My screams drew the attention of our self-absorbed neighbors. An older woman I’d seen a time or two sat with me until the cops arrived.
In retrospect, having someone pull me up from where I knelt was a great idea. Who knew how long I stayed in the spot beside Ryan and my son. It had been long enough, however, for their blood to soak my pants.
Suddenly, I wanted out of the stained clothing.
I jumped to my feet, leaving a shocked neighbor behind, and ran inside. Upstairs, I fled to our room. I had to get the gore off me.
My hands shook as I tried to unbutton my shirt. Frustrated, I pulled and ripped until the buttons flew.
The voice belonged to Josh. Someone had to have called him. I listed him as my emergency contact at the station.
I tried hard to focus on him, but all I saw was a blurry figure. Crying made seeing straight impossible.
“Here. Let me help.” He stepped past me.
I heard him rifling through drawers and then the closet. The noise stopped, and he was by my side again, helping me put on a sweatshirt.
“Lean on me, Kerrie.” His fingers went to my waistband to undo my pants.
The cold air hit my skin, but I barely acknowledged it. I moved like a robot as I attempted to step out of the ruined garment. My effort was akin to trying to undress a mannequin.
“I need you to work with me.”
When I refused to move, he picked me up and carried me to the bed. Slowly, he exchanged my trousers for the sweatpants. The entire time Josh spoke to me, but I couldn’t understand a word he said.
“Kerrie!” He grabbed my chin and forced me to look at him. “We have to go back outside.”
My head bobbed. He tugged me to my feet and led me down the steps past the forensics team.
In my front yard, more investigators were doing their job as the coroners zipped up body bags. My lips trembled. My friend gathered me in his arms. Unable to watch, I buried my face in his chest. No mother should ever have to see such a tiny bag.
I lost track of time. The only thing I recalled was the river that poured from my eyes. I didn’t realize a person could shed as many tears as I did. My grief mixed with an all-consuming fury that threatened to eat me alive. I blamed the complacency of my neighbors—so involved in their personal dramas that nobody noticed my family was in need. I blamed the police captain for not taking my warnings seriously. Mostly, I blamed myself. I knew the issue. I should have warned Ryan. Let him know there was a viable threat. If I had, he would have prepared for it. Regardless of being the one responsible for the demise of my husband and son, I’d be the one responsible for getting revenge for them.
Somebody shook my shoulders and snapped me from my reverie. I looked up. Concern danced across Josh’s face.
“You’re coming home with me. Understand?”
I jerked my thumb behind me. “What about? I c-can’t leave that—”
“Don’t worry about it.” He grasped my elbow and helped me up. “I’ll get someone to clean up the house.”
“O-okay.” I allowed him to guide me to his pickup.
Josh was being Josh. We’d been friends since grade school. He was good at picking up my messes. He’d fix whatever was wrong, and my world would be right again.
It had to be right again.
I closed my eyes and let the darkness consume me.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish