Nick pulled into the driveway and parked the Impala. It was 6:30 p.m., a bit later than he usually got home, but Pizza Hut had been busy tonight. Grabbing their still-hot pizza and a twelve-pack of Coca-Cola off the passenger seat, he slipped out of the car and rushed for the house, his stomach growling at the enticing smell of food. To be honest, at 17, his stomach seemed to always be growling with hunger whether there was enticing food around to tempt it or not.
After crossing the threshold, Nick called out, "Tyler! I've got dinner. Mom's working late tonight, so it's just us two. Come and eat while it's still hot!" He went to put the pizza on the table and noticed Tyler's books and papers strewn haphazardly across its surface. Frowning at this unusual occurrence, the older teen gathered everything up in a pile and moved it all to the counter, replacing it with their dinner. He opened the pizza box and grabbed a slice, biting into the cheese, pepperoni, and onions with gusto. After a second bite, the slice was almost gone. Realizing he had yet to hear from his little brother, Nick swigged a drink of Coke, belched softly from the carbonation, and yelled, "Tyler! C'mon, man. I brought pizza! Get your butt out here and eat."
A chill skittered up his spine when there was still no response from Tyler. Dropping what was left of his slice of pizza on the table, Nick hurried to the bedroom he shared with his brother.
Nick made a fist and knocked. "Tyler? Hey, Ty – you sick or something?" He was shocked to find his little brother in bed asleep. He step closer to see Tyler was pale and sweat falling from his forehead.
Nick quickly went to get a thermometer.