I woke this morning after sleeping solidly, and roused the boys. The wife is off in Colorado Springs for a conference, so I'm it on "get the kids off to school" duty.
I put the coffee on, and then wandered out into the driveway to snag the paper. There was no paper, I noted with annoyance. Then I looked up the street, and saw the cop car, lights on, street blocked. A neighbor bustled down the sidewalk, and let me know that the street was cordoned off. There'd been a murder-suicide on our block, and five houses down the road there was heavy police presence.
With an on-the-case eleven year old by my side, we wandered down to look. Lots of police, so many it was hard to tell where they were concentrated. We didn't linger. Up on a flatbed, a big SUV with big shiny rims. I wasn't sure I recognized it.
Then back to the house we went, to figure out where the boys would need to go to snag the bus to get to school. The flatbed rolled off with the ute, escorted by multiple motorcycle cops. We watched a bit of footage from local news. There were pictures in the darkness, and more details. A 40 year old man. A 13 year old girl. Both found dead in an SUV in a driveway. A father and a daughter. Nothing more. "No threat to the public," said a report, sterile as a needle. "An isolated incident."
With the street opening up, I sent the kids up to the bus stop up the street, away from the scene.
I walked the dog, but once the walk was done, I watched the video again.
I realized which house it was. Not the one I'd thought, but another. And with that, I realized I'd seen the SUV there before. And that there was a girl about my older son's age who lived in that house. Her face grew bright in my mind's eye. I've watched her grow up, in the home of her grandparents, the sweetest, kindest, most giving souls you'd ever hope to meet.
No. It just couldn't be.
Out front of that familiar house, some folks I'd not seen before were scrubbing stains off the driveway. They were polite, but didn't want to talk in a "no comment" way.
I walked back, and encountered their next door neighbor, who I also know. I told her what I knew. She'd not listened to the news. What she knew was that that they'd heard what sounded like a shot, and been woken in the night by screaming, and then the arrival of police. And that the SUV belonged to the girl's father, who they knew by name.
Lord have mercy.