Three men were dead. That’s as much as the cops knew. That and the trembling little girl with the blonde pigtails and the too big backpack that must have weighed twice her weight at the crime scene was their only witness.
Officer Alexander Tyler was chosen to question her. As a large and muscular man, it was hard for an outsider to understand why he was chosen to question the scared girl, but anyone who knew him knew he was secretly a teddy bear with a soft spot for kids. He even embraced the girl at the crime scene when he arrived.
Officer Tyler led the girl into a cozy room with two pillowy armchairs when they arrived at the precinct. The ride there had been deafeningly silent, and Officer Tyler hoped that questioning the little girl wouldn’t cause her to revert even further into her shell. She trembled as he offered her to sit down in one of the plush chairs. She was timid, but eventually accepted.
“Hi, I’m Alex,” he said gently so as not to scare her. “What’s your name?”
He waited a second. Then another. Finally she was able to shakily answer, “Cam.”
“It’s nice to meet you Cam,” Alex replied. “Can I get you anything?”
She shook her head.
“Well,” Alex said, “Is it okay if I ask you some questions?”
Cam nodded her head slowly and took in a deep breath.
“Can you start by telling me everything that you can remember?” Alex questioned.
Cam’s eyes wandered off for a second as if she were recalling a dream. No, not a dream. A nightmare. The words came slowly at first, but soon enough, they were spilling out of her as if she couldn’t keep them in any longer.
She was waiting at her bus stop alone after her bus was stuck in 5 hours worth of traffic. The principal had called an assembly at school earlier that day. Cam hated assemblies. They were always so loud and filled with so many people. The assembly ran over and the buses hit rush hour traffic. The drive through the city was an absolute nightmare. And even regular traffic was typically horrible.
While she was waiting at her bus stop on 6th Street after she was dropped off, she saw the men walking together on the side of the road, talking and laughing. Cam thought she heard them telling jokes. Cam loved jokes.
She turned her head and watched the street where her parents typically came to pick her up. A few cars whizzed by, but it was so late that few people were out and driving. She stayed waiting for her parents to pick her up from the stop that was too far away from her home to walk for a little over 5 minutes. Cam hated having to wait for long amounts of time. She was what her parents would call a go getter.
All of a sudden, it seemed like the world was put on mute. The men went silent, and the crickets in the night abruptly stopped chirping their pitchless song. Cam quickly turned around to where the men had been walking down the street. And that’s when she saw it standing over the bodies of the dead men.
“What was it?” Alex asked.
“A person,” Cam responded, shivering.
“Could you tell me what they looked like?” Alex pressed.
Cam nodded shakily.
He was a tall man with a physique that reminded her of her father. He was dressed all in black, and what that didn’t conceal, the shadows hid the rest, cloaking him in a protective blanket. All except for his eyes.
His eyes had a maddened look in them. A look of satisfaction maybe, or crazed happiness perhaps. But what was most unnerving was also the seemingly disinterested stare that bore into Cam’s skull.
It was as if it was a rather dull evening for him. You know, just casually committing homicide over here. Don’t pay any mind. Nothing really interesting happening right now.
He also had a knife, Cam remembered. A double bladed one at that. Or so she assumed. She hadn’t seen many knives before, but the moon was full, and it’s stained red surface had glinted in the moonlight.
He was a foreboding character, and Cam could remember how frozen he made her feel. In a second, he could have ended her life. He could have taken that double bladed red stained knife and killed her. Just like that. But the man disappeared as soon as he had materialized in her vision, and Cam had been left shaking, scared for her life.
She didn’t know where he had come from, where he had gone, or why he was there. She just knew that he was. And he was a ruthless human being. He had to be stopped. He had to be captured. Because how could they be safe with him loose?
Alex decided that was the most they could get from Cam. He gave the information to the team, and told her not to worry about the man on the loose. “We’ll catch him,” he promised her. “I know we will.”
As he ushered her out of the room, he thought, It’s such a shame that this little girl has to wait for her parents to pick her up before she could go home.
“Would you like me to drive you home so your parents don’t have to come pick you up?” Alex offered.
“Sure,” Cam exclaimed, with a sudden enthusiasm that Alex wasn’t prepared for but willingly embraced as a success in getting the girl to feel less afraid. Alex knew that younger kids always loved riding around in his cop car. It was just the thing Cam needed to cheer her up.
Alex then led Cam out of the door, and, for just a second, you could just make out a double bladed red stained knife in the girl’s waistband from a glint in the moonlight.
By Pamela Lohman, Contributor
Lohman writes, “My inspiration for this piece was really based off of all of the books I have read that have surprise endings, and I wanted to create something with that shock factor in it.”
Featured photo by Savannah Karas