The noise roused Jenna, and as she groggly wondered WHAT (or who) was
making so much noise this late at night (or early in the morning, depending on
your perspective) she saw the lights of a car fill her bedroom. Okay, someone
is driving at this hour. Get a grip, Jenna. But a funny feeling was spreading
through her body, and she stood up, looking out the window.
Oh God, I've heard that noise before, oh God...
There had been an accident in the center of town. So many people were
trying to either help or watch that an officer nearby had fired his gun in the
air to disperce the crowd. That was the noise. Someone had been shot. A
sinking feeling overcame her when she looked across the street and saw no cars
in the driveway.
"Mom? Kevin? Someone's been shot, I heard it and we should call the
police..."
"Jenna," murmured Gertrude softly, "if you heard anything, it was just a
dream. Go back to bed."
"I know it wasn't a dream! You know it too, but both of you have always
said whenever we'd hear a fight that it was none of our buisness! It is now!"
"Jenna, nothing has happened. You are being unresonable. If anything had
happened some lights would be on in the house. There are no lights on. Go back
to sleep," Kevin stated.
Seeing it was pointless to talk to her parents, Jenna went back to her
room.
It could've been a dream. The sounds, the car- I could've been dreaming.
Somehow, though, Jenna knew that wasn't so.
She turned on her radio and quietly listened to the DJ say the time.
It was 3:10.
**************************************************************************
Brynn had no idea where she was going, or what she'd do. It was strange-
her suspicions and beliefs had been confirmed, but it gave her no pleasure.
Images raced through her brain- a woman grabbing a man by the neck and
trying to choke him, a pot being thrown, a knife gashing an arm open.
"Get out! Get out of my head!" she screamed. But no one heard her at this
early hour.
She realized where she was- Ron's neighborhood. What to do, what...
Ron was jarred from sleep by the doorbell ringing again and again, like
it was urgent he answer the door. He walked over and was suprised to see the
disheveled woman.
"Brynn! What are you doing back-"
"I killed him." She was straightforward, no skirting around the point.
"He was with some bitch and I took the gun and shot him."
"What are you talking about?"
"Phil. I killed him."
She seemed rather high and drunk to Ron- how many drinks had she had at
his place- so he wasn't inclined to believe her. "Why do you think you killed
him?"
"Because I did. I shot him- twice?" Her words were slow and slurred as
she spoke. Brynn stepped forward and crashed on to Ron's floor.
Ron carried her over to the couch and decided to let her rest. Of
course, she could've killed Phil, but was it a big loss? It could look like a
break-in, or she could claim self-defence, or....
A glance at the clock reminded him of the time.
It was 3:45.
**************************************************************************
Sean sat up on his bed, thinking.
Birgen was on the floor, lying in a pile of blankets. She still had her
tiger, and with faint light from the moon one could see the bloodstains on her
nightgown.
What could they do? It wasn't like things could get worse- they had hit
rock bottom an hour ago. But how would they eat? Who would cook them meals, or
take them places, or just say "I love you"?
He wondered what would happen when Brynn came home. What if she kills us?
How could someone do that to anyone?
Sean sighed. He knew that his mother got mad, but this-
Memories flowed through him- a frying pan flying through the air, his
sister cowering in fear, and other images. All related, all fearful.
"I don't care what happens to her. I hate her. She doesn't love us, not
really. Dad was wrong about that."
Satisfied, Sean closed his eyes and tried to sleep, to get away from the
gruesome image of a bleeding body.
It was 4:00.
**************************************************************************
The discovery was shocking. Ron had to look several times in order to
fully believe it.
Brynn's pajamas had a blood stain on them. That meant- " She really must
have killed him." His thoughts were not fear for the kids, or horror at the
concept of murder. Rather, he wondered how he could save Brynn from the law.
He could claim to have done it, but that was dumb- Ron valued his freedom.
Self defence. But why? Time, time, Ron needed more time.
A noise from the couch startled him, until he remembered Brynn's arrival
last night.
Brynn wondered at first what she was doing here. She suddenly knew. "I'll
go to jail." Logically, she knew murdering Phil had done nothing to help her
desperate attempts at a career, or to make her children's fear of her diminish
(it had probaly increased, in fact!) or to aid her in any way. Now what to
do?
One choice. Only one option left (except facing what she'd done. And Brynn
would never do that).
"You okay? Ready to go home?" Ron asked. She nodded. "Okay. I'll get my
keys, and we can go." He glanced at the clock while grabbing his car keys.
It was 6:00.
**************************************************************************
He had made a mistake, Ron knew. Leaving Brynn alone for those few
minutes while getting his keys had enabled her to grab one of his guns. Ron
noticed a gun on the kitchen counter and picked it up. And Brynn bolted past
him toward the bedroom.
Who was the phantom of the night? No one was there now but Phil, who had
ceased bleeding hours before, although his blood was everywhere. He lay there,
not even seeming shocked, his eyes wide open. Brynn turned away from him.
A banging sound on the door made her glance up. "Open the door." It was
Ron.
"No."
"Come on, Brynn, please open the door."
"No."
"Why not?"
"I won't go to jail. I don't want Greg and Kathy to be right. I'll die
before seeing them all smug."
Ron recognized the names of her siblings, but what they had to do with
this, he didn't know. She was crying now, saying, "You're wrong, I'm not like
that, I'm not."
He groaned. Ron didn't want to do this, but he had no choice. He picked up
the phone and dialed 911.
The operator said the time before connecting him.
It was 6:10.
**************************************************************************
The light was fleeing and faint, but Sean couldn't really sleep anyway.
He had tried, but he could not relax. On edge, like when Sean heard Brynn
stomping her feet, which meant she was angry.
Sean crawled out of bed, careful not to wake his sister, who still lay
sleeping on the floor. He crept toward the stairs and heard a voice. It was a
man, and he was saying, "I don't know, I just got here."
Huh? thought Sean. Who's that? Why is he on the phone? Is he calling the
police? Is Mom here? Finally WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US? It was too much. Sean
felt like running, forget Dad, forget Connor (a friend of his), forget
Birgen.
Forget me.
Sean ran into the yard. The lawn was coated in dew, and Sean ran. He
didn't have a destination, he just wanted to get away. And then he ran into a
man.
"Take it easy! I'm here to help. Are you Sean?" The man was a police
officer. Sean nodded. "You need to come with me. This place isn't safe." The
man on the phone was there too , and he was talking to another officer, who
looked skeptical. The other man waved his hands a lot.
"Birgen!" Sean abruptly yelled. "She's still in there! I'm not leaving
without her!"
"We've sent someone in to get her. Come with me to the car, alright?"
"My dad-." Sean didn't finish.
"I know. Come on!" He followed the officer.
A few seconds after Sean had gone downstairs, Birgen woke up. She trudged
downstairs, and could hear noices. "Daddy? Mommy?" she cried. "Daddy, where
are you?" Something wasn't right. The front door was open, and the safe was
open. Birgen sunk down, clutching her tiger and saying "Daddy, I need you, I'm
scared."
Then, almost out of nowhere, a female police officer was looking at her.
"Hi honey. Are you Birgen?" She nodded. "Okay, sweetie, you need to come with
me." Her eyes lingered on the bloodstain, and she hoped the child hadn't seen
anything.
"My daddy- I think something bad's happened."
"It's going to be okay." The woman picked up Birgen and ran for the
front door. As they approched the street, Sean cried out "Birgen!"
"Sean!"
"I was scared! Where were you?"
"In the hall, looking for-" Her words were cut off by a sound of a
gunshot. Both children screamed. But the matter-of-fact officer merely went to
his radio and said "Cancel the warrent. Suspect has commited suicide."
The nightmare was over for Brynn, but the sorrow was just beginning for
many, many more.

It was 6:30.

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