Woman Of The Hour

I wrote this short story for a Creative Writing course I did at University. Unfortunately I was only given the time to write 2 stories for the entire module as we spent alot of time editing each other’s work, to learn how to benefit from editing our own. I still had a lot of fun though and one day I aim to write a book of short stories (once I’ve managed the art of editing to perfection).

“We got him” Bockleton’s voice echoes in her ear. She has so many questions but doesn’t have the voice. Instead she asks in the pitch black darkness of her room to the white plastic receiver, “What time is it?”
Its five fifty one in the morning. They found him in a silver van with a number plate that was registered to a stolen car, driving through the Yorkshire Dales. They hadn’t started questioning him. They were leaving that to her.
She hastily got out of bed and threw the duvet cover off. She began to wash in the bathroom catching her own reflection in the mirror, catching her own eye. She wasn’t nervous, no. Neither was she scared, nor was she excited to finally draw this case to a close. She couldn’t illustrate how she felt. Just a numbness. She grabbed a slice of toast and crammed it into her mouth; the warm butter began to dribble down her chin. It only took her forty minutes to drive to the station. She turned off the ignition key in her car and sat there, staring at the entrance, trying to collect her thoughts, trying to keep calm and breathe deeply. In and out. In and out. In and out. She blinked at the time the red car clock digits were revealing to her: six forty seven. She let out an exhausted long sigh and began to get out her car.
When she stepped into the station she began to survey the damage of last night’s actions that lay around her. Half drunken mugs of coffee flooded every desk, discarded pizza boxes and biscuit crumbs covered every other surface. Suddenly a round of applause flooded the room. Shouts of congratulations were said by weary looking co workers. No don’t thank us, thank yourself, you’re the one that’s always had faith. A smile begins to grow on her face. Bockleton sees her walk in to the office and claps wholeheartedly with them, “There you are! The woman of the hour”.
Although she technically is the woman of the hour, she doesn’t feel like it. She doesn’t feel that this is it. This is the moment she has been anticipating and glorifying over and over again in her head.
Bockleton interrupts her thoughts, “Are you ready for him?”
“Yes. I’ve always been ready.” She replies squaring her shoulders and taking a deep breath.
“He’s in interrogation room two. And his lawyer is already present” remarks Bockleton.
She strides in to interrogation room two with his files.
“Good morning I am Inspector Griggs and I will be handling this case.” She declares whilst looking straight into the man’s sparkling blue eyes.
“Well, Good morning I’m..” begins to say the man, though he is interrupted by Griggs, “I know perfectly well who are you are and I know what you’ve been up to. But first I want to ask, do you know why you’re in here?”
The man sheepishly smiles and nods. His lawyer looks at him and cries out in anguish, “No he does not. He has done nothing wrong. You are all in the wrong here, ambushing and arresting him on no grounds what so ever.” The lawyer then begins to speak to the man in hushed tones. The man ignores his lawyer to the left of him and stares into Griggs eyes. His eyes, so sparkling blue seem to belong to a different person. They appear so warm and friendly, so unlike the man described in her files.
“I do not need my lawyer present” says the man. “I want us to be alone.”
The lawyer debates against this but Griggs opens the door and says, “You heard the man. Wait in the lobby and I’ll get one of my fellow officers to let you in when we need you.”
The lawyer reluctantly collects his leather case and leaves. He hastily turns round to give his client one last piece of advice, but the door slams and silences his voice. She begins to sit down in the chair opposite to him and just as she opens her mouth, he says, “How are you today then Inspector Griggs?”
Griggs frowns and answers, “I’m fine thank you. But I’m not here to be questioned. Unfortunately for you, it’s the other way round.”
The man lets out a hearty chuckle and replies, “Yes I understand. It’s just that you look more than fine, you look positively radiant. Does your husband know?”
She pauses for a split second and asks, “Know what?”
“Ah” says the man, “So he doesn’t. If I were you I’d tell him. A pretty woman like you deserves to start a family.” There is a tense pause whilst he slowly leans forward, his face close to hers. She could feel his warm breath on her cheek, “But tell me. Is it a boy or a girl? That’s what I’d like to know.” With a glint in his eye he smiles and leans back.
Waves of nausea rise within her and she quickly gets to her feet and rushes out of interrogation room two to the Ladies. She opens the door with such force; the door smashes into the wall and leaves an indent. She’s just on time. Chunks of buttered toast and last night’s curry jump out of her throat and land spectacularly on the basin in front of her. She is supporting herself up with her arms and tears begin to trickle slowly down her cheeks. How did he know? How did this criminal know? Not even her best friends, her mother, even her fucking ex husband has noticed. But this man, this stranger, knows. She sits on the green floor of the cubicle for a moment and lays her throbbing head on the toilet basin. His words are etched into her mind, repeating themselves over and over again. “That’s what I’d like to know” hits her with full force as if hearing it for the first time and makes her retch into the basin. Saliva is forming at the edge of her mouth, dangling and dripping. Her cheeks are wet and blotchy, and her hands are shaking.
The Ladies toilet door swings open and she hears Bockleton ask, “Are you all alright Inspector Griggs?”
“I’m fine, just give me a minute” she mutters to the closed door behind her.
The Ladies toilet door swings shut. She flushes the toilet, gets up and leaves the cubicle. She sees herself in the mirror reflection: a dishevelled mess with sick in her hair. Not the strong dominant woman she is trying to portray. She splashes her face with cold water from the tap and allows a minute for it to cool her. She sees her wedding ring still on her finger glint in her reflection. She begins to delicately twist it off her finger, but she sees a white circle engrained on her skin, a permanent mark of the past.
It was November when Mark took her to her first football match. It was during their first string of dates, that air of awkwardness still clinging to their company. She’d been oblivious to who was playing, what was happening. All she could see was the players’ small black dots running around the pitch, kicking this way and that. She spent the entire ninety three minutes watching Mark respond to what was happening down on this green patch of grass below her. He was animated. Crying out when his team missed. Shouting joyously when they scored. His devilish smile played on his lips when she forced a reaction from herself to entertain him. He knew she wasn’t paying attention. But he still spoke to her and told her how big this game was, how important this game was, not only to him but to football history. She sung as loud as any of the other supporters stood around her with their boisterous inappropriate songs, and joined in complaints about the frosty weather. He turned to her, whilst she was chanting at the top of her voice, and stated, “You’re fantastic” as if it was a fact, that she was and always will be fantastic.
She knew from that moment he was the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. That night they ended up sleeping together for the first time. Laying there with their bodies entwined with her head on his chest, she declared, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”
And to her surprise and delight he replied, “I think I’m falling in love with you too.”
She was brought back to reality by a new pair of footsteps coming into the Ladies. She left her past behind her and walked out of the Ladies to interrogation room two, where the present now faced her.
“Sorry about that” she stated to the man sitting on the other side of the table.
“Perfectly natural for a woman in your state at the moment” he replied with a small smile on his face.
She cleared her throat and says, “My personal life has nothing to do with you. The focus today is on you and your actions over the past three years. Now tell me, when did you start sexually assaulting boys? Did it all begin with Harry Nickles or long before him?” She sat back. She had gained control. Once again she was in power.
The man didn’t reply. His eyes averted her gaze and focused on the floor in front of him. He picked a piece of imaginary lint off his jacket. Silence enveloped the room and the ticking of the clock echoed and bounced off the walls of this prison cell of a room. Griggs waited. Still there was no response from the man.
Griggs changes her angle of attack, “We have caught you on three counts of sexual assault and one of sexual harassment. Even if you decide not to speak a word yourself, you still will be put in prison for a minimum of six years, however I doubt that will be the case with the victims statements they have against you. Have you got anything to say? Or shall I get Inspector Davis to transport you back into your cell?”
The man shifts his gaze up to her and stares into her eyes. “I’m” he stutters out his mouth.
“Sorry?” replies Griggs sarcastically. “Of course you’re not sorry. If we hadn’t have caught you, you’d be round another primary school, ready to pick on a fresh new victim.”
“No. I wanted you to recognize me but you haven’t. I know you Gemma. I know you very well.”
With the sound of the name Gemma, her heart lurches in her body beginning to pound and beat deafeningly in her chest. Her mouth becomes dry, and her hands begin to shake wildly.
“My name. Is not. Gemma.” She manages in short wispy breaths in a voice that doesn’t sound like her own. It’s coming out her mouth but seems frail, feeble and pathetic.
“Yes it is. Gemma is your real name. Do you remember me?”
Gemma’s mouth clasps shut, her hands are clammy and warm, darkness begins to cloak her, and she feel s weak, her legs buckling under her own weight.