by Damhnait Monaghan
From behind the police tape she peers into her son’s room. Yesterday two officers took it apart, piece by piece, like George would do with Lego when he was little. The men worked methodically. She had watched from the hall as the younger officer emptied the desk drawer. He handled a Rubik’s cube, a torch, and a yo-yo before shoving them back in, one by one. On the other side of the room, his colleague lifted books from the shelf, flicking through each before sliding it back into place.
She tries to observe the room clinically, as the police had, but her maternal instinct reasserts itself. The duvet hangs awkwardly, sliding off the bed to reveal balled up pyjama bottoms. George’s Arsenal shirt lies limp on the beige carpet.
Her fingers twitch. Almost before she realises it, blood red nails claw at the tape, rip it down, and crush it. Clenching the sticky ball in one hand, she steps over the threshold and into the room.
She reaches for the pyjamas, folds them, and slides them under the pillow. She tugs the duvet, smoothing its creases. Then she picks up the shirt from the floor, stuffing it in the hamper.
What had the police been looking for?
Was it the knife, soaked in bleach, then duct-taped to a stone and dropped from the ferry?
Was it George’s phone, wrapped in a towel, smashed, then buried deep in the forest behind their home?
Or was it her son?
She glances in the small mirror that hangs on the back of George’s door and smiles at her reflection. They’ll never find him. She has bloody well made sure of that.
Damhnait Monaghan is a Canadian now living in the UK. Her stories are published or forthcoming in the 2016 National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology, Still Points Art Quarterly, Brilliant Flash Fiction and The Incubator. She’s on Twitter @Downith.