Jason tamped down his worry as he carefully approached the blackened husk of his childhood home. Judging from the height of the weeds growing inside the house, it had happened within the last couple of years.

Could this have happened around the same time Jason had escaped from prison?

Maybe it really is Phil Taft’s final revenge, Jason thought as he stepped into what was left of his childhood home.

The dining room table was partially burned and lay flat on what had been a hardwood floor. Several pieces of charred metal beside the table looked like they could have been chairs, though they were so twisted and scarred it was difficult to make a final determination.

In one corner, he found the remnants of a family photo. It was scorched beyond recognition, but he remembered it fondly.

He’d been on the high school basketball team. The picture had come from the night he’d won a game with a shot at the buzzer. It had been the proudest moment of his life. His parents had beamed in that picture in a way he’d never seen them do in any other.

Hopefully, there was another copy.

He gently picked up the frame and examined it before placing it back on the floor in its original position. He would’ve taken it with him if there’d been a way to carry it.

The only thing he found in the living room was the blackened back of a rocking chair his mother had sat in each night after a long day of work.

He went through the rest of the rubble, looking for anything that might show what had happened, but there wasn’t a clue.

He investigated the barn, half expecting to find animal remains, but the place had been cleaned out.

After walking around the property, he realized that there was nothing left of his parents. He had no idea where they could’ve gone or what they might’ve done after the fire. Or even if they’d perished in the flames.


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