A Red Flag
(1) TJ was worried. It was getting pretty late, and he was home alone. Although his mom usually worked late during the week, TJ counted on his older brother, DeMarcus, to get home, fix dinner, and help him with homework. A few days here and there, DeMarcus might be a little late; he sometimes liked to unwind by shooting hoops with friends. Usually, though, when DeMarcus planned to be late, he called. He always called. Today: nothing.
(2) Soon it would be nine. The street lights were already on. He hated to admit it to himself, but TJ was a little scared. Not only was he scared of what might have happened to his older brother, but he was scared to be alone—scared of the darkness that hung outside his window like a heavy cloak—scared of the creaks and moans he heard around him when the house was still and mostly empty.
(3) Before long, TJ decided he would make dinner for himself. Maybe it would be only peanut butter and jelly, but something was always better than nothing. As he fiddled around in the kitchen, taking his time because he was waiting for DeMarcus to come in at any moment, TJ heard a small tapping noise on the linoleum behind him. Before he was able to remind himself that it was just Mr. Whiskers, their housecat, the peanut-butter tub had gone crashing to the floor.
(4) "Whew!" said TJ aloud. Mr. Whiskers seized the opportunity to lick a taste of peanut butter as TJ caught his breath. Finding the peanut butter unsavory, Mr. Whiskers was now cleaning himself. TJ laughed aloud, trying to convince himself that all really was well, and he should just take it easy. Still, he wondered about DeMarcus. It just wasn’t like him to be so late without having called. Something had to be wrong. As TJ turned over the possibilities in his mind, an incident from earlier in the week jumped out at him.
1. Which conclusion is supported by the details of this story?