Bob gave the door another pound. “Police Department! Is there anyone in there?” He paused and tried to peek through the window. The lights were on inside. The house was silent. “We’ve been called to investigate a domestic disturbance.” Bob looked at Brian and sighed. “Anything from dispatch?”
Brian shrugged. The lights from the squad car behind him were glaring in the night. “They lost contact.” He leaned in close to try and see through the thin cracks in the blinds. “It was a little girl who called. She said someone was inside.”
“Christ, it’s fucking cold,” Bob said. His breath huffed in front of him. “Well, there are cars in the driveway, so someone is here.” Bob rubbed his hands together. “You keep trying here, I’m going around back.”
“Another squad car is coming,” Brian said.
“Good,” Bob said as he unlatched the fence. “I hate this middle of the night bullshit.” He pulled his flashlight and followed the white circle it made on the path. When he got to the sliding-glass door, he saw a lamp that was tipped over. Beside it was a love seat; it’s matching ottoman was knocked on its side. Bob drew his gun and found the door unlocked. He went in.
The house was frigid inside and felt as though it was generating the coldness of winter. He crossed the living room in silence and let Brian inside. He motioned silently for Brian to scan the ground floor while Bob went upstairs. They both quieted their radios.
A plume of cold air poured down the stairway. Bob’s teeth chattered in his jaw and his shaking hand struggled to steady the pistol. His skin crawled and covered with bumps. When he reached the landing, he found that none of the lights worked. He held the long handle of his black flashlight and followed its white spot. Despite his desire to call out, he did not make a sound. He gripped the handle of his gun tightly. The sights on the end bounced about.
The first room, the daughter’s room, was empty. The mattress with pink sheets was over turned and shoved in the corner. It stood against the wall, leaning length wise up.
The bathroom was also empty. Bob checked the tub. It was clean and bone dry. The shower curtain was gone. As he turned to leave, he could have sworn with all his heart that he heard the sound of water being gently splashed behind him. When he turned, spinning with nervous reaction, the sound stopped.
The final bedroom door was closed. He paused for a moment and considered which instrument he would lower, the pistol or the light. He clutched the gun close and tucked the light under his arm. His fingers stung with cold when he turned the knob. He turned it just enough to have it unlatch.
He heard a stomping sound, too heavy for footsteps, and a primal snort. A door slammed closed from inside the room. Bob locked with fear. The white circle from his flashlight shook violently on the bedroom door. He wanted to call out to Brian below, but his voice was no longer there. He pushed the door open slowly with his toe. As it swung open, he saw the closed door of the master bathroom. No light emitted from the crack below the door.
Bob gave a slow sweeping motion with the light. His shallow breath pumped out puffs of white. Pictures lined the walls and gave way to a small dresser. He briefly blinded himself as the light passed over a mirror. He paused on the bed and saw that there were figures resting under the sheets. They did not move. The sheets were white and clearly stained with blood. He swept his light further and gave a shallow scream. He fumbled his flashlight briefly and regained it in his hand.
Next to the bed, there was a girl floating, suspended in the air. Her young body was poised in the form of a crucifix. She bled from her hands and feet, and small circles of red stained the carpet below her. Her blues eyes were wide and so very open. Through the bathroom door, Bob heard a low, guttural laugh.