Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

Murders of Pilgrim Lane

By @Cece_Lou

Chapter One


She adjusts the headphones slightly over her ears, blocking out any sound of her brother’s belching and barfing beside her. The entire car stinks, has done for the past nine hours and a half they’ve been driving. Her parents know how Felix is in cars, especially car journeys that go over an hour and yet they were still adamant about driving for ten hours straight from North Carolina to New York. Who even does that?!

Olivia hadn’t wanted to move, she was happy where she was. She had her friends, her school where she was finally enjoying going to (it was still hell, and, if given the option, she’d leave in less than a heartbeat but it wasn’t terrible anymore, unlike last year) and most importantly she had her home- a home she’d lived in the longest in out of all. She was happy. She was finally happy.

Now she had to adjust and adapt. Again.

She feels a harsh jab in her arm, one that has her turning quickly away from the window and straight at her little brother, who has just stopped vomiting long enough to assault her.

“What?” she asks, ripping off her headphones in irritation. 

“Mom asked you to lower your music down,” Felix tells her, face stuffed as low into the bowl the tip of his nose is almost touching the sick.

Olivia turns away in disgust, fishing out her phone and pausing her music all together, the sound of Imagine Dragon’s Friction coming to a sudden halt.

“Happy?” Olivia sasses towards her mother.

Mother doesn’t even bother to turn around before directing an equally sassy response back to her daughter.

They were close once. More like best friends then mother and daughter. Sure, Mother still bossed her around but there was a light hearted-ness to it, a sense that a parent didn’t need to be strict and shout at their child if they wanted something done, they could just ask politely and that would be all it took. A much better method.

Mother would say Olivia was the one to change. She reached thirteen and Livia didn’t care about anyone else anymore, she became selfish and disinterested in anything Konnie wanted to do or say. But that’s where Mother was wrong. 

Felix was nine when he went through all these medical problems. It was hospital appointment after hospital appointment but most of the time it was emergency visits; Felix had fainted during the night, or he was having a fit every hour. They never found out why this was happening and Olivia had been pushed to the side. It was all about

Felix, it was always all about Felix.

Until the fits and faints and cries of a pain from an unknown source stopped a year later and Mom wanted to know Olivia again. But Olivia had moved on, got some real friends, had a life. She didn’t have time to go out with Mommy anymore and Mom didn’t like that.

“Are we really there yet?” Felix asks, his face still stuck in the bowl.

“About ten minutes, baby.”

Olivia scoffs at the nickname, facing back towards the window as they drive down excluded road within a forest. “Baby” is what Mom had called Felix since he fell ill and even when he’d recovered she still continued to call him it. Each time it was so much as uttered in front of Olivia she’d cringe. Felix was twelve- thirteen next month- he wasn’t a baby anymore. Something Mom seemed to be completely blinded to.

“Something the matter, Olivia?” Mom asks, all the love in her voice directed at Felix gone.

“Nothing,” Olivia dismisses. “Just want to get out of this car.” 

“We’ll be there soon,” her father answers, finally speaking up.

“Thank god,” Felix praises to himself, before throwing up one last time. 

Olivia barfs to herself. She doesn’t care how long a journey is left, this window is getting lowered.


She had argued a ten hour car ride was a bad idea. New York was an hour and a half away from North Carolina at the most by plane, they’d have gotten there hours ago.

“We could spend some family time together,” Adam said for the fifteen-millionth time. “We haven’t had that lately.”

“Exactly,” Konnie states, leaning against the counter as Adam continues to tidy up around her. “Don’t you think ten hours will be too much?”

Adam stops what he’s doing, throws the dish towel down. “Am I still that difficult to be around?”

Konnie sighs, rolling her eyes. “Adam, everyone finds it difficult to be around someone for that long a period. Besides, this isn’t about you, or me, it’s about Felix.”

“What about Felix?”

“He might get sick again.” It had been one of Konnie’s fears since. It had happened so suddenly, completely out of the blue, and cleared up just as quick, there was always that nagging feeling inside of her that at any point it could happen once more.

“What if we’re driving and he has a fit and we’re in the middle of nowhere?”

Adam moves closer to her then, his hands falling over her arms as he stand in front of her.

“Margot, listen to me,” Konnie pouts at the use of her real name. Looks away before Adam’s hand is touching her chin and gently pulling it back to look at him. “That was three years ago,” Konnie goes to protest but he cuts her off. “It’s over. Whatever it was, it isn’t coming back. He’s not gonna have a fit half way through the drive, he’s gonna throw up and Liv will complain and everything will be normal, okay?”

She’s not okay. The fears are still there but, for his sake, she nods.

“Good.”  He presses a quick kiss to her forehead then, one that has Konnie shutting her eyes, trying to make it take away her fears and doubts. “This will be good for us,” Adam says as he pulls away. “You’ll see.”

Her eyes float down to the SatNav, lingers on the timer that says the house is only three minutes away. Three minutes too long, Konnie thinks as she sits back and looks out the window.

When they viewed the house two months ago, Konnie hadn’t been the greatest fan of the forest that surrounded All Hallow’s. It seemed out of place and gave her nothing but an tightness in her stomach. Whilst driving through it, it seemed to go on and on forever, never really ending. Even when they reached the driveway of The Pilgrim, the forest still carried on before them. It was a excluded area, something she and Adam had agreed on, but it still gave her an unsettling feeling. It was strange.

Felix belches behind her and she gives Adam an I told you so look which only has him, surprisingly, smiling.

“I still think it was worth it,” he says, clearly pleased with himself that this journey hadn’t been a complete disaster.

And it hadn’t. Sure, Olivia and Felix had argued a bit, they’d spent too much money in those off-road drive throughs and someone’s order was wrong, but it wasn’t total murder and chaos. Still, if they ever have to go back to North Carolina for any reason they’re getting a plane.

“I’ll see if you’re still saying that when you’re the one cleaning out the sick bowl.”

They pull up to the drive in no time. The moment the car is stops, Felix is out the door and spilling his guts into the drain nearby. The others follow, Konnie grabbing the sick bowl and handing it to Adam to throw down the drain.

“It’s ugly,” Olivia says and Konnie turns to find her looking towards the farm house.

While not the most appealing on the outside, the inside had been what made Konnie want to buy it. Adam had wanted something smaller yet with their rather large families combined, the farm house’s size made it perfect for any type of family gathering. People could come to them now, rather than it being the other way around.

“Wait until you see the inside before you judge,” Konnie tells her daughter before making her way up towards the front door and completely missing Olivia’s doubting “Sure”.

They still had to wait for the moving van to catch up with them with all the furniture and other stuff they couldn’t fit in the car to arrive but the rest of the day was spent towing and frowing from car to house, placing various bits and bobs from their old house around the new one. Konnie took this as an opportunity to once again explore the rooms. She’d already began planning out how she would decorate the last time she was here. They’d agreed to leave the wallpaper as it was; the cream background and yellow-white flowers that was found in every downstairs room didn’t bother them too much. It wasn’t peeling nor had it faded, they saw no reason to take it down. Carpet was very much needed, though- something, Konnie noted, the last family hadn’t bothered with- she hated the thought of bare feet on a stone-cold floor.

“Felix and Liv have picked their rooms,” Konnie hears Adam say behind her.

She stands in the kitchen, the back door open and the sun finally setting against the trees, casting a fiery orange-purple glow across the sky. The forest still creeps her out but even Konnie has to admit it does look beautiful. The whole house is and she knows that after everything they’ve been through the past year and even before with both Olivia and Felix, that this is finally their fresh-start, for everyone.

“Are the beds still there?” Konnie asks.

“Yeah, just like you told the realtors.”

Good. It’s one thing to not have couches and tables yet, but another to not have a bed to sleep in.

Despite people not having lived in the house for years, when they came to view it in January, the furniture was still there. It had creeped Konnie out a little but Adam loved it, spent most of the day taking pictures, telling her how it was like being back in time. When asked if they wanted to keep the furniture, Konnie was adamant to get rid of it all- no way was she using some century old stuff, until they’d reached upstairs and saw the beds. Real wooden, victorian beds- ones rare to find and hard to come by nowadays so Konnie had changed her mind; everything else could go but the beds where to stay.

“So they’re settled then?” Konnie asks.

“Seem to be. And since the rooms are all near enough the same size, there was no fighting over them,” Adam tells her, chuckling at the end.

Konnie smiles, it had been a long time since she heard him chuckle, longer since he’d truly laughed but the chuckle was nice to hear. The warmth of the sunset added with his smile directed at her was enough to send a warm glow through her. Today had been long and tiring, she didn’t imagine tomorrow would be any easier and the thought of that had her wanting to go straight up to bed.

Compelled by that thought, she turns away from the sunset and begins looking the door, asks the the front is locked, which it is.

“It’s not like you to go to bed early,” Adam says and he’s not wrong. Sleep doesn’t come easy to her anymore but Konnie knows that this night may just be merciful.

“You weren’t the one up at 5AM stressing,” she smiles. She hops onto her tiptoes, pressing a light kiss to Adam’s lip. Before she can walk away, however, Adam grabs her hand, pulling her back to him and she smiles once more at his playfulness- something also absent recently.

“Maybe you shouldn’t stress then,” he answers back, all smiles before pecking her lips and playfully pushing her away.

“Go to bed then,” he tells her, all serious once again. “I’ll join you later.”

Konnie smiles, exiting the kitchen. As she walks up the stairs, her hand brushes against the newly polished wood of the bannister. She gives the hall (and the rooms she can look into from where she is) one last look before smiling once more and heading for bed, that weightless, happy feeling returning that had been MIA for a long time.

Join the conversation

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Post a comment
1 Like 0 Comments
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Become a Book Nerd

When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.