It’s nighttime in Cole City and the winter snow continues to fall even after blanketing the city in white for the Thanksgiving weekend. A lone figure slips through the darkness near the pier of Cole Harbor and seems to know just where the cameras are located as she’s able to maneuver around to avoid being seen. Dressed in all black, only tufts of her blonde hair peeking out from underneath the black knit cap she wears to cover the brightness of her curls.
She begins to walk between the large containers awaiting shipment to their final destination or to be loaded onto a cargo ship for transport. She checks the locks on a few, knowing the more valuable items would be secured.
A sudden thud startles her as she ducks between containers, pressing herself up against the side of it and she holds her breath.
Another thud is heard that causes her to begin to follow the sound that seems to be coming from the inside of a container. “What if it’s people?” she asks herself, though Cole City isn’t known for its human trafficking.
She decides to go behind the containers. She’s very familiar with what goes on at the pier and often comes down here to scavenge through for valuables that she can pawn off or outright sell. Her family isn’t very well off and she’s lucky to go to a private school because public schools in this town were a joke.
She’s gotta pay that tuition that her parents aren’t aware of. She’s smart enough to avoid being caught on camera stealing from the pier, but not smart enough apparently to get a scholarship. Fuckers.
She slides alongside the container and hears the thudding once more and walks to the edge, peeking around the corner for security guards just in case they decide to do their job. Seeing no one around, she does her best to stay in the dark as she walks to the front of the container and sure enough, it’s padlocked.
While not typically a problem, it means it’ll take her longer to get inside. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a bobby pin and begins to dig inside the padlock until after a few moments, it clicks open.
She gently removes the lock from the handle and lets it drop to the ground. “Fuck it’s cold,” she mutters quietly to herself as she gingerly raises the bar and pulls it towards her, allowing herself a small enough opening she can slip into.
Once inside, she gently pulls the door towards her then reaches into her pocket and pulls out a cell phone and flips on the flashlight, and begins to look around.
There are boxes stacked up and secured with ratchet straps and they are all labeled “fragile” and “archeological evidence”.
“Weird,” she says softly as she moves towards the back when another thud stops her in her tracks. She raises her flashlight towards the back and finds that a small box has fallen onto the floor and busted open.
She slowly walks towards it.
As she gets closer, she sees a smaller box that has tumbled from inside the bigger box that has been filled with hay or straw as padding.
Suddenly, the smaller box tumbles towards her as she starts to retreat but after a few steps, she stops. “What the fuck am I running for? You can do it. Free the little animal inside and find something valuable and get the fuck out,” she tries to console herself.
She takes in a deep breath and then moves once again towards the box. She kneels and picks it up. She looks it over and it’s made of felt or something similar. She grabs the top and slowly begins to raise the lid when a beam of light shoots out from inside, so bright that it startles her and she drops the box onto the floor of the container making a loud rattle as it tumbles several feet before stopping.
“Someone there?” Fuck. A security guard.
She hurries to pick up the larger box and places back on top of the others and she grabs the smaller box and tucks it into her jacket and then hides. Her smaller stature allows her to tuck herself between two boxes.
The door to the container slowly opens and a flashlight peeks inside. The sound of the guard’s boots as he walks into the metal structure are loud as he walks to and stands in front of where the intruder is hiding.
After a moment of moving around his flashlight, he walks out and closes the door and she hears him latch it and her eyes go wide. “Goddamnit,” she mutters knowing she’s trapped now.
Not only that, she hears him securing the padlock back onto the container as well. Now she knows she’s fucked.
She crawls out of her hiding spot and lets out a big sigh when the box tucked under her jacket begins to move around underneath there and falls to the floor.
“What the hell is in here?” she asks as she reaches down and this time flips it all the way open and finds some sort of amulet. She is already seeing dollar signs as she slowly reaches for it.
The amulet is attached to a thick chain but as she grabs the chain, the amulet tries to fly off, shining brightly as it drags her towards the locked entrance of the container and thumps against it a few times.
“What are you doing?” she asks it as it suddenly flies off in the other direction, pulling her with it.
Outside the container, the guard has walked back towards the tower when he hears some commotion back the way he came and turns around.
He listens for a moment and then hears another crash. He hoofs it over to the container he just locked and sure enough, there’s some commotion going on inside, so he fiddles with his keys, trying one and then the other.
Inside the container, the amulet is up against the side of the container as the girl holds onto the chain, and then suddenly, the amulet phases through the wall and drags the girl out with it just as the guard gets the door opened.
He walks through and as before doesn’t notice anything different. He walks back out and secures the container once more and then walks around the container to make sure someone wasn’t banging on it from the outside. He walks down the side of the container and the girl is sitting down, scrunched up.
But, the guard doesn’t even see her. It’s as if she’s invisible.
He walks past her and then turns around and walks back, disappearing from view.
Suddenly, the amulet starts to fly off again and drags the girl across the snowy ground as we see the title screen.
“Ow!” “Fuck!” “Stop!” The sounds of Lori as the amulet seems to drag her across down and she hits every bump, curb, and pothole as it goes. Finally, it turns to cross a bridge when Lori yells, “Do you even know where you’re going?”
Suddenly the amulet stops.
Lori comes to a tumbling stop on the bridge.
“That’s going to leave a mark,” she mutters under her breath. She is finally able to release her wrist from the amulet’s chain and gets to her feet with a series of uncomfortable groans. Then she glances at the floating amulet once again. She walks in a circle around it and as she does, it turns with it almost as if it were watching her as well.
“You don’t even know where you’re going and you’re just gonna take off like that,” she curses it out. “What exactly are you?” she wonders out loud. The jewel seems to have a life of its own as it flashes a bit of light, almost as if it were a heartbeat.
She reaches up to touch it with a gloved hand and it slowly backs away.
“I’m not gonna hurt you,” she says softly. Instead, it begins to circle her leaving a trail of light that almost seems to coil around her until she is surrounded by light, “What are you doing?” she asks nervously as she is bathed in light. The amulet rises over her head and begins to lower down onto her, the chain going around her neck. As the amulet settles around her neck then suddenly the light cocoon that surrounds her just explodes sending an invisible ripple across the city as Lori passes out, collapsing on the bridge.
The Cole City museum has been closed for hours, yet there is a light on in a workshop beneath it. A man sits at a desk, pouring over the contents of an ancient manuscript that he has recently acquired.
Suddenly, that invisible ripple passes through him and causes him to sit upright.
“No. No. No,” he repeats as he stands up. He starts frantically pushing aside papers until he finds his cell phone and he is about to call someone when it lights up and begins to ring. He swipes and places the phone next to his ear, “What happened?”
The voice on the other end answers, “Sir, we aren’t sure. Someone broke into your container earlier tonight. You might come down here to see if anything was taken.”
He hangs up the phone and is silent for a while and then suddenly he lets out a wild roar that shakes the basement.
Two eyes blink open and then squint as snow continues to drift down and land on her face. There’s a confused expression at first as if she doesn’t know why she’s lying on the ground with snow falling on her and then her eyes pop open wide and she sits up, snow falling from her torso down onto her lap.
She looks around her and then feels around her neck but the weird piece of jewelry isn’t there. She moves onto her hand and knees and begins moving snow around but she finds nothing.
“Shit. So much for pawning that thing,” she mutters as she realizes it’s not here anymore. She sits back and remembers everything that happened earlier and shakes her head, “No fucking way,” she says as she gets to her feet. “I’ll have to go out again tomorrow. Tuition is due by the end of the week,” she mutters to herself as she starts walking to the other end of the bridge. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out her cell phone.
When the screen doesn’t respond, she gives it a shake and pushes on the power button but the thing doesn’t so much as blip any sign of life. She lets her head fall back and groans, “Why does this happen to me? I just bought this phone. Ugh!” she stomps her feet like a spoiled child.
However, something appears to move down her arm and into the cell phone, bringing it back to life as the phone’s logo appears on the screen. She continues to pout until she hears the familiar logo and she looks down and sees her phone is just fine, “Oh thank God,” she says before she realizes that it’s 5 am. “Shit. I’ve been out all night and I have school.”
She starts to run when the next thing she knows, she’s run right into the front door of the school. Right into it as she falls back on the landing and reaches out and rubs her head, “The fuck?” she groans as she gets to her feet. “How did I…?” she asks as she looks around.
“What the fuck is going on here?”
She walks down the stairs and begins to walk down the sidewalk. She hasn’t taken any drugs recently. She didn’t drink because she knew she was going out to steal. She turns back to make sure… and sure as hell, the school building is behind her.
“I was just on that bridge and now I’m at the school,” she turns back and begins to walk. Some trash is blown by her, in particular a newspaper that has a headline about the Red Whirl saving a busload of children from a couple of days ago. It goes completely ignored by Lori as she continues to walk down the sidewalk. She makes a right and continues down past a convenience store.
A significant change is shown between one side of the convenience store and the other. Houses, streetlights, and such are all pristine on one side and the other side has many streetlights that are not lit, houses are not kept in great shape. Lori continues into this part of town.
She stops in front of a house with a tall chain-link fence and slowly opens the gate and just as gently closes it as she steps into the yard. Instead of going into the front door, she slips alongside the house. She peeks inside to see her mother drinking some coffee and reading the paper.
To get in and out of Lori’s house without being caught, Lori has carefully placed a few items that she can climb on. First, she crawls up onto an old freezer that her dad just never got rid of when he got another one from someone off of Craigslist. She swings her leg over and steps on the metal box that holds all the cable wiring which is useless since they can’t afford cable. She then climbs onto the overhang and then crawls into her window.
Suddenly, we see her mother putting down her paper and pushing the chair out from under the table and standing up and walking towards the stairs. She walks up the stairs and towards a door where she starts to knock but hears something inside. She opens the door and sees Lori under the covers, sound asleep.
Her eyes look towards the open window and a lamp on the floor. “Wind must have knocked it over,” she says to herself as she walks over and starts to lower the window, “How many times have I told you not to sleep with the window open,” she says as the window goes shut.
“It gets too hot,” mutters Lori from underneath her covers.
“It’s the middle of winter and we barely use the heater because it’s expensive. How can it be too hot?”
“It just is, mom,” comes the response.
“Time to go to school. Get up and get in the shower before your father wakes up and needs it,” says her mom as she walks out of the room and closes the door.
Lori whips the covers off of her and she’s still wearing her clothes from the night before as she sits up.
The security guard opens the lock and cranks open the door to the container. “It was unlocked, but the lock was here. It was locked yesterday when I came on shift.”
The dark-haired man steps into the container and glances around.
“I mean, it’s just like we talked about when you asked me to pay special attention to it once it arrived, Mr. Faust. I check it every few hours. When I checked it around 2, it was open.”
Felix Faust raises his hand, “Just be quiet. Leave me be so I can inventory.”
The guard is more than happy to leave, “Sure. You bet. I’ll be close by if you need anything, just holler for me.” The guard leaves and Felix heads to a certain box, ignoring all the others. He sets his crowbar on one of the other boxes as he notices the box he wants has already been opened. He lifts the wooden top and sets it aside as he begins to dig through the straw that was used to cushion the items inside.
An angry look flashes across his face as he exits the container. The troll of a security guard rushes over, “Was…”
Faust holds up his hand, “I’ll be sending someone to deliver the items in this container to the museum. He then presses a pointy finger into the guard’s chest, “You have 24 hours to bring me a name. I want the name of the person who broke into my container. There is one item in there that is worth more than the others combined and I will have it back. Do I make myself very clear?”
“Yes, sir,” the guard stammers.
“If you value your life, you’ll ensure it happens.”
Without another word, Felix Faust turns and walks down the pier as the guard watches him leave before scurrying off to check security tape for the umpteenth time.
The bell rings that signifies lunchtime at Sigma Chi Prep, otherwise known to all as SCP. Lori, along with two other females are taking a seat near the back corner of the cafeteria. The first female is dark-haired and wears an SCP hoodie, “Why do we always have to talk about the Red Whirl?” she asks. The girl with the dyed red hair sets her tray on the table and settles in, “Because he’s awesome, Mary.”
Lori smirks, “Charlotte is obsessed with the Red Whirl, you know that Mary. I mean, Charlotte would so be all over him if she knew who he really was.”
The three settle in. Mary shakes her head, “We don’t even know if it’s a guy. The Red Whirl hasn’t been caught on camera or even seen. What if the Red Whirl was a woman?”
Charlotte shrugs with a sly grin, “I wouldn’t mind that either.”
Lori rolls her eyes, “Slut.”
The three giggle as two figures approach the table, “Can we sit?” asks a male voice. The three girls look up and see a boy and a girl with trays standing next to them. They slide down to make room as they each take a side. “I’m Jayna,” says the girl.
“I’m Zan,” says the boy.
“Weird names, but okay,” says Charlotte as she reaches for her burger. “It’ll take a few days to build up a tolerance for this food, so go easy.”
“You guys are new?” asks Mary who hasn’t touched any of her food.
“First day,” says Zan. Zan has dark hair and otherwise dressed like everyone else. He has a camera around his neck as he takes a seat.
“I am gonna take a while guess and say you like to do photography,” says Lori as she pokes at her salad. She should have gotten the burger.
Jayna scoots next to Charlotte, “He wants to be the one to take a picture of the Red Whirl,” which causes Charlotte’s eyes to widen.
“For real? Have you seen him?” she asks after swallowing her bite of burger.
Zan is squeezing some mustard onto his burger and shakes his head, “No. Not yet. But I go out every night to try and get something.”
Charlotte picks up her tray and gets up from the table and moves to the other side of Jayna so she’s right across from Zan, “Are you going tonight? Can I come?” She brings her hands together to make a prayer gesture.
Zan picks up his burger and nods, “Sure. We can meet in the parking lot here.”
Mary mutters under her breath, “I don’t know what’s so big about the Red Whirl.”
Everyone turns to look at her. “We have our very first superhero and you don’t know why it’s such a big deal?” She gets up and takes her tray and walks off.
Jayna watches her go, “What’s up with her?”
Lori shrugs, “She hates talking about the Red Whirl. She doesn’t say why.” She grins and looks across the table at Charlotte, “But at least you have someone to talk to about it other than…” Lori gets distracted as her eyes catch someone walking by. Or two someones.
A couple of teens walk by hand in hand. The girl of the couple intentionally moves her head around to lock eyes with Lori and grins before she walks off.
Lori doesn’t look happy as she gets up from the table, grabs her tray, and starts to walk off.
Jayna follows Lori before turning back to Charlotte. “What was that?”
Charlotte shrugs, “That’s Barbara Minerva. SCP’s resident bitch. That guy she’s hanging on is Brent. Brent and Lori used to date when he first came to the school and then Barbara got her slutty hands on him. I don’t mean that figuratively either. Lori caught them red-handed and now Barbara makes a show of it every time they’re in the same room.”
“Shouldn’t someone see if she’s okay?” Jayna asks. “Wait for me!” yells Jayna as she follows Lori, leaving Charlotte and Zan at the table.
“So, what time are we meeting?” she asks as Zan takes a bit of his hamburger.
Crates are being moved into the basement entrance to the museum as Felix Faust oversees. He’s annoyed since he hasn’t heard back from that useless guard. However, his eyes light up when a very large wooden box is pushed into the room.
“Oh, please put that right over here,” he says as he motions towards an empty spot along the wall.
“That’s the last one, sir.”
“Good,” Felix snatches the clipboard from the delivery man and scrawls his name across the line before thrusting it back. “Now, get out,” he demands as the delivery guy looks offended before walking out. Felix closes the door and locked it before walking over to pick up a crowbar from his desk.
He walks over, “You weren’t the most valuable item in the cargo hold, but you were by far the second most valuable,” he mumbles as he tucks the edge of the crowbar into the side of the box and after a few pulls the side of the door falls with a whack onto the floor.
He stands in front of the box as a creepy smile crosses his lips. “Well, hell there,” he says as the camera pans around to the front of the box and we see what looks like almost a caveman standing in the box as Felix says, “Kull.”
The petrified man seems to be nearly seven feet tall as he stands there, unmoving. “You are going to come in very handy,” says Felix as he stands there admiring the statue.
He finally pulls himself away as he shakes his head, “But first thing is first, I need that amulet.”
Lori, Mary, Charlotte, Jayna, and Zan are just walking out of the school at the end of the day, just chatting amongst themselves. As they walk down the large stairs that lead from the building, Lori turns her head and then stops walking as the smile leaves her face.
Walking hand in hand through the parking lot, Barbara and Brent are heading to his car. Lori has stopped walking as the others move past her and then one by one they also stop and look back at her then look to where she’s looking. As Brent starts up the engine, he lets the top go down on his convertible.
Mary walks back and grabs Lori’s hand, “It’s been months. You really need to let this go, Lori.”
But as Lori sits there seething as she watches the car start to drive off the lot. Lori’s eyes seem to dart to the side as she notices a large pile of snow that was plowed there earlier in the day.
Then Brent’s car turns and drives right into the snowbank and the sound of Barbara screaming as the front of the car is completely covered. The snow is piled so high that as Brent and Barbara look up at the looming embankment, it slowly begins to tip towards them.
“Put up the hoot! Put up the hood!” screams Barbara as the snow continues to tilt towards them. Just as Brent reaches for the button, it falls on them covering them in snowy white.
Students begin to rush over to help get them out of the snow as Lori blinks her eyes a couple of times.
Lori turns to see Mary trying to get her attention. “Are you okay? Look, I know what he did…”
“I’m fine,” Lori says as she starts to walk off.
The others hurry on to catch up with her.
As they walk by the scene of the accident, Barbara is just being pulled from the snow and she’s angry, throwing a tantrum. Lori watches as they walk by and for a brief moment, the two lock eyes.
“What the fuck are you looking at?” Barbara asks.
Lori just smirks and the group walks on.
The gang all walk out of a local burger joint and it’s already getting dark and it’s starting to snow once again.
“God, does it ever stop?” asks Mary and she pulls the hood of her jacket over her head and then zips up her jacket.
They all seem to acknowledge that, except for Lori. The winter doesn’t seem to bother her at all. As they walk down the street chatting and begin to break off. First, Zan and Jayna, the twins break off and head home, then Charlotte and finally Mary says goodnight to Alice and heads into her house.
Alice continues home. She recalls the events of the evening. “I wonder what happened to that thing,” she says under her breath as she turns down an alley to take a shortcut home, her mind completely distracted as she doesn’t see the three boys in letter jackets sitting in a car in front of the liquor store.
“Look, look,” one of them says as they all look up and see Lori disappear down the alley.
“C’mon,” says one of them.
Meanwhile, Lori is off in her own little world as she meanders down the alley. She is about to turn onto another street when she stops suddenly and begins to back up.
“Lori…” says one of the boys as he appears in front of her and walks her backward.
“What do you want, Josh?” she asks.
“You know, a little of this and a little of that.”
“Fuck off, Josh.” She turns and starts to walk back the way she came when someone else stops her and she has to back up. “Dammit, Greg! Let me pass.”
As Greg appears in view, walking Lori back towards Josh. “Brent said you were pretty easy.”
Angry, Lori remarks, “Brent’s a lying asshole.”
“That’s not what he says,” says a third voice who appears from a third direction.
“Really, Davey? Of course, this is your idea.” Suddenly, Lori realizes that this was all a setup to lure her into a dead end.
Davey grins, “You do have at least a couple of options here, Lori. You can come back to my place with us, or we can just do what we were planning to do right here.”
Lori tries to walk past them, but they block her path. “Goddammit! I need to get home,” she says as she tries to go around but they again block her way.
“You can go home as soon as we get what we want.”
They begin to move towards her and she’s having to walk backward until she realizes there’s nowhere else to go. This particular alley is a dead end.
Lori suddenly realizes she’s in a bad situation and she tries to push her way through, but they slam her up against the wall.
“It’s happening, Lori. May as well accept it.”
Suddenly, Lori’s eyes turn bright red and she yells, “No!” but it’s more of a deep, demonic voice. Suddenly, a bright light bursts down the alley and as the light dies, black smoke rolls through and then a female walks out of the alley, black smoke all around her.
Her hair is black as night, tied into pigtails. Her skin is ash-white, a contract to the black lipstick and mascara she wears. Her clothing are very similar to the clothing Lori wore, but black or grey and tattered. She grins widely, “Well, what do we have here?” As she speaks, smoke rolls off her tongue and dissipates into the air.
She rises into the air and leaves the area.
As we look back into the alley where she came from, we see the three boys. They are black, almost as if they were burned alive.
Moments later, the alley is surrounded by flashing lights as cop cars and an ambulance have arrived on the scene. Detectives are looking at the three statuesque boys, seemingly charred on the surface.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” says one of the cops as she slowly reaches out to touch one of the boys and the moment she so much as makes contact, the boy’s body just crumbles, collecting into a black pile of ash on the ground.
“What the fuck?” she asks as everyone turns their attention to her. “I just barely placed a finger on it… him… whatever it was and it became that,” she points. Suddenly, the other two boys also collapse into dust piles as well.
“Everyone just stop,” she says. “Someone carefully get me three plastic baggies for these piles and keep them separate. And for God’s sake, don’t step on them.”
Felix Faust is looking through an ancient book as the television in the background as the news on.
“Witnesses say that a flash of light erupted from this alley and a woman was seen leaving. She was dressed in black, which is the best description we could get. The police are not giving any details yet, but sources say that three boys were found burned to death.”
Felix glances up after hearing that. He sets the book down and he motions towards the television with a finger and the volume increases.
“The police are looking for a woman in her early 20s, black hair, white skin for questioning. They are treating this incident as a homicide. They are asking that if you see this woman contact them immediately and not to approach her.”
With a flick of his wrist, Felix shuts down the television and rises from his seat. Reaching for that book he was reading, he walks over towards that large crate from earlier and gently opens it up to see the large petrified caveman inside.
“Seems we may be needing you sooner rather than later, Mr. Kull.” Felix opens the book to where he bookmarked the page and begins to recite the incantation inside.
“Miss? Miss? Are you okay?”
Lori’s eyes blink open as she is startled by the patrol officer nudging her. She glances around and politely smiles to the man, “Sorry, I was heading home and stopped just for a moment. I must have dozed off.”
“It’s getting dark. Do you live far?”
Lori shakes her head, “No. Just around the corner. Thank you.”
She gets up and starts walking away from the officer. She feels foggy. She recalls being backed into the alley by those fucking jocks but then… nothing after that. How’d she end up in the park? What happened to the boys? Did they do what they were threatening to do to her and then just left her in the park?
She begins to walk faster.
And why does her clothing smell like every time her father tries his hand at grilling on the BBQ?
And why the fuck doesn’t she remember a goddamned thing?
Felix continues his incantations and slowly, Kull’s color begins to brighten. His skin becoming more of a natural color rather than that pale, dead skin color.
Lori rushes into her house, “I’m gonna shower!” She darts up the stairs.
“Where have you been?” asks her mother, shouting from the kitchen.
“Had a snack with some friends at the diner!” she yells back as she hurries into her room and slams the door and begins to undress.
The color continues to come back to Kull, moving from his abdomen up to his chest as Felix continues to chant.
Lori enters her bathroom and reaches for the water, turning it on. She feels for the temperature to make sure the water isn’t too hot. As steam begins to fill the bathroom, moisture covers the mirror.
Lori hangs her robe on the back of the door and then walks to the mirror and with her hand begins to wipe away the moisture on the mirror and when the reflection she sees back at her isn’t her own, but that of Black Alice, she lets out a scream!
Kull’s eyes blink open and as he snorts a puff of dust flies from his nose.
Felix begins to cackle, his laughter filling the room.
The scene goes black.
The words “Earlier” appear on the screen.
Black Alice has just come from the alley after going scorched earth on the three jocks. As she floats down on down the alley, she begins to rise up and up into the air.
After rising so far up she can see all of Cole City from where she floats, she stretches as if she’s just woken up from a long nap. “It feels good to be alive,” she grins.
“And I think I’m gonna like it here.”