I was alone now, completely alone it felt like. In a world full of lies, cruelty, and most of all unfairness.
I was thirteen, my little brother Joel was eight whenever both of our parents were taken away from us. But that's the thing about death, if it's your time to go then that's that. There is nothing that you or anyone else can do about it.
I was left in charge to care for Joel after the tragedy had occurred. I tried my hardest to keep everything together. I was the one who would have to take care of Joel and I for a whole week. We had to wait for our aunt to come pick us up.
Joel and I finished packing our belongings and then went outside to wait for our aunt on the porch. I would for sure miss this place. I would miss laying out in the sun all day long on the beach and watching and listening to the waves crashing back and forth. I would miss all of my friends that I had gotten close with over the years. But most importantly, I would miss my childhood home. It held my most fondest memories that included my parents, memories that could never be relived or replaced.
The sound of a vehicle coming to a stop caught my attention. I looked up to see our aunt getting out of her light blue Toyota Camry Hybrid.
"You two ready to hit the road?" she asked while smiling at Joel and I.
Both of us nodded and then walked to the trunk to put our bags and boxes inside. I slowly made my way over to the backseat, allowing Joel to take the passenger seat with aunt Diane. Our aunt was a chatterbox, and I wasn't up for a whole lot of talking today.
I took one final glance around before entering the backseat. Finally, I opened up the car door and let myself inside. Once I closed the door, I buckled my seat belt, put on my headphones and then we were off to Spring Valley, Illinois.
It would take a total of twenty hours and fifty-six minutes to arrive in Spring Valley, Illinois. That wouldn't include all of the stops for food, fuel, and renting hotels that we would have to make.
Once we were well rested and fed, we were back on the road again. Finally, we were down to the final two hours of traveling. I ended up falling asleep and whenever I awoke there was a sign that read 'Welcome to Illinois.' which meant that only one hour remained. I couldn't wait to get out of the car to stretch my legs.
I stared out my window and watched the rain fall gently from the sky. The sound of it hitting on the top of the car calmed my nerves and caused me to drift back to sleep.
"Emery, Emery, wake up. We're home honey." Aunt Diane said, gently shaking me.
I opened my eyes and then slowly got out of the car. I closed the door and then grabbed all of my bags from the trunk first, I would have to make another trip for my boxes later. I began walking through the front lawn, up the steps, and entered through the front door.
Memories started to flood to my head. I remembered coming over to this house as a kid to visit aunt Diane and her husband, our uncle Richard. They would babysit Joel and I while our parents worked whenever we used to live here. Later, our parents took us on a family vacation to Florida, we ended up loving it so much that we moved there. It felt so strange to be back, and now living here.
I began looking around, taking notes in my head as to where each room of the house were.
"Em, you and Joel can go upstairs and pick out your rooms." Aunt Diane offered. "You remember your way around right?" she asked.
I nodded, lying to her. "Yeah, I remember."
Joel and I walked upstairs to claim our new bedrooms. I ended up picking one of aunt Diane's old fancy guest rooms. The paint on the walls were lavender with a lilac canopy that draped evenly around both sides of the queen sized bed, followed by two cream colored end tables.
I threw my bags on to the floor. I walked over to the window and pulled the long, white curtains back. I pushed open the window to allow some air to flow throughout the dry, humid room.
"I figured that you would end up picking this room. You've always admired it, even whenever you were just a little girl." Aunt Diane laughed.
I turned around to face her, she was standing in the doorway eyeing the room.
I smiled at her. "I remember. I've always loved this room."
Aunt Diane nodded. "Well, feel free to make it your own dear. It's all yours now." She turned around and started walking back downstairs.
"Thank you." I quickly replied before she was too far away.
I exited my room and then went back out to the trunk of the car and started to collect my boxes of belongings. Whenever I was down to the last one, I closed the trunk and began dragging the heavy box inside and upstairs to my room. I threw the box on to the floor and kicked it out of my walkway.
By the time I showered, ate dinner, and began putting some parts of my room together, it was time to lay down for school that would take place first thing in the morning. I set my alarm clock and then walked over to my bed to lay down. I wasn't able to fall asleep though, I was thinking constantly about a lot of different things.
The thought of being new to all of this again frightened me. I was going to have to start my sophomore year of high school all over. Make new friends, struggle to fit in, and memorize a whole new school building.
Back home in Florida, I had already begun my first three weeks of high school. Aunt Diane informed me that school here had started three weeks ago as well.
Another thought that terrified me was continuing my life without my parents. I don't think that aunt Diane or even Joel had noticed, but ever since they have been gone I haven't been myself. I have been tired all the time, and barely had enough energy to do the things that I needed to do.
I closed my eyes, tossing and turning still unable to sleep. My mind focused on the day that my parents were taken away from me. I remembered everything, that day would stay with me for the rest of my life.
It was Joel's birthday... He had just turned eight years old.
After school, I decided to take him straight home to do his homework and so that our parents could spend some time with him.
I already knew the perfect place to take him as a birthday gift. I would take him to an arcade; he was just starting to get into video games.
I waited until our parents gave him his cake, ice cream, and presents. Then it was time for me to take him out.
"Where are we going?" he asked, staring up at me with eagerness in his eyes.
I smiled at him. "You'll see whenever we get there. Just be patient, you're going to love it, I promise."
He sighed and then continued to stare up at me in silence. I could tell that he was growing more and more impatient by the minute.
Whenever we were about there, I stopped him and made him cover his eyes. To ensure myself that he couldn't peak, I put my hands over his eyes.
"Okay, keep your eyes closed tight." I said.
He did as he was told and then I removed my hands from his eyes and opened the doors that led into the old building. I quickly put my hands back over his eyes and started to guide him inside. I giggled as he wobbled inside.
"Alright, you can open your eyes now." I said, removing my hands from his eyes once again.
His expression whenever he seen all of the games was so priceless. It was like a child's reaction on Christmas morning, staring into a room full of presents that surrounded a giant tree.
I knew that he would never forget this. It seemed like he was in his own personal heaven already.
"Well, why are you just standing there with your mouth hanging open? Go play, birthday boy!" I laughed.
He didn't argue. He ran off and joined a group of kids that surrounded a giant arcade game.
While Joel played, I started on some of my homework. I had a big test coming up in algebra; the one class that I dreaded on going to during the week.
After two and a half hours, it was time to take Joel and myself home. I didn't want to worry our parents.
"So, did you have fun?" I asked, as we started walking home.
I looked closely at Joel's eyes; I could see that he did. He looked exhausted.
"Mm-hmm. Thank you for taking me." he replied in a sleepy manner.
I smiled at him. "You're welcome. I'm glad that you had fun."
Whenever we finally reached our house, I immediately knew that something was terribly wrong. The porch light shined on some glass that was shattered at the entrance of the front door.
"Joel, I want you to stay here on the porch. I'm going to go inside and check things out. Please, just stay here. Okay."
Tears built up in his eyes as he nodded.
I opened up the front door and then quietly, but quickly entered our home.
It was quiet. Too quiet for my liking. Usually whenever I came home from an outing, I would hear my mom in the kitchen washing dishes or cleaning and my dad in the living room watching some type of sports game on the television. This just wasn't right.
"Mom? Dad?" I called.
I searched the kitchen, but there was no sight of them anywhere. I went into the living room and found both of their lifeless bodies spread out on the floor.
"Oh my God." I whispered to myself.
I rushed over to their bodies. I began screaming and pleading for them to wake up, but their eyes never opened. Their bodies were ice-cold to the touch.
Something caught my eye, there was something on my mother's neck; I examined it, two tiny holes were in her neck. The same thing was on my father's neck as well. But also, both of them were holding straight edge razors with both of their wrists slit.
Tears started to come to my eyes as I raced over to the phone to dial 911.
I staggered, as I started to make my way back outside to Joel. My teary-eyed vision along with the sudden case of vertigo made it hard for me to walk, but I was able to manage.
I comforted Joel as we sat out on the porch and waited for the paramedics. Whenever they arrived, they went inside and started inspecting our parents. Joel and I stayed outside.
After awhile, the paramedics came back outside to tell us the fate of our parents. Even though I already knew that they were gone, I wanted more than anything for them to say that they worked a miracle and that they were both going to be fine.
"It's too late, I'm very sorry for your loss. The coroner will be here shortly to inspect the bodies even further." One of the men said.
The man's words sent chills down my spine. I couldn't speak for the longest time.
I slowly nodded. "Thank you." I whispered, completely dazed.
After the paramedics left, Joel and I continued to wait outside. I didn't want him to see mom and dad like that. I would scar him for life, just like it has done to me.
This just didn't seem real. At the moment, I felt like I was living inside of a nightmare; all I wanted to do was wake up. I didn't want to believe that both of our parents were really gone forever.
I snapped out of my daze as I heard two car doors slam shut.
Joel and I followed the two men inside. We waited in the kitchen while the men did their job. They investigated the bodies for about thirty minutes.
I'll never forget what they told us. What they had suspected happened to our mother and father...
"I'm very sorry to state that both of your parents have committed suicide."
I didn't say anything, I couldn't say anything. All of this was obviously a lie. A cover-up perhaps.
"You've got to be kidding me!" I yelled.
The eyes of both men grew wide as I began to snap.
"You honestly want me to believe that my parents did this to themselves?! They would never do something like this. They loved us! We were a happy family! They were framed or murdered! This was a setup to make it seem like they did this to themselves!" I breathed in some air and tried to calm myself down.
I wanted to mention something about the two tiny holes in their necks, but I restrained myself. I didn't want to scare Joel.
"Look, Miss. Dawson. I know that you're very upset about this, but whether you want to believe it or not, your parents did this to themselves. There was no one else here, no fingerprints, no sign of any DNA except for their own. So, believe whatever your want to believe. We know the truth."
I watched as the men bagged up both of our parents and carried them out of our home for the last time.
I wiped away the tears from my eyes as my mind ended the horrible memories of that day. I stared over at my alarm clock, it had just turned midnight.
In just six short hours, a new nightmare awaited me.