The cop was trying to be patient, but the kid wasn’t very cooperative. He wasn’t sure she knew what really happened. Sara sat on the couch with Lizzie on her lap. The police had called her at work; she rushed home sick at what she would find. The guilt would last a lifetime. Lizzie was tired. She had all ready told the man what had happened, and she didn’t want to answer any more questions. All she wanted to do was sleep.
The cop tried once more. “Ok, hon, can you tell me one more time what happened?”
Lizzie gave him an annoyed look and sighed.
“I told you, I woke up because I wet the bed and I wanted Mommy. I came into the living room and Chris was holding the baby and drinking a beer. He went onto the balcony with the baby and tripped over my cat. He got mad and said a bad word and put Reggie on the edge of the railing and started chasing my cat and he caught her and said he was going to throw her over the ledge and I ran over and pushed him and he fell forward and hit his head on the ledge. I saw Baby run over to the couch, but when I looked over to the balcony I didn’t see Reggie any more so I called 911 like I learned at school and then you guys came.”
She rubbed her eyes.
“I’m tired. Can I go to bed now, Mommy?”
“Sure baby. I’ll be right back,” she said to the cop.
The cop surveyed the room. Furniture toppled, beer cans all over the floor; it looked like a war zone. He hated cases like this. Children getting hurt always made him sick. He couldn’t figure out how anyone could be dumb enough to put a baby on a balcony ledge, but from what the little girl said, this guy wasn’t exactly ‘Father Knows Best’.
Sara returned to the living room, her eyes red.
“What happens now?” Her voice was strained.
“We’ll wait until your boyfriend regains consciousness to see what he has to say. It doesn’t look good for him, especially since we have a witness. You can expect to hear from children’s services about this."
“When can I collect the body?”
“I’m not sure you’re legally entitled to. You’d better ask children’s services.”
“That poor little baby,” Sara broke into tears. “He never got one break in his tiny life. I knew Chris didn’t like him, but I didn’t think he was capable of this.”
The cop looked at her with a mix of pity and contempt.
“We’ll be in touch,” he said tersely, and walked into the new dawning day.
Sara looked at the mess around her and collapsed on the couch, crying harder. In her bedroom, Lizzie was sound asleep, exhausted by the events of the night, holding her secret promise deep in her heart. Her cat, her baby, lay curled up at her feet, dead to the world.