So far the day had passed like every other Sunday for 16 year old Tim Murphy. He got up at six in the morning to put on his Sunday's best and went to church to listen to a fat man with a big ego talk about all the ways a person can be damned to hell. Today the rant was on living with someone when not married.
When Brother Ryan's rant got to where he was talking about mothers and fathers letting their kids live in sin, like they had some sort of control over their grown kid going off and living with someone, it seemed that everyone took a turn at giving Liz Miller a glance. Liz's daughter, Irene, had recently gotten engaged and was living with her soon to be husband, living in sin as the fat man would say.
It all seemed like a big contradiction to Tim, just a bunch of people using the bible to prove how much more of a sinner someone else was, so they didn't have to focus on their own faults. Then there was the fat man, Brother Ryan, the biggest hypocrite of them all, standing up there judging everyone on his pedestal.
He had suffered the fat man's rant and now he had to sit next to him at lunch too. It was a ritual that they meet after church with several other families at Sherman's Seafood Grill. His parents and the other families thought they were special, because the employees always had tables pulled together and ready for them. If they really knew how the employees felt at the restaurant, they'd be quite upset. Of course they wouldn't be humbled into changing their behavior, because they felt they were people of God which made them especially superior, so he wouldn't dare tell them otherwise. Besides, he'd have to talk about his gift which according to the fat man came from the devil.
On a few occasions he had used his gift to have a bit of a look and listen at what they really thought of their presence there. Once he burst out laughing at the table, because he saw one of the waitresses do an interpretation of Brother Ryan. She had pushed her stomach out making her look like she had a belly, while she pushed out her lips in a duck face, and was walking around the kitchen saying in a deep voice, "I'm a man of God, I preach my sermon, and get fat off your money." Of course with his outburst of laughter, everyone at the table looked at him like he was a lunatic. To rescue himself from having to explain, he had made some excuse about remembering something funny at school.
On another occasion, he had seen Jack Bradshaw, the owner of Sherman's Seafood Grill , grab his son Joey by the collar slamming him against the wall in the office. "Shut the fuck up you stupid little bastard!" were the words he used as he did it. It gave Tim an understanding of why Joey seemed so off. At school Joey would stare off into space a lot and he just seemed like he didn't like people around him at all. One time Tim saw someone try to sit next to him at lunch and he looked up at the guy and said, "What the hell do you want?" On occasions when people would talk badly about Joey, Tim had badly wanted to tell them what he saw, but he couldn't think of how to do it without telling his own secret. So he kept quiet.
At today's Sunday lunch only one other family, the Foster's, showed up. They sat in a line behind the table together against the wall, Tim's family, the Smiths, sat in a line on the other side, while the fat man sat at the head of the table. The foster's had a son named Anthony, who Tim went to school with. He and Anthony sat next to the preacher, making them across from each other at the table. The fat man turned to Anthony.
"You been saving yourself for marriage boy? That peer pressure is the devils work trying to get you to sin. You know that right? You been avoiding the devil?" The fat man said with his usual accusatory tone.
"Oh yes sir." Anthony said with sincerity.
Tim fought the urge to roll his eyes. Anthony was so full of crap. Just this past Thursday, he was teasing Tim by telling him that he needed to hurry up and get laid. Anthony's parents were quite ignorant to his innocent façade. They thought their son was a God fearing boy and pure as snow. If they only knew how many girls he manipulated into spreading their legs.
"That's good son. Now you keep living by God's commandments and maybe those other young ones you go to school with will accept the lord's ways." The fat man spoke again with conviction, getting louder as he went as if he wanted everyone in the restaurant to hear, lifting his hand up in a fist as he said God and lord.
That's when the food arrived. After everyone had their food in front of them, they joined hands for prayer.
"Our holy father, we ask your forgiveness for all our sins. I ask you to give these boys guidance. Help them to avoid Satan's servants, so that they may stay in the way of the lord." Again he spoke loudly with conviction in his voice.
The fat man continued to pray for what seemed like forever. Out of boredom, Tim's mind trailed off and he began using his gift. He heard what sounded like a clicking sound coming from the direction of the bathroom. He focused a little more. It was Joey Bradshaw standing in the bathroom stall loading a gun.
Tim got up from the table right in the middle of the fat man's speech and ran to the bathroom in hopes of stopping Joey from killing himself.
"Joey, don't do it!" Tim screamed as he ran through the door to the men's restrooms. That's when Joey opened the stall and pointed the gun at Tim.
"You'll be the first." Joey's expression looked cold and his eyes intense as he said the words.
Everything seemed to be in slow motion to Tim. He saw Joey's finger's brace the trigger and the sound of the bullet leaving the gun. That's when the feeling came. Like Olivia would feel later on that evening, the squeezing sensation came and then the tingling. He fell to his knees from the intensity.
He stayed there for a moment, his eyes shut, trying to catch his breath, wondering why getting shot didn't hurt. He slowly opened his eyes expecting Joey to be standing in front of him pointing the gun at his head, ready to finish the job, but he was no longer there.
He tried to use his gift to listen, but there was only silence. He listened a little harder and he heard sirens in the distance. They got louder, closer. His heart started pounding. Something was dreadfully wrong. He focused on the dining room to see.
Brother Ryan had been shot in the head, brain matter was splattered along the wall, blood was sprayed across the wall behind the Foster family, and his parents had their heads in their plates of food. By the door, there was an older woman lying on the floor. It looked like she had been shot in the heart and the arm. Her clothes were stained with her blood. The waitress that waited on them was lying on the floor near the register, a bullet wound was near her ear and a pool of blood surrounded her head drenching her blonde hair. At a small table, there was a younger couple, one with a gunshot wound in the heart and the other with one in the back. Jack Bradshaw was sprawled out on the floor near the entrance to the kitchen. He was face down with a bullet wound to the back. Four men, most likely kitchen employees, were laying on the kitchen floor in various locations, covered in blood. The only survivors that were in the restaurant were him and a waitress hidden in a cabinet under the register, shaking with a cell phone in hand. He saw the clock on the wall above the register. The time was 1:00. Almost an hour had passed. There's no way. It can't be.
He felt faint. This couldn't be what's happening. Maybe I passed out. No, I fell to my knees. Nobody passes out on their knees. I was just with Joey less than a minute ago. Maybe I skipped forward somehow. Was that what that feeling was? Is that even possible? He closed his eyes, focusing on just moments ago when he was sitting with his parents. Maybe if he did skip forward, he could go back and stop it. He felt the tightening again, and then the tingling. He was in front of joey again for a split second and then was sucked out again. He was even more tired than before. His whole body ached, so he laid against the bathroom wall for support, focusing on trying to use his gift again. He looked in the dining room. Nothing was changed. The clock was still on 1:00 and everything remained the same.
He searched for Joey, but he could not find him. Knowing that Joey was too far away to hurt him, his grief broke free from his calm exterior. The tears came and he couldn't stop them. His parents were dead. They were not perfect, but they were good parents and he loved them. He didn't like the Fosters or Brother Ryan, but he didn't want them dead. None of the people in there deserved such a fate.
The sirens were loud now, but it wasn't through his gift that he heard them, because they were now in front of the restaurant. He tried to stand, but he was so weak that his knees tried to buckle, so he used the nearby sink to pull himself up. He tried to put his emotions in check in order to try to figure out what to tell the police that would explain why he was in the bathroom this whole time. He decided to say that he heard the gunshots and was afraid, so he hid in a bathroom stall. He'd look like a coward, but that would be more believable than the truth.
By the time Tim gathered enough strength emotionally and physically to walk out of the men's restroom, four police officers and four EMT's were already inside the restaurant. He recognized one of the officers. Bill Gomez was a regular at Christ the King Baptist Church where Tim attended service. One other police officer, who was rather tall and slender, was talking to the brunette waitress who had been hiding under the register.
When one of the EMT's noticed Tim, she rushed over.
"Sit down son. Have you been shot? Are you hurt?" He sensed the urgency in her voice and followed her directions by sitting in a chair at the closest table.
"No." His words escaped his mouth in a quiet tone. "No, I'm not hurt."
Then the words came out in a rush of emotion, "But I'm not ok. My parents are dead. He killed my parents!"
She held him for a bit, holding him tight while his body shook from his grief. When she let go, she told him to sit tight for a little while.
He watched the EMT's and three of the police officers as they checked the bodies for signs of life. While they did so, the brunette waitress was talking to the tall police officer, explaining what she had witnessed, which was mostly sound, because she spent most of her time hidden. She had seen Joey come out of the men's restroom and shoot his first victims, which were the younger couple.
Under the register was typically where the waitresses kept their purses, which is why she claimed that she hid there, because she knew she had a cell phone in her purse. Tim suspected that she was lying because she didn't want to look like a coward and that the cell phone was a second-hand thought once she was hidden. Apparently her phone was dead and she had to search for her friend's purse to find another cell phone which is what took her so long to call 911. Tim figured she most likely waited, because she was afraid of Joey hearing her. Tim didn't bother to speak up though, because it was really unimportant. She had done what she needed to do to live. Otherwise she would be dead right now.
He had been so focused on the brunette waitress talking to the tall police officer that he didn't notice that Bill Gomez was speaking to him.
"Tim." Bill said a little louder when he didn't get a response.
"I know this is going to be difficult, but I need to know what you saw." Bending down on one knee he spoke in a calm manner.
Tim told him the story about hiding in the restroom stall and he believed it. It was even overlooked that Tim had said, "He killed my parents." There would not have been a way of knowing whether or not it was a he if he was hiding in the bathroom and only heard gunshots.
He had gone home with Bill Gomez for the night or for as long as it took to figure out where he was going to go. Bill was a nice man. Tim always liked him and his wife. He had three young children. The oldest, Justin, who was eight years old, gave up his bed so that Tim could have a place to sleep.
Tim was exhausted and his body ached. Since he left the men's restroom, he had felt that he was on the verge of collapsing. As soon as his head hit the pillow on Justin's bed, he fell asleep.
"She needs you." Tim heard his voice, but he couldn't see the man speaking. All he could see was the girl. She was slender with light golden brown hair. She was walking in a dark alleyway with only a backpack. He wondered why a girl so young would be walking in such a place alone at such a late hour.
"Go to her." The voice called again in the dark alleyway.
That's when she turned to look at him. Deep green eyes stared into his as she moved her head forward trying get a better look.
"Olivia." The words escaped him, almost like a question. He had never seen this young girl, yet he felt he knew her.
He felt himself being pulled away and her green eyes began fading away. He awoke, knowing that he had to go. Where he didn't know, but he knew that Olivia needed him. He didn't quite understand it, but the feeling of urgency was overwhelming.
Bill's truck keys were hanging on a hook near the refrigerator in the kitchen. Tim took them and stole his white Ford pick-up truck. He knew that Bill would come looking for him, but it didn't matter. Before he left, he had looked at the time on the stove clock. It was 11:00. It would be a while before Bill or his wife noticed he was gone. They wouldn't be awake until at least 5:00 A.M, so he would be far away before they noticed. Where he'd be, he didn't know. He just knew that he had to find Olivia.