Pulling it open, I saw the last person I would have been expecting.
“Cheyenne Wilson?” a warm, deep voice said as the man stepped up on the porch and into the light. It was the local sheriff. I had met him a couple times with my parents while in town.
“Yes?” I held onto the doorframe to steady myself.
“I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m Sheriff Taylor.”
“Yes,” I replied with a shaky voice. “I remember you.”
Hesitating, he took a step closer. His brow was creased and his jaw tight. His fingers were white from pressing so hard on the hat he held in both of his hands.
“May I come in?” he asked. “I need to talk with you.”
Blinking, my breaths grew heavier. It couldn’t be good news. “S-sure,” I replied and stepped further into the hall. I swallowed. “Watch your step. My parents and I are going camping this week. I have all the gear out in the hallway.” I tried to remain calm as I said it, tried to distract myself from thinking about the real reason he had come.
Nodding, he walked into the living room. I slowly closed the door and followed. He had turned towards me and was waiting.
“Can we sit?” he suggested.
Numbly, I walked to the couch, and he sat on the coffee table in front of me. “W-what’s going on?” Suddenly I was trembling in dread.
“Cheyenne,” he said softly, as he set his hat on the table next to him. “I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.”
Everything froze in place when he said those words. I didn’t move. I didn’t breathe. I didn’t blink or swallow.
“There was a terrible accident, and your parents, Gene and Alexis, were involved.” He hesitated as his hazel eyes searched mine. “I’m sorry. They didn’t survive.”
The tears began to stream down my cheeks. All I could hear was the ringing in my ears along with the words “they didn’t survive.”
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