Jeff sits outside on the front stairs, staring off into space. The sight of what he had seen in the bedroom is all he can see. Even with people bustling around him. Lights flash, police run in and out of his house, and EMTs rush inside with a gurney. The squeaking wheels from the gurney make him jump and he tears his eyes away from the sky. He half turns to watch everyone around him, even though he wasn’t really seeing them.
No one approaches the distraught man. The police lean in close and talk in low voices. He can hear them whispering and knew they were probably talking about him being the murderer. After several minutes, the EMTs push out the gurney, it’s squeaking wheels catching Jeff’s attention again. He turns to stare at the black body bag on it. Blood drips from the side onto his clean steps and he wrinkles his nose. The team wheels the gurney down to the ambulance, loads it, and leaves.
“Mr. Harris, we need to ask you a few questions,” an officer says, walking away from the others. He looks like he lost the coin toss to talk to him as he stands in front of the devastated man. He pulls out a pen and flips open his notebook. Clearing his throat, he glares at the other officers before turning his attention back Jeff. “Can you tell me about your day leading up to you finding the body?”
Jeff looks up at the officer then back to the cars around them. “I… I went to work at the pharmacy at 7am this morning. Like I… like I always do when it’s my day to work. I worked and came home around I’d say 1:30 pm to have lunch with my wife.” He pauses to think. “Yes, 1:30 is when I came home. We live about fifteen minutes away so I of course always leave early so I can get here by 1:30 and enjoy lunch with Sherry.”
The officer writes down everything, nodding his head. He lifts his gaze when the cleaning crew walks past them. He looks back at Jeff. “What happened during your lunch break with your wife? Did you two get in a fight? Was there someone else at the house with you two?”
Jeff’s head lifts quickly, his eyes wide. “No, we did not fight and there was no one else in the house with us.” He shivers. “It was just the two of us. We talked about the party we were supposed to go to tomorrow while we ate lunch. She made us sandwiches and we had chips with it if you wanted to know what we ate, too.” There is a bite behind his words.
Jeff stares at his hands, dried blood on them from when he had fallen in the pool of blood outside the bedroom door. “After lunch, we kissed, and I went back to work. I came home fifteen minutes after 6pm.”
“Fifteen minutes after 6pm,” the officer mumbles as he writes it down. “And that’s when you found the body?”
“Uh…no. I came in and called out to her. I went to the kitchen still calling for her, but Sherry never answered me. That’s when I saw the smoke and then the alarm went off.” Jeff coughs and sits up straighter. “I took out…I took out the cookies that were burning in the oven and tossed them into the sink.” He wipes fresh tears from his face.
“That’s when I noticed the back door was open. I went outside, but no one was out there, not even Sherry. I got really worried then. I searched the house until…” His voice caught in his throat. “Until I tripped and fell. That’s when I found the bloody hatchet and saw the blood just outside the bedroom door.” He starts to sob. “I opened the…the door….” He shakes his head and covers his face, sobbing.