I flip my headlights off as I pull into the driveway and turn off the engine slowly, as if that will make my car quieter. I am late for curfew because I didn’t want to leave the party before working up the courage to ask Lisa Snyder for her number. And I got it—score—so it was worth the punishment I’ll get. I know I’ll have to sit through the lecture, which I now know by heart. Still, I try to creep into the house to avoid my parents hearing—maybe, for once, they haven’t noticed.
I open the door and the house is dark except for the light pouring from my dad’s desk lamp, which isn’t unusual. My dad, a criminal prosecutor, often has to work late when he’s preparing to go to trial. Though, I know his next court date isn’t for several weeks.
“You’re late,” he said without looking up.
“I know, I’m sorry, Marlowe and I—”
“Son, let’s talk this through tomorrow,” he said, cutting me off. “Some things
have come up with work and I’ve got to deal with it now.”
“Ok,” I said, relieved. “Anything I can do?”
“No, it’s nothing. I’ll get it handled,” He said, his brows knitted together.
I walk to my room and take off my shoes. Just then, I hear a soft knock at the
door. I leave my room and hurry to answer it. I wonder if it is Marlowe—the soft taps sound like hers. Without thinking, I unlock the door and open it. There, behind it stands a tall, bulky masked figure with a gun pointed in my face. Before I can do anything, he shoves me to the ground and stomps over me.
He opens fire.
My dad doesn’t have a chance to look up. My mom comes running into the room in her robe, the man whirls around and fires on her.
She drops to the floor.
I stifle a scream.
As the masked man re-loads his gun, my dad stirs, discreetly pulling a handgun from his drawer.
He shakily points the gun, and shoots twice at the masked man, who takes off running. My dad falls back onto the desk.
I stand up and run toward him. There is so much blood.
It smells like pennies and my stomach lurches. I run to my mom.
I touch her back.
I cradle her head.
I wail her name.
I jam my hand into my pocket, grab my phone and dial 9-1-1.
I scream into the phone, unable to make sense of what happened.
The door is wide open and outside, I can see him, a mass of black clothing. He is dying on the lawn, in the light of the moon.