Robert returned to his cell and kicked the door shut hard,wishing instantly that he hadn't. He hobbled over to the bed and sat down, putting his plate down next to the file, still sitting on the bed, he'd forgotten he'd left it out, maybe he should hide it from now on. Robert took a huge, hungry bite out of his sandwich, cheese and fresh salad, he picked the file back up and skimmed through the police and social services reports, until he found another incident report, this one less than a year after the previous. He took another bite of his sandwich, and read on.
Nine months had passes since the night Eclipses home had been destroyed, her father, along with two other families, killed. The police and forensics teams were still at a complete loss to explain what had happened, nothing had been turned up in the debris to explain the incident, if it had been done on purpose, why hadn't anyone claimed responsibilty, or been more bombs, one random attack, for no reason, with no motive, was highly unlikely. Everyone was at a loss to explain the explosion, so gave up, only one person couldn't let the incident go as nothing more than a terrible accident.
Chris Faulkner sat alone at home, the photo copied case file on his coffee table, next to a half drunk bottle of scotch and whiskey tumbler. He hadn't drunk half the bottle that night, just given up returning it to the spirit table in the corner. He rubbed his weary eyes, checked his watch, it had been thirty eight hours since he'd last slept, a nasty case of the flu was knocking his officers off their feet at a drastic rate, they were spread so thin, he was doing more overtime than ever before. He returned to the sheets, skipping over his whiskey glass for the coffee cup next to it, probably wasn't a good idea getting drunk when he had to be back in six hours.
He was pouring over the reports on the debris found in the park, one item had caught his attention, the remains of a very small bed, which according to scrapings from under the burnt paint, revealed it used to be pink, he knew that the family next door to Eclipse had two small boys, and the one on the other side, one teenage son, which meant it must have been Eclipses, his memory strayed back to that night, when he'd been sitting in the patrol car with her, he'd asked,
"How did you get into the park?", she hadn't answered, in fact, the little girl he'd befriended that night, had never spoken of that night, and he doubted she ever would, now, looking at the facts in front of him, no matter how impossible, there really was only one answer,
"You were still in bed, weren't you sweet pea!".
He downed his coffee and stood up, just a few hours sleep was all he needed, then maybe he stop thinking crazy thoughts like girls in flying, flaming beds! Then he stopped himself,
"But there was no fire!", he went back to the papers, just to double check, he remembered the fire engines, but not the fire? He found the report, he was right, on arriving, the lead fire fighter had report that there was no fire, or even burning debris, no smoke, no fire, no fumes, nothing! Faulkner sat back in his sofa, his brain buzzing with theories and ideas, years of police work and training kicking into action....then it stopped, for a split second, all thought gone, just one simple image in his mind, of the back of that patrol car, watching a terrified little girl huddled up, her knees to her face, and her brilliant blue eyes, for a single solitary moment, flashing white light.
Faulkner through the papers down onto the table, was he really going to entertain the notion that one small, traumatised girl, obliterated three houses? A photo clipped to Eclipses file showed her, her father and mother, sitting in front of their house. Eclipse was sitting in front of her parents, beaming at the camera, her mother and father completely unable to stop looking at her, smiling down at their beautiful, happy daughter. He regarded her father for a moment, trying to understand what turned this happy family man into what he became.
Faulkner checked his watch, it was after two am,
"Time for bed, old man!", he tidied his papers away in their file and got back up off the sofa, he was half way to the door when a faint rumbling from the table caught his attention, turning back, he groaned, it was his mobile phone, vibrating on silent. Faulkner grudgingly walked over and checked the screen to see who was calling so late, although he was fairly sure he knew who it was, confirmed, the station,
"Faulkner", he stated, answering the phone, trying to sound sleepy in a vein hope it was something someone else could deal with!
"Chris, its Mark!", Mark Shepard, another Sargent, "look I'm sorry to call so late, just there's been a serious incident, and I thought you would want to be involved!", he sounded anxious,
"Why me? I'll be back in a few hours!",
there was a long pause before Shepard responded, "Chris, It's the Willow Tree children's home...............Chris?.....Chris?!",
Faulkner's phone was laying on his living room carpet, he'd dropped it when he'd run for the door.
Two Hours Earlier:
Eclipse was sitting on a chair, by the window, in her new bedroom, from here she just see the town centre, it was after mid-night, people were leaving pubs and drunkenly trying to make their way home, singing football chants and knocking over litter bins. She hated it here, it was loud and smelt like car fumes, from the road outside. The house was smaller than she imagined, she'd imagined a factory like building, full of hundreds of lost lonely children, but the reality was, she was one of six children at the house, one other girl and four boy's, ages ranging from eight, Eclipse was the youngest, to a twelve year old boy called Ryan, who no one liked, he was a bully, vicious and stupid, over weight and pig faced.
The three younger boys shared the largest room, sleeping on triple bunk beds, Ryan and Victoria had the own rooms. Eclipse was originally going to go in with Victoria, who was a gentle kind girl of ten, hoping she would adopt Eclipse and look after her, but Eclipse was proving a difficult room mate, she was not rude, or get in the way, in fact Victoria was enjoying the share most of the time, it was just at night. Eclipse had almost completely stopped sleeping, only managing three or four hours a night.
In the end, Eclipse had been given her own room, she hadn't been happy to leave Victoria, she'd liked the older girl, enjoyed her company and listening to her made up stories while they lay in theirs beds, it was a bit like having her mummy back again. Victoria had told Eclipse she would come to see her before she went to bed every night, to tell her a new story, and at first she had, until a new carer had been brought in.
Daniel Chapman was an ex teacher, he had given up his teaching position after one of his pupils had accused him of raping her. Chapman had been cleared of all charges after an older pupil at the school had stood up at testified that he had heard the girl threaten Chapman and storm from his class room in a rage, after Chapman had dismissed a crush she had on him. The student in question, Nina Mallone, had been rumored to have had crushes on her teachers as well as older students before, often making up stories about them, more often than not, to make herself the dismissive one to their advances, including one older make student, she had had a crush on for sometime, the same student who stood up in court and told the jury that she had lied, Robert Farrell.
Chapman had applied and been accepted to the position of new lead carer at the home, prefering the night shifts, as this gave him more time for adminastrative work. On the wbhole, the kids liked him, even Eclipse was becoming easy around him, not minding being alone with him. Chapman was in his early forties, already grey haired, which he kept in a neat crew cut. He had kind brown eyes that lit up his warm face, rosey cheeks, combined with his rather round midrift, Chapman reminded the kids of a shaved Santa Claus, the truth was somewhat, different.