5 Beginning of Dusk 4
"Roxanne! Where have you been? Its past midnight!" A woman with dark brown hair and hazel eyes scowls at me. Although she gave birth to me about sixteen years ago, her body is slim and fit without any hints of childbirth.
She is my one and only mom, Eleanor Heath.
"Mom, I was hanging out with Leon. You know, the boy I brought over last week who's way shorter than I am," I respond while gesturing the approximation of Leon's height.
"That doesn't explain why you came home so late, Roxanne Ann Heath!"
Oh, dear. When my mom uses my full name, I can tell that she is pissed. She's usually pretty chill about what I do with my life, but I assume that this time pushed past her bottom line.
She focuses her gaze on my arm. Wrinkling her nose, she asks, "What happened there?"
"I fell down and grazed my arm. It's no big deal," I blink innocently while gripping my arm further. As my blood stains my clothing, I can feel a dull pain on my arm.
"Let me see."
When she pries my hand away, her frown deepens. Dragging me to the bathroom, she promptly disinfects and dresses the wound with practiced movements.
"Ow. Ow. Ow. It stings," I wince at the sensation of needles pricking my skin.
She stores away the first aid kit while she admonishes me, "Bear with it. I'm not going to ask anymore since teenagers do what teenagers do: Rebel. So I'm just going to cut your allowance for the rest of the month..."
Okay, I can deal with that.
"...and cut your internet. Your computer also goes away unless you need it for homework."
"Please, mom! Anything but that!" I use my secret technique. Begging.
When a pubescent teenager is deprived of the greatest man-made invention available to the public, they must throw away their pride and resort to pleading.
"No," she counters like a judge's hammer slamming down, confirming my punishment.
"No buts. Except, I'll let you keep your phone," she replies as her lips curl mischievously.
"Thank you," I cry out. Crocodile tears form at the corners of my eyes.
Halting her movements, she observes me for a few seconds.
"You remind me so much of your dad in both appearance and personality," my mom sighs. Her eyes become cloudy as she is probably thinking of the days she spent with my dad.
Personally, I do not remember much about my dad. However, I do have a faint memory of his gentle hands patting my head and a few words he left me. Perhaps...it was the day he died.
"Hey, mom...Actually, nevermind. I can ask tomorrow," I shake my head. To this day, I have not been able to ask her about what happened. The last time I tried, the face she made back then prevented me from ever trying again.
"Roxanne, you're turning sixteen in a month, right?" Eleanor returns from her recollections.
"Yeah, did you forget again?"
"Mom's getting old you know," she crackles her voice, pretending to be an old woman.
"Mom, you're only thirty-two. Normally people start to get married and have children at your age," I roll my eyes exaggeratedly.
"You're right," she pauses for a moment. Gesturing for me to leave the bathroom, she leads me to the guest room, no, my father's old room.
It is an orderly room without a hint of dust. No furniture is within other than the necessary ones: A small bed, a desk, and a closet. Originally, there was a single large desk with several bookcases, however, we moved them to the storage room a few years back.
Seating herself on the bed, she pats the open space next to her, signaling for me to sit down. I comply as the moment I touch the bed, she embraces me with one arm.
"Roxanne. You'll be turning sixteen soon. While America considers adults to be aged eighteen, sixteen is the age I became an adult and perhaps you might as well. At that age, I met your dad and became a mom. Furthermore, it was that age that...you became my responsibility." With her fingers, she brushes my long, black hair.
I simply listen without a peep.
"It's about time for me to tell you that your dad was...killed thirteen years ago. It was when I was eighteen and you were two. It was when I thought I could finally live my own family, get a job, and act like a true mother rather than an onlooker as my parents take care of you in my stead."
"So, who killed him?" This information about how my dad died honestly doesn't affect me at all. However, even though I feel no emotions toward my dead dad, I can never forgive those who made my mom this depressed. No matter what.
"I don't know who he was. On that day thirteen years ago, your dad was killed by a man with grey irises before my very eyes. Your dad was such a strong, yet kind man, but he was murdered without care. All I wish for is to know why my husband had to die," a murderous glint flashes past my mom's eyes before the intensity within her gaze dissipates. The only one I can see is a frail widow who is deprived of the truth.
"But, that's all I'll tell you for tonight. I have a job early in the morning, so I can't take you to school on my motorcycle. You have to walk to school on your own tomorrow without relying on me or your grandma to wake you up. Roxanne, go to bed. Now." She retracts her hand from me and stands up.
"Fine, then," I huff slightly. Mom is still hiding something from me.
But, even if I continue to ask her, she will just shrug me off.
Departing from the guest room, I walk upstairs, passing by my grandparents' room. Luckily, Grandpa and Grandma are out on a wedding anniversary vacation to Las Vegas, California. Otherwise, Grandpa would have given me an earful about why young ladies should not stay out so late or how to be a proper woman.
As I hold the doorknob, I witness my eight-year-old self's decorations, which cover the door. "This is Roxanne's Room!", "At ten, I reached this height!", and "Do not disturb without permission!" are phrases created from multicolored, wax-coated strings. Some random flowers and animals are drawn in crayon on the door. Next to the door is a line with marks that depicted how tall I was at each birthday. However, the measurements paused at the twelfth mark.
I never bothered to clean these decorations as at this point in time, I cannot bear to part with these childish decorations. Additionally, I was too lazy to do so.
I enter my bedroom. Several plushies are scattered on my disordered bedsheets. While some books and folders are organized, there is a layer of passed back homework assignments strewn on top of my desk. I immediately notice that my laptop is missing from my bed.
Mom really does act fast when it comes to punishing me...
After setting my backpack down and checking whether or not Leon's gun still has bullets, I switch the lights off. Collapsing onto my fluffy bed, I shut my eyes. Although my vision can only view darkness, I can reminisce about how the day went by.
When I ran back to grab my backpack, I discovered that the decapitated corpse was gone. While the blood stains are there and the park's slide is still crushed, I could not explain what transpired to the police.
Instead, I could only head home without telling anyone. No human would believe in my words. But, I doubt that after injuring him so much that he will leave me alone.
So, the one thing I can do is shiver under my bed sheets, hoping that the demon does not kill me in my sleep or when I travel to school tomorrow morning.
As I hear my mom's bedroom door close from beneath my room, I recollect about what my mom had just informed me about.
There was something that Mom did not know.
And, that was how Grandma accidentally let the fact that my dad was murdered slip from her mouth last year.
Though, I was not aware of what kind of person murdered my dad until now.
"A man with grey eyes, huh."
Temporarily parting with my stuffed animals, I slowly escape from the clutches of my bed. Moving to my drawer, I open it.
Within is a single photo I discovered in my dad's room while we transported his things into the storage room. Yet, it is not an image of our family nor any of his close friends.
But, a picture of an auburn-haired man around his late twenties or early thirties. However, what sticks out from his average appearance is...the man's grey irises.
"So, you really are the one who killed my dad."
My voice echoes in the silent room.