31 October 2009
Sharon looked out the grimy kitchen window at the rubbish strewn garden, it was raining hard and the wind was tugging at carrier bags caught in a pile of old bricks and a rusty Yamaha engine. She touched her swollen lip feeling the chipped tooth below. The bruises were fading but she couldn’t afford the dentist.
It was Ricky’s fault. He was a thug. He’d left, but the pain remained. She looked down at the claw marks scratched into the kitchen cabinets. Ricky and his evil doberman dog.
A hungry baby screamed in the corner, and from the living room she could hear screeching tyres and gunshots as young James played on a games console.
There was a violent banging on the front door, followed by an eerie silence.
Fear gripped her, she peeped around the kitchen door to see a familiar figure silhouetted against the glass, shoulders hunched menacingly. She heard her stomach growl with fear. At least she thought it was her stomach. She reached the door, fumbled the latch, hands trembling, eyes stinging with tears, biting her bruised lip.
She opened the door.
From behind her came an audible snarl, a menacing growl and the unmistakable sound of claws on lino.
She spun round still holding the partially opened door. Behind her the shadow of a dog darted across the hallway into the kitchen where the baby was screaming again. She turned panic-stricken to the dog’s owner. The doorway was empty.
A silent scream tore from her throat as she ran to her baby.
She skidded into the kitchen expecting to see the vicious animal’s head in the pram.
At the front of the house a child screamed, “Mammy!”
She started to run, but slipped on something. Dog-drool?
She ran, clipped her head on the kitchen doorframe. Blood freely flowing, she clattered into the living room.
Outside, the garden gate banged violently in the wind. Suddenly she heard screeching brakes, the sound of a bonnet crumpling, a windscreen shattering and a sickening bone-crunching thud of a child against tarmac.
A car door opened and a woman’s horrified scream tore through the wind and rain.
Sharon reached the front door. She saw it all. She felt weak, vomited and collapsed on the floor screaming.
Epilogue: 31 July 2010
Summer sunlight streamed through the courtroom and particles of dust glinted.
“…return an open verdict, as the cause of death is unclear due to the presence of a ‘class A’ drug and severe wounds to the stomach and abdomen, inflicted by the canine following the discovery of the body of Richard Ross in an abandoned flat on the Clydeside Estate on October 15.”
The sunlight was warm on the delicately freckled skin of her forearm.
“...council confirm that the dog was destroyed two weeks later on 29 October…”
The young journalist realised she hadn’t been concentrating, distracted by thoughts of her lunch date. She straightened her skirt, folded her notebook and left the court.