3.10 Reactions

by Matt P.

There are many kinds of silence a house can have. A still silence of emptiness when all the residents are gone, or the heart-broken silence of a loss. The tense silence of a fight, or the warm silence of a quiet night when all is right in the world.

The police brought an ambulance with them, and for a time the house was filled with the sounds of questions and useful noises. Walter was bandaged for his stab wounds and had his ribs taped, while the girls were treated for the minor cuts from their madcap scramble. Finally the room was mostly empty, occupied only by the family, Morgan, and Marshal Alexander. The silence in the house was one of conversations avoided, as each tried to think of the questions they wanted to ask. Or how to ask them.

Alexander sat with Morgan on one of the couches. “I think we can probably cancel the new hire training tomorrow, Major.” Alexander commented, as he sipped coffee. “Although if you wanted a day off there were less interesting ways to do it.”

Walter chuckled, which drew a wince. He was seated on the other couch, brown leather overstuffed and comfortable as hell that they had brought from their old house, flanked on either side by Siobhan and Antigone. Each was sitting comfortably while being carefully not to hit his ribs.

“Did your son check in?” Morgan asked, drawing a nod from Walter.

“He texted me while I was being wrapped for delivery.” Walter responded, motioning down to his ribs. “Skating, no issues. Apparently it was just us.”

Everyone in the room nodded at that, and the silence came back over as if everyone wanted the conversation to start, but no one wanted to be the one to start it. Finally, after a few moments, Walter spoke up again.

“I’m not sure I’m smart enough or drunk enough to comprehend what the hell happened tonight.” He put out there to start the proceedings.

Alexander let out a little laugh, and shook his head. “Even for Border you’ve gotten in the deep end of the weird crap. We’re a little more Twin Peaks and less…I don’t know.” He shrugged. “Meth head vision quest Fight Club?” Everyone gave a tired laugh, which drew a moment of gritted teeth from Walter.

Siobhan sounded hesitant when she spoke, and looked at her father sheepishly as she did so. “Did somebody test the…uh…water, at Lacey’s house?” She asked. At her father’s dry stare she blushed. “Somewhat…fermented water. But it’s still water. As a base.” She pursed her lips. “Kind of.”

“We took some samples, but most of the kids were drinking ‘water’ from sealed cans labeled ‘Budweiser’, so it isn’t likely to be something there.” Alexander looked at the dark dressed young woman seriously.

The room was still again for a moment save for the occasional noises of a house; the ticking of an air conditioner turning on, and a creak. “I know what I saw.”

Walter nodded, reaching out to put a hand on her knee and squeeze it reassuringly. “I believe you. We might all need to check the tap water to see if we’re high out of our minds, but I believe you.”

Alexander looked at Siobhan for a moment, as if deciding what to say. “If it hadn’t turned out to be right, I’d say you were crazy. Even so…” Alexander looked at Walter for a moment, who shook his head vigorously. Morgan sipped her own coffee, waiting to see how Walter responded.

“She wouldn’t make it up.” He explained firmly. “If she says she saw it, I believe her. And it did happen. To my ribs, among other things.” Walter sighed. “So what do we do?”

Alexander was quiet for a moment now, as if they were all taking turns. “Well we’re putting a unit on your house to start with. And probably arming them with fireplace pokers.” Walter nodded. “We’ve got some metal shards from that knife, and you both gave pretty good descriptions. We’ll be careful, and see where it goes.”

Again there was a silence in the room, for a few long heartbeats.

“It gets less stabby, right?” Walter asked, for which no one had an answer.