Jake hears strange sounds and goes to investigate.
The Burden of Truth
Jake flinched after hearing something downstairs. This time it didn't sound like the house settling. It was more like shuffling about. He lifted his head from his pillow and turned an ear toward the bedroom door. Maybe one of the kids had awakened and had moseyed downstairs for a snack.
He reached for his wife, Belinda but didn't feel her. He flipped over and swung his hand wider. She wasn't in bed. Maybe she was downstairs raiding the refrigerator. She was usually a sound sleeper, and he wondered if something bothered her, but then again, if something did, she'd surely tell him about it. He rolled back over and shut his eyes.
Minutes later, he heard the shuffling again. He sighed, rolled over and felt for his wife again. Her side of the bed was still empty. It looked like sleep had to wait until he found out what the hell was happening downstairs. He switched on the lamp on his nightstand, drew the sheets back, and slid into his slippers.
While reaching for his robe, he noticed his wife's side of the bed hadn't been slept in, but he remembered they had gone to bed together last night. The small clock on the nightstand flashed twelve midnight, and he wondered when the power went out and why.
With so many question and no answers, he began imagining scenarios that he'd never contemplated before. Did his wife leave with the kids never to return? Was a divorce imminent? Or was she cheating on him and tonight she would stay with her lover forever?
His breathing became heavy, and his heart knocked in his chest. The beads of sweat forming on his forehead felt cool as he passed beneath the air conditioning vent to open the bedroom door. All the lights downstairs were out, but before heading downstairs, he wanted to check on the kids.
He nudged Bonnie's door open and saw her clock was flashing. He hit the light switch.
Her bed was empty.
He gasped and backed from her room. Then he entered Bryan's room and switched on the light.
Bryan was gone too.
His skin crawled as a horrific realization flourished in his mind. Belinda had left with the kids. Why would she do it? It had been weeks since they'd had any type of disagreement.
He bolted downstairs and switched on the lights. No one was downstairs, but he detected a low rumble coming from in the garage. Maybe she hadn't left yet.
He snatched the door open leading to the garage and switched on the light. The car was running, but the garage door was closed. There were people in the car.
He peered in the driver's window.
Jake saw his own body slumped in his seat with his lifeless eyes and mouth open. Next to him, Belinda lay with her head perched oddly on his shoulder. In the back seat, Bonnie and Belinda lay across one another.
Now Jake knew the truth!