On the way to school, Jake had concocted a plan on how to skip and go back home to work on his case. When his mother dropped him off, he entered the school doors – waiting on the inside for her to drive off. He then exited, ensuring that no teacher or parent saw him leave the premises.
Once home, Jake looked through the sheets of paper filled with prints. He separated the ones that belonged to him and his mother from those yet to be identified. He was smart enough to document the location of the door knobs, which made it easier for him to focus his investigation.
As he analyzed the locations, he noticed that the prints were on the bedroom doors, their corresponding closets, and the basement. Jake started to feel scared because this unknown person or thing had been in his private space.
He put on gloves, ensuring that he didn’t disturb the prints on the knob, and then eased his bedroom door open. Jake gulped in fear and anticipation on what he may find. Then he inched his way in, trying to remain calm by telling himself he was on a case and that finding the criminal would put him one step closer to his future career.
Jake walked around his room dusting this and that for further prints, when he found a long dark brown hair. It wouldn’t have been strange, except he and his mother have blonde hair. And it couldn’t be his grandmother’s because hers was gray and short.
Jake could feel the nerves in his stomach flap around like butterflies. It intensified when he heard a noise in the closet. He wanted to be the best detective he could be, but in this matter, he had to think smart.
Jake ran from the room to get his cell phone out of his backpack. As he was about to dial for help, a man with a dark brown ponytail in dirty denim was standing behind him. He placed a hand on Jake’s shoulder and turned him around.
Jake went stiff. His mouth was open in preparation to scream, but nothing came out. The man covered his mouth just in case some form of noise exited, then yanked the phone from Jake’s hands.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” the man removed his hand from Jake’s mouth. “I’m your father.”
Jake didn’t believe the man. “You’re not my dad. He’s dead.”
The man gave a slight chuckle, “So that’s what your mom is telling you. Well, I’m alive.”
“I don’t believe you. You could be anybody. Show me some proof.” Jake folded his arms, staring at the man as if a dare.
The man left the room heading towards the basement. Jake followed. Hidden behind boxes was a ratty-looking blue backpack. The man reached in and pulled out a picture. It was him and Margaret in an embrace. He handed it to Jake.
Jake looked at the picture. Then he cocked his head to one side, studying the scruffy-looking man. A flood of questions rushed from Jake’s brain and out his mouth, “So, what’s your name? Where have you been? Why are you here? Are you going to stay?”
“Whoa, whoa. Slow down,” the man leaned against the boxes. “My name is Chase. I’ve been all over, and I’m here because I want to get to know you. “
“I’m confused. So why would my mom tell me you were dead, if you’re really alive?”
“Not sure. But things between me and your mom, well that’s a complicated story. What I can tell you is, we parted ways a long time ago. In fact, I didn’t know she was pregnant with you. I put two and two together when I saw the both of you at the store.”
“Well, I’m going to call Mom.”
Chase grabbed Jake by the arm before he could make it to the stairs, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
There was a noise upstairs like someone opening a lock. Chase and Jake looked at each other puzzled and afraid. Then there were footsteps above that sounded hurried.
“Jake! Jake! Are you here?” It was Margaret. She was panicked, looking for her son.
Chase whispered, “Go upstairs! Don’t say a word about me being here. OK?”
Jake nodded in obedience and raced up the stairs. “I’m here Mom.”
“Jake!” Margaret was happy to see her son, but it quickly faded to anger. “You had me worried. Why did you come home? Did something happen at school?”
“No. I…I just wanted to find out about the prints.”
Margaret couldn’t believe her ears, “You’ve taken this detective thing too far. Where’s the kit?”
“In my room, but Mom!”
“Don’t ‘but Mom’ me. I’m putting an end to this right now.” Margaret walked towards Jake’s room with him continuing to plead behind. All he wanted to do was find out whose prints were in the house. But Margaret didn’t care.
Chase sat, listening in silence to the commotion upstairs. When he had had enough, he went up. “Margaret!”
She whipped around quickly towards the voice calling her name. “Chase?”