O N E
It was after 9pm on a cool Friday night. 23-year-old Hayden Stockwell had recently gotten off work from the small run down diner in town. She didn’t live far and on a normal day would walk home but her older brother, Silas, had told her he would pick her up since she was scheduled later than usual. She searched the small parking lot for his run down white car as she pulled on her windbreaker and stepped outside. Her jacket helped keep her arms warm, but there was nothing to do about her exposed legs under the dress she wore. When she didn’t see Silas right away, she figured he was running a few minutes late and decided to sit down on the bench outside the door. She was starting to regret leaving her phone at home, especially after 20 minutes when there was still no sign of him. Tired of waiting, she stood up and began walking home, she wasn’t going to sit in the cold all night because he couldn’t be on time.
It was nearing 10pm as she walked through the front door to their house. She hadn’t seen his car in the driveway and all the lights were off in the house. Confused, she went to her room to find her phone. She quickly spotted it next to her bed on her night stand and snatched it up. Her thumb pressed on the home button to check the notifications. There were no missed calls or any text messages from her brother saying he would be late or that he wouldn’t be able to pick her up. Her confusion suddenly turned into panic, it wasn’t like him to say he was going to do something and then completely forget. She dialed his number, waiting to hear his voice when he answered but was disappointed when it went straight to voicemail.
“Silas, where are you? Please call me back as soon as you can, I’m worried.”
Hayden hung up and looked at the screen of her phone for what seemed like hours. She sent a few texts and called two more times, each call being sent to voicemail. She was about to call again when she heard the front door open and a loud thud hit the floor. Dropping her phone on the bed, she ran out of her room and rushed down the hall to see what was going on. The moment she turned the corner to the entrance room, she noticed a body lying on the floor. She knew it must be Silas but because she hadn’t turned on any lights when she got home she couldn’t tell.
“Silas?” Fear took over her body, freezing her to the spot she stood.
As she stared at the collapsed body, her mind churned. She didn’t know what was going on, this wasn’t normal for Silas at all. She’d seen him fall down drunk before, but he had gotten up right away in attempt to hide the fact that he had been drinking. She wasn’t able to move until she heard him groan in pain, the sound freeing her from paralysis. She scrambled over to him and dropped to her knees at his side. Her eyes traveled over his eerily still form and noticed there was blood on his clothing along with a few rips in his shirt.
“Oh, my gosh, Silas!” She shook him frantically.
He groaned again, but wasn’t responding much. His body limp and his face pressed against the hard wood floor. She felt her panic rising, her fingers trembling and her palms sweating. She couldn’t lose her brother; he was all she had left.
“Silas, please!” Her deep blue eyes began to water, her voice coming out shaky. “Please wake up Silas, please be okay!”
She pushed harder at his shoulder, eventually rolling him onto his back. When she saw his face, she drew in a sharp breath of air. A couple tears spilled over her cheeks as she gazed down at the damage someone had done to him. The whole right side of his face was bruised and swollen. His right eye completely closed up and the eyebrow had a deep gash that was glistening with fresh blood. She didn’t understand why someone would do this to him. He liked to drink, but he wasn’t a mean drunk or the kind of person to pick a fight.
“Hayden.” Her name came out like a croak.
“Silas! Who did this to you?” She gasped, shocked but pleased to finally hear him say something.
“Hayden, listen to me. You need to leave. I fucked up. I fucked up bad. Please, get away from here. Take my car, pack light and be quick.” He reached down into his pocket, his hand grabbing his wallet and keys to hand to her.
“What? Why? Please, you have to tell me what’s going on. You’re hurt bad, I’m not leaving you. You need to go to the hospital!”
“I’ll be fine.” He let out a wet cough. “You need to leave. I don’t care where you go and I honestly don’t want to know. You need to get away from me, you don’t need to be involved.”
“I already told you I’m not leaving you, Silas. I need to get you to a hospital. I’ll get the car started, I’ll be right back.”
She snatched the keys he had handed to her but left his wallet. There was no way she was going to leave her brother. Not after everything they had been though. Even if he was the one telling her to leave. She knew he was protecting her, like he away did, but this time she wanted to protect him. She stood up and bolted to the front door. Silas had left it open, making it easier for her to get outside.
“Hayden! Hayden please, you don’t understand.” He tried to shout after her but his body was too weak from the beating he had experienced.
Hayden ignored the faint words of protest coming from her brother, nothing he said was going to change her mind. Her hand shot out to grab the handle of the car, her fingers wrapping around the handle and whipping open the door. She took a step forward to get into the driver’s seat, her other hand resting on the door frame.
Suddenly, a large hand covered her mouth and roughly yanked her away. She instinctively screamed but it was completely muffled. Her body thrashed as she struggled against the person, knowing there was no way that it could be Silas. The person behind her was taller and much stronger than Silas. He smelled a lot different from Silas as well, this man was obviously wearing some type of expensive cologne. The man’s free arm slammed the car door shut, then wrapped around her small body. She struggled harder, however her efforts didn’t seem to faze him. He simply picked her up and carried her back to the house.
Since neither Silas, nor Hayden had gotten around to fixing the outside light, it was very dark in the front of their house. She knew the neighbors wouldn’t be able to see what was going on and that was if they were still up. The people on either side of their house were elderly couples and were usually in bed around 6pm or 7pm. The man carried her back into the house and threw her to the floor next to Silas. She whimpered softy as she came into contact with the hard floor. She was laying on her stomach, her arms bend at her sides. She heard the door slam behind her and a light turned on to reveal two men. One standing at the front door and another by the entrance to the kitchen, both blocking the exists.