Short Stories
Comments.. Most of this story is in the so-called "supporting" narration. Discussion here.


by Emma Sohan

"I saw someone in my front yard."

"Can you describe this person?" The brawny cop in front of me looks like he just graduated from high school. Aren't police supposed to be older?

"All I could see clearly were eyes." It was terrifying.

"What color?"

Color? At night? "It's midnight. It's dark."

"Yes Ma'am, it is. Did you notice the eye color?"

Sigh. "No."

"I'll look around your yard."

For what? A stray raccoon? "Thank you."

"Your garbage can is missing its cover."

"It blew off last week." Last year. "I promise I'll get a new one tomorrow."

"I didn't find anything else."

Really? I step out onto my porch. That makes me anxious, but he's big and has a gun. "What's that glint?" Where the eyes were.

He looks. "Probably some litter. You don't have a garbage can cover, Ma'am."

"GO LOOK." I sound crazy. "Officer Hulsmeyer, could you please see what's making that glint?"

"Sure." He thinks I'm crazy. Could that have been my ex-husband? I pray not. He's . . . violent.

"It was a knife." He holds it out for me to see.

I can't breathe.

"You left a knife in your yard."

I force a gasping breath.

"Are you all right, Ma'am?"

Of course not. "I'm fine, thank you. Just a momentary shock." Because someone – my husband? – had a knife.

I need a knight in shining armor. Desperately. This policeman has to do. That makes me feel so lost and helpless. "I didn't leave a knife in my yard."

"Are you sure? Maybe accidentally? That happens."

He's blaming me? "I'm sure."

"If you want, I can call this in."

I breath a sigh of relief. "Thank you."

"That will mean more police coming to your house, Ma'am. Trampling up your yard. You won't be able to sleep until they finish their investigation. That could take an hour or two."

I look up at him, at first uncomprehending. Then I realize – he's trying to talk me out of this. "Please call." I won't sleep tonight.

"There's something you should know, officer."

He waits.

"My ex-husband –"

"You were married?"

Lucky guess. "Yes."

He takes his notebook back out. "Husband's name?"

"James McFarrell."

"He has a different last name?"

I told the fucking bastard to go someplace and die, then threw out everything that reminded me of him. Surprise – I did not keep his last name. "Yes."

"Where is he now?"

"I think he's gone." I peer into the darkness. Or he could be out there. Watching.

Or waiting. My whole body goes tight with fear. I don't want this brawny brainless policeman to leave – I want him here. That's what I'm reduced to.

"Gone? Did he die?"

"We're . . . separated." I remember pre-marriage being happy and confident. Was that really me?

"Where is he now?"

"In the dark, watching us?"

He laughs like we're sharing a joke. "You should call him. The policemen coming will ask where he was tonight."

As I call from inside the house, I see the policeman's head whip around and look towards a house across the street. There's no answer. I run back to the front door. "Did you hear something?"

"No, Ma'am."

"Nothing?" Please tell me you did not hear a cell phone ring.

"Don't worry, Ma'am. I've answered 50 of these reports. Someone thinks they saw something. It's never anything."

But how many times did you find a knife? Far down the street, a car starts up and drives away.

"You did the right thing to call us. We're here to protect you." He puffs out his chest.

"Thank you, officer." Remind me how you can protect me from a man who can come here when he wants, wait for an opening, and then do whatever he wants to my body.

I get a text. From my husband. With fumbling fingers, I look.

Loved the hole in the
side of your bathrobe.

Short Stories