I stare out the window at the throng of reporters. They talk in their microphones, their voices rising at the end of every sentence, just as they were taught to do. With every minute passing, their figures seem to disappear due to the setting sun. What a way to spend a Friday night, looking out the window and stalking reporters. This was supposed to be my job, I was supposed to be on these stations. I should be the political correspondent on television every weekday evening. I should be giving my thoughts to the world while sipping tea out of my owl mug. Instead, I am the one held captive in my house. My dad isn't even home. Apparently, he is "less of a target" and "can fight back." I don't know where the hell he is. I'm not allowed to know either due to the fact that if someone is intercepting my phone usage and Dad tells me where he is, they can strike. Even though he is less of a target. Ain't life funny? My phone next to me rings. I look at the caller I.D. and it's Annie. I press ignore. I really don't have time now. Seconds later, my phone rings again, and again, I press ignore. It was still Annie. This time I completely shut my phone down. Reporters start to inch closer to the house. I quickly move away from the window, I don't want to be on television looking like this. If any business sees a footage of me looking like this, it will be very unlikely that they will hire me. I'm wearing a white t-shirt and royal, blue Abercrombie pajama pants. I have moccasins on my feet and my greasy, blonde hair is pulled back into a messy bun. I have my glasses on and no makeup on. I look like a train wreak. I run downstairs into the kitchen. The kitchen is in the back of the house, while the reporters are in the front. I try to focus on myself for a minute and just calming down. I bet reporters are preparing themselves for their beauty sleep right now and they will be quiet in a minute. The alarm system beeps letting me know that someone has opened a door or a window. I am startled for a minute until my dad walks in. He looks pale and is that a beard that is growing on his face? I feel so bad for him, he has been taking this whole thing so hard. He attempts a smile, but his face is stuck in the same position, a solemn, sad complexion.
"Hey," I hand him a banana from out of the basket. Maybe getting him to eat again will bring more color to his face. He has also been awfully thin lately, he has not been eating regularly. Again, no words come out and he attempts a smile. His hand shakes as he takes the banana from my hand and as he unpeels it. I take it back, unpeel it about halfway, then I hand it back to him.
"Thank you," he whispers in a hoarse and trembling voice with the last bit of energy that he has. He takes a small bite of the banana, then sets it back down on the counter.
"Eat," I instruct Dad, handing him the banana again. He sort of shakes his head. If he continues this, he is going to die, "I am going to make you eat this."
I take a plastic knife and a napkin from the end of the island and a cut about an eighth of the banana into coin-sized pieces. I slide him the napkin with the fruit on it over to him. I take another bit of banana and I start to cut it. I can tell that Dad is truly trying to eat, but his body is just not letting him. I consider not having him eat for a minute, until I see the bumps of his spine poking out from the back of his fleece.
"Dad, please eat. I know it's hard, but you have to. Please do it for me?"
His shaking fingers reach for the bite-sized pieces, he picks one up and opens his mouth just enough to put in the food. He makes a thumbs up at me. I do the same, he will be okay.
"I'll be right back, I am going to get some hot cocoa for you, it's freezing outside."
He nods and I leave the room and I go into the pantry and pick up a packet of cocoa. As I come back into the kitchen, I see him continuing to try to eat. That's all I can ask. If he dies, then I'll have no one left. I heat up the water in the microwave and I say to him, "Trust me, we will find Mum. She is a tough lady and I bet she can't wait to see you. But, she might not recognize you if you are too skinny."
Dad seems to be shoving food into his mouth now, he has never given up on Mum being alive and still loves her dearly. Just like Meredith and me. The reporters still chatter not-so-quietly and I massage my temple with my fingers in an attempt to get rid of the screaming headache that I have. The beeping of the microwave signaling that the water is warmed up scares me half to death, then makes my headache return even stronger than before. I pour the water into the cup with the cocoa mix, then a go into the Family Room. I just need some space. I cannot be Dad's babysitter and I have been worrying so much about the case that it has been making me sick. I plop myself down on the couch and there is a slight pause from all the noise. But of course, that does not last long. The reporters' voices instantly become louder and higher. With all of my years with helping out with a news agency, the one thing I have learned is that always means trouble. With a higher pitched voice, it shows urgency and importance in a particular topic. It is only used under extreme circumstances when the reporter is trying to stay calm. I try to understand the mixture of voices coming from the front of the house, but it is nearly impossible. I turn on the television, and then to my Fox News.
"Tell us more about the shocking new discovery, Carrie," the woman in the newsroom says.
"Well, police are almost certain that more than one person was involved in the kidnapping of Dawn and Meredith McCarthy. Also, Annie Carlson who was very close to Marley McCarthy has just been found dead in her parent's home. Derrick and Marley McCarthy are not suspects in anyway according to police since they have been in their house when the attack occurred. We have no way of knowing if this was an intentional attack or by mistake. And if this was an intentional attack, did Miss Carlson know anything about the case?"
I shut off the television. My breathing becomes heavy, I am the reason that my best friend died. She must have known something and was calling me to tell me. But I was too stupid to pick up the fucking phone. How much did she know? Was it enough to have her killed? I shiver at the thought. I look around the room and something seems out of the ordinary. My eyes get fixed on the window. The window is facing towards the back of the house so it cannot be a reporter. As I look closer, two blue eyes stare right back at me through the window. Then, the person ducks and just like that, they are gone.