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Cascade Hills 04: You have the social grace of a monkey

Cacade Hills

-Cascade Hill High Main Hall-

The halls of Cascade Hills High were brimming with talk of the Homecoming dance later on. The despair from the news of Chelsea’s death seemed to have faded from everyone’s minds. Katherine, in particular, didn’t seem to have come down from her high as she hummed to herself while walking down the hall. Alex, who was walking a little bit behind her, had an amused look on his face as he watched her practically skip down the hallway. The two soon spot Kristen by her locker and walk closer however they are both shocked to see the rather worn-down look on her face.

“Whoa, Kris the hell happened to you?” Alex said rather bluntly.

The withering glare that she gave him made Alex take a few steps back from her. Kristen had notable bags under her eyes, and her clothes were slightly wrinkled. She looked as if she just rolled out of bed after only a few hours of sleep.

“What I believe Alex is trying to say is are you okay?” Katherine says placing a hand on Kristen’s shoulder and giving her a concerned look.

“Yeah, just had a really rough night. Couldn’t get much sleep.” Kristen said with a weak smile.

Katherine nodded and the three continued onward to class. The day continued onwards as usual. Every time Katherine so much as glanced in Nathan’s general direction she got a healthy blush and love-struck look on her face to which Alex and Kristen rolled their eyes, amused. However, as the day went on even though Katherine felt so excited for tonight, something just beyond the surface of her mind kept screaming of danger like something absolutely terrible was going to happen. It became too much for her to hold in my lunch as she sat down with a nervous look on her face.

“Kat? What’s up, you’ve been looking really worried all day.” Alex asked waving his hand in front of her face to get her attention as it was trained harshly on her food tray.

“Huh? O-oh um, well it’s just… something feels…wrong.” Katherine says, her tone unsure and her worried expression still on her face.

Very descriptive Kat. Wrong like what exactly?” Alex huffs with an eye roll, he always hated her rather vague answers.

“Like wrong Alex! Like something bad is gonna happen. I’ve been getting it all day and it’s really starting to anger me.” Katherine responded with a glare at him, it was clear to see that this was truly bothering her by the way she looked around slightly after speaking.

“Maybe you’re nervous about tonight?” Kristen interjected, trying to lighten up the tension a bit.

“Mayb- oh my god! I’m gonna make Nathan hate me.” Katherine whined out, a mortified look quickly morphed on her face. She then dropped her face into her hands, roughly gripping her hair in panic.

Alex’s deadpan face turned to Kristen in a way of stating “See, now look at what you started”. Kristen sent him back a sheepish smile before turning back to Katherine who looked like she was about to start hyperventilating.

“Okay Katherine, first of all, simmer the fuck down. This is not a life-or-death situation okay? Secondly, you’ll do just fine. You’re a beautiful girl no matter how many times you keep telling yourself otherwise and we’ll be there. So if and I mean if you do, we’ll be there to cover your ass. You can count on us!” Kristen said as she put an arm around Alex and they both grinned at Katherine like idiots.

Katherine raised her head slightly to look up at their ‘shining’ faces.

“Hmmm, ya no” She responded flatly, outright rejecting their help.

“Hey! What the hell Kat. Do you not trust us?!” Alex said with a pout.

“Alex I love you like a brother but you have the social grace of a monkey.” Katherine said rather bluntly.

“Wh-wha-.” Alex couldn’t even finish his sentence as he stared at her, mouth gaping.

“Oh so it is possible to make the great Alex McKenzie speechless, I should tell Ms. Armstrong to put this in the papers.” Katherine said with a smirk as Alex’s face scrunched up into a pout as he crossed his arms like a five-year-old and slumped down in his chair angrily.

“Hey, what about me? Why don’t you trust me to help?” Kristen said a little anxiously, fidgeting around like a child.

“Kris, as much as I love you. You can be extremely intimidating.” Katherine said with an apologetic smile.

What? No, I’m not!” Kristen kind of yelled out, her arms crossed.

However, the looks of absolute pity that both Katherine and Alex sent her made her deflate.

“Right?” She whimpered out, pledging with them to say something.

“Kris, do you remember Kyle Barton?” Katherine asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Uh yeah, fifth grade right? He was really quiet, following us around.” Kristen said with a frown, not understanding where Katherine was going with this.

“No, no, no, he wasn’t following us around Kris. He was following you, like a lost puppy.” Alex said, correcting her.

“Okay, so? What of it?”

“Do you remember how you um… dealt with him?”

“I told him to back off before I made him, it was annoying.” Kristen said eyebrows scrunched together in confusion. “I don’t get where you’re going with this.”

Both Alex and Katherine looked at each other before letting out deep sighs.

“Oh Kris…” Katherine said with a shake of her head.

“What?!” Kristen yelled a bit, slamming her hand down on the table. She was getting annoyed that she was the only one not getting it.

“He liked you, dumbass.” Alex said not too gently.

It was at that moment that it looked as if a series of lights went off in her head as she started to understand.

“OH! Oh…”

Katherine chuckles at that.

“No offense you two but I’d rather fight my own battles, I do appreciate the thought though. Hey, if things do go badly with Nathan at least I have you two!” Katherine said with a warm smile.

Alex grins and nods while Kristen smiles back. And the three went back to their usual conversation, the dark foreboding feeling disappeared completely from Katherine’s mind. Soon the day was over and Alex dropped Katherine back at her house since the dance didn’t start until two more hours.

“Hey make sure you’re ready and Kat!” Alex called to her out of his window.

“Hmm?” She turned to him.

“Don’t worry so much okay? You’ll be fine, Nathan likes you, and even I can see that. So have fun ok?” Alex said softly, not looking her directly in the eye.

Alex is always the bashful one when it comes to emotional issues. Katherine smiled widely, a warm feeling in her stomach as she took in Alex’s generous and slightly awkward attempt to make her feel better.

“Okay Alex, see you soon?”

Alex nods and gives her a small wave before driving off. She walks into her house, the slightly bristling cold instantly dispersing.

“Mom, I’m home!” She called out to her mother.

“In the kitchen sweetheart!” Katherine heard her mom’s slightly muffled call.

Katherine walks into the kitchen and is imminently hit with the warm and delicious smell of fried fish it would seem. As Katherine walks up to her mother, she sees neatly breaded and mouthwatering fried fish, one of her favorite dishes.

“Oh what’s the occasion?” She asked as her stomach rumbled in need as she went to grab a fish.

Her mother, however, was fast, and tapped her hand away, pulling the plate full of food toward the table before sitting down. Katherine sits down across from her, rubbing her hand jokingly with a pout.

“These are for my daughter since I know you’ve been crushing on Nathan for quite some time-”

“I have not!” Katherine tries to protest again, trying her luck once more to grab a piece of food.

“You have so.” Olivia retorts quickly, smacking Kat’s hand away again.

“….okay so if this is to ‘congratulate me’ then why do you keep hitting me away?” Katherine asked with a pout, as she eyed the food longingly.

“This is also collateral.” Olivia says as she looks sternly at Katherine.

“Collat- wait what?”

“Katherine, I know you’re old enough to make your own choices and I respect you to make the right one…”

“Wait mom, what are you-.” Katherine starts but is cut off.

“And I know you liked Nathan since you were young, believe me, I get that, the boy is rather fine.”


“HOWEVER…you will and I mean will keep it pg-13. I will be watching you missy.” Olivia said, giving Katherine her best mom stare.

“First of all mom, ew. Secondly, TMI. What are you talking about?” Katherine said giving her mother a slightly freaked outlook.

“Tonight at the dance? Sweetheart, please try to keep up.” Olivia said giving Katherine a look.

Thanks mom.” Katherine says with an unconscious chuckle. “So you are going to be there, is it really that serious?”

“The kidnapping only started about three months ago and two girls have winded up dead. So yes, it’s worrisome but I think the more serious part is how they’re found.” Olivia said, her voice slightly trailing off as she seemed to get lost in thought.

While she was distracted, Katherine grabbed a piece of fish and immediately started to eat. Olivia gives her a look of disapproval and shakes her head.

“But anyway that’s too morbid for dinner and I highly doubt anything bad going to happen while there are so many people there but either way I want you to be extra careful okay sweetheart?” Olivia said giving Kat a look while grabbing a piece of fish herself.

“Yes, mom.” Kat responded halfheartedly as her taste buds were singing in praise.

The rest of the dinner went along smoothly aside from a bit of teasing here and there from her mother. Soon the time for the dance rolled around and Katherine had gone through at least four different dresses, constantly walking to her mother’s room to ask her opinion. Just as the doorbell rang, Olivia muttered a small thank you as she opened the door to Alex. Alex looked rather well dressed in a full black suit with a grey undershirt and tie. The outfit fit his short but lean body quite nicely.

“Oh wow, you look good Alex.” Olivia complimented.

Alex blushed bashfully and grinned.

“Thanks, Ms. Norman.”

“No problem, now as for Katherine-.” Olivia trailed off turning to the stairs.

Katherine was standing midway through the steps with a miserable look on her face. However, despite her expression, she looked rather lovely. She was outfitted with a golden dress that melded to her upper body very nicely, giving emphasis to her form. From the waist downward, it became more loose and wavy and stopped right below her knees. The gold of the dress really brought out the strawberry blonde colors of her hair and did look rather appealing on her. She had a small jacket clenched in her hands, most likely in case, it got too cold.

“I look stupid…” Katherine whines.

Olivia rolled her eyes at Alex in a way of saying “See what I’ve been dealing with”. Alex gives her a small smile before turning to Kat.

“Kat, we got to go.”


“Kat, shut-up, you’re beautiful. Let’s go.” Alex said sternly before turning and walking out.

Katherine kind of watched him, mouth gaping before walking down.

“I’ll be by the dance in a few sweethearts, so be careful okay?”

“Yes, mom.” Katherine says as she steps into Alex’s car.

And off they went. It took about 15 minutes to reach the park where the dance was located since it was a small way in town. However, the location itself was beautiful and the perfect spot to see the stars since there was nothing but forest for miles. There were plenty of people already there as Alex pulled up to the park. He and Kat both exited the car and walked closer, it looked rather beautiful with all the decorations. The paper lamps illuminate all the pathways and music plays in the background.

“Hey, guys!”

Both Alex and Katherine turned to see Kristen walking towards them. She was wearing a simple black dress that clung to her body and fell to her knees.

“Oh damn Kat, you look good!” She said, having Katherine do a small turnaround for her.

“Hey, what about me?!” Alex says which a joking smile.

“You look good too, Alex. Don’t worry your little head about it.” She said patting his head.

“Real funny Kris.” Alex said as he pushed her hand away.

Katherine let out a small chuckle but stopped short at hearing her name behind called. She turned to see Nathan and immediately felt like her stomach just turned inside out. He looked good, well better than good in her eyes. He was dressed in a similar all-black suit to Alex’s however he had a white undershirt and black tie. His hair was pulled back and up however this made him look all the more masculine. Katherine stood for a few minutes just greedily lapping him up with her eyes before remembering that he had been talking to her.

“H-huh?” She said, looking at him slightly dazed.

“I said you look beautiful.” He said with an extremely pleased look on his face as he looked her in the eyes.

For a few minutes, Katherine’s brain seemed to melt into her ear as she just stood, red-faced and mouth gaping. Kristen gave Nathan a strained smile as she wrapped an arm around Kat.

“Give us just a moment Nathan.” She dragged Kat a little ways away with Alex right behind.

“Kat! For Christ’s sake snap out of it.” Kristen said as she nudged her friend.

“H-huh, oh shit!” Katherine finally snapped out of whatever trance she was in and realized what she just done. However before she started her pity party, she was cut off.

“No, don’t even start. Now go back over to him and talk!” Kristen said sternly, giving her a glare before placing her in front of Nathan, who was looking more or less amused.

“Okay all done, you two have fun now!” Kristen said as she pulled Alex away who was more than eager to see how Katherine was going to recover.

So left alone with Nathan, Katherine fidgeted around like a child who was in trouble and waiting for the eventual punishment. And Nathan waited patiently for a few minutes before speaking.

“You know Kat you’re really-. " He started but was instantly cut off by Kat.

“Weird, socially awkward, a bit of a cree-” She listed off in rapid-fire before being cut off but Nathan put a finger to her lips gently.

“Adorable.” He finished with a very amused smile.

“..oh..” Was all Katherine responded before another blush burst out on her face.

“Katherine, I’m not a hundred percent sure why you’re so nervous or if you had some bad experiences in the past but please. I’m just as human as you are so don’t be so afraid to talk to me.” Nathan said with a polite smile.

“Even if I word-vomit at you?” Katherine as with a weak smile.

“I’ll make sure to stop you if it goes on too long.” He answered with a chuckle.

Katherine’s smile strengthened and she nodded. He holds a hand for her to take, which she does, and together they walk closer to the park. For a while everything went smoothly, Katherine learned to her displeasure that she and Nathan had very few things in common. He was a rock kind of guy and she liked pop/techno. He loved sci-fi, and scary movies while she was more of a romantic comedy and fantasy type. However they did both enjoy drawing, and one thing in particular that made her giddy was comics. Nathan was also a huge comic nerd much like Katherine. They had been talking rather animatedly about the tale-old comparison between Batman and Superman.

“And that is why Batman is better.” Katherine finished with a smirk.

“That’s why? Seriously Kat?” Nathan asked her with a look of disbelief.

“Yup!” Katherine replied smugly

“So let me get this straight, you’re saying the reason why Batman is better than Superman is because Superman doesn’t have power on his own planet..?” Nathan says giving her a look.

“Well not just that but Batman is smart, he knows how to hit someone and where to make it hurt. No offense to Superman but I highly doubt he can think up a plan to counter every Justice League member.” Katherine says in a matter-of-fact way.

“Well besides just killing them because he, you know Superman right?” Nathan said with an amused smile.

“Well yeah besides that.” Katherine said with a pout.

Nathan just shakes his head and laughs. His laugh makes Katherine’s stomach do flips and she squirms just a bit. Suddenly a song starts that she knows and particularly likes. She unconsciously starts to hum with the music before feeling eyes on her and turns. Nathan is just watching her.

“Would you like to dance?”

“Oh-ohhh uh no. Um I- uh don’t dance.” She winced as she finished lamely.

“Are you sure?” Nathan asked once again with a raised eyebrow.

He could tell just by the way she swayed she loved the song and did want to dance but was too nervous. So while she was still deciding, he grabbed her hand and brought her to the dance floor, she tried to protest but tripped over her words at each attempt. There were other couples dancing as well and when he finally reached a good spot, he turned to her. She looked like a deer caught in the headlight which caused an immediate laugh out of him.

“Kat, calm down. I don’t bite I swear.” Nathan says as he slowly raises his arm around her waist, giving her a look.

Kat nodded stiffly before placing one hand on his shoulder and the other in his outstretched hand. And they began to dance slowly to the beat of the music. She was a little stiff at first but as she melted into the music and the feeling of Nathan’s warmth, Katherine loosened up considerably. She keeps glancing up at him always seeing his eyes on her before looking away like a skittish cat. As the song ended Katherine was looking up at Nathan, and their eyes connected. And slowly they both leaned in.

“Wow, nice job bro.” Someone called out, interrupting the moment completely.

They both pulled away with red faces to look at where the voice came from. Rose was looking between the two of them with an impish smile. Claire was a few feet behind her just looking around, completely bored. Rose was in a black and red dress that hugged her curves while Claire was in dress pants and a suit top, both looked beautiful which made Katherine a little self-conscious.

“Damn it Rose, what is it?” Nathan asked with an irritated look on his face.

“Need to talk to you for a bit. Alone.” She directed that last part towards Katherine before walking off with Claire.

“Sorry Kat, I’ll be right back, the princess beckons me.” Nathan said with a faint smile.

Katherine chuckled and nodded. He walked off the catch up with his sister while Katherine walked over to where Alex and Kristen were seated. Alex was busy stuffing his face while Kristen waved to her.

“Ohhh I saw that getting a little hot and heavy I see.” Kristen teased.

“It wasn’t like that…”

“Oh please Kat, I saw the way he was looking at you and you at him. I’m pretty sure you guys could have boiled water with how heated that was getting.” Kristen says.

“Oh god please shut up.” Katherine groans out.

“Just saying.” Kristen finished, giving Alex a slightly disgusted look at his table manners.

“What I’m hungry okay? I didn’t get time to cook before I left.”

Kristen just rolls her eyes. Something out of the corner of Kat’s eye catches her attention. Looking over she sees a girl around her age with short black hair and a slightly rounded figure. She looked pale and was stumbling toward the forest.

“Hey isn’t that Maria?”

Alex and Kristen both turn to where she is looking.

“Oh, Maria Carter… that creepy girl?”

“Alex, please she’s a sweet girl, just really shy.” Katherine said a frown getting up from her chair.

“And really stalkerish.” Alex replies with a shrug, returning back to his food.

“Well, I’m going to go make sure, you know she’s not dying or something. Kristen, can you please go get a teacher, she doesn’t look too good.” Katherine says as she watches the girl who is walking down one of the paved runner’s paths.

“Have fun~.” Alex said with a wave while Kristen nodded to her.

Katherine just glares at him before walking off. Luckily the path was rather well light however Maria suddenly had vanished. Katherine looks around walking slowly down the path, the music from the dance echoes softly in the background.

“Maria!” Katherine called out, scanning the forest surroundings.

Nothing but trees and darkness. And just as she was going to give up, a loud crunching sound rang out to the side of her. Katherine’s head snapped in the direction of the noise, and more crunching sounds followed. She turned back towards where the dance was, she wasn’t very far away. If there was something dangerous she would definitely be able to run back given that she wasn’t in heels.

Thank god for that.” Katherine mumbled under her breath as she inched forward towards the sound.

“Maria?” She called out.

The crunching didn’t stop, she couldn’t tell if it was just some dried leaf or some glass breaking. It wasn’t until she walked around a very large tree that she saw Maria again crouched over something.


Maria grew deathly still and almost immediately a vicious shiver went down Katherine’s spine. Something was very, very wrong here.

“Maria are you okay? I saw you coming down, you didn’t look too good.”

No response except for her slowly raising up to stand. Maria hadn’t turned to her nor brushed off the dried leaves that cling to her dress. That feeling was back and this time it wasn’t just scratching at the surface but now buried deep into her stomach and screaming. Every instinct in her was yelling at her to run however just as she was about to turn Mari did. And to make a long story short, that was not Maria, at least not anymore. The girl’s face was hallowed, her cheeks inverse and her eyes haunting. Her skin was white as a sheet but the thing that really got Katherine’s heart beating was the razor-sharp fangs in her mouth. Her mouth looked similar to that of angler fish, multi-rowed and sharp.

“Holy fu-.” Katherine turns to run but just as she did, there Maria was.

Katherine’s eyes widened as she looked back quickly from where Maria once was to where she was now, in front of her only a few feet away. Maria wasn’t saying a word just staring at Katherine with a snarl.

“Huh, well fuck me.”

As soon as those words left her mouth, Maria launched at her. And it was at that moment Katherine noticed the state her hand- well claws were in. Maria’s hands looked nothing like humans, sickly white and nails as long as her fingers and pitch black. Katherine managed to dodge however tripped backward in the process. Maria was growling like an animal as she tried once again to attack Katherine. Katherine scrambled to get away, kicking up leaves and slightly ripping her dress. Once she reached her feet, she ran as fast as possible back towards the park, screaming her lungs out for help. Blood was pumping into her ear as she didn’t even glance back to check where Maria had scurried off too. However before she got even a few feet away, she felt something similar to a car bulldozing into her.

She flew through the air like a rag doll, hitting the ground hard. She luckily landed on her side so most of the force only hit her right side meaning her arm was more than likely broken but she could still run. However just as she tried to get up, she immediately slumped back down. Rolling slowly onto her back she realized that she didn’t get away from her little tumble as unscathed as she thought.

Four very deep gashes were spread over her stomach, and she was bleeding profusely. It was at that moment the pain rushed in hard. Her wounds were deep and felt like she was on fire, she tried to take a deep breath only to spit back up blood. Her right arm was completely unresponsive so she places her left timidly over her wounds to try and stop the bleeding without causing too much pain. A nearby crunch made her head snap up, there was Maria looking at her like she was a tasty piece of meat. Maria stalked over to her, her form becoming less and less human and more monster-like. Tears clouded her vision as her consciousness started to waver.

“…mo-.” Katherine whimpers out pathetically, coughing up more blood.

Maria was now standing a few feet away from her, her head turned in a kind of curious manner as she watched Katherine bleeding out. Maria reaches out a hand to touch Katherine who immediately clenches her eyes shut in recognition, she was going to die. However, everything seems to grow deadly silent at the sound of a deep and angry growl. It definitely wasn’t Maria, it sounds more animalistic than that. Katherine opens her eyes once more but given how much blood she had lost, mostly what she saw was a very large dark brown blur. The thing growls once again which causes Maria to turn towards it. Maria let out an inhuman screech as she launched herself at the creature. It met her halfway and the two tumbled out of Katherine’s vision. The only things she heard afterward were the sound of a struggle and the snapping of a jaw before a loud and defeating screech and then nothing.

The sound of leaves crunching as something grew closer to her alerted her that the battle was over however she was much too worn out to care whether it was the beast or monster that won, she was going to die one way or another. That however until she heard a familiar voice.


She weakly turned her head to see at least what looked like Nathan’s face.

“nat…an..” She said weakly, tears of happiness that at least her final moment would be spent next to someone she cares for.

Shit… Kat I’m so, so sorry. I should have known as soon as you disappeared, I knew she smelled strange but-… shit.”

Nathan pulls her up into his lap delicately. He brushed a few hairs from her face as he looked over her wound.

“God damn it, she poisoned you!” Nathan said as he sniffed the air.

Katherine could barely follow along with what he was saying as her consciousness wavered once again however she was shaken awake.

“No! Kat, I know you’re tired but you need to stay awake okay? If you close your eyes, you’re not going to wake up.”

“” Katherine mumbled in a slight whine.

“Yeah, I know. But I need you to stay awake from me okay? Can you do that, Kat?” Nathan pleaded, his eyes slightly watering and a very weak smile on his face.

Katherine just hummed in agreement and he instantly went to work. He grabbed something from the side of him and started ripping it to pieces. He quickly wrapped her wounds however cursed when looking down to see her blood taking on a strange black tint.

“Shit, the poison is spreading too fast!” Nathan mumbled out in a hiss.

He seemed in a panic as he looked around but no one was there. He looked back down at Katherine, her face looking paler by the minute.

Shit, Eric going to skin me for this.” Nathan mumbled under his breath as he grabbed Katherine’s arm.


“Kat, I’m so sorry.” He apologized once again before sinking his teeth into her arm.

Luckily it was her right arm so she felt nothing more than a slight twitch of pain before suddenly a rush of warmth. Suddenly the pain felt a bit more bearable and she could actually breathe without blood in her lungs. She still couldn’t move an inch however she no longer felt like she was on death’s door.

“There that should be deep enough…” Nathan mumbled to himself before picking Katherine up with ease.

She fell back into his warmth and tried as she might, she could once again feel her consciousness slipping. She could faintly hear the sound of the music getting loud before a whole bunch of voices calling out to her.

“Kat?! What in the hell-.”

“Oh my god.”

“Kat! Kat oh god please Kat wake up!”

These voices were comforting and familiar. As hard as she tried to respond, her body and mind had had enough excitement for a night and shut down. The last thing she saw before losing consciousness was her mother’s absolutely mortified face.

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