A/N: Another one that needed an update! It's been a while but enjoy!

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CH 12

Like Father, Like Son

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The stench of putrefaction was the first thing that hit Oliver when he opened the door to the shed. He was taken aback for a moment, coughing as he covered his nose from the foul smell that overcame him. Scout scurried in, white tipped tail straight in the air as he smelled around the floor, excitedly exploring the scent of the dry blood that dripped onto the floor. Oliver stepped inside after the beagle and froze when he saw the small disfigured corpse of an animal on the workbench. At first he couldn't tell what it was exactly but when he looked closer and his mind made the connection, his hand fell from his nose and his lips parted in shock.

The carcass had been ripped from the chest down to the lower belly by a pair of bloody clippers left abandoned on the bench next to it; they were covered in the animal's blood. When Oliver stepped even closer, he saw that the animal's intestines had been ripped out and it had been left hollow. Flies buzzed around, bumping into Oliver's face but he ignored them, barely aware of their presence.

Small finger and hand prints had been left behind on the workstation and on the multiple tools that had been left laid about after serving some kind of purpose. The entire scene looked like a small massacre of red and carnage. His stomach swirled with nausea and he felt the need to keel over and lurch.

Oliver's heart sunk when his mind finally clicked into action and made the connection.

"Johnny."

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Johnny sat in his desk in class, eyes out the window that lead out to the front of the school. He watched as cars drove by on the streets upon the asphalt wet with morning rain. His teacher's voice babbled in the background without true importance to him. Johnny was eager to get out of class; all he could think about was the dead animal he had discovered the previous day. He could still recall the feeling of the clippers cutting through skin as the maggots burst out in a small explosion and dropped upon the work bench, wiggling about. There was a cereal his mother often bought that crackled and popped when milk was applied. The maggots almost made the same sound but slimier, or so Johnny thought.

Johnny glanced down to the side of his single desk where his backpack sat. He took in a deep breath but didn't smell a thing. Relieved, he looked back out the window, his mind pulling farther away from reality.

When the bell finally rang and school ended for the day, Johnny grabbed his backpack and rushed out of the classroom and down the hall. He ran straight to the first boy's restroom he could find and hid in one of the stalls. His heart beat wildly against his chest and he waited for a moment until he knew he was alone.

Finally, Johnny dug into his backpack and brought out a jar he had taken from the kitchen. Inside of it was a mixture of rotting entrails that he had scooped out of the animal and taken with him to school. He studied the half decayed organs with much fascination and wondered if they were much different than a person's own. He watched a couple of maggots wiggle about, thriving in the decay.

The door burst open and a couple of boys wandered into the restroom. Johnny quickly put away the jar back into his backpack and left the restroom without even bothering to look at the other boys.

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It was sometime past two in the afternoon when the bus dropped the children off in the corner of the neighborhood. Johnny was the last boy to step down from the bus. He had been silent all the way home while his friend talked and talked about a cartoon show he had discovered the night before. Johnny quietly said his goodbyes to his friend who hurried home in the opposite direction without a single worry. Johnny grabbed the straps of his backpack and heaved it higher over his shoulders; he could feel the extra weight of the jar amongst his books and school work.

When he looked up there was Lana standing on the porch with baby Olive on her hip. A smile on her face. Johnny saddened at the mere sight of Lana. He knew she wasn't the same mother he had grown up with but she was all he had left. She and Olive, of course.

"Hello, Sweetheart, how was school?" Lana asked.

Johnny noticed that his father's car was not parked in the driveway. "Fine." He answered meekly and went inside, eager to get to his room.

"Did you learn anything interesting?" She asked, following after him.

Johnny stopped when he reached the bottom of the stairs and turned around, "Mom, why do maggots come out when something dies?"

Lana stopped. Olive squirming in her arms as she smiled at her older brother. "Excuse me?" Lana asked, her eyes blinking. Her expression faltered.

Johnny glanced away, not sure if he should repeat his question. "Um, nothing."

Lana's face stayed frozen as she stared at her son. Johnny's eyes glanced back at her, unsettled by her silence and her stare. Then, like a glitch in the system, Lana smiled and the life returned to her eyes.

"I need to start dinner now. Can you watch your sister?" She handed the baby over to Johnny.

Johnny felt the jar grow heavier in his backpack and wanted to dispose of it quickly, "Um-" but before he could say anything else, Baby Olive was in his arms, smiling as bright as could be. "Hi, Olive." He said to her with a soft smile, surrendering to her.

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Johnny sat across from Olive in the living room as the television played cartoons in the background. Scout was napping on his dog bed by the sofa, unbothered by the baby's squeals and giggles. He softly rolled a toy ball in her direction. Olive would grab it and meekly toss it in attempts to give it back. Johnny would reach for the ball wherever it landed and roll it back to her until she lost in interest and tried to crawl over to him.

"Look, Mom!" Johnny called out, thrilled to see her on the move, "She's crawling again!"

But Lana did not respond.

"Mom?" Johnny called out again.

No answer.

Johnny stood to his feet. He picked up Olive and carefully sat her down in her playpen where she became distracted by her other toys. Johnny slowly made his way into the kitchen, softly calling out to Lana again. He found her standing in front of the sink, eyes out the window into the darkness of the night. Johnny paused, watching her face in the reflection of the glass. Her face was blank and void of any life. She was not blinking.

Johnny felt the fear begin to grow in the pit of his stomach. His heart quickly began to exhilarate in his chest and he could hear the pounding in his ears. He slowly took a few steps forward, getting closer to his mother. She didn't move. She didn't even notice he had entered the kitchen.

Johnny stood at her side, slightly leaning forward to look at her face. Her eyes were set on something that was no longer in their reality, lacking any emotion. She reminded Johnny of a robot; like the ones he had seen in movies on the television late at night when his parents thought he was sleeping.

"Mom?" He whispered, raising his hand to touch her arm. His hand trembled and when the tips of his fingers brushed the skin on her arm, Lana's head slowly turned to look at him. They held each other's gaze for what felt like an eternity until Johnny broke the silence, "You're not really you, are you?"

Lana's lips parted to speak but no voice came out of her mouth. Instead she looked at the boy until tears swelled in her eyes and ran down her cheeks.

"She's gone, isn't she?"

Lana placed her hand on Johnny's cheek and her lips twitched into a smile. "Why, my sweet baby boy. Mother's here..." She leaned down slightly, inches from his face, "Mother will never leave you."

"Lana?"

Johnny jumped at the sound of his father's voice as he and Lana both looked up to the kitchen entrance where Oliver stood. He had a serious look upon his face. Olive was whining in the living room, still in her playpen.

A smile instantly crossed Lana's face and the tears in her eyes dried as if they were never there. "You're home." She stated happily.

Oliver attempted to smile for his wife but his eyes looked down upon his son. "Johnny, I need a word with you, Son."