The Not-So-Dysfunctional Family

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Taylor couldn't have a better life. Two loving parents, a furry companion, and a peaceful neighborhood. What could possibly ruin her happy life?

When the bus dropped Taylor to the nearest bus stop to her house, she felt a strange rush of adrenaline zap through her body. She looked to her house, only about a block away, then to the setting sun and admired its gentle kisses against the blushing clouds. Her friend called out to her, probably telling their goodbyes, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that her mind should be elsewhere. She turned around, waved at her friend, then pivoted on her heel.  She clasped her hands behind her back and began her usual walk home. The fallen leaves crunched under her boots as she briskly walked. A crow cawed overhead, and a squirrel ran away while she neared it. However, something seemed to be missing.

She noticed that the neighborhood — specifically, her house — was unusually quiet. Her father hadn’t come out the front door with his typical smile on his face and his welcoming arms, her dog had not burst between his legs and leap onto her torso to give her his daily greetings. Strange indeed, since her dad’s car was still parked in the driveway.  

Taylor disregarded her sudden urge of paranoia. Maybe he was busy with a business call, she thought. It wasn’t an unusual idea, as he was weighed down with calls some days.  But still, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she should be on high alert. Her fingers quivered in their loose grip on each other; she tightens them to cease their trembling.  

Her eyes travelled to the kitchen window — visible from the front of the house — and noticed that the light was on. That was a good sign, at least. Maybe her mom was busy cooking something while Dad was chatting away with grumpy business people. She smiled slightly as she took solace with the thought. Her family seemed to be one of the least dysfunctional ones, to her approval. With a silent laugh, she approached the concrete steps that led to her white front door.  

Her hand twisted the brown knob, but noticed it was locked. She frowned and knocked briskly three times, the sound seemingly echoing through the neighborhood. Silence. Puzzled, Taylor knocked again, a bit harder than before. Again she received no response, no voice of greeting from the other side, no bark from her dog. Nothing.  

She then remembered the spare key, always hidden somewhere near the front door. She looked under the place mat at her feet, but found nothing; that would’ve been too easy. She put the place mat back down and looked by the swinging bench on the other side of her small front porch. Nothing. Then she held up a flower pot and found it. Grabbing it, she turned and shoved the key into the lock, happy with the gentle sound of the door unlocking. 

The front door creaked open eerily with Taylor’s slow pull. A tiny shiver ran up her spine, but nonetheless entered her home. Most of the lights were off, except for the kitchen light and the living room light. Her dog, Kaiser, wasn’t in his dog bed. Mud scuffed the wood flooring, leading here and there. It seemed there was a tussle. Taylor, beyond perplexed, traced the tracks with her eyes. The mud was thrown against the wall and the staircase, as if someone had come running through the hall. A separate trail led to the kitchen. She could hear the sink still running, and smelled something burning. 

Taylor mustered a steady breath and called out for her mother. She heard nothing in response. She called out again, a bit louder than before, but was suddenly interrupted by a loud clatter from the kitchen. Startled, she ran into the room. 

The sink was beginning to overflow; she walked over and pushed the knob down. She unplugged the stopper from the sink and turned around. The pantry door was barely ajar in front of her, and beyond it was a faint swishing sound, like liquids pouring out of a bottle. Taylor gulped and approached the pantry. She grabbed the knob and pulled, not needing to twist it, and almost shrieked from the sight.

Her mother lied against the wall, below the wine shelf, with a bloody hole gaping through one side of her head to the other; an entrance and exit hole. Two bottles of their family’s best wine were tilted into her open mouth, held in her tied up and bone-locked hands, her eyes dazed and glassy as she stared into the world of the dead. Her skin was ghostly pale, her head and torso painted by her own blood. 

Taylor’s mouth opened, but no sound could escape it except a quiet shrill of a cry. She turned her head away from the sight and ran out, a mixture of a hot and a cold sweat coating her body. All she could think was the phrase, “Oh my God” over and over, chanting it like a mantra. She dug for her cell phone in her pocket and unlocked it, pulled up the Phone app and dialed 911. 

“911, what is your emergency?” the operator said calmly.

“P-Please, help me!” Taylor cried, her emotions clouding her entire mind. “My mo-om! My mom!”

“Ma’am, I need you to tell me what’s wrong,” the operator replied, a sense of alarm tinted in her tone. “What’s happened to your Mom?”

“She’s dead!” she screamed into the phone, breaking into a wracking sob. “My mom is dead!” Taylor collapsed to her knees in a painful convulsion from her crying. Her logical side pondered who would do such a thing to her mother; she had no clue. “I-I need an ambulance and the police…,” she whispered, calming herself to utter that sentence.  

“Okay, what is your address ma’am?”

“573 High Prairie Street,” she said, sniffling loudly, “60748.” She took in a gasping breath as she wiped her eyes and nose. “Please, I need help.” The operator consoled her as best as she could through the phone, but Taylor’s mind wandered aimlessly, remembering the simplest of memories she shared with her mother, from as long as she could remember to just this morning when her mom hugged her goodbye for school. She couldn’t understand why anyone would kill her mother, the most loving and generous woman she had ever met. Her dad would never let this person get away with—

The barrel of a gun pressed against her temple, the metal icy cold against her hot skin. She gasped, almost dropping her phone. Her hands shook as she clutched it, as if holding onto 911’s hand. In reality, that’s what it felt like: holding onto the rescuer’s hand as a murderer was a squeeze away from ending her life. What was more frightening was the shoes she recognized on the man’s feet.

She let out a hurt cry, putting a hand over her mouth from screaming. The operator demanded what was going on, but she couldn’t answer. The gun clicked, a bullet being loaded into the barrel. The operator’s voice turned into white noise; Taylor couldn’t focus on her words. 

The gun shook against her temple, whether it was from hesitation, remorse, or adrenaline, she couldn’t tell, but the murderer stood close, just like he always had. But he had never held a gun to her head before. 

“Daddy,” she cried. “Why did you hurt Mom?”

She heard no response at first, but the sudden sound of his sniffling and crying was complete evidence to her that he had heard her. She looked up to her father, hot tears pouring from her eyes. Her dad’s face was tinted red, telling her that he been drinking… a lot. 

Her dad having a drink wasn’t uncommon, but he had never had so much that he became intoxicated. What made him drink so much in the first place? 

“Why did you kill Mom?” she screamed. Her dad hiccuped, a single tear falling from the corner of his eye. Taylor could hear the operator trying to butt in, but she couldn’t answer her. She could only focus on her dad, then the gun, then to him again. He looked her straight in the eye, an odd mixture of emotions present. The saying, “The eyes are the window to the soul” really made sense to her at the moment. 

His mouth opened, but he closed it. She could feel her heart beat through her chest heavily, almost as if it would burst. When he swallowed, he opened his mouth again.

“She cheated on me,” he said quietly. 

“Wh-What?”

She cheated on me!” he shouted, holding the gun steadier than before. Taylor screamed from surprise. “She cheated on me with the idiot at the office! She broke our vows, Taylor! She broke me!” He clutched his free hand into a fist hard until he broke skin and bled. Taylor couldn’t believe this. Why would her mother cheat on her dad? They obviously loved each other, that was no question. What would provoke her mom to go after an intern at the office where her father worked?

“She made me look like an abomination,” he continued, spitting with each word. He was apparently very intoxicated. And dangerous. “Then she tried to wallow in her regret using alcohol after I toldher that I found out. Ha, was she kidding me? She didn’t feel anything before then, it took me having to tell her that I knew her dirty little secret for her to fess up!” He moved the gun to Taylor’s forehead. “And now I can’t stand seeing anything that we shared together.”

Taylor cried silently as she gazed into her father’s drunken, angry eyes. Her death was inevitable, there was no doubt. He was far too gone for reason to reach his intoxicated mind. He bit his lip hard and looked to the front door. She supposed he was considering his escape after he killed her and left her corpse right where she sat. 

“Daddy,” she pleaded, “no. Daddy, please, no, I love you.” 

“She hurt me, Taylor,” her father said with a steady tone to his voice. “This is the only way to fix things.” With a whurr the gun’s pointed around, against his own forehead. It’s clicked, there’s a flash of white and red, and her father is on the ground, unmoving. Only bleeding.

She screamed, clutching her head as she sobbed. She cried for help, for her parents, but most of all, she wanted to forget. She wanted to forget everything. She grabbed the bloody pistol; her hands shook with it in her hands. She pulled her knees in and held it to her head, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t do it. She couldn’t pull the trigger. 

When the ambulance and the police arrived, they found Taylor like she had been: on the ground, pistol in hand, but away from her head. They tried speaking with her, but they could get no information out of her. They took her into the ambulance car, too her to the hospital, and were thankful that she wasn’t injured physically; deep down they knew that she would never be the same.

The next morning, when the nurse went in to check on her, she was gone, the window wide open. No one has seen Taylor ever since her unbelievable experience.


Submitted: January 26, 2015

© Copyright 2022 R Anonymous. All rights reserved.

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