The local police station pooled together a fund and bought us a hotel room in a nearby city. They figured getting us out of a crime scene was not only a necessity, but a much-needed vacation. We thought we were going to escape this string of tragedy, but what happened next would leave me ruined, and lead to me writing this. I say this because nothing, not even watching my neighbor slide into insanity, could prepare me for Thursday night.
I decided to stand guard tonight with my gun, not sleeping until my wife woke up four hours into the night and traded shifts. The officer outside my door was supposed to be awake for the 12 hours, so our combined watches would be enough to keep my family safe, I figured. The air outside was frigged, leaving icy formations across the singular window to our second-floor hotel room. I watched the ice freeze and melt repeatedly, trying to remain awake and alert. Tonight would not be a repeat of the horror of the previous two. Out of our home and safely tucked away in a three-star hotel on the outskirts of a semi-distant town was enough, in my opinion, to break the cycle of insanity that was my life recently.
Before long, I must have dozed off for mere seconds. I was rattled awake by the single dim lightbulb I had left on flickering rapidly. The moment I fully opened my eyes, it had stopped and the room came to a standstill. Nothing was abnormal, albeit a bit cold in the room. I walked over to the heater and flicked the knob from “off” to “heat”, selected 70 degrees, and walked back to my chair near the desk. That was when I noticed Amy missing. My heart skipped a beat, but I noticed the closed bathroom door blocked a majority of the light from entering the bed area and I sighed in relief. Likely, she was using the restroom, not dying a horrible death. Pull yourself together, Ben, I thought, heart returning to a normal pace. I sat down, gun poised on my knee, and waited.
Amy never came out of the bathroom.