Chapter 1:

Episode 1 - [You Can Pay With Candy] Part 1

Candy Pop!

Cory Heather knew that calling the number her friend gave her is a bad idea. She could never go back if she does this. Still, she couldn't take it anymore. If what she was told was true than, with a simple call, she'll have her biggest problem go away. Sure, she'll have another problem afterwards but, to her right now, that is a small price to pay. She'll deal with the payment later.

So, with tears in her eyes and her hands shaking, she dialed the number on her cellphone and put it to her ear and waited for someone to pick up.


Cory Heather got up with a headache, which sucked but was nothing new. She got out of her bed and got dressed. She thought of brushing her teeth but, after looking at her digital clock, she decided that she had time for a proper breakfast before she left to go to school. She made her way down the stairs and into the kitchen, grateful that, despite the apartment she lives in size, the place had all the rooms a normal house would with the two exceptions of a basement and a boiler room.

As usual, her mother wasn't in the apartment, already gone to work. She at least left a breakfast of three pancakes and berries. On the table was a bottle of syrup that was one-fourth filled. Cory lifted the bottle of syrup before sitting down, bringing it closer to her face to see if she can guess how much she could use before she ran out. Cory, despite liking pancakes, doesn't like pancakes without syrup or honey. Many would find that weird which is why Cory never told any of her friends. Still, she can't change her taste buds.

She separated her pancakes so they weren't stacked on top of each other and moved the barriers over to the rim of the plate so she wouldn't get too much syrup on them. Hopefully, she wouldn't get any on the berries but Cory wasn't counting on it. As she started eating, she noticed a bunch of fancy-looking small candies wrapped in red. They looked like one of those candies you would find in restaurants that can either be mints or just soft candy that you suck. Taffy is the word she is looking for. However, Cory knew better.

Her mother worked at a pretty rich company that has buildings all over the world. This candy was given to her mother by a coworker who lives in India and is staying here for the year before going back to India in the summer. That candy is not only from India but was made in India too and not by a factory. That candy, in other words, is rare and quite expensive. Cory had entertained herself with thinking that, if she ever got herself in a tough situation like she owned a debt or something, the candies would be a good way to settle things. She had stopped those thoughts after when she realized that there is no one who is willing to pay a lot of money or do a favor for some rare Indian candy. She lives in the wrong part of America for this...well, really the wrong part of New York.

She finished breakfast and went into the bathroom to brush her teeth. Once she was done, she studied herself in the bathroom mirror. Long straight raven black hair and purple eyes as well as light brown skin. Apparently, many people in school thought she was attractive. The Bryan's Star model student. To be honest, she has no idea what they were talking about as she was an A to B student at best and lacking in the smarts that other students at her school have.

With her teeth brushed, she freshened up and packed her backpack, and left her apartment building, a little pep in her step. She actually is finding herself wanting to go to school. Probably because her friends told her that today the school is holding a festival in a couple of days. Cory didn't think it was going to be a good festival but it was a festival nonetheless and Cory couldn't wait to hang out with everyone at school, as corny as that may sound.

"Morning Paul," Cory greeted the almost bald man working at the front desk of the apartment building she lives in. Paul looked at her a little shocked for a couple of seconds before nodding. He was probably surprised Cory spoke to him. Normally, she doesn't pay him any attention. But, since Cory found herself in a good mood, she greeted him. Besides, she knows Paul. He may seem like a weird guy but he was actually kind. Cory remembered a pleasant conversation she had with him two weeks ago when he found her crying in the laundry room of the apartment building.

Cory blushed, remembering the embarrassing memory. She would have started talking to Paul sooner if it wasn't for the fact that she was so embarrassed by what had happened to do so. Still, better late than never, right? Well, that is what Cory thinks.

The moment Cory stepped outside of the building, she instantly regretted not bringing a jacket. It was cold outside and the sun was out of sight. It looked like winter despite being just the beginning of Fall. However, despite the cold biting at her skin, Cory decided to bear through it and left to go to the bus stop instead of going back and getting a jacket. Hopefully, the day will get warmer. Besides, she'll be inside for most of the day anyway and the walk home won't be bad either since she does know a shortcut to get to her home. That shortcut is only open during the afternoon though so that is why Cory takes the bus. Plus, bus rides are relaxing, especially when going to school. You can wind down and play some games on your phone. At least that is what Cory thinks.

Cory arrived at the bus stop and pulled out her phone just as it buzzed, telling her that she got a notification. She turned her phone on and saw that it was a text message from one of her best friends, Jessica. She always manages to find scary stories and rumors and the such. Going by her text message, she's got another one for her.

"Hey Cory, I got another story for you. Wanna hear?" Cory read out loud, though since no one was around her she didn't care if she spoke out loud.

"Sure," Cory responded, wondering what Jessica found this time.

Cory didn't have to wait long for a response.

"Have you heard of Candy Pop?"

'Candy Pop...It sounds familiar but I don't know what it is so...'

"No, but it sounds familiar," Cory texted back.

"Well, the ad that she put out makes it seem like she sells candy but, if you call her or leave her a letter at one of her mysterious stops around the city, she'll offer you special services. But, you have to give her something precious."

'Hmm. Seems interesting. Wonder where this scary story came from?'

"So, who told you this?" Cory asked, not really intrigued but more of trying to bide her time until the bus comes here.

"My father did. He said that he has been running around after Candy Pop since around twenty people have gone missing with her business card nearby."

Cory was taken back when she read the text and had to re-read it again just to make sure she read it correctly.

"Wait. Candy Pop is real?" Cory asked, an eyebrow raised.

"Yeah, it was a pretty big thing about two years ago. And when it seems like she was actually killing people, her ad was taken down. Every now and then, though, her ad will pop up. The police are searching everywhere for her."

"Then how come I haven't heard anything?" Cory asked. If something like that was true then she should have heard of Candy Pop by now.

"Because the police have pretty much given up on her. My dad won't say why though."

Cory didn't know if she should believe her friend or not. She knows Jessica is no liar but she does like to exaggerate things. Yet, if what she says is true then she should have heard of Candy Pop. She's been living in this city for six years and this is the first time she heard the whole thing behind Candy Pop.

Before Cory could come to a decision, she saw that her friend was texting again.

"Also, most of the people who hire Candy Pop are teenagers who saw the bubbly and innocent-looking ad and decide to give it a try. No one really wants to arrest a bunch of kids so they swept it under the rug."

Cory doubted that. First of all, what kid would ever hire someone to kill another person? They live in Brantin, a nice city, not someplace where crime runs rampant. Secondly, what precious thing did the kids have to give up? Wait, that didn't have anything to do doubting that kids hired whoever Candy Pop is.

"Ah, got to go and take a shower. See you at school!"

Cory read Jessica's text and sighed, a small smile on her face.

"You do know that school starts in about twenty minutes, right?" Cory asked out loud. No one heard her as no one was around.

"Oh, before I go, here is the number! 457-789-9804. You got it, right? Good! Bye-bye! ; )"

Cory let out a sigh before looking at the number her friend gave her.

'457-789-9804. What kind of number is that? Is that number for one of the three other countries?'

Cory thought it over but couldn't understand the number. She was no expert on phone numbers after all. After waiting for two minutes, the school bus finally came into sight. Cory let out a sigh before she froze, feeling a slight chill down her spine. She turned around and looked at the alleyway behind her. It was dark and she couldn't see much since the alleyway ended in a turn to the right. That and the buildings making up the alleyway were tall and had a bridge connecting them at the top of the building, making the alleyway incredibly dark.

Cory was sure it was her imagination but, she felt like someone was watching her. She shuddered and turned around. However, the moment she did so, she felt that feeling of being watched come back even stronger than before.

Cory spun around but once again saw nothing. She squinted into the darkness of the alleyway, trying to see if she was being paranoid or if someone was really watching her.

'Wait...Is that someone wearing a white mask?'

Cory focused on the figure she saw. However, before she could confirm if she is seeing someone, the bus came to a stop right behind her, causing her to jolt and spin around. She let out a sigh once she realized that the bus was behind her and turned back around to look in the alleyway. She squinted her eyes and looked back to where she thought she saw someone watching her. Her eyes settled on something white but, after closer inspection, Cory realized with a frown that what she saw earlier was just an old white abandoned volleyball sitting on top of a dumpster.

Cory felt relief wash over her as well as disappointment for getting so worked up over nothing. With a sigh, she turned around and walked onto the school bus.


"Are you sure that the festival prep is going to happen during gym class tomorrow?" Catey asked Thomas, who was looking quite annoyed at the blond-haired girl.

"Yes, I've told you that four times already," Thomas said with a groan, causing Jessica and Cory to giggle.

"So, are you ready for the upcoming festival?" Monica, another one of Cory's friends, asked.

"Yeah, I guess I am," Cory admitted before asking a question of her own.

Currently, Cory and her friends were at lunch. Their table was on the right side of the room towards the middle and is usually very busy. Today it is notably less busy.

"Are you going or are you going down to visit your boyfriend?"

Monica's boyfriend, Drake, was currently in the hospital down in Tokyo after getting into a car crash and injuring his left leg. Since his mother was strict and his injury was pretty serious, he wouldn't be able to make it to the school festival. It was unfortunate but accidents happen. Even though it was up to Monica to make the decision, if it was up to Cory, she would have chosen for Monica to stay.

"I don't know yet. Drake wants me to stay here but I just know that he's going to be lonely," Monica told them, answering Cory's question.

"Well, it's just one day. Special events are to be cherished, not spent elsewhere," Catey said, putting her right hand on Monica's shoulder while eating an apple slice in the other hand.

Monica stared at Catey in shock for a bit, not expecting Catey to be capable of saying such words, before she let out a small chuckle ad shook her head.

"Yeah, you're right about that one, Catey. You're always so smart."

Catey was on her phone scrolling through some fashion pictures during all this so she hadn't met Monica's eyes. Still, when Monica agreed with her, Thomas and Cory saw Catey blush a little and give a tiny nod.

It had been clear to everyone but Monica and Drake that Catey has a crush on Monica but, there are quite a few reasons as to why their relationship stayed as friends. One was Catey was very shy and lacking in the field of love. Two is that Monica is dense as all hell. Three is that Drake has never been taught about gay relationships and, as such, cannot understand that Catey is in love with Monica. Fourth is...well, Drake is also kinda dense and dumb too.

Then there is the fact that the two are together, even if their relationship borders more on friends than lovers. Cory, Thomas, and Jessica all thought of ways to get them together but it was to no avail. The person who came close, Sandy, moved to a different school. If she was here, she'd be able to get Monica and Catey together. After all, she did manage to make them kiss in the past. During that time, Catey wasn't really in love with Monica. Sandy had been dared to bring the two closer together and she wasn't one to back down from such a challenge. However, whoever dared Sandy probably forgot that she was called Cupid as she had brought many together into a relationship. Sandy left shortly after the kiss Catey had with Monica and, though Monica seems unaffected by the entire thing, Catey definitely wasn't.

Cory was distracted from her thoughts by her phone buzzing. She opened it but was surprised to see she had gotten a phone call from an unknown number. Normally, most phone calls, especially from unknown numbers, are instantly put into the junk call and ignored, Yet this one, even though it was an unknown number, hadn't. The strangest part was that the person who called her instantly hung up before Cory could turn on the phone.

'Is it a relative?' Cory thought, trying to figure out why her phone didn't block the number.

'Well, only one way to find out.'

Cory called the number back and put her phone to her ear, waiting for the person who called her before to call her back. Instead of anyone answering the phone, Cory was surprised to hear that they hung up on her. She frowned and considered calling them again but thought against it. Instead, she starred the number. It may become important later on.

"So, what class do we have next?" Cory asked, trying to get another conversation going.

"Hmmm, I think me and Monica have digital arts and you and Jessica have history," Thomas answered.

"Speaking of Jessica, where is she?" Monica asked.

"She said she was getting lunch," Catey answered, though she looked confused herself.

"She's taking an awfully long time to get some lunch. The line isn't that long and lunch is almost over...I think," Monica pointed out.

"I know. Should I go check up on her?" Catey offered, looking at the two lines of students waiting to get their lunch. Jessica was nowhere in sight.

"I'll get her. You finish eating," Cory told Catey.

Catey nodded and Cory stood up and stretched, trying to get some more feeling in her limbs, before walking up to the lunch lines. She squeezed and weaved her way around other students, telling them that she already got her lunch and was looking for a friend. She knows how angry someone can get when another person skips in line. Honestly, those who do skip in line are all assholes. The only good excuse you can have for skipping is if you need to get somewhere and have a proper pass. Cory had someone go in front of her eight times before she snapped and told the student a piece of her mind. Apparently, ever since someone started a fight and beat the hell out of a group of students who occasionally skipped the line, anyone caught skipping the line might get detention. The rule isn't in effect yet and the student who started the fight was expelled for four months, but at least the teachers are doing something about the line-skipping menace.

Drake and Sandy both agreed that Cory takes people skipping the line way too personally. They may be right but Cory wouldn't admit that out loud.

After failing to see Jessica in the first lunch line, Cory went into the second lunch line. After looking around for her, Cory finally managed to spot Jessica's bright yellow hair going through the exit door and into the little eating area right next to the staff parking lot.

Cory raised an eyebrow, confused, and decided to follow her. She didn't know if she was allowed out back here as, normally, students only eat there in a class with a teacher for some reason. When Cory opened the exit, the two lunch ladies did not stop her. Cory still wasn't sure if she was allowed out there but, seeing as the lunch ladies did nothing and she was halfway out the door, Cory committed.

Once outside, Cory instantly regretted not bringing her jacket. It was freezing out here! Cory considered going back for her jacket before remembering that she didn't bring her jacket. Besides, there was very little where Jessica is allowed to go once outside so finding her should be a breeze.

Cory scanned the few students outside and spotted the yellow hair of Jessica near the back, rounding the corner and going out of sight. Cory followed her, a slight frown on her face. She picked up the pace and followed her friend. She rounded the corner and saw the yellow hair of Jessica turn left, rounding another corner. Cory recognized the corner Jessica rounded was a dead end leading back into the school building, the doors to go back into the school always locked.

Cory rounded the corner and nearly ran right into the back of Jessica. She stopped herself just in time and put a hand on Jessica's left shoulder, which caused her to stiffen up.

"Hey, Jessica. What are you doing out here," Cory asked, letting out a sigh of relief.

Jessica didn't respond right away and, instead, turned around. Cory looked at her and took her hand off her shoulder. The girl she had followed wasn't Jessica. Jessica had bright purple eyes. This girl had bright green eyes. The two did look very similar, almost identical. If it weren't for their eyes, Cory would have never been able to tell them apart.

The same petite figure. The same bright light yellow hair tied in two pigtails and the back ending in a swallowtail. The same very light tan skin tone. Hell, even their outfits were similar, though now Cory could see that this girl was wearing a faded light pink tank top and light grey shorts instead of Jessica's darker shade of pink tank top and dark grey shorts.

"Ah! Sorry. I mistook you for my friend..." Cory started but broke off.

"I'm sorry but, do you happen to know a Jessica Wilham?" Cory asked, a theory popping into her head.

The girl's eyes lit up and she smiled, causing Cory to shudder a little. Her smile was cute but her teeth were sharp, much sharper than someone's teeth should be.

"Oh! Ya mean my sister? Yeah, she told me to wait here while she went to get something," The girl who Cory correctly guessed was Jessica's sister answered in a bright voice that almost matched Jessica's voice. Jessica's sister was more high-pitched and younger sounding.

"Oh. Okay."

Cory scratched the back of her head nervously. Jessica never told any of them that she had a sister before. Well, she could have told Cory's other friends but Cory doubted it. She knew her the longest and Cory remembered that, in the past, when teachers asked if Cory had any siblings, she said a baby brother.

'But, last year on the second day until school ends, Jessica seemed a little out of it and didn't fill in her family column. Did something happen?'

Cory tried to recall if there was anything happening in Jessica's family but, when she visited last Summer, everything was fine. Then again, they could have been hiding that something was happening but, Cory thinks that, if anything was wrong, she was a good enough detective to have figured that out. Plus, she trusts her friend Jessica enough to tell her if something was wrong.

Cory studied Jessica's supposed sister. There was no denying the fact that they looked exactly like Jessica. Cory had a feeling that maybe Jessica's sister was born from either another mother or father, meaning that one of them cheated, and, seeing as how Jessica's father has the blond hair in the family, it was probably him who cheated.

"Cory?" A very familiar voice asked from behind, causing Cory to turn around.

Jessica was standing behind her, a worried look on her face and a white and red box in her hands, the box resembling a house. Cory couldn't remember if the box was called a box house or a house fold. It could be neither.

"H-hey Jessica. We were wondering where you were and I happened to see someone who I thought was you and...well...." Cory broke off with a nervous chuckle. This was extremely awkward. Cory also had the feeling that Jessica probably didn't want Cory and her friends to know that she had a sister.

The three girls stood there in awkward silence until Jessica's sister broke it by stepping forward and grabbing Cory's left hand with both of hers.

"Is this Cory?" Jessica's sister asked, "I thought she'd look more Asian but I guess that's just me."

Cory's eyes widened in surprise and Jessica quickly walked over and shook her head at her sister.

"Um, sorry about that, Cory. My sister, Trisy, wasn't raised with self-restraint," Jessica quickly explained to Cory, "She isn't racist or mean or anything, she's just doesn't know what is offensive and what isn't."

Trisy frowned a little at that, though she didn't really seem hurt.

"I'll have you know I know plenty of offensive things. I can twenty-eight different curse words right off the bat."

Jessica shook her head again and Trisy huffed and crossed her arms but remained silent. Cory was more than a little shocked. She has never seen Jessica so worried yet serious before.

"So, how come you never told us you had a sister before?" Cory asked Jessica, hoping she wasn't being too pushy. Though, she and Jessica both knew that she had the right to know.

Jessica let out a sigh before answering.

"I didn't know until last Summer. I found her and, after doing some research, I found out that she was my twin sister."

Cory blinked in surprise.

"She's your twin sister?" Cory asked, not quite understanding.

"Yes, Trisy is my twin sister," Jessica confirmed.

"How come you never told us, told me that you had a twin sister?" Cory asked before remembering what Jessica had said earlier and shook her head.

"No, how is it possible that you have a twin sister and not know about it. Did your parents hide her from you?"

Jessica shook her head.

"Nope. My parents don't even know she is alive."

Cory opened her mouth but couldn't think of anything to say, or rather she had too many things to say.

Jessica let out another sigh, seeing the confusion in her friend's eyes.

"Trisy and I are twins but, the hospital we were born at was attacked. During the attack, Trisy was taken by the terrorists, perhaps the one taking her felt guilty and didn't want an innocent baby to die. Trisy was sent to an orphanage where she grew up and now runs a candy shop with her best friend. One day, she learned that she had a sister, which was me, and tracked me down with the help of her friend. Instead of outright confronting me, Trisy decided to leave me hints and prod me to see if I was even willing to accept her.

"She underestimated me though and I tracked her down and confronted her first," Jessica exclaimed, putting her hands on her waist in a victory pose. Even if Jessica was unusually serious, she was still Jessica.

"Ever since then, we have been hanging out, trying to catch up on the things we have missed," Jessica finished.

Cory looked between Trisy and Jessica, feeling somewhat guilty that she hadn't known that Jessica's hospital was attacked. Granted, there is a very strong possibility that Jessica didn't know herself until she looked into it and, even if she did know that Jessica's hospital was attacked, Cory would never bring it up since it wasn't important. It still made Cory feel guilty nonetheless.

"Oooh! Is that from India?" Trisy suddenly asked, reaching into Cory's pockets and pulling out one of the red wrapped candies.

"Ah! Don't touch that! That's very expensive," Cory said, cursing herself for not realizing that she had brought a couple of the candies to school and never took them out of her pocket. While Cory didn't think the candies weren't edible, she knew the candies weren't in perfect condition and, as such, their value went down. If her mother knew, she would definitely scold Cory.

"The quality of the candy could be better, probably been sitting in your pockets for a while, but other than that, because of the type of candy it is, those are in pretty good condition," Trisy said, causing Cory once again to blink in surprise.

Cory turned to Jessica for an explanation.

"I said she works at a candy shop, remember? She not only loves candy but can be considered a candy expert. I think she could beat the wiklorli with her knowledge on candy."

"Speaking of candy, did ya get me those donut bites?" Trisy asked her sister.

Jessica shook the box slightly and Trisy's eyes lit up. Jessica handed Trisy the box and Trisy sat down and opened it.

"So, are you going to tell the others?" Cory whispered to Jessica, watching as her twin sister started gorging herself in a fast yet fancy way on the donut bites.

"I don't know," Jessica admitted, shaking her head yet again, "I like them but all it takes is one slip-up and my parents would find out about Trisy."

"Why don't you want them to find out?" Cory asked.

"...I don't know. I just don't know how they'll react and, even if they accept her, they won't allow her to run a job on her own or live in another city. I don't want Trisy's freedom to be restricted, you know?"

Cory nodded, though she found it odd that, apparently, going by Jessica's words, her sister runs a candy shop despite not being old enough to run a business. Since Jessica is seventeen, Trisy must also be seventeen. Still, that was a question that could be asked later.

"Yeah, I understand. I must ask, was she wearing this before or after she met you?"

Jessica snorted and covered her mouth, something she does when she finds something funny.

"Y-yeah, surprisingly enough she was wearing the same exact outfit when I found her."

"Heh. I guess you really are twins after all! You even share that abnormal "I don't care if it is Fall and the temperature is almost below fifty, I'll wear a tank top and shorts today" trait."

Jessica snorted again and the two watched Trisy indulge herself with the donut bites Jessica got her in silence that was broken when Cory asked a question that has been bothering her for a while.

"Why does she have sharp teeth?" Cory asked, remembering Trisy's smile and seeing a glimpse of her teeth every now and then when Trisy opened her mouth wide to bite into large donut bites.

"From what I've been told, it's a mutation. She said she doesn't know if it had to do with a genetic thing or with the area she lived in which had more radiation than should have been in the area."

"You sure about that?" Cory asked, raising an eyebrow.

"She grew up in Condor," Jessica told Cory.

"Ah. Yeah, that would make sense."

Condor is called one of the largest cities despite it having almost no buildings. It is pretty much a barren wasteland which the six governments pay no attention to. There is a rumor that the reason Condor is all but abandoned is because of a nuclear power plant that had a meltdown years ago. If Trisy grew up there, it is very possible that she could have a mutation. Though, the sharp teeth is definitely a weird mutation to have. At least it wasn't something that would disfigure her. Cory had seen some pictures of people who became disfigured due to radiation and it wasn't pretty.

"If I'm going, to be honest, I found her using Candy Pop."

Cory took a long couple of seconds to realize what Jessica had just said.

"W-wait! You mean the Candy Pop you talked about this morning?" Cory asked.

Jessica nodded, a distant look in her eyes.

"It turns out that they take money. It was a lot but it was affordable. They helped locate Trisy. Ironically, she was working in a candy shop named Candy Pop, though the building is older than the ad."

"Then why did you tell me that they needed something precious in the text this morning?" Cory asked.

Jessica didn't answer right away and turned around, her back facing Cory.

"B-because...C-Candy Pop is not someone you want to hire. I didn't even hire her to kill someone yet..."

Jessica broke off, her voice weak.

"Let's just say that she is a sadist, and someone who doesn't need a contract to kill someone."

Jessica didn't say anything else and Cory didn't push the subject any further. They stayed like this for a long time until the sound of the bell ringing caused the friends to jump.

"Oh shoot! We gotta go," Cory said, peeking behind the corner and seeing a couple of kids walking back towards the cafeteria door.

"Trisy. Same time tomorrow?" Jessica asked her sister, who nodded and folded up the box and pulled out a napkin from one of her short pockets to wipe off the few crumbs on her face and hands. She was a surprisingly clean eater, the complete opposite of Jessica.

"Next time, I'll bring you some sweets," Trisy told her sister and hugged her.

Once the hug ended, Trisy slipped away between the parked cars and disappeared into the woods that surround part of the school.

"You know, how come the principal hasn't called you down for allowing someone not from school to come over?" Cory asked.

"She has a lot of money and her candy shop is pretty popular, getting orders from all kinds of parents who want sweets for their kids. The principal is one of those parents. He loves his daughter. Well, that and the money she offered him."

Cory let out a giggle, a teasing look in her eyes,

"Careful now, Jess. Your sister might just beat you in the wealthy compartment." Cory teased.

Jessica rolled her eyes.

"Oh please...actually, you know what, she probably will have more money before I get my inheritance. Ah, shutternut."

"Shutternut? That's a new one," Cory pointed out.

"Yeah, well, times have changed. Now let's go to class," Jessica said, grabbing Cory's hand.

"You know that we're going to have to explain where we were to the others, right?"

"Yeah I know but, that can wait until the end of school. Now come on, we have math class to attend!"


Cory stretched and started walking, wishing she had remembered to bring her headphones with her. Her bus had broken down and, since her home was close by, Cory decided to walk home instead of wait for another bus to come and pick her up. It would be quicker but definitely colder.

Plus, the shortcut, also known as the large bagel and coffee place which had a confusing and winding layout that cut right through most of the buildings and dropped Cory off at her street, was now open. Once there, she just needed to walk straight and turn left and she'll be at the bus stop. From there, she'll go straight and be at her apartment.

Cory went into Bruce's and went up to the counter where a large man with a grey and black beard in a white chef outfit was waiting.

"Good afternoon, Cory. See you want somethin' this time."

"Yep, Bruce. Can I have a bagel?" Cory asked, putting ten dollars on the counter. Normally, the bagels in this place are twenty dollars but, since Cory is here early, the price goes down. A few people have noticed this as well and a few people were sitting at tables, eating a bagel or a breakfast sandwich.

"One warm cream cheese bagel comin' right up," Bruce said, turning around and walking up to one of his many large oven-shaped toasters behind him. He opened one, took a peek inside, and closed it, and opened the one below it. There he grabbed a large spatula and carefully yet swiftly and skillfully took out one of the bagels that were inside and set it down on a tray before closing the oven.

Bruce put down the large spatula and handed the tray to Cory and took the ten dollars.

"Have a good day and see you tomorrow," Bruce said to Cory.

"Yep. See you tomorrow, Bruce," Cory agreed and took a seat. She has been here so many times that Bruce knows what kind of bagel she wants. Today, like most days, Cory got a mini-bagel, toasted with cream cheese. It was a delicious treat that didn't take much time to eat. Perfect for being able to eat and get home quickly.

After she finished eating the bagel which was well worth the money, she threw away her trash and put the tray in the used bin, and left. She opened her phone and checked L-App, an app used for group location and sharing. It didn't take long to find her mother's location. Going off what the app told her, her mother would be home in twenty minutes. Cory will be home way before her mother does which means she'll have some time to record some shows she wants to watch on TV before her mother comes home and watches the news.

As Cory exited Bruce's, she went made her way to the bus stop. Once there, she stretched and stopped to text her friend, Sandy. Since Sandy moved to another school the only way to communicate besides calling each other was through texting. Luckily, she didn't move too far away so she and Cory got out at the same time.

Cory started typing her message, planning to give Sandy a hint that her cupid magic she had worked on Monica and Catey has gone to waste.

'Hey, Sandy. Just got out of school. Monica might not end up going to the festival since Drake won't be going. So, if you do come over to the festival, that is why Monica might not be there. Just wanted to let you know in advance.'

Cory sent the message and paused before she started typing another one.

'Anyway, how was you-'

Cory stopped texting when a sharp smell hit her nose and she felt something go on her mouth. Cory blinked once but couldn't do anything else. She felt her limbs weaken and her mind went hazy. The very next second, she blacked out.


Cory woke up with a gasp, putting one hand to her mouth. Feeling that nothing was there, Cory looked around. She recognized the familiar pattern on the walls of the room she was in but not the room itself. The room itself looked to be an old abandoned bathroom that was refitted to be a storeroom before they gave up and just left the room as it is, a mix between a bathroom and a storage room. All she knows is that she is in her apartment building.

Cory tried to stand up but stopped when she felt a tug on her right arm and a sound that send chills down her spine. She turned to look and nearly let out a sob when she saw that her right arm was chained to the wall.

After testing the chain out, Cory determined that she won't be able to escape. She can't even cut off her arm if given the choice. The chain holding her to the wall connected to her arm in two places, so it was more fitting to call the chain chains. One was above her wrist and the other was right below her shoulder in her armpit.

Seeing as there was nothing useful on the ground, Cory decided that the only chance she has to get out, or at least get some answers, is to start yelling for help.

"HELP!" Cory cried out before she started coughing. Her voice was barely above a whisper even at a shout. If anyone was waiting outside the room, they probably didn't even hear her. Whoever kidnapped her had done something to her throat. Her voice was useless as it is.

With no other option, Cory huddled up and waited, hoping that her mother would eventually realize that her daughter has been missing for too long and, once she realizes that she isn't with her friends, call the police.

It didn't take long for someone to walk into the room Cory was in, though to Cory it did feel like it was a while. Three people walked into the room. All of them were large and wearing black and dark blue masks that typical robbers in movies and cartoon shows wear, only without the white and black striped outfit. Instead, they wore more of a track suit with matching colors to their mask and a few white highlights. They looked at Cory but did nothing. They said nothing and did nothing but just stand and stare. After what had to be two minutes of this uncomfortable silence, the three men lined up against the wall where the single wooden door is and continued to look at Cory, one of them crossing their arms.

"S-so...y-you just gonna-" Cory began but interrupted herself with a yelp. One of the men pulled out a throwing knife and had threw it right past Cory's head, hitting the wall on the other side a little higher than Cory would have liked. She doesn't know if she could reach up to grab the knife.

"P-point taken," Cory said shakingly before she suddenly started coughing. Once her coughing fit ended, Cory leaned back on the wall. She decided talking right now wasn't worth the effort.

Ten minutes had passed and Cory was considering trying to sleep. The man who threw the throwing knife had went and recieved it, taking away that slim hope from her. Other then that, nothing else happened. Even the three men were looking to be slightly bored, one of them fiddling with a glock fourteen if Cory knows her guns. Well, she really doesn't but she thinks she knows enough about sidearms to spot the difference between them.

As she was watching him, the door to the room opened. Cory looked to see who it was and was surprised to see that the person wasn't wearing a mask to cover his face. In fact, compared to the other three men, this guy was a lot different and a lot less menacing. He looked to be somewhat frail and worn down with either age of weakness. He didn't have much hair on his head and he wore a very light blue button shirt with a red and dark blue striped tie as well as black dress pants and dress shoes.

Cory let out a cough out of surprise, her eyes wide.

"P-Pu-Paul?" Cory asked in disbelief.

Paul met Cory's eyes and let out a sigh, a sad look on his face.

"Ah. I really didn't want this to happen," Paul said with a sigh, walking up and taking a knee in front of Cory, who unconsciously tried to make herself smaller.

"But, at the time I wasn't thinking straight. Yet what you said to me this morning really woke me up. So, I am sorry."

"S-sorry about w-what?" Cory asked, half dying to know what is happening and half dreading the answer.

"I sold you to the Bonyors, which is a large gang these three fine gentlemen belong to," Paul admitted, pointing at the three men dressed like burglars.

"You see, I actually own this building. As such, I know all the ins and outs...and all the rooms. I even know the schedules of when people return from work and leave for work. And, not only are you a beauty, but you live here as well. And since I had a grudge against you, it didn't take me much to help the Bonyors out."

Cory opened her mouth to ask the most obvious question but no words came out. Paul, however, had a feeling of what she wanted to ask.

"Why? Because I always admired you. It took a lot of courage to approach you when I saw you crying, you know? I have been called a creep an even a pedophile before just by being near someone!" Paul ranted, his voice rising higher and higher and started shaking with anger.

"So, imagine my surprise when you didn't say anything and, eventually, opened up to me. I felt amazing," Paul said, his voice soft.

"Yet, afterwards, you started avoiding me, making me feel like trash!" Paul yelled, his hand rushing towards Cory's face.

Instead of slapping her, Cory caught Paul's hand with her unchained left hand. Cory stared at Paul's hand, anger rising in her eyes, before she looked at Paul's face. However, the moment she did so, Paul struck her with his other hand, punching Cory in the face, causing her to let go of his right arm and clutch her face with a cry of pain.

"Yet, when you greeted me this morning, I realized you were embarrassed yourself," Paul said, standing up, "and that you were trying to get over it."

Paul started walking towards the door. When he was almost there. he stopped.

"Unfortunately for you, it is too late. You won't tell anyone about this. If you do, not only is yours and your mother's life on the line, but everyone in the apartment as well."

"She's all yours, boys," Paul said, opening the door, "Just remember our deal. I get to have her first."

Paul went through the door and closed it behind him, leaving Cory alone with three men who had a sudden glint in their eyes.


Candy Pop Cover 1!

Candy Pop!