Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Home, Sweet Home - a short story

The end of night shift approached, and a middle aged detective was preparing to hand over to his colleagues. It had been a long night, not helped by the media all dying for information about the death of a celebrity. The detective had been at the scene of the crime. A suicide. Forensics would allow them to close the case quickly. Poor guy, he was barely more than a boy. Why would someone so young and successful want to die? He had money, fame, fans, talent, youth. What could a guy like that lack?

            Oh well, time to switch it all off, the detective thought heading for his car. It was so important in his line of work to be able to leave the job behind, else it ruined your chance of a ordinary home life. His wife was good about it, after twelve years of marriage, she knew when something was eating at him and how to help him unwind and forget about it. She had made him promise before they wed that he would always be a husband and father first and foremost, not just a “cop”. The other guys in the station envied him. It was so hard to keep that perfect balance between the two worlds, but he did it. In his three bedroom suburban home his wife would be having a shower, then getting breakfast started, waking the children up for Sunday school, and keeping an eye out the window for him. When the car pulled into the driveway, she would shout to the kids that Daddy was home, make sure the coffee pot was warm and pop some fresh toast on. Despite being tired after such a long night, he'd be all smiles when his two little ones, a boy and a girl, threw themselves at him. The dog would get all excited and start barking while his wife laughed and tried to prise the children off him. After a soft sweet kiss off his beloved, he'd sit down at the head of the table where his son would bring him the Sunday newspaper while his daughter showed him the pretty new ribbon she had in her hair for church. They would eat breakfast, chatting away and laughing, give the awaiting dog some scraps, then he'd pop upstairs, shower and change, before they walked to the local church. He'd stifle his yawns throughout the service, but perk up when his children and the rest of the Sunday school kids came in from the hall and did a little reading for the congregation. On the way home, he'd carry his daughter on his shoulders while his son told him all about the bible stories they had been learning. After church, the children would change and his loving wife would take them and the dog for a walk to the park to feed the ducks, letting tired Daddy get some well-needed sleep.

            The middle aged policeman smiled to himself at the images in his mind as he reached his home. He parked the car on the street and climbed the three flights of dingy stairs to his apartment. After fiddling with the key for some moments, he let himself in. The one room home was dark despite the growing light outside the tiny windows. An empty pizza box lay on the coffee table next to a pile of newspaper clippings. “Crime rates down”, “Policeman stabbed”, “Hero policewoman released from hospital”, “Copy-cat Serial Killer Caught” the headlines read.

            “Home, Sweet Home,” the policeman whispered into the empty room.

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