The Victim

Chapter Two: Friends

Overexplaining

I sit alone in a windowed room at the police station. I only hear the small tv in the room in front of me. It makes the rest of the world fade. Some politician embezzled money, some other has been caught making racist remarks. Same-o same-o. A policeman comes through the door, startling me. “Well, we’ve been keeping the press off,” he explains as he sits on a chair in front of me. I remain silent. “I guess you don’t want to… Well, it’s too early yet. I say let them soak.” He’s clearly uncomfortable with me. He’s probably been told not to make me feel uncomfortable. Attaboy.

“You see… ehm,” he goes on. “The thing is… Well, we have all the facts, and just wanted to ask you and make sure, you know, just to be safe, make sure we got it all right.” He looks for consent from my part of some sort, but I just keep looking above his shoulder to the television in silence.

He clears his throat. “Ok. So. According to the facts, your mother ra—” “Adoptive mother,” I interrupt without looking at him. “Yes, yes, again, I’m very sorry.” See how uncomfortable he is? “It looks like she ran over a woman while you were still in the car. We later found this woman buried in the garden, along with cats, dogs and other animals… do you know anything about that?”

“My brothers liked to kill stuff,” I say dryly. He looks at me puzzled, smiles thinking it’s a joke, realizes it’s not, feels embarrassed and continues talking, acting like it never happened. “After the crime, you threatened to denounce her and she pushed you, causing your head injury. Some days later, you left the hospital to report the incident, but unfortunately that didn’t go through.”

“Yes, unfortunately,” I say, unable to contain my anger. “All the deaths that could’ve been prevented. Unfortunately they weren’t?” “Yes, well, understand that you were, well, indisposed, and your mother insisted that you had been in an accident.” I look away from the television to look at him with contempt. He understands and stops trying to apologize.

“Then it seems she had a busy social life until a few weeks later, when she started receiving those letters. We’re still looking into who sent them, but we have no clues: there are no fingerprints in the few pictures she kept, no addresses, no eyewitnesses. So it looks like that one will remain a mystery for now… Anyway, as I was saying, she became increasingly, ehm, unwell? due to the content of those letters, until her son died in that car accident.”

He pauses to look at me before continuing. “Then she became so emotionally extenuated…” I let go a laugh, the first in a long time. He continues as though I hadn’t said a thing. “She finally decided to murder the family of the woman she previously ran over. She believed they were responsible for the murder of her son, which we have ruled out. You see, the whole family went to a mall that day, we have them on tape. So it really can’t have been them. We haven’t found the car that hit him, or the person who attacked you.” I wouldn’t hold my breath on that last one.

“Anyway… After the crime, a policeman went to your house. I think you knew him. He was responding to a domestic altercation nearby, which solved itself. We’re not sure why he visited your house, though.” I smile. “I think he cared,” I say. “About me, you know? He wanted to make sure I was ok. But it was too late…” He remains in silence as I speak. “Then she opened fire on the two officers,” he continues. “She gave guns to you and her kids and ordered them to fire on anyone who came to the house.”

He stops. It’s too much for him to understand how a mother could be that way. I can see it in his face, that expression of disgust. “It’s ok,” I say consoling him, “it’s all over now, you can go on. She can’t hurt anybody else.” He doesn’t know how to react to my comment, so he ignores it once more. “After gunning down four of our cars, killing two police officers and injuring another four people, she shot your neighbour’s houses, causing one dead and four injured civilians. It was then that the two youngest received fatal shots to the head in the living room from a gun found inside the house. Do you know who fired those shots?”

“No, I—” I shut up and shake my head anxiously. “It’s ok,” he says, trying to appease me. “When the negotiator arrived, she only said she had hostages and that she would come out once she had spoken to her husband. After thirty-two minutes, her husband arrived at the house and was given a speaker. But once he was close enough to the house, she shot a burst of rounds at him. One of them pierced through his skull, killing him instantly.” Seriously, somebody should tell this guy not to explain ghastly details to the victims. I think he just realized it himself because he’s grimacing.

“Uhm. So. After that, she exchanged fire with the police for the next sixteen minutes, at which point you appeared through the door carrying the body—” I break down crying, thinking of that moment, thinking of her… “Well, you know the rest,” he says. “I’m sorry to make you relive it.” He hands me a tissue. “No, don’t be,” I say, wiping my tears with it. “It’s all fresh in my head anyway.”

“If there’s anything we can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask.” “Actually,” I say. “There’s one thing. What about my inheritance?” He fiddles with his pen and looks away. I don’t like that. “Yes, well, I feel like you should discuss that with your lawyer.” “Is there something wrong?” I ask, anxious now. “Again,” he says, “discuss it with him.”

There’s a brief awkward silence. “Can I see their body?” I ask. He frowns, hesitating. “Sure, yeah, come this way.” In the morgue, under bright white lights I see mother, resting peacefully. She doesn’t deserve it. She should be punished, she should suffer for a long time. But instead… this. “Can I have a moment with them alone?” I ask. The cop nods, and I’m left alone in the morgue.

I also see the boys, lying in tables next to each other. And finally, silent under a white sheet, there’s my little sister. I reach with my hand to pull, but I can’t look. I can’t accept she’s dead. I grew to love her more than myself. I wish I was dead and she was alive. I wish I could die right now. I look at mother again. It looks like she’s smiling. “No!” I yell, then I spit on her, then break down crying. No…