“What was that?” Peter asked as he sat up, on the edge of his bed.

“Don’t know,” Jason responded, somewhat disorientated. “Sounded like someone knocking at the door.”

A second loud knock brought both of them to their feet. Jason followed Peter to the door and both were surprised to find the same Police officer that had talked to them in the morning. “Good evening gentlemen,” he said pleasantly, “didn’t think I would be seeing you guys again so soon.”

“Good evening,” Peter answered, still a bit disorientated. “Do you need to ask us more questions?”

“Actually… I do,” he responded, “but not about what happened this morning. I need to tell you about an accident involving your truck this afternoon.”

“My truck?” Peter asked, reaching for his pockets. “Damn! I forgot to take my keys out when we came in… did someone steal it?”

“Well, the young man driving it said he was your brother and that you gave him permission.

“Robert? Robert was driving my truck?” he shouted, slamming his fist into the wall. “Where is he now?” Peter demanded.

“I’m afraid they are both in the hospital, in serious condition.”

“Both? Who was with him?” Peter demanded.

“An older woman that I presume is your mother.”

“Damn, I don’t believe it!” Peter shouted as he started pacing the floor. “Were they drinking?”

“It’s probably what saved their life,” he answered.

“And the truck… how much damage was done to the truck?” Peter asked as anger began building up inside of him.

“I’m afraid it was totaled” he answered, sympathetically. “They ran head-on into a building and caused considerable damage. I hope you got good insurance.”

“Insurance?” Peter shouted, “I don’t have any insurance,” he continued, as he picked up one of the chairs and threw it against the wall.

Jason had been standing quietly in the doorway but finally broke down in tears, as he walked over and stood next to the officer. He had never seen Peter this upset and did not know what he should do. The officer put his hand on Jason’s shoulder and tried to calm him down.

“Look son,” he said to Peter, “I know things look bad right now but in time it will look better.”

“That’s what the old man used to say,” Peter responded angrily, “and look what happened to him.” He started pacing the floor again and then kicked the chair he had thrown before. “Get out of here!” Peter shouted, “Get out and just leave me alone!”

“Peter! What’s wrong with you?” Jason asked, tearfully.

“Get out of here, Jason. I don’t need anyone here right now! Especially not you, get out and leave me alone.”

The officer evaluated the situation and decided it would be best if Jason spent the night at the children’s center in town and arrange for Social Services to bring him back in the morning. “We’ll be leaving then,” he informed Peter, as they walked toward the door. “Are you sure you will be okay?”

“You don’t have to worry about me,” Peter responded coldly, wiping the tears from his face.

It was late afternoon before the social worker came to pick him up from the children’s home. “You must be Jason,” she said politely, “my name is Irene. Are you ready to go home now?”

“I have been ready since this morning” Jason responded rudely.

“I know and I am really sorry, but I had a meeting to attend to in the morning and then I went to the hospital to see your mother and Robert. The Doctors say they should be fine but will have to stay there for a week or longer. I thought it best if you come back into town to visit them with your older brother in a few days.”

“Thank you,” Jason responded when he realized he may have misjudged her. “Can we go to see Peter now?”

“Sure we can Jason, just let me check you out of here.”

There was a long period of silence as they drove out of town. “Are you always this quiet?” Irene asked.

“No… I was just thinking about Peter.”

“Anything you want to talk about?”

“Do you know why people do strange things?”

“The policeman told me what happened yesterday with Peter. Is that what you are referring to?”

“Yes,” Jason answered, “he never got mad like that before.”

“But he has been through a lot, Jason. People like Peter spend all of their time doing things for others and never take time for themselves.  And sometimes when things go wrong for them, suddenly all those little problems they ignored become a big problem and they don’t know what to do; and so they do something strange, like break things. Usually, after a few hours, they feel better and then go back to being themself again.”

“Do you think Peter will be better?”

“Of course, he will, Jason. He has had the whole night to himself. I am sure he will be just fine,” she responded assuredly.

Jason pointed out the trail that led to the house and as soon as the car was stopped, he jumped out and ran to the porch. “Peter! Peter, I’m back!” The door was unlocked and he ran into the bedroom. “Peter? Where are you?”

“He’s not here!” Jason shouted as Irene walked into the room. Tears began forming in his eyes and he brushed them away.

“Don’t cry Jason, I am sure he just went out for a walk. Do you have any idea where he might go?”

Jason’s eyes lit up and a smile came to his face. “I know where he is… he went to the rock.”

“The rock? Where is the rock at, Jason?”

“The trail is behind the house,” Jason said, as he ran out the door, “just follow me!”

Irene closed the door behind her and started for the back of the house, as Jason had instructed. As she turned the corner, she found him on his knees in the dirt. “You should be more careful,” she teased, as she approached him. “Did you hurt yourself? Jason… Jason?”

Jason did not respond… he could not respond. His wide eyes remained fixed on the old oak tree… where Peter’s body hung awkwardly from one of the branches.

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