Warning: Reminder of the bad language. A little more prominent in this one.
No one’s POV
If there was one highly anticipated holiday in Ridgevalley, it was Halloween. It seemed rather ironic how excited the naturals got for this event, considering the conflicts arising between naturals and supernaturals, but any natural would assure you supernaturals had no hold over Halloween.
Halloween wasn’t about supernaturals after all. You wouldn’t see someone dressing up as a fairy in the streets. No. It was about things that couldn’t be explained like death and smiling pumpkins.
Nikolas’ party didn’t yet have all its guests, but little Nato the puppy was already freaking out over the amount of people present. He was continuously going about and inbetween people’s legs to greet them and pull on their distracting outfits.
He always found his way back to Nikolas however, who had a small stash of treats for him in one of his fake chainmail pockets.
It was still early, but several people had already shown up with an impressive diversity of costumes.
Well apart from Joel who repeatedly admitted to only coming because Veronica dragged him over. He promised he’d leave after he’d ingested a few fist fulls of candy.
Nikolas looked up the stairs as he heard the tic tac of his sister’s high heels.
She was wearing an elegant red dress, her hair had been curled and swung over her shoulder and a mask partially hid her features. All in all, she wasn’t dressed up as a traditional halloween character.
“Are you going to stay for a while?” Niko asked his sister.
She laughed. “Stay at your little high school party?”
“You’re not that much older.”
“No, I have plans to go to this masquerade club.” She admitted with a smirk. “Don’t expect me back till early morning!”
His sister could say what she wanted, but Nikolas expected to see her back in three hours.
She was trying to get back into her old life – and that meant going dancing in clubs often, usually till the clubs closed.
But her knees still couldn’t hold that long, so she’d be back soon. Maybe even before Niko’s own party ended!
Nikita left just as two new guests were arriving, nearly bumping into each other. Nikolas didn’t have time to see who it was before Veronica was at his side.
“Niko, Jesse already ate all the chips! Where’s your stash? It’s not even 8pm yet and we’re running out of junk food this is bad.” Veronica said.
“But there’s still some salt and vinegar ones right?”
“Even that’s gone.”
“Well we don’t have any more so just tell him to go buy some. After all he ate them all.”
“Sounds good.” Veronica nodded, and made to leave, but she glanced at the new guests and decided she had something else to say.
“Oh yeah, um a warning I guess? She was really pressuring me about it. She wanted to know what you were going to dress up as.” Which is something Veronica would’ve known since she’d asked everyone who was participating in her murder mystery game to tell her what they were coming as so she could try and adjust their roles to fit them.
“And well I told her and now she’s come dressed as a maiden or something.” Veronica said with a shrug.
“Who?” Nikolas frowned, before glancing at the new guests.
As if she’d sensed her name in Niko’s thoughts she turned around and smiled, giving him a wink.
Her friend was there as well, snorting at some artwork hung up in the Whitelight entryway.
Nikolas rolled his eyes at them and went to join his friends and their intense video game.
The first hour or two of the party was spent eating candy, playing board games and pranking each other. Edmund was the only adult in the house. He’d isolated himself upstairs, his presence there only for an emergency.
Soon most of the guests would start to leave, head to other parties, or head home, and the ones who stayed would be the ones participating in Veronica’s little murder roleplay.
Lucas hung out in the doorway to the kitchen, glumly mulling over the role he had to play in just a few minutes. Veronica was just waiting for the last guest to arrive before beginning the game.
“JESUS CHRIST NIKOLAS I WILL HIT YOU.”
“You can try.” Niko smirked, some pieces of candy visible between his teeth.
“You are such a cocky son of bitch.” Lucas grumbled, his eyes still wide from the fright.
Nikolas was feeling a little restless with a bit of a sugar high. He wouldn’t have minded right there and then if Lucas had tried to take a swing at him – if only to spar a bit. “What’s on your mind Luke?”
“Oh nothing. My role is just to, ultimately, die.” Lucas said sarcastically.
“What do you mean? When are you going to die? Can I watch?”
“It’s not really a spoiler at this point, but you know, in Vero’s game? I DIE. That’s all I do, darn it, die. You would’ve thought, as her boyfriend, I’d get some kind of cooler role like the murderer or something.”
“That could be cool. In the end it turns out you were the murderer.” Nikolas snorted. “Oh but wait, that’s called suicide. Er…”
“She even convinced me to wear this weird superhero outfit so we’d match. Look at this thing it looks ridiculous.” Lucas grunted.
“You know I never asked because I never really thought of asking, because why would I, but you always have something to complain about her and you did before you two starting going out but dude when did you realize you and Veronica could make a decent couple?” Nikolas casually said with the speed of a sugar rush.
“Well um firstly I never thought the words ‘we’d make a decent couple’ dude. More like I’ve always secretly had a crush on her and then decided one day to act on it.”
“But like what do you mean by crush?”
“I mean I thought she was really cute and I always got really nervous around her like – well you know!” Lucas exclaimed in exasperation.
“I don’t that’s why I’m asking you.”
Luke stared at Niko and he restrained himself from asking are you asking because you like someone?. He knew that would probably get him a punch. He opted for a less obvious approach.
“Is this about Elaine? I mean, I know she’s been hitting on you recently, does that mean you’re, you know, thinking about-”
“Are you a fucking idiot?” Nikolas said with a straight face. “Who could possible want to go out with her?”
“Probably me…if I wasn’t with Veronica of course.” Lucas shrugged. “What? It’s not like she’s ugly.”
“Just no man. Never. She ticks me off and she looks like a snobby bitch.” Nikolas stated, crossing his arms. He’d already spent the last hour avoiding her flirty touches, and now she’d somehow managed to infiltrate his conversations.
“Okay geez.” Luke went to get himself some water in the kitchen.
The front door opened, bringing in a gust of wind and the last guest to the party.
“Ooh! Salandra’s here!” Veronica exclaimed.
Salandra walked in hesitantly, looking around the room at the sometimes familiar faces. Veronica waved her over from the buffet table.
Before she even greeted anyone though, Nato came bounding over to say hello. With a grin, she bent down to pet him.
She hadn’t meant to be late…but her job had needed her to stay a little longer due to some complaining trick-or-treaters.
Concentrated on scratching Nato’s ears and blinded by the heavy fog machine, Salandra didn’t see him sneak over.
“BOO!” Nikolas shouted from behind, tickling her sides as he did so.
Salandra jumped in both fright and surprise with a half laugh half scream.
“Nikolas! You scared me!” Salandra exclaimed with a slightly shaky voice.
“That was the point!” Nikolas laughed. Salandra couldn’t help but smile and laugh a bit as well.
“Salandra I love the way your costume turned out!” Veronica chipped in.
“Thank you, it’s-”
“The Chess killer right? Isabella Morian.” Nikolas noticed. She was a famous serial killer from a few years back. She was a sociopath, a natural psycho, with a fetish for playing games – with people’s organs. Salandra’s costume closely resembled the style the woman used to wear when she took selfies with her victims. It’d been a pretty gruesome two years for the next town over. It was simultaneously an infamous and slightly taboo costume. Nikolas was pretty impressed Salandra had the guts to put it on.
“Exactly.” Salandra smiled.
Fifteen minutes later, a dead body appeared.
“OH DEAR LORD,” Veronica shouted to make sure everyone heard her. “NOT MY LOVE. SOMEONE MURDERED MY DEAR LUCAS.”
At that everyone flocked to the coffin in question. Veronica’s game had begun.
“He’s still breathing.” Jesse commented from his seat. His friend Arthur had already left and his dad wouldn’t be able to pick him up for another little while. All he had to do was watch this unfold.
“Shut up Jesse.” Veronica snapped. She’d spent too long on this for Jesse to start nitpicking the details.
“Who killed him?” Elaine’s brunette friend asked.
“That’s what we’re here to find out.” Veronica declared before grabbing a pile of papers. “Okay here are all your roles people! We’re in a big mansion and Nikolas is the guard. Elaine is the maid. Nancy is my friend. Eliott is a scientist. Devon is the cook. I’m the owner of the mansion, and Lucas was my husband. Salandra is an odd stranger who just arrived in town.”
“Well then we obviously know who killed Lucas. It’s always the strangers.” Elaine said.
“Not always, even your closest friends can betray you.” Devon, the cook with a hockey mask, said.
“Guess we know who really did it.” Elaine muttered.
“You all don’t know anything because you haven’t read your bio sheets!” Veronica cut in. “Don’t worry it’s not too long. Actually not all the information is there. I’ll release that as the night goes on. For now you must sleuth! Gather intel! The only rules I have are to follow what you have on paper. It’s everyone for themselves, which means you only reveal the information you have if someone asks you a direct question.”
“Here’s a direct question.” Nikolas said after reading over his bio quickly. “How’d you find the body?”
“Just like you see him now. Blood pouring out of the stab wound in his side.” Veronica said, detailing the murder.
“Blood pooouurrriiinnngg out…” Lucas sang out from his coffin. Veronica kicked his death bed.
“I didn’t find any murder weapon. I was with my friend in the study when it happened.”
Nancy was staring off into something outside when Veronica cleared her throat. Nancy clicked back to the conversation.
“Wait…I’m the friend? Right…” She muttered, looking at her bio. “Um yeah, I was in the study.” Nancy frowned at her paper, before looking up at Veronica with the same frown. “Apparently I don’t like you.”
“Likewise.” Veronica replied without hesitation. Then she caught herself. “I mean in the game, in real life I have no beef against you.”
The rest of the event unfolded in a similar fashion. The teens exchanged information and began to form little groups as Veronica watched on, continuously mourning the death of her lover (who had, at that point, gotten out of the coffin to play board games with Jesse).
Nikolas wandered into his father’s study. He had a pretty good idea of why the murder had happened, and knowing Veronica, he was going to need a pen and paper to write it all down.
“Ah Niko,” Elaine said. She’d finally found him alone. “Do you know who did it yet?”
Even if he found her annoying, Nikolas couldn’t resist voicing out his thoughts on the subject.
He sat on his pa’s desk.
“Everyone’s alibi seems to check out. Apart from Salandra’s.”
“Ah, but we know she did it right? Now that we know she’s a hired gun.” Elaine said.
“Yeah, but that was the easy part. The hard part is figuring out who hired Salandra.” Nikolas said with a slight smirk. “And why. Now that we know Lucas had another lover, it gives Veronica motive, and also whoever this other lover is. But there’s also rumors of Eliott the scientist doing some pretty bad experiments. Maybe Lucas saw something he wasn’t supposed to. Maybe the cook decided he was tired of Lucas’ whiny self. He does look pretty grumpy.” Niko added the last part as a joke.
“What about you and I? What are our roles in this?” Elaine asked, surprising Niko with how close she’d suddenly gotten. He started to get uncomfortable.
She had a sweet smelling perfume that he could smell surprisingly well now. He was losing trust in his body as she pressed himself against him.
That didn’t change the fact that she was Elaine though.
“Look Elaine,” Nikolas began, edging away for her.
Clearly, he hadn’t backed away enough.
She grabbed him by the neck and forced their mouths to collide.
Niko initially jerked back in surprise, but Elaine was determined to keep him her prisoner.
For all Luke’s assurances, kissing wasn’t that fantastic. She was good, for a newbie Nikolas could tell that much, but he just wasn’t into it. The problem was, he didn’t like Elaine. At all.
He resisted shoving her so hard she crashed into the bookcase behind her (for obvious reasons). He just hoped she’d get the message with him clearly not doing anything. She was trying to kiss a statue.
Elaine had confidence in her skills though. She was certain she could get him into it! If kissing wasn’t enough….
Their lips stayed together for a grand total of ten seconds. Nikolas grabbed her shoulders and detached her, with a disgusted shake of his head.
“Jesus Christ get a hint.” He snapped.
Nikolas walked past Salandra, suddenly really needing a glass of water.
Elaine seemed to only then notice Salandra.
“What are you looking at?” Elaine snapped.
Salandra breathed through her nose. She told herself it wasn’t her problem. It wasn’t worth it.
She wasn’t that type of person anymore.
It didn’t last long.
Salandra stomped towards Elaine, in a way that made her instinctively take several steps back.
“You have got to back off.” Salandra growled.
Elaine laughed. “Oh you’re such a sore loser.”
“That’s not what this is about.” Salandra hissed. “There are limits and things called manners.”
“Stop kidding yourself.” Elaine tut tutted.
“You don’t get it do you? If you don’t stop, I will shove cockroaches in your locker, fill your gym clothes with slime, pour melted fat into your backpack and dump freshly chewed gum inside your desk every morning.” Salandra stated and Elaine’s resolved faltered slightly.
“You wouldn’t…” She nervously chuckled.
“Don’t test me.”
Elaine had probably never believed in anything more than the threat Salandra had just issued at the moment. She could only swallow her saliva, with some difficulty.
The ice queen had spoken.
“So…” Veronica began slowly, after having shoved her boyfriend back in the coffin. “I hear you know who murdered my husband.”
“Yes,” Elaine said. “And I think I should be the one to accuse since I’m the only who’s completely innocent.” She lifted up her bio, quoting her character’s description.
“I think everyone will agree that Salandra was the hired gun in this case. But the one who hired her? That was Veronica herself. After finding out that her husband was cheating on her with her friend,” She said, gesturing at Nancy. “She had him killed.”
“Oh so you’re accusing me?” Veronica looked aghast.
“And everyone else agrees with her?” Veronica asked.
“Yeah sure, let’s assume that’s how it went down. Let’s completely forget the whole weird scientist thing…”
“Niko shush!” Veronica cut in. “You already knew more than the others because I spoiled you, so you don’t get to accuse.”
“If we remember the fact that Veronica would kill the other woman and not her husband if that was the case, it becomes pretty clear this isn’t a crime of passion.” Salandra spoke up. Everyone turned to her and she hesitated.
“Then who was it really Salandra?” Veronica asked.
“I don’t know if anyone else asked him, but the cook had a story about a murder to share. His brother’s murder. That coupled with how suspicious the scientist and the guard were…The scientist was doing weird experiments, we know that. I think he did some experiments on the cook’s brother and they backfired. We know the scientist paid Niko, the guard, to do some weird task and the body was never found.
We also know Lucas was acting flighty before his death, as if he knew he was in danger. I think he found out about the murder, and they hired me to shut him up.” Salandra finished, as heads were nodding all around.
“Ding ding ding!” Veronica exclaimed.
Salandra didn’t see Elaine roll her eyes at her, because suddenly all she was seeing was Nikolas’ face, with his hand held up high.
“Nice!” He grinned.
My youtube music marathon decided to play “My First Kiss” by 3OH!3 during *coughs* a certain part. Irony.
(So this chapter was simultaneously a pain and a treat. I went in there not really quite knowing the chain of events, but I’m happy/satisfied with how things turned out. Haven’t done this kind of ‘improv’ in a while. I STILL GOT IT)