I awoke groggy and disoriented. I realized that I was still sitting on the window seat, and must have fallen asleep waiting for the yelling and sounds of fists hitting flesh from my parent’s bedroom to stop. The rain had stopped, leaves scattered around the yard from the winds. Then I realized it was quiet, the house not even making it’s usual noises as if it were holding its breath. I slipped silently from my seat to the door, hesitating to open it.
It had never been that quiet. There was always at least the furnace groaning to life or sniffling coming from my mother as she prepared dinner, trying to hide her tears behind her thin and knotty hair. But there was nothing. I pulled the door open slowly, looking to see if my father was hiding somewhere in the hallway, waiting for a victim like he sometimes did. Empty. I shivered, a terrible feeling crawling up my skin like spiders. I tiptoed to the stairs and started down, the creaking under my feet deafening in the silence.
The stairs ended in a small foyer where the front door was, the living room closed off to the right and the dining room closed off to the left. I turned down the hallway by the dining room that led to the kitchen, where my mother would normally be after a fight. But there wasn’t the usual sounds of pots and pans clanging or the smells of food sizzling coming from the kitchen. Just more of that unnerving silence. When I looked in, it was empty too. Confused, I went to the dining room and peeked in, but they weren’t in there either. I looked out the window to see if my father’s truck was still there, and it was.
I looked everywhere downstairs, and there was nothing. The last place to look was my parent’s bedroom, but I was never allowed in there. Apprehensively, I climbed the stairs again, but this time they were silent. The only whisper of sound came from my feet brushing along the floor.
The walk to their door seemed to take an eternity, but also passed by in a blur. I stopped in front of it, barely breathing in case they might be sleeping. My father didn’t like being woken up, and I learned that lesson long ago. My arms still bore the scars. My hand was trembling as I reached to tap the door, and my heart was pounding fear through my body. I lightly knocked, the sound echoing through the hallway. But there was no squeak from the mattress or shuffling of feet to the door. Not even the sound of breathing, as I held it in nervousness. Their door wasn’t shut all the way, so I slowly pushed it open to peek inside.
Their bed was empty and made, which wasn’t unusual, because my mother tried to make everything perfect to appease my father. Not that it ever really worked. Out of the corner of my eye I saw red on the carpet, and when I looked, I screamed.
It was everywhere, on the walls, the floor. The blood dripped, oozed, splattered all over the room. I could only see my father’s boots sticking out from the opposite side of the bed, and my mother lying face-down on the carpet, a gun by her still, pale hand. Horrified, I scrambled back from the room until my back hit the wall, pushing the air from my lungs. My feet went out from under me and I fell, shivers and sobs wracking my body violently. It was no longer quiet. It seemed like the house was screaming. My foot hit something and it skittered away. I looked up and saw the phone, which was normally cradled in the holder on the hallway table, lying still on the floor. I lunged for it, as if it would run if I didn’t.
My hands shook tremendously, my fingers repeatedly hitting the wrong numbers. Finally, after minutes of agony, I hit nine-one-one. I put the phone near my ear, the ringing drilling into my brain. Ring faster, I thought, ring faster, ring faster, ring faster. . .
After seconds of hyperventilating, a voice answered, cool and calm. How could they be calm during this?! I yelled, pleaded, screamed into the phone for help. I didn’t hear what the voice was saying, didn’t hear anything except for the words I kept repeating, as if it would take me back in time to prevent it from happening. But it wouldn’t. I knew it wouldn’t, but I didn’t want to believe it, so I kept screaming it. Over and over until my voice was almost non-existent and I could hear sirens coming closer and closer.
My parents are dead.
©2011 Braylie Barrier
Braylie Barrier is sixteen years old, and currently writing a novel, but enjoys short stories and writing flash fiction on the side.