He found his mother's note tacked on the refrigerator, stating that she'd be out late and that his dinner was in the refrigerator. He peered inside the refrigerator and found the plate covered with plastic wrap bearing his meal. He pulled out a soda bottle and poured himself a drink while rummaging through the counters for some cookies. He heard the floor creak elsewhere in the house, so he paused and listened intently.
"Mom, is that you?" he called out. When he received no reply, he returned to the hall and checked all the rooms and the driveway. He shrugged his shoulders and resumed nibbling on his snack as he returned to his room. He reluctantly pulled out his schoolwork and pushed aside what he needed to complete, then returned to the kitchen to warm up his dinner. While the microwave quietly hummed in the background, he entered the living room and stared at the porcelain and crystalline knickknacks that he'd given his mother over the years. She always kept them displayed where guests might see them. He looked up into the mirror above the mantle and discovered that a tall shape sitting in the shadows was watching him intently. The voice that called out to him made the boy shiver.
"Hi, Jakey," his father said.
"D-d-dad...W-what are you d-doing here?" Jacob stuttered nervously, without turning around.
"Come on, my little Jakey. Is that all you have to say to your old man?" he asked firmly.
Jacob's heart pounded in fear as his brain fumbled to find an answer to mollify his father. "Hi, Dad. I thought you were…"
His father cut his words short. "In prison? Dead? Did you think it would be that easy, Jakey?"
"No, Sir...It's just...I didn't expect to see you today," he struggled to explain.
"You were out with those little faggot friends of yours again, weren't you?" his father asked, his voice dripping with disgust.
"They're not gay,” Jacob retorted, balling his left hand into a fist. He turned around to confront his father, finding an empty and silent room. He stood motionless for a moment, clicking on the living room lights and collapsing on the sofa. He punched his leg in frustration as tears streamed down his face.
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