Michael Affers walked nervously through the bustling police station. He headed toward the interrogation room, to talk to a man who had just come stumbling in. He grabbed the case file off a desk, glanced through it as he ran his fingers through his thick brown hair, and then tossed it back to the desk. “What’s this all about, then?”
“He walked in babbling something about a rat,” the duty officer informed him. “Nobody really knows what he’s here for.”
“Nutcase, I guess.” He sighed, and continued toward the interrogation room. When he reached the door, he paused for a moment before turning the handle. He didn’t know what to expect, but he had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.
He saw the man sitting there, jean overalls with a nice suit shirt underneath. An odd combination, Michael thought. The man was odd in many ways. For one, he didn’t look up, or even seem to notice when Michael entered the room. Surly he must have heard the door?
“Theo?” he said, hesitating slightly. “My name is Detective Affers. You can call me Michael, Ok Theo?” Michael slowly pulled out the chair opposite the odd man and sat down.
Theo still didn’t look up, but just stared at the same spot on the table in front of him. Without moving, he finally said, “I didn’t mean to do it. I just meant to get the rat.” A few fining their way down the sides of his face.
“Theo, I need you to tell me what happened. What didn’t you mean to do?”
“I just meant to get the rat.” This is all he would say, “just the rat…”
“Ok Theo, start from the beginning. What happened?”
He sat for a while, just quiet, until finally he drew in a deep breath and began to tell his story. “I got fired. Greg Baily from the hardware store, he fired me. Says I spaced out, ignored the customers. I probably did. I had to go home and tell Sandy. Sandy wasn’t gonna’ be happy. We were having money problems as it was.”
“Sandy? Is Sandy your wife?
“When I got home and told her, she got mad.” He didn’t seem to hear the question at all. “She was yelling at me, because I can’t keep a job. Fourth one this year. She was yelling about ‘how we gonna’ pay the rent’ and all. I tried to ignore her and just drink my beer. She got me mad, and wouldn’t stop yellen’ at me, so I hit her. I think I hit her twice, I don’t know. I tried to help her up after she went to the ground so hard, but she wouldn’t let me touch her. I guess I was a little drunk then.”
“Where is Sandy now, Theo?” Michael had become worried.
Again, Theo didn’t acknowledge that he heard the question, and perhaps he didn’t. “She ran into Jimmy’s room.”
“Jimmy?” He began to worry even more. “Jimmy is your son?”
“She ran and woke him up from his nap, threw some shoes on him and headed for the door. I was mad, and I grabbed her arm and yanked her back into the house. She hit the floor again, but I had to get Jimmy. Jimmy was already outside, running for the barn. I went after him. Before I went in the barn after him, I grabbed my pitchfork. It wasn’t for him; I’d never hurt my boy. I seen some big rats in there, they’re dangerous.”
“So you grabbed the pitchfork to kill the rats in there? So what happened to Jimmy in there?”
“I was looking for him,” again ignoring the detectives questioning, “but I couldn’t see straight, and couldn’t find him. I yelled after him but he wouldn’t answer. I saw a huge rat, crawling through the hay, so I took my pitchfork, and went at it. Then it screamed. I didn’t mean to, I swear.”
“What happened, Theo? I need to know now,” Michael was getting impatient now, and very worried.
Theo seemed to be in a trance of some kind, he just kept talking. “Then Sandy came down when she heard it. She started screaming when she saw what I done. She was so loud I couldn’t think about what was going on. She wouldn’t be quiet, and I needed to think. Before I knew it, there was no sound anymore. She was real quiet. The quiet itself was loud, and I had to get away. I didn’t know where else to go, so I came here.” Now he looks up at Michael, tears streaming down his face, “I didn’t know what else to do.”
“Theo, did you hurt them?” Michael could barley contain his anger by now, “Are they hurt? Where are they?”
“The barn…” His voice drifted off into a sob.
Michael turned to the guard standing behind him, “Do we know where his land is?”
“He should be in the computer, I’ll get on it now.” The guard began to leave the room.
“Good. Start a crew on the way immediately. Tell them to check the barn.” The guard left the room and raced to the front desk. Detective Michael Affers looked at the man sitting at the table, and was unable to hide the terror and hate in his eyes. “Theo, I am going to find them, and I hope I don’t find what I am thinking of.” With that, he dashed out of the room, got the address from the front desk, and high-tailed it to his patrol car. He was right in front of the rushing ambulance, and behind the other two patrol officers dispatched to this extreme emergency.
When he first arrived at the barn, he was reminded of every horror movie he had ever seen. It was dark, gloomy, and very run down. He ran up to the barn, and with the help of one of the other officers, pulled open the great barn doors. And the scene they beheld then, would be one image this detective would have a hard time getting out of his head.
Molded hay, matted down with the crimson fluid, which Michael had been afraid to find. The body of a woman, in her mid-thirties it would appear, with three evenly spaced punctures spanning from the neck to the left shoulder. This would be Sandy; she was closer to the door than what the other officer had his flashlight pointed at, behind a mound of the grossly colored hay.
This officer had been the guard present during the whole interview. He new exactly what was going on, and what he had found. “Detective,” he began to say, with a look on his face like he may throw up, “I don’t think you’re going to like this…” He began to back away from the horrible scene in front of him, handing his flashlight to the detective as he approached.
He was right; Michael didn’t like it at all. He was saddened and disgusted that a man could do such a thing to his own son. It looked like there were three times as many wounds, stabbed three times before bleeding to death.
This moment, as he watched the body bags being carried away, he felt the sadness of all the people who had ever lost someone, and he didn’t even know these people. This boy should have had a long life ahead of him, but it was ended in a single night of horror. He wasn’t sure if he could handle this job anymore, but he knew that that was the reason he had to stay with it: to bring people to justice just as he would this Theo.