both officers reside, his hand lifting into the air with a piece of paper held high, simple writing on the note extended toward the trio’s eyes.
“We’ve definitely found something” Pat exclaims, handing the paper off to the younger of the two officers, prompting Jake and Avon to huddle around Beau, reading the note aloud. “It’s alive” Beau mutters, the two words being the only communication left behind from the culprits, only leaving more questions than answers.
Head resting against the pillow, Beth remains covered in her bed with the comforter held tightly within her hand, trying desperately to fall asleep in the dark motel room. Despite feeling like she’s asleep, Beth remains conscious enough to trick herself into hearing things that aren’t there, her efforts being made to lull her into a false sense of security, sleep being otherwise impossible without it.
Her father’s comforting words being played on a loop no longer working, Beth thinks of some of the most soothing sounds she can remember, waves crashing into the shore and the bells of her library immediately coming to mind. Seconds quickly gather up to become minutes, Beth remains as conscious as she was before, her efforts falling short until gold is struck upon.
A smile coming across her face, Beth plays the music of a music box for herself, the soft tones of the chirping mechanics allowing her to feel at home, the ease of paranoia becoming a thing of the past. Her breathing easing up, Beth continues to play the music to herself until it stops, her mind still racing with thoughts, thought, unable to return the soothing tones.
Opening her eyes, Beth sits up in bed and looks around the room, feeling reality suddenly blend with what isn’t real, unable to comprehend whether she truly is where she believes herself to be. What feels like hours worth of confusion only lasts a few seconds, the woman's sudden loss for her surroundings now turning into outright certainty, the music from her mind suddenly restarting again from just beyond her front door.
Though topless and without a pair of shoes on, Beth grabs the kitchen knife from her nightstand and wanders toward the door, refusing to waste a moment in consideration as she swings it open, finding what she expected to just beyond. Placed at her feet, the music box continues to play its soft tune even after she leans down to capture it within her hands, her eyes staring a it’s wooden exterior with intrigue.
In a moment, Beth takes the box and hurls it into the parking lot, grabbing her keys from inside and returning to her car, driving away from the motel, still topless and shoeless. Driving into town, Beth parks at a gas station and emerges from her vehicle, hand placed upon the gas pump, unable to remove it from the nozzle. “You have to grease it” Harlington calls out, prompting the barely-clothed woman to turn around in confusion.
“Greasing it, that’s the remedy” Harlington calls out again, the woman taking interest in the final portion of his statement. “What did you-” Beth begins, her eyes drifting off into the distance, a storefront’s flashing signage on the window practically taunting her. “Remedy” the flashing sign says, Harlington’s words being spoken once more, the same word being forced upon her like a brick house atop a concrete foundation.
Confused, Beth turns back to the gas pump, her fingers wrapped around the air, the handle she once had disappearing into thin air along with the pump itself. “What the fuck is going on?” Beth calls back, her eyes finding every direction to be covered in desert, thick sand everywhere her eyes can find. In the distance, the chimes of the music box guide her toward the unknown, a direction she takes no hesitation in following after, each step taken as if she were walking along a path made for her.
Sands pressed between her toes, the welcoming sensation suddenly dies away the moment the music fades, her eyes falling upon a sign staked into the sands. Expression becoming one of anger, Beth listens to the music box begin once more, her attention remaining fixated on the sign reading “Remedy” placed before her. Overwhelmed with anger, Beth charges at the sign as if it were a sign of life, lunging toward it with her arms open, diving back down to earth.
Lunging out of her bed, Beth is returned to her motel, looking around the silent room, wiping the crust from her eyes as she tries hurriedly to regain her composure. Unable to keep from laughing at herself, Beth brushes off the strange nightmare as homesickness, refusing to spend another night of sleep in a town that never does. Closing her eyes, Beth rests her head against the pillow, pulling a breath into her lungs before letting it flow away, a smile on her face.
Once more, the music box plays from outside the woman’s motel room, her eyelids parting immediately, face overcome with an expression of rage. Throwing the covers off of her fully-clothed body, Beth opens the door and swipes at the air with her knife, not a soul around to take on the pain of such a blow. Leaning forward, Beth picks up the music box and inspects it, the box being nothing like the one seen in her dream.
In the distance, a faint flash of light appears through the trees, catching Beth’s attention like a cough at a funeral. Staring toward the direction, Beth waits for something to follow, a few seconds passing before a second flash of light prompts her immediate actions. Without a care in the world, the knife-armed woman returns to her room and gathers her few belongings, tossing them into her car and driving off, the room’s door being left wide-open.
Pulling away, Beth’s car kicks rocks up the moment it shifts into drive, the open road serving as her home for the moment, not a second of sleep to be had. A third flash of light following the car emerging from the same spot, the figure in possession of the camera allows it to fall to its lap. Playing once more, the music box allows a faint chime to emerge from the motel, the shadow-covered figure leaving its spot and returning to its own car, the poorest of intentions accompanying it.
== Remedy Hills ==