"Child Murderer still at large" read the tabloid. Tyler dared not watch the television tonight. He was sure the media would be flooded with more of the same. Probably the newspaper, too.
His wife, however, seemed to be taking an interest in the tabloid circus. She had issues of all the supermarket rags, as well as a few "reputable" magazines that were solely devoted to the tragic incidents.
'There is nothing more disgusting and despicable as the murder of young innocent lives. Five, so far, in the small area south of Curtis Junction, Kentucky.' Began one article Tyler flipped through. Perhaps a child murderer was the worse thing he could think of, but it was also pretty disgusting to sell magazines because of it.
Five deaths in the last three months. Tyler peered around the corner, still holding the magazine. Linda lay on the floor in front of the television, her back to him. Luckily, she was tuned into Nickelodeon. Not much chance of a late breaking story to interrupt its programming.
Linda was eleven, barely. About the same age as the other children were when their lives were ended. His wife, Sheila, was nowhere to be seen. It was unlike her, as it was so close to dinner. Tyler wondered if he should start dinner for a change. The question was, was he more hungry or more lazy?
"Sheila, honey?" He shouted.
No response. He had better not start dinner, he rationalised to himself. Sheila sometimes brought home takeout. She had never, though, left Linda home alone before. Tyler opened the evening paper. As expected, an article on the murders dominated the front page. "Seven lives lost to child murderer."
"Linda, baby? Your momma, did she go out for dinner?"
No answer. Tyler walked around the island in the kitchen. He almost tripped over the figure sprawled on the floor. Sheila, part of his brain realised. The rest of his body stood paralysed.
Seven? Seven, the paper said. It was five by his count. Tyler felt as if his body and mind were independent. He was helpless to move. The legs of the person on the floor twitched. It was just the jolt Tyler needed to regain his control.
"Honey. Omigod, honey? What happened? Are you okay?" Tyler blubbered to his injured wife.
Sheila looked at him at stared in horror. He shook her gently.
"Our little girl" She whispered.
Tyler didn't even want to understand what his wife was trying to tell him. It was too horrible.
"Our little girl. Our little girl. Our little girl " She whimpered.
God, please let Linda be alive. I don't care about anything else, just let her be alive, Tyler silently prayed.
"Our little girl our little girl our little girl "
Tyler cradled his wife, rocking her back and forth. He didn't even want to see what was in the living room. In the distance, he heard the TV show "Doug" in the background. It was one of Linda's favourites.
A creaking sound came from behind them somewhere. Tyler still cradled his wife. "Our little girl, our little girl, our little girl " Sheila continued.
The sound approached him and the babbling creature that had once helped him through college. A mind that was taking law classes at night. A mind that now only knew three words.
The murderer was behind him, he knew it. Part of him wanted to look, but only a part. Get it over with, he thought. He couldn't live without Linda, his little girl. And his wife, she already had shut down. "OUR LITTLE GIRL! OUR LITTLE GIRL!" She shouted.
"Honey, close your eyes. It should be over soon." Tyler whispered in his wife's ear.
Sheila began to scream violently. The blood poured from her chest. "OUR LITTLE GIRL! OUR LITTLE GIRL! IT'S OUR LITTLE GIRL!!!!" She screamed.
Tyler flung his head around. Linda stood above him, bloody knife poised for attack. There was something worse than a child murderer, Tyler thought. When it's your child.
Copyright Brian James Lane . email: BrianL6069@aol.com
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