Suddenly, I struggled to breathe as I stared at the dark, ominous house. There wasn’t a single light on. I remembered turning on a few lights before I left. Then my breathing grew shallow, and the sides of my vision darkened as I took hold of the truck door with a shaky hand. A buzzing sound whirred in my head. I tried to get oxygen into my lungs, but it was like someone had cut off my airway. I couldn’t stop the panic attack or the visions. I shook my head several times as I tried to escape my memories, but it was too late.
The large house had been dark as I got out of my car. Not one light glowed. Even the lights on the outside of the garage were off. Something was wrong. Mom’s Audi was in the driveway and the garage door was open. Mom never left the garage door open, even when she was home. Julie’s Volvo sat in the driveway, too. Why was she home? She wasn’t supposed to be home from her friend Melissa’s house until tomorrow. As soon as I stepped into the bay of the garage, a strong odor penetrated my nostrils, a mixture of sweat and a man’s cologne. It wasn’t my dad’s cologne, either. He didn’t even wear the smelly stuff—it irritated Mom. I covered my nose with my hand as my brain suddenly became fuzzy.
I climbed the few steps to the door leading inside the house. I turned the knob, pushed the door, and tentatively walked in. I flipped the light switch next to the door, but nothing came on. I hesitated before going any farther. I took out my phone and hit the button so the backlight on it would help guide me. As I headed down the hallway, bile rose in my throat. Unlike the smell in the garage, the scent inside had a strong metallic odor. Every hair on me stood up.
“Mom,” I called out, but I didn’t get an answer. “Mom,” I called again, but nothing. Where was she? Why wasn’t she answering?
Suddenly, someone was calling my name.
“Hey. Lacey. What’s wrong?” a familiar-but-scared voice asked.
Pain seared from my right elbow up through my shoulder, and I screamed.
“Lacey? Lacey? Can you hear me?”
My vision blurred, then a flash of light blinded me before a hot wind breezed over my face. I blinked a few times. On my last long blink my vision cleared a little, my breathing still shallow. “K-K-ade?”
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