Chapter 40 - Thousand Yard Stare
“EVERYONE BACK!! No one come a step further,” yelled Detective Henry at the people walking towards him including Susan Morrissey.
“Officers, we need a perimeter set up seventy-five yards out in a complete circle starting from right here. No one and I mean no one enters, unless I say so!” Demanded Detective Henry.
“You heard him guys” one officer yelled, “everyone back!”
“What the hell is going on Detective Henry?” asked Susan Morrissey walking towards him carrying an obviously tall alcoholic drink in her hand.
Todd quietly told Darla to take her bike and ride on home and not say a word to anyone about what they had seen with the knot and he would be in touch with her soon. Darla pedaled off down the path and then Todd immediately walked over to Susan and said,
“Walk with me Susan, let’s get away from everyone running around here and I will tell you what I know.”
Susan and Todd walked off down another trail in the woods as Susan was looking all around and drinking on her drink. Must not be Vodka today Todd thought as he could smell the alcohol and he smelled a lot of it. To Todd, it smelled like Crown. Luckily Susan hadn’t seen the bike hanging from the backhoe or any part of what was more than likely the skeleton remains of her son Bryan. That would have been really bad Todd thought to himself as he was seeing how long they could walk before she started asking questions. It was about thirty more seconds and Susan finally asked in a desperate tone, “He’s dead isn’t he?”
Todd replied, “Now Susan, I don’t know that for sure. What I do know and what I can tell you and will tell you, all of it, and I mean all of it must stay between us, ok?” Todd knew it wouldn’t but wanted to show her that he trusted her. He didn’t.
“Yea, just tell me,” Susan said impatiently.
“This must stay between us but what we just found is what looks to be a kids bicycle and there is a skeleton. That’s all I know for sure Susan.” Todd stated as officially as he could hoping this would stop the questions.
Nope, Todd was wrong again.
“What? When? How? Where was it? What type of bike? How could he be just right here? We looked everywhere including these fucking woods? This doesn’t make sense! You know it’s Bryan don’t you?” Susan asked desperately to get some answers.
Todd started again. “Susan, I don’t know that. This is all preliminary but what we found was under the ground a few feet in some dried up dirt. My initial thought is that whoever was on the bike may have sunk in that dirt when it was mud or something. Then, over some time, that mud dried really hard, almost like cement, and that’s why no one thought to look there. Again, this is just me thinking off the cuff as I have only had a few minutes to process everything that has hap...” Susan quickly cut him off
“Dried mud?? What the fuck Todd? This doesn’t make any sense at all. I don’t understand?” Susan continued and demandingly asked, “What are you not telling me?” As she reached out and grabbed his arm.
Todd continued, “Susan, that’s all I know right now. I promise. I went off a hunch I had which you helped me with and the hunch paid off. This all just now took place Susan, so I am trying to take it all in as I know this is a lot for you and you are trying to take it in too. What we will do now is process the entire area and then hopefully be able to make a positive identification on whether the skeleton is your son or not. As soon as I have some information that is accurate and confirmed, I promise you, I will notify you personally.”
“It’s him, I know it’s him! What other fucking kid has disappeared with his bike in the last ten years from this neighborhood? NOBODY, that’s who! I don’t understand. This doesn’t make any sense. Maybe, maybe it was just a stupid accident, right? Maybe he was just out riding his bike like he loved to do every single day and then went and hit his head or something and then fell into the mud. Yea, that could happen couldn’t it? Kids do stupid things all the time don’t they?” Susan asked in a pleading way, needing to be reassured. Todd saw that and said what she needed to hear, even though he knew, this was no accident.
“Yes, yes of course they do Susan. My little girls do stupid things all the time. Hell, I still do stupid things all the time. All kids do crazy things Susan. That’s what kids do. They find ways to get themselves into trouble and unfortunately sometimes, that trouble can be the type of trouble they can’t get themselves out of.” Todd said hoping this would help Susan.
Susan was lost in her thoughts with everything that was going through her head. She was zoning in and out bad. She then said, “My Mark did something stupid too by hanging himself. He just didn’t realize what he was doing when he hung himself Todd. I know he didn’t. He acted without thinking like he would do sometimes. He was just so depressed and missed his brother more than even I understood at the time,” she said crying. “We all missed him and I still do miss him and Bryan so fucking much!”
This is not going good Todd thought and said, “I know Susan and you are right. Mark didn’t realize what he was really doing when he died. I have seen that a lot. Kids, so many times, don’t realize the finality of the decisions they make. It’s just not fair Susan and I know that. You know that. Please, let me get you back home and as soon as I know something, you will know something too. I promise!”
“I just realized something Todd,” Susan said as they walked towards his car with his arm around her consoling her.
“What’s that Susan?” Todd asked wondering what possibly could be going on in her head with all that had transpired in the last fifteen minutes or so.
“My baby boy Bryan is never, ever coming home.” Susan said as she looked back across the woods towards all the commotion that was now taking place with the many crime scene investigators and police and fire officials showing up to process the crime scene. Susan had this thousand yard stare with absolutely no emotion or feeling. It was just a complete look of sadness, loss and despair. I felt what she was feeling at that moment and wished I could do or say something to help take all the pain she was feeling away, but I knew there was nothing I could do that would help her at this moment.
They continued to walk and Todd thought to himself about the statement Susan had just made about her boy Bryan never coming home.
No, no he isn’t. He definitely isn’t ever coming home.