Sharon stood, drenched in blood, mere inches from her mother. Face slack and eyes gaunt, she was shivering despite the warmth of the house. In her hand was a steak knife, stained with crimson fluid.
Lindsay dropped to her knees and wrapped the little girl in a hug, pulling her close. “Oh Sharon, what happened? Are you okay sweetie?”
In a small voice, Sharon whimpered. Lindsay pulled her daughter back to look at her, the little girl’s lips moving slowly, the words spilling out in a hushed whisper.
“Honey, speak up, are you okay? Are you hurt?”
Sharon shook her head minutely, a jerk of motion that may have been a tremor. She locked eyes with her mother and whispered, this time louder.
“Thirteen…” Sharon said, voice low enough that Lindsay could barely hear her over her own hammering heart.
“Thirteen, thirteen what honey?” Lindsay asked, leaning in closer to better hear her.
“Thirteen…” Sharon repeated, eyes returning to their unfocused gaze. “Thirteen…”
“Put down the knife,” Lindsay said, gripping Sharon’s clenched fist to pull the implement away. “And let me get you in the shower, I need to clean you up.”
“Thirteen…” Sharon replied, seemingly deaf to her mother’s words.
Sharon pulled the blade from Sharon’s hands and set it down on the floor before standing up to guide her daughter to the bathroom. She paused at her room to grab her cell phone; she needed to call the police. Ducking into the bathroom, she turned on the faucet and began undressing her daughter, peeling away the blood-soaked articles of nightclothes one by one.
Finally, she lifted Sharon up and set her in the tub, the water warm enough that it wouldn’t be a shock to the traumatized girl.
Lindsay grabbed a washcloth and began scrubbing along Sharon’s arms while dialing 9-1-1 on her phone. It rang twice before an operator picked up.
“Hello, yes, I’d like to report a break-in? Somebody got into my house and tried to hurt me and my family,” Lindsay lied. “I was able to stab him and am kind of in shock now. Please, send someone to our home.”
Lindsay gave her address and set the phone on the closed toilet so that the operator could listen to her talk. She related that her daughter may have been hurt and she was checking her over now for injuries. Sharon continued to mumble throughout the entire conversation, but Lindsay couldn’t get her to say anything else.
The police came and examined the home and took both mother and daughter to the hospital. Sharon was examined, as was Lindsay, and the doctors said that the poor girl must be in shock from the experience. They told them that the house would be a crime scene for the next day or so, and that they would need to stay in a hotel.
Lindsay was guiding Sharon out of the hospital when an officer stopped them. Large with broad shoulders and a lined face, he smiled when he spoke to them.
“Ma’am, I’m stopping to ask you if you know where the knife you used to stop the intruder is,” the officer asked, tone serious despite genial appearance. “The steak knife we found on the floor couldn’t have been what killed that man, as the wounds show serration marks.”
“Serration?” Lindsay repeated, confused.
“Teeth like on a jagged-edged knife?” The officer elaborated. “Whatever you used to tear that man up is missing, and if we want to rule this as self-defense, we need the weapon to match the wounds.”
“I don’t know what to tell you officer, but I’ll be certain to look for it when I return home,” Lindsay said.
“We’ll look for it as well,” the officer said, before holding out a hand as if to calm her. “Don’t worry, we’ll leave the house intact, we just need to find the weapon sooner rather than later.”
“Alright, do what you have to do,” Lindsay said, before guiding Sharon out into the warm night air.