\ Realm of Reality /
\ 24 Hours Earlier /
His clean-shaven upper lip resting upon the rim of a foam coffee cup, Sheriff West stares intently at a jumble of photographs, reports and results sprawled across his relatively small workspace. “Something has to line up” West murmurs to himself, such confident words spoken with such great pressures of defeat, as if the hope for said truth is present, but the expectation is not.
A stack of crime scene photos pressed between the thumb and index finger of his right hand, West shuffles through one image after another, each time pressing his face closer toward the glossy finish. “Sheriff?” a young voice inquires, his knuckles pressing against West’s door frame. His concentration disrupted, West lets the photo fall from his hands, answering the officer at his door with a sigh, “what do you want?” West questions in a disgruntled tone.
The callous response catching him off guard, the young officer struggles to speak,his words evading him just as easily as his thoughts do. “Spit it out, son- what do you need?” West gestures, trying to redirect the man’s mind toward the thought he’d entered with. “I- uh-” the young officer begins to speak, his sparse pauses not aiding in the conversation’s progression.
“I- uh- get on with it” West urges, his impatience only matched for his dislike of muddled-thought. “The- the plane- the one you told us to monitor?” the young officer replies, prompted to finish the sentence when met with West’s silent anticipation, “-it crashed.” Though his expression goes unchanged, West’s mind begins to dissect this news, his eyes fluttering from one side of the room to another.
“The one with the girls?” West clarifies, his question responded to with a short nod, the young officer’s hands coupling by his lap, watching the evolution of West’s reaction. Slowly, West reaches for his foam cup, another swig from the disposable vessel preceding the lean he takes in his chair, back pressing against his chair’s hardwood spindles.
As his arms cross, West makes further inquiries, the hairs on the back of his neck standing with each question. “Are there any survivors?” West wonders aloud, able to predict the answer at the lone countenance on the callow policeman. “I don’t- no. No, they don’t think so” the officer stumbles, his badge reflecting the harsh ceiling light, “they found some big chunks of- of debris on the- coast of Sri Lanka.”
Steadily, the air leaves West’s lungs, his collected demeanour hiding the true feelings he holds toward the news. “Well- that’s unfortunate” West replies, his top two teeth pressing into the softest part of his bottom lip, “thank you for telling me officer- what’s your name?”
“Tobias- er, Montes- Tobias Montes” the unproven officer stammers, the first impressions he makes leaving much room for improvement. “Thank you, Officer Montes” West comments, allowing the conversation to run its natural course, “please, close the door on your way out.” As instructed, Montes steps out the way he’d arrived, the thick, wooden entry quietly shut behind him.
Shaking his head, West lets out another sigh, repeatedly pressing his eyes together as he wipes his mind of the girls’ fate, focus returned to the evidence atop his desk. “There’s something here” West whispers to himself, leaning over his desk once more, the first photo from the top of a pile collected into his hand. “There has to be something here” he repeats beneath his breath, a picture of undisturbed grass beneath a yellow police marker commanding his attention.
= 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 =
\ Realm of Reality /
\ 21 Hours Earlier /
“Why aren’t you in school?” Rachel wonders aloud, walking from her front door to the kitchen as Jared follows, his hair coated in a light layer of sweat. “I could ask you the same thing” Jared replies, his shoes tracking dirt across the hardwood floors. “My parents like being paranoid- that’s why” Rachel responds, unscrewing the lid to a carton of cheese puffs, “what’s your excuse?”
Stepping aside to let Rachel pass, Jared continues to follow as he answers, “I wanted the day off and my parents were fine with it.” Unable to hold back a brief chuckle, Rachel nods her head, beginning the ascent toward her room on the floor above ground level. “That makes sense” the woman quips, the carton of junk food swinging by her side as she climbs higher, “you’re surrounded by people that let you get away with whatever you want- I’m not surprised.”
Taking offence the way Rachel intended for him to, Jared replies with equal cavil. “Ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black” the home’s guest mutters, provoking Rachel to turn toward his direction upon reaching the top of the stairs. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Rachel queries, her eyes squinting in the young man’s direction, his statement too open-ended to make a fair assessment of.
“Look at where you live, Ms. Suburbia” Jared retorts, jutting his chin toward the staircase across the hall from them, its travels leading those who wander it toward a third story. “My mom’s a drunk and we live in the projects- at least there’s a reason I get away with whatever I want” Jared replies, self-aware to a point, “what’s your excuse?”
“What does where you live have to do with getting what you want?” Rachel inquires, watching Jared’s shadow-covered eyes roll. “Because proper parenting isn’t exactly priority number one where I come from” the young man responds, following Rachel toward the second staircase. “So what? You get an excuse to cheat on Scarlett? Or maybe to treat everyone you meet like shit?” Rachel argues back, again finding her argument countered.
“No, I’m saying that- of all the people that can call me out without being a hypocrite- you’re at the bottom of that list” Jared replies, Rachel continuing to walk away with her head shaking. “Whatever. Why are you here?” the woman wonders aloud, beginning her climb to next floor, her guest continuing to follow. “Because I got this” Jared answers, he and Rachel stopping halfway up the steps, a folded note with his name written, poorly and spelled with an extra ‘r’ atop.
“What is that?” Rachel responds, setting her tub of snacks on the next step higher, her hands wiped against her pants before claiming the letter. Quietly, Rachel unfolds the note, needing a few moments to correctly decipher the poor handwriting. “When did you get this?” Rachel wonders aloud, finally reaching the epistle’s conclusion before feeling the urge to read it a second time.
“Last night. It was stuffed in my backpack- in one of those little sleeves on the side” Jared responds, allowing Rachel to skim the note once more as he retrieves his phone. “Do you know who sent it?” Rachel responds, lowering the note to her side as Jared answers, shuffling through pictures he’d saved on his camera. “No- I don’t even know how they got it in my bag!” Jared proclaims, finally settling on the photo he’d set out for.
“Look familiar?” Jared queries, the picture he’d landed upon bringing a widening over Rachel’s eyes, her second glance at the letter revealing a troublesome discovery. “It’s the same-fucking-font” Jared declares, the graffiti referring to Scarlett and Vic from the school’s lot providing a perfectly copy to that in his note.
Pulling in a deep breath, Rachel returns the note, the heavy inhale carried with her as she climbs the remaining stairs, her tub of junk left behind. “I know it could just be a sick prank, but what if it isn’t?” Jared questions, again following the woman’s ascent. “If it isn’t, we’re kind of screwed, aren’t we?” Rachel responds, turning for the nearest bathroom with such eagerness that her shoulder slams into the drywall.
“That’s it? If it’s a prank- Great! If it’s not- we’re dead, oh well?” Jared responds, watching Rachel hunch over the sink, the cold water faucet spun as far as it can manage. “What other choice do we have!?” Rachel calls back, a handful of water caught in her palms, the sides of her hands pressed together. “Well gee, I guess I’d hope for one that doesn’t involve us being murdered- is that a good start?” Jared sarcastically responds, waiting for Rachel to finish from the hallway.
Submerging her face in the small pool gathered in her mitts, Rachel lets the water run down her chin, loose drops dampening her shirt’s collar. Repeating the process, Rachel presses her eyes together, the discussion put on hold for the time being. Her sudden ailment settling, Rachel reaches aimlessly for the cabinet, her eyes still closed as it glides just centimetres away from her face.
Unscrewing the child-proof cap on an orange bottle of paroxetine, Rachel fills her hand with another scoop of water and takes back two ovular, yellow pills. With an audible sigh, Rachel opens her eyes, able to feel the water accompany the pills down her throat, her worries comforted slightly for the moment.
“I don’t know what more you- AH!” Rachel begins to reply, closing the vanity above her sink just in time to find an unfamiliar face staring at her with a horrifyingly joyous smile. Throwing herself into the bathroom corner, Rachel stares at the bathtub the tall, imposing figure had stood, the curtain pulled back completely, Jared quickly storming beyond the doorway.
Swiping at the nylon curtain, Jared discovers nothing more than an empty tub, the muscular body in a tight, long-sleeved black shirt nowhere to be found. “He- he- he was- he-” Rachel screams, unable to prevent herself from hyperventilating, her index finger extended toward the empty shower. “It’s alright, it’s alright!” Jared proclaims, disregarding the curious scene in favour of kneeling beside the kindred spirit, “hey- hey- it’s okay- it’s okay!”
His left hand resting on Rachel’s shoulder whilst his right rests on the kneecap of her bent right leg, Jared’s words are spoken softer with each attempt, gently guiding Rachel down from her terrorised high. “He was there- he was right there!” Rachel whimpers, her eyes filled with tears as she slouches into the corner, both hands covering her mouth and nose, shielding her from the danger she’s certain she’d seen.
“I believe you, I believe you!” Jared insists, unsure as to whether or not what he says is true, his only focus set on providing whatever comfort he can manage. “Just breathe, I’m right here- I need you to breathe” Jared urges, his hand moving away from her knee in favour of her arm, his palm slowly sliding to her hand, their palms coming together.
As instructed, Rachel begins to take in deep breaths, her eyes pressing closed with great force, holding worry that the haunting face will return upon their separation. Steadily, Rachel simmers down, her breaths returning to a relative normal, eyes still closed out of a misplaced sense of self-protection. “Look at me, Rach” Jared petitions, his voice composed and unencumbered, the safety Rachel internally begs for provided through the compassion in Jared’s voice.
“Can you look at me?” Jared requests, holding back concern that Rachel’s hatred of him could undo the progress they’d made, forced to step on metaphorical egg shells. Able to hold breaths in without her lungs forcing them away, Rachel begins to part her eyes, the empty bathtub the first thing she sees, the cautious optimism in Jared’s expression the second.
Eased from her emotional strangulation, Rachel regains her wits, not forgetting the great dislike she has for Jared, but rather choosing to put it aside out of appreciation for his assistance. “Thank you” Rachel quietly utters, Jared’s response coming not in words, but in the form of a subtle nod.
Once content with Rachel’s condition, Jared pulls away, both worrying about an overstay of his welcome and interested in what brought upon such incredible fears. Peering into the tub, very little is left to see, an empty porcelain cask with little personality all that resides behind the thin, flimsy curtain. “I don’t-” Jared begins to remark, a single glance toward the ground halting his proclamation instantly.
“What?” Rachel questions, ripping a few strips of toilet paper from the nearby roll, wiping her puffy, red eyes and mucus-filled nose. Yet to answer, Jared reaches into the bath, a letter left behind face-up, aligned perfectly with the mat that covers the bathtub’s floor. “You definitely saw something” Jared replies, the envelope held between his index and middle fingers, Rachel’s name written in equally poor handwriting, spelled with an extra ‘l’ at the end.
\ Realm of Reality /
\ 20 Hours Earlier /
Stood near a drop only a few metres above a small creek, West stares with disgrace at the calm waters below, the desire to throw up nearly unavoidable. Momentarily unable to speak, West watches a fellow officer approach in silence, a transparent bag held within his grasp. “They didn’t make it hard to find” the officer remarks, West’s arms crossed as he watches the deputy approach, his repulsed visage yet to ease.
“Yeah, I’d say so” West soberly replies, a bloody, needle-point knife laying within the pouch. “Do we have I.D?” West calls out, opening the field to whatever answers can be offered. “Kris Shaffer, sixteen years old, lives in a town right outside of Prairieville” Montes responds, stepping away from the coroners to join the sheriff.
His arms crossed, West lets the air go quiet for a moment, reluctant to ask the question he knows is necessary. “Is he connected to the girls in any way?” West inquires, holding out the small amount of hope that the answer can surprise him. “I don’t know about that specifically-” Montes responds, pausing in a manner that leads West to expect an unfavourable addition, “-but they did attend the same school.”
His revulsion to the scene twisted into a deep-rooted anger, West turns away, both Montes and the second deputy following their superior to his car. “And all we have to show for it is some taunting scribble and a bloody-fucking-knife” West mumbles beneath his breath, each step pressed into the soft, muddy ground with more force than the one before.
“Is it still off the table to call this guy a serial killer?” the second officer inquires, aware of the wrath he draws from West upon the sheriff’s sudden stop. “Go bag more shit or I’ll have your badge on my desk by the end of the day” West demands, only Montes continuing to follow him from this point forward. “Sir, may I suggest a theory?” Montes worriedly inquires, unsure of whether or not the smallest move out of place could cost him his employment.
“Does your theory make sense?- Are there obvious holes I can poke into it?” West responds, unlocking the doors to his cruiser. “With all due respect, sir- the crime itself doesn’t make sense” Montes replies, prompting West to turn back, looking Montes in the eyes as he continues. “There’s a kid lying in the creek with thirty-something stab wounds, signs of a struggle, and only his own set of footprints” Montes specifies, “I don’t really know if anything about this is hole poke-impenetrable.”
Though dissatisfied with the response, West respects the honesty it’s presented with. “Get in the passenger’s side” West orders, lifting a dart from a pack and lighting it, refusing to let their logic-defying killer prevent him from enjoying a smoke. “Is there a chance someone other than Rachel knows about the girls being alive?” Montes inquires, waiting for West to respond, his senior letting the question settle.
“Continue” West remarks, blowing a cloud of tobacco smoke into his windshield, the greenlight the rookie had hoped for having arrived. “Maybe we’re working off the wrong idea- maybe this isn’t a revenge mission” Montes implies, his elbow pressing into the vehicle’s centre console, “maybe they’re provoking the girls to draw them out.”
“That doesn’t much explain the lack of footprints, or fingerprints, or any prints” West replies, a frown and shrug returned. “Well, if we’re being fair- nothing does” Montes retorts, the pair locking eyes as the younger man continues, “but if his motives are to drive the girls out of hiding, his motives could be targeted at anything- even us.”
With a squint, West peers back toward his windshield, the rainy, muggy woodlands he parks within offering a sight drearier than Prairieville itself. “Are you saying that the girls are just a front to expose the cover up?” West inquires, Montes’ lips puckering as he nods, disappointed to confirm such suspicions. His eyes widening, West sinks into his seat, his fingers flicking the dart into a boggy puddle.
“In that case, they won’t stop killing until we find them” West responds, a genuine fear breaking through his tough facade. Reaching for the radio, West calls into his station, hurriedly awaiting a response. “What are you doing?” Montes questions, the sudden change in priority his superior presents catching him by surprise.
“We need to get ahead of this-” West replies, again calling for a response from his department, “-tell people about the plane before someone else gets killed.” His judgement less clouded than the elected sheriff, Montes proves his worth, calling the man’s assumptions into question. “If this guy is coming after us for the cover up, why would he believe us now?” Montes queries, watching West turn to look him in the eyes.
“Fuck- you’re right” West murmurs, ignoring the response he finally earns from the second end, returning the radio to its receiver. “And- while I don’t want to discredit myself now that I’ve done something useful- I could still be wrong” Montes reiterates, West’s attention held firmly within his control, “this could all be some empty, angry, spiteful attempt at violent revenge.”
Though the suggestion remains only a theory, the illusion of progress prompts West’s heart to beat, the evidence they have lacking such depth that anything positive feels like progress. “Alright, if-” West begins to speak, his sentence interrupted by the sound of a second, unexpected vehicle’s approach.
“Hey, this is an active crime scene!” West exclaims, quickly removing himself from the cruiser, his hands waving high over his head. Disregarding the warning given to them, Rachel and Jared remove themselves from the sedan, their eyes set on the mass of uniformed cops beyond the bog.
“Hey! Get back in your car, kids!” West exclaims, Rachel continues to walk until a barrage of officers hurry up to her, blocking her from approaching the body any further. “Rachel, come here” Jared commands, remaining in the woman’s good graces just enough for her to do as told. “Is there a body down there!?” Jared shouts, his focus having shifted to the sheriff, West’s hands extended toward the younger man, hand on his taser with hopes of not having to use it.
The officers that reside close to the corpse turning in the direction of the altercation, only West interacts with the young trespassers. “Kids, you’re not authorised to-” West begins to repeat, he and the rest of his unit silenced the moment Jared interrupts. “Kris Shaffer- Scarlett’s friend from the fifth grade” Jared yells, taking West’s silence as clearance to speak further, “is he lying in that creek, face down, with thirty-seven stab wounds!?”
His lip quivering, West loses the power of speech, entirely uncertain of how to react. The note pressed between his index and middle fingers raised into the air, presented to the sheriff. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’” Jared remarks, tossing the semi-open envelope into the dirt just beyond West’s feet, “go ahead- read it. Courtesy of your killer.”
Releasing the firearm from his holster, Montes prepares to hold Jared at gunpoint, West’s hand immediately pushing the rookie’s gun away. Having his reasons for not being suspicious of either teen, West reaches toward the ground, taking the note from its packet, the handwriting all too similar to what he’s seen before.
“Kris Shaffer, 16, stabbed 37X” the note’s opening lines read, the deranged scrawlings perused quietly to West’s self. “The two of you are different from the rest- you’re all pawns- yes, but I play differently with you” the penultimate line reads, “the rest set the board- but the two of you will bring me the throne. It’s your turn- now win me the game.”
His mouth agape, West continues to baffle his squad, trusting enough of Montes to leave the note with him. “We’re next” Jared remarks, Rachel separating from the human barricade of officers between her and the body, joining beside the man she once despised. A look of horror on his face, West looks to Jared, his eyes unable to pull away from the targeted pair, “yes- you are” West mutters beneath his breath, his prior concerns only elevated.
\ Realm of Reality /
\ 9 Hours Earlier /
“We’ll be there intermittently” West responds, the radio handset returned to its holster, his left hand wrapped firmly around the steering wheel. “How did you know?” Jared inquires, his voice frail and hurt, a drastic contrast from the anger he’d displayed hours earlier. “How did I know what?” West queries, the hardened demeanour he’d given the pair in days past no longer found.
“The plane-” Jared reiterates, West turning to look him in the eyes, allowing him to finish, “how did you know they were on it?” Frowning, West peers into the rear-view mirror, Rachel having laid down in the backseat with wishes to fall asleep, though remaining unable to find such slumber. “I had officers follow them to the airport” West confesses, his tone quiet and bleak, “they saw where they were going and what plane they got on- then we saw it on the news.”
Pressing his hand against his mouth, Jared leans against the door, his eyes taking to the cloudy skies, night having brought with it the dread of another passing day. “And it was all- for what?” Rachel inquires, her arm crossed beneath her head, used as an impromptu pillow, “what was it for?”
Looking at the woman through his rear-view mirror, West feels the judgement, despite Rachel’s voice remaining hushed and tired, behind the question. “For- ffoorr-” West begins, at first preparing to defend his actions, though his conscience quickly intervenes, surrendering his mind to the truth, “-for nothing.”
His monotone reflection barely loud enough to overtake the sound of raindrops colliding with his windows and roof, West comes clean, no longer able to hide behind outright denial. Thinking quietly to himself, West’s eyes remain set upon Rachel, the expression of a young woman mourning a friend lost too soon bringing a cold rush of air down his spine.
“I was trying to save my unit’s reputation- and I did it at their expense” West concedes, keeping his eyes on the girl through the mirror, “I was the reason they were on that plane.” Her expression as saddened and broken as it can manage, Rachel remains laid upon the backseat, her eyes, too, set upon West through the mirror.
“Then I hate you” Rachel responds calmly, a displeased, yet understanding look worn on West’s face. “I hate you for being selfish. I hate you for getting my best friend killed” Rachel persists, West’s refusal to stop her only fueling her need to continue speaking, her tone never rising from one of calm, composed confidence.
“I hate you for being a terrible person, and I hate you for being worthless” Rachel furthers, a single tear falling from the corner of her eye as she finishes, “when you die, I hope there’s a spot in hell reserved for you- and even then, I’ll still hate you.”
Though his cruiser’s interior is dark, a light from above the back exit to a sandwich shop shines through the back-most windows, its orange glow falling upon Rachel’s face. “I know” West finally replies, unwilling to argue his side, aware that no amount of sway can make due for his moral shortcomings. Turning his key in the ignition, West prepares the car for its departure, the safehouse he’d insisted be prepared ensuring the alley he’d parked in is redundant.
Closing her eyes, Rachel attempts to sleep through the ride, the feelings that had wrapped around her mind with incredible grip voiced as best as manageable. “Killers like these always slip us somewhere- I have to believe that” West explains, preaching to a choir of two young adults that already know this, “whatever ‘normal’ means for the two of you, it’ll-”
Pressing his foot upon the break, West drags his tires along the asphalt, his bright headlights illuminating the tall physique of a man that stands in his way, purposefully rounding the corner and halting his progress. The base of his palm slamming into the horn, West signals for the man to step aside, the trench coat’s hood obstructing the stranger’s face.
“Move!” West shouts, his passengers no more than slightly disturbed, Jared watching the figure with curiosity whilst Rachel pays no mind to it, assuming it to be of little interest. “What the fuck is this crackhead trying to pull, damnit!?” West exclaims, throwing the car into park and exiting the vehicle, right hand resting upon his handgun’s grip. “Can I help you with something!?” West inquires, the unacquainted man slowly removing the hood from his bald head.
“Not really-” the brawny resident replies, turning his face toward the cruiser, his voice too low for the teens to hear, “-but they can.”
“What the hell is he doing?” Rachel frustratedly quips, sitting rightside up and peering through the partition, her eyes widening immediately. “Ja- Jared!” Rachel frantically calls, the hands she’d pressed against the plexiglass shaking from pure fear, “that’s the guy! That’s the guy!”
Seeing the horror in Rachel’s eyes, Jared glances back toward the man, his eyes meeting Rachel’s tormentor, only one thought running through Jared’s mind. “WEST!” Jared exclaims, the sheriff having left his door open, not expecting the confrontation to turn sour. Though muffled, West hears the scream emerge from Jared’s side of the car, only able to take the attempted warning as a sign of danger.
Without a second thought, West removes the pistol from his belt, the barrel pointed toward the tall man’s head just one second too late. Fingers spread apart, the tall stranger pushes his hand forward, the only defence needed to thwart West’s effort. As if struck by an invisible bus, West’s feet leave the ground, the gun falling to the asphalt as he soars through the air.
Only able to act on his impulses, Jared climbs into the driver’s seat, slamming the door shut as Rachel shouts, pleading with the man she’d once considered an enemy to save the night. Shifting out of park, Jared slams his foot into the gas, the engine roaring as the pedal hits the floor, though the car refuses to budge.
Silent, the large man stands idle, watching the tires scream against the ground to no avail, the vehicle refusing to move. Whilst West writhes in pain near the end of the alley, the unnamed anomaly plays with the teens as if they were prey, calculating his next move as if they were an unsolved equation. Glancing toward the opposite side of the street, the brute solves the formula and sets the wheels in motion, releasing the vehicle from the standstill of his doing.
Suddenly tearing through the alley, Jared attempts to slam into the large figure, his tattered clothes lit brightly as the vehicle approaches. Within a moment, the tall figure vanishes, narrowly evading the cruiser that now reaches speeds too great for Jared to handle. As if called into action, the figure reemerges in the half-empty backseat, his presence freezing Rachel in a state of extraordinary awe.
“This is the fun part” the man whispers, throwing his hand toward the ground just as the car reaches the road’s opposite side, a large row of homes having become an improvisational crashpad. The concrete structures caving in as the vehicle slams through their collective front doors, what once stood as single-family homes now stands as a pile of rubble, clouds of dust and broken stone clouding the craterous impact zone.
“And that’s why” the man murmurs, his audience now unconscious, a bright blue, spherical shield having saved the vehicle's occupants from certain death. Completely unharmed, the large figure stares at Jared, the man’s body laid out across both front seats, Rachel’s head laid upon his lap. Removing the protective orb from the vehicle, the man removes the bulletproof partition with absolute ease, superhuman strength contained within the nonchalant tap of his finger.
“It’s time for the two of you to make me king” the man mutters beneath his breath, watching West struggle to his feet in the distance. His eyes closed, the man rests one hand on each teenager, a few brief seconds passing before they reopen.
Unable to keep his feet from dragging across the ground, West stumbles through the alley, every car and foot-travelling civilian stopping to survey the presumed accident. The vehicle having hit with such great force, the debris of each residential complex stacks upon itself, an artificial mountain directly to the crash’s epicentre left for West to scale.
Slicing his hands on broken glass and scraping his palms and elbows against jagged rocks, West scrambles toward the vehicles, the adrenaline that courses through him alleviating some of the pain from his injuries. Looking past the rubble, West locates the cruiser, it’s metal frame completely unharmed, not a dent visible on a cruiser that should be little more than scrap metal by now.
Unable to make anything of sound reasoning from the crash’s result, West drags himself through what once served as a living room, its fifties-inspired carpet now the ground of a provisional garage. The driver’s side door the first thing he reaches for, West rips at the handle and throws himself into the empty driver’s seat. “H- help- pl- help” West murmurs, yet to look into the rest of the car.
“Get them out of the car!” West screams, calling out to the brave citizens that hurry into the wreckage to help. “Who!?” a random man in a plain blue t-shirt inquires, one of six bystanders that leap into action. “The kids! Get the kids out of the car!” West shouts, only able to overhear a second man from the car’s passenger’s side. “There’s no one else in there” the older gentleman remarks, peering through the windshield.
With eyebrows furrowed and mouth agape, West glances into the back, its leather seats just as empty as the chair to his right, the occupants he’d shared the cabin with minutes prior now gone. “Hello!?” the radio operator replies, continuously calling for West’s response to no answer, the adrenaline having run its course, the sheriff now joining Jared and Rachel in a trauma-induced slumber.
== Dream Sequence ==