Jeff pulls into his driveway in front of a lovely one-story brick house. He smiles and gets out of the car, happy to be home after a long day at the pharmacy. After locking his car, he glances around his quiet neighborhood, appreciating the beauty. He waves to a few neighbors as they return home from work before he walks to the front door. Jeff rattles his keys, unlocks the front door, and hurries inside.
“Sweetheart, I’m home,” Jell calls out, shutting the door behind him. “I’m going to take a quick shower before dinner.” He stops in the front entry way and listens, waiting for an answer. Silence! Jeff’s forehead wrinkles as he looks around. “Sherry?” He still hears nothing.
Heading into the kitchen, a strong burning smell reaches his nose. He pokes his head around the corner just as the smoke detector goes off. Jef covers his ears as the shrill alarm fills the room. Smoke billows out of the oven. He runs over to the oven, turns it off, and opens the door to peer inside.
Jeff waves the smoke out of his face, coughing. He looks inside and sees a tray of burnt chocolate chip cookies. Grabbing the oven mitt from the top of the oven, he pulls out the tray and tosses it and the burnt cookies into the sink. Turning off the oven, Jeff tosses the mitt on the oven and opens the windows in the kitchen. He rushes to open the back door but stops when he sees it sitting wide open. He hadn’t noticed since he was so worried about the oven and the smoke.
Ignoring the alarm, Jeff inches closer to the door, breathing hard as he peers outside, scared. Their back garden sits empty. He takes a step outside to look around, but the garden is still empty and doesn’t look like anything has been disturbed.
“Huh, Sherry must have gone outside but forgot to close the door when she came back in,” Jeff mutters to himself as he heads back inside. He closes the door and locks it before he looks to see the smoke isn’t as bad as it was earlier.
Jeff flinches as if he is hearing the alarm for the first time, having forgotten about it, and quickly turns it off. It goes off again as the smoke still lingers, but he quickly shuts it off. This time it stays off. He sighs and rubs his ears as he makes his way out of the kitchen to continue to look for his missing wife.
Jeff stops when he hears what sounds like liquid dripping on the floor. Hoping it isn’t a leak, he follows the sound. A thought crosses his mind. What if Sherry took a shower and slipped? She could be hurt. Shaking the thought away, he hurries towards their bedroom. Not bothering to turn the hallway light on, Jeff gets to the door and trips. Jeff falls and hits the ground hard. Shaking his head, he runs his hand over the floor to find what he had tripped on. His hand hits something hard and he quickly retracts it. Slowly standing, Jeff flips on the light to see a bloody hatchet laying on the floor with some blood pooled around it.
Fear rises in his chest, and he turns his head away from the sight. His thoughts turn to the worse as he stares at the closed bedroom door. Unable to stop himself, he throws up. Jeff crinkles his nose at the stench of blood now mixed with his vomit and grabs a hold of the handle. Shoving the door opens he spills into the room and stops. His eyes open wide, and he screams.