Harley Manley, Grade 12, Kenmore State High School -
I was woken up by an unrelenting tap-tapping sound on my window –by a branch shaped much like a finger—on that tenaciously windy night. My last night shift before being promoted to day shift. The night shifts wore down us detectives, and most ended up needing therapy. Sadly, I wasn’t able to see my beautiful wife and daughter most nights -unless I was lucky-, that night I didn’t see them at all. Next shift I will.
The case that night was of a young Caucasian woman in her mid-30s. Pale moonlight highlighted the fair features of the mangled remains of the poor woman, who had fallen from the 34th floor of the Amanda Hotel. A breath of wind brushed against my neck, causing my hair to stand on end, as the night –devoid of sound—became filled with the gagging of the officers stood behind me.
After querying the receptionist regarding the person hiring room 34A, I got a name: Elizabeth Mary. She was planning on staying for two weeks however had only stayed there for two days so far. She’d paid in cash. The way she died was suspicious to say the least. Was it really just another suicide?
I had searched the room 34A meticulously, where I had gathered there was no forced entry, and a notebook with a piece of paper missing. I looked over to her bed and saw her bag stuffed with clothing. I noticed a piece of clothing unlike the rest, I got shivers down my spine, it was children’s clothing…
Officers came scurrying frantically into the room -their faces still drained of colour:
“Sir, she has a 6-year-old daughter named Amanda, and a husband.”
Those words boomed incessantly in my head throughout that night, it filled me with anxiety. Parked in a tenebrous alleyway all I was thinking was: Do I have anything left to try? Any leads to follow? Anything at all? Ringing filled my empty car -It was the coroner:
“She stuffed a piece of paper down her throat. It said: 203 North Amity Street—". I hung up and left immediately, sirens blaring towards that address. “Please” I whispered.
I broke down the door, causing splinters to fly. The house was clear with one door left –The dilapidated house’s basement. I entered. A swirl of emotions crushing me as I looked over. Amanda. Covered in blood. So much blood. I screamed out and staggered over. Tears running down my face. A forlorn feeling washed over me. I leant down and held her cold body in my arms, becoming covered in her blood. It was too late.
I stopped. My tears ceased. I remembered. They were My Daughter and My Wife. I heard an unrelenting tap-tapping across that derelict room, the branch shaped like a finger was hitting the filthy broken glass window where that same pale moonlight soaked through. It drew me in closer, urging me to stand up. That cracked reflection staring back at me… had a smile.