(Caveat to this story. My city has been horrified by the loss of a little girl who was taken and murdered this week. The monster who did this will hopefully be tortured in prison by his co-inmates. It made me very sad, I have a 6-year-old niece and a 1-1/2 year old niece who mean the world to me and I can’t help but worry about the monsters around them. I also happen to know a relative of the young girl and that really brought the sadness home, harder to disconnect and forget. But I didn’t want to write from a story about those who have lost. I can’t even try to imagine the pain and hope I never can put context on that. I did want to write a story about the sadness of this type of event, just from a different angle. Thanks for reading I hope everyone and their families are safe tonight)
Paul stood in a silent room, looking around and taking in all the pain and anger. It wasn’t Paul’s first experience and wouldn’t be his last but he never got used to the nightmare. This was his job though and he always attacked it with all of his passion. Everyone knew the stats but Paul didn’t care he wanted to do this, someone had to be willing to do it. It meant sleepless nights, going home and crying himself to sleep when he could and the worst dreams one could imagine. It meant the precinct had a therapist for him and the guys like him, who knew they couldn’t do their jobs without talking through the pain.
Here Paul stood again, in front of a father, devastated and bawling, having to consider him a victim and a suspect. Like so many of the worst cases in Paul’s life he had to try to remove himself from the emotion and focus on finding the answers. They had asked the father question after question and he had co-operated fully. It was always good when the father wasn’t the bad guy, and it was starting to look like this father wasn’t specifically responsible for the disappearance of his daughter and the death of his ex-wife. That being said, Paul knew better than to discount anyone too early.
Paul went to the bathroom to get a break and regroup. He looked into the mirror. The bags under his eyes betrayed him when he told others he was doing well. The truth was a lot of years as a detective and a lot of missing children had denied him proper sleep for the better part of a decade. His salt and pepper hair was losing most of the pepper at this point. He kept himself in good shape, mainly because when a guy can’t sleep he best do something. He knew all too many of these stories ended with two bodies and horrible images to add to his long sleepless nights, but he always held out hope. His officers were out canvassing and chasing leads, he was trying to get what he could from the father. Another team of officers would brief the father on the upcoming news conference, a plea to return his daughter, hoping to appeal to the offenders emotions.
Paul walked back into the room and sat to listen as the officers updated him on some of the new information they had. A description of a man and his car was now part of the case. It seemed a pretty solid lead, multiple reports of the same car and man with what looked like their missing child, started to pop up. The descriptions were quickly added to the amber alert and news coverage. Good leads always started to move things faster. Paul watched as the officers started to ramp up to follow-up on this info, more neighbour canvassing. They were invigorated by the sightings of the girl alive and felt close enough that they could touch the end of this and maybe even in a somewhat happy way.
Paul stood up and walked into the room the father was sitting in. He began another round of questioning with the description of the man and vehicle. Even if it wasn’t the father, most of these stories were connected to the family in some way. Paul could see the realization in the father’s eyes, he knew who had taken his daughter, and Paul’s heart sank. He would now question the father for a long time to get to their suspect, and none would be easy questions to ask and answer. The only thing that got Paul through these awful and emotional interviews was the potential to find the child alive. To end the nightmare and make it a little closer to a dark fairy tale.