January in Fullerton Heights is usually a fierce month, and this January is no exception. It started snowing the last week of December, really let loose early in the month, and every few days it snows just enough to undo all the work everyone did the days before to clear it. Today’s snowstorm hit early, so it got dark early. It’s even darker now.
Heat blows fiercely out of floor vents, but the house is still cold. It always feels cold these days. Elijah knows it has nothing to do with the weather.
He wakes up in their bed—still on his side, as always—and for a moment, as always, he is the way he was before. He stretches, mutters to himself about the alarm not going off, and begins to turn toward her, only to realize an instant too late that the bed is empty. For him, that is the cruelest moment of the day: the moment when he realizes, once again, that Sarah isn't there.
“He didn't do it.” Harold Morris puts his spiral notebook down on his desk and looks out the window, watching Pastor Marks get into his car and drive off.
“Agree.” George Ellers drinks cold coffee out of a ceramic mug with WORLD'S WORST DAD stamped on it. He's divorced, but he gets along with his ex: apparently it was a joke gift. Ellers thinks it's hilarious. “I'd like to know why you think so, though.”
Elijah sits uncomfortably in the straight-backed wooden chair as he stares across the table at the two plainclothes detectives. The room is both too cold and too hot: the hot water convector radiators pop and spit and hiss as they try and fail to heat the room. It's clear they need to be bled, and that they've needed it for a long time. When Eli gets too close, the room is uncomfortably humid and warm, but after a certain point the heat disappears. The humidity remains, however.
A local community is in shock as violence strikes the Hillsford Hollow subdivision of Fullerton Heights.
Late Thursday night neighbors reported hearing a disturbance at the home of Elijah and Sarah Marks—the sound of “breaking wood” and then shouts and screams from someone inside. The police were called immediately, and neighbors arrived to provide assistance. Charles Reilly, 47, was one of the neighbors on the scene.