The blog post, “The Lonely Child” is an excerpt of a short story. This post will contain affiliate postings. For more information, check out the Disclaimer page.
As I retold the story for the 19th or 20th time, I was even starting to doubt it myself. I knew I sounded like an insane person, but the whole thing really happened. I wanted to stop talking and run away. I didn’t want to be in this small, cold room talking in circles, answering all of their questions until my throat was on fire and my voice was horse. There were no clocks in the room, but one of the officers had a wristwatch on and I could see the time was 3 AM. This means that I had been in this room for at least 5 hours. It seemed like an eternity and my body was feeling every moment of it. The door opened, but I didn’t even look up because I knew what I would see. It would be one more nameless, faceless person demanding to know the story. I’m sure they want to know how that police officer died. So would I, but he was dead when I got there. They keep ignoring that part.
I heard the weight of the metal chair being pulled back, and then forward again after the man had taken a seat. I could smell his dime store cologne filling the room. There were three other male officers in the room, standing with their arms folded, glaring down at me. They had all taken their turns interrogating me, but I couldn’t give them the answers that they wanted. I could only tell them the truth no matter how strange it all was. I heard him take a long breath, and tap his pen on the table. The sound was too much, and my hands involuntarily went to cover my ears. Hours ago, I was terrified for my life for a much different reason, and know I was afraid that I would be blamed for something I never did, and lose my freedom. I’m not sure what is worse.
“Miss Paula? I am Detective Shawn. I know you have had quite a night. I have some questions, and I’m sure you have some answers. You answer the questions that I have, and then you can go home.”
Broken, the tears fell down my cheeks. Of course I didn’t believe him. I didn’t believe any of them. Even thought I had asked for legal help when I got here, it didn’t’ seem to matter one bit. They wanted answers that I couldn’t provide and they may just make me guilty for a horrible crime. At this point, I was so tired and afraid that I could no longer keep my mind from racing. I lifted my head and looked directly at Detective Shawn. He looked like an average man, but something was off about him. He didn’t have any lenses in his glasses. His watch also had crack on the face, and his beard was very uneven. I had the same feeling as I did when I saw the child earlier, and I bite my tongue to keep from screaming.
“Has anyone offered you a drink, Miss Paula?” he asked politely. I shook my head no and he turned to the 3 officers behind him and pointed his finger at the tallest man who’s name that I had forgotten. “Bring Miss Paula a water, and a coffee” He shrugged and left the room, returning a few silent minutes later with a bottle of water and a cup of steaming coffee. He sat them down and went back to stand next to the other goons. “It’s time for you to take a break.” Detective Shawn said to them. “Excuse me?” The tall man asked back, taking a step forward. “I said, it’s time for you to take a break. All of you. Now.” The glare the tall man gave the Detective radiated down my spine. I thought he was going to punch the Detective in the face. He paused, but then quickly backed off and walked out the door, followed by the two other men. The Detective watched for the door to close, and then he stood up and walked over to the camera that had been recording our entire conversation. It looked as though he had turned it off, but I knew they were not going to stop filming, especially when it came to a dead police officer. He walked back over to the table with heavy steps, and sat on the table.
“Where did the child go, Miss Paula.”
I looked at him for a long moment. “There is no child.” I said after a beat. “In case you didn’t know, because that’s what your friends keep telling me.”
“There was a child, Miss Paula. You know it, I know it, they know it, but are either too afraid or too stupid to realize the truth.”
“Are you playing the role of the good cop? I said rudely. I was tired, afraid, and alone, but suddenly, I wanted to fight. I had been telling my story, which was the truth for hours. However, I was called a liar at least 70 times by the other 3 officers who refused to believe anything about the child that had been there.
“I’m not playing good cop, bad cop. I’m trying to find the truth and I believe you know it.”
“Then look back at the hours of footage of questions that the officers asked and my story being ignored! I’m tired of going over it again and again. I want to go home!”
“I have been watching the whole time.”
“Then you already know everything.”
“I know what the other officers have asked you, but I don’t know the truth. They weren’t asking the right questions.”
I laughed. “Well then Detective Shawn, how could you magically ask me the right questions that haven’t already been asked a hundred times already by your friends?”
“Was the child alive, or dead when he talked with you?”
That snapped me out of it, and I leaned forward. His eyes held my gaze and I realized he was being serious.
“I don’t know.” I answered in a small, but level voice. “The child was unlike anything I have ever seen before, but I didn’t kill that officer.”
“I know you didn’t kill him,” Detective Shawn answered. “I don’t care about that at all.”
“You don’t care?” I shouted. “You don’t care about a dead police officer. Then why in the world…”
“I need to know about the child.” Detective Shawn said firmly. “That officers was already dead, and if we don’t work together, more people are going to die. I need to know about that child. Are you ready to tell me the truth?”
I saw back in my seat and crossed my arms. “No, but I will. Are you ready to hear my answers?”
“No, but we need to find that child.”
I nodded and closed my eyes, gathering my strength. Even thought I had retold the story over and over again to the officers, I was holding back a lot of details about the child because no one believed me. They scoffed at me, they laughed at me. But if they would have seen what I had seen, they wouldn’t have been laughing, they would have been begging for their Mother.
The Detective sat back down in his chair, and pulled out a note pad. “Okay, tell me the real story of what happened to you tonight. Don’t leave out any details.”
“No matter how crazy?”
“No matter how crazy.”
“Detective, answer me one question before we get started.”
“Alright,” he nodded. “Go ahead.”
“What are you?”
After a long moment, the Detective answered. “Tell me about the child, and then I will tell you about what I am.”
Still angry, afraid, and pissed, I manged to push all that aside. For the first and only time in my life I retold the real story of what happened on a normal day that ended with me being accused of murdering a police officer. The truth did not set me free, it took more for me than I could have ever imagined.
I hope that you have enjoyed my sample of my story, “The Lonely Child.” If you would like a second one, comment below.