Becka pulled into the driveway of her mother’s 1950’s rambler style house, turned off the engine, and just sat there for a moment. She had grown up here, and glancing around her eyes fell on the large oak in the front yard. Teaching her little brother, James, to climb it had been one of Becka’s crowning achievements, and she so longed for the days when they would make sack lunches, clamber up to the high heavy branches, and gaze at the world (or at least their little sliver of it) from a bird’s point of view.
Becka took a deep breath, opened the car door, and exhaled loudly and completely. Her mother had been crying for a week straight, and Becka doubted there was an end in sight, at least not in the foreseeable future. There were arrangements to be made, people to be notified, a casket to be selected, an appropriate eulogy to be given. Her brother’s death had gained him notoriety in the most heinous way imaginable, leaving his family to deal with the fall-out.
Opening the side door, Becka stepped into the exact kitchen of her childhood. Nothing had changed – except everything had changed. The TV was on, and the news report was going through the endless update of no new information regarding the brutal deaths of two young lovers in their apartment, and the subsequent suicide of the alleged murderer and roommate. The reporter was standing outside James’ apartment, complete with yellow crime scene tape, interviewing one of the neighbors.
“It’s always the quiet ones, you know?”
For some odd reason, that statement, out of all the statements Becka had heard over the past week, seemed to sum up James perfectly. The oddity was that it had come from a complete stranger. Quiet James; the boy with his nose in a book, who rarely spoke unless spoken to first, had grabbed a butcher knife, screamed some obscenities, and stabbed his two best friends to death before cutting his own wrists and bleeding out.
The statement kept replaying over and over in Becka’s mind, as she grappled with what she could have done differently, that may have prevented this from ever happening. The journey to figure that out started today.