Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Suburban Dawn

Here's a little bit of creative writing I wrote for a course in 2008. I may work it up into a fuller story one of these days.

It was another seemingly ordinary day at the station; Cyril had just brought me my second coffee of the day. I had a belter of a hangover, a real humdinger, far too many beers in the police club the previous night. Then a call was put through to me, I didn’t recognise the voice at first but she knew me; that much was obvious. I listened with the detachment of what I was that morning, a jaded, hung-over copper. Then she told me about the scream she’d heard just before dawn; that stung me out of torpor. I noted down her address and got the flash of gestalt, of course, I knew her now. She was a woman I’d taken back to her house for a drunken night of debauchery about two years ago. She’d obviously quite liked the experience, left me messages for a few days; I never returned them. Move on, plenty more fish in the pond, I say.

About twenty minutes later Cyril and I drew up the car outside her house. It was an ordinary house and the neighbours’ houses looked no different, scores of nondescript suburban dwellings; ‘little houses made of ticky tacky, and they all look just the same’, swam into my head. I rang the bell of my one-night-stand and she opened it quickly and ushered us in. Cyril had been moaning about another domestic violence case in the offing; I was unconvinced, too early in the day or too late at night. Peak time for domestics is two in the morning. Lynne, my old conquest’s name, told us about her neighbour, early forties, single, kept himself to himself, no obvious female presence in his life, creepy she described him as. I smiled wryly at Cyril, no domestic this one.

Lynne told us what she’d heard earlier that morning, up at that hour to go to the khazi. Just as she was returning to her bed she’d heard a really desperate, howling scream that went on for about ten seconds, then nothing. She’d been shocked at first but as it didn’t continue, went back to bed. In the morning she looked out of the window and saw her neighbour leaving with a small suitcase, a taxi idling at the end of his drive. She pondered why he wasn’t taking his car and then phoned us a few minutes later, asking to speak to me as I was the only detective she knew.

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