Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Risk (05/17/12)
TITLE: Jennifer's Strange Risk
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Being over 50 but looking like a woman in her middle 30s and with a job at Highlander and John’s as an assistant to a bookkeeper, Jennifer was looking forward to having a nice young man in her building. Her home was a two-story, older building and it had the look of a conventional home that was appealing to many.
He moved in on a Thursday and was settled in later that day. He was an organized person and she could tell that when he allowed her to check out his area once he was moved in. She was impressed with his honesty and his neatness; traits she also had ever since she was young girl.
So, things were starting off well and she was beginning to think that Jeremy was worth the risk. That is, until she heard something strange 10 days later. She was doing some cleaning on the first floor when she heard an argument upstairs in Jeremy’s apartment. At least, it sounded like an argument. She heard Jeremy’s voice but the other voice was lower and sounded like an older person. The voices became louder and she was just about ready to go upstairs to see what was going on, when the loud talking stopped.
Later that day she saw Jeremy outside getting ready to leave for work. She paused for a moment, wondering if she should say anything. She decided not to but if it happened again, she would find out about the arguing. Uncertainty was something she couldn’t tolerate. That came from her strict and sometimes overbearing, home life.
As she continued her housework that day, she began preparing for volunteer work at the local food pantry. She reviewed her notes and where she was supposed to pick up some items for tomorrow’s food needs. Everything looked in order and she was looking forward to her new volunteer position.
It was several days later when she heard the arguing upstairs again. This time the voices were louder and it sounded like the same older man. Because her home had an outside entrance, she was not able to tell who was upstairs with talking with Jeremy. Having an outside entrance gave her more privacy and so far, that had worked well for her.
Suddenly the voices stopped and she heard a loud thug upstairs. After that, she heard nothing except a loud moan.
Quickly, she opened the downstairs door and walked up the stairs but not before taking with her a very heavy base ball bat. Her hands and legs were shaking but she had to find out what was going on. She saw Jeremy on the floor and she could tell that he was not breathing. Carefully and fearfully she looked around to see where the other person was. She checked each room and found no one. How could she have heard two voices and not find anyone else there? She also didn’t hear anyone running down the outside stairs.
Minutes later the emergency squad came. They checked him over and pronounced him dead. It looked as though he had had a heart attack. Weeks later, she received a phone call from his mother. Apparently, he had been in therapy for months because he was paranoid that his father would try to hurt him. Jeremy’s mother said that his psychiatrist, Dr. Kim Chang, said that Jeremy had been suffering from a split personality and a paranoid delusion for several months and he was fearful that his father wanted him gone. From what Dr. Chang revealed, it was the fear and guilt that Jeremy felt for his father that killed him.
Jennifer wept when she heard what happened but was not sorry that she took a risk with Jeremy. For he was a lost soul, looking for peace and a new beginning.
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