He got out slowly, hesitating as if he expected his father to pop out from behind a tree or something, and then he hurried over the lawn and around the right corner of the house. A few minutes later, a light went on. I could see the glow of it on the bushes at the side of the house.
When a pair of headlights appeared ahead of me, I held my breath and placed my hand on the horn. It turned out to be a car, which passed by quickly. Once again, the street was dark. I looked toward the house. Why was he taking so long? Surely, he knew where his piggy bank was. Another set of headlights appeared, and again it was only a car going by. After it had, I looked toward the house and saw the light was out.
I spotted Keefer. This time he wasn’t hurrying along. He was walking very slowly, his head up, his hands clutching something. I wished he would hurry. He came around the truck and I opened the door. He just stood there in the street looking in at me.
“What is it?” I asked.
He extended his hands. In them were the broken pieces of what I supposed was his piggy bank. I shook my head.
“I don’t understand.”
“He took my money. He took my savings, my birthday savings.”
“Oh, no,” I said.
Keefer spun on his heels and heaved the pieces at the driveway.
“That’s not all,” he said, moving to get in. I slid over on the bench seat.
“My mother wasn’t there. I went looking for her to see if she was in bed, asleep.”
“Maybe she was out with him.”
“I doubt that.” He started the engine. “The lamp beside her bed was on the floor. I put it upright, and then I turned it on, and there, on the floor in the bathroom, was…”
“What?” I asked, hardly able to breathe.
“Blood” he said. “Lots of blood.”
“Blood?” I gasped.
He drove away. I felt like I had stopped breathing and I was leaving my body. That was how numb I had become.
We drove to the apartment complex, and Keefer came up with me.
“If something terrible happened, wouldn’t someone tell you?” I asked him.
“It looked to me like whatever happened wasn’t all that long ago,” he said.
I stared at him. What could have happened? His eyes were filled with all the horrible possibilities, and my mind began to roam through Horror Hotel. Could his father have done something terrible to his mother and then taken her body off somewhere?
“Should we call the police?”
He thought for a moment. Then, he nodded and walked to the phone like someone who wanted desperately not to use it. I watched as he punched in 911 and then told the dispatcher his address and what he had found.
“I’m her son,” he said.
“She’s transferring me to someone who might know something.”
I nodded and waited, embracing myself. Before I could say anything, he raised his hand.
“Yes,” he said. “Yes, I’m her son. I was just at the house and…” He listened and as he did, his face lost color. “Okay,” he said. “Thanks.”
He hung up and stared at the phone a moment. Then he sucked in his breath and turned to me.
“She tried to commit suicide. She’s in the hospital,” he said.