In response to the daily prompt – edge
“Remind me never to sleep over again.”
Sticking out her tongue “Yeah, yeah; I’ll take you seriously someday. Actually to be precise I’ll take you seriously when you show up to work wearing baggy clothes with no sexy curves on display.”
Pulling a comical face, she sat down on the park bench. “Not gonna happen.”
“No rest for the lazy goose, come on.”
“I’m tired; my behind lacks the will to move any further.”
“Ok, how about we get to the end of the route and rather than jug we walk home.”
Exhaling deeply, “Yippee, give me a few minutes though I feel like a puffer fish out of water.”
Jogging round the park bench, Katie showed no signs of exhaustion, “You look like one too.”
“Show off,” Rolling her eyes, she sluggishly got to her feet.
They looked the perfect picture of taskmaster and slave, rather than good friends enjoying a morning run. Stumbling on something Katie almost staggered to the floor.
“Are you ok?”
Searching for the offending object “Yeah, what was that? Lying carelessly in the middle of the path was a single shoe.
“Katie, there’s another one under that hedge.”
“I think we should go.”
“What? No way.”
Walking towards the other shoe exhaustion forgotten, she continued, “You know I’ve heard some interesting shenanigans go down in these parks at night and today might be my lucky day to find the after party.”
“This morning has certainly chosen to stay off track.” Katie mumbled following behind at a cautious pace.
They found him lying supine cut marks like tiger stripes covered his thighs. His shirt or what was left of it hung around his chest like a rag dolls outfit but his face was remarkably smooth and untouched. It looked like he had run into some wild animal who kept him as a toy for the night.
“Did you notice anything strange before or after you found him?” The officer asked
“No, nothing unusual well except for him that is.”
“Thanks for calling it in,”
“Is he going to be ok?”
“We hope so; the doctors will do their best. He’s very lucky you guys found him, a few more minutes maybe an hour max and his case would have been different.
“Honey, can you hear me? Squeeze my hand if you can hear me.”
He held on tightly, he couldn’t afford to let go. The voice was the only living thing present in the black abyss he was stuck in.
Slowly he roused from the heady slumber. Taking in his wife’s anxious face, the hospital room, none of it made sense; he was starting to feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole.
“Honey what’s happening? What are we doing here, was I involved in an accident?” He asked.
He couldn’t find any injuries or signs of an accident and he didn’t feel sick; well except for the blinding headache and itchy pain cursing through his thighs.
She didn’t know how or if she should tell him the truth.
He prided himself on being meticulous, assertive, and constantly aware of himself and his environment. He rarely failed at a task and the few times he did, he always knew where things went wrong, always!
How does she explain the situation to a man who always had the answers when it still baffled her?
The police officer walked in right then buying her a few minutes or so she thought.
“Sorry to bother you Mr. Landers, but we would like to ask you some questions.”
Further unsettled he asked “Why would you want to ask me questions?” Regrouping “Regardless, this is not a good time, I was having a discussion …”
“Honey I think we should let them explain they have more information than I do.”
With a nod he reluctantly acquiesced.
“Where were you last night at between 9: 00pm and 10:29 pm?”
Taking time to think, he answered with certainty “I was at home with my wife.”
“You didn’t leave the house at any point?”
“No. like I already said, I was home with my wife.”
“Honey, you got a call …,” She held his hand trying to ease his confusion; with a deep breath she continued “… you got a call to come back into the office just before 9:00pm.”
“You said it would only take a couple of hours. You asked me to wait up, said you won’t be gone for a long time.”
Feeling deprived of his privacy he tried to dismiss the cops, “Officers I honestly can’t remember anything from last night.”
“So you have no idea how you ended up in the park, half naked …”
“The park, half-naked …?” His face a mask of confusion, attempting to sit up but falling back as his brain swam within his skull.
“With cut marks on your thighs” the officer continued.
Ripping off the hospital sheets he stared at his legs in utter disbelief. What the hell was happening here? He looked ready to explode.
Her protective instincts kicking in she turned on the officers, “I think you should leave, this has all been a little too much to take in.”
“Mam we’re just trying to do our job.”
“I understand, but you must understand how distressing this is for my husband and I.”
“One last question, does the number twenty-nine mean anything to either of you?
They starred at the officer in confusion expecting an explanation.
“We found a note with the number in your wallet and according to doctor the cuts on your thighs are exactly twenty-nine in number.”
“Can you give us a moment?” he asked in a feeble voice, visibly shaken by the revelation.
Why was this happening to him, to them?
Finally, alone she wrapped him in a hug, cradling his head like always. Encased in her warmth, his brain tried to connect the dots.
He remembered the call from Clarisse.
He remembered his betrayal.
He shrunk back; she sighed and held on.
Twenty-nine years of marriage tarnished by his adultery. Yet she held on like always, soothing his deserving pain, fanning her flaming heart.