Chapter 1: Incipit
Everything suggested that the Davidsons were the ideal family.
40 year-old housewife Karen had left everything to care for her twins. She was young when she had them, 19 to be precise, and had to juggle from studies to family life.
Fortunately, she had been able to count on the help of her boyfriend Karl, who would later become her husband. The two young parents had learned very early how to fight against all odds, and even if the ends of the month had been sometimes difficult, their mutual assistance maintained them.
Now, Karl was at the head of his own materials business. He was trying to manage to spend the most time with his wife and two children, Nils and Neyla.
Yes, the Davidsons seemed to be the perfect little American household. At least, apparently...
Chapter 2: Opening
INT. - CAR - DAY
"Honey, are you sure we should turn there...?
- Of course I'm sure! Annie is never wrong.
- Ah you think so? It was not the case, the time when...
- Will you stop questioning everything I say? Shut up for God's sake! Keep driving!"
The trip did not really happen as expected. With Karen, it was not even surprising. She always was the hotheaded, easily riled one. If Karl stayed with her anyway, it was only for the children. Life with Karen was hard enough, no way to let go of the kids! Behind his hypocritical smiles, Karl Davidson only dreamed of the day Nils and Neyla would have reached their majority and could thus stand on their own. Maybe they will be more fortunate and meet someone trusty...
Sighing, the blonde took out her mobile phone from her pocket.
"It's Nils, he just arrived, he wishes us a good weekend."
Nils, Neyla's twin brother, had insisted on going to his best friend's house to celebrate his birthday. His sister had (as often) no word to say. "The Loomis' have two daughters, it will make new friends!" What the forty-year-old woman had omitted to say was the age of the girls: nine and eleven.
"Friends", Neyla already had enough. Between Dumbass-Zoey and her gang of degenerate "gals", it was right enough to have to endure them at university. Well, anyway, Neyla basically never had a choice ...
To avoid hearing the umpteenth quarrel of her parents, the girl adjusted her earphones, putting the Volume to the maximum, escaping reality.
She closed her eyes, trying to focus on the lyrics. She didn't succeed. She thought back to different episodes of her bland and monotonous life. And it was only there, in this old-fashioned car, that she understood: in more than twenty years, she had never really lived. All her emotions were nothing but smoke and mirrors. As far as her memory could go back, impossible to find any trace of joy, passion, life.
It was as if she were trapped in her own body. As if she looked at the world without even being part of it. As if a part of herself was dead.
She let out a slight sigh of despair before falling asleep to the sound of the music. Besides, something was missing. Was not she supposed to shed a tear? The lyrics, the melody... everything was so sad. Yet nothing seemed to touch her. It wasn't the first time she had thought about it. Whatever the circumstances, she almost never cry. No sadness anyway. She would shed tears of rage, but that was all. On the contrary and in a rather ironic way, Neyla was able to sob on cue. Gift, which, for a almost twenty-one years old girl, was of questionable utility.
The truth was, Neyla had no reason to feel sad.
Sadness was an unknown feeling for her.
Just like happiness.
And all the rest.
In fact, Neyla did not feel anything.
Chapter 3: Two new characters...
"Ah, finally, we've arrived, I thought I was going to dry up on the spot!
- You're exaggerating, Karen. At least you could have taken a bottle of water...
- AH?! BECAUSE IT IS MY FAULT, AGAIN??! "
Karl stopped the car in a spectacular jolt. The impact was such that it had made a huge hole in the windshield. Karen, the eyes wide with amazement, opened the door with force and rushed to see the damage. Only a few meters away, a golf ball was rolling, finishing in the ditch.
"What...", the man went out with his head in his hands. "Damn, you talk about holidays!"
They were soon stopped by two teenagers. One of them seemed quite tall and was running ahead, the other, less muscular, struggling to catch him up.
When they arrived to meet the couple, the first one looked desolate:
"Oh my God, I'm... Excuse him, he doesn't look where he's aiming at." Then, seeing the embarrassment of his interlocutors, he jumped up. "Oh, let me help you, I can pay you back, if you want, or well, uh...
"Do not talk about it," Karl said raising a hand in the air. It's not that serious. This car is an old banger and needed to be replaced. (He smiled.) I'm Karl, by the way, and here's my wife Karen. Nice to meet you !
- Oh ! Definitely, I miss at all my duties! Paul. And here is Peter.
"Hello," Peter shyly said, handing a gloved hand to the newcomers.
Neyla slowly opened her eyes, removing her earphones.
"Ney, Princess, wake up, we've arrived."
The girl stretched her legs numb by the trip and forced herself to smile at her father. She was about to get out of the car, when suddenly...
"WTF ??! What is that fuck again?" She went down looking at the others suspiciously.
"Neylaaaaa, let me introduce you to Peter and Paul, our neighbors, Annie's friends, you know, the seamstress! Incredible, uh? ^w^"At these words, the housewife turned to face her daughter. "Come on, do not be shy, they don't bite!" With what the two boys exchanged glances. Ah, if only she knew ~
"H-Hello," the smaller one tried.
"Hi," she said in a deliberately cold, unfriendly tone that unsettled the young man, and Neyla couldn't repress a grin of satisfaction seing him all stammering and flushed.
Once the presentations were made, Neyla undertook to unload her belongings. Karen put a hand on her shoulder (too nicely).
"Hey, Princess (she was not used to using that nickname, usually this was only Karl who did), can you give that to the Loomis from me, your father and I will take care of the luggage! :)"
Neyla shrugged. The behavior of her mother did not surprise her at all: in front of people, the blonde showed a loving and caring mother facade, in total contradiction with her true self.
The teenager being more than familiar with hypocrisy, put on the cheek of the forty-year-old a feint kiss of tenderness. The woman then handed her a cake pan with a lemony scent that immediately invaded Neyla's nostrils. Then she leaned over and whispered in her daughter's ear, "Never do that again."
EXT. - YARD- DAY
"Well, then, uh... do you plan to stay here for long?" Peter asked.
- Two days. But we never know. Maybe serial killers will come and take us hostage", she replied, letting out a nervous little sneer.
- That would be a pity... ", Paul smiled.
They kept walking in silence. As the discomfort became quite palpable, the blonde hastened to come up with something:
"Neyla, arn't you? You don't seem to get on well with your mother, did anything happened?"
Neyla forced herself to smile despite the strangeness of the situation. They had just met, and already the conversation deviated on the girl's private life... Neyla didn't like extroverted people (which was quite ironic given her own attitude in society). She rejected her ombré hair back casually and continued on her way.
"Yeah... She hates me, but well, it's mutual!" (She turned, a little worried) Ugh... Do not repeat her that, huh? "
The two boys exchanged a meaningful glance again.
PAUL: "Uh, we're not going to bother you any longer. Give us the cake, we'll bring it back to Annie.
- Um... Okay, why not, she shrugged. I did not really want to go anyway." Whereupon, she gave Paul the pan and turned on her heels.
- Bye! "They exclaimed in unison.
Chapter 4: First suspicion
INT. - ROOM - NIGHT
Staring at on the immaculate ceiling, Neyla sighed. She took off her earphones, which she threw with detachment on the bedside table, and grabbed her cellphone. The internet connection wasn't that good; no way to log into AO3! Tired, the young woman gave up and buried her face in the soft pillow.
EXT. - YARD - DAY
Looking shyly at his interlocutor, Peter had cleared his throat.
His courage seemed to fall again when the girl turned to smile at him.
"I, uh ... actually, we're planning to... we ...
PAUL (interrupting him): What Tom is trying to say is, that we have planned to have a party with friends tonight, and we wouldn't want to disturb the neighbors, he explained. I hope you've got earplugs.
- Oh. I see, Neyla simply said. I'll warn my parents. Thank you for warning me."
END OF FLASHBACK:
INT. - ROOM - NIGHT (CON'T)
The throat dry, the teenager awoke with a start. She thought she heard a thud, like a gunshot. Nevertheless, her foggy mind was hardly reliable, especially at two o'clock in the morning ...
NEYLA (holding her head in her hands): I must be imaginating things again...
Like a specter down the hall, the young woman walked to the kitchen, where she poured herself a glass of iced water. Outside, everything seemed silent (despite the disturbing sound she thought she heard, of course). She drank her drink in one go and went up the stairs.
* CRASHHH !!! *
From her torpor, our protagonist opened her eyes wide as saucers.
NEYLA (opening the curtains): What is ... Wtf?!
From the opposite window, a male figure remained bent forward, seeming to notice the damage he has done. It was later that the girl realized that the window had been smashed, shattered, as if something had passed through.
She backed away slightly, seeing that the individual, having noticed her presence, was staring at her insistently. Then the brown-haired boy finally found his mobility: he slowly raised his arm, awkwardly waving. Amused by the events, Neyla greeted him back. She seemed to distinguish a dark form in the bushes, a kind of... dummy lying in the grass, but nothing that the darkness and the leaves allowed to clearly see.
Well, I did not think the party was at the Loomis', she thought. Annie is not going to be happy for her window. She will definitely snap at Peter!
She smiled at Peter and walked on, as if nothing ever happened.
And yet, in the next house, a macabre game was unfolding...