I can’t get my eyes to look away from the red puddle on the floor- blood. My breathing is erratic and my heart is hammering. Mom is just the same. She puts a shaking hand on my forearm and leads me into the living room.
It’s quiet in my house, too quiet.
Mom calls for dad, but no one answers.
“Just stay right here, Greer.” Mom instructs me, taking uneasy steps deeper into the house. I hear her call for dad again, but the house is still quiet.
I hug my arms around myself, keeping my back to the blood on the ground. My mind is swimming.
Suddenly, there’s a scream: my mother’s. I take off running to her. She’s in my dad’s office. The door is open wide. There’s another puddle of blood on the ground. I stumble into the room. Mom is crouched on the ground, her shoulders shaking and her loud sobs fill the room.
“Mom!” I scream, stepping towards her.
She stops me instantly. She doesn’t turn around to face me, but she puts a hand up to stop me. “No! Greer, don’t come any closer!”
“Mom? What’s wrong?” I try to look around her, to see what she’s kneeling over, but I can’t see.
Suddenly, my father screams, “Run!” It’s then that I realize that mom was hovered over my father’s body. Mom is knocked back. Dad is hunched against the wall, blood covering the front of his shirt. “Run!” He screams again, blood dripping from his mouth.
I scream, covering my mouth with both of my hands. Nausea rolls hot in my stomach. I clamp my eyes closed.
Suddenly, there’s footsteps upstairs. Dad yells for us to run again. Mom is protesting, trying to get my father on his feet. He barely looks conscience by now. Mom spins around to face me, running to me from across the room. Everything looks like it’s happening in slow motion. Mom is pushing me towards the door and out into the hallway. She’s yelling something to me, but I can’t understand her words.
Mom’s hands are about to close on the doorknob when a man dressed in black comes bounding down the steps. I scream and so does mom. The man reaches us in a matter of seconds, mom’s not even able to get the door open. The man’s hands clamp down on my mother first. She starts kicking and screaming, yelling at me to run.
I don’t want to leave her. I jump towards my mother, my hand closing around her wrist as the man fists to hold her still. Mom yells at me again, her words piercing as she struggles to get me to understand. Tears blur my vision, but I finally listen to her.
Before the strange man can grab me, I fling the front door open and sprint into the darkness. I lose my shoes at some point and my dress is ripped at the hems. My feet carry me to our neighbor’s house. Their front porch is dark but their car is parked in the driveway. I pound on their door with frantic fists and scream at the top of my lungs.
Mr. Logan pulls open the door with panicked eyes and a wooden bat in his fists. He notices my appearance. “Greer, what happened?”
“Please!” I scream. “Someone broke into our house! My parents-” I break off, unable to speak any more.
Mr. Logan instantly pulls me into the house and screams for his wife to call 9-1-1. Mr. Logan locks the door behind us.
“No! You have to let me go back! My dad’s hurt!” I scream, stepping towards the door.
“Greer! You can’t!” Mr. Logan holds me back.
“You don’t understand!” I yell between sobs.
Mr. Logan puts his arms around me as I fight to make it to the door. All I can think about is that my parents are alone and my dad was injured. My fighting turns into sobs as red and blue lights engulf the Logan’s front room.
Seconds later, there’s pounding on the doors. Mr. Logan finally lets me go and pulls open the door. I can barely process what the cops are saying, but suddenly their pulling us from the house. My eyes snap to my house, where I see police officers surrounding it. They have guns raised.
I’m led quickly away from my house and to a police car. A cop is asking me questions, but I can’t hear what he’s saying. My focus is trained on the front of my house as the cop’s storm inside. Everything happens so quickly after that. I’m barely aware of the crowd that the commotion has gathered around our house, the cops are trying desperately to keep them back. Police officers are shouting from within my house. The chaos dies down a second later. I watch as a police officer walks slowly out of my house. He stops on the front porch and runs a shaking hand down his face. He looks over at me and then back to another cop that meets him on my lawn. They talk for a moment before the first officer shakes his head.
I start screaming. My body knows what’s happened before everything else does. My knees buckle and someone catches me before I hit the street. Tears blur my vision so I can’t see the two cops talking anymore. So many people are watching me, tears in their eyes, but I don’t care.
“Let me go!” I scream. I want nothing more than to run back into my house to find my parents. “Please!”
Someone is soothing my head as I scream and cry. They hold me tight and rock me. They whisper into my ear. I’m picked up off the ground then and forced into the back of the cop car. It’s then that an ambulance comes rushing onto our street and stops in front of my house.
I’m drove away before I can see my parents’ bodies being wheeled out.