Sometime during the night Lillian and Logan traded shifts and I woke with Logan sitting in the chair across from my bed. I squinted at the bright light coming in through the windows of the room.
“Hey, Squirt,” Logan said softly moving from the chair.
He came to stand next to my bed. I groaned a little moving my sore arm up and down. The IV hookup was painful. Logan looked at my arm, frowning.
“Ouch!” I said glaring at the needles and tubes in my arm.
“Dr. Acefield was in earlier,” Logan said reaching out to touch my arm.
We looked at each other as his hand moved over my sore arm lightly. I shivered as the blood rushed to my face. The heart monitor began to increase slightly.
“Sorry,” Logan said quickly moving his hand away from arm.
“What did the doctor say,” I asked quickly.
My eyes shifted to the white blanket guiltily as my heart monitor’s beeping slowed.
“They are going to run some routine tests on you today and if everything looks okay, you should be able to go…home…tomorrow,” Logan replied his voice faltering on the word home.
“What about…dad?” I asked looking back up at my brother.
“He’s already been buried, Patrick. I had to arrange everything myself,” Logan replied.
My brother’s shoulders sagged and his mouth twisted into a cold grimace as we continued to look at each other.
“He was buried next to mom in Oak Grove Memorial,” Logan continued his eyes softening as my mouth sort of fell open.
I knew my eyes were wide. I still couldn’t believe that our father had decided to end his own life. To leave us behind without anyone, to abandon us like we were unwanted pieces of trash. A lot of emotions poured over me at once. I felt sorrow, pain, grief, and worse of all, anger. The heart monitor beeped and Logan looked towards the machine in surprise.
“He was selfish, Logan. You saw the way he changed after mom died,” I replied. I cringed at my words.
“He was still our father,” Logan replied sadly as we looked at each other.
My heart monitor began to increase and I wanted to rip the stupid thing from my body as I became even angrier. Logan watched the monitor as then his eyes flashed back to me in worry.
“Patrick…,” he began but I shook my head.
“Dad married Diana, Logan. She abused us and tortured us and he turned a blind eye to all of it,” I snapped.
Logan sat beside me on the bed as my heart monitor slowed a little. I was trying to calm down.
“You can hate him all you want Patrick. I understand. I hate him for leaving us behind, for doing what he did, but he was still dad. I’m trying to remember him before mom died. Before Diana,” Logan whispered.
Logan and I eyed each other. Memories of our father before mom’s death raced through my mind all at once. He was always smiling and cutting up with Logan, always trying to get me to follow in my brother’s footsteps and play football, and he treated Lillian like a princess. My heart softened a little remembering. I looked down at the white blanket covering me again as I felt tears spring to my eyes.
I felt Logan’s hand wrap around mine as I looked back at him. I gave him a guarded look my hand tightening around his. My heart beat increased as the heart monitor machine chirping noise increased again causing me and Logan to look at it.
“Well I see he’s awake, huh?” Lillian said from the doorway.
My brother and I turned to see our sister leaning against the door frame her arms crossed. She was looking at us oddly. Logan’s hand remained over mine as I felt an odd prickly feeling overcome me as we continued to look at Lillian. Our sister sighed walking over to the chair in the corner. Lillian flopped onto the chair sighing heavily.
“I hate hospitals! Place gives me the creeps,” Lillian grumbled.
“Me too,” I replied as Logan’s continued to keep his hand around mine. I stared at him awkwardly wondering why he was being so overly affectionate with me. We had grown closer after mom’s death and as a result some things had happened between us that shouldn’t have. I felt the blood rise to my face as I remembered. My brother appeared to notice as he gave me a strange look.
“Dr. Acefield is on his way soon. Gotta start poking and prodding at you,” Lillian said as she picked up the television remote.
Our sister flipped on the television promptly flipping through the channels until she found something that she liked.
“Lillian, I think Patrick needs some rest, don’t you?” Logan asked our sister who was watching some talk show on television.
“I’m here if you need to go do something,” Lillian replied seemingly ignoring Logan’s statement.
“Lilly…,”Logan said his voice full of warning, but I interjected quickly.
“It’s okay, Logan. I don’t mind,” I replied smiling at him.
Logan gave me a questioning look.
“Yeah, Logan, chill out,” Lillian replied not looking at us.
Her attention was focused on the television show. There was a talk show on and the topic was woman who cheated on their husbands.
Logan rolled his eyes noticing the show she was watching. I grinned as Lillian suddenly cried out, “That bastard! He was cheating with her best friend all this time”
“Really, Lillian? Do you think now is the appropriate time to watch that? Patrick needs rest,” Logan asked through gritted teeth.
“Don’t hear you,” Lillian said ignoring Logan.
My brother gave her a mean look before turning back to me.
“Since Lil’ is here, I’ve got to leave. I’m meeting with dad’s lawyer today about some things,” Logan said to me unhooking his hand from mine.
“Okay,” I replied as I sort of began to get caught up in Lillian’s show.
Two ladies were fighting on stage over some little scrawny man who looked terrified of getting caught in the middle of the two upset women.
“I’ll be back later,” Logan said. He ruffled my hair with his hand playfully, turning to leave the room.
“Logan let me know how the meeting goes, okay?” Lillian said not looking from the television.
“I’ll be back in a few hours. We will talk then,” he replied to our sister.
“Okay,” she said not looking at him.
I watched my brother and sister’s exchange curiously as Logan walked from the room.
“He’s taking on a lot of responsibility,” Lillian said when Logan was gone from the room.
“You mean by taking custody of us?” I asked.
Lillian turned to look at me her green eyes dull and tired looking.
“So he told you, huh? Yeah. He’s taking on everything. Us. The house, the bills, everything,” Lillian replied shaking her head.
“But he wants to keep us together,” I replied.
“Logan hasn’t always been that responsible, Patrick. Remember when he got into all that trouble when he was sixteen?” Lillian replied frowning.
“That was a while back. Logan has changed,” I replied.
Lillian smirked at my comment.
“Logan hasn’t changed as much as he lets on,” she replied.
I gave her a questioning look.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“The first night we were here and you were unresponsive and Dr. Acefield told him that he didn’t know when you would wake up our dear brother decided to drink himself into a stupor,” Lillian replied shaking her head in disappointment.
“Really?” I asked surprised.
“I had to get him back to the house to sleep it off,” Lillian spat bitterly.
“We can go back home?” I asked seriously wondering about our house.
“Oh yeah. We can go back to that house when you are released,” Lillian said rolling her eyes.
“That house?” I asked puzzled.
“I don’t think of that house as home anymore. It’s tainted, Patrick, a crime scene practically,” Lillian replied giving me a strange look.
“But that’s our house,” I protested, but I did see Lillian’s point. Mom had died in the kitchen, Diana had been pushed down the stairs to her death, and of course, our father had taken his life in the study. The thoughts of actually going back into our house gave me the chills, but I didn’t admit this to my sister.
“Mary said the kids at school are talking about our house, spreading rumors about it being haunted. Our house is almost as famous as Turner house now,” Lillian replied her voice grim.
I had not thought about what people would think about our house. It gave me a grim feeling to know I was about to go home to a house of horrors or so people seemed to think about our house now.
“It’s still our house,” was all I could think to say.
“Logan thinks he is going to take control of me, but I’m out of this place when I turn eighteen,” Lillian said bitterly.
“You’re leaving? Going to college?” I asked her.
“I was going to go to State but I’ve changed my mind. And I hate this stupid one horse town. All the kids are talking about us, about our family. The entire neighborhood thinks we are freaks or something,” Lillian replied.
“Don’t leave, Lilly,” I said feeling like everyone, everything I knew was falling away.
“You can come with me if you want? I’m sure Logan would love that though,” she replied hatefully. I couldn’t help but wonder why Lillian seemed so angry toward Logan. I hadn’t noticed any hard feelings between them after I had awakened.
“Logan is trying to do what’s best for us Lillian,” I replied.
“Logan doesn’t even know what’s best for him right now,” she replied sadly.
“Mr. Bellwood,” Dr. Acefield said brightly as he entered the open door to my room cutting the conversation between me and Lillian short.
“Hi,” I replied smiling weakly.
Lillian returned to the show as two angry ladies screamed loudly, rushing forward to pull hair and fight. The doctor began to examine me.
“You don’t feel light headed? Dizzy? Nauseous?” Dr Acefield asked as he finished looking me over.
“No, I feel fine,” I replied. The doctor began to write on a clipboard. Dr. Acefield continued to write notes on his clipboard as he glanced up at me every so often. Lillian continued to watch the drama on the television, every so often twirling a bit of her hair as if she were thinking about something. A nurse came in to tell me that she was going to take some blood. I shivered remembering that this was the same nurse from yesterday who resembled Diana. Jessica was the name on her name tag.
“There we go, honey, all done,” Nurse Jessica said finishing up the blood collection.
I shivered again and my skin erupted in goose-flesh. Nurse Jessica was eerily similar to Diana in mannerisms. I gave the nurse a halfhearted smile as she left. Dr. Acefield turned his attention back to me looking up from his chart work.
“In a few minutes there will be someone to come up to take you to the X-ray area,” he said.
I nodded as Lillian turned away from the television show to look at the doctor.
“Is he going to be okay, Dr. Acefield?” she asked her voice full of concern.
“So far Ms. Bellwood, everything is checking out okay with your brother. I may even be able to remove that bandage from his head today as well,” the doctor replied.
Lillian let out a sigh of relief her face falling in a release of tension. She was bunched up in the hospital chair her knees against her chest.
The doctor smiled at Lillian and then turned to leave the room. I looked at my sister.
“I guess I’m okay, huh?” I replied grinning at her. I reached up to lightly touch the bandage wrapped around my head. I honestly could not remember falling and hitting my head. I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe my memory might be hiding something from me still.
“Yeah. You had both of us worried, especially Logan. I’ve never seen him act like that before,” she replied her voice growing low.
“Act like how?” I asked worried.
Lillian gave me a look her face pensive.
“When he learned about dad that was bad enough but when they said that you were passed out on the floor and not responsive, Logan freaking lost it,” Lillian said.
I looked oddly at my sister aware that Diana had started to suspect something about me and Logan because of our close bond.
“Lost it?” I asked quietly.
“He whacked out on everyone and practically had to be restrained trying to get at you in the kitchen. They wouldn’t let him near you while the paramedics tried to figure out what was going on with you. It was chaos,” Lillian replied her eyes growing wide. Lillian suddenly looked as if she might cry, but bit her lip instead.
“That sounds horrible,” I replied honestly.
“It was. I was pretty bad off that night myself. I thought that…well, let’s not talk about what I thought,” Lillian said giving me a grim look.
I bit my bottom lip, thinking about her reply for a second. I looked up at the television. Lillian fell silent and began to watch the television show again. A little while later, I was wheeled down to the X-ray room. I was put under a machine to take pictures of my chest. I hated feeling the cold hard table under my stiff white gown. I hated being in the hospital. Everything smelled so cold and sterile.
When I was finished getting the X-ray I was wheeled back to my room. The man that was wheeling me looked slightly uninterested as we wheeled down the narrow hallway. The hallway was long and starkly white. I shivered as we passed by a steel door with a sign hanging over it that read Morgue in red letters. Logan was waiting in my room when I got back. He and Lillian were talking about something heatedly and they shut up when the technician wheeled me back in.
“You feeling better?” Logan asked me.
“Yeah,” I replied as the technician left the room.
“I’m just really tired,” I said suddenly feeling the weight of everything that had happened in a few short days suddenly sink in.
“You taking this shift?” Lillian asked our brother.
“I’m going to Mary’s for a little while. I may swing by Murder Mansion for some clothes first,” Lillian said smirking.
“Don’t call our house that,” Logan replied giving her a look.
“Everyone else is,” Lillian said offhandedly. Logan seemingly ignored our sister’s negative attitude.
“Can you grab Patrick some clothes while you are at it then?” Logan asked our sister.
“Sure, why not?” Lillian replied smirking at Logan.
“Thanks,” Logan replied stiffly looking at me.
Lillian didn’t reply and was quickly out the door. Logan stared after her and so did I.
“She’s trying to put on a brave front, but this has wrecked her,” Logan said.
“Lillian’s tough,” I replied remembering that Diana had signaled out Lillian more than Logan or me.
“She’s tough, but she still needs support. She’s not talking to me about anything,” Logan replied softly looking at me again.
We heard a knock at my door and there was an older woman standing there with a serving cart. My hospital food had arrived. Looking out the window I saw that the sunlight was quickly fading.
“Spaghetti or meatloaf?” the woman asked me.
The hospital employee wore a pink shirt and white pants. Her gray hair was pulled up in a bun and her face was wrinkled. Her blue eyes were bright and she had a warm smile.
“Meatloaf,” I replied as she rolled the cart over to my bed taking a tray off to sit on the little table beside me.
Her name tag read Norma. She put a little pink pitcher and a cup on the table beside the tray.
“Enjoy,” she said and left.
I looked at Logan who was smiling at me.
“Reminds me of the school food,” he replied.
I lifted the cover off the tray and looked at the meatloaf. I grimaced and began to pick at it.
“Eat up. If you get sick, they will keep you longer and I want you home. With Lil’ and me,” Logan said giving me a stern look.
“This doesn’t even look edible,” I replied picking up a stringy looking squash thing with my fork.
“I’ll grab you some fast food on the way home tomorrow or something?” Logan replied.
His eyes looked toward the door and then he leaned forward quickly to kiss me on the cheek. I sort of blushed not looking at him directly.
“I’m glad you are okay. You scared us. You scared me,” he whispered.
“You know what? I don’t even remember hitting my head Logan,” I replied. I was still struggling to remember what exactly had happened to me that evening.
“It will eventually come back to you. Give it time,” Logan said. He walked over to the chair in the corner and sat down.
My brother looked exhausted. He had changed clothes and was wearing a white button up dress shirt with tan khaki pants. His hair was slightly unkempt. He had started to let his sideburns grow out which made him look a little older than he was.
“I’m exhausted,” Logan said looking at me.
“Go to sleep. I’ll be fine Logan. I’m strapped into this bed. Where am I really going?” I replied grinning.
Logan grinned back at me and closed his eyes.
“Just going to take a nap,” he mumbled and before I knew it he was softly snoring.
I continued to eat my mystery hospital food. I found the television remote and tuned the television to MTV. I lost myself in the music videos. The show I was watching was focusing on the music of the last decade and there was a video featuring a woman wearing a long white dress. She had her red hair teased up wildly and as the band began to play the music my eyelids grew heavy. I saw the lady climb on top of the car in the video as my eyes began to shut.
My eyes opened again. The room was dark. Someone had turned the television off. I looked over to the corner and Logan was not in his chair. The hallway outside was dark also. I grew apprehensive.
“Hello,” I called out.
I looked around the room and the machines were off but someone had hooked me back to them. I angrily tore the leads off, yanking the IV out of my arm, crying out when blood began to leak from my arm. I looked around the room again wondering where everyone was.
“Logan, Lillian?” I called out.
There was silence. I didn’t even hear sounds coming from the hallway. I looked at my arm, the blood dripping down onto the floor. I moved to the bathroom, grabbing a paper towel. I wrapped the paper towel around the wound wincing in pain. I tried the light switch in the bathroom but it wouldn’t come on.
“What is going on?” I said out loud.
I moved from the bathroom and back out into my room. I walked slowly to the hospital room door and peered out. There was no one around. The hallway in either direction stretched out into darkness. Suddenly the florescent lights in the hallway began to flicker on, one at a time. Blink, blink, blink, the lights flickered on in succession. I could hear the harsh buzzing noise that they made like angry buzzing bees.
“Patrick,” I heard a voice say from down the hallway.
The voice was very familiar. I recognized that voice. I cringed in fear stumbling out of the room. I began to run as I heard a shrill scream issue forth from down the left hallway. I looked back as the lights began to blow one by one in an explosive shock. The darkness left behind seemed to grow and build as it headed straight for me. My eyes grew wide as I ran to the right, down the hallway.
“Somebody, help me!” I screamed.
I stumbled down the hallway as the shrill scream became almost demonic. I picked myself up from the cold tile floor and continued to run. My bare feet slapped against the old tile floor as I struggled to get away from whatever was chasing me. I saw a sign in the distance hanging above a wooden door. Chapel the sign read. I ran for the wooden door, the darkness gaining on me. I could feel whatever it was. The darkness was alive, like a strong tornado of wind at my heels. I hit the wooden door hard, opening it, and then slamming it shut. I pressed myself up against the door as something slammed into it hard. I turned to see the door bucking under the weight of a force incredibly strong.
I looked around the small chapel looking for a means of escape. The room was small, only four small pews and an altar in the middle. There were no windows, no other entrances. There were two small candles lit near the door. I backed away from the door as it began to buckle inwards.
Suddenly the door exploded and I shielded myself from the wooden pieces as a figure emerged from the shadows of the hallway. I knew who she was instantly. She was wearing black leggings, a leopard print blouse and her black hair was wild and blowing in the wind.
“Miss me, Sugar?” my stepmother, Diana, asked her eyes glowing fire red.
I screamed as my eyes snapped open. I looked around, bewildered. I was not in my hospital bed. In fact I was where I had been in what had obviously been a horrible nightmare. I was in a small chapel. I looked around the small space which looked exactly as it had in my dream. I felt a heavy wetness running down my arm and looked down to see blood.
The door to the chapel suddenly opened and there was Logan, his expression frozen in terror. A nurse was with him, a worried look on her face.
“Patrick, what’s going on?” Logan asked fearfully. My brother’s face was pale and he was blinking at me.
“Come on, Honey. We need to get you back to your room now,” the nurse said moving around Logan.
Her name tag read Betsy and she was a younger woman with blond hair and blue eyes. Nurse Betsy gently took my arm and guided me toward the door to the chapel.
“I saw him round the corner a few moments ago,” Betsy said to Logan.
“Was he sleepwalking?” Logan asked her his face looking relieved for a moment.
“I believe so. Not so unusual with what he’s been through,” Betsy replied guiding me around Logan and out the door.
My brother stood dumbfounded looking at me with his mouth open.
“We will get him all fixed up and I’ll let Dr. Acefield know what’s happened immediately,” Betsy said moving me down the hall.
Logan followed us, his mouth still open, as he stared at me worriedly. Betsy was greeted by another nurse and both of them quickly set about making me good again. I was put back into my bed and the monitors were put back on me and the IV tubing reattached.
“Did I pull this entire thing out?” I asked Betsy looking at the blood on the floor and the tubing and wires lying all over.
“Don’t worry. Just lay back and try to relax dear,” she said fluffing my pillow and gently urging me to lie back on the bed.
I noticed that Logan was watching us from the doorway.
“Dr. Acefield is on his way to talk to you Mr. Bellwood,” Nurse Betsy said directing her attention to Logan.
“Please call me Logan,” my brother said smiling weakly at Betsy.
Betsy nodded and left the room, but not before letting my brother and I know that a nursing assistant would be in promptly to attend to the blood in the floor. I cringed looking at the mess I’d made on the floor.
“I saw you,” Logan said walking over to the bed.
“You saw me do what?” I asked puzzled.
“I saw you struggling to get out of all this stuff. You were frightened, like something was chasing you,” Logan replied his hand reaching out to touch my arm.
“Diana was after me in my dream,” I replied shivering.
Logan felt me shiver his hand tightening around my arm. He smirked.
“Diana is dead. She won’t ever hurt you or any of us ever again,” Logan replied.
“No, Logan. She’s there. It was real,” I replied and he shook his head.
“This isn’t some bad movie where the boogie man can get you in your dreams, Patrick. She’s dead,” Logan replied.
“She was there,” I replied stubbornly.
“I’m here and I’m not going to let anything get you,” Logan replied.
We looked at each other as his hand moved up and down my arm slightly. I trembled slightly and Logan moved his hand away quickly. A pained look passed between us.
“Logan, Patrick,” Dr. Acefield said entering the room.
Logan moved back from me as the doctor strode quickly over to my bed.
“I understand you had a sleepwalking incident tonight?” he questioned looking at my brother.
“Yes,” I replied nodding.
The doctor looked at his chart and then back at me, his eyes narrowing slightly.
“Everything looks normal. All your blood work came back normal and your scans were normal. You are a normal sixteen year old boy,” Dr. Acefield replied looking from me to my brother.
“What is causing the sleepwalking?” Logan asked the doctor.
Dr. Acefield frowned looking thoughtful for a moment.
“In Patrick’s case I would say it’s being brought on by stress, especially given his circumstances. I’ll write a prescription for some medicine that will help Patrick relax if he feels any anxiety. The medicine should also help him sleep,” Dr. Acefield said to Logan writing some notes on his clipboard.
“So can I go home?” I asked the doctor.
Logan and Dr. Acefield looked at me.
“I’m going to release you tomorrow,” Dr. Acefield replied then turned to Logan.
“I need to speak with you privately since I will be releasing your brother into your care,” Dr. Acefield said to Logan and they stepped out into the hallway.
I could hear my brother’s voice rise a few times out in the hallway and then he was back in the room looking at me worriedly.
“Dr. Acefield suggested that I look into some sort of counseling for you,” Logan said.
My face fell as I wondered about what Logan was implying.
“Am I crazy or something?” I asked.
“No, you aren’t crazy,” he whispered vehemently.
His hand touched my arm as he was held onto me tightly.
“Excuse me,” a nurse said coming into the room.
The woman’s name tag read Brenda. The nurse was an older lady, with white hair and a dark skin tone. She reminded me of someone’s nice grandmother, the kind of grandmother that would bake cookies and give you extras when your parents weren’t looking. Brenda immediately began to clean up the mess in the floor taking care not to disturb my brother or me. My brother remained silent as the nursing assistant continued to clean up the mess I’d made in the floor. Once she was finished she smiled at me and then quickly left the room but not before asking me if I needed anything. I shook my head at her. I noticed that Logan continued to hold onto my arm the entire time.
“Get some sleep. We are busting you out of here tomorrow,” Logan said softly his eyes half open.
My brother needed sleep. He was exhausted.
“You need some sleep also,” I replied and he nodded at me.
“Try to not sleepwalk on me again kiddo and I will sleep,” he replied winking at me.
I sighed and sank into the pillow. Logan patted me on the arm walking back over to the chair in the corner.
“Lillian called earlier. She will have your clothes here tomorrow morning,” Logan said taking out a cell phone from his pocket.
“Is that…?” I asked looking at it.
“Yeah, it’s dad’s phone,” he said a painful expression crossing his face.
I didn’t say anything and neither did Logan. I closed my eyes drifting into an uneasy sleep. The next day I was unhooked from the machinery and with the doctor’s blessing I was released from the hospital. Lillian arrived with my clothing and I was able to give the hospital back their uncomfortable gown. I dressed in a red polo shirt and jeans feeling good to be back in normal clothing. Lillian had brought me a sweatshirt also. I noticed from my room window that the snow had melted away outside and now the landscape was just gray and stark, cold looking.
My brother, sister and I walked from the hospital, heading into the parking lot.
“Where did you park the car?” Logan asked Lillian.
“Over there beside that tree,” Lillian replied pointing.
“You drove?” I asked my sister and she nodded.
“I took the test to get my license right before dad…,” Lillian trailed off as a painful look passed between her and Logan.
“You drove mom’s car?” I asked again noticing that the car that had been our mother’s was parked in the space.
“Yeah, I did,” Lillian replied shrugging.
I didn’t reply. Diana had taken over driving mom’s car and we had all resented our stepmother for doing so. Lillian unlocked the car and we got in. I put myself in the back seat, Logan climbed into the passenger seat and Lillian in the driver’s seat, behind the steering wheel.
“Try not to kill us, Lilly,” Logan quipped as we pulled out.
“Bite me, Logan,” she replied pulling out of the space fast enough to make the tires squeal.
“Lillian,” Logan warned a worried look passing over his face.
“Chill out. God! You used to be fun. What happened?” Lillian asked him an annoyed look passing over her face.
“I grew up, Lillian,” Logan replied sternly looking over at her.
Lillian rolled her eyes and I sank back into the backseat as we roared toward our neighborhood. Passing through the town I noticed that everything seemed normal. There was nothing dark in the tiny town square. No evil shadows hiding anywhere. I felt really silly all of the sudden thinking that something evil had been chasing me in the dream for real. It was just a horrible nightmare I’d had the night before, I concluded.
Lillian decided to turn on the radio to break the silence we were all experiencing. The loud music filled the car immediately and Logan turned it down just as fast. Lillian gave him an annoyed look flipping the volume back up.
“Ugh!” Lillian exclaimed as our brother flipped it back down again.
Lillian drove on heading toward the tree lined streets that wound to our house. As my sister turned down the street I had a deep sense of foreboding. All the trees lining the street were bare. The landscape was barren. Winter had its claws deeply on the landscape making everything seem dead.
“Lillian, you couldn’t take down the yellow tape? It’s not as if our house doesn’t stand out enough now?” Logan yelled as our sister pulled into the driveway.
Yellow police tape surrounded the porch and the front door. I shivered looking up at our house. It seemed creepy now. Not a warm place to be.
“I’m not touching it. It’s creepy enough that we have to live here. I vote for moving as soon as possible,” Lillian replied.
“We can’t move. This is our house,” Logan replied.
We all climbed out of the car. I noticed that several neighbors were looking out of their windows at us. I felt like I was under a microscope as I walked up the sidewalk and up to the front porch. I was clutching the clothes I’d been wearing when I’d arrived at the hospital in a bag to my stomach nervously. I’d noticed there were bloodstains covering them. I reached up to gently touch my forehead wincing at the slight pain I felt. The doctor had removed the bandage before I’d left the hospital.
“Let’s tear this crap down,” Logan said angrily coming up beside me.
Our brother began to swat angrily at the yellow police tape. Lillian stood watching him her eyes wide. I joined in, helping him tear the yellow tape down.
“This sucks,” Lillian said softly looking up at our house strangely.
Logan opened the front door and it swung open eerily, the hinges groaning in protest. He flipped on the hallway light walking in. I followed and Lillian brought up the rear.
I noticed a sharp smell of cleaner hit my nose.
“Did someone clean recently?” I asked and Logan’s expression fell.
“Yeah, I hired a cleaning service to come in and um…,” Logan replied sadly.
“You mean clean our father’s brains off the study wall,” Lillian replied harshly her voice shrill.
Logan and Lillian looked at each other.
“Don’t ever say anything like that ever again,” Logan snapped at her.
“Fine, whatever,” Lillian replied looking at me. I could see the pain in my sister’s eyes. I knew that she was acting the way she was because she was hurting. I glanced at Logan.
“Let’s get settled in. I left some paperwork and documents in dad’s office,” Logan replied grimly.
“I’m going up to my room to get some things and then I’m going to Mary’s,” Lillian replied.
“Are you up to going to school tomorrow?” Logan replied looking at Lillian.
“Not really, but I’ve already missed so many days that I’m super behind in my classes, so I guess I’m going anyways,” Lillian replied.
“You up to going, Squirt?” Logan asked glancing at me.
“I think so,” I replied not really feeling for sure if I could muster the courage to face all those kids at school after the tragedy that had happened to our family.
“You can’t miss a lot more days, Lil’. You could fail and be held back. Or worse, they could send someone looking for you,” Logan said. Lillian gave our brother a cold stare.
“I’m sure they will make an exception for us. It’s not like our father isn’t dead or anything?” Lillian snapped back at him.
Our sister headed for the stairs as Logan stared after her. He looked at me shaking his head as she ran up the stairs.
“She’s becoming difficult, challenging me,” Logan said quietly.
I nodded not saying anything. The hallway was quiet except for the ticking of the grandfather clock in the hallway. Suddenly the old clock made a loud clanging sound making Logan and I jump nervously.
“That clock hasn’t worked right in years. Odd time for it to start making that noise, huh?” Logan said laughing.
“Yeah,” I replied staring wide eyed at the old clock.
I heard Lillian rushing back down the stairs. She was carrying a large tote bag.
“Gone guys. Call me at Mary’s if you need me. I’ll see you at school, Patrick,” she said nodding at me.
And then our sister was gone, rushing out the door.
“Never did understand her. She was always rushing around, even when she was little,” Logan mumbled.
“I’m going to go upstairs for a while,” I said to Logan.
“Sure. I’ll be in…there,” he said nodding toward the office door.
“Okay,” I replied sadly.
Our eyes locked and I could feel his pain. I looked away, feeling guilty. I turned and headed toward the stairs. I heard Logan open the study door as I hit the landing at the top of the stairs. Our once warm and loving home didn’t feel right to me anymore. I had a deep sense of apprehension as I headed to my room.