Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt was “As the policeman pulled back the sheet, she knew immediately that…” Today’s story comes from Deborah Dera. Deborah is traditionally a non-fiction writer and blogger but she also enjoys exploring her more creative side from time to time.
A New Beginning
by Deborah Dera
I hadn’t anticipated the knock on the door. I’d planned the perfect escape. My bag was already packed and in the car; the money in the belt under my shirt; the plane ticket in my pocket. I just needed to get on the road.
Then there was a knock on the door.
The female officer standing on the other side looked bored. My husband had been reported missing. I didn’t make the call. He wasn’t missing. I knew where he was. What I didn’t know was when he would come back. I’m never sure if I’ll have enough time to make a getaway. I need to try. Try. Try…
The knock was unexpected, though.
She started to speak as soon as I answered, mine a wordless greeting. “Mrs. Albertson. I’m Detective Wright. We’ve received a call from your mother-in-law stating that your husband has been missing for 2 days now.”
“My mother-in-law has been known to overreact.” My tone is dry.
Wright cocked her head slightly, I’m sure thinking me odd. “That may be true, but I’d like to ask you some questions, if that’s alright. May I come in?”
I pushed open the screen door and stepped aside. “I only have a few minutes. I have a plane to catch.”
At that, the good Detective Wright looked genuinely surprised. “Your husband is missing and you are hopping a plane?” She glanced around the room. I knew she was looking for signs of a struggle; maybe that I’d done something to my husband. What she saw was an organized home – one that looked lived-in. Not too clean; not a disaster. Just a home. Something I’m sure a busy officer like she could relate to.
I sighed, “Have a seat.” Detective Wright chose the end of the couch, furthest from the front door, all other entrances visible. “What would you like to know?”
“You can start by telling me why your mother-in-law would report her son missing.”
I gave her a wry smile. “I imagine he hasn’t bothered to call her in a couple of days. They’ve always had a close relationship. I haven’t heard from in in 6 days, but that is not unusual. I’m never quite sure when he’ll return from his… trips.”
“You are no longer close?” She’s looking directly at me, but with what I sense is a trace of pity. Or is it compassion? I can’t quite tell.
I shook my head no and looked away. Maybe she’d take pity and leave me alone; put the puzzle pieces together and realize I’ve done nothing wrong.
“May I look around?”
I waved my hand in a gesture of welcome. “Of course, please…” She stood immediately, glancing into the kitchen, then turning to move down the hall.
“Where do you think your husband is?” She stopped to look at me, waiting for my answer.
“He may or may not be on an actual business trip. I’m never quite sure; but I imagine he’s with his mistress,” I deadpaned without a trace of humor. She studied my face, tired and hardened from years of putting up with my husband’s absences and abuses. I could tell she was taking me in for the first time – truly looking at me. Her eyes were drawn to my arms – a few yellowed bruises remained from the last encounter I did have – a couple of scars remained around my wrists. I didn’t bother hiding these things any longer. She was smart to observe without comment.
Detective Wright turned and headed back down the hall, pausing to open the bathroom door. She stepped in to pull back the shower curtain, looked around, and proceeded back to the hall and into the bedroom we once shared happily.
The bedroom was slightly messier. I’d long since stopped decorating or rearranging the keepsakes I once cherished. Many were broken – victims of tantrums. They no longer told the stories of the memories they once held. The curtains were drawn, pushing the day’s natural light away. The bed was made, but messy.
I watched her carefully as she casually opened the closet door. She glanced at the items on my dresser, then over at his. She turned to the bed and as the policeman pulled back the sheet, she knew immediately that my husband was not a victim. It didn’t take much to put two and two together. I stood nervously, wondering if she’d ask me about the cuffs attached to the headboard, usually covered by the sheets, but she didn’t.
“The plane. Where are you going?”
“I… I thought I might go see my mom. She lives in New York.” I started to fumble, pulling the printed ticket confirmation from my pocket for her to see.
“When will you be back?”
I squirmed, uncomfortable, suddenly more nervous than I’d ever been. “I don’t imagine I’ll be coming back. I’m supposed to be here when he gets back. I never quite know when he’ll return. If I’m not here he’ll… he’ll be angry. I… need to go… I’m going to miss my plane. Please…”
Detective Wright nodded. “I have a better idea, ok? I can help you.”
I stared at her, blinking.
“I need you to come to the station with me; and when we’re done I’ll make sure you get a new ticket to New York. Ok?”
I nodded slightly, suddenly dizzy – confused, scared. She knew… but I suddenly felt as though I might actually be able to make it out of there for good. And I did.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
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Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Deborah Marie Dera: www.deborahdera.com