I hurtle onto the counter. I grip the sides so hard me knuckles turn white.
I steady myself and stand up. I open the cupboard and grab the nearest bag. I turn around and jump onto the table.
I tumble onto the chair. As it falls, the bag flys out of my hand and lands on the floor with a plop. Soon after I hear claws against hard floor. Ti and Spock come scampering in.
As they round the corner of the table, Ti pushes Spock into the leg of a chair, causing him to fall over.
Ti comes skidding to a stop in front of me.
“Nu-uh, that’s not very nice,” I scold his as I pick up Spock and place him on the table.
I put exactly 7 treats in front of him.
He scarfs them down. “Now for yours,” I say turning to Ti. I sit on my knees and give him his treats.
He doesn’t give me a chance to pull away. He pushes my hand out of the way and gobbles them all up.
“Don’t eat too fast or you’re going to be sick.”
As I finish Ti starts to make a watery gagging sound and out drops all 7 treats in a tiny barf pile.
“Oh Ti!” I say rubbing behind his ears.
He lowers his head and sniffs the treats. In an instant, they’re gone again.
Just then I hear the alarm beep 3 times notifying that the garage opened. Mom and dad are home. I open the cupboard and throw the bag in.
I casually walk to the door. My mother walks in and hangs her keys on a hook.
“Where’s dad?” I ask.
“He’s staying overnight at your Aunt Lucy’s,” she sighs. She takes off her jacket and sits in front of her computer.
I sit down on the couch and watch her. I hear some clicks and types.
“What do you want for dinner?” She asks.
I get up and stand beside her. On the computer screen is a menu for Chinese food. “Isn’t it a little late?” I ask. Just then my stomach grumbles loudly.
She looks me up and down.
“You know what? I could go for some off that Chinese food!” I comment, pointing at a picture of some sort of delicious looking chicken. I rub my stomach as I walk to the kitchen to get a glass of water. As I drink I look at the calendar.
“Did you know?”I say, swallowing the rest of the water I my mouth, “there is exactly 302 days until Christmas.” I look at my mom.
“What? $34.99 for one thing?! I could by a whole cow with that kind of mo..” before she can finish her sentence she is interrupted by the doorbell.
“I’ll get it!” I yell, a little too loud. I look through the window to see no one there.
I Turpin to my to my mom who’s squinting at the computer screen, “There’s no one there.” I turn back to the window and see a monster staring back at me.
I shriek and fall on my butt. I hear laughter and then the door opens. In walks Taylor, my next door neighbour/best friend/classmate.
We’ve been best friends since we were 3 years old. He’s holding a monster mask in his left hand and closes the door with his other. “Hah! Gotcha!” he snickers. He gives me his hand and pulls me up.
“Thanks,”I growl. I wipe my hands off on my pants. “What do you want?”
“I wanted to talk to you,”he whispers, looking over my shoulder, “in private.”
“Umm…okay,”I mumble, confused.
I lead him to my room. I turn on the lights and let Taylor walk in before I close the door behind him.
“Okay, now what do you want? I bark.
“I wanted to invite you, Lea, and Leo to go investigate the supposedly “haunted house” down the street,” he says, using air quotations.
“You mean the one that belongs to Mr. Challis?” I ask.. “Yeah, but, he doesn’t live there anymore,”he answers, quickly.
“Are you sure?” I ask.
“Im 99.99999% sure that Mr. Challis doesn’t live there anymore,” he explains.
I stare at him. “Fine!”I blurt. “You better be right,” I mumble.
“Great, you wont regret it.”
I roll my eyes.
He rushes by me to leave. Before he exits my room he whispers something in my ear, that sends a chill done my spine, “meet me under the bleachers after school on Monday.” With that, he’s gone.
The next morning my mom sends me to get my dad. Aunt Lucy’s house is within walking distance.
When I pass Taylor’s house I see him by his living room window. I wave and he waves back.
He trots outside, “Hey, where are you going?”
“To get my dad from my Aunt Lucy’s.” I answer.
“Can I come?” He asks. “Sure,” I answer.
“I’ll be right back I need to tell my mom,” he says. He runs inside ands comes back in a flash.
We start to walk. It’s a cold morning, so I shiver.
Taylor notices. “You cold?” He asks.
He takes off his sweater and wraps it around me.
When he’s not looking I smell it.
It smells like his house; bacon and perfume.
As we round the corner I see Aunt Lucy’s house.
I turn to Taylor to ask a question. But, my breath gets caught in my throat. “Hey Taylor, what’s that bruise on the side of your arm?”
All along the side of his arm is a long, brown bruise. He looks down at his arm. He hesitates and then answers, “I fell down the stairs.”
My eyes meet his. I see a hint of regret in his eyes. I have a strong feeling he’s lying. I turn back to the road.
I realize that we are already at the foot of the driveway. While making out way up the driveway, I tell Taylor to stay outside.
As I make my way to the front steps, I squint. It almost looks like the door is open ajar. When I get closer I realize that the door is open ajar.
I push the door open and look around. Everything looks normal. That’s what I think, until I hear a scream come from upstairs.
I run up the stairs. I turn into the nearest bedroom. My mouth drops open. I gasp. I close my eyes so I couldn’t see. I open one eye slowly to see my dad look over at me.
“Spencer! W-what are you doing here?” He stutters.
I turn and run. I run until my legs couldn’t run anymore. My legs took me to the front door before collapsing.
Everything goes black.
I hear a muffled voice, “Spencer! Spencer! Wake up!”
My eyes flutter open.
The blurred face of Taylor came into my vision. “Hey, what happened?” He whispers.
Everything comes rushing back to me. I sit up fast, breathing hard. “M-my dad and a-aunt Lucy having a-an affair,” I stammer.
“That’s terrible!” He cries.
I look back at the door. “How long have I been out for?” I ask.
“A couple of minutes,”he answers, “why?”
“T-there going to come out here to t-try to convince me not to t-tell my mom!” I stutter.
A sudden thought hits my mind, How am I going to tell mom?
Taylor and I walk home in silence.
As we turn onto our street I blurt, “I don’t know how to tell my mom!”
What?”he asks, cocking his head.
I take a deep breath, “I don’t know how to tell my mom that my dad….you know.”
“Oh…uh you can tell your mom that you have something to tell her about your dad and its not good and then tell her everything that happened,” he explains.
By then, we are in front of Taylor’s house. “O-okay thanks, see you Monday,” I reply, waving.
He waves as I turn and start walking to my house. I plan what I’m going to say as I walk up the driveway. I open the front door and walk in.
Warm air hits me. I sigh, its nice to be back in my home.
I look in the mirror and realize I’m still wearing Taylor’s sweater. I decide to give it back later.
I turn into the living and gasp. My mom is sitting on the couch sobbing. I run to her side, “Mom! What’s wrong?”
“Y-your father just phoned and told m-me him and aunt Lucy h-have been having…” I finish the sentence for her, “an affair.”
She looks up at me. The tears in her eyes glisten. “H-how’d you know?”she asks, through sobs. She gives me a puzzled look.
“I-I walked in on them…” I didn’t want to finish my sentence.
“Oh, Spencer,” she cries, wrapping her arms around me.
Soon, I’m in tears too. I pull away from out 5 minute long hug. “I’m going to get a glass of water,” I say. Once I get to the kitchen, I pour myself a glass of water. As I drink, I look out the window. I stop mid-sip.
Out the kitchen window I can see into Taylor’s house. I can see Taylor and his dad fighting.
I gasp as his dad pushes him. And he falls out of my view.
I’ve been in his house before and I know that right there is a set of stairs.
I watch for a few more moments to see if he stands up; he doesn’t. I run to my mom. “Mom! Mom! I just….”I take a second to breath, “saw Taylor’s dad push Taylor down the stairs, they were arguing and….” I take a closer look at my mother; she’s asleep. I run outside.
I know I should’ve called the police. But, I couldn’t think straight, the day was getting worse and worse.
I ran to their front door and held the doorbell down until I could hear footsteps. I peeled my finger off the doorbell.
The door creaks open. There stood a perfectly fine looking Taylor. “Hey, what’s up,” he eyes me suspiciously.
“Uh…I came to…” I had to quickly think of an excuse. Then it hit me. “I came to give you back your sweater,” I said, handing him his sweater.
“Oh thanks,” he says.
I see a tiny bit of disappointment in his eyes. “Well, if that’s all you want then bye now.” He starts to close the door.
“Wait,” I put my hand out to stop the door from closing. “I saw your dad push you,” I blurt.
I shift uncomfortably on Taylor’s bed.
“So you saw from your kitchen window?” Taylor asked for the third time in a row.
“Yes, now about you, are you okay? I knew their were stairs where he pushed you and…” I stop mid-sentence because of the way Taylor was staring at me.
“What!?” I bark.
He shakes his head, “nothing.”
I point to his arm, “So, is that how you got that bruise?” I ask.
“Yeah,” he answered, looking down, ashamed. “But, you can’t tell anyone!”
“What?! You’re getting abused and I can’t tell anyone, its just going to get worse and worse,” I explain.
“I know, I’ll tell someone….eventually,” he adds.
I look at him. “So? What were you guys fighting about?” I ask, curiously.
“Is it any of your business?” He teases.
“You do want me to keep your secret, right?” I ask.
He sighs. “Fine! My dad found my phone and read the conversation between me and Leo about the haunted house,” he answers, “but this is just like him, he never lets me do things.”
When Taylor is done he looks like he is about to explode.
I try to hold my laugh in but its too much, I laugh. “What?” He shrieks, blowing his floppy hair out of his face. His cheeks go red.
That just makes me laugh even more. “Sorry,” I say, once I’ve calmed down.
He stares at me for a moment. His dad yells from somewhere in the house breaking Taylor out of his trans.
“I-I better get home,” I stutter.
He looks at the door. “Okay,” he agrees, rubbing the back of his neck. Taylor walks me to the door.
“Bye,” Taylor says, waving.
I skip down the steps and then wave back. Before I reach the end of the driveway Taylor comes chasing after me.
“How’d the telling your mom go?” He asks, trying to catch his breath.
I give him a weak smile, “Uh… right before I got home my dad phoned and explained to my mom….everything, so , I didn’t really do anything.”
Oh was all he could say.
“Okay, bye again,” I say, starting to walk away. I watch Taylor take one last glance at me before turning to go face his father.
When I get home my mom is on her computer. She turns to me, “I’m filing for a divorce with your father.”
“Oh so soon,” I say, surprised.
“Yeah, he’s coming to pick up his stuff tomorrow while your at school,” she adds, with her eyes on the computer screen. I walk to my room.
“If you need me I’ll be in my room.”
The next morning as I spoon Rice Krispies into my mouth, my mom walks into the kitchen with her red hair in a heap on her head. She looks like she hasn’t gotten sleep in days.
“ How’d you sleep last night,” I question through a mouthful of cereal.
“I didn’t get one wink,” she groans.
“That’s too bad,” I comment, licking the rest of the milk out of the bowl. I get up, fill my bowl with water, and place it in the sink. “Well, I got to go or else I’ll miss the bus,” I yell as I run past my mom.
“Wait a second, you forgot something,” my mom says.
I walk up to her and kiss her cheek, it tastes of tears. I run out the door and close it behind me.
It’s a cold morning again, but, this time I remembered my sweater. I jog down my driveway to catch up to Taylor who’s already about to get on the bus. My eyes shift to the bus windows. I stop short.
In the first window I see a girl smiling real big down at me. It was almost creepy. In fact, it was creepy.
I tried to turn away, but something about her stopped me. She had green hair and from what I could tell she wore a clown costume including a clown nose.
“Spencer! Hurry up!” I turn my attention back to Taylor who is already in the bus.
When I walk up the steps of the bus I say good morning to the bus driver. I turn into the aisle.
The girl’s gone and she’s replaced by a girl with long blonde hair and she wears the school uniform. I just walk past and find my seat next to Taylor.
Taylor and I have gym first period together. When we arrive my eyes scan the gym for the girl. But, they stop on another girl who looks just like her but has no clown costume and has red hair like mine.
She looks over and sees me watching. She trots over to Taylor and I. “Hi, I’m new,” she puts out her hand to shake mine.
I shake her hand.
It feels wet and clammy.
“Hi new, I’m Spencer,” I answer, sarcastically.
She smacks her head, “sorry, I’m Agatha.” She looks at Taylor who’s staring at his phone.
“And this is Taylor.”
Taylor mumbles a hi.
I poke him, “Taylor.”
“Oh sorry, I’m Taylor.” He goes right back at his phone.
“What’s so interesting on there?” I ask, peeking over his shoulder. “I’m texting Leo about the haunt..” he stops and then looks at Agatha and then to me. “We’ll talk about it later,” he finishes. He puts his phone in his back pocket.
“I don’t care, you can talk about whatever it is now, don’t mind mer, pretend I’m not here,” Agatha say excitedly.
I give Taylor a pleading look.
He sighs. “Agatha, do you want to come with me, Spencer and 2 of my friends to visit a supposedly haunted house?” He mumbles.
She beams, “yes, I’d love to!”
I tell Agatha where and when we are meeting when Mr. Ricardo, our gym teacher, comes out of his office.
“Alright everyone gather around!” He shouts, getting our attention. “Today we are going to be climbing the ropes!”
Groans chorus through the gym. I absolutely hate the ropes. I look at Agatha.
I gasp to see her give Mr. Ricardo the scariest death stare I’ve ever seen someone give another person.
After the bell rings at the end of the day, I make my way to the bleachers. As I walk, I hear pounding footsteps from behind. Before I have a chance to turn around and see who it is the person hugs me from behind…..really tight. I gasp for air.
“I missed you!” The voice sings. I recognize it; Agatha.
Once she lets go I take deep breaths. “Y-you missed me?” I question, still trying to catch my breath.
“Yeah,” she answered, excitedly.
I opened my mouth to say something, but, a question pops into. My head. “Hey Agatha?” I ask. “Do you ride the school bus to school?”
She hesitates. “Yeah,” she says, dragging the h. Her eyes narrow at me, “why?”
“Because I thought I saw you on the bus but you had green hair and you wore a clown costume,” I blurt.
She just stares at me.
I fake laugh, “funny, right? My eyes are just playing tricks on me.”
She laughs but it sounds more forced. “Yeah,” she sighs.
“If you ride the bus, then why didn’t I see you,” I ask. “Since today is my first day and I got my mom to drive me,” she answers.
I just nod. I let out a sigh of relief as I see Taylor jogging towards us.
“You guys ready?” He asks.
“Yeah!”Agatha shouts staring at him dreamily.
He must have noticed because he inches away from her.
We look towards the bleachers and see Leo and Lea waiting for us. Lea and Leo are twins. Leo wears glasses, has green eyes with curly brown hair and Lea has straight blonde hair with blue eyes. You cant even tell that they’re twins.
“I should go introduce myself to them,” Agatha says with a smile.
I watch her enter under the bleachers.
Taylor and I walk the rest of the way in an awkward silence.
I clear my throat. “So, you still up for this thing?” I ask, breaking the silence. “After all, if we get caught your dad might…” my voice trails off.
Our eyes meet.
“Never mind,” I mumble, looking at the ground.
My head snaps up in surprise. “Uh… if we get caught your dad might h-hurt you again,”I stutter.
He waves as if he’s trying to swat a fly away. “He won’t, because we wont get caught,” he snickers.
Before I have a chance to reply Lea comes running out from the bleachers with a giant smile on her face. “You guys Agatha and I have a lot in common, I can tell we are going to good friends,” she says, excitedly.
Agatha walks out from under the bleachers with a frown.
“I don’t think that’s what Agatha thinks,” I say, pointing to Agatha.
Lea turns around to Agatha.
Just in time Agatha plasters a fake smile on her face.
“Sure she does,” Lea comments.
“Hurry up, you guys are slower than turtles!!” Leo shouts from under the bleachers.
We all go to join Leo under the bleachers.
Once we sit down under the bleachers, Agatha starts going on and on about how she’s never been on an adventure like this before.
I watch as Leo whispers into Taylor’s ear. I shift closer to hear. “And you invited her?!” I hear Leo say.
Taylor just shrugs and gives him a look.
When Agatha stops to take a breath, Leo interrupts. “Okay, I think we are ready to go,” he sighs.
“Do we have everything we need?” Taylor asks.
Lea takes out a list from her back pack. “Let’s see, flashlights, water, phones, etcetera, okay we have everything,” she informs us, as she puts away the list.
“I have a question!” Agatha blurts. Leo’s eyes shift to me and then back to Agatha. “Go ahead,” he says, his cheeks going red.
I look at Lea to see her eyes bulged at her brother. She nudged me, “he NEVER blushes.”
I just stare at her. I can feel my cheeks start to warm up.
Lea smirks at me.
I’ve never thought about Leo that way before. I turn back to Agatha to hear the end of her question, “getting there?” I assume she just is asking how we’re getting. Thinking about it I don’t even know. “Yeah, how are we getting there.” I watch Leo and Taylor look at each other.
Taylor hesitates and then says, “we forgot to tell you guys that…we’re walking there, we’ve just been waiting for everyone to leave so no one follows us.”
I make a face. I guess it looked weird because I hear Leo snicker to himself. I look at him, right away he stops. I turn back to Taylor. “That’s like 10 miles!!” I complain.
“Says the girl who’s on the cross country team, you can easily walk home from here,” Taylor gapes.
“Woah… you’re on the cross country team!” Agatha exclaims.
I give her a look that says not-now.
The smile on her face fades but a grin still remains.
Lea looks out from under the bleachers. “I think we can go now!!” she sings.
We all turn to look out. Sure enough there’s no one left in the deserted field and parking lot.
Taylor is the first to climb out from under the bleachers first. He waves us out, “were good to go!”
As we turn onto our street, I back track.
Leo notices and slows down so I can catch up to him.
“Hey,” he gestures.
“Hi,” I mumble.
“Is something wrong?” he asks.
“Oh nothing really, it’s just I don’t want to get caught,” I explain.
“Me too, if I get caught my mom would kill me; literally,” he says, with a straight face.
I look up into the street, everyone is far ahead of us. I can see the house from here.
“I wanted to ask you something,” Leo says, blushing.
Uh oh, I thought. I let out a sigh of relief when Taylor yells to us, “hurry up, slow pokes!”
I start to walk faster.
Leo grabs my arm, “wait!”
I close my eyes. “You know what? This isn’t the time. Do you want to go get some ice cream later today so we can talk?” He asks.
“Sure.” It just slips out of my mouth without even realizing.
Leo says something that I can’t really make out, it sounds like, “It’s a date.”
“What?” I question.
Leo quickly confirms, “I said….i cant wait.”
When we catch up to the rest Lea gives me goo goo eyes.
I just role my eyes. I look up to see the house loom over us.
It sure does look like it’s haunted.
We walk up the front steps. Each time I put my feet down it makes a creaking sound. The door hangs from one hinge. It’s obvious that no one lives here.
Leo bravely walks up in front of all of us to try to make it look like he is confident.
I can see him trembling.
He puts one hand on the door and pushes it open.
The door lets out a groan causing him to jump back and let out a shrill cry.
I breeze past Leo and push the door open all the way. I look back at them and give them a fearless smirk. When I turn back to the door and let out a deafening scream.
Mr. Challis stands in front of me with his arms crossed.
I turn on my heels and yell, “Run!!”
We all bolt it out of there. We run all the way to Taylor’s house.
As we make it to the front of his house I remember his dad. I wave for them to follow me and we hide in between my house and Taylor’s. We duck down and an eerie silence follows.
I peer out from our hiding spot to see if Mr. Challis followed us; he didn’t.
Taylor bounds in front of me.
Taylor’s face is inches away from my face.
My cheeks go red.
He notices and moves back a little.
“Sorry, I better get home,” he chuckles.
“Okay, see you tomorrow,” I wave. I look back at the others and see a disgusted look on Leo’s face.
The next day Lea, Leo, Agatha, and I get called to the principal’s office. As we walk there, Agatha and I exchange nervous glances.
I knock on the door.
“Come in!” Ms. Patter calls.
Lea opens the door and we all walk in.
“Have a seat,” she gestures to 4 chairs in front of her desk.
“Are we in trouble?” Lea squeaked.
“Yes,”Ms. Patter answers, firmly. She reaches into a drawer and pulls out a photograph. When she turns it around I gasp.
It’s a photo of us running away from Mr. Challis. You can clearly see all of us except Taylor. It only looks like the four of us are there. That’s why Taylor wasn’t called to the office with us.
“We got a phone call from Mr. Challis this morning saying that five people from our school was trespassing on his property yesterday afternoon, he explained that there were five of you but in this picture there’s only four,” she exclaims. She looks from me to Agatha.
“It was only the four of us,” I lie.
Agatha, Leo , and Lea all give me a similar what-are-you-doing look.
I just watch Ms. Patters intently with my hands clasped on my lap.
“Alright then, that’s all I need, you may go back to class now,” she says, as the phone rings. She grabs the phone and says hello as we walk out the door.
As soon as the door closes Leo whispers, “what was that about? What about taylor?”
All three of them give me a decisive look.
“fine! I’ll explain!!” I half shout as we make our way back to our classroom.
By the time we get back to our classroom I’m already done explaining about how Taylor gets abused and the reason why I told Ms. Patters that there were just the four of us.
“You guys cant tell anyone,” I tell them.
They all agree as we walk into the classroom.
The final bell rings and Agatha and I walk outside. Once we make it to the spot where taylor and I meet so we can get on the bus together, I turn to Agatha.
“What are you doing?” I ask, curious.
Agatha looked panicked. “Why?” She questions, dragging the y.
“I just wanted to know, because I wanted to invite you over for dinner to meet my par…..” it dons on me that my father doesn’t live with us anymore. “My mom, I mean,” I stammer.
Agatha cocks her head at me. “Sorry, I can’t tonight, I have...” She thinks for a moment as if thinking of an excuse. “Things to do.”
I hesitate, “okay.”
As soon as Taylor meets up with us, we climb onto the bus together.
‘Where am i?’ I thought. I look around and see lots of people wearing black.
Most of them are crying.
I see Agatha, Leo, Lea, and Taylor. I wave to them, they wave back, and start to make my way to them when I realize that they aren’t looking at me. I swivel around to see myself. I almost don’t recognize myself. I am wearing a long flowing black dress and my hair is tied up into a stunning bun. I watch as I walk toward them. I notice Leo staring at her.
Before she has a chance to speak a priest comes out of no where and starts speaking about something I don’t understand. Before long, I realize that I am at someone’s funeral.
The priest mentions the name Randy.
I find a seat behind myself and my friends. I gasp when I see Leo put his hand on my leg and my other self smiles at him. ‘What is going on?’
At once everyone stands up and starts walking in a straight line to the open coffin.
I decide that I don’t want to find out what or who is lying in the coffin.
But, that changes when I see a strange man that looked oddly familiar start scooting towards me on the pew.
I quickly jump up and find a place in line. My hands start to sweat and my heart starts to beat faster as the line starts to move. ‘What if someone I know is lying in that coffin?’ i hear a voice in my head say, ‘you don’t know anyone named Randy.’
That calms my nerves a bit until I am suddenly transported to the front of the line. I let out a sigh of relief to see the coffin closed. I feel a little push from behind and stumble into the coffin causing it to fall of its stand. All of the sides of the coffin collapse on each other which reveals the dead body inside. I start to feel sick; inside the coffin is the body of Mr. Ricardo.
The next morning I stumble into the kitchen to see my mom eating a bowl of cereal.
It’s as if we’ve switched places because yesterday morning I was the one eating the cereal and she was the one who barely got any sleep.
She looks up at me, “Tough night?”
“Yeah, I had a nightmare,” I explain. I decide to tell her the dream. “if I tell you my dream, promise you wont think i’m crazy?” I ask.
She gestures for me to sit down beside her. “Depends,” she snorts.
I give her a look and then start, “okay, so, it was a dream that I was at a funeral and then the coffin was closed until I fell into it a-and it opened and inside was Mr. Ricardo, and now i-I feel like something bad is going to happen to him.” I don’t realize it until I’m done explaining that I was crying. I wipe at my tears. “Sorry, I’m just scared.”
She just stares at me.
I feel my cheeks go warm. I look away.
She pulls me into a hug.
I pull away and grab a tissue. “Hey mom, can you give me a ride to school today? I don’t feel like taking the bus,” I say, still wiping at my eyes.
She looks at her watch, “is it okay if we leave in 5, I have to be at work early today.”
“Sure, I’ll just get something simple to eat, I’m not that hungry.” I walk over to the fridge, open it and decide on an orange. I start to peel it as I make my way to the car. “I’ll be in the car!!” I shout, making sure my mom hears. I pet Ti on my way to the door. Something clicks in my brain, “MY LUNCH!” ‘Almost forgot.’ I run to the kitchen. I pick up my lunch and start to turn away but something catches my eye tucked behind my lunch kit. It’s a picture of my mom and dad but my dad is ripped off. And on the edge of the rip is a red liquid. I reach out and pick it up when I hear my mom, “what are you doing?” I jump back almost hitting my head on the cupboard over my head. “Nothing, nothing, nothing,” I put my hands up as if I’m guilty. But, first I shove the picture in my back pocket with my phone.
She eyes me suspiciously. “Okay, lets go, I’m ready!” She holds up her bag. I make my way to the garage door again. I look back at my mom.
She nudges her head forward as if to show me something.
Before I have a chance to turn around. I walk right into the couch. “Oww…”I scream in pain. I put my back to the couch and very slowly sit down. I rub my toes and look up at my mom.
“I’ll get some ice,” she rushes into the kitchen.
I kind of over exaggerated about my toe. I just wanted my mom out of the living room because when I hit the couch, it moved revealing a piece of paper that looked like it had some red on it. I quickly pick up the paper and gasp. It’s the ripped of side of the picture of her and my dad; and its covered in more sticky red liquid.
I tuck it into the same pocket as the other one. When my mom comes back I pretend to still be hurt. I slowly stand up. “I think I’m good, I don’t need ice, but thanks anyway,” I smile at her.
She sighs and brings the ice back.
I’ve never thought I could think of my mom like this. She scares me.
When I get to school, I kiss my moms cheek, say good bye, and meet up with Spencer. “Hey, why weren’t you on the bus?” He asks, curiously.
“It’s a long story,” I sigh. All of a sudden, it just all comes out. When I’m done I look at Taylor ashamed.
Before he can say anything several screams ring out. We turn to the sound and see people running out of the gym.
“What’s going on?” I hear Ms. Patters voice from behind me.
The blonde haired girl that I saw on the bus yesterday pushed through the crowd by the gym. She was panting. Once she caught her breath she starts to sob, “it’s Mr. Ricardo, h-he-he’s Dead!!”
I looked over at Taylor and he stared at we with his mouth wide open.
“It came true!” I mumbled.
Ms. Patters started talking but I didn’t hear a word she said.
I suddenly feel very tired. I saw white spots everywhere. I felt like I was swaying. Very slowly, I pass out.
When I wake up I’m lying down in the nurse’s office. I put my hand to my face. “Not again,” I groan. All of a sudden I hear the swivel of a chair. I already know its nurse Daisy.
She always sits on chair with wheels.
“How are you feeling, Spencer?” She asks, feeling my forehead.
I start to sit up. “I feel a little dizzy,” I tell her.
“Lie back down then,” she instructs.
“What happened?” I ask.
“You passed out right after finding out that Mr. Ricardo was found dead,” she explains.
As she finishes, it all comes back to me. I can feel tears start to form at the back of my eyes.
“No, this cant be happening! No!” I start to shout.
Nurse Daisy puts a hand on my shoulder, “calm down, what’s wrong?”
The tears are now about to fall down my face but I blink them away. ”I had a dream that I went to Mr. Ricardo’s funeral last night,” I said between sobs. “I-I had a feeling something bad was going to happen.”
“It’s okay, its okay,” she reiterates.
The next thing she does surprises me; she hugs me. Once she pulls away a question pushes its way into my mind.
“How did he die?” I blurt.
From the look in her eyes, I knew she wasn’t going to tell me. She looks towards the door and than back to me. “I’m not supposed to reveal this information to anyone, but, okay,” she says. “His body was found in his office, under his desk, right before you woke up the police ruled it out to be first degree murder,” she gossips, nervously. “They said that the person who murdered him, did it last night once everyone was gone and They also said they don’t know who killed him, but, they are going to find out who did it and why, because everyone liked him, he was a great teacher, did you know I used to go her when I was younger?” She adds.
At that moment an idea pops into my head. “Cool! Do you think I can go now?”
“Oh,” she mumbles, surprised. “I think so.”
“Thanks!” I grab my backpack and zip out of her office.
When I get to class, Leo, lea, and Taylor stare at me. I just notice that Agatha wasn’t at school. I take out my textbook and an pretend I know what Mr. Welch is talking about. I find a piece of paper and write “ meet me after school under the bleachers, I’ve got an idea :)”
I pass it to Lea. She gives me a nod. She passes it to Taylor and he gives me a shrug. Then Taylor passes it to Leo. I watch as a smile spreads across his face and he gives me a thumbs up.
At the end of the day I wait under the benches for my friends. I see Spencer walking this way. I wave to him, but, for once he doesn’t wave back.
He has a frown on his face.
I give him a what’s-wrong look.
But he just keeps walking towards me. When he ducks under the bleachers he sits down beside me.
I scoot closer to him. “What’s wrong?” I ask.
He takes a deep breath, “my dad, h-he’s missing.”
“What?” I screech.
He looks at me. His eyes start to tear up. “My mom came home and the front door was open and all of his stuff was there, even his shoes.” He explains, his voice cracking. He sniffles.
“He could’ve gone somewhere,” I suggest.
“No,” he says firmly. “That’s the thing, he doesn’t like going places, he doesn’t have a job, he left his phone on his bedside table, and he doesn’t go anywhere without his phone.”
“Well, I’ll help look for him, if that’s okay?” I grin.
“Yeah, that’ll be a great help,” he huffs. “Oh yeah, Leo and Lea forgot that they had a doctor’s appointment today, so they couldn’t come here.”
“Oh, that’s okay, it wasn’t that important,” I fib.
He looks at as if he knows I’m lying.
Because I am, it actually is really important. I was going to suggest we look for clues to find out who murdered Mr. Ricardo. But, I guess that isn’t an option now since we’ll be looking for Mr. Toncherd.
“Oh yeah, the police were at my house, they said that they think that Mr. Ricardo’s death was connected to my dad’s disappearance,” he says, glumly, as we walk home.
When we get to Taylor’s driveway, there are a few police cars surrounding his house. Long yellow police tape blocks off the front door.
One police officer is with Taylor’s mom.
She looks like she is hyperventilating.
All the other police officers are surveying the area.
A police officer walks up to Taylor and I.
“Hello kids, do you need anything?” He questions, obviously not knowing that Taylor lives there.
“My friend, Spencer, and I are going to help you guys search for my father,” Taylor answers, confidently.
He nods his head and walks away.
After walking around Taylor’s house and coming up with nothing I decide to go home.
“Thanks for helping,” Taylor smiles.
“no problem, you want to come over?” I ask.
“no thanks, I think I’m going to stay and help some more with looking.”
I wave good bye. As I’m walking up my driveway I notice something. There are footprints leading to the back of my house. I choose to follow them. I stop in my tracks.
I see some other marks. They almost look like…strangling marks.
I turn to Taylor who is searching across the street, “TAYLOR!! I think I found I Think I Found Something!!”
Taylor runs to me faster than I have ever seen him run before. ”what, what!!” He reiterates, out of breath.
I point to the marks.
We exchanged scared looks. We slowly follow the marks.
They look more like struggle marks as we get closer to the woods behind my house.
I gasp, “what if he’s?”
“No!” Taylor exclaims.
We run full speed into the woods.
I put my arm out to stop Taylor and point down. There’s a trail of blood leading on for what seems like forever.
“It seems whoever did this doesn’t seem to know how to clean up after themselves,” I say, sadly.
We start to follow the trail. It keeps going after a turn right into a bunch of trees. Once the blood gets more visible, I stop Taylor. “Shouldn’t we get the police?” I ask.
“No! If this is my dad,” he hisses through sobs, “this will be my last time seeing him.”
He keeps on going but I don’t. I feel like someone is watching us. I turn around and check the area. I see movement out f the corner of my eye. Before I Can turn to see what it is a male scream rings out; Taylor. I run to him.
He’s on the ground crying.
Hanging from a tree in front of him is his father.
He is hung by a tight looking rope and its covered in blood. Thinking about it, I notice all around is, there’s blood. It’s as if the person who put him there had a hard time getting him up there. It makes me gag to think about….
My thoughts get cut off when paramedics push past me.
TO BE CONTINUED.....