Brakes squealing, Beth emerges from her vehicle in the parking lot of a diner, the spaces mostly open aside from a select view, most of which occupy the vehicles of diner employee’s. Entering the building, Beth stares out at the dining room to find the tables mostly unoccupied, early-50’s music drifting through the building, the only thing on her mind continuing to be the food-depraved stomach growling for her attention.
Taking a seat at the back of the restaurant, Beth pulls a menu away from a setup near the side of the table and allows her eyes to fall over the various items available for purchase. Aside from an old man and a middle-aged woman, both of which being the length of the diner away from her, the restaurant is empty, the few workers performing their duties easily outnumbering the number of patrons.
Pressing her finger to her lips, Beth hears the kitchen door swing open, footsteps tapping along the linoleum floor, each new tap bringing the person closer toward her. “Welcome, are you ready to order?” the waitress inquires, a pot of coffee already having been brought out from the back, a mug half-filled before Beth can even remove her eyes from the menu. “Sure, I’ll have the french toast to start” Beth replies, watching the coffee continue to run from the pot, “and a water, please?”
“Certainly!” the waitress responds, hurrying to the back with the coffee pot in hand, Beth’s eyes following the woman as her hand guides the menu back to its original placement. Instinctively, both the woman’s eyes and hands return to the coffee mug, placing her fingers around the smooth sides of the cup as she stares into the flavorless brew. Looking toward the kitchen, Beth waits for the waitress to return through the doors before quickly scurrying to the bathroom.
Inside, Beth tosses the coffee down the sink and hurries back to her table, returning to her seat with the empty cup placed back upon the ceramic plate. Fixing her hair, Beth stares off at the restaurant window, her eyes having fallen over the sight by accident, her attention quickly being stolen away by the familiar face staring back at her, no expression coming along with it, just semi-wide eyes and a weird posture.
“Here’s your water” the waitress exclaims, placing the cup down as she glances back toward the mug, “would you like more coffee, dear?” Looking away from the window, Beth eyes the waitress apologetically, politely refusing her offer, the waitress returning to the kitchen as Beth looks back toward the window. Fingers creeping up her arm, Beth picks at the elastic band around her wrist, pulling it back and releasing it, allowing the rubber to smack her inner wrist with a small sting.
“This isn’t a dream” Beth mutters to herself, hands lifting to her face and pulling at her skin, the tension in her facial muscles being relieved as the window-figure makes his first steps toward the front door. “You’re not going crazy, just settle down and let’s see where this goes” Beth continues to whisper to herself, trying to shake the feeling that she’s on something resembling a hallucinogenic trip as the man walks through the door, the bells overhead ringing as he enters.
“Is this seat taken?” the man asks, an anxious Beth keeping her true fears well-hidden, treating the interaction as if it were an everyday occurrence. “By all means, make yourself at home” Beth replies, her hand held toward the empty seat, an amused younger man voicing his appreciation for her hospitality. “Are you gonna tell me why you’re following me?” Beth asks, reaching for her cup before the man stops her, taking the hard plastic shell into his own hand before taking a swig.
“No, I’m not” the man says with a smile, the water running down his throat as Beth looks on, the expression on her face coming across annoyed. “Why are you here then, Mr…?” Beth asks, stumbling over the man’s name, waiting for him to repeat it graciously. “Harlington… Harlington Spears” the man responds, Beth’s recitement of his name preceding the repetition of her original question.
“I’m here because I’m stalking you” Harlington replies, not concealing his intentions for a mere moment, refusing to be anything but honest. “More specifically, I’m here because I’m being paid to stalk you” the man clarifies, clearing his throat as he retrieves a bundle of papers all clipped together, gently placing them in the center of the table facing his younger subject. “I’ve been following you since you left Remedy Hills” Harlington explains, ruffling through the multiple photographs.
“Who’s paying you to stalk me, Harlington?” Beth inquires, a sadistic grin coming over the man on the opposite side of the table. “You know I’m not going to tell you that” Harlington responds, watching the woman’s head nod at the refusal to answer her question, “but I will tell you that it’s the same people that want you back in Remedy Hills the most… They just wanna keep up with your little… ventures… beyond the borders.”
“I”m happy to hear that I’m in such high demand” the woman replies, feigning the same laughter as Harlington, who looks toward her with delight. “So you’ve got pictures of me leaving Remedy, pictures of me out of Remedy, so on and so forth” Beth explains, pulling away from the table to lean in her seat, eyes not leaving Harlington for a split second, “why come up to me in a diner and tell me all of that rather than keep yourself on the down-low?”
Taking another swig from the cup of water, Harlington soothes his throat before revealing the woman’s true feelings of the interaction to be of his conscious thought. “You’re scared of all of this… You’re scared I’m going to hurt you” Harlington responds, watching the woman’s face sour, “I knew it the moment you jolted your hand away from the cup once I took it… I give you props for doing so well in concealing it… But you didn’t do well enough.”
Picking at his teeth, Harlington pulls the photograph of the woman staring at the music box from the night before, his fingertip placed near her wide eyes. “No one wakes up in the middle of the night unless they have a reason to not be too fast-asleep” Harlington explains, “so either you’re kicking a caffeine bug, you had a nightmare, or perhaps both… Either way, it all brings on the same thing.”
“Which is?” Beth replies under her breath, voice getting raspy as she cuts the man off, his smile beginning to anger her. “Which is… They both lead you back to Remedy Hills” Harlington responds, leaning forward to give the woman a wink, “after all… That’s how this story always ends… The flock always flies back home.” Not liking the tone of the conversation, Beth pulls herself away from the table, staring down the man as she throws a new bag over her shoulder and walks away.
“Don’t go too far now, Ms. Ovorre!” Harlington calls back, his departing words being offered to the woman as she leaves the restaurant with a head of steam, the waitress just now bringing out her breakfast. “Did she leave?” the waitress asks, her eyes falling upon the polite man, photos returned to his bag, clipped and all. “She most certainly did, my dear” Harlington replies, removing his wallet from his back pocket as Beth’s car audibly drives off, “check, please.”
= 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 =
“He’s pretending she didn’t exist” Penny responds, Anne looking toward her with one eyebrow raised, the notion unable to be anything other than odd to her. “I’m sorry, he’s what?” Anne replies, concerned and lost in translation, prompting Penny to clarify. “He’s worried and concerned, but there’s nothing he can do about any of this” Penny responds, a thin sheet being folded on top of itself in her hands, “he’s just trying to move on before it brings him to a much darker place.”
“A much darker place?” Anne proceeds to recite, watching the unamused woman turn to her with a frown, Anne apologizing for her repetition habit. “A ‘much darker place’ suggests he’s already in a dark place to begin with” Anne replies, leant against the accumulation of lockers beside her, watching over Penny like a parent watching their children do their chores, “how bad is it?”
Tossing the folded sheet into a bin with countless others, Penny plants her hands upon her hips and stares at a wall, her head shaking before offering an answer. “It’s not that good” Penny responds, her head turning toward her apologetic coworker, “when he’s stressed, or angry, he’ll just bury himself in his writing… This isn’t the first time he’s done it.”
“How do you cope with it then?” Anne asks, Penny confused by the question, “I mean, if he buries himself in his writing, what do you bury yourself in?” Puckering her lips, Penny looks around the room, leaning over to pick up the folded sheet, holding it before the woman. “I show up at work and do my job” Penny replies, flashing a half-hearted smile as a knock originates from the other side of the door.
Opening the door, Clark enters the room with a smile, greeting both women before looking toward Penny, a clipboard in his hand. “I probably should have paged you, but I figured I’d do it in person on the way back to my office” Clark explains, handing the board off to the woman, “there’s a patient, recovering from a stab wound in the E.R, he said he explicitly wanted you to work on him.”
“Thanks for letting me know” Penny responds, taking the clipboard into her hands and reading over the report, Clark looking back to Anne, who stares at him with a wide smile. “How’s it going, Mr. Dashing?” Anne asks, her flirting coming off as playful as usual, Clark playing along with the joke. “Are you sure he’s asking for me?” Penny asks, looking away from the clipboard and back to Clark, puzzled.
“He asked for Penny King” Clark replies, offering as much information as he was given, “didn’t say why, but he’s definitely asking for you, Penny King.” Shrugging, Penny tosses the sheet in her opposite hand into the basket, leaving the room to Anne and Clark, her feet taking her toward the larger facilities. “Tago Tungovilla?” Penny calls out, looking into the crowded room to find no answer awaiting her, a small cluster of doctors huddled at the back of the room paying her no mind.
“Excuse me?” Penny calls out to the doctors, one of which pulling away to answer her inquiry, “I’m sorry, I was asked for by Tago Tungovilla?” Silently, the doctor points the woman toward a curtained-off bed, an appreciative Penny nodding in her direction as she steps toward the restricted scene. Without a worry, Penny grabs at the sheet dividing her from the patient and pulls it in, the metal tracks riding along the bar above with each inch, almost sounding like ripping paper.
“Tago?” Penny calls out, the man slowly turning his head toward the woman, his body beaten and bruised, multiple stab wounds sported on his chest and abdomen. “I’m here, doc” Tago responds, his words faint, muttered beneath his breath as the woman enters the premises, laying the clipboard upon the nightstand beside the patient’s head. “I was told that you asked for me” Penny explains, standing beside the man with her hands by her hips, “what can I help you with?”
Sniffling, Tago looks away from the woman, his hand adjusting the wires around his neck to make it easier to speak. “Look under the bed” Tago whispers, each word becoming more difficult to speak the more he does. “You want me to-” Penny repeats, confused until she looks down, her hand placed against the mattress to support her weight, eyes peering beneath the bed to find a yellow legal pad and marker awaiting her.
“Pick them up” Tago whimpers, the woman glancing back at him for a moment before doing as told, returning to her prior stance with the pad and paper in hand. “Close the curtains” Tago requests, the woman beginning to follow her instructions the moment they’re made, having begun to feel like this request has nothing to do with medical needs. “I need you to write something down for me… and for you” Tago explains, still struggling to speak, “and then you need to get the hell out of here.”
Eyes leaving the paper, Penny stares at the man, his expression holding an apologetic look, the plea in his eyes for her to cooperate serving as the only emotion he can show. Nodding to herself, Penny looks around the room before biting the marker cap off, placing it on the back of the writing stick, and preparing to take notes.
Breath billowing from his mouth, a well-disguised Avon, covered beneath what seems like mountains of winter layers, travels the streets of Remedy Hills, only one destination on his mind. One foot in front of the other, the rubber soles of the man’s boots kick the rocksalt along the paved sidestreets, every end to one side of the walkway leading to another corner to turn.
Finally stumbling upon a more familiar spot, Avon’s pace slows, one foot pausing for a moment as the other slowly takes the proceeding step, his head turned toward the complex his heart had been set upon. Continuing to walk, slowly but surely, Avon turns away from the continuous walkway and faces Remedy Hills’ library, his head turning from one side to another, knowing himself to be out of anyone else’s sight.
With a nod, Avon proceeds forward, hand reaching toward the library handle and pulling in, the bells above chiming the moment the door parts far enough, remains of the interior scattered throughout. “They sure did a number on your place, Beth” Avon mutters to himself, looking at the messy insides before turning back to the door, the lipstick wording still sported on the front door.
“Gone” Avon mutters to himself, reading the word despite its mirrored appearance, eyes returning to the empty interior, a once warm home away from home now feeling colder than anything outside. Switching on a light, Avon illuminates the interior before setting his coat upon a rack just beside the door, his sleeves being rolled up as he prepares to get to work.
Collecting one book after another into a basket, Avon sorts the novels in alphabetical order, returning them to the condition they were left in, doing his act to restore similarity. “Shoplifting?” an older man inquires, his voice startling Avon in the moment, the much younger man, still armed with a basket full of books, easing the sudden surprise with a laugh. “Not exactly” Avon replies, glancing back at the book-filled basket, “just restoring the place to the way it used to be.”
With a nod, the man takes Avon’s polite response as a sign that he is of no harm, walking further into the building from a back room, eyes squinted. “You’re Avon King?” the man asks, the statement sounding like a question, one which prompts the author, younger-by-comparison, to flash a smile. “I am, yes” the man responds, watching the elderly, yet nimble man extend his hand, greeting the successful writer.
“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. King” the man replies, the wrinkles on his hands telling the story of a man who’s seen his fair share of grief, “I’m Donald McArthur.” With a nod, Avon assures the man that the pleasure is all his, prompting the inquiry to the man’s presence. “I own the property” Donald responds, a statement that surprises the younger gentleman, “Beth’s father left the property in my name and the rights to the library in Beth’s… He wanted to make sure no one would screw her over.”
“I find it difficult to think they’d find much luck to begin with” Avon replies, both men smiling at the warm-hearted nature of the conversation. “May I ask what it is that you’re doing here?” Donald proceeds, leaving the man to glance down at his basket of books again. “Beth kept all of her books in alphabetical order” Avon responds, his smile having fallen from one of pleasantry to one of sorrow, “I wanted to put them back where they belong now that the place has been cleared.”
Puckering his lips, Donald nods to himself, hands folded behind his back as he walks further into the building, head tilted toward the ground as Avon watches him. “What you’re doing is very kind, and it is very appreciated” Donald replies, his feet carrying him to the empty seat behind Beth’s desk, “but I’m afraid my worst fears would lead me to believe it is a gesture that bears no matter.”
His own head hung, Avon nods to himself, watching the older man take Beth’s vacant seat with his hands placed firmly upon the desktop, his saddened eyes glancing over the scattered belongings. “Were the two of you close?” Donald calls out, an embarrassed Avon scratching the back of his head as he answers. “As close as you can get to someone in two and a half weeks” Avon responds, a smirk coming on his face as an amused Donald turns back toward him.
“She liked you a lot more than the town, huh?” Donald asks, Avon not needing to answer the question for the truth to be understood. “She’s just such a better person than I would expect anyone to be” Avon replies, his eyes taken by the books once more, his head shaking from one side to another, “it meant a lot then, and it still means a lot now… It’s mostly missed now, but it still means as much as it did.”
“Connections happen quickly” Donald says with a deep breath, turning his chair toward the desk once more, seeing the way it was left and refusing to touch a thing. “Most people that claim to be good people, obviously aren’t good people, and it’s easy to see that rather quickly” Donald explains, a hurt smile coming over his face as a tear rolls down his cheek, “but the real good people are the ones you don’t question… There’s just something inside you that says ‘they are who they say they are’.”
Nodding in agreement, Avon steps away from the bookshelves and takes the seat beside Beth’s desk, resting the basket upon the floor. “The people that did this… That I assume did this… Did this because of me” Avon admits, watching Donald’s face turn toward confusion, the older man refusing to interrupt the accomplished writer, “They’ve been trying to run my wife and I out of town since we drove in. They hadn’t really struck any nerve until, well, until this.”
His head shaking, Donald refuses, “no they didn’t” the man says, watching Avon quiet himself down, listening to every word Donald has to offer. “The people that did this did it because they’re evil… They’re the opposite of Beth” Donald explains, “I don’t care what the motivations behind it are… The people that did this did it because that’s who they are. No one, not you or anyone else, deserves to be responsible for that weight except for the people responsible.”
His head shaking, Avon continues to refuse the notion, Donald doubling down his statement the moment he watches Avon’s head swing. “I know you’re a writer, and I can tell you write from a place of pain, believe you me, I understand that completely” Donald explains, one hand removing itself from the desk, finding a place on Avon’s shoulder, “but this is one pain that you don’t get the right to carry.”
His own hands folded in his lap, Avon looks back up toward the older man with his head shaking, refusing to remove the responsibility from his shoulder. “I told her I would be there for her… A way she didn’t have since her father died” Avon explains, a tear beginning to form in his eye, though refusing to leave the cusp of his eyelid, “and when it came to keeping my word, I couldn’t.”
With an amused smile, Donald shakes his head in refusal once more, not allowing the blame to remain on Avon’s shoulders for any longer than he’s known him. “If you could have, you would have… And you know that, even if you don’t want to give yourself credit for it” Donald responds, telling Avon to look him in the eyes when he speaks, “don’t hold what you can’t control against yourself… That’s where that pain stops being earned, and instead, becomes self-inflicted.”
With a deep breath, Avon looks away from Donald, his eyes peering toward the still-graffitied door before turning back to the older man, accepting the truth, the bitter pill that it is, with a nod. “Okay” Donald says, patting Avon on the shoulder before leaving the desk, his body turning back to the office in the rear of the building, “it seems like you’ve got a lot of organizing to do, Mr. King.”
With a smile, Avon wipes the still-cusped tear from his eye with a nod, picking his basket up and returning to the piles of novels, only one pain on his heart for the moment.
“You good in there?” Jake asks, his fist tapping against the door as water drips from Beau’s face, one hand reaching for the knob on the faucet whilst the other pulls a few sheets of paper towels. “I’m good” Beau replies, emerging from the bathroom to take a seat at his desk, Jake following after him with concern. “It really doesn’t seem like you are” Jake responds, taking his own seat as he speaks, “this case is not going to solve itself overnight.”
“Okay, let’s get this straight… It’s not been one night, it’s been two and a half weeks” Beau replies, staring harshly at his partner, “and second off… I don’t think we’re even investigating the same case we started two and a half weeks ago anymore, so what the hell are we even doing?”
“We’re trying to figure out who’s antagonizing the King’s, in case you haven't gotten that yet” Jake responds, matching Beau’s tone with an equally-harsh one of his own. “You’re getting really testy now, and I’ll be honest, it’s starting to get on my nerves” Jake explains, Beau’s hands pulling at his face, falling back to the table at Jake’s warning. “There hasn’t been a case like this since the murders thirteen years ago, Jake” Beau replies, “of course I’m testy, this is a big deal.”
“We both know how big of a deal this is, that doesn’t need to be disputed” Jake responds, “but the fact that you keep pulling every loose thread to a place it doesn’t fit is one that concerns me.” With laughter, Beau leans back into his seat, both arms placed at the sides of his chair as his face dawns an amused smirk. “I’m concerning you?” Beau replies, his words being phrased as a question, “I’m the only one actually pulling the right thread from time to time, and I’m concerning you?”
“Yeah, you are” Jake responds, Beau shaking his head, eyes darting from one side of the room to the other, a sudden moment allowing Beau to stand from his seat. “What are you doing?” Jake asks, his tone coming off tired, watching Beau walk toward the interrogation rooms with his finger curling, gesturing for his older partner to follow him into the depths of the building.
With a sigh, Jake does as suggested, the younger detective leading him into a room and shutting off every mic, his first move being to take a seat for himself. “We’ve got theories, we’ve got suspects, and we’re doing nothing with them” Beau explains, his hands waving through the air to illustrate his point, “I don’t care how this case progresses as long as it does, I care that we have everything we need to start doing actual work on this case, and we’re doing nothing with it.”
“We have people! Names, if anything, and none of those connect anywhere” Jake explains, watching Beau’s head sink once more, “until we have the line that pulls them together, we have nothing more than dead bodies and targets.” Rolling his eyes, Beau points his hand toward the barricaded window, reminding Jake of the people walking the streets as of this moment.
“Steyson and Kerryon, what do they have in common? They both were held at the same prison as Rico Martinez… They both escaped from the same prison as Rico Martinez!” Beau explains, “are you looking for a line? Because, if so, that line you’re looking for is Rico Martinez.”
With a deep breath, Jake looks away from Beau, his eyes traveling to the corner of the room, no feasible response coming to mind in the moment. “I can tell you know it, too” Beau chirps, watching Jake’s eyes dart back toward him, the answer still failing to come to mind, nothing more than a nod of agreement coming from the older detective. “Until we can link something concrete between the sides, it’s still circumstantial” Jake replies, shrugging at his partner, “there’s nothing I can do.”
With a sigh, Beau looks up and shakes his head, hands folded in his lap until he leaps from his chair, hurrying for the door. “Donovan!” Jake shouts, calling out to the younger officer as he storms back into the inner precinct, watching Beau come to a stop the moment he emerges from the hallway. “What are you do-” Jake begins to question, his focus leaving Beau the moment he notices Penny stood at their collective desks, a legal pad in her hand.
“Is there reward money for leading you to the right person?” Penny asks, watching a hopeful Beau slowly walk toward his desk, hands folded as he prays for something of value. “I’m sure our chief can get you a lollipop if you ask nicely, Mrs. King” Jake humors, following Beau to the woman, who smiles in their direction. Not wasting another moment, Penny lays the legal pad upon the desk, watching Beau and Jake’s faces light up as they read the writing atop it.
“She might buy you dinner now, while you’re at it!” Jake says with a smile, Beau looking back at his partner with a nod. “Is that the line you were talking about?” Beau asks, watching Jake’s smile refuse to be restrained by his lips. “That’s a good enough line for me” Jake responds, patting Beau on the shoulder before preparing himself for a visit to the local prison.
Taking the first exit off the highway, Beth stares into her rear-view mirror, eyes unable to stop looking back at the same car that had been following her for miles. Shaking her head, Beth continues to drive through the various streets, none of which concealing much from the view of drivers, her intentions not to lose the man, but rather, to find somewhere populated.
Stumbling across a busy restaurant, her stomach still growling from the morning, Beth pulls into the parking lot and waits in her car for the following vehicle to occupy the spot beside her. With a sigh, Beth powers her engine down and emerges from her car, hands falling into her pockets as Harlington is soon to follow her lead. “You could make an effort to be less-noticeable” Beth calls out, the frustration in her voice more noticeable than the stalker’s presence was.
“There’s no fun in all of that” Harlington replies, spinning his keys on his finger, taking in the sweet smells of freshly-made burgers. “I’m not a danger to you, rather, I’m just a nuisance” Harlington explains, tucking his camera away in a bag by his side, removing the wallet from his back pocket. “No thanks, I’m good” Beth responds, taking her place in line, the eccentric man following closely behind.
“Seriously, it’s the least I can do after all of this” Harlington replies, taken aback by the woman’s response, his eyes leaving his wallet as she quickly chirps back. “Don’t stand here and pretend to be some stand-up citizen” Beth orders, reaching into her bag for her own wallet, “you know damn well what you’re doing, and you know it’s wrong… You don’t get to make amends for it.”
Squinting, Harlington assures the woman that he’s not trying to be a stand-up anything, his wallet still tightly-clutched between his fingers. “I’m not going to do a morally bountiful thing, no… You’re correct in that regard” Harlington explains, standing directly beside the woman as the line grows shorter, “that said, there’s a good chance you’d never return to Remedy Hills without me, so what I’m doing- as harsh as it is- is necessary.”
Annoyed, Beth turns toward the man and swings her hand through the air, her stalker quick to duck the failed attempt at a physical assault, refusing to lift a finger in her direction. “Why do you want me to go back to Remedy Hills so desperately?” Beth asks, the good question having evaded her up to this point, “what’s so important about that to you? I’ve never even met you before!”
With a nod, Harlington assures the woman that she is correct, only to make it a point that she recalls why she never left. “You’ve always considered it your home… I don’t need to know you personally to see that” Harlington explains, “what Remedy Hills is… It’s so much more than you could ever think.” Concerned, the woman looks toward her stalker with worried eyes, a strange feeling beginning to consume her.
“What do you mean by that?” Beth asks, Harlington keeping his eyes away from her, wishing to make the conversation appear as if it were nothing abnormal. “I mean… Remedy Hills is alive” Harlington responds, partially turning his face toward the woman with a smile, “and you, Beth, are part of what keeps its heart beating.”
Lips parting, Beth has no intention of speaking, staring at the man as if he were delusional, Harlington’s focus being redirected to the dissipating line ahead of them. “We’re next in line” Harlington mutters, gently brushing his elbow against Beth’s arm, grinning from one ear to another as he approaches the counter. “What can I get for you today?” the cashier asks, Harlington leading the conversation, Beth simply watching him without anything to say.
== Remedy Hills ==