“I’m sorry; Ma’am, but your husband didn’t make it.”
Shelly Dodd stood at her front door, her two young sons, one under each arm clinging to her legs. The words fell upon her as if her own house was collapsing around her, yet still she found it hard to react. She knew this day would come and she feared it so. The military dress greens, the folded flag and even the condolences were all too familiar to Shelly, as she’d experienced them all in her nightmares nightly.
Though the soldier spoke and his eyes were sincere, his words fell upon the deaf ears of a broken heart. Screaming from the inside, Shelly’s world faded to grey.
“9-1-1: what is the nature of your emergency?”
“Help!” a young boy’s voice begged from the other end of the line.
“Hello? Can you hear me; can you tell me what’s wrong?”
“Hurry, please… help!”
“Honey, is your Mommy or Daddy there?”
“Mommy is here… Daddy is dead.”
The call ended.
Officers Kincaid and Rodriguez were the first on the scene at the Dodd’s residence. They were answering an emergency call of potential domestic violence and had little knowledge of the situation.
Officer Kincaid knocked on the front door, though received no answer.
“Oh, my God, look!” Officer Rodriguez peered through the window, a small child laid upon the floor. “Kick it in!”
With one fluid motion, Officer Kincaid kicked the door nearly off the hinges.
Officer Rodriguez dropped to his knees beside the small child, a boy, no more than 8-years-old, who lay choking on his own blood from multiple stab wounds, “I need a bus at the Dodd’s residence, we have a stab victim. It’s a child; hurry!”
Officer Kincaid continued on through the single level house, searching for the monster that’d stabbed the little boy. He realized his worst fears when he reached the kitchen, “Freeze, drop the knife!”
A young woman no older than 30-years-old by officer Kincaid’s guess, stood brandishing a knife about the kitchen, ripping cabinets apart in search for the unknown.
“Ma’am, I will not tell you again. Put down the knife,” Officer Kincaid said, his pistol drawn and following her across the kitchen.
“I’ve got to find my son. My son is always hiding and I have to find him. I can’t leave him, I have to do this right,” Mrs. Dodd said. “Come on out now. Come to Mommy, Sweetie.”
Officer Kincaid got on his radio, “We have our suspect; she’s armed, she has a knife.”
Mrs. Dodd ripped open a pantry door, from which a small boy, no older than 5-years-old, emerged in terror. Mrs. Dodd lunged toward him, narrowly missing as he knife stuck into the pantry door.
Officer Kincaid took his shot, putting a hole in Mrs. Dodd’s head and sending her backwards against the refrigerator. The young boy raced across the kitchen. Officer Kincaid clutched the boy to his waist tightly, shielding him of the grisly image of his dead mother.
Shivering with fear and confusion, the 5-year-old, Tommy Dodd, sat in a bench in the hospital hallway as he awaited the news of his brother, Gregory, and what was to happen to him next.
After what had seemed like forever to Tommy, the doctor emerged from the room where Tommy wasn’t allowed to follow.
“Tommy, my name is Dr. Munn, and I have someone that I need for you to talk to,” the doctor said, pointing down the hallway at an elderly woman in a business suit.
Tommy nodded, taking Dr. Munn’s hand.
“Mommy got sad over daddy,” Tommy said. “Gregory told me to hide from Mommy, just like hide and seek.”
Dr. Munn froze mid-step, “Really? Well, Gregory was very brave. You both were, Tommy.”
“Is Gregory still hurt?”
“He’s… I’ll try to fix him, Tommy.”
Tommy hugged Dr. Munn.
“Tommy, this is Mrs. Shirley and she’s going to talk to you for a while, ok?”
“Can I buy you a soda?” Mrs. Shirley said.
Tommy nodded again, this time smiling.
“Dr. Munn, why did Mommy hurt us?” Tommy asked.
The doctor and the social worker locked eyes; they didn’t answer Tommy.
Neither of them knew how.
“”So… how about that soda, huh?” Mrs. Shirley said, leading Tommy down the hall.
Walking away, Dr. Munn glanced over his shoulder at the boy, knowing that Tommy may well never truly obtain the answer to the one question he’d never be able to stop asking.