doormat. Probably because they don’t have one. I stick it in the bottom lock. Never the top. The top one jams. I hear the chunk of a deadbolt giving way. I hesitate then. I’m not sure I want to see him now. My vision is greyed around the edges, and I feel dizzy from exhaustion and apprehension. It would seem so ridiculous if nothing was wrong. But there was. Maybe his dad would find him, when he got home from his night job. But I had to do this now. I step inside, pausing in the ever-comforting foyer. Why do I feel like that was all about to change? I turn to the stairs and start ascending. I stand before Conner’s door for a moment, then push it open. * * * * * Blood is a strange color. Darker than you would think, closer to black than to red. A little more than seven pints. That’s what I had learned in Ms. Meijer’s science class last year- the average human being has a little more than seven pints of blood in their body. I wondered how many of those pints were pooling on Conner’s carpet now. I slide down against the wall, hugging knees to chest. I don’t feel anything. I couldn’t possibly do anything but stare, and I’m not even sure I am doing that. I flick my eyes up at the ceiling. Where was that water coming from? Wait, no. I’m crying. My face is wet where salty rivers carved through the sorrow. It is amazing what death does to a person. Conner is- was- 6’2”, a monster at fifteen. I’m a measly 4’10”, more the stature of a lanky nine-year-old boy than a normal twelve-year-old. Whenever we went out, people would think I was his (very) little brother. One time I looked small enough that, when I was doing some stupid thing in a store, a man told Conner to “control his kid.” Now he looks more my height. I never thought he could look so… broken. Conner had broken himself. His dad’s .32 lies a few feet away. Why is it away from him? And why can I only see details? I get up, go to the phone, and dial three numbers. I can’t remember making myself do that. I don’t know how long I had sat there, but the sky is morphing black to gray. Two and a half rings, then an answer. 9-1-1, what is your emergency? The pleasantness of the voice grates against the situation. I freeze now. There is no emergency. Conner is already dead; there is nothing left to do. 33

34 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication