Hometown Demons - Episode 2
by Cade Scott
Preston! Stay with me!
Danny shakes Preston…
But he doesn’t move.
She looks up…
The back door is wide open.
And standing in the doorway…
Is a looming figure…
A gun by his side.
Danny jumps to her feet.
And raises her gun.
Don’t shoot!
Drop the weapon and come forward with your hands up!
Detective Hayes! It’s me!
Yes! Please. Lower your gun.
What are you doing?! Where were you?
I was at the side of the house, checking to see if any windows were open…
When I heard the struggle.
I looked inside and saw Preston on the ground.
Did you see who did it?
No. Not from my angle.
I ran around the house to the back door.
It was wide open.
I figured the perp made a run for it.
I gave chase but…
But what?!
Well, there was nothing to chase.
No tracks, no bits of glass to follow.
Is he okay?
Does he look okay?
I’m going to call an ambulance.
We can’t do that.
Excuse me?
The killer is on to us…
And may be trying to speed up the process.
He needs medical attention.
If Preston is in the hospital, he’ll be a sitting duck.
He’s not moving! He could be—
Preston interrupts with a groan.
His eyes flutter open.
Wha…What happened?
Can you stand?
I…uh…I think so…
Good. Let’s go.
You’re coming with me.
In the quiet of the safe house, Danny pores over her evidence files.
She studies the various clues left behind with each victim…
The crime scene photos…
And the murder locations.
Looking for any connection.
Preston stirs from his slumber on a cot.
And sits up with a grimace.
So, do I look as good as I feel?
You’re pretty beat up.
Still as handsome as ever though, right?
Danny rolls her eyes.
Any idea who did it?
I wish…I don’t remember anything.
Danny nods.
There’s silence.
How did he get in?
When I got to your place, the front door was locked.
He came up behind me.
Must’ve come through the back door.
I probably forgot to lock it.
Danny nods again.
She feels Preston’s eyes on her.
So…I didn’t think I’d ever see you again…
Me either.
Seems like you’ve made something of yourself though.
The small-town girl who barely passed high school…
Now a big shot FBI agent.
Stop calling me a big shot.
How does it feel to be back?
How do you think it feels?
Oh, I couldn’t possibly imagine…
Danny’s caught off guard by his sarcasm.
But then realizes how harsh she’s been.
I’m sorry.
I know this is a weird, stressful thing for you too.
And you were just attacked.
It’s fine…
I’m just — I’m glad to see you again is all.
Danny blushes and looks away…
Pretending to read through the case documents.
I’m sure I’m not the only one…
You might be.
I doubt anyone missed me.
Why do you say that?
You know how it is…
People who grow up here usually stay here.
And the few that leave…
People just assume you’ll change.
And not for the better.
And the way I left…
Because of me.
I didn’t say that.
You didn’t have to.
Preston slowly stands.
And walks over to her.
I get how you feel…
I’ve always been the black sheep of the town.
It only got worse after you took off…
Most everyone blamed me.
Danny’s old wounds feel like they’re being ripped back open.
She feels regret, pity, and shame all at the same time.
Why didn’t you call?
I know I didn’t treat you right…
But it’s been 11 years since you left…
12 tomorrow actually.
Wow…you remember that?
How could I forget?
I should’ve called.
I’m sorry…
That’s it? You run off for years and all I get is a “sorry”?
Preston…you know how much I hated it here.
I wanted to do big things. Go places.
But this town — I just felt trapped.
And when I would turn to you…
You’d shoot me down.
Tell me my dreams were stupid.
That I was stupid.
You made me feel worthless. So small.
It got so bad…
I felt like running away was the only option.
I’m not sorry for leaving.
But for not giving you closure…
I am sorry.
Preston looks away.
Visibly hurt by what she’s said.
Instantly, she wants to apologize for making him feel this way.
But she fights the urge.
Old habits die hard.
I’m sorry, too.
For how I treated you.
I said those things…
Because I was scared you would leave me.
I guess that just made you leave even faster.
I just — I’ve just always had this anger inside of me.
And I took it out on you.
He’s come a long way from the “bad boy” Danny had known…
The “bad boy” she almost married…
And this is the first time she’s ever heard him say “sorry.”
Danny impulsively reaches out and grabs Preston’s hand.
But when she realizes what she’s done…
She retracts her hand and blushes.
Preston blushes too, then chuckles.
I guess fate is playing a cruel trick on you…
How so?
Bringing you back here…
To face your demons.
In the form of a serial killer.
Guess I hadn’t thought about it that way…
But I should get back to work.
I only have about 4 hours before the killer makes his next move.
Right…well, what can I do to help?
Why not?
This information is confidential—
Come on, two heads are better than one.
And, I’m great at riddles, remember?
You used to come up with a new one every night.
And they stumped you most of the time.
I don’t know…
Danny, my parents were the first victims…
I have a right to catch this bastard.
I-I’m sorry…
You’re right. You can help.
On the table, Danny spreads out the documents.
Preston looks at each of the victim’s faces…
Most of them unrecognizable.
But his eyes linger on a photo of an older couple…
His parents.
Preston is about to say something…
But stops himself and just continues gazing at the photo.
I know you didn’t get along with them…
But we’ll find who did this. I promise.
Preston looks away from the photo…
And awkwardly clears his throat.
Any idea who it might be?
There’s no pattern to who’s being targeted.
No links between age, gender, ethnicity — even species.
It’s all fair game.
Random pets and livestock have been found dismembered.
That makes sense.
When my parents were murdered…
The field beside their house was littered with dead cattle and sheep.
Their stomachs were torn out and their intestines were spilled out onto the grass.
That’s horrible…
Preston picks up the detailed map of the town…
Which depicts the location of each of the murders.
They both stare at it for a moment.
Wait a second…
Danny snatches the map from Preston…
I didn’t notice this before…
But do you see a pattern?
What are you talking about?
Your parents’ house…
It’s basically the northern most point of the town.
That’s where the killer went first.
The second victim. Jerry Cline. He lived in the north-east part of town.
Third victim. Reginald Barrow. Lived almost directly east.
Now keep following the victims in order.
You’ve lost me.
Danny places the map on the table…
She marks all 11 murder locations, including today’s, one by one.
And a circular pattern emerges.
It looks like—
A clock.
Oh my god.
And not only that, but look at this.
Danny marks an “X” in the dead center of the circle.
What’s there?
Um…just an old bike trail.
Not just that. Think about it.
The old shed!
Where we used to meet up after curfew.
A smirk slips onto Preston’s lips.
Danny rolls her eyes.
So what are you implying?
Look at the distance from the shed to each of the murders.
They look the same.
Exactly! So let’s say the pattern continues…
If I trace a twelfth line from the center of the circle…
Danny draws as she speaks.
Using about the same distance between the shed and the other points—
Danny’s pencil stops.
You end up at your old house.
Right. But, my parents sold it after I left.
Who lives there now?
Some crotchety old couple.
And you don’t know them?
Not really.
Then I’m not sure my theory makes sense.
If you’re the next victim, this twelfth line should lead to your house.
But it’s this random couple’s house.
And since you don’t know these people.
You can’t be the clue.
Maybe the clock is just a coincidence.
But the killer is so careful.
This is calculated.
And the shed has to be significant in some way.
I don’t know…
I’m gonna check it out.
Wait, now?
Yes, right now.
I don’t have much time.
Best case scenario, it’ll lead me closer to the murderer.
At worst, it’s nothing and this pattern is just a fluke.
No! At worst, the killer finds and murders you!
I’m not the same helpless girl I was before I left…
I can handle myself.
I’m going with you.
Nope. Not a chance.
Why not?!
Because you might be the next victim.
Maybe I’ll call Detective Jones—
No! Don’t bring him.
What? Why not?
What’s he done so far?
He’s let 11 people die…
He was nowhere to be found when the killer tried to kidnap me…
And he doesn’t understand this town like we do.
He basically just moved here.
Actually…he moved here just before the killings started.
Wait, he did?
Guess he forgot to mention that little detail.
Well, he wouldn’t like me going to the shed anyway.
It’s probably against protocol or something.
See. He’ll only slow you down.
I’ll call him if I find something.
You stay here!
I don’t want to hear it! I’m going alone.
Outside the entrance to the shed, Danny shines her flashlight…
It’s quiet.
Except for the whistle of a slight breeze.
And the distant hoot of an owl.
She eases toward the door.
And her heart slams against her chest.
She’s about to walk into the shed…
When she hears a rustling behind her.
She freezes.
The hair on the back of her neck stands up.
And behind her…
A stick cracks.
She slowly unholsters her gun…
And without a second’s hesitation—
She whirls around.
Gun cocked.
Preston stands out in the open, shielding his eyes against Danny’s flashlight.
What the hell are you doing?!
I could’ve shot you!
Good thing you didn’t…
I specifically told you to stay put!
I couldn’t let you go alone.
I can take care of myself, thank you!
I know…
But I was just sitting there…
Thinking about what might happen to you…
I just had to make sure you’re safe.
Danny stares at Preston.
In some ways he hasn’t changed.
He’s still stubborn as hell.
But the gesture of wanting to make sure she’s safe…
It’s sweet.
Come on then.
Preston smiles and trots over to her.
Danny holsters her gun…
And they walk toward the shed, together.