SHADOW

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CHAPTER 19

SAMANTHA PRINCE WAS at the hospital as fast as she could get there.

She broke down in anguish, sobbed uncontrollably, wept her eyes sore and allowed herself to be comforted by Jonathan. It would be the first time in years that he would be putting his arms around her in endearment. But who was keeping count just then? They were both grieving parents crying in each other’s arms, mourning the unfortunate passing of their son.

Afterwards however, as the reality of Alan’s death sank in deeper, a different aspect of Samantha’s grief surfaced and she became hysterical, wailing and latching out violently at Jonathan, beating him repeatedly and accusing him of every evil that had befallen the family so far. She pounded his chest with her fists, scratched his arms and face, pulled his shirt.

The doctors and nurses around had a hard time calming down the bereaved woman. She seemed out of control, like a depraved lunatic.

“Give me back my son!” she screeched hoarsely. “I want him back! Don’t you put your filthy hands on me! It’s your fault! Damn you, Jonathan; you drove my son crazy! It’s your fault! Murderer! You drove him to his death! You killed all my children!”

And then she broke down finally, subdued by her own rage, and cried in utter despair.

When Samantha was calmer and had the presence of mind to speak coherently, the police proceeded to interrogate her and Jonathan concerning the probable reasons for which their son might have decided to take his own life.

“Was Alan in any kind of trouble, Sir?” the questions began. “Had he at any point in time confided in either of you about any issue he might have been having with anyone in particular?”

“Officer,” said Jonathan Prince coolly, “what kind of ‘trouble’ would lead a decent teenager to kill himself?”

The officer paused, gasped quietly. “We don’t want to be judgmental, Sir. That’s why we’re asking you, since the victim is your son. But we understand how you must be feeling right now.”

Jonathan nodded quietly. “No, Alan was not in any kind of trouble.”

“None that you know of, Mr. Prince,” said one of the officers, looking at him carefully.

“What’s that s’ppose to mean?” interjected Samantha.

“Well,” answered the officer, “we know Alan had drug issues. He’d been involved with gangs, clubbing, street brawls. That kind of life usually land people in trouble, Mrs. Prince. I’m not saying that’s the case here, but we have to consider every possible angle.”

“Yeah, I understand, Officer,” Jonathan sighed, nodding appreciatively.

“So are you privy to any information that could suggest Alan was being hounded or harassed? Someone he owes money, maybe?”

Samantha shook her head dourly and sniffed. “No, I don’t know of anyone, Officer. My son often kept to himself; he didn’t share much about his personal dealings.”

“Perhaps a drug deal went awry. Someone threatening his life?” suggested the officer. “Things like that happen all the time with kids.”

Mrs. Prince snapped then. “I don’t have the answer to all these stupid questions and insinuations!” she flared. “How the hell am I supposed to know every single thing he does, Officer?”

The officer in question gasped, nodded with empathy. “I understand how you feel, Mrs. Prince. But what we’re trying to do is to determine the likely cause or causes of this unfortunate tragedy. I’m sure you’ll like to find out as well, Ma’am. We all want answers, and if there’s a foul play that led to your son’s suicide, someone has to answer.”

Samantha Prince clenched her lips, fighting back more tears then. She turned away with a forlorn, frozen countenance.

“Please, you must excuse my wife, Officer,” said Jonathan. “This is really hard for both of us. Please go on.”

The officer nodded. “Thank you, Mr. Prince.” He paused, somewhat nervously. “Was your son having any mental problem?”

Jonathan was perplexed, taken aback by the question and Samantha looked up sharply.

“Our son wasn’t insane, no!” she blurted resentfully.

The officer turned to her. “We found a handful of antidepressants in the glove compartment of his car.”

Samantha matched his stare. “Alan was using them for his depression, which I was well aware of, Officer. And antidepressants aren’t illegal drugs, are they?” she asked, with an edge to her voice. “And just in case you’re wondering why a seventeen-year-old would be depressed, consider this: his family has fallen apart, parents are getting a divorce after a horrific accident that killed his two siblings and scared him for life, and his education is in a mess. He has no friends and…and…”

She couldn’t say anymore. Her voice trailed off as she broke down and began to cry.

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