by Miranda Rider
Samuel drove down the road, taking in the beautiful scenery around him. With life as hectic as it was for him, it wasn’t often that he got to take the time and do this. Especially in Seattle, when it rained 90% of the year. When he had gotten off of work at the local police department, he wasn’t sure what to do with his day. A few of his fellow detectives asked if he wanted to head to the bar with them for a few drinks, but Samuel declined. He didn’t want to be a contributing factor to the alcoholic cop stereotype.
With the top down on his Mustang Convertible, Samuel leisurely drove down the road. He couldn’t help but enjoy the serene feeling that began to take over his body. With his stressful job, he was welcoming this feeling with open arms. As he turned the corner to head into downtown Seattle, Samuel made a mental note to do this more often.
Samuel pulled to a stop, the red light at the intersection shining brightly. He took his eyes off the road long enough to glance at the clock. It was nearly 7:00 at night. Samuel thought about picking up something for dinner while he was in town since he hadn’t eaten since breakfast this morning.
As he sat the light, debating what to do for dinner, a loud crash sounded through the air. Samuel launched forward in his seat, his chest colliding the steering wheel before the seat belt slammed him back towards the seat. Looking through the rear view mirror, he saw that the car behind him had slammed into his back bumper. Great, just what he needed!
The concerned detective overtook the angry citizen within Samuel as he climbed out of his car. A young woman got out of the car behind him, a horrified look on her face.
“God damn it!” The woman cussed under her breath, running a hand through her hair. “Just what I fucking needed today!” Samuel resisted the urge to smile. Seems like the two of them were in the same boat.
“Miss, are you ok? Looks like you hit me pretty hard.” Samuel cautiously took a few steps towards the woman. She glanced at the damage done to both their cars before responding.
“I am so sorry, I was looking at my phone while I was pulling up to the light. I dropped it and my dumbass tried to pick it up off the floor-” The woman paused long enough to finally set her eyes on Samuel. She couldn’t stop herself as her eyes slowly scanned his body. Samuel didn’t think much of it; it happened to him on and off the job.
The woman’s eyes settled on Samuel’s right hip, her eyes widening even more than before. Samuel was confused on why she had the look in her eyes and then he remembered. He still had his detective badge clipped to his belt.
“Great going Cassandra, not only did you manage to find the only cop out on the road and rear-end him, you just openly admitted to him that you were texting while driving!” Samuel could tell by the look in Cassandra’s eyes that she was already starting about the situation, even further than before.
“Hey, it’s fine.” Samuel raised his hands in defense. “I’m off duty. Besides, I wouldn’t do anything even if I wanted to.”
It took a few moments for Cassandra to calm down. Even as Samuel lowered his hands back down, her body still seemed tense.
Samuel took a look at the back bumper of his car. Other than a dent where the corner of her car had come in contact with his back bumper, scratching some paint off in the process, the damage wasn’t too bed.
“You do have insurance, right?” Samuel questioned her.
“Of course I do. After today’s accident I’m not so sure but as of right now, yes I have insurance.” Samuel laughed as he pulled a notepad and pen out of his pocket. Old cop habits die hard.
“Here, I’ll give you my name, as well my number-” He scribbled a few things down on a sheet of paper before tearing it off and handing it to her. “I wrote down my badge number as well, just in case you wanted to give that to the insurance company. They might speed the process along if they knew it was a detective you hit.”
Cassandra took the piece of paper out of his hand, briefly glancing down at it to read what he had scribbled down. “Thanks Samuel.”
“No problem, we all have bad days. Some obviously worse than others.” He gestured his head towards her car. “I should get going. Try not to hit any other cops tonight, alright? Then I’ll will have to arrest you.”
It was Cassandra’s turn to raise her hands as she walked backwards towards her car. “Trust me, you’ll never hear from me again.”
~~6 months Later~~
Samuel crawled into the station at 1:30 in the morning, his eyes bloodshot. He just spent 4 hours at the scene of the worst homicide he’s seen in his entire career as a detective. It was a seven year old little boy. What was done to that little boy’s body was absolutely horrifying. How could anyone do such a thing to another person, let alone a kid? Was there no humanity left in the world?
When he reached his desk, he knew he was going to have to call Cassandra. She was probably still waiting up at home for him. Tonight was going to be a long night. Who was he kidding, the next week was going to be long.
Samuel dialed Cassandra’s number, patiently waiting for her to answer. As he waited for her to pick up the phone, Samuel could feel the tears start to well up in his eyes.
After a minute, Cassandra finally answered the phone. “Jesus Sam, where the hell have you’ve been? You were supposed to come home hours ago!” Even in his current mental state, Samuel could detect the worried tone in Cassandra’s voice.
“Sorry about that, I got called out to a scene just as I was leaving-” He paused, running a hand over his face. “it’s been a rough night.”
“What happened?” She asked cautiously, not wanting to agitate or upset Samuel even further.
“Homicide.” Samuel cleared his throat. “It was a little kid Cassie, a seven year old fucking boy. No older than my nephew Sean.”
“Oh my god-” Samuel could picture the empty look in her eyes as she listened to him.
“The things done to this boy, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m probably going to be here the rest of the night. I didn’t want to worry you-”
“By the sound of it, It’s me that should be worried about you.” Samuel allowed a sad smile to take over his face.
“I won’t rest until the son of the bitch that did this is either behind bars or dead.”
~~2 weeks later~~
Samuel entered his and Cassandra’s shared home, slamming the door behind him. He’d been picking away at the case of the murdered little boy who was now known as David for two weeks and they still had absolutely nothing! No suspect, no witness, nothing! Not even so much as an idea on who possibly could have done this. Granted this was a homicide and Samuel knew you couldn’t rush investigating this sort of crime, but damn it he wanted answers! As he told Cassandra the night of the crime, he wanted the son of a bitch that did this to pay!
As he made his way toward the kitchen, Samuel could hear Cassandra going down the stairs after him. As rough as these past few weeks have been on Samuel, he knew they had to be tough on her as well. To see someone you love be in absolute pain and not being able to do anything about it is one of the toughest things a person can go through in life. Not to mention Samuel wasn’t making it any easier on her with all of his snappy comments and disconnection from her. He knew once he caught David’s killer, that he was going to have to make this all up to her.
“Hey, how did work go?” Cassandra asked Samuel, a quiet tone in her voice.
“Same as it has been the past couple of weeks, shit.” Samuel loosened the tie around his neck as he walked towards the fridge. He opened the door, grabbing a beer off the top shelf. He never used to be much of a drinker, but with everything that’s happened the past couple of weeks, he needed something to block out the image of David’s lifeless eyes that seemingly stared into Samuel’s soul.
Cassandra didn’t bother responding. She knew that there was nothing in this world that could make Samuel feel better, and she despised it. Samuel would never admit it, but there were many nights where he’d wake up, screaming David’s name as he shot up in bed. Every time she tried to get him to talk to her, he’d say everything was fine and go into the living room. Eventually, Cassandra just gave up because every time she tried he’d snap at her. She got he was stressed out and going through a rough time, but that gave him no excuse to act that way towards her. She was only trying to help.
When she saw Samuel grab the beer bottle out of the fridge, She resisted the urge to shake her head. Cassandra didn’t mind if anyone partook in a little drinking once in a while, but every night when you come home from work, really?
“I just wish there was something we could find, but no. We just keep hitting dead end after dead end.” Samuel began making his way back towards the living room, twisting the top off the beer bottle in the process.
“And I’m sure you will, you’ve just gotta give it time.” Cassandra followed Samuel out into the living room.
“We’re talking about the murder of a little boy Cassandra, the family doesn’t want time. All they want is for their son to be back home, but that’s never going to happen!” He snapped at her, sitting down on the couch. The minute the words came out of his mouth, Samuel winced.
Before he could get the chance to apologise, Cassandra had turned her back on him and began walking upstairs.
“Cass, I’m sorry! That’s not what I-” Samuel was cut off by the slamming of a door, presumably their bedroom door.
Sighing, Samuel took his shoes off and propped his feet up on the couch. Here’s to another night of sleeping on the couch.
~~2 months later~~
“Sam, this needs to stop!” Cassandra called out to him as the two of them stood in their bedroom. Over the course of two months, Samuel and the police department caught David killers and he’s now awaiting trial. She thought that everything would just go back to normal but boy, was she wrong!
Since all of this starting happening, Samuel’s gotten heavy into drinking. Just as he was getting to the point of excessive, they figured out who had killed David. It turned out to be the kid’s neighbor. After that night, Cassandra figured the drinking would stop. I mean, the reason he was drinking was no longer an issue so he could stop? That wasn’t the case, his drinking got worse. It got to the point where it seemed every time Samuel had a free moment of time, he was drinking. She figured he was still trying to chase the demons away so she let it slip, but when it started costing them money the two of them didn’t have, Cassandra put her foot down. Not to mention when Samuel drank he was a complete ass to her and others.
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about Cassie!” He fired back, heading towards their dresser. The two of them were getting ready for bed when the argument had started.
“The drinking, the anger, the distancing yourself from me. The guy that killed David is sitting in jail, waiting for his trial. You can stop running yourself ragged over this.” She laid a hand on his shoulder, but it immediately fell once Samuel moved away from her.
“Running myself ragged? A little boy was murdered and you expect me to just sit here with a smile on my face, waiting to see what this guy gets? I don’t think so.” He briefly gestured with his hands towards her, which caused her to roll her eyes.
“Do you even hear yourself? He WAS murdered. I know this is a cold, heartless thing to say but he’s dead, there’s nothing that’s going to change it. You caught the guy that did it and it’s the only thing you could have done.”
“You’re right, David’s dead and there’s nothing I can do about! I’m a fucking detective for this city and I can’t even protect the people in it! Do you know how much it kills me to know that I can’t even do THAT?!” Samuel snapped his body towards Cassandra, making her jump back. “You don’t, otherwise we wouldn’t standing here having this conversation. I’m going to get a drink.” Samuel went to storm out of the bedroom but Cassandra stopped him in his tracks.
“And there you go again with the drinking. You know what Samuel, I’ve given you a little lee way because of that boy being murdered, but you can’t go on living like this!”
“Like what?!” Samuel shot back at her.
“Since all of this has happened, everytime anything happens that is the slightest inconvenience, you go straight to the fucking bottle! We don’t have the money for you to be drinking every single night of the week. And not that I want to hurt your feelings Samuel, but you’re a complete asshole to me every time you drink and I’m sick and tired of it!” At this point, tears were streaming down Cassandra’s face. She had been holding it back for so long. It finally felt good to let it all out, even if she was going to lose Samuel.
“It’s my life. How I handle my issues is my business Cassandra, not yours!”
“You’re my boyfriend, and whether you like it or not I care about you! I don’t want you becoming an alcoholic. If you’re going to continue down this path, then I simply can’t be apart of it.” Samuel stared at Cassandra, it finally setting in the pain he was causing her.
“And no matter how many times I’ve said it, it has yet to sink in. I can’t keep doing this Sam, until you get some help-” Cassandra shrugged her shoulders. “I’m done.”
“Cass, please-” He tried to reach out to her, but she pulled away. “I didn’t know.”
“Of course you didn’t know, because you’ve been so obsessed with finding David’s killer and drinking that you haven’t realized anything that’s been going on around you. And I know that’s not your fault, but you’ve got your own issues you need to sort out by yourself. Until you do, I just can’t be in this relationship. I’m sorry-” Cassandra proceeded to walk past Samuel and towards the door. On the way past him, he caught her forearm and brought her closer towards him.
“I’m sorry Cassandra, please don’t go. I know that something isn’t right, whatever it might be. I need you to help me figure it out, please I am begging you. Don’t leave me.” Cassandra stood there, staring down at the ground for a few seconds before pulling her arm out of his grasp.
“I’m not by any means giving up on you, but it’s obvious you need to get some help. Whether it’s seeking out counseling or going to rehab, you’ll get it. And I’ll be there when you’re done, but in the mean time-” Cassandra turned around, placing her lips against Samuel’s cheek. She stayed there, frozen for a few moments until she pulled away from him. “Goodbye Samuel.”
With that, Cassandra walked out the door, leaving Samuel to stand alone in the bedroom. A few tears made their way down his face as he found his eyes glued to the doorway in front of him.
Samuel wasn’t sure how he didn’t see any of signs that this was coming. But one thing’s for sure; now that Samuel knew what was at stake, he was going to do everything in his power to fix this and get Cassandra back, no matter what it took.
Comments by the Judges
“I liked how fleshed out Sam and Cassie became by the end of the story, despite this being a short story (thereby limiting how much information you can feed the reader without taking away from the plot.) I also liked how the passing of time was handled, and the general way in which the story was laid out.”
“I actually wish it were longer because it felt like a piece out of a contemporary/thriller that I could see myself finishing in one sitting. The author could definitely work on this piece and make it a full blown story because it was very gripping.”
“Not the type of story that I typically enjoy although this was well-written with a unique perspective on alcoholism.”
Please join me
in congratulating Miranda
on winning 3rd place.