The Warning

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Morning in the Kenison house was always quiet. Mackenzie's father was off to work quite early and Mackenzie's mother was anything but a morning person. She trudged around the house like a zombie when she had to be up, but when she was on vacation and she didn't, she'd usually sleep until nine or ten, and get Mackenzie up right away.

This morning she wouldn't have to worry about it, as Mackenzie was already awake. She had been all night.

She'd tried to sleep, tried to clear her head and go on as normal, but she couldn't help but toss and turn and worry all night. She tried her usual weird rituals that got her to sleep during the school year. She read chapters of Emma and watched episodes of Seinfeld on DVD, but nothing worked. Eventually she just gave up and sat down with one of the Sookie Stackhouse novels and got lost in the world of fictional vampires to escape from her world of very real ones.

Mackenzie got sick of her room by 8:30 and went downstairs as quiet as possible. Her stomach growled and she went to the kitchen and got herself a bowl of Lucky Charms. While she was eating she heard her mother descend down the stairs and walk into the kitchen.

“You're up early,” Her mom commented, heading straight to the cabinets. Mackenzie swallowed the mouthful of marshmallows she had picked out of the milk filled bowl.

“I didn't sleep at all,” She replied. Her mom stuck a bagel in the toaster and turned to get coffee filters and grounds out of another cabinet.

“I figured that when I went to the bathroom at 2 am and heard Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander yelling about something from your room,” She said. Her mother was well aware of her quirks, as she had inspired a few of them. “So what was keeping you up?”

“I honestly don't know, I just couldn't get myself to sleep last night,” Mackenzie answered. Her mom nodded and took her bagel out of the toaster. Mackenzie got up and took her bowl to the sink where she rinsed it off. Then she got a mug and stole some coffee from her mom.

“Got any plans today?” Her mother asked, watching with amusement as Mackenzie dumped a bunch of sugar into her coffee.

“Actually, I do.”

“With who? Allison? Joshua?” Her mother asked. Mackenzie shook her head. “Not so mysterious neighbor boy Julian?”

Mackenzie put a finger on the tip of her nose, “Got it in three, mom. I'm also hanging with his older sister.”

“Oh, did you meet her yesterday? Is she nice?” Her mom asked, pouring her own coffee.

“She's... different,” Mackenzie said. Her mom wrinkled her nose.

“So, she's a bitch then?”

“No, mom,” Mackenzie laughed, “It's just far too early for me to judge.”

“Okay then. But tell me if you decide that she's a bitch,” Her mom said, taking a seat with her bagel and her coffee. Mackenzie smiled.

“Will do,” She said as she exited the room. She ran up the stairs to her room to take a shower and get ready. When she finished it was nearly nine-thirty and the morning sun was shining bright through her curtains. Mackenzie went to open them up, and the room gradually filled with light. Once she reached the shade on the balcony door, the sun had filled the room generously. She reached down and tugged at the bottom of the shade until it pulled itself completely up. Then Mackenzie gasped at the sight that met her on the balcony.

There was a squirrel there, torn apart in a gruesome manner. It's blood was splattered on nearly every inch of the balcony, including the railing. Mackenzie instinctively stepped backwards, bumping into her dresser and knocking down some of her things.

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