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You are watching TV downstairs, enjoying the emptiness of your home. Your wife is up visiting her parents in Washington state, leaving your nine-year-old son in your care. The show you are watching ends and you yawn loudly, deciding to get some sleep before it’s too late. After turning off the TV and putting away some midnight snacks, you trudge up the stairs to your bedroom. You brush your teeth and slip on your pajamas before checking up on your son.
The wooden floor creaks underneath you as you walk across the hall just a few doors down. The icy door knob turns under your hand as you push it open. A cold wind hits you in the face and goosebumps raid the surface of your skin. The window on the opposite side of the room is wide open, and the drapes around it flutter lightly over the wind that pushes in. Moonlight from the full moon above floods through the glass and illuminates the small room in a ghostly white. You don’t remember leaving that window open. Creeping into the room quietly, you tip toe around the creaks in the floor so that you don’t wake up your son.
Suddenly, the door squeals as the wind quickly pushes it shut behind you. You flinch and your gaze snaps over to your son to see if he wakes. He doesn't move. That strikes you odd because he is a really light sleeper. He should have at least shifted the blankets, or sighed, or turned over. But, he doesn't. He doesn't move. You step over to his bed. Nothing. You touch his cool forehead and kiss him there. Nothing. Your hands begin to shake and a painful lump builds up in your throat. You call his name, “Tom?” Silence. “Hey, Tom. Buddy, wake up. Tom?” Still silence. “TOM?!” Tears begin to flow down your face as you scream at him to wake up.
You bring him close you and hug him tightly, noticing how his chest isn't expanding and deflating with air like it used to or how there was no continuous thud inside his rib cage. As you sob, racking your brain as to how this could happen to a strong, healthy boy, you glance to the open window. Something out there murdered your son, and you will never know who or what it was, or how they did it. That is the question that will torture you for the rest of your life.