From the personal journal of Benjamin Cooper:
Victoria thought it would be wise to write down what's happened. Even as I write this now, with a shaking, frozen hand, the only clock in the room is striking midnight. She warned me about the witching hour. About how midnight, no matter the time zone, is an hour of the most energy; when artists strike their souls, and hit the perfect wavelength. I can't be sure if this is a true statement from her depth of knowledge, or just another of her crazy blatherings. She is complicated in that way. There's something wrong with her. Not just because of what others say at school, but possibly from another source. She's never mentioned what happened to her parents. I can't jump to conclusions, though.
Back to the point. In the previous two months, madness ensued. My return trip to the old school with that psycho Todd Langley unveiled more than I had ever feared. As we entered that skeleton; that scar on the surface of this town, we heard it again. The violin. When we went the first time, we ran when it came around. We were living in fear. Things from our nightmares are hunting us, and we were children. But the second trip brought with us something new: a courage I never thought possible. As we wandered the halls, with the walls dripping with insane ramblings, the sound of the violin started up again. But we didn't run away. We ran towards it, tracking the sounds though the labyrinth of the school, hunting the source, and recalling the ghosts of our former middle school; those days of innocence in the past. Langley, a kid I thought was lost on some bitter track, united with me in a way. We were simultaneously recalling the memories of our time as kids there before this all began last summer. Before everything changed.
Finally, we came to the source: the old art room. The place where officials said the fire started. And much to our surprise, the screech of the violin was not ethereal, nor malevolent. It was a person; a girl, to be more specific. Someone we thought we had forgotten. She sat, back facing us, as she played away, a horrific combination of evil tones and haunting melodies bursting forth from her fingers as she dragged a haggard-looking bow across the strings. And as we opened the door, she turned to face us, a white figure among the blackened remains of the room. She was not a demon, but not a human. She was almost skeletal in appearance: her eyes had sunken deep into her skull, dark bags highlighting the darkness of her sky-blue eyes. Tangled locks of strawberry hair dangled into her face. She looked as though she had been here a very, very long time.
In a calm, almost dreamy sort of voice, she spoke: "your friend has been here."
Almost too surprised to respond, I managed to choke out a question.
"I don't know his name," she replied, looking away at a nearby wall. It had been scribbled on with chalk, mostly in incoherent ramblings. But those chalk words and shapes had been drawn over with a familiar, dried crimson substance, shaped in a familiar pentagram. The very same Langley and I had seen drawn on the brick wall on the exterior of the school.
"But he has ruined my thoughts," she concluded, looking back to us. For a moment, I saw something in her eyes. An empty hurt; something I couldn't fathom at the time. What was she doing here? And how long had she been here?
"How do you know -?"
"That he is your friend," she muttered, both interrupting me and finishing my sentence. She paused for a moment, standing from the rickety wooden and plastic chair on which she had been sitting.
"They talk about you. About the things you've done. About what they must do to you."
My voice was caught in my throat. As she stood, the light flooding in from the sunset caught the edge of her exposed right arm, and at once, Todd and I saw her for what she was: pale as the full moon, dotted with freckles up and down her body, as barely clothed as it was. She wore little more than an ill-fitted white button-down blouse and a pair of torn gray jeans, which barely covered her ankles. Her feet were bare, carrying the scars of walking barefoot for a very long time. But I knew at once she wasn't homeless. This school, this skeleton of a building had been her home for an unfathomable length of time. She was a person, but barely. Her mind had been damaged along with her fragile body. My instincts told me to save her, but from what? She had resigned herself to this place; this hovel on the edge of a town.
Todd Langley was speechless, possibly for the first time in his life. The brash, almost antagonistic personality lying beneath his faade of strength had dissipated in her presence. She was a metaphorical ghost of our past. As he stood frozen, I slowly reached into my back pocket, retrieving the photograph we had found here the day before the class photo from when we were young. With trembling hands, I unfolded it, and held it up to examine it and this mysterious girl simultaneously. In the back row of the photo was a girl neither Todd nor I had remembered. And as I contrasted the two, it became clear.
"Why can't we remember you?"
"Because you were told to forget," she said, barely audible. There was an empty melancholy in her voice, something so fragile and lost. I ached to reach out to her, but she was at a distance where a comforting embrace might be seen as an act of hostility.
"How? How could we be told to forget?"
She stood still in the light, her skin reflecting like a mirror. In her white flesh, I found something familiar. Something was hiding in the back of my mind. I wanted so desperately to remember. But I needed her to tell me. It was the last thing. She had a name. At one point in our lives, she had a name, but now, in the dying embers of the day's light, I couldn't remember her name.
"Please," I pleaded, "who are you?"
"You can't remember," she said simply, taking small, delicate steps toward us. "Who I am. Who I used to be, and what I have become. What they have all done to me."
"Who are they?" I asked, choking out words that sounded more like strangled breaths as she approached, her hands at her sides. But those hands did not stay neutral for long. They reached out and cradled my face, asking me, pleading me to recall. But in that moment, she did not qualm my fears. She instead took a shallow breath, and whispered to me:
"This town has secrets. Secrets that lie deeper than your sins."
From the moment she uttered those words, I lost track of the time. I lost the rest of that day. I awoke the next morning in my bed, feeling a sense of peace. But as I prepared for my day, another day of school, I felt odd; somewhat drained. It was only after classes, meeting with the others, that the mysteries grew deeper. At our meeting at Alex's house, there was the usual crowd. As the others began to arrive, one by one, Stephen and Alex made the necessary preparations to summon Sam, our long-departed but never-absent ghost of a friend: the ouiji out, the candles lit. But what finally struck me was Gregg's arrival. As he came through the back door to the garage, he was followed by the usually somber Selina, floating on some invisible current. And it was who followed the nightwalker queen that hit me like a ton of bricks. It was the girl from the school, her pale skin and raggedy hair now washed and clean. She looked very much the antithesis of how she did back in the ruins of the school. She carried with her this air of cold happiness, a dull smile adorning her face. She could see the utter confusion on my face and made it clear. She opened her smile, revealing her teeth, two of which were sharpened to a point. Immediately, my hand shot to the side of my neck. Two small holes were scabbing over beneath my touch.
"Daywalker," Selina said simply, giving a suspicious glare back at the pale girl. "Like me, only... lesser."
"Capable of walking in the sun," Gregg extrapolated, taking a seat on one of the empty barstools. "You had an interesting night, Coop."
"Not that you would remember it," the pale girl said, closing her smile and giving me a look of remorse, as if to apologize. "It was just easier."
"Easier to what?" I asked, so very, very lost.
"Do what needed to be done."
"We'll explain," Gregg added, "with all the things you can't remember. A bite is tiring, I know."
He said the last two words with a sort of knowing grin. From behind him, Selina gave a sort of half-smile, with a roll of the eyes as she floated a bit higher to lie over us, bobbing gently in the air.
"I didn't take too much," the pale girl said innocently, her blue eyes growing wide, "just enough to make you forget, and to make it easier on you."
"Easier on me..."
"There's a lot we have to talk about," Alex added as Sam's ethereal form stepped forth from the wall, looking rather tired.
"A lot," the girl concluded.