The town of Knollwood in Claymont Delaware is run down. It is old and filled with history. The building are made of cold, unforgiving brick, the neighborhood is built on a hill, and the people are from the more shady side of life. All in all, not the best place to grow up, no matter the history you have there. The biggest upside lies in the forest at the end of the road, a most magical, but forbidden, place. The heroines of this tale can attest to that. Their story takes place on a frozen winter day, where school has closed, and mischief is afoot.
Eleven year old Rachel Smith poked her tiny, hat covered head off her front porch and immediately cringed back. Her nose wrinkled, and she pouted, breathe still steaming the air. To say it was cold would have been an understatement. “Guess I don’t wanna be outside today.” She sighed and turned to the door, getting ready to go back inside.
“Hey, Rachel!” someone shouted from behind her, and Rachel didn’t have to turn around to know it was her best friend, Kaylea Jones. A slow smile spread across Rachel’s face as she whirled on her heel. “Hey, Leakay.”
Kaylea rolled her eyes at the nickname, a friendly smile on the tall girl’s face. “Come on, Rach, let’s go sledding!” She stomped a foot down on the slippery white powder, as if to emphasize how perfect it was for sledding.
“There aren’t any hills good for sledding here, silly. Unless you mean the road? Because I really don’t wanna get hit.” Rachel said with a grin.
Kaylea scoffed. “Of course not, stupid. I mean the woods. There’s a downhill path long enough that we can go for a ride and not hit the trees.” Rachel nodded thoughtfully. She had been to the woods quite a few times before, but she was only allowed to go with her mom. Her mom was asleep right then, and Rachel knew that if she was careful, her mom would never know. “Alright then. Let’s go.”
The two girls ambled their way down to the woods, after pausing to grab Rachel’s circle sled. They were giggling giddily, despite the need to keep quiet to ensure they didn’t get caught. Kaylea’s house on the corner was the last one they had to pass before the woods. Once they were past it, the pair got considerably louder on the way to the hill.
In front of the woods, Rachel shivered violently, remembering the story her grandmother had told her of the girl who was murdered in them, a story which Kaylea had confirmed as true. “Scared, Rach?” the younger girl teased, and Rachel shook her head violently, sending a glare Kaylea’s way.
“Let’s just go sledding.” Rachel said with a frown. Kaylea nodded. “Youngest first!” she cried with glee. She took a running leap onto her sled, but only went down a few feet. Pouting, she trudged back up, and it was Rachel’s turn. Rachel went zooming down the hill, and the long winter afternoon continued to pass thusly until Kaylea got bored and began investigating the small stream beside the trail. Rachel, curious as to what her friend was up to, snuck up behind her as Kaylea was investigating a dead snake. “Someone stabbed it.”
“A murder?” Rachel cried, eyes lighting up at the prospect of a case to solve like her very own hero, Nancy Drew. “We need to get bags to collect the evidence.” Kaylea nodded, and the two girls rushed off to retrieve several plastic bags.
When they returned to the stream, the corpse of the snake was gone.