The stop at Nathan’s place lasted for what seemed like fifteen minutes, with both his folks asking questions of him and Officer Hill. From the street, Alex could barely hear them talking, even with his helmet off. The few gestures he did see, one of which directed at him, told him Nathan’s folks were stunned, but were taking the news well.
Accepting a handshake from his friend before he left, Alex couldn’t help looking back at Hill a few times as she followed him home. Pulling into the driveway, he parked his motorcycle and joined her as she rang the front doorbell. Inside, he heard Bailey starting to bark in response to the sound. Hearing his pet was enough to get him to crack a smile again and as soon as the door opened, all 70 pounds of German Shepherd were jumping up to see him.
At the same time, his father, David Stryker, stood in the doorway. From the way he was dressed, the doorbell had gotten him up from an evening nap on the recliner. “Evening, Sarah. Is something wrong?”
“I'm afraid so. Alex and a friend of his, Nathan, they called into dispatch earlier tonight. They found someone badly mauled, and I think he's a little shaken up.”
Without missing a beat, David looked over to his son. “Alex, c'mon inside. I need to talk to Officer Hill alone.”
Nodding again, Alex coaxed Bailey inside with him. Even though he could do so, he didn't want to listen in on the conversation and instead let Bailey lick his face to let him get off some energy. “That's my boy.” Rubbing his pet's head once again before standing back up, Bailey followed him into the bathroom, sitting at his side as he looked over himself.
In the mirror, his face was still red in places from holding back so many tears. As he looked closer, he saw a few droplets of blood spread over his skin, likely from one of Angela’s coughs. Hoping some water would fix things, as he started the faucets, he saw more bloodstains on his arms. Far larger ones, as though he’d gotten too close to Angela’s wounds. Shaking the discovery off, the water removed the stains, but didn’t mask the redness in his face.
“Alex,” Looking to his side, his mother, Alyssa, was standing in the doorway. “Why did you ring the doorbell?”
“Wasn't me.” Alex replied, reaching for a hand towel. “One of Dad's colleagues did.”
His mother's eyes widened some. “You...”
“No, no. I didn't do anything. I...well, Nathan and I...we found something.”
Alex shook his head once. “I don't want to talk about it right now.”
“Well, is he still outside?”
“She, and I think so.” As his mother departed, Bailey let out a small woof to draw his gaze. “Yeah, yeah. I know you want some more attention, fuzz ball.” The statement got Bailey’s tail to start wagging. “Let’s go. Back to the bedroom.” His pet wasted no time heading that direction. By the time Alex walked in, he was already laying down on the foot of his bed, wagging his tail and watching him.