Mary startled from sleep suddenly. She sat up in bed, breathing hard. “Whew, what a dream,” she thought to herself. Mary had never slept well. An insomniac since her teenage years, when she did sleep it was light, she rarely dreamt and never remembered dreams. This one was different. At least the ending was. She had seen herself opening her front door, the policemen standing there, the serious look on their faces as they asked if her son was there. “Crazy dream. Colin is a great kid. The police would never come looking for him,” she muttered to herself.
Her husband stirred beside her. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “Oh nothing, honey. I had a bad dream. The police were looking for Colin.” Patrick lifted himself up on one elbow, gently guffawing, “Colin? That is one kid we don’t have to worry about getting in trouble with the police. Go back to sleep. It’s Saturday, your day to sleep in.” Mary’s heart was still beating at a slightly elevated rate and she knew she would be unable to return to sleep. “I will go put on the coffee, Paddy. You come down when you want.” Patrick was well accustomed to Mary’s insomnia and rolled over, easily finding his sleep again.
Mary went down stairs into the kitchen. She could not shake the bad feeling deep in her gut. As she started the coffee machine, she wandered around her large home. Everything appeared in place. Everyone was quiet. So why this continuing feeling of discomfort? Never had she experienced a dream that left such a strong, lasting sense of mild panic. She poured a cup of coffee and wandered into the family room, heading towards the television set to watch some morning news. As she reached the TV set, without being able to stop herself, she reached out and parted the blinds overlooking the front yard. Immediately, her breath caught in her throat and she froze. A police car was parked directly across the street. It was 6:30am on a Saturday morning. She couldn’t see any officers, but what on earth were they doing here?
Paralyzation wearing off, Mary slowly dropped the blinds back into place while razzing herself. “Get a grip, woman. The are probably here about those damn drug dealers that live next door.” Mary had numerous run ins with her neighbors, from wild parties, gunshots, to domestic violence. Sure it was early for them, but who knows, maybe they were still up from the night before. As she turned the TV on low, her youngest, 13-year-old Colleen, bounded down the stairs. “Can I watch cartoons, Mum?” the little imp begged. “Sure, baby girl, go ahead” Mary absentmindedly murmured.
Suddenly there was determined banging commenced on the front door. It did not sound like a proper knock, but wood banged against wood and Mary jumped at the cracking sound. “I’m losing my freaking mind” she thought. She turned to the door and peeked through the spy-hole. Her heart stopped once again. Two police officers.
“Yes?”, was all Mary could manage as she cracked the door open. One of the officer’s used his club to push the door open. “Does Colin live here?”, he demanded. Mary managed to squeak out an affirmative noise. “Where is he?”, still with the demanding tone. “Upstairs in bed,” Mary found her tongue, “I’ll run and get him.” She began to push the door shut, but it was blocked at the last moment by the officer’s club.
As she galloped up the stairs, the worst Mary could think was that possibly Colin had gone out and toilet-papered someones house? That hardly seemed worthy of this kind of police attention this early in the morning. She threw open Colin’s bedroom door and blurted out, “The police are here and want to see you. Why do the police want to see you?” This last bit ended on a higher, less calm note. Colin awoke and stared at her like she had three heads. “What are you talking about Mum?” Mary reiterated the part about the police being downstairs and he must come immediately. Then she flew back down the stairs to tell the officers Colin was on his way.
Colin arrived looking stunned. The police asked him if he was Colin and then asked him to step outside. Mary followed along side him as a silent partner. The police kept motioning him forward and asked him to hold his hands out in front of him. Before Mary even realized how surreptitious the police were, one of them had managed to position himself directly behind Colin. The office in front of Colin had lowered his hand to the butt of his gun and this had Mary in a tizzy internally. He reached out with his billy club under Colin’s outstretched arms, gently lifting them higher while inspecting them.
Mary’s attention was drawn to the officer behind her son. It was hard to ignore him since now she and he were standing nearly shoulder to shoulder. She noticed his attention was divided between Colin and the end of her drive. That was when Mary noticed there was a second cop car and this one was parked directly in front of her yard. She also noticed a young girl in the front seat, vehemently shaking her head back and forth in a negative motion. The officer then backed away from Colin and walked around to stand in front of them. The other office relaxed the hand that had been resting on his gun butt.
With the sudden discharge of electricity in the air, Mary was able to find her voice. “What is going on?”, she barked out past the lump in her throat. The officers went on to explain that a girl had been attacked/harassed while jogging down the street by two males. During the attack one of them had called the other Colin. When the police had interviewed the neighbors on the street, they informed him a Colin lived just down the road and was similar height, same hair color and close in age. However, the girl had described him as taller, skinnier and having tattoos all over the knuckles of both hands. It wasn’t this Colin. But as they continued to recount the story (especially the tattoos) Colin recognized the young man. He told the officers that they were exactly describing a kid name Colin who was a couple of years older than him and who often visited the kid who lived right next door.
Mary went out to the front yard where the girl’s mother had just walked up to the car. She was apologizing profusely, as was the young girl. Mary tried to put them at ease, saying she had young daughters and would do anything to protect them. If ruling out Colin as her perpetrator helped them, then it was no problem. It took several minutes of her reassuring them it was alright before they finally headed back up the street to their home. All Mary could think was that Colleen was never leaving the house again without a body guard. Walking back up to the porch, she hugged Colin. They were both still shaking a little. “That was crazy insane!”, said Colin. Mary opened the front door and as they both went inside she said, “You don’t even know the half of it. Let’s go wake your Dad. I want to tell you about this dream I had.”