“I’m working 8 to 5 tomorrow. There simply isn’t the time.” she waltzed into the doorway of the stairwell. “I’m heading out, I’ll be right back!” she yelled up to her husband and daughter. She received muffled “okay”s and hurried out the door before her son could do anything to change her mind.
For a moment, Copper stared at the solid oak door his mother had just closed. Then he trotted over to the stairs and shut off the lights, to resume helping his dad.
After about an hour, Copper realized that he hadn’t heard the front door open. Chalking it up to it being difficult to hear anything from the main floor up in the study, he took a break to get water for his father and himself. He opened the door at the base of the stairs and froze. The lights were still off. The oven was stone cold. Numbly, Copper turned the lights on and examined the wall clock, which read “9: 42”. His internal sense of time told him that an hour had passed, but his mom had left with over an hour to spare.
“What the hell..?” he whispered, thoughts processing frantically until they came to a grinding, resounding halt. “No….no. No, damnit, no!” His rising voice startled his father upstairs.
“Cop, what’s wrong?”
“Mom never set her damn watch! She thought she left at 7:40 and she left at 8:40 and she’s not back yet!” Copper’s voice broke on the last syllable. His father poked his head around the corner of the stairwell, eyes wide.
“D-don’t worry, we’ll just call her on her cell. I’m sure she just stayed at the minimart and she’ll come home in the morning.” His father pulled his cell phone from a back pocket and hit the first number on speed-dial. After a moment he paused and redialed.
“She’s not answering, is she?” Copper’s voice shrunk. “She...she…”
“Copper, it’s not even ringing.” his father flatly cut him off. “It’s going straight to voicemail.” Even though his father seemed terse, Copper could see he was shaken. His father came downstairs and set the cellular device on the table and looked out the window.
At that moment, the cell phone rang with the jazzy big band chart his father favored for a general ringtone. Copper scrambled for the phone, answering it before even checking the caller ID.
“Mom?!” His chest ached with pressure.
“...Hello? Is this Mr. Aldaine?” Copper felt as though his heart dropped through his stomach and hit the ground.
“This is his son, Copper Aldaine. Wh-Who is this?” he could hear a lot of bustle and noise from the side of the man calling.
“This is Officer Jeremy Stratford. We’re on the scene right now and I’ll be over to escort you as soon as curfew breaks, but--”
“What happened?!” Copper’s voice shook. The officer seemed unable to find the words to keep going for a moment.
“Copper, I’m sorry. Your mother, Jade Aldaine was killed by two rogue vampires at roughly 9:26 tonight.” The world seemed to darken. He couldn’t breathe. The officer continued to speak, but his words were unheard as the phone fell out of Copper’s hand and collided with the tile floor, shattering the display into a thousand pieces.