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Tigard, OR

“Ray?”

That was his father, but it was growing harder to focus at that moment as he tried to stumble towards the hallway, desperate to hear his children, hoping to hear anything, even the screaming that erupted when they tended to squabble at times. But there was nothing.

“Ray, honey what’s wrong?”

That was his wife. She sounded mildly concerned, but not as though she was truly worried about him. Why wouldn’t she be worried? He felt as though his heart was a caged rabbit trying to break free. Why was his father here? Why was nothing making sense at the moment.

“Son, listen to me,” his father pleaded, coming up behind him. Ray turned to look at his wife, but once again she wasn’t there. But wait, wait there was something, a glimmer, some sort of motion he couldn’t understand. He still couldn’t hear his kids, and his head was ringing for some odd reason that was hard to grasp.

“Where’s my wife?” he asked no one. Racing down the hallway now he quickly reached the bedroom where his girls had been playing. It was empty, no one was giggling, playing, or even sitting quietly with a book. Checking the other two rooms and then the bathroom he barely noticed as he collided with his father, who let him go thankfully as he spun about, making his way towards the kitchen.

“Ray, please,” his father said behind him, his voice placating and pleading at the same time.

It was only when his father’s hand landed on his right shoulder that Ray felt the thin line of reason that had been holding him together snap. He heard it within his mind as surely as if it had been a guitar string. It took only a moment, but as he spun about he felt his hands gripping his father’s shirt as he yelled at him.

“Where’s my wife?! Where are my kids?!! Tell me!!”

The only problem was that his hands weren’t wrapped up in his father’s shirt. With mounting horror he realized that his fingers were firmly clenched upon his neck, and he had no inclination to let go.

(to be concluded)

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