Chapter 20

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The arrival home was heavy with emotion. In the car we were suffocated with new discoveries and grief.

Jake shed angry and mournful tears as we drove away from the house. After he had discovered what Jarred, Kathrine, and their dad had did to Alex he went into a frenzy of emotions. Even I had tears falling down my face after we discovered the abusive that Alex endured in the house, but Jake wasn't just crying for Alex. He was crying for Kyle, for Aria, and for Jarred. No matter how horrible Jarred was, he was still Jake's little brother. He was once a good kid, but something happened down the road that made him who he was. It was better for him to die that way anyway, Jake wouldn't have been able to take the emotional pain of killing his own brother.

Aria's state hasn't changed since we left the house. Her eyes have grown dull and her skin has paled at the image of Jarred's lifeless body burned to her the core of her memories. I've tried all I could to get one word out of her, but all she manages to repeat is 'I didn't do it.' She's traumatized. The blood on her hands has caused her to feel nothing but guilt and shock. Guilt that she had spilled the blood of a man, and shock from what she discovered she was capable of.

I've seen this happen many times. It happened with me as well. Your first kill will always be with you and it'll cause you the most damage.

My first kill caused me to fall under the same spell that Aria's in. The men I killed were rapist, child molesters, and brutes. They deserved to die for their sins, yet my heart battered me because of the blood on my hands. It took me a while to get over the guilt and shock, but I completely went the wrong way once I was healed. I went to drugs, drinking, and girls to cope with what I had done. I can't let Aria go down the same road I went down. I won't allow her to grow into the same monster I was.

"Aria," I knocked on her bedroom door, and of course I got no response back.

"I'm coming in," I slowly opened the door to come face to face to the darkness that filled the room. When I switched the light on, my eyes laid upon Aria sitting up in bed, staring off in the distance. Her eyes were watery with bags resting underneath them.

"Beautiful?" I slowly sat down next to her as tears continued to flow down her face like an open river.

She said nothing, moved nowhere, and shed tears of grief. What she had done saved her, but ruined her at the same time, but I also know that she isn't fully wounded from this. She can recover from this bullet that has been lodged into her heart. I'll make sure of it.

"You know you have nothing to feel guilty about, right?" I rubbed circles into her back," Jarred deserved it. He prostituted women, abused Kyle, and tried to get to you and Alex. If he wasn't killed the way he was, he'd be facing a torture chamber right now. The way he died was much more peaceful than what would've been his destiny."

"Can you g-get it off me?" Her eyes travelled down to her shaky hands.

"Get what off you?" I questioned as I stared down at her blank hands.

"The blood, get the blood off me Daren," She began to rub her hands aggressively together," Please Daren. Get it off me. I don't want it here."

Her breathing began to increase rapidly as the tears flowing down her face matched.

"Okay, come on. Let's go wash it off," I slowly helped her stand up as the sobs continued to escape her lips.

I carefully walked her to the bathroom to wash the invisible blood off of her hands. The blood is stained to her mind; it's invisible to the world, but very vague to her. The blood haunts her like a monster hiding in a child's closet. I want to help her rid of this nightmare, but I can't. She must kill this demon on her own.

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