Tracy Evans, a smart and quirky girl, moves to the city of Lakewood to live with her eccentric father. However, as she gets in with the know, she learns more about the city, specifically, the FANG Research Facility. And when fate leads her there one night, it changes her life forever.
A plane touched down at the Lakewood airport, coming to a screeching halt as it pulled up to the gate. The plane was old yet sturdy, but the landing was harsh and abrupt.
The airport’s bright lights lit up the black sky, bringing in light that the dark morning covered up. Alongside the gloomy darkness, heavy, cold rain poured down relentlessly, making the bumpy arrival that much more rugged.
Airport employees adorned in heavy raincoats waved their light batons in the air, signalling the plane into its proper gate. Then, after it locked in with the gate, it came to a hard stop, jerking the plane forward with an abrupt movement. So abrupt that it jolted one of the few passengers on the plane off of her seat.
The sixteen year old girl’s raggedy seat belt snapped in two, causing her to topple out of her seat and land in the middle of the isle, earning stares from the few passengers on the plane.
Aside from her, an old woman, a handicapped man, and a big, burly business man, the plane was practically empty.
The girl, Tracy Evans, picked herself up off of the floor embarrassingly and got back in her seat. Tracy had curly, dark brown hair, light skin, and silver eyes. She was dressed in sweatpants, a sweater that was too big for her, and wool socks.
She didn’t dress like this all the time, but she was on an airplane; who was she trying to impress?
After about five minutes, Tracy was able to get off the plane, grabbing her black backpack with a large brown teddy bear sticking out of the stuffed bag and silently cheering that she made it there alive.
As she got off the metal death trap Lakewood airlines called an airplane, Tracy looked around the airport.
Tracy entered the small airport and took a deep breath, inhaling the putrid stench the airport gave off. It smelled like a rat had died and they tried to cover it up with a load of garbage.
The Lakewood airport was empty aside from a few fast food joints and some airport terminals, and the lights were dim with a few flickering on and off. Tracy wasn’t surprised, but couldn’t help it as a shudder ran throughout her spine.
Saying Lakewood was weird was an understatement; Tracy unfortunately knew from experience. Her father, Franklin Evans, had some sort of fixation on the place for some unknown reason. When Tracy’s parents got divorced, it was no surprise to anyone that he moved to Lakewood. And the cities inhabitants were just as peculiar as their home.
Matter of fact, before the divorce, Tracy could recall a visit to the city where they encountered an old man who approached her and her parents, asking them for a lighter. When Franklin told him they didn’t smoke, the old man freaked out, throwing around trash cans and boxes. Franklin had to escort his family away from the crazy man.
Tracy shuttered at the memory.
But for some reason, Franklin thought that even after all of that, it would be a good place to move and start anew.
Tracy went to baggage claim along with the other passengers and collected her belongings, then went outside to wait for her father.
The sun was still hiding, letting the moon have its final hours out and about before starting to slowly rise. A freezing wind blew through the air, scattering a few rain droplets onto Tracy’s face. Wiping the water off her face and catching her breath as she sat down, Tracy pulled out her phone and dialed her mom’s number. It rang for a while before eventually going to voicemail.
Tracy sighed at the false hope.
“Hey mom, it’s me, I just wanted to let you know I made it to Lakewood safely. I hope you’re doing fine. I’ll call back as soon as I get situated at dad’s place. I love you, I’ll call you back. Bye” Tracy left her message, and almost immediately afterwards got a phone call.
“Hello?” Tracy answered.
“Hey sweetheart, have you landed yet?” It was her dad, Franklin.
“Yeah dad, I’m just waiting for you outside” Tracy responded.
“Okay, I’ll be there in five to ten minutes. See you there.” Her dad hung up and Tracy sat down on her bags.
She began playing a game on her phone, occasionally looking up for her father. Soon, the bright lights came up the streets and a black SUV came up to the curb. The car stopped as Tracy stood up and the doors opened.
Franklin had scraggly blonde hair, blue eyes, and olive skin. He wore a tan dress shirt with a red collar, a red bandana tied to his left arm, brown cargo shorts, black shoes, and over all of that was a thick black raincoat. He walked over to Tracy and pulled her into a tight hug, a hug Tracy gladly returned.
“It’s good to see my baby again” Franklin said as he kissed his daughter’s forehead.
“It’s great to see you again too dad, how have things been down here?” Tracy said as Franklin helped carry the bags into the trunk.
“Things are just fine. I just got a promotion at my job, so I’ll probably be working rather late on the weekdays. But let’s discuss that when we’re inside, and it’s not raining cats and dogs outside,” Franklin got in the truck along with Tracy and the two departed from the old airport.
“So, I’m going to drop you off at the house, and then I’m going to go to work. I’ll be back around five thirty, and we’ll spend the day together. Catch up and such. Then since tomorrow’s the weekend, I’ll have off so I can help get you situated in the house. The people at Lakewood are already on their Fall Break, so you’ll have a little bit of free time until it’s over. Afterwards, you’ll be starting school there” Franklin said.
“Okay, sounds like a plan” Tracy said rather enthusiastically. Tracy then looked over at her father and noticed something she never thought she would.
Franklin drove differently.
Now, at first this may not even seem like an issue, but instead of driving with his knee or just one hand, both of his hands were on the wheel and his eyes were locked on the road. This surely was a noticeable difference from the way her father used to drive. However, she still couldn’t shake the fact that her dad just looked...stiff.
“Hey, you see that?”
Tracy looked to the direction her father pointed in, to see what remained of a large house. It was now burnt and charred with black, and firefighters and police were hanging around, inspecting the area.
“What happened?” asked Tracy, sitting back in her chair.
“The news said that the house caught fire in the middle of the night. ‘Say that nothing in the house was flammable, no oven on, no fireplace, no nothing. Spontaneous combustion, they say. Loud of hullabaloo if you ask me” muttered Franklin.
“Well how could something like that happen?” asked Tracy.
“Don’t know and don’t care. Listen Tracy, now that you’re living here, there’s something you gotta know. Nothing is ever as it seems. If something says stop, then you go, you understand?” said Franklin.
Tracy paused, thinking.
“Yeah, I think I got it.”
The rest of the car ride was quiet, but in a good way. Within twenty more minutes, they reached the house, and a shock overcame Tracy.
The house was bigger, larger than she had remembered. It was also in a different location, no longer in the suburbs, but a gated community. It was almost the size of a mansion. The walls were made of white brick and the ebony window frames gleamed in the now rising sun. A window in the attic stood out to Tracy, and couldn’t help as a smile slowly crept its way onto her face.
As Tracy got out and collected her things, her eyes stayed glued to the house that she would be staying in. She then heard the window slowly going down behind her.
“Impressive, isn’t it” she heard her dad smugly say.
“My job pays me quite handsomely. Here’s your key.” Franklin threw a key towards Tracy, and she caught it, but a question was activating in her mind.
“Now that I think about it, what do you do?” Tracy turned around to see the SUV driving off down the driveway, a trail of dust in its wake. Tracy sighed. “Guess that’s a question for another day.”
Tracy unlocked the large house, and pushed the door open slowly. She gasped.
It was better than she thought.
The house had smooth, wooden floors, white walls, a spiraling staircase that led upward and downward into the house. A dog cage sat in the kitchen alongside a silver dog bowl.
A chandelier was present in the living room and dining room, and a large couch big enough for six sat in the living room.
Tracy was awed, and quickly and excitedly ran up the stairs to her room. She reached her room and was happy (and a little bit relieved) to see an empty room with only a bed and a plain bedspread. “Glad, he didn’t try and decorate” Tracy said, setting down her bags, recalling the time her father had once tried to decorate her room.
She took the teddy bear out of her bag and threw it on her bed, then pulled out her phone charger and hooked it up, plugging up her phone after it. She then changed her shirt; switching to a pink tank top, and slipping on her childish bunny slippers.
Tracy walked downstairs, entering the kitchen and noticing a note on the island. Picking it up, Tracy read it in her head.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably showered and are looking for something to eat. Help yourself to anything in the kitchen, but be ready for when we go out to eat tonight. Also, don’t forget about Baxter, he’s outside and can’t be out for too long. He’ll probably remember you, so don’t worry about him attacking or anything like that. I’ll be home around 5:30, so just try to find something to occupy yourself with until then. The TV is working, and your bed is all made up, so take that however you want. See you when I get home. Love you
Tracy concluded the note and sat it back down on the island. She then walked over to the fridge and opened the two double doors.
“Let’s see what we have here...bacon, gross...turkey, also gross...any veggies in here?” Tracy’s scourge for food was interrupted by the doorbell ringing throughout the house, startling Tracy. She shot up her head and hit it on the counter in the fridge.
Rubbing her head and groaning silently, Tracy walked to the door and looked through the peephole.
She saw a hazel eye looking back at her.
“Creepy…” muttered Tracy after jumping back from the door. She went to the window and looked out of it, seeing two figures standing at the door.
The male looked to be about an age younger than her, had light skin, and his brown hair was pulled into a mohawk twist. He was dressed in a light coat and long black pants, and a headset was around his neck.
The other figure was female, and looked a lot older than her and the male. She was African-American, had dark brown hair, chocolate-brown eyes, and was looking down at her phone. She dressed lightly, and didn’t look nearly as interested as the male was about being there.
Tracy backed away from the window and waited by the door, unsure whether she should answer or not.
She then heard them talking outside the door.
“I told you Troy, she’s not here yet” the girl said, sounding annoyed.
“Will you be quiet, she just hasn’t answered yet” the male, Troy, responded. “Besides, Kayla, we don’t know if she’s hot or not.”
Tracy scoffed quietly behind the door.
“You’re disgusting, I don’t know how we’re related” Kayla said, turning around and beginning to walk off. Just then, Tracy opened the door, kicking her bunny slippers off as she did so.
“Can I help you?” Tracy said, looking at Troy and the now returning Kayla.
“Yes you can” Troy said smiling, looking Tracy up and down.
“Stop being a creep,” Kayla said pushing Troy aside. “Hi, I’m Kayla Hazes, you’re next door neighbor.” Kayla stuck out her hand and Tracy shook it. She could tell this one was a lot more tamed than her brother.
“And I’m Troy” Troy said with a grin.
“Good for you” Tracy said.
Kayla once again pushed Troy to the side and faced Tracy. “I’m Tracy Evans. Excuse me, but uh, how did you know I was moving in with my dad?” Tracy asked.
“Oh, we dogsit Baxter sometimes when your dad’s out of town. Really nice man. He sounded really excited when he told us that you were moving in with him” Kayla explained.
“His wifi is bomb too” Troy added.
“Thanks…” muttered Tracy. “Anyway, we just stopped by to introduce ourselves. We know Mr. Evans is gone a lot, so if you ever get lonely, you can stop by our place” said Kayla with a smile.
Tracy smiled back before nodding her head and saying, “Yeah, I’ll stop by.”
“Sweet” Troy said. “Well, we’ll leave you to it. You probably need to unpack still. We’ll see ya around” Kayla and Troy turned to leave, and as they did so, Tracy looked up to see the sun slowly beginning to rise. She smiled at the sight before turning around to go back inside her house.
Tracy let in Baxter, a small white pomeranian mixed with a poodle, then gave up on her search for food and spent four hours sleeping. When she woke up, it was still only 10:00am. With a lazy groan, Tracy dragged herself downstairs, the energetic Baxter happily following his groggy master.
She entered the kitchen and a large smile came to her face as she saw a cat lying on the counter, asleep.
The cat was fat with black and white stripes on her fur. She had heterochromia iridum, with one of her eyes being blue and the other being yellow.
“SUITCASE!” exclaimed Tracy, waking up the cat in the process. She ran over to Suitcase and picked up the large cat and hugging it.
“I thought you would’ve ran away by now you adorable little munchkin” said Tracy, setting down Suitcase. Suitcase purred as she rubbed her head against Tracy’s leg.
“Aww, you missed me,” Tracy picked Suitcase up again and carried her over to the living room, Baxter following suite.
Tracy then set down Suitcase and plopped down face first on the couch, Baxter happily jumping on after her and curling into a ball on her back. Tracy was exhausted, it was a five hour flight followed by a three hour layover, and Tracy got no sleep the entire way there. Her fear of heights piled on top of her fear of flying made sure she had no peace of mind on her trip.
“Baxter, you wanna be a good boy and go bring me the remote?” Tracy asked lazily. Baxter raised his head up, as if looking at the remote, before laying it back down again. “Yeah, didn’t think so. What about you Suitcase?”
Suitcase looked up at Tracy with her are-you-seriously-asking-me-that face.
“Yeah, I know, it was a stretch.”
Tracy let Baxter get off her back before going to get the remote. Along with the remote, she noticed a sheet of paper underneath it with all the channels and numbers written on it. Tracy took the remote and the paper, and returned to the couch, sitting up this time and turning on the television.
“Let’s see, why don’t we check the news…” Tracy said, flipping to the news channel.
Two anchors appeared on the screen, a brown haired man with a blue suit and tie, and a moustache and a blonde haired woman with a pink pantsuit. They were just finishing a story and moving on to the other.
“...Thank you Bob for that interesting story, I’m sure the cubs will make it out alive. Our next story tonight occurred downtown at the FANG Research Facility yesterday night. A break-in in the experiment department followed by a fire left the west wing in shambles, destroying any work that the facility had. Any and all camera footage was destroyed in the fire, but a security guard working the night shift was able to give police sketch artists a brief description of a man who seemed to be snooping around days prior to the fire. If you see anyone who looks like this man, please alert the authorities, as he may be a suspect in this most heinous act.”
A sketch of a grown African-American man appeared on the screen. His eyes were distinctly colored red, and he was very muscular. His brown hair was shaved into a buzzcut and he did not look like someone you’d want to trust.
“For more on this story please visit our website at www.Lakewo-”
“Too creepy,” muttered Tracy, quickly changing the channel. “Let’s see what else is on” Tracy said, the image of the man still engraved in her mind.