The Knock at the Door
There it is, the sound I have been dreading these past few days: the knock on my street door.
It’s an authoritative knock, the sound of someone comfortable in what they do and what they say; someone who is used to giving orders and not being questioned. It’s also the knock of someone who is used to delivering bad news, I suspect.
Oh, God, I think I’m going to throw up! Oh please let it not be that. I couldn’t bear it if it is. That is not what I want to hear.
Four days it’s been: four days of sheer torture. Four days of constant worry and tension and fear. And as many nights with almost no sleep. Lord, I am so tired! I can barely think straight and I know that I look a mess. And look at this place! Untidy, unclean, overflowing ash-trays and dirty cups. Dust! Dust everywhere. Oh dear, what will they think of me?
I need to tidy myself up a bit. Make myself as presentable as possible. There’s that knock again, though. A little more insistent; strident, even. I do not want to answer, but I know I have to. A couple of deep breaths and I’m ready… I think.
I struggle to my feet, as though my body weight has doubled and is trying to keep me pinned to the sofa-seat. I pat down my unkempt hair and pull my ratty bathrobe around me. I avert my eyes from the mirror hanging on the wall in case I see the horror that is my swollen and tear-stained face.
Top bolt. Dead lock. Safety chain. Bottom bolt. Turn the latch.
A handsome uniformed officer stands on the step with his cap in hand, wearing a sombre expression. Beside him, looking uncomfortable and out-of-sorts, stands a young constable, little more than a kid really. Hell, he still has acne spots! He refuses to look directly at me. My legs start to shake.
The senior officer settles a look of professional compassion onto his face then utters the words I have been dreading:
"I am sorry to say that we have found a body…"