Chapter One: Don't Go

My name is Kyle Fitz, it is July 9th, 2003, I am 8 years old and I am starting this Journal today and I am an orphan.

Today I decided to start a journal. My therapist told me that it would be best considering everything that I have gone through. She says that I should write down all my thoughts, including what I have done today and anything that I think is important. I don't know what to say other than what my therapist told me to. My name is Kyle and I am an orphan starting today.

"Kyle, eat your eggs."

"I don't want eggs, mom. I want toast—can I have toast instead?" Kyle says back to his mother who is bussily running throughout the kitchen, trying to prepare dads breakfast.

She stops and puts her hands on her hips. "Kyle, you said that you wanted eggs, I already made them. If you want toast then you'll have to eat the eggs first." She shakes her head and goes back to cooking.

"Well what are you making dad? Can I have what he's having too?" Kyle pushes, sitting at the table and staring down at the plate of eggs that don't seem very appetizing at the moment.

"I'm making your father eggs too." She sounds almost upset and annoyed. Kyle didn't mean to upset her, he just didn't want eggs.

"Oh." Is all he says and then sighs. He decides to just get it over with and eat them. Its not that he doesn't like eggs, mom just isn't the best cook whenever she is stressed—which she obviously is.

"Karen?" Kyle's dad says as he walks into the room, all dressed for the day.

"Is something wrong?" His mom asks his dad as she plates the fresh eggs.

Kyle's dad comes and sits at the table right next to Kyle as his mom brings the plate over and sets it in front of his dad.

"Where is my money?" Kyle's dad asks as he just stares down at the plate, not touching it.

"What money?" She replies and goes back to the counter to clean up the things that she had used for cooking.

"My money that was on the dresser. I know you have taken it and I need it. Those guys at work—the ones that I owe—they want it today. You know what I'm talking about. Where is the money?" He says very seriously as if it is life or death.

"I don't know. Did you place it somewhere else and forgotten?" She acts like it isn't a big deal and continues to scrub dishes.

"Karen, do you want to get me killed? You know what not giving over that money means! Give it to me now, I have to leave and I need it. Where is it Karen?" He stands abruptly, causing his chair to squeek with pressure behind him. He walks over to the counter and slams his fist down on it.

Kyle just watches in confusion.

After a few seconds of silence, Kyle's mom finally sighs. "Jake, you know what I think about you and these deals. If you take them the money they are just going to get you into more trouble then they would if you don't. Please, just don't go to work today. Say home, we can be here as a family—you don't need to take them the money." She sounds very upset all of a sudden, which concerns Kyle. He doesn't know what is going on but he is used to his parents fighting about similar topics before. They just haven't ever fought right in front of him before, usually they just wait until they thinkt he is asleep or they lock their bedroom door—but he can always here them.

"Give it to me! If I don't take it to them then we are all in trouble. Do you want that? Do you want to get me in trouble? Where is the money?" He pounds his fist on the counter once again but this time Karen jumps, as if a little scared.

She shakes her head, looking down at her hands and not up at him. "No. I don't want this, I don't want any of this. I want you safe—with your family. Look at your boy! He loves you, John. I love you. You can't just do this to us, going about life like this—you could get hurt. I don't want anything to happen to you, this is too dangerous." She is crying now, Kyle can tell. He feels so bad for her and all he wants is to run up and give her a hug like he always does when she cries. But he doesn't move and instead waits, hoping that they can figure this out without anymore yelling.

He was wrong. "If you don't give me the money woman, then I'm leaving you. Do you hear me? I will leave you! Gone! I will get out of this house, leave through that door and I will never come back if you don't give me the money."

"John, you wouldn't do that. I know that we have had many differences and we are always fighting—but we love each other. We love Kyle, and you wouldn't leave us. Not over this. Not over something so simple—the money isn't important! Just stay home today, please?"

"Give me the money." He says as if she hadn't said anything. "If you don't then I might as well leave. Because I will not sit by and let you ruin my life. You just don't understand what this could do for me. That money is the only thing keeping me alive right now, if I don't show up with it then they are going to..." He pauses, glances over at Kyle and then sighs. "Give me the money. Or you will never see me again."

She thinks it over, Kyle sees the stress that this conversation is bringing her and all he wants is to tell his dad to stop being mean to mom. He wants to stand up for her, to tell him to knock it off and that she is just trying to help.

Finally his mom speaks up, as if to finally come to a decision about something. "No. I love you and can't let you get hurt."

Kyle's dad suddenly bursts into anger worse than before and whispers to Karen, "You just did." He then takes off, running up the stairs.

His mom chases after him, leaving the water running by accident. Kyle wants to follow, to make sure that everything is ok but by the time he is standing his dad is already back down the stairs, a bag in his hand. Kyle's mom rushes to him, following him and yelling—screaming at him to not go. John slams the door shut as he walks out, right in her face.

His mom sinks to the ground at the door, crying hysterically. She continues to cry for what seems like ever for Kyle before he walks over to her and kneels down. She is crying silently now, her hands covering her face. He tries to comfort her, stroking her hair back.

"Mom?" He says after another moment of silence.

She sits up and puts her hands to her sides. She stares at the door for a moment and then finally stands up, Kyle does the same. "Go eat your breakfast, please."

He doesn't dare disobey her, he only wishes that he could help her in some way. Kyle figures that the best way to help his mom is to listen to her.

He sits back down in his seat in the kitchen and begins eating his eggs—no matter how nasty or gross they are. He watches as his mom walks in, turns off the water and then leaves the room to go upstairs.

Kyle just keeps on eating. He has no idea what just happened but he keeps on telling himself that it's not as bad as it looks. Dad just went to work and mom is just upset. She probably went upstairs to make the bed. She always cleans and cooks when she's stressed—even though the cooking part doesn't usually turn out so well. Kyle knows that everything is ok, or that it is going to be ok. Dad will come back through that door any minute to tell his mom that he is sorry. They will hug and make everything better.

Kyle knows that they fight a lot, they do, but they always make it better. They are always happy in-between the fighting—at least in front of him they are. As far as Kyle can tell they are happy together...most of the time. They fight and then they get over it, it's just how things work in this house.

He knows to just ignore it and to let it be because it always gets better. He just covers his head with a pillow every night and stays away from them whenever they are sorting out their issues. He is used to this routine and nothing is going to change. To Kyle, this is just like any other fight.

Except for the fact that he has never seen his dad threaten to actually leave him and his mom. He has never heard those words come out of his father's mouth. And the way that his mom reacted said that she thought he was serious. That was what worried Kyle so much, was that they don't usually say those things. They usually just insult each other, say what they hate about the other and what they can't stand. But then they get over it. He hasn't ever seen his dad actually threaten to leave and then actually done it. That scared Kyle.

He decides that it would be best to go talk to his mom. He wants to make sure that she is ok and that dad is coming back so that they can go back to being a family again.

As Kyle walks up the stairs he begins to have a painful feeling his stomache. He ignores it and figures that it's just from the half eaten bad eggs he just tried to consume. He gets to the top of the stares and suddenly hears a loud bang.

He recognizes it as a gun shot.

Kyle runs as fast as he can down the hall to his parent's room where he stops abruptly in front of the closed door. He doesn't know what to expect, his heart is pounding and he is terrified. He doesn't dare open the door right away—scared of what he will find behind it.

Finally he slowly turns the knob and walks into the room. Everything looks normal, nothing is out of place. The bed isn't made and Kyle doesn't see his mom. He walks into the room a little more and looks over at the bed once again. On the floor, on the oposite side of the bed on the floor is a foot. That is all that is visible as far as Kyle can tell.

He keeps on telling himself the same thing over and over again. That everything is ok. She probably just fell and that's why she is on the floor, he tells himself. She probably just tripped, she is known for her clumsiness. She just tripped and fell and that's why she is on the floor. But she is ok, everything is ok. Dad is going to come back, come walking through the door any minute to tell Kyle that everything is ok. He is going to tell Kyle that his mom simply fell and was just...too lazy to get up?

Everything is ok.

"Mom? Are..." He stutters, hoping that the thoughts that are racing through his head are wrong. "Are you alright?"

There isn't a reply. Kyle decides to work up the courage to walk over to where his mom is on the floor. He can't see anything except for her foot because she is on the other side of the bed. He cautiously makes his way to her and what he sees when he can finally see over the top of the bed horrifys him.