Guilty of Innocence

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Chapter 2-The Crime

Chad Stiles had been fifteen years old that day. It had been like any other day. A school day. A bright, beautiful, autumn day. He’d gone to school that morning, telling his parents good bye before skating down the street, backpack in hand. He’d gone to school come back home and called for his family.

He’d felt it the moment he stepped though the door. It hung in the air like a thick, morning fog. So haunting and eerie that it sent chills up his spine and froze his blood. The teen called for his mother. There was no answer. He called for his father. There was no answer.

A force, unshakable, unidentifiable, pulled him slowly toward the kitchen. It was silent. All that could be heard was the sound of Chad’s footsteps and a second, subtle sound. A dripping sound. He could hear that sound clearly. It was in perfect sync with his thudding heart beat. His curiosity asked what it was but his panic shouted that it didn’t want to know. Still, his feet inched him closer to the threshold where the living room stopped and the kitchen started. Once there, he was stopped. Stone stiff, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, Chad felt his stomach churn out nausea at the sight before him.

His father was bent over the table his face turned toward the kitchen entrance, his once blue eyes glazed over and paled, his mouth agape with a trail of red drool leading from the corner of his mouth to the surface of the dining table. His arms were spread out to his sides, one hand dangling over the edge closest to the threshold. His mother was slumped over the sink, as if doing dishes. She was supported in a standing position by a chair backed against her, pinning her body between it and the counter. Her arms were slung into the empty sink, her head bowed forward and her face covered by a matted mess of blonde and red hair.

The positions of the bodies confused Chad, but it was overlooked by the shock of the sight of all the thick, red liquid covering the table, the floor, the sink and the bodies. It was all he could see. He soon found the source of the dripping sound when he saw the trail of blood flowing down his father’s hand to the tip of his middle finger and dripped to the ever growing puddle on the floor.

He hadn’t though of what he was doing before he was doing it. It was a desperate attempt, a last act of a hopeful heart and wishful thinking on their behalf. Before he knew it, their blood was on his hands, his clothes, he tracked it around the kitchen with his shoes, running from one parent to the other trying to rouse them.

The chair supporting his mother was thrown aside and her corpse set on the floor. He refused to believe that the stab wounds covering her body had done fatal damage to her. Her blonde, matted and bloody hair was moved from her face as he shook her, trying in vain to wake her up. His gray eyes shot to the body on the table. He was up on his feet and rolling the body onto its back and his hands were beating in his chest to start his dead heart.

Blurred vision and flushed face slowed his frantic attempts to wake the dead bodies. Labored breaths and shaking hands stopped him altogether. The shock of what he was doing and what he’d just found, finally set in. Curled in a ball against the pantry at the far end of the kitchen, the traumatized teen shook and panted, sniffling as he wiped his nose, staring at the corpses in his kitchen. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t even breathe. He’d forgotten how to. The boy only sat, his gaze shooting all around the room in fear, panic and uncertainty.

Eventually, his heart rate slowed, his breathing evened, his shaking stopped and his mind…went completely blank. His eyes were glazed over as he stared ahead at nothing in particular, his lips parted and chapping. Anyone looking at him would think he was comatose. He looked as though he were dead as well, and in fact, in his mind, a part of him…two parts, had died with his parents.

It was an hour later when he called the police, his voice raw and shaky. When the police arrived, he was sitting where he had been for the past hour, covered in blood, tears and sweat. The officers asked him the basic questions: His name. His age. What exactly did he see and do to and around the scene? Why did he have his parents’ blood all over his clothes? Was there anyone he wanted to call?

He answered all their questions in the same tone he’d made the call to the police. He called his uncle, Brandon Jeffery, his mother’s brother and spoke to him in the same tone as well. Interacting with the boy, you would think you were talking to a zombie. The officers pitied him and Brandon was worried Chad had lost his mind.

Brandon had gathered Chad’s things once the police were finished collecting the evidence they needed and took him to his house to stay there with him. The teen didn’t go to school and never left the room Brandon gave him for the first week he stayed there. The only other person he spoke to besides Brandon was his long-time school friend, Nicole Verona.

After that first week he finally started coming out of his room little by little, but his uncle didn’t rejoice for long. The police had called saying they hadn’t found a murder weapon, and that Chad’s alibi didn’t check out. He’d said he was at school all say, but no one, not his teachers, nor his classmates or other friends, not even Nicky, who’d been sick with a fever that day and stayed home from school, saw him anywhere at the time of the murder.

Murder. He despised the word, but what else could he call it? That was what it was. A murder. Brutal, mindless and despicable. The coroner had determined the time of the murder had been around lunchtime and that the weapon used had been a kitchen knife. A knife that was missing from the Stiles kitchen. Not only that, but there was not one scrap pf evidence any other person but the Stiles family had been in the house.

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