"Tom? Daria?" Jane called out. Her ex had called her to Daria's house earlier, but he had sounded strange on the phone. "Helen? Jake? Quinn?" It appeared nobody was home.
She proceeded through the household cautiously -- the setting sun outside provided little illumination, and somebody had turned off all the lights. "Daria? Tom? Are you up here?"
At the top of the stairs, she noticed that Daria's door was ajar, light leaking out of the room. She approached and pushed the door all the way open. "Tom, there you are!"
Tom had his back turned to her. He had been working on something when she saw him. One lamp in the corner of the room lay askew, illuminating the room unevenly.
"Tom, what's going on?" Jane asked.
"Have you met my girlfriend Daria?" he asked, a cheerful note in his voice.
"Uh, yeah, Tom, Daria and I have been friends since --" Tom cut her off.
"She's the perfect companion piece. No muss, no fuss." He stood and moved out of the way for Jane to see what he had been working on.
Jane shrieked. Tom had stripped off much of the padding of a recliner and replaced it with...with...
"She offers the very best in lumbar support AND durability!" Hysteria could now be heard at the far reaches of the young Sloane's speech.
He sat down in the macabre furniture, to which he had variously tied, sewn, and nailed Daria -- apparently, Tom found more comfort in a cadaver than in foam, springs, and upholstery.
As he pulled the lever to put the chair in recline position, Daria groaned in agony through lips sewn shut. Jane restrained the urge to throw up, that Tom had left her alive all though what he had inflicted upon her.
"Dating doesn't get any easier than this," Tom ruminesced. He stood up and, without a look back, kicked Daria-chair on its side. He approached Jane, who could clearly see the bloodstains drying on his blue shirt and tan khakis. He pulled a nail gun from under his shirt and aimed at Jane. "Chairs like this, though, should come in a matching set."
Jane managed to dodge the first nail but, as she dashed out of the room, the second one caught her in the shoulder. She cried out and extracted it as she bounded down the stairs, skipping three at a time, not caring because her best friend had just been horribly mutilated by a psychopath and she was next.
She dashed into the kitchen, remembering a phone there. She had to pass through the living room to get there first, though, and now noticed the coffee table.
Or rather, the coffee table formerly known as Quinn Morgendorffer.
Quinn's eyes darted up to meet Jane's -- she's alive too -- and a keening rose from her mouth -- stitched shut, like Daria's. Jane easily drowned her out with her own scream, unable to pry her eyes away from this new butchery.
Tom had taken off Quinn's arms and legs -- her ARMS AND LEGS -- and, after staunching the blood flow somehow oh God, he then...sewed the limbs to her back, so that she lay face up, propped by her own limbs.
Jane took three seconds to take all that in, and then continued her mad dash for the phone in the kitchen. She seized it and had already dialed the 9 and the 1 before she noticed that the cord had been ripped out of the wall. She dropped the phone and turned just as Tom sauntered into view again, firing off another nail which missed Jane's head by a few inches, embedding itself into the wall behind her. She made a dash for the dining room, dodging another three nails.
Tom was cackling.
She slammed the door shut behind her and surveyed the room, Thank God, no surprises here. She evaluated the window, disregarded it, and went for the door to the garage.
Jake and Helen lay inside.
A sheet mostly covered them up, for which Jane profoundly thanked whatever higher power was listening.
Jane could still tell two things, though: They were sewn together, and Jake Morgendorffer was dead. She figured it must have been his heart -- the agonizing pain of being sewn to somebody would do that...and maybe Tom had made them watch what he did to their daughters.
Helen was alive, though, and she was trying to speak to Jane. She noticed her mouth was open, and then noticed it was because Helen had strained so hard that she had ripped the threads through her lower lip, tattering it and making it hard to speak clearly.
"Lock...door," she managed to spit out. Jane swiveled, noticed the button on the knob, and pushed it. A fraction of a second later, the knob rattled from the other side. After a moment more, nothing. Then, the door began to shake as Tom pounded it from the other side with something heavy.
"Cell...phone," Helen alerted, and Jane turned back to her. "Where?" Jane asked. Helen pointed with her eyes to a pile of bloody rags in the corner which Jane realized was what she and Jake had been wearing before Tom began his brutal acts. She sifted through them, finally grabbing the cell phone and shakily dialing 911.
Jane stood with Daria at Jake's grave. It had been four months since Tom's rampage, but the effects would linger on in Jane and Daria and Daria's surviving family forever.
Daria got off the best -- physically, at least. She had to be treated for numerous puncture wounds and a few bones broken by the intrusion of a nail, but she would recover fully from those wounds. Psychologically, though, Daria had been damaged, perhaps irreversibly. She refused to leave Jane's company for more than a few minutes, and seldom talked. She (as well as the remaining Morgendorffer clan) had moved into the Lane household, not wanting to return to the place where they had been so violated.
Helen endured, but under a strain that would have crumbled Atlas' will. Her injuries put a cane in her hand for the rest of her life.
The loss of Quinn's limbs had been permanent, the incident so traumatic that Quinn had closed for business. The doctors at Quiet Ivy tried to be optimistic, but Jane doubted Quinn would ever be a part of the world at large again.
Tom himself was a resident of Juniper Hill, a maximum-security mental hospital up in New England. He, too, wouldn't be rejoining the human race for the duration of his lifespan.
The Sloanes themselves were just as horrified as the rest of the city, and could provide no reason why Tom had gone on his rampage. They quietly paid an eight-figure sum to the Lanes and the Morgendorffers, and within a month had sold their mansion in Crewe Neck and left no forwarding address.
Jane was shook out of her recollections by a tug on the sleeve from Daria. "You ready to go, Daria?" She nodded. "Helen, we're ready." The Morgendorffer matriarch -- she refused to go back to her maiden name -- stood with some trouble, caressed her husband's gravestone one last time, and turned to follow Jane and her daughter out of the graveyard.