Chapter 1-Returning Home

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It was a strange sensation, being back home. It was different of course, older, and dilapidated. The pale blue swing set that stood in front of the wooden fence throughout my childhood was rusted with flaking paint, the large oak tree that I used to climb on now had reams of weeds and grass pickled around its base.

The stairs moaned beneath my weight as I ascended the old wooden staircase. My brother's room was first up down the upstairs hallway. I swallowed deeply and pushed open the door.

The bed was still covered with the same plaid blue comforter that was tattered even back when we were kids. The dirty old baseball that dad and my brother got still sat on the dresser, along with long forgotten soccer trophies.

I backed out of the room slowly and tip toed across the hallway and crossed into a very familiar room. The room was nearly empty. A few cardboard boxes lined one of the walls and a white twin-sized bed sat in the center of the small space. As I closed my eyes I could almost imagine how it all used to look. The pink striped bed sheets, the wooden nightstand that was always heaped with books. The silver little lamp that illuminated the room and cast shadows on the light blue walls.

When I opened my eyes again the image faded away. The pink sheets gave way to an old, bare mattress, the books disappeared, and a silver lamp lay broken on the floor. I walked over to the closet which was already halfway open.

I flicked on the light waiting until the bulb was done flickering and sputtering. All that hung in the closet was a ratty old t-shirt and a pair of holy sweatpants. I flipped the light back off and left the room. I walked slowly to the last doorway and pause in front of the door that I certainly did not want to enter. But of course I did anyway.

Empty bottles and beer cans were scattered around the floor, as well was dirty articles of clothing. Men's clothing. I swallowed hard and stepped carefully between the items scattered on the old carpet and stood in front of an old dresser.

I slowly opened the first drawer to find a stack of neatly folded sweaters. I gingerly picked on up from the pile and buried my face in it. It still smelled faintly of her even though it had been years.

Suddenly I remember seeing all the blood smeared on the wall and how it had pooled on the floor at my feet...

I glanced up around the room fighting tears, before pulling my phone from my bag. I also pulled out the post-it note with the number they had given me. My hands shook wildly as I typed in the number and hit dial.

The phone rang once, twice, and then...

"Hello?" ohgodohgodohgod.

"Jeremy?" Isaid tentatively. I could practically hear him on the other line, his body stiffening.

"Who is this?"

"It's Natalie." Silence.

"Is this some kind of prank?"

"No, Jeremy it's really me."

"What do you want?" the voice spat.

"It's about him." I say solemnly.

"Don't call me." He said abruptly.

"He's dead Jeremy."

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