Rusher series #1: Little Bud

I’m a food delivery driver. I don’t always follow the delivery instructions.


Horror

Wholesome


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Little Bud

Warning: this story contains mentions of child and domestic abuse

I’m a food delivery driver. Let’s call me a “Rusher”, so I don’t reveal which service I work for.

I live and work in a small town with small goals. There aren’t many of us Rushers here. It’s more like the modern world is only just trickling into town, and the idea of having someone run food to your house for you is better developed than the service that provides it. This is why I call myself a “Rusher”. There’s only a few of us servicing this town.

The app for our Rusher service is a cockamamy clusterfuck. I’m using that, and being in a rush, as an excuse.

Oh, and my name’s Marie. That’s worth knowing for this story. I’m Marie, and I don’t need more than the living being a Rusher gives me. It’s just me to support, I’ve got no goals, and I’m young and in good health.

There’s the section of town that has the big old houses. Most of the rest of the town is dinky weatherboard things and a few new builds. In that part of the town, people sit on their front porch, chat at playgrounds, walk dogs, go for jogs – you know, people on the street. In the old part of town, the streets are empty. I suppose if your house is that big, you don’t need to get out as much.

The big old houses, as you might expect, order food rather often. I got one such order in the evening several weeks ago, so I set out to fetch their tacos and take it to them. Having never delivered to this house before, I assumed they’d only recently trickled into the modern food-ordering world.

As many other delivery drivers will know, the faster you work, the more you get paid. It was early evening, and I very much expected this to be the first in a line of dinner orders. I grabbed the food from the restaurant, rushed it to the house, and found the address on the first try. Nice and easy: number visible from the street, right where the map said it was.

So in I went, through the double iron gates, and parked on their driveway before the imposing front door. With the sun starting to set, the house’s lights were being flicked on. In a window up above the front door was the silhouette of what looked like a little kid. The little kid raised an arm and waved at me. I smiled, glad I was bringing him his tacos, and waved back.

The day was shaping up nicely, thought me back then.

The door was opened by a middle-aged woman in track pants with a blanket around her shoulders. She had greasy dark hair pulled into a messy bun, distinctive high cheekbones, and heavy-lidded brown eyes. I don’t judge, so I smiled, handed her her food, and said something to the effect of:

‘Your kid’s sweet. Hope he enjoys his tacos!’

I’ll tell you something about eyes: to say they’re windows to the soul is going a bit overboard, but eyes can say a lot. This woman’s dark eyes just looked at me like I was a slug.

‘I don’t have a kid,’ she said, and shut the door.

Right-o. I turned away and headed back to my car, just assuming she was the kid’s grumpy aunt or something. Pulling open the driver’s-side door, I glanced back up at the window above the door. The kid was still there, and, having spotted me again, was once more waving happily at me. I grinned and waved back.

Needless to say, I didn’t think much of it. Not until I was fiddling with the convoluted delivery app to find the button that would mark this one as “delivered”. It was only then, sitting in my car on the street outside the house, that I noticed the delivery instructions for the order. Below the pre-fill stuff about whether you wanted no-contact or “hand it to me” delivery, was a note:

“Don’t wave at the kid in the window.”

Now I know, in these times, one thing you all are going to – rightly – bollock me for is not checking whether the person wanted contact-free delivery or not. I know. But over here, the pandemic’s pretty sorted. The only people with Covid are in hotel quarantine. I wear my mask, and my experience in this town is that people don’t really care whether you hand it to them or not, so long as they get their food and you don’t cough in their face.

And, you know, see excuse above. The app sucked.

As for the other thing you’re going to scoff at me for… Well, we’ll get to that.

Anyway, I had waved at the kid in the window, and even if I’d seen the note, I probably still would have. I wasn’t going to not wave at a kid just because some grumpy customer decided I shouldn’t.

Maybe it made me worry a bit about the kid. But I had another order, and so I took off to make my living, putting it down to the kid being in the naughty corner and the aunt – or whoever – not wanting him to do anything but reflect on his sins.

*

Turns out my night wasn’t so great that day. I had one lady give me the wrong address, then berate me for being “so damn stupid!”, a bloke send me death threats if I didn’t get the order to him in half an hour, and, by the third, I was wondering what was up with this town all of a sudden:

“Cash tip” the instructions on the order said (which I was now reading for every order, having been reminded of them). I was glad to see it. The pay-out would be meagre otherwise.

So, promise of a tip in mind, I pulled up outside one of the many dinky weatherboard houses in town. The instructions, in addition to the promise of a tip, told me the customer was in the guest house out back, and to follow the narrow driveway down beside number 14 to find it.

It was completely dark now, and I squinted out into the dark to find the driveway. Number 14, check, then, beside it… You call that a driveway?

I donno what car the customer had, but to fit between the fences on either side of the driveway it would have to be a Smart Car. Or the person was a better driver than I was and could work with only a spare inch on either side of the vehicle.

So I got out, grabbed the order, and, with “hand it to me” and “cash tip” my instructions, walked down the path.

I’ll describe it first: head-high fences on either side, number 14 on one side, small but well-maintained; number 12 on the other side, looking like a hoarder who didn’t cut the grass lived there. Then this narrow-ass driveway with a mostly dark guest house visible at its end.

Then I’ll describe the other thing I noticed: a pair of footsteps that weren’t mine. I knew they weren’t mine, both because I could hear my own footsteps smacking the concrete driveway. And because they were skipping.

Not so unusual, I’m sure. Could have been a kid I couldn’t see skipping away in the back garden of number 14. At 1 in the morning.

But here’s the thing: they sounded like they were right next to me.

I looked around, then stopped and looked back up the driveway towards the road. The footsteps stopped. There was no one there.

Okie dokie, I thought. An owl hooted. Thanks, owl. It was already late at night, most of the town gone to bed, and now I felt like I was in a horror movie.

I turned back to my task at hand, and started walking.

The skipping started up again. Right next to me. And no, no one was there. Just disembodied skipping footsteps next to my plodding.

And then they laughed. They, like some invisible kid next to me, laughed.

It chilled me to the fucking bone. A sweet, tinkling laugh, on a narrow driveway that had only me in it.

So I did what any sane person would: I hurried up, got to the guest house door, barely paid attention to the fact that it was flaking and peeling everywhere – a hole in the eaves above me – and knocked.

‘Maaaarrrriiee-eeee,’ a voice called behind me, coaxing and sweet. That tinkling laugh started up again, and I knew it was the weird kid-ghost thing. ‘Play with me Marie!’

Nope. No thanks. My back stiff, I knocked again, refusing to turn around and see nothing again.

The door was pulled roughly open. In the doorway was a man with more hair than shirt. He looked like a gorilla, and the fur was what gave his wife-beater sleeves.

‘Hi,’ I said, a little startled, and held out the food.

The man took it, looked at it, and went to shut the door.

‘Oh – hang on,’ I said, irritation making me forget about my child-ghost problem. ‘Did you write about cash tip?’

The man glanced at me, snorted, and proceeded to finish shutting the door.

For a second, on the doormat of the shitty guest house, I was livid.

‘Lying dumb-head!’

I can’t blame that one on the kid ghost. That was all me, and I pulled a face at the knowledge that had come out of my mouth. I’d been going for “fuck you asshole!”

So I turned, and stomped back up the spooky driveway. The skipping started up beside me. I just groaned, and decided that was me done for the night.

*

I probably would’ve posted about my weird kid-ghost earlier – with a far more panicked post – only by the next morning the kid was gone. I didn’t hear any skipping; any requests to play. Nothing. And in the morning light, that I’d encountered a weird kid-ghost the night before seemed stupid. It was more likely I’d dreamed it.

But one thing I did notice over the next few days was that my tastes had changed. I usually pack a snack for myself while I work the delivery shift. Getting ready to head out on every one of those days, I grimaced at my fridge, condemning with a glare the quinoa and kale stir fry and pesto pasta salad leftovers. Then went into the freezer with a taste, for the first time in a year, for frozen nuggets and fish fingers.

Not a big deal. I have been known to do this: getting a taste and wanting to eat only that for a while. That’s where the pesto pasta salad had come from.

And I’m not a big coffee drinker. That I went off it isn’t so significant. And nor is the fact that beer now tastes like fizzy pickled gym socks.

All of that was probably just a good thing. And here’s the weird part of it: I still liked whiskey.

Anyway, I worked on as normal, and somehow didn’t get a job in the old part of town for a couple weeks. When I did get my next job there, it was to the house with the waving kid.

I dicked about, trying to work out whether I should accept this job or not, and eventually gave in and hit the “accept” button. It was early evening, I already knew the instructions for this house, and no one else was ordering dinner yet.

I fetched the burgers, and, as I was walking out the restaurant with them, the app started to ping me with all the new orders popping up in town. This is the app’s way of making us Rushers hustle: by letting us know there’s so many more money-earning opportunities awaiting us.

I jumped in my car, stuck the food in its warm box, and hustled into the old-house part of town. I was resolved not to wave at any kids in the window. I didn’t want to even imagine a skipping ghost with me again tonight.

When I pulled up past the big iron gates I was pretty relieved not to even see a kid in the window. I jumped out, mindful of all the new jobs I had waiting for me, and hurried up to the imposing door.

It was the middle aged woman with the greasy hair again, though this time she was in a dressing gown, not a blanket. I smiled, made no comment about kids, and handed her her food. She said a blank ‘Thanks’, took it, shut the door, and I hopped back in my car.

Simple. I put my car in reverse, and looked in the rear-view mirror to make my way back out through the gates.

There was a blue plastic ball on the driveway. How it had gotten there, I donno, but I wasn’t about to run over some kid’s ball. Especially not a kid that appeared to have no one for them but some woman who didn’t recognise them as their kid.

I jumped out, grabbed the ball, tossed it out of the way, and plopped back into my car. Ready to mark the job as complete, I spotted the instructions.

You’re all rolling your eyes. Partly because half of you have wished your delivery diver would just check the damn instructions for once. But yeah, you’ve got it: I didn’t check the instructions for this job when I took it. I thought I already knew them.

This instruction, though… It read “Don’t play with the kid.”

In fairness to me, I hadn’t played with the kid. I’d just tossed a ball out of the way.

It didn’t make a difference. After my fourth job of the evening, I heard the laughter of a little kid. An hour later, I heard the skipping following up a front path behind me.

‘Maarrriiee-eeee!’ the kid’s voice sang. My teeth grit. I felt prickles go down my spine. I’d been expecting it, though. ‘Play with me!’

I whirled around. There was nothing there, of course. I glowered at the customer’s empty front lawn, turned back to the door, and knocked. The kid stayed silent as the customer took their order and wished me a good night, then the kid was back at it.

‘But… you played with me before…’

That one shook me. With a past experience of this weird hallucination just disappearing by the morning, I wasn’t too worried. What struck me was the sadness in the tone. It was like a four year old who’d just been screamed at, stunned and hurt that someone would treat them that way.

And then a soccer ball fell onto the grass right before me.

I looked up. There was a tree above me. One of its branches was swaying as though… a ball had just hit it.

Or fallen out of it. It was more likely that there’d been a ball stuck up there that had just decided now was the time to fall out.

My kid ghost had gone silent. That last sad statement, and now nothing. I bent, picked up the soccer ball, and said tentatively, ‘I’ve got to get onto my next job… Just one throw? Where… are you at, kid?’

There was a silence. I took a good moment to consider whether I really was going nuts. Then I heard a little giggle off to my left.

I chucked the ball in that direction, shook myself, and got back into my car. No soccer ball bashed into the side of my car, thrown back to me by a kid apparition… And I was glad for that. Not just because I didn’t need any more ghost – or hallucination – crap. But because I’d feel bad for the little kid if he did. The kid didn’t ask for any more playtime after that, but he didn’t leave me alone either.

By midnight I was tired, and no longer questioning the odd singing, skipping, or giggling I heard following me. It was like something that could exist, sometimes, in the night. And it wasn’t freaking me out so much anymore, so I just went with it.

I had one last order to deliver, and then I was going to throw in the towel. A good sleep had relieved me of whatever kid ghost I’d had last time.

I climbed out of my car and took an unenthusiastic look at the apartment complex before me. The instructions (yes, I was diligently reading them again) said the apartment was on the third floor. When I buzzed through to the customer to be let in, I was also informed there was no lift.

Huffing out a sigh, a ghost kid behind me singing out a refrain of “Dum-dum-dum-de-dum-dum…” I went looking for the stairs.

The apartment complex was built to some modernistic ideal that had long since become dilapidated. It had a central courtyard with a tree in it, and, through glass doors, two indoor stairwells. The kid still singing behind me, I picked the one that led to apartment 36 and started up the stairs.

They had carpet on them, and as I found out, that carpet wasn’t secure. I was jogging up to the third floor when a step seemed to shift under me. I went flying, and I think I hit my head because the next thing I knew, my entire body screaming out in pain, was waking to an old woman shrieking at me.

It took me a moment to understand what she was saying, and a moment still to remember where I was.

‘The burgersh aren’t even in da bun!’ the old woman screeched at me, either slurring her words or my brain was slurring them for her. ‘I’m’ma reports you! Chuck my foods all ova da place! Shtupid cunt!’

Now, writing this, I’m downright furious with that woman. Your Rusher was flat on their back on the landing, groggy and obviously having just fallen down the steps, and you’re screaming at them because your food got tossed around a bit? That lady took the delivery bag, still telling me off, and slammed her door shut, leaving me back-down on the stairs.

At the time, I was just trying to see properly. I got myself to sit up after a bit, winded and my head whirling, and leant my head against my knees. Breathe in, slowly, and out, I directed myself. The whirling will pass.

I’d completely forgotten about the kid until I heard a little whimper beside me. It freaked me out of my skin. For a long moment, I stared around wildly, trying to see the person who’d made the noise. Then I remembered.

‘I’s’okay,’ I muttered, dumping my head back on my knees and not caring if anyone heard me talking to a ghost. No one had come out of their apartments to check I was all right anyway. ‘Don’t worry about it.’

There was a long silence. The kid didn’t pat me on the knee or anything, but I felt comforted all the same… by an invisible four year old.

And then: ‘I’m sorry,’ the kid whispered, so quietly and forlornly the tears I didn’t think were coming even after getting knocked out came straight to the surface.

‘You’re okay, bud,’ I whispered back. ‘It’s not your fault.’

*

I woke up the next day to a continued headache. I lay there, in bed, for a long time, trying to remember how safely I’d gotten home with this concussion. Then I remembered the kid, and just pondered that weird experience for a while.

I didn’t believe in ghosts. I didn’t not believe in them either. It was more like… a “what the hell” perspective. Still, with light shining in around my curtains, in my familiar bedroom, I was glad for a return to normalcy. And it seemed this little kid carried with him some horrendous luck. I’ve never been screamed at more by customers than I have when working with this kid trotting after me. I’ve certainly never knocked myself out at work before either.

Bad luck, and a pang of loneliness. I’m okay with being alone. I’ve got no family, and I don’t really reach out for friends either. Or, I’m okay with it when I’m just left alone. For some reason, being around that kid reminded me of why I didn’t allow myself to be in situations where the people I cared about could hurt me.

I eventually got myself out of bed, downed some painkillers, and, with no appetite, proceeded to the hygiene stage of my morning. I was standing at the sink, feeling around the bump at the back of my head, when I swear I saw a little boy’s face in the corner of the mirror.

I yelped, spun around – my head spinning back into a throb – and stared, eyes-wide, around me.

The bathroom was empty but for me.

Okay, I said I’m tolerant of the idea of ghosts. But that’s when they’re not in my house – and not around in my normal broad daylight!

There was no giggling. No singing. No skipping. My apartment was completely silent. Gradually, my breathing slowed. I was starting to wonder whether I really should see a doctor about my brain. Maybe all the loneliness truly had started to make me hallucinate. I’m sure the concussion hadn’t helped much with that either.

My eyes landed on a fresh tube of toothpaste sitting on the sink top. My heart sped back up again.

I bought toothpaste on sale in bulk. I kept them where I had space for them: in the laundry cupboard. Yesterday morning my latest tube had proved itself thoroughly empty. I’d got only enough out to do a morning brush by scraping my toothbrush handle along the tube. I was just about certain I hadn’t bothered to brush my teeth last night… and the extra yucky feel of my teeth this morning seemed to prove that.

I also hadn’t gone into the laundry to fetch out a new tube.

*

Well, I didn’t ponder that too long then. I think, if anything, I was maybe just glad to accept a ghost might have done it if that meant my brain was fine, and not evaluate the situation any more than that. I brushed my teeth, popped a few more painkillers, and went on with my day. I didn’t hear or see the kid again that day, nor the next many that followed it. About the kid, I avoided thinking of him.

I did notice, though, that my taste for quinoa and pesto came back. Oddly, however, my taste for whisky had completely gone after that night. Just beer and whisky now. I could eat kale to my heart’s content, but beer was gross, and whisky, all of a sudden, tasted like battery acid.

The only times I did think of the kid were when I got orders to deliver to his house. The middle-aged lady tipped all right and always ordered before business picked up. I was never comfortable about accepting her orders, but I did, and every time I read whatever new instruction she had for me carefully.

“Don’t touch the frisbee in the front garden.”

“Don’t look in the upstairs windows.”

“Don’t pay attention to the singing.”

And every time I was there, before that large and quiet house, I sort of wanted to call out to a little kid. Call out and say I’ve got a minute to play. But I’d long committed to a life of solitude, that kid had shit luck, it was a little freaky to be around him, and I didn’t need that complication in my life. So, each of the times I went there, I followed the instructions.

Then, one day with a delivery for his house (as I’d long started thinking of it) I didn’t get any instructions beyond the pre-fill stuff. You only see the instructions after you accept the order, and if I could have seen the dearth of instructions beforehand, I’d never have accepted it.

With serious trepidation, I drove past the iron gates and parked on the driveway before the imposing old house. Just don’t look around, I told myself, feeling both jumpy and guilty, as I always did at this house. Don’t touch any toys. Don’t react to any sign of a kid.

I made my delivery, the middle aged woman looking just as she always did, with uncaring brown eyes, unclean hair, and prominent cheekbones, and got back in my car. I breathed a low sigh. There’d been zero sign of the kid. I was relieved. And, at the same time, I was sad.

What if the ghost kid, facing ongoing neglect, had gone? Moved off to the land of nothing? Poor little kid…

And then I saw my phone, and all my sadness instantly disappeared. Provided not as delivery instructions, but in a text sent five minutes after the order had been booked, was the message, “Don’t drive through the gates. Park on the street and call me to come out.”

‘Oh come on!’ I cried, as a little giggle sounded on the seats behind me.

*

So I had a skipping, singing, giggling little kid with me again that night. I was extra careful, expecting bad luck at every turn. After my sixth delivery, to a guy living in a garage down a dark back street behind weatherboard houses, I trod carefully, keeping an eye out for, I donno, a rock I’d fall over.

‘Maaarrrriieee-eee? Play with me?’

I took a deep breath. It was still a bit creepy to have a ghost kid call out to you like that in a badly lit back street in the middle of the night.

‘What do you want to play with?’ I asked.

There was a giggle, then a stone, likely from the side of the crumbling street, was skipped along the cracked asphalt to my feet. Tossing stones? I didn’t remember playing that as a kid, but I scooped the stone up anyway, asked, ‘Where are you bud?’ and skipped the stone back in the direction of the tinkling laughter. Back and forth, and back and forth we skipped that stone, the kid’s laughter getting wilder and more excited, before I had to warn, ‘I do have to get on with work, kid. Five more?’

The kid didn’t push it. He giggled his way through all five of those turns, then just went silent and let me climb back in my car.

I got shouted at by customers several times that night, but thankfully didn’t crack my head open on anything. I made it back to my apartment in the early hours of the morning with an invisible singing kid, as far as I could tell, on my back seat. I think he just stayed in the car, or went wherever he did when he left me alone.

*

I woke up late the next day and played some games on my computer. On a few occasions, I thought I heard some singing, but it was over the sound of my game, and… You know how it is when you expect to hear something? Waiting for a phone call and you think you hear it in the music you’re playing in the background. Or scared of hearing the doorbell go, so you keep imagining it. I thought it was like that: me imagining hearing the kid. He didn’t ask me to play with him or anything, so I felt I was in the clear when I plopped back in my car and signed into the Rusher app.

The lady at the kid’s house wasn’t someone I knew of as an every day customer. But there she was, ordering something again that early evening. With fewer misgivings than usual, I accepted the order and scrolled through the app until I found the button for delivery instructions. I frowned down at them.

“Don’t let the kid in. He’s not to pass the gates.”

I imagined a poor little ghost kid sitting outside wanting to come in. The idea made me unreasonably sad. I really hoped that wasn’t the case.

Once again, I collected the order and headed off. I even rolled down my windows and listened carefully, driving slowly, as I approached the kid’s house. Listening for a crying kid, maybe. Listening for something.

I’ve read enough of the stories on the internet to have sat behind my screen groaning ‘Don’t! Come on man! You know how this works – you know that this is all going to go wrong if you don’t follow the rules!’ But here I was, periodically haunted by a ghost kid, knowing letting a sad little ghost kid into the house’s grounds would mean another night’s haunting, and I wasn’t really against it. I almost wanted it, despite my misgivings, the bad luck, and how it occasionally creeped me out.

But I didn’t hear the little kid. I didn’t see anything either when I looked in my wing mirrors just in case he appeared in those. Weirdly disappointed, I parked in the driveway.

And then I heard the giggle.

I whipped around. Nothing there.

‘Bud,’ I complained, ‘were you there this whole time?’

He crowed with laughter, the tinkling sound, despite it all, making me snicker. I just hoped the little ghost kid wasn’t going to go evil poltergeist on me. And I wasn’t too sure about him sticking around all the time. I never signed up to be nanny to a ghost child forevermore.

Well fuck, I’d screwed up with those instructions too, but, as I got out of the car to deliver the order, I only minded a bit. At least the sadness I’d been wary of feeling wasn’t there.

The woman took her order without comment, and the kid sung quietly in the back of the car as I drove away.

The next request for me to play came after a delivery by an ornamental park with a fountain. I’d agreed to the request when I heard the kid’s laughter running away from me into the park. Deciding why the hell not, I ran after him, only to get splashed in the face by fountain water. He loved that game, me flicking water back at his tinkling laughter and trying to dodge splashes sent at me by a kid I couldn’t see. That wasn’t easy, but though I got damp, there was something nice in hearing him have such a good time with so simple a game.

Once again, the kid was amenable to me telling him I had to get back to work. He hummed away in the car behind me as I collected, then set off to deliver the next order. The delivery instructions on this one were to hand the order to the customer, and nothing else.

Before a slightly shabby weatherboard house, normal on a street of them, I stopped the car and pulled the order out of the warm box.

‘Don’t knock on the door!’

I started, going still while leant over the centre console with the order bag in my hand. The kid had never sounded that serious. He’d never given me an instruction either. It sent chills up my spine, like I was suddenly being shown the ghost kid wasn’t all I’d thought he was.

‘What’s up bud?’ I asked, uneasy.

There was a short silence, then:

Don’t knock on his door. Leave it and come back.’

Jittering a little, I swallowed, and got out of the car with the bag. I was no longer so sure about my ghost kid, but…

I hesitated on the front steps. The house looked perfectly normal. I’d walked along dark back streets and the driveways of sour gorilla men with this kid. The kid had never spoken up like that those times.

‘Maarrrriieee!‘ the kid cried at me from the car behind me. ‘Don’t go – don’t knock!’

For some reason, his cry brought tears to my eyes.

‘Come back!‘ he cried at me, getting really upset and, from the sounds of it, starting to bang on the car window. ‘C-come baaaack!’

So I dashed up two steps, left the food on the top one by the door, and raced back to the car, flinging myself into it and starting up the engine. I saw the front door open as I peeled away from the house.

‘It’s okay bud,’ I said, driving away. ‘It’s okay.’

But there was no answer. I thought there’d been crying in the back seat when I’d launched back into the car, but it was gone now. My eyes welled up properly as I pulled up, blocks away from the house. I didn’t mark the food as delivered just yet.

‘Bud?’ I asked, looking behind me. ‘You still there?’

There was no response. Nothing. Not even singing.

‘Bud?’ I tried again, a tear spilling out of my eye. ‘…Want to play?’

*

Somehow, I think I knew he wouldn’t respond. It was a very lonely night for me after that. And a very lonely day after that night. The woman at the kid’s house didn’t order food again. One evening, I drove onto the driveway of the big old house without an order, hoping, once I’d passed the iron gates, that I’d see something I shouldn’t do, just so I could do it.

But the kid didn’t reappear. I haven’t heard him, haven’t seen sign of him, for a while now.

I did see the newspapers though. A few weeks ago, on the night I’d made that last delivery with the kid, a female Rusher was badly assaulted by a man in town. She made it – was, per the papers “in a stable condition”, though I’m sure not without lasting trauma. The man was arrested, drunk and swearing, the next day.

Today – the reason I’m writing this – is because I found an older article in our local newspaper archives. You can say I’ve become a little obsessed with this, and the digging took hours. But I found something.

Fifteen years ago, a man was charged with murder and domestic abuse. In a fit of intoxicated blind rage, he’d smashed his only son, a four year old boy, through an upstairs window of their house. The boy had died. The mother had been treated for injuries.

And there was a picture, in a later article about the court case, of the mom. She had unwashed brown hair, brown eyes with heavy lids, and prominent cheekbones.

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