Chapter 41

For the rest of the day Cody had spent his time asleep on the couch, or just tossing and turning, awakening and trying to fall into a deep slumber. By the time dinner had come he'd just turned away from his mum pretending to be asleep, so by the time it was time to go upstairs to bed both his parents had decided to leave him on the couch.

He checked the clock—11:30. There was no chance at sleep, after on-and-off slumber all day. Cody hadn't given an attempt at it. He forced himself off the couch and slumped over to the kitchen and sat on the ground in front of a cooler. In a dazed way he opened it and started rummaging through it, looking for beer bottles. He grabbed the last one, a forty-ounce lingering around the back and popped the cap off with a bottle opener he'd found in a drawer. Immediately he began chugging it as fast as he could, and by the time he was done with it had forgotten why he'd began looking for it. It had become hard to sit up straight and the world slowly started spinning around him, and then began fading into darkness. . .

Cody awoke early the next morning with a killer hangover. He flipped out his phone to check the time—7:00 on a Saturday. He pushed himself up, grasping the empty beer bottle in his hand. He threw it in the trash, remembering what was today.

The funeral, he thought, Great . . .

He grabbed a bag of chips out from the pantry and water and headed down to the basement where he stayed, playing video games until his mum had wondered downstairs telling him, "Cody?"

"Yeah?" he asked, pausing his game.

"How long have you been up"

"Like half an hour," he lied. It was now 10:30, a full three and a half hours since he woke up.

"Well, breakfast is ready. And after I want you to take a shower and get ready for John's funeral."

"Fine," he said, putting the controller down. He flicked off the TV and system and pulled himself upstairs.

Cody let out a loud groan when bright late morning sun set upon his eyes, making his headache begin to throb hard. He sat down at the table to a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon, a glass of orange juice by the plate.

"You need to eat something," his mum said at the end of breakfast as she rinsed off the plates.

"I'm not hungry," he said.

"I know that all this is hard . . . but you need your strength. You can't go on like this."

"Yeah . . . I know. I'll be fine," he said, getting up.

He trudged upstairs and into his bedroom. The first thing he noticed was a crisp, clean suit on a hanger resting on the closet the door which was cracked open. Ignoring it, he began taking off his clothes. He grabbed a towel from the closet and wrapped it around his waist as he walked down the hall to the bathroom.

Getting out of was the hardest thing for him to do. Not because the hot water comforted him, but mostly because he despised of what they day was going to bring him. Reluctantly, he got out and dried himself off from head to toe, shaking the towel over his head to moderately dry his hair.

He walked back to his room and put on his suit. He looked at himself in the mirror at the end, trying to get out the wrinkles and imperfections. The only time I thought I'd be wearing one of these, he thought to himself, is when I got married. He sighed and continued fixing himself up.

About half an hour later the four of them got into the car and left. It had taken a while for his mum and sister to get ready, like it always did. His mum adorned herself in long, plain black dress while Jessie fashioned herself in black tights and a short black dress and heels.

"Let's just get this over with," his dad sighed to them all as they pulled out of the driveway, "and leave it behind us."

The rest of the drive was lift in a sympathetic, yet awkward silence.

Within a five minutes of so the ceremony started. People had gone up on the podium and spoke about John's life and such, all during which Cody kept his head dangling between his legs, his elbows on his knees. Like this, not focusing on anything in particular, he found it easy to just forget. About everything. I think I can get through this, he thought to himself.

And one line brought his thoughts to an abrupt stop. ". . . I allow you to nopw go up and visit the casket, wishing or saying anything that you feel."

His stomach lurched on way then the other, and proceeded to summersault. Even though he was sitting, he felt his legs turn to jelly. Seeing his best friend's corpse in front of other people, many of which he knew, wasn't something very appealing to him in any way. Reluctantly, though, when it was his turn to go up he did.

Saying things like "He looks so peaceful now," is too cliché, and not very true. To Cody, John looked anything but calm. The markings from the ropes on his neck were still there, and his mouth almost looked like it was in a permanent pout. Help me, his corpse seemed to say.

Cody felt a violent jolt in his stomach, and knowing what that meant he quickly walked back. At the second jolt he picked up his pace, leaving out the way he came. He was out by the third, which brought along the little of breakfast he'd eaten out on the steps leading into the building.

"Are you okay?" he heard his dad say, then put his hand on his back while he was still hunched over.

"I'm fine, I'll be there in a sec, OK?" he stood upright.

"If you say so," his dad said, leaving.

Cody walked around the building onto the grass, where he sat down and leaned against the side of it.

"Are you okay?" Hailie said walking up.

"Why are you here?" he asked as she approached.

Hailie sat down next to him. "I was one of John's friends, wasn't I? I saw you look at the casket and then you turned a bit greenish, and I saw you head for the door so I followed you out here."

"Oh . . ." he wasn't up for walking at the moment.

"So are you okay?"

He took in a deep breath, "I'm fine."

"Liar. Talk to me; I'll listen."

"I just feel so guilty," Cody said after a long pause he took to breathe deeply.

"It wasn't your fault, though . . ."

"But it was."

"No—"

"Yes. If we just listened to him then he'd still be here and everything would be fine."

"Listen to him? Who? What did he say?"

Another long pause. A million thoughts ran through Cody's head at once. "I don't really know how to tell you this easily, so I'll just say it . . . I killed that guy. The one on the news, who went missing after the concert."