The following story is true in its entirety. The events in this story happened to me not too long ago, about 5 months. I have been thinking about posting this story for a while, wondering if it's big enough to draw a crowd. The circumstances preceding these events aren't important, aside from knowing that me, my friends, and my family were on a series of long strings of bad decisions. You could call this divine intervention, or just raw evidence of Karma.

My mother's and my aunt's decisions were justified in their eyes and their friends' eyes, but seemed skeptical to me (They are twins, so this made them essentially the same person). The choices they made involved picking fights with their father, an extremely elderly and mentally World War II veteran. All you need to know about them is that they were constantly arguing with him, to the point of driving the family apart, divided over what to do with all his wealth that was not theirs or mine to take. This was their choice.

My cousins, two from different aunts and uncles, one 16 and one 17 years old had talked me into sneaking out of our vacation house at night while on vacation. We never got caught or seen considering all dozens of times we did it... by our parents at least. One time an innocent bystander caught us and he talked us into going back home. He was just a regular man, who was out for a walk --at 3 AM-- just like us. He knew our parents would be upset if they knew we were here. I forgot to mention that I was 15 at the time, the youngest in our little trio. This was our choice.

My brother, three years younger than me and age 12 at this time (this is all within the same 5 months), was up to no good. Being in seventh grade and branching out of his protective shell my mother had spent 12 years to delicately make for him. Although my mother or father never found out, he was still guilty (my parents are divorced). He stole my father's cigarettes in hopes of seeing what it was like. The only way I know this is through my cousin, the older of the 2, age 17. When I heard this, I started keeping a closer eye on his stupid ass. This was his choice.

My stepdad is a firefighter. He works almost full time, leaving my mother alone most of the time. The things he sees at work I try not to imagine. The firefighters use strange slang to describe what is inside a burning house, including the term "Oscar-Meyer wieners" used for a person who is burnt so badly, their corpse is solid black and melted to the equally charred floor. He left my mother alone for almost a week. She wasn't totally alone, me and my brother were there with her after school and stuff, but companionship from the man she married wouldn't have hurt. He took out his stress and anger on her. Yelling and arguing was most of their conversations. One day, my mother was distraught enough to break down and cry on front of the family. My borther and I looked at each other awkwardly and hastily left the dinner table. This was his choice.

Our family had a dog; a dog we had since my sixth birthday. She was found by my uncle when he was doing repairs on his cottage in the wintertime. The cottage was not fully build yet, so my uncle was making sure that the entire cottage wasn't covered in water when he went there in the summer. He saw his trash can tipped over, and inside it was a puppy who was no bigger than his hands. The shivering pup walked up to my uncle, wagging its tail, and pressing its head against my uncle's leg. He picked up the tiny little dog and drove back to our town, knowing my birthday was coming up, give or take a month or two. She was the most gentle, thankful, and loving animal I had ever seen. She was my dog. I named her Casey.

Casey grew up fast, never being a hassle as a puppy. The funniest thing was she had almost zero violent instinct. She wouldn't hurt a fly, although she would sometimes chase squirrels. She would only bark if she was told to speak for a treat or if it was truly necessary. Here's where it gets interesting...

One night at my house, my mom had just got finished arguing with my stepdad. Casey was barking while the two of them were arguing. My brother was eating a handful of chocolate chips, a few leftover from my mom making chocolate chip cookies. I was listening to my iPod with my volume turned up louder than usual to block out the screaming. My stepdad went upstairs and I took my earbuds out. My mother, her hand spread across her forehead, let out a muffled sigh. Her voice shaky as she was on the verge of tears. Casey slumped on the floor next to my feet, with one of those disappointed looks on her face that dogs seem to have all the time. Her breathing slowed as she let exhaustion hit her. My mother grabbed the bag of chocolate chips and snacked at them with my brother on the couch as I put my earbuds back in. I softened the music, sort of half listening to my brother talk to my mom. The conversation was about why my mom would marry a guy like my stepdad. She didn't know. They went upstairs, leaving me to shut everything off. I followed them upstairs shortly after, Casey following closely behind me to my room. My mom was sitting on my bed, petting Casey as I plugged my charger into my iPod.

"You know, she's getting pretty old. You're gonna miss your chance. Are you sure you don't want her to sleep in here? She looks comfy.", my mother said.


"Why not?"

"She's just gonna want to leave."

"Okay, then... You're gonna miss her some day."

"Whatever, mom.", I said. I wish I hadn't.

I patted Casey on the head as she left and followed my mom into her room. I'm sorry I didn't get to have her stay.

The next morning, I got up and got my regular bowl of cereal, groggily eating it as my brother did the same. Casey was under the table. I pet her with my foot. My mom came downstairs.

"Boys? Where's the dog?", she began. "Oh my god..."

My mother yelled at the top of her lungs for my stepdad, and my brother was starting to hyperventilate. Casey was under the table... but she wasn't moving. I went numb and my heart pumped an ice cold rush of blood a few times until it didn't pump at all. My ears tuned out and my vision turned to a haze, as I watched everything unfold in front of me. If I could hear anything besides the white noise in my ears, I would tell you what my family was talking about. I remember my stepdad running downstairs, trying to give her CPR and pumping her chest. A thick, putrid smelling goo was coming out of her mouth. My mom looked around hysterically and stopped immediately when she looked behind my chair that I was in. There was an empty chocolate chips bag.

The circumstances couldn't have been better for some otherworldly being to take action. It was a jinx cocktail. And today, me being 16 and 5 months after this happened, I wonder. I've never really thought about my life before, but it's about time I do so.

You never know when old problems decide to come up and bite you. If you do things mindlessly, stop. Stop and think. What will I truly pay for doing this? What is the true cost? Will it be my life? Will it be my friends? Dunno.

It's impossible to know.