Bright Night Lights

The flashing red and blue lights slipped in through the window and left the messy bedroom glowing. Mrs. Harrow woke up clutching her open neckline. Her husband was still asleep, and lay there with his arms wrapped tight around a pillow, a cruel parody of how he used to sleep with her.

Her feet found the tattered slippers, a mother’s day present from years ago, and shuffled to the window. Drawing back the flimsy curtain she saw the police car in the driveway and a what had to be, but oh my no, it couldn’t be, she wouldn’t do that to us, she’s much too sharp for this kind of behaviour, in the backseat.

The knock at the door stripped her delusions away. She put on her house coat, a birthday present, from just last year, made her way across the dark house, turning on lights as she went, and opened the door.

“Mrs. Harrow,” the officer said, making it sound like he knew and it wasn’t a question and he had every right to be waken her up in the middle of the night, no matter if now, she wouldn’t get back to sleep. Mrs. Harrow looked at him and noticed just how mean his eyes were.

“Yes,” she said, clutching her neckline. “What is it?”

He shoved her daughter into the house, as if she disgusted him. Mrs. Harrow instinctively grabbed her daughter and held her tight against her chest. Her nervous fingers running through her child’s matted, tangled auburn hair.

“We found her passed out on the library steps. She should be spending the night in the drunk tank, we even brought her down to the station, and had her halfway booked but the desk sergeant cut her loose and told me to bring her here.”

The officer looked at Mrs. Harrow suspiciously.

“Was it….,” Mrs. Harrow said, hesitant to use his first name. “Sergeant Phillips? I’ll have to call and thank him. She really is a good girl. Thank you for bringing her home, officer?”

Mrs. Harrow waited for him to give his name, but all he did was give her a sick little grin out of the side of his mouth, tip his hat and walked down the concrete steps. He started his car and drive off, much too quickly if you asked her, they were really nothing more than cowboys some of them. She closed the door and walked her daughter to the front room and had her lay down on the chesterfield.

The girl fell asleep right away and Mrs. Harrow spent the hours between then and dawn stroking her face and gently combing her hair and wondering if maybe this time, maybe this time…

prompts courtesy of Cake.shortandsweet‘s Wednesday Write In.

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5 thoughts on “Bright Night Lights

  1. There are a lot of details here that add layers to the characters. I was particularly caught up by the policeman’s ‘grin’ and it left me wondering what did it all mean. You could easily continue this story into a larger piece. :)

  2. I’m absolutely intrigued by the policeman’s behaviour, and also by the daughter character. I noticed the presents detail, too, and wondered whether Mrs Harrow’s family were replacing love with objects. Incidentally, I liked the name ‘Harrow’ – very atmospheric. Great stuff!

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