Excerpt from Chapter 33:
I wasn’t sure if they would try to stop me, and I didn't want to look over my shoulder to check. Finding amazing strength and speed from somewhere, I knew that this would be my best sprint time yet. I must get to my baby.
Terrified at what I would find, but desperate to know, I couldn’t seem to stop myself. Something inside that house was pulling me towards it as if my heart was magnetized to my son’s.
With tears streaming down my face, I felt the soft grass give way beneath my feet as I raced toward the door that a small group of police officers had entered only minutes before.
A bird cheerfully trilled an afternoon chorus perched in the tree next to the house. The slight heat of the summer day combined with a light breeze made it the picture-perfect Vermont afternoon. The lawn chairs wet from the earlier rain were resting next to the house on a small patch of grass and might normally have tempted me to wipe them off to sit and enjoy the afternoon. But today, I wasn't interested in relaxing. I was running down a dark tunnel with only one thing at the other end- my baby.
After only a few seconds that seemed more like hours, I breathlessly reached the door, grabbed the handle and pulled. One step later, I was inside the house. Because of all of the commotion still outside, I could hear that there were definitely people chasing me- trying to stop me from doing this. I didn’t know how far behind me they were, and I honestly didn’t care.
Frozen for a second in the entryway, I attempted to gather my bearings. Normally when I visit a house for the first time, I look around to appraise the house’s decorations- notice things I don’t like or things that I love and want to emulate. I can guess within minutes what type of person lives there because of how they are represented in the interior design. Formal or casual? Put together neatly or random things thrown together? Organized or cluttered? People don't realize how much their house says about them. Jake likes to tease me about being judgmental, but I always tell him that it isn't judging- it's a gift given to me to help make the world a more beautiful place.
Today however, I was blind to it all. My senses were turned off to the unnecessary. I didn’t notice a single detail about the lovingly put together house with the sad air of neglect. I saw nothing except a stairway going up and a stairway going down knowing that one of them led to my baby but with no idea as to which one. I heard nothing but silence. My mind blocked everything out except for the potential of any sound from my baby.
A small whimper chose that moment to reach my ears.
If I were to be blindfolded and placed in a room full of babies, I would still be able to pick out that particular strain of whimper. Feeling my panic fold into anticipation, I followed the noise down the left staircase. I heard another soft Jacob-sound. Oh please, let him be okay.
I didn’t know what I was going to find. I didn’t know what my son was going to look like. Had he been shot in the head? In his tiny chest where his heart was held? Maybe the shot missed and hit Jacob in the arm or foot? How long did they have to get Jacob to the ambulance? Was he losing a lot of blood?
The lower staircase that I took ended into a beautiful, spacious family room. The light from the florescent overhead light filled the room displaying modest furniture placed around a flatscreen TV. Everything in the room was covered in a fine layer of dust. I saw the group of police officers standing around something in the middle of the room next to a long, off-white couch. One of them was talking into the radio. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but my imagination only too gladly filled in the details.
Another one of the uniformed men turned, motioning for me to join them. The lack of surprise on their faces told me that they seemed to be expecting me. The police officers separated the tight circle that they were standing in to make room for me. I ran with frantic desperation to come in here, but now I found myself struggling to take each step as if my knees were incapable of bending.
I walked closer and closer. Blood was covering more surfaces than seemed possible for Jacob to still be alive. My throat constricted. How much blood can a baby lose and still survive?