Chapter VII
The phone's ring echoed through the empty halls of Brad's house. Bailey's soft barking responded as the light foot steps of his mouth approached the kitchen; the singing phone's perch. Lifting it to her ear Sophie snapped the T.V. on, to watch the afternoon news. Mrs. Keller? The man's voice was deep and serious, it's tone sent shudders down her spine.

This is she.I'm calling to inform you of your son, Bradlee Micheals. In the back ground the newscaster read from the teleprompter. The green screen behind him showing a scene of disarray as he spoke, silent medics ran past him, all shouting and pointing. A couple stood off to the side, the man in a leather jacket; the woman's face buried in his chest. Scattered about were high school students and teachers, all speaking, and none heard as the newscaster spoke. ...IN A WORLD OF SHIT! Cory bellowed as he made his way through the halls, heading towards Brad's room. Slamming the door against the wall Brad jerked up from his playing, the wall emitting a loud crack as the door knob hit the smooth white surface. Cory stood glaring at him, in his clutched fist a baggy of white powder. YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING WITH THIS!? He flung the bag onto his bed and approached Brad with an unstoppable force. His husky figure charged at him like a rhino's heavy leather plated skin charging a poacher. YOU THINK YOU COULD GET AWAY WITH THIS SHIT!?But... It's not... He voice cut out as the back of Cory's hand landed on his right cheek. The carpet burned against his ear as he opened his eyes, which were filling with painful tears. Pressing his palms into the cream colored carpet Brad lifted himself up to his feet, a drop of blood hitting his shirt from his mouth. His eyes burned as he looked at Cory's raging face. His mother appearing in the doorway, staying completely quiet.

NO WONDER YOUR DAD IS DEAD! YOU'RE JUST AS STUPID AS HIM! He shouted, his knuckles cracking against Brad's swollen right cheek again. Wiping his mouth Brad swallowed the mouthful of blood.

Brad looked up at his father as he pulled his hand back from the glove compartment with a black slap of metal. Daddy? What's that? He spoke, his voice innocent and young. A tear hit Brad's arm as his father leaned over and kissed his cheek, parking the car at the park. His eyes were blotchy and tearing from an unseen pain. Placing the metal barrel under his chin Brad's father uttered soft words before cocking the revolver.

Brad... Always believe that I love you. You are my sunshine. The loud crack of the bullet hitting, ripping, and exiting his father droned out Brad's scream as the fragments of his father's skull splattered over the wind sheild. Blood blocked Brad's ablity to see as he cried and screamed His own blood from the cuts on his face due to his father's skull mixed with his father's. The wieght of the remains of his father's brain rested in his lap, the strong smell of blood clogged his senses and he cried harder, his tears slowly removing the blood from his eyes. Blinking, Brad looked at the remains of his father, what was his father.

Brad stood in the doorway of his house, it was different, it looked and smelled different, it smelled dead. Sophie walked past him, brushing his arm with her own, numbness shot through his body. The floor did not seem familar, it was not mud covered or had the prints of Bailey's paws from his morning walks anywhere, it was spotless, clean, unwelcoming. He looked at the stair case, how clean and untouched it seemed, it had gone unclimbed by his feet, the carpet stiff from lack of use. He didn't feel at home, he was in their home, not his; it was not the stair case he broke his arm falling down, nor the floors he spent so many hours ice skating across when he dreamt of being a hockey player. It wasn't the house where he and Jamie would play hide and seek in, the way the air conditioner blew her hair as they cooled themselves off from the summer heat. The fire place where they would sit and roast marsh mellows was not his own any more, his heart ached as he made his way into the living room. The couch groaned under his weight as he sat in his usual place, his father's place; what was left of his father's place. For the leather smelled newly cleaned, not smoke and musk engrained, the smell he loved. He felt Bailey's eyes welcome him in his usual state of boredom. The honey golden eyes of Bailey stared at him from behind the glass doors, his whimpers soft and depressed. Looking over at the dog Brad shifted his gaze from his hands to the loving creature Sophie had locked outside. The snow drifted from the sky and coated Bailey in a white fluff, every so often he'd shake his head, sending the blanket of ice everywhere. His panting made Brad's lips curl slowly into a smile, a smile we would share with his father, a smile that showed hope, enjoyment. The scuffing of his mother's slippers drained the smile off his face as he listened, reverting his eyes back to his hands. The smell of her shampoo, and the sound of her damp hair hitting her shoulders in bouncing curls forced a heavy sigh out of him. The room tilted, then relaxed as she leaned against the wall, peering at her son.

Her voice was tired, stressed, pained. Don't answer her, she'll only yell at you, he thought. Swallowing he turned his head, peering back at her. I wanted to tell you that I love you. Hot tears stung the back of his eyes as he swallowed again, his arms throbbing painfully, screaming to him. She does not! She does not know you! And that we are here to help... I am here to help. She's lying! She doesn't care about you! I know you're in pain, I just want you to know that I love you. She's LYING!

I know mom... I... He paused, tell her you hate her! His heart lept into his throat, as he forced back his tears. I love you too. Turning, his mother wiped her eyes and walked into the kitchen to prepare her coffee, her morning routine.

Smiling, Brad stepped off stage, Jamie running up to speak to him. His heart fluttered as she drew near, the guitar growing heavy in his arms. You should SO play at the dance! You're so good! Her voice was staggered from her heavy breathing as she threw her arms around him, his body melting at her smell, her touch.

Bailey brought cold air inside with him as he leaped into the heated living room, the blast of frigid air froze the sweat on Brad's neck, his body shivering in utter surprise. His cold nose greeted Brad's warm right cheek as he sniffed the new and exciting scents Brad had brought with him. Rubbing his head Brad smiled and hugged his long missed friend, I missed you buddy. Hearing himself say the word buddy brought the tears forward and they spilled down his face in heated agony. Tears seaped into the black marker, making it run slightly on the cover of his notebook.