The pain was excruciating. I glanced down at my stomach, sure I’d see a long knife protruding from my middle, a violent hand ripping it back and forth. That would explain the agony I felt rocking through me. I wrapped my arms around myself, trying to hold my body together. It felt like I was splitting apart. I closed my eyes and felt a wave of nausea. This couldn’t be happening.
Behind me, my house loomed in the darkness and the last thing I wanted was to be inside it any longer. Grandpa Elliott could take it from here. When the sheriff had knocked on the door after dinner, saying he needed to speak to us, I figured there had been a bear sighting nearby. Or maybe even a mountain lion, and he’d wanted to warn us in person. But that wasn’t the news he had brought.
My parents. I couldn’t even finish the sentence without doubling over in pain. I still didn’t understand what had happened. All I knew was that in an instant my world had shattered. The pain was physical. I had heard people say that emotional trauma could cause a physical pain. Heartbreak, loss, sorrow. Those emotions could be overwhelming. But this… this was beyond anything I could have imagined.
Unable to bear the thoughts in my own mind, I doubled over again and let the pain take me.