“I warned you, kid!”
The sound of glass being smashed got Tommy to run and peek over the wooden fence in time see Mr Brunlow hold a broken beer bottle with sharp ends against his soccer ball. Before he could call out, Mr Brunlow deflated the ball with a vicious smile.
Immediately Tommy began to cry and ran over to the neighbour’s back yard to pick up his flat soccer ball. He looked at it wistfully, then as he noticed Mr Brunlow’s smirk of triumph as he lay back in his chair, all of Tommy's sadness was replaced by anger.
“Y-you monster! YOU BROKE MY SOCCER BALL!” Tommy yelled through tears. He picked up the broken bottle and stormed up to confront Mr Brunlow.
Mr Brunlow thought nothing of this act because, after all, Tommy was only a nine year old boy. He could do no harm. But all changed when he felt a sharp, unbearable pain in his left chest. Mr Brunlow looked down and, just before he blacked out, noticed a translucent, brown object sticking out of him.
Tommy was confused as to why Mr Brunlow wasn’t getting up. He shook him and poured water on him, but nothing happened. They always got back up in the games. Their lives always restored, so why hadn’t Mr Brunlow’s? Tommy stopped pondering and went home with his soccer ball.
It was Mr Brunlow’s caretaker who first discovered the body. She came over to prepare dinner but when Mr Brunlow didn’t answer, she looked around the property until she came across the horrific scene. Immediately, she phoned the police.
The flashing lights outside caught Tommy’s attention. He pushed apart the curtains at his window and saw men and women in blue uniforms on Mr Brunlow’s yard. Then, Tommy saw Mr Brunlow’s body on a gurney being loaded into an ambulance. He ran downstairs after hearing the doorbell ring and saw one of the men in the blue uniforms talking to his mother. They whispered in hush tones, but Tommy could tell something was wrong as his mother covered her mouth in shock.
As Tommy moved closer he could hear the conversation more clearly. “Really? Who could’ve done such a thing? Oh poor Chris, what a painful way it must’ve been to go.” Tommy’s mother shook her head in dismay.
“There is no need to worry yet ma’am. Until we find further evidence we are ruling his death a suicide. It is quite possible as Mr Brunlow had a history of depression and was an alcoholic.” The officer then proceeded to ask Tommy’s mother what he called ‘standard questions’.
“Where were you at the time of approximately 5:08pm?”
“At home, I was just beginning to prepare dinner.”
“Were you the only one home, ma’am?”
“No officer, my son Tommy was also home.”
“How old is he?”
“And what was he doing at the time of incident?”
“He was playing outside, sir.”
“What is your relationship with Chris Brunlow?”
“We are, were, neighbours. Nothing more than that, really. We weren’t close but we didn’t hate each other.”
“Okay, what was Brunlow’s attitude towards you son?”
“Why, Chris loved Tommy! If Tommy was playing outside Chris almost always had a treat, maybe a biscuit, for him. Oh, how will I break it to poor Tommy?”
“Thank you ma’am, that’s all I’ll need. If anything else comes up we’ll notify you. Have a good night.” And with that, the officer left.
Later that night, Tommy’s father came home and his mother broke the news to him. Then, the two of them came into Tommy’s room where he was playing a video game.
“Son, we need to talk to you.” Tommy’s father paused Tommy’s game. They sat Tommy down on the bed and began telling him what happened to Mr Brunlow. What they didn’t notice was that they paused Tommy’s screen just as his player was going in for the kill with a broken beer bottle.