Bonnie Brando stroked the hair strand that now was blonde. A short bang to the left side, shining next to the dark purple neighbors all around it. It looked perfectly natural, like a really good dye found its way to her without her knowledge. She touched the short hairs the way one touches a deep wound, then pulled it as if it were a sticker and not rooted to her scalp. She thought it must’ve been a prank, but by who? Dad was in England on a business trip, Mom didn’t like hair dye, and no siblings in the house left the only culprits as a very cognitive sleepwalking version of herself or the dog. She decided to google cases similar to her’s during her first period, 8:00 was getting dangerously close and she hadn’t even gotten in the car yet.
Pulling into the parking lot, Bonnie grabbed the flash drive her group’s project was on. Each group in the class had been assigned a different Steel Ball Run racer to study, she had been lucky enough to cover her ancestor Diego Brando. Opening the car door, she saw her friends and partners Chandler, Duke, and McNamara chatting in a more mature manner than most sophomores would use. They were gathered around Duke’s car, a beat-up challenger hand-me-down from his father, with eyes resembling a funeral attendant's. Duke’s check had a tear rolling down it slowly. Bonnie moved quickly to them with oppressive curiosity at what the macabre subject was.
“Everyone ok?” Bonnie entered the conversation darting her eyes between each member
“God, Bonnie it's so fucked just totally fucked.” Duke choked out before cracking his neck and letting another tear roll.
“What is? What happened?” Bonnie’s voice was tense now, she pushed her words out without delay.
“Duke was supposed to pick up the Mercury kids and give them a ride today. When he got there the door to the house was open and inside was, fuck I don’t know how to say it. Duke?” Chandler had his hand on Duke’s back and a drained facial expression that got worse as he spoke.
“Their parents, I couldn’t even identify them. One had their head down to their chest just missing. It's like someone carved them out, left the arms hanging by what remained of their shoulders. The other was just the bottom half of a person collapsed on the floor.” Duke was now fully in tears, snot barreled out of his nose and pooled on his upper thighs.
“What about their kids? What about Jacky, was Jacky ok?” Bonnie imagined Jacky, her friend since grade school, balled up on the ground and unidentifiable with huge sections cut off, as she spoke.
“He wasn’t there. Louie was though, the poor kid was just in his bed crying about, shit man, about the sounds. The sound he heard scared the fuck out of him, just totally spooked. I couldn’t get a word out of him, not even the police could.” Duke scratched at his wrist and spit a large clump of spit onto the ground. Every word must’ve burned on its way out.
“Go home Duke, I’ll cover your part of the presentation. I don’t think anyone here would say your in good shape.” McNamara talked while taking a 20 out of his wallet. “Take this for gas, call me once you’re home.”
Duke took the bill and walked into his car without words, pulled out and drove away. The group of now three walked solemnly into class, they were close together as if afraid the be attacked at any time.
The day seemed to rush past, contrasting with how Bonnie’s thoughts seemed to stick around forever with their constant nagging questions. She wanted to know where Jackie was, what Louie heard, why their parents were killed in such a manner and, of course, why it had to happen here. She got home before her parents, as always, and went straight to her room. She went to her closet and retrieved a Nike shoebox, inside were a collection of treasures from middle school. The one she took out was an artsy college she had made with Jacky during their emo phases. It was black paper with lyrics written in white crayon, pictures of them in black and white, album art, and a shard of glass they splashed red paint on to symbolize blood. She stared like it held some secret clue about what happened in that house she felt would haunt Duke for years to come. But it didn’t hold any answers, but it did reflect a new question. In the reflection of the glass shard, she could see her head but it seemed alien to her. Like staring at a counterfeit of a famous painting, it was like something small was off by a little bit that most people would miss. But the problem seemed to grow the more she looked at it the way a creeping fear does, it was like some invisible yet gigantic blemish had caught her attention for just a second but the red splash made it difficult to make out. She got up and went to the bathroom, she didn’t have to turn on the light to notice it. The light from her bedroom didn’t sink into her head the way it always had, it danced off it. The whole of her hair had turned blonde, the same shade as that first bang had. Her scream caught the attention of her dog who came to her side. Bonnie held her dog for comfort, she didn’t even notice that her nail had poked into his back, nor that his eyes dilated at the same time.