“What time is it?” he asked her in the dark as he trailed his fingers across her back then front, not wanting the night to end.
She peered over his shoulder at her alarm clock by the bed to check. “Nearly nine.”
“Shit, I gotta go.” He didn’t move.
“Can you come back later, after you’ve finished helping your Dad?”
“Maybe. If I can, I will.” He kissed her, but it was different now somehow. He kissed her like a man not a boy. “I want to love you again first.”
She giggled and eased him onto his back. Her trailing kisses down his chest and stomach sent shivers of excitement to tickle his skin. When she took him in her mouth he groaned. Her small full lips felt like heaven. Stacy in control, from her lips enclosing him to sitting astride him as she brought them both pleasure, would be something he vowed never to forget.
At the door, they said their goodbyes and he promised to come back, even if he had to sneak out to do it.
It was a short walk to his parent’s store and he hummed as he strolled. What an incredible night. His nerves had been gratuitous as it had been everything and more. Stacy was it and would always be the one. Perhaps after they graduated, once he finished his engineering degree, they could get married. He shook his head, who would have thought he would be ready to settle at seventeen. There was no rush really. Stacy wasn’t going anywhere.
Before he knew it, the shop came into sight. He wandered down the lane towards the rear entry, full of contentment. Stocktake would be a lot less mundane this evening. Reliving every moment, he’d just spent with Stacy would lessen the chore.
He entered to find everything eerily quiet. Where was the radio blasting out old tunes that he loved but never admitted to?
“Mum? Dad?” He received no response. “Are you here? I’m sorry I’m late …”
His feet were sticking to the floor. He glanced down to see a dark gooey substance covering the soles of his shoes. What was that?
The unmistakable metallic aroma invaded his nostrils as he took a step forward. He noticed the sticky substance flowed towards the front of the shop. As his eyes followed the trail he noticed two feet sticking out from behind a stack of boxes.
He ran forward, pushing the stack to the floor. He was never going to be prepared for what he saw. His father was covered in blood, his face, his crisp white shirt and his dark pants. Lucas dropped to his knees and touched his father’s chest. The slash to his father’s neck sent Lucas’ heart into his throat. Mum!
Leaping to his feet, he raced to the front. At first glance all he saw was destruction. Every cabinet was smashed, and debris scattered across the floor. The register was open and stripped of cash. His mother was nowhere in sight. With a tightened chest, he went around the front counter, and his heart stopped. He threw himself upon her blood-soaked form and clasped her hand to find it cold. Her hazel eyes stared lifeless at the ceiling, her lifeblood a pool around her head, soaking her clothes, clinging to her hair. His anguished cry went unheard as he scooped her up and held her close. He searched for a long-ceased heartbeat and signs of life in her blank stare. Her blood quickly soaked his t-shirt and dampened his skin beneath.
Groping overhead for the phone, Lucas somehow, in a stupor, dialled emergency services. He continued to hold his mother while he waited for their arrival. In the distance he heard sirens as he clung to her limp body and touched her matted hair. This can’t be happening.
There were voices in the distance urging him to let her go. He didn’t want to; doing that meant she would be gone. He didn’t want them to take his mother away.
The voices became urgent now, insisting he let her go. They were so far away, why were they asking him to move? A hand on his shoulder startled him and he turned to see a kind, pretty face, a police woman, and he frowned in confusion. The voices had seemed so distant.
“Come with me,” she said. Her voice was also kind.
“No, I want to stay with her.” His voice sounded foreign to his ears, shaky and desperate.
“I’m sorry but she’s gone.”
He simply stared at her for a moment and then back to his mother’s empty eyes. With a brief kiss on her forehead, he placed her gently on the floor. Reluctantly, he stood and followed the police woman. With heavy feet, he trailed her lead through the front door and into the backseat of a squad car.
“Can I get you anything?” she asked. He shook his head. “My name’s Olivia. What’s yours, honey?”
She knelt at the curb as he studied his shaking hands. The blood dark and sticky looked unreal on his skin.
“Is there somewhere we can take you, a relative, a friend?”
“Is she your sister?” He nodded.
The drive home was surreal, he was living a nightmare. It wasn’t real, just a dream he wanted to wake up from. He suddenly became conscience of his blood-soaked clothes and his heart threatened to shatter. He wanted to keep it together, at least till he got home. How was he going to tell Carrie?
“Would you like us to tell your sister?” Olivia asked as though reading his thoughts.
“I don’t know yet.”
“We’ll be right with you, if you need us, okay?”
He nodded. Numb was all he felt. Wake up, please wake up.
The lights from the street flashed and ebbed through the window changing the blood covering his shirt, hands and jeans from deep red to black. It was dry now and he began rubbing his hands together, wanting it gone. Who could have done this? Wake up now.
The car stopped, and he looked up to discover they were home. Home. It would never be the same again. Olivia opened the door for him and he sat rigid, he wasn’t ready for this. Carrie would take this badly. He was taking it badly.
“Lucas,” she urged gently. “I’ll go with you. Come on, honey, it’s okay.”
Unfolding his long frame from the car, Lucas took a deep shaky breath. Olivia walked beside him as he entered the house. The TV was on, a chick flick, and Carrie’s feet rested on the arm of the couch. His heart flew into his throat and tears stung his eyes.
“About time you guys got ...” She said turning to them but stopped, and then sat up when she saw the blood. “Lucas, are you okay?”
Leaping from the couch, she rushed over to him.
“It’s not mine.” This was the first thing he thought to say?
“What happened?” Her hands were on his shoulders as she peered into his face.
“Dad, Mum …” His voice broke.
“What is it? Where are they?” He shook his head. He couldn’t do this.
Sensing he couldn’t go on, Olivia took over.
“Carrie, is it?” She nodded her response. “There was a robbery at your parents shop this evening. I’m sorry, but the thieves murdered your parents. Lucas found them. He got there late, he was lucky.”
Carrie merely stared at the young, pretty Olivia. “What? This can’t be happening.”
Her voice cracked, and she turned to Lucas, her hazel eyes full of disbelief and concern. “Lucas?” she asked in a trembling voice, seeking the answers from his face, his eyes. “Oh God!” She cried.
Her legs buckled, Lucas caught her and then eased her to the floor with him. Her sobs racked her body. He remained silent as tears slid over his cheeks. He didn’t know how long they sat there, a crumpled heap on the floor, or when Olivia left.
Life was never going to be the same again.