October 30, 2004
Haddonfield, Illinois

“Hello?” Madison asked sleepily as she rolled out of bed to answer her cell phone on what must have been the sixth ring.

“You better not still be sleeping,” replied Kayla’s voice from the other end, sounding disappointed.

“Nothing better to do in this miserable town,” Madison replied with a yawn. “It’s not like I’m late for a date or anything.”

“Yeah, um, actually you are,” Kayla informed her.

“What are you talking about?” Madison questioned, still sounding sleepy as she struggled to pull a pair of sweatpants on.

“We were supposed to go to the mall and shop for our costumes!” Kayla replied in an almost childlike voice.

“Oh shit, that’s right!” Madison responded, fully awake. “What time is it? I’ll just need about a half hour or so to get ready.”

“It’s already a little past noon,” Kayla replied. “Do you think you’ll be ready by 1 at least?”

“Yes, I’ll definitely be ready by 1,” Madison answered sincerely. “I’m so sorry. I forgot all about it.”

“It’s okay, but you know what?” Kayla asked, this time sounding mischievous.

“What?” Madison asked back, recognizing the all-too-familiar tone that almost always meant trouble.

“You just agreed to come to my party!” Kayla cheerfully responded. “Yes! I’m so happy! Thanks girl, see you in a few. Luv ya!” Kayla replied so quickly it seemed like it was all one sentence and hung up the phone before Madison could even get a word in edgewise.

“What???” Madison responded in shock, still trying to comprehend what her best friend had just said. When it finally dawned on her that she did in fact agree to go to the party, she knew she’d been had.

“Grrr, she tricked me!” Madison said aloud, but didn’t sound too disappointed.

Madison then finished getting dressed and ran downstairs, hoping to catch her mom to say goodbye before she left for Chicago.

When she got downstairs, she found her mom’s suitcases next to the front door ready to go.

“Mom, are you still here?” Madison called out.

“In the kitchen, hunney,” Karen Mauberry responded.

“Hey, I’m glad I caught you before you left,” Madison said as she gave her mom a kiss on the cheek and then poured a glass of orange juice from the refrigerator.

“I’m glad you finally decided to wake up,” Karen responded as she finished up washing the last of the dishes. “I was going to get you up earlier, but I didn’t want you being cranky. I’m in a good mood, so I even did a few of your chores for you. You still have a little list, but other than that, I want you to enjoy your weekend, cause lord knows, I’m going to try to.”

“Thanks mom,” Madison replied cheerfully as her day started out pretty good after all. Smiling, she went over to check out her list and saw at the bottom that Don Robinson called for her.

“Hey mom, what did Sheriff Robinson want?” Madison asked.

“He didn’t say,” Karen answered. “But if you were going to jail, I think the storm troopers would have come for you already. Make sure you call him later, cause I’m on my way out the door.”

Madison helped her mom load her luggage into the back of the car and waved goodbye as she pulled off down the street. She was actually starting to feel pretty happy for once, and it wasn’t just due to the fact that she’d have the whole house to herself for the weekend. It was almost like there was something in the air she couldn’t explain. It was a new day and it was time for her to get her shit back together.

But what her mom said to her before she left made her feel a little uneasy. It wasn’t the typical ‘make sure your chores are done before I get home’ or ‘be careful’ or anything like that. She simply said, “You better still be here when I get back.”

What was that supposed to mean anyway? Of course I’m going to be here. Where else would I go? Madison thought to herself as she watched the tail end of her mother’s Dodge Stratus disappear from sight.

“Oh well, she’s weird, and if I don’t get my ass moving, I’ll be late again for Kayla,” she said aloud as she went back into the house.

Proceed To Chapter 7
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