Encumbered by walls

Tom Richards

“Good God, there’s blood everywhere!” Cara Nates whispered,her voice was hoarse from crying.“Maam, I need you to remain calm” “My husband - he’s dead!”“It’s going to be OK. Emergency services are on their way.” Cara sat clasping her knees on the window sill of her lounge.Her jeans and white shirt were saturated with dark red blood.Her attention wandered from the call, her head was turned tothe window and her eyes were fixed on the street, waiting for flashing sirens to speed up the road. “What’s your name?” said the operator. Cara tilted her head slightly towards the phone then moved itback to gaze into the night. “Maam, are you still there?” There was a hint of tension in her voice. Cara heard her call a colleague over. She jolted her headback from the window and fumbled for the phone. “I’m Cara,” she said. “Cara, you’ve got to tell me what happened. I know you’re afraid but the police will be here any minute. Was it an accident?” Cara shook her head, “no it wasn’t”. She knew what the next question would be. “No, there’s no one else here”. Damn, she thought. Why did I say that? Then she heard thekeyboard again. She almost could predict what the operator hadwritten. “Armed assailant likely to be inside property”. Shevisualised police officers loosening tasers from theirholsters and radioing for backup. She shivered. Already sheheard sirens several streets away and moving fast. Theoperator continued. “Where are you right now?” “In the lounge, why?” “Are you able to get outside?” “I think so”. The operator spoke with forceful assertiveness. “Don’t stopfor anything, get out and run towards the sirens! Do it now!” Calm and collected, Cara swiveled her legs off the ledge and stepped onto the lounge floor. She paused for a second over the bloodied body of her husband, turned and wiped the tears off her face on the way to the kitchen. She stopped at the kitchen table and pushed aside piles ofher husband’s work papers; he had been working from home the last few months, and closed his laptop. She grabbed a scrap ofpaper and scribbled a few words; she reckoned she wouldn’t geta chance to say later, and crumpled it up in her hand. She straightened and walked over to the sink and drew out a knife,still dripping blood, which she concealed up her sleeve. The sirens reverberated off the neighbours’ houses, the accompanying blue lights climbed through her front room and up her furniture. She tossed her knotted hair over her shoulders,exhaled deeply and made towards the door. She flung it openand six police officers leaped out of their squad cars andraced towards her. The first to reach her asked words to theeffect of whether she was OK but she just looked at them insilence from the front porch. “Would you come with us, please” asked one, taking her arm. “Will I see the house again?” she replied, remaining in herposition. “Come on” he replied, directing her off the porch. “No!” She yanked her arm violently away from the officer,slid the knife out of his sleeve and struck out at him. He leapt aside. There was shouting and then the crackle of double bolts of lightning penetrated her skin, shooting bluefire into her veins. She fell and writhed on the ground. When the sun came up the next day and officials had set up inthe house, detective sergeant Riley was poking around outside.In a flower bed next to the door was a scrap of paper, itread; “I didn’t do it. Isolation did.”