Henry Sutherland lived in a small town surrounded by farms, Jay sat in the front seat of the car, Marie-Ann lay sleeping on the back seat, she had refused to ride next to her father, Jay sat there, mouth agape, looking out the window, just staring at the blue sky, he had never seen so much sky in his life, there were no buildings, people shouting, police sirens, gun shots, nothing, but fields of wheat and a soft watery blue sky that stretched out forever and the air, the air was almost a delight to breathe, he had rarely breathed air that wasn’t mingled with the stench of tobacco. The house was a small two bedroom one story house, on 2 acres of land on the edge of the township of twin oaks. Henry had bought the house after he retired from the corps, his wife, had pleaded with him to move away from the base, away from the corps and focus on what life they had left, Henry had given his youth to the corps, she had lost hers with him, but his aging years belonged to her, she had told him. They had bought the house six years ago, Henry had been born in twin Oakes, he wasn’t sure what it was that drew him back to this place, perhaps age increases our need to return to our roots, they spent perhaps the happiest years of their marriage there, a happiness that always bore the shadow, of a runaway child. The house was soon filled with memories, the walls covered with pictures, mostly of a mother and daughter, Jay didn’t recognize it at first but it was his mothers face, with her mother when she was a child, maybe it was the smile that made her look so unlike she does now he thought, she looked happy. One wall was devoted to Henry Sutherlands Military career, hung there were pictures of soldiers, framed certificates of achievement, , he called it his glory wall, he said it was a reminder of how foolishly young men throw themselves into big ideals they don’t fully comprehend, and how if they didn’t there would be no wisdom in old men. Below the pictures there was a small table, upon which sat an array of medals, Henry routinely polished them every Sunday, the medals weren’t a source of pride to Henry as most people would assume, they simply served as a reminder of how delicate life could be.
Shortly after they had arrived at the house Marie-Ann, went into the spare room and closed the door, her mouth dropped in shock, this was the first time she had been in this house, the first time she had been to twin oaks, but her childhood bedroom was here, exactly as it had been when she had left so many years before, her bed, her stuffed animals even her jewelry box sat on her dresser as it had years before, she stared at the red velvet box, her mouth still agape. It had been the last thing she had touched, the night she had run away, she had emptied all her jewelry in to a bag, planning to sell them for big bucks when she got to the big city, so naïve, she thought in hindsight, she pawned the lot three days after arriving in the city and had gotten a grand total of fifteen bucks. Marie-Ann dropped her bags on the floor where she stood, pulled back the covers on her bed, climbed in and instantly fell asleep, she slept for three days.
Jay stared at the pictures of his mother in dresses and pigtails, being pushed on the swing, Henry Sutherland behind her, them both smiling, but no matter how hard he tried, Jay couldn’t believe they were pictures of his mother, in his mind she would always be in the darkened room in the city, smoking and waiting for Hank to come home, to beat and rape her.
Henry showed Jay to his new room, in truth it was Jays first room, he had slept on the sofa since he could remember, his room was small, it was Henry’s study.
“This will be your room Jay” Henry said, “I wasn’t really expecting company” he smiled
“This is my study, used to be a room I used to be alone in, but I’ve been alone long enough.”
Henry walked over to the sofa and folded it out into a bed.
“You can bunk down here for now; I’ll get things sorted out tomorrow.”
It was late, just past eleven o’clock, and it had been one hell of a day, thought Henry, he felt like he’d been humping a full kit around all day, he was beat.
“Thank you Pops” Jay said catching Henry off guard, the boy had hardly uttered a word until now.
“What for Jay?” Henry asked
“For letting me sleep in your study.” Jay replied quietly, he still was unsure how to feel about his grandfather, he had never known kindness, and as such he felt uncomfortable, at being treated nicely.
“No problem my boy, you get a good night sleep and we’ll get this room organized in the morning. This is your room now.” Henry gave Jay one final hearty smile, shaking off his weariness, in an attempt to reassure his grandson that everything would be alright; he could see the ever present glimmer of fear in the boy’s eyes.
‘We’ve got a long way to go’ Henry thought, ‘Poor kid, don’t worry, Jay, I got you now’ Henry’s heart grew even heavier.
“Good night Jay” Henry said as he left the room, closing the door behind him.

That night Jays sleep was filled with dreams, he saw Hanks bloody face hitting the linonium floor of the kitchen in slow motion, the slapping sound his check made as it contacted the floor echoed, drowning out all other sounds, filling Jay’s ears and reverberating through his head. The thick dark blood poured from Hanks broken nose creating a pool under his head. The room seemed to be full of shadow, only Hanks head and ever growing pool of blood were in clear light, from the shadow behind Hanks twitching body, Jay slowly began to see the outline of his grandfather, though he could not see a face, standing so tall, like a giant, muscles bulging. Hanks body lay still twitching, Jay wondered for a moment if Hank was dead, ‘Impossible’ Jay thought, for Jay Hank was the embodiment of fear, how could his biggest fear die. The hulk towered over Hank, its breath deep and powerful, Jay gasped, causing the hulk to turn towards Jay, faceless, breathing heavy, Jay was frightened, his heart began to skip beats, resulting in a painful burn in his chest, he knew this feeling well. ‘What would happen when the giant man decided to hit me?’ Jay thought; the thought sent shudders down his spine. The faceless giant reached out his mighty hand towards Jay, and as the hand came closer; it grew larger until it was easily twice the size of Jay. There was nowhere to run, he could see his mother sitting in her chair just behind the immense figure that loomed over him; she was smoking and smiling, the wrinkles in her face gone, a crazed look in her eyes.
Jay cowered into the corner, he crouched down and covered his head with his arms, the shadow of the room began to engulf him, covering him in the safety of shadow.
“Leave me alone” he cried, “Just leave me alone” his whimpering voice turned to sobs as the shadows engulfed him, everything faded to black, the darkness became complete.
Jay awoke, it was morning.
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"Wow. That's awesome. I like how you write, it's unique and descriptive and paints an image for you. when i was reading this first chapter, i could just picture this becoming a blockbuster movie or something." ...Toni Brolin

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I'm supposed to be doing all sorts of things--writing cards, laundry, decorating and what happens? You put up another Chapter! So much for my schedule. Ooh, it's a good one, though that's for sure. What a cliffhanger. Can't wait to see what Sabian has to say. Really good tense stuff, but with just the right poignancy."...
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