Chapter 4

Copyright© 2020 by Olga Chinka

I open my eyes and see the sun’s rays bouncing off my walls. It’s morning and my room is illuminated. I crawl out of bed and head to the window. The street is covered in a white heavy blanket of snow. Every car is buried in it and every house. Oh no, the houses! Mrs. Wheeler’s house!

My eyes dart towards her home. The window’s curtains are still wide open. I feel a big heavy ball in the pit of my stomach as I realize why that room’s curtains are open. Mrs. Wheeler was attacked. She’s hurt, if not worse. I need to tell someone!

I wrap myself in my robe and rush downstairs. I find my family in the kitchen, drinking coffee at the table. My mom is at the stove frying bacon while my dad sits reading the morning paper. Where’s Jane? I quickly scan the house for my sister and find her next to him. Steve. I can feel the vomit start building up in my throat.

I rush back to my mom and whisper angrily, “what is he doing here? Why would you let him in?”

“Who Steve?” my mom replies nonchalantly. “He’s spending the day with Jane. They are going to the mall to finish my shopping list for me. Maybe they will take you too if you ask nicely?”

“I don’t care about the mall mom, a terribly crime has happened! I saw someone hurt our neighbor!”

My dad looks up from his paper with his eyebrow raised. “What neighbor?”

“Mrs. Wheeler! I saw someone hurt her in her home last night! There was a man there and he punched her! Over and over until she couldn’t stand any longer!”

“Rachel, are you sure you are not just imagining things? I know how upset you were last night” my mom called out from the stove. “Our eyes play tricks on us when we’re not thinking straight.”

“I saw what I saw mom! Dad, you have to believe me!” I plead with him.

My dad sets down his paper and just sits there for a minute thinking.

“We’ll call her” he finally decides. “Rachel, fetch me my phone.”

I run off to get his cell from his room. I pass Jane and Steve who are too busy kissing to notice they were no longer alone.

“Here it is!” I exclaim, huffing from my burst of exercise. Why must everything be harder in the morning?

My dad puts his glasses back on and scrolls through his phone. “Lets see here, Webber, Wesley, oh here it is! Mrs. Wheeler.” He enables the speaker and sets the phone on the table in the middle of us.

We listen to the ring. Over and over it rings. No one picks up. Finally, the message machine turns on and Mrs. Wheeler’s voice fills our home. “You have reached Catherine Wheeler. I am visiting my family in Kentucky and am away for the moment. Leave a message and I will call you when I get back!”

My dad hangs up the phone and looks at me.

“Well that’s settled. She’s visiting her family. She couldn’t have been hurt last night if she’s not home, now could she?”

“But dad!” I start to argue when I hear my phone ring in my room.

I groan and run to my room to see who is calling me. Taylor’s name is on my screen, she was calling me back!

“Rachel what happened? I just heard your message. You sounded really freaked out! What’s wrong?”

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