Short Story Sunday 274: Wander

Short Story Sunday: Wander | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Ellie headed down the street not really sure where she was going. The day hadn’t started off well for her when she woke up late, thus making her late for working. In fact, she didn’t notice it until her partner at work had called her wondering where she was. So, she went into work late and had decided to stay late, but the case she was working on wrapped up. It didn’t end in the way she had expected, in the way she had hoped. In fact, the case ended in such a depressing way that, despite scolding her for being late earlier, Ellie’s boss had let her go home early.

Ellie was still a fairly new officer. She had seen many things happen and had worked on a good amount of cases. However, she had by far seen everything. People were mean and they were weird. The cases were bizarre and didn’t make sense half of the time. After each case, she always thought they could never get any worse and they always did.

She was a hard worker and she was good at what she did. Ellie and her partner worked well together. They made a good team and always had each other’s backs. It was easy for them to split up their workload and they each had designated things to do whenever they worked a case together. Ellie was the better observer while her partner, Jim, was a better conversationalist. Usually, Ellie would investigate the crime scene and Jim would talk to any witnesses and get victim statements. He was more empathetic than she was anyway so it was easier for him to do rather than for her to talk to people. She enjoyed collecting the evidence and the sight of blood or dead bodies didn’t bother her in the slightest.

This case was different though. It hit close to home for her. The next-door neighbor at Ellie’s parents’ house, the home and neighborhood she grew up in, had died. She was an elderly woman who had watched Ellie and her siblings grow up. They played a lot with her children and Ellie even babysat her grandchildren.

Ellie’s boss didn’t want her on the case because it was personal for her, but Ellie insisted. She knew she would be able to keep her emotions in check and she did. She was mourning the death of her old neighbor, but that wasn’t why her day was so bad. It wasn’t why her boss was sympathetic and had let Ellie go home early. In fact, her boss never let anyone go home early. It was part of the job and Ellie knew that. Normally Ellie wouldn’t have left her shift early, but this really bothered her.

Ellie was always observant and never missed anything. She did this time, however. Her neighbor’s killer – her own daughter – was just proven innocent because of piece of evidence Ellie had missed. Sure, part of it was the detective on the case and the defense attorney was strong and determined to get the woman Ellie grew up with and played with as a child off free.

While she knew it wasn’t completely her fault, the other officers and detectives missed the key piece of evidence as well. Ellie still took the blame. It was bad enough that her childhood friend had murdered her own mother, but what was worse was that now she had to go the rest of her life not knowing why. Of course, she wasn’t going to admit it now that she was proven innocent so there was no way Ellie could figure out the motive. She wanted to keep investigating but part of her knew it would be a waste of time.

Her boss even warned her of that as well. It was part of the reason she let Ellie take the rest of the day off. She didn’t want Ellie to feel tempted to keep investigating even though there was plenty of other work that needed to be done and other cases that needed to be solved.

Ellie made it over to the park and she sat down on the bench in the middle of it. A few families were there with their children. Some were having picnics while others were playing on the playground or simply going for a walk. The air was a bit nippy and Ellie was beginning to get cold, but she didn’t want to move from her spot. She remembered her neighbor taking her to this park a couple of times with her daughters. They had a lot of fun together.

It was weird to think back to those times, especially since at the time, they had no idea things would end up this way. Ellie watched the other families gather together and have a nice time and she wondered what went wrong between her neighbor’s family. What made her daughter snap? Her neighbor was in her 90s. What was the point of murdering her? It broke Ellie’s heart that it was a daughter who killed her own mother. She couldn’t imagine it.

No, none of the cases that Ellie had ever worked had bothered her. They were sad and they were out there sometimes, but Ellie was always able to keep a straight face. She knew this was part of the job and she felt bad for the people involved, but she needed to do her job and that was that. Sure, she knew these people personally, but she wondered how she would have felt if she didn’t know them. She wondered how different things would be right now.

Ellie would still feel bad, but at least she would have been at work right now working on the next case. That’s what she did as a cop. She moved on from one case to the next and always hoped for the best. It was just part of the job.

That’s what she was going to have to do for the next case. She would start that tomorrow though.

Words: 1,005

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