I had to settle my eyes because I had the strange urge to look over and scan my surroundings. The trees, the house, everything. I wanted to make sure it was absolutely real, without one ounce of a doubt. I even touched my own skin. I could feel the warmth of blood rushing through my veins like a speeding rocket. I looked over to see Suzanne, but she wasn't there. I jumped thinking something terrible must've been going on, but when I stood and turned the opposite direction of the forest she was staring at the door.
"Suzanne, what're you doing?" I ask her curiously. She looked as if she was in a trance.
"I want to see inside" she answered without facing me.
"..alright then" I say, frowning at her weird fascination
She opens the door and I follow behind her. The house looked almost normal, too normal.
"I have this strange feeling...we should check upstairs" Suzanne says, with a perplexing look on her face.
"You think something's up there?" I ask her
"I don't know, but I want to see" she responds, making her way up the staircase. Every step reminding me of the sounds of loud creaking I'd become accustomed to.
When we went upstairs I noticed that the door to Sammy's room was in its original form. I shook my head. I went to open the door and I noticed the floorboards were intact. I didn't understand, we kicked in that door and my mother ripped apart the floorboards. It's almost as if the whole ordeal didn't happen.
"I knew something felt off up here" Suzanne says nodding her head.
"You think that someone came and fixed it all? & if so, who?" I ask her
"I don't know, but I'm feeling a weird hysteria that I don't like. Why would anyone even come in here? If anything this must be some horrible mind game" she responds
"How long have we been gone?" I continue, "I know it was still September because school just started"
"Do you have a calendar?" She asks me and I instantly thought of the kitchen.
"Follow me" I say and gesture for her to come with me down stairs.
We walk into the kitchen and found the calendar. I blinked twice because I couldn't believe what I was reading. When I looked at Suzanne her eyes widened.
"This doesn't make sense" she comments
"How is it October? We couldn't have been gone almost an entire month..." I say, but I wasn't sure if that was entirely true. My concept of time was not stable in the forest. It felt like the whole world dragged.
"Wait...then, where is my mother?" I ask, frantically thinking of her.
"I'm sure she's fine. My mom took her to get help remember?" Suzanne says trying to calm me
"But that was almost a month ago" I go on, "She must think we're dead!"
"Calm down" Suzanne says, placing her hand on my shoulder. It was very comforting in a way that made me feel something in my stomach that I couldn't recall.
"We're going to see her" I tell Suzanne urgently, "We're going to find out where your mother took her"
"Alright Matthew, but I don't think you should worry...everything will be fine" she says to me in a comforting tone.
I didn't understand where her optimism was coming from. It was extremely out of place considering all that has been going on.
We drove for a while in my mother’s car. I presume that Suzanne's mother must've brought it back after she took my mother to get some help. I had never been to Suzanne's house or had even seen it before, so she had to tell me where to go.
When we arrived in front of her doorway I noticed that there were no signs of anyone living there. It looked abandoned with its dark, lifeless walls and expressionless door aligning it.
"I think it'd be best if you knocked on the door...I don't know if your father is inside" I suggest to Suzanne.
"Fair enough..." she says, and I could see the concerned look on her face despite how much she tried to hide it from me.
She got out of the car, gently closing the door behind her. She walked over to the house, at first not even knocking on the door, but instead staring in the windows. She finally knocked on the door, three times, with a softness as if she didn't want anyone to hear. Her mother opened the door.
"Suzanne!" she screamed with wide eyes hugging her, "You're okay! I thought I'd never see you again..."
"Hi mom" Suzanne says back to her, "I missed you too"
In the moment of her excitement her mother looked over at me. I wasn't sure what the look meant, but got out of the car anyway.
"Hey Matthew" her mother says to me, "It's good to know you're safe too..."
"Yeah…it's amazing" I respond sarcastically, "I need some information from you. Where exactly is my mother?"
"Oh...well, she's being taken care of" her mother responds to me, slowly unwrapping her arms from around Suzanne
"What do you mean? Where is she?" I ask, getting annoyed at her lack of information.
She walks over to me and places her hands on my shoulders, "Matthew, I think it's best that you let your mother rest"
I pushed her away, "Tell me where my mother is NOW"
"Matthew -" Suzanne tries to interrupt
"Tell me where she is now" I say again, losing my temper
"Matthew, you have to stay away from her - something bad will happen to you if you find her. You don't understand, I'm trying to protect you. You need to hide" she tells me and I feel a huge banging going off in my head. What is happening?
"I'm not going to ask again...I need to see her" I respond impatiently
"...you are making a mistake" she tells me, "she's in a mental institution...they says she's lost her mind. It's just up the road, but like I said, if I were you I'd stay away..."