There seemed to be an imminent silence around the town. An unnerving absence of tension or noise, something that didn’t represent Riverdale at all. Not even the wind moved the leaves.
“I thought summer had ended” Betty said, drinking from a milkshake, most likely.
“It sure did” Kevin replied as he took a bite out of something.
Haiden stared at the food for a few seconds and sighed. The loneliness creeping itself into their chest again. It was always like this, huh? Be a reoccurring face in the town but never actually matter enough to be noticed. After all, while everyone enjoyed summer together, they were stuck going to another state to spend months with their other family.
Haiden’s eyes looked at the reflection of the teenager chatting away on the booth in front of them. The given anger they used to feel now fully melted into sadness. Not even in the other town did they have friends. They were stuck alone, mostly at home, with nothing else but their tutoring job and filing part-time.
They shook their head. This was not a concept that has never crossed their mind, but this was not the place nor time to be giving in to their self-loathing even more.
They sighed again before turning towards their bag, a given annoyance taking over their body. They pulled their laptop out and opened it, knowing full well the email tab was going to be on fire by the time they got to it.
No story. They had nothing to predict, show, write, say, present. Nothing. Nada.
They sighed at the empty document. They knew taking the job later down the line would turn out to be a problem. They didn’t stay over for most of the year, they were from Riverdale. But of course, they had to take a job that involved reporting news and events that happen in a completely different state.
Their phone began to buzz, which drew a very low groan out of them.
“I know” They answered
“You are a pain in the ass” Their boss said. “You are only over in the summer? You ever thought that was an important detail?”
“I’m sorry” Haiden answered. “I genuinely thought I wouldn’t get hired in the first place”
They looked over as the teens left the diner.
“I’ll have to fire you”
“I’m surprised you haven’t yet” Haiden answered. “Plus, what you gotta lose?”
There was a small pause that froze Haiden. Why were they not fired before?
A long sigh was drawn out of the man. “I see potential” He said. “And I see a chance at something bigger”
Haiden frowned as they closed the laptop.
“We are planning on launching a website.” He said. “Kinda like gossip or knowing the news before they happen”
Haiden scoffed. “You’re going that low?”
“Look, my wife had this idea ever since you turned in the solution for that ploy.” He answered. “And she’s wanted her own gossip website for a while”
“You got to be kidding me” They said exasperated. “I don’t turn in gossip. At least not to the extent most of those sites go to.”
“You are not a news reporter” He answered
“But the least I can do is present everything. Not just the juicy flashes” They answered back. “Plus Mrs. Leigh is very centered on the big lights”
“Look, you’ll be part of a small section on the website. Not the main page or the big screen but an interesting shot at this seemingly accurate guessing you got going on” He said. “I mean it when I say you have a great mind, and I wish to not lose it to competition”
Haiden sighed deeply.
“You want me to find something interesting in Riverdale” Haiden said.
“Yes. Help expand the website and our brand” He answered. “Are you in?”
“Will I still get paid?”
“Then sure.” They shrugged putting their things away. “But I wouldn’t hold my breath on this town”
Haiden looked up at the huge image of Jason Blossom. A sling of thoughts ran through their mind as they looked at the teenager’s face. It was like a distant ringing of events happening in their head that was never going to get clearer.
“You seem interested in my brother” Cheryl. A strangely new event to witness, especially since the new girl Veronica was so engaging.
“Just looking” Veronica answered in a low sly tone.
Haiden looked at the image again. This was the story? Really? An internal sigh traveled through them as they walked out of the gym, hoping to make it home before any other weird things happened. But their eyes landed on Archie… and the music teacher.
The drama and the glitz of this woman’s predatory behavior was something else, but they were not going to open their mouth on a fact they didn’t need to reveal to anyone. Especially with the given advances of this story. Or the fact that it was all their given speculation, which was surprisingly right.
They slipped out into the night, the cold air hitting their face, making a small shiver take over their body. Their phone buzzed in their pocket.
“How did you know that?” Their boss
“The Blossom kid” He said, Haiden finally realizing how distressed he sounded. “I publish this and we will be chased down like rats”
“Then don’t publish it” They said. “As I said, it’s a guess. Mr. Leigh, I’ve done elaborate guesses my whole life and with this job. You decide if it’s good enough. I’m only reporting something a few of your guys have already scrambled to get right. Plus, you asked for interesting, Riverdale just ain’t interesting”
“Was this all really just a guess, H?” He asked. “For real?”
“Yes” They answered. “I don’t have any reason to even interact with anyone in this town”
“We’ll post it then. You’ll get your pay by the end of the week. Keep writing” Leigh said before having up.
“Will do” Haiden said softly as they walked back home.
The sound of the night accompanying their thoughts as they replayed the image by the river.
Their stomach rumbled, signaling their next destination. Pop’s. They could worry about this strange set of events later.
As they sat in their room, the four wooden figurines stood neatly on their desk, one right next to the other. Motionless. Colorless. But Haiden knew there had to be something about them. Their family was not one for randomness, given the kids they took in.
They let out a breathy laugh.
"I stand corrected" They muttered, grabbing one of the figures with longer hair. "These guys have no idea what's coming for them"
They took a deep breath and closed their eyes, the sound of chatter. A room. Maybe dinner.
"Betty" They breathed out as they opened their eyes. "I'll have to find a way to get to Cheryl"
A knock took them by surprise.
"Lorey?" Their sister, Lilian. Oh, how they hated that name, but they couldn't get rid of it. They were given the name Lorey after all.
"Yeah?" They answered.
"We'll go together to school tomorrow. All of us" She said softly.
Haiden chuckled in awe. That was a first.
"Sure" They said.
The door clicked shut. Haiden fiddled with the small thing in between their fingers. The head snapped off with a click, the sound of Betty talking fading into the air.
"Let's see what you got Riverdale"