The word itself went through my mind quickly. In a blur my mind deciphered it's meaning. My mother was dead. There it was, what my dad had just told me. The meaning itself wasn't complicated. What was complicated was my response. At first came disbelief, but I was too smart for that to last long. Then a flash of anger that made my fist form into a strong circle, but again, this was a few seconds at most. A few thoughts of regrets that were completely irrelevant blinded me for a minute or two. Then the pit my mother had left when she slammed the front door deepened, dragging me into it. I felt myself collapse on the sofa next to my father, with an odd sense of nausea. The smallest, slowest, most painful tears slid down my cheeks, burning almost, leaving invisible scars. For the first time in my life, I wished away my intelligence. I didn't want to know what his words meant, I wanted to be idiotic and clueless, with no words there is no response, with no understanding there is no grievance. It was as though the shock had shut down all my senses. I could no longer see anything but my mother, and 12 years worth of memories flashed before me. I couldn't hear the word around me, a numb echo of my dads words were all I had. I had no sense of surrounding, only a sense of dismay, and sickness. The world wasn't even sympathetic enough to let me remain in this state. Soon the surprise and shock died down, and my mother faded from my vision.
I was faced with my siblings, all in a similar state to me, silent in their hurt. George was on the floor with his head in between his legs, sobbing. Flo was hugging dad, crying floods, turning the pink cotton of his t-shirt a sickening red. Dianne was leaning against the edge of the sofa, fiddling with a shard of glass, pricking the tips of her fingers, I was only thankful it wasn't the delta of her wrist. Even Alice, who was safely upstairs in her cot, had awoken and was now crying. A part of me wondered if she knew, if she had felt it somehow.
"I have to go there" our dad announced, lightly shoving Flo from his chest.
"We'll come with you" Dianne decided.
"No, it's no sight for you." Our dad shook his head vigorously.
"We have a right to go" George agreed with Dianne.
"I want to see her" Flo sniffed.
"Fine, you three can come" dad agreed, too tired to fight with them.
"What about me? I deserve to go as well" I spoke up.
"It's no sight for little kids Michael, besides, you have to stay here with Alice." Flo told me.
"I'm only 3 years younger than Dianne" I argued.
"If you come what about Alice? We can't just leave her here." George pointed out.
"Take her too" I suggested, them immediately regretted it. A murder scene was no place for a baby. On the other hand there was no other option...
"No way" Dianne replied to my suggested.
"Do it, let's all go. A Kroft family trip down to the the pub." My dad exclaimed sarcastically, though he was serious about the Alice part. So I went up and fetched Alice, holding her in my arms. Alice fell asleep on the ride over to the pub, I wished I was able to do the same. When dad pulled up you could hardly see the pub through the camera flashed and crowds of forensic scientists, police officers, and nosey public. My dad managed to barge through the crowd and a friendly police officer lead us inside the bar, sitting us down and fetching us water. Dad was taken away for questioning and we were left alone. Alice woke up from all the commotion and began to cry, Flo took her from me, somehow able to calm her down. I just sipped my water, letting a few more tears fall, these ones were not quite as painful as the first lot, but they still stung my cheeks.
"George Kroft?" A police officer came over, George sat up and left. After 5 minutes or so, he returned. "Florida Kroft?" He asked again. One by one my siblings left to be questioned about tonight. I awaited my turn with dread, not wanting to be quizzed on the night my mother died, especially as I knew nothing. After half an hour of drumming my fingers, 3 glasses of water and one trip to the bathroom, it was my turn. The man lead me out back, into a room where a smiling female police officer sat, she beaconed for me to sit down, and I did so.
"So, your Michael Kroft?" She checked.
"Yes" I confirmed, my voice surprisingly quite.
"12 years old, goes to school with your siblings, youngest son of Oliver Kroft?"
"Yes" I repeated myself.
"Good" she smiled, "lollypop?" She offered, pointing to a jar. I didn't want one, but took one anyway.
"Thank you" I murmured.
"I have a few questions for you Michael, is that okay?"
"That's fine." She smiled (again) and retrieved a notepad from her pocket.
"I understand from the rest of your family that your half-sister Alice was born today?"
"That's right" I confirmed, getting a little put off by the term 'half-sister', to me, Alice was a Kroft.
"And where were you between 7pm and 12am tonight Michael?"
"At home with my family" I told her.
"Did any of them leave at any point?"
"My mum, obviously. Then my sister Dianne..."
"What time was this?" She interrupted me.
"My sister left at around 8." I guessed.
"Did anyone else leave?"
"My dad, at around quarter to nine, but that's it." She nodded, she'd probably heard the same from my brothers and sisters.
"And do you know where they went?"
"My dad went to look for my mum, I don't know where Dianne went" I was getting a little bored, it was uncomfortably formal.
"Thank you Michael, one last question. Is there any reason someone might want your mother dead?" I though hard about this, though one this came to mind instantly.
"We only found out about Alice's birth father today, apart from that, my mother had no reason to make any enemies." I assured her. She shook my hand, increasing the awkward formality of the interview, and let the man lead me back to my siblings. My dad was with them, they all looked up when I returned, as though they'd been waiting for me.
"We can go now" my dad told me, and that's exactly what we did. I fell asleep on the journey home, not because I was upset, or wanted too, because it was 3 in the morning and I was exhausted. If I had gotten a choice, I would've stayed up all night, and the night after that, and the night after that. I would've stayed up for 1000 nights until they found out who killed my mother.