The next morning I woke up and instantly knew something wasn’t right. Before I moved, I could feel a knot in my stomach. Dread flooded my entire body. Something was wrong. I heard someone awake in the kitchen, which never happened. Usually, I woke the girls and got them ready to go to the bus stop before being picked up by Chad. No one ever saw us off in the morning. Walking into the kitchen, I could see Eric at the stove, bent over a tiny pan we used to melt butter, stirring constantly. At first I was confused, and tinged with satisfaction that he got up to cook us breakfast. Finally, someone was ready to help me out and see us off properly before school. I walked closer and realized he didn’t see me, even though he should have. I stood next to him, and he never looked up. He was completely out of it.
He just stared down and stirred, sweat dripping down his nose. Acid rose in my throat as the walls of my neck constricted. Complete and shear panic ran through my blood; my heart pumped so rapidly I began to get tunnel vision. Many things raced through my mind. Chad would be pulling up any minute; if he came in and saw this, he’d never speak to me again. He knew things weren’t right, but he had no idea how wrong they were. I didn’t want to deal with this. Rose walked up to her dad, but he didn’t see her. Crystal stood next to the stove and stared into the pot at the mixture he was carefully tending. I watched her; she was blank. Whatever was being cooked in that little pan was going to end up in a syringe, and I wanted all of us out of the house before that happened.
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