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I Warned You
The bitter wind slapped my face as I waved goodbye to my friend, Lisa, walking down the road that led to my house. I had just come from the last football game of the season, and I could not shake this feeling that something was wrong. My mind kept on going back to half time, when I caught my boyfriend, Ian, walking out of the stadium. I had run over to him and asked him why he was leaving, mostly because he was on the football team. He stared me straight in the eye and replied, “I have errands to run.” Then he turned and walked away. Something is wrong. My mind kept saying over and over again. Why would he leave in the middle of a game?
I walked into my house feeling uneasy; it was way too dark and quiet for my comfort. I walked through our immense foyer and into the living room, where I knew my parents would be. Something in my brain told me this wasn’t right. They must have turned the lights off so they could see the TV better, I told myself. They had probably fallen asleep and the timer turned the TV off.
“Mom and Dad, I'm home,” I told them. They must have been exhausted because they didn’t answer. I felt my way to the back of the room and flipped on the light switch. As soon as I saw their heads poking out from the top of the couch, I felt a wave of relief. They were there... nothing was wrong.
I reached over the back of the couch to hug my Dad. He felt different, and he didn’t respond.
I walked around the couch to face them and tell them that I did not care how exhausted they were that night, and that they needed to at least tell me hello. But then I saw their faces. My mom was resting her head on my dad’s shoulder, her eyes were closed and she looked quite peaceful. My dad… he greeted me with blank, dead eyes. Everything about them seemed frozen, as if their insides had just decided to stop working, and had turned to stone.
I screeched and ran to the kitchen. All I wanted was to get away from their bodies… away from his glazed eyes.
I dialed 911 and was told to please hold. “Don’t tell me to hold!” I screamed at the women who had answered. “My parents are dead.” I said this in a whisper, afraid that if I spoke to loud my parents could somehow hear me.
“We’ll send someone over immediately.”
My heart was beating too fast, and my vision was blurred from tears. I did not trust her. I did not trust anyone.
I could not see or hear, nor could I feel. It was as if I was in a far away place, somewhere out of my body, looking down on my parents and myself as I walked stoically into the living room. Something inside of me became alive as I saw this, and I started walking with purpose, determined to find something that I could somehow trace back to whoever did this. Healthy people did not just die. I sniffed their wine glasses, looked at the food they had been eating. I was in a daze, looking everywhere without really seeing anything, trying to avoid their faces. I looked under the couch, by the entertainment center, under the coffee table, there was nothing.
I forced myself to look back at my parents one more time. I tried to remember what they looked like before this stone monster took over their bodies. As I leaned in to close my dads eyes, I saw a crumbled white paper sticking out of his pocket. I carefully picked it up and tried to read it, but my vision was too fuzzy to see what it said.
I do not know exactly how much time had passed, but I began to hear the sirens of police cars. I heard men barking out orders to each other while they searched my house. I stayed where I was, curled up in a ball on the kitchen floor, until a man came in and forced me out of the kitchen.
When he tried to grab my arm I snatched it back realizing I still had the note in my hand.
“Excuse me,” I told him, “I have to go to the bathroom.” I pushed past him, walking as fast as I could to my bathroom. I opened the crumbled sheet of paper and read what it said.
I warned you.
There was something familiar about these words, something I had heard before. I studied the writing, swearing that I had seen the way the w curved around the a.
I took a picture of the note from my phone, then stuffed the note and some money in my pocket.
I walked back into the living room, hearing noise everywhere. There was constant movement, at least eight people examining the scene. The same male officer who had grabbed me earlier started walking towards me.
“Miss Richards?” He raised an eyebrow. I gave him a small nod. “Come with me, please.” He led the way to a police car and I plopped down on the back seat, not having enough strength to slide in gracefully. He slammed the door on me, leaving me feeling trapped. Even though I was in the car, I could still hear the noise from the house echoing in my head.
I was having one of those moments when my subconscious thoughts went from one memory to another far to fast for my mind to keep up. Those thoughts and memories kept going back to Ian, from the time we first met to the way his cold eyes met mine at the football game that night. I thought of everything we had said to each other in the past ten months, all of the moments we had shared, and then thinking that we would never share anything again.
My mind went to my school’s hallway, about a year ago. It was before Ian and I had not started dating yet, but we were talking. On this particular day we were doubled over laughing when one of Ian’s team-mates came up to us.
“Hey man, we got to talk,” he said.
Ian looked at him for what seemed a full minute then said, “I thought we agreed we would not discuss that again.”
I remember thinking how weird that was, the way Ian answered, the way he went from laughing hysterically to shooting daggers with his eyes. Ian’s team-mate, I think his name was John, looked at me, then proceeded to look at Ian. His expression left goose bumps over my skin and I shuddered now, remembering it.
“You need to tell her,” John whispered to Ian, looking at me.
I did not have a chance to ask what he meant before Ian started punching John, beating him until he was on the floor. I remembered thinking how cruel Ian looked, standing over John as he said, “I warned you.”
Suddenly, I felt as if I had been pummeled in the stomach. I started gasping hysterically for air, hoping the idea that just crossed my mind was out of the question. I took the note out of my pocket and looked at it one more time.
It was Ian’s handwriting.
I warned you.