The morning after, Jason Shadow stood on the stoop of a quaint suburban home: two stories, new roof installed, a bicycle dumped haphazardly by the side of the driveway. The flower bed under the front window was a bare patch of earth this time of year. Coupled with the monochromatic gray paint on the house, the home was dismal in presence. It was still snowing from the previous night, albeit slowly now. Jason gripped the door knocker and sent three sharp staccatos echoing through the house.
Moments later, the door opened to reveal a middle aged woman, a look of uncertainty etched into the light wrinkles on her face. Her hair was swept up into a messy bun, and there was the general air of a tired mother about her. She had spent the night worried sick about her child, Jason knew. Behind her was a man. He rested a firm and protective arm around the woman like a comforting hug. Looking at the Strafords side by side, Jason could see the resemblance their son had to them. The red brown hair and startling eyes were there in Mrs. Straford’s face, the jawline, the structure of the nose, telltale signs of Mr. Straford.
Jason told them the news with the rehearsed tone of a man who, in his line of work, could often be found delivering bad news to otherwise happy suburban parents. Mrs. Straford was undone in moments, grief pouring out from her. Mr. Straford’s face went ashen. He did not speak. Instead he gripped his wife tighter as she cried into his shoulder. Jason looked to the sky, away from the vulnerable moment.
Snow formed drifts against the sidewalk. Wind rattled the windows.