I woke up groggy the next morning; having spent hours just twisting and turning in bed. Sleep had refused to come easily and I had drifted in and out of nightmares involving my dad’s baby doppelganger from the previous night. I had also been haunted by the dead man; the way he had looked at me from far away, calling for help with his eyes. And the image of his dead body flashed over and over in my head, covered with blood.
I had a quick breakfast, avoided my aunt and headed out before the sun was fully up. I wanted to take a detour at the police station. I wanted to know what they had found. I wanted to hear sane things at the moment, things that would make it easier for me to rule out the new possibilities that had begun to form in my head.
I arrived at the station to find it bustling with activity despite the early hour. It seemed as if the discovery of an unexplained dead body in the middle of a lonely street had brought the ordinary worlds of this team of policemen to life.
When I presented myself, I was greeted with a very mixed response. Some of the policemen displayed open hostility, others glared at me in suspicion and a few seemed sympathetic. The policeman who had spoken to me the most on the previous night led me to an office and sat me down.
‘Would you like something? Tea?’ he asked me uncertainly.
‘No I am quite okay, thank you.’ I replied. ‘I just wanted to know about…well about the dead man?’
The policeman glanced anxiously towards his closed door. He leaned further in and whispered, ‘Well Miss Clara. We have just opened an investigation here and there is a lot to discover. But we have found out that the dead man was Thomas Jones. He drove a dump truck and led a seemingly normal life. But there is still a lot of digging to do and we might discover something.’
‘Okay’ I said, uncertain of what to do next. There was nothing useful in what he had said so far.
‘Look ma’am’ he said, lowering his voice even further. ‘The autopsy is underway as we speak and the reports won’t be in before afternoon but between you and me…most of the suspicion last night seemed to fall on you. Let’s face it, you were alone and the street was deserted and we figured…well who can judge these things? I haven’t seen any dead bodies in all my years of service here.’
‘Aah…’ I said, wondering where he was leading with this.
‘But a friend of mine works at the morgue’, continued the inspector, his voice still low. ‘And from the preliminary looks of it, this whodunit is also a how-he- (or she, pardon me) -dunit because it seems as if the bleeding started internally. There are no cuts or wounds of bullet entry in the body. It seems as if his organs ruptured from within and then the blood simply oozed out.’
I stared at him in sickening horror as he said these words. I didn’t have anything to say.
And so’, he coughed a little. ‘As far as I am concerned, you’re in the clear ma’am. I definitely do not think you’re a murderer.’
He looked at me and made the attempt of what seemed like a wink but it did nothing to stop me from feeling as if my guts were knotting inside me.
I did one last thing before I left, discover the address of the truck driver’s next of kin; a sister who lived close by. So I drove over to see her. There was no resting for me until I figured everything out.
The sister was a big woman, around forty years old. She had a little baby tucked within her arms and seemed highly suspicious of me. It seemed she had just been back from the police station and here I was barging in on her on the worst time of her life.
But I needed answers.
Answers she didn’t have. She had little to say to me and considering as she regarded me as her brother’s killer, I was not surprised.
By the time I took leave of her, the sun had climbed quite high into the sky. It beat down warmly on my skin and I felt a little comforted by its presence.
The sister’s house was a little off the main road and surrounded by a lot of trees. As I headed for my car, I thought I saw something far off in the shade; the shadow of a little child in shorts and a tee. In a heartbeat, I changed direction.
I walked to the spot where I had seen the shadow. But there was nothing there. However, I could feel something within the trees. I took a deep breath to steady my nerves and entered the thicket.
I walked for ten minutes. The thicket was deeper than it had seemed at first; and it was dark in here as little sunshine seemed to creep through the canopy. I was beginning to feel very frightened now.
What are you doing? What’s happening to you? I kept asking myself.
And then I stopped. I couldn’t move further. There was something here. Something compelling me to turn, to walk away, to die, to….listen?
I could see colours swimming before my eyes. It was a mobile of some sort- a lot of colours and shapes were swimming before me. But they were too slow. I wanted them to be faster.
I could here two voices in the background. And I could sense two shapes. The lady with a ladle in her hand. The man with a remote control in his; he turned to me and smiled. I knew those eyes. Dad. And mum.
But I was distracted. I looked back at the mobile hanging above my crib. It was beautiful. It would look so much better if it could spin around really fast. A blur of colours and shapes, that was what I wanted to see.
I wanted it to be…magnificent! I stared at the mobile until I felt a draft. The air was growing colder. Much colder. And then my mobile was spinning. Faster and faster it went and I clapped my hands together as I had been taught to do when I wanted to appreciate something.
But something was wrong. There was a scream in the distance. I turned and saw my dad’s arms reaching out to encompass me. He lifted me and that’s when I saw it in the distance.
My mother. Lying in a pool of something red. She wasn’t moving. I reached out for her with my tiny hands but my dad was taking me in the other direction. Towards the door, the door.
I did NOT want to leave my mum behind!
Suddenly the draft grew harder. It seemed to surround us. And then we were falling, falling towards the floor. And I saw the floor reached out to meet me. I saw black
And then I saw red.
I was still in my dad’s arms. I was still on the floor. I was covered in something sticky. Something sticky that seemed to ooze out of my father. I raised my arms and brought them back down again. The sticky liquid splashed.
I began to cry loudly.
I woke up with a start. I was on the ground in the thicket, surrounded by trees.
I sat up and gasped. Then I realised what had happened.
My missing memory was back.
And I knew now why it had been missing all this time; I had been the one to somehow kill my parents. There was something wrong…with ME.
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