The Kroft Family - The Murder of One

-The First Book in the Kroft Series-
Michael Kroft's life wasn't perfect. He shared a home with his irritating sisters Flo and Dianne and annoying older brother George. His father was an alcoholic with anger issues, and his mother was pregnant with, yet another girl.
Then Alice was born.
And things went from bad to worse.
Because Alice wasn't Alice Kroft, she was Alice Peters.
And the day his father found out, his mother was murdered.
Now with his dad the prime suspect of a murder investigation, Drew Peters asking for 'his daughter' back, and social services against them, Michael must unite his siblings so they can raise Alice as a Kroft, and keep Drew Peters grubby hands off her.


3. The un-returning mother

I don't how how long me and Flo sat there, admiring our sister, but it was a while. We only stopped when we heard the front door slam and our father cry.

"Don't bother coming back!" 

Me and Flo had gotten up to my bedroom window and looked out to see our mother wandering down the street. 

"She'll be back soon, don't worry" Flo had assured me, but he absence had dug a pit in my stomach. We'd placed Alice back in her crib, kissed her goodnight, and headed back downstairs. I'd poked my head inside the living room, and saw my dad watching the TV with an absent mind, surrounded by shattered glass, pillow fluff and snapped table legs. I made the sensible decision to leave him alone with his anger. Flo had gone to make some dinner, as it was clear mum and dad weren't going to, plus George was pathetic at cooking, he couldn't even turn the microwave on right.

I found the final pair of my siblings in the basement, where the other (smaller) television was. George looked up when I entered, grunted, and went back to looking at the screen. Of all my brothers and sisters, George was the one I liked the least, he was stupid, ignorant, and lazy. But George was off to university soon, so I only had a few weeks left with him. At first George had been reluctant to send in an application, he wanted to be a 'football player', but mum had forced him to, even following him down to the letterbox to post it. Dianne didn't even look up when I entered, she probably couldn't hear through her headphones. I sat cross legged on the carpet (there was no more room on the sofa), and half-listened to the commentary on the football match. When half time came, I took the remote from behind the screen and switched over to a documentary on the romans. I was about 30 seconds in to watching the programme, when the remote was snatched from my hand my George, who changed it back to the match. 

"Hey" I moaned.

"History is boring" he glared at me.

"It's not boring, and anyway, it's better than half-time on a football match." I replied, not afraid or anxious over my older brothers actions.

"I'm the boss, and I say we watch the match" he decided.

"Half time isn't the match." I pointed out

"Don't try to be smart Mikey." George sighed, turning the volume up.

"I'm just saying, let me have the documentary for 15 minutes or so" I suggested.

"You're so weird Mike, boys your age aren't supposed to watch documentaries on Ceasar, they're supposed to be out on a pitch." He insulted me, this only sparked anger.

"That's stereotypical George. Not every male adolescent loves football." I sighed. When George did nothing but turn the volume up further, I gave up. I often imagined what it would've been like if I was born first, and George was born fourth. Would I treat him with the same respect I showed me, would I be worse? I thought I'd be a good big brother, supportive and acceptive of my baby bro, not trying to clone him into a mini me. I saw Dianne get up from the sofa out of the corner of my eye.

"Where are you going?" George asked her.

"What do you care?" She spat back at him. Instead of doing the right thing and pursuing his question, George simply shrugged and set his eyes back on the screen. Just as half-time finished Flo called down the stairs for us to come to dinner. When me and George arrived in the kitchen Flo was the only one there, plating up scrambled eggs.

"Where's dad?" I asked her.

"He left a few minutes ago, probably to find mum and apologize, he seemed calmer." She told me, this made me smile. I wanted Alice to grow up happy, and this could almost assure me that dad would take her in as his own. I sat down and tucked in to the plate of eggs Flo had prepared. I was halfway through when Dianne returned, and finished when I heard the door go a second time. All 4 of us left the kitchen for the hall, and were disappointed to see dad, with no mum. 

"Where's mum?" I questioned him.

"I couldn't find her" he sighed, placing his damp coat on the rack. I hadn't realized it had been raining outside until then, the realization crawled up my back and infiltrated my mind, like the dismal weather was some sort of bad omen. We all accepted his failure, he probably hadn't been looking very hard, Flo handed dad the remaining food and we all went into the larger living room. 

As the hours ticked by and there was still no arrival from mum I began to worry. Had she left us for good? Was she never coming back? Would I ever see her again? She wouldn't leave without saying goodbye, would she? It soon neared midnight, and mum still hadn't come through the door. 

"Go to bed Michael, mum will be here by morning" Flo comforted me. I would've said no, if I wasn't so exhausted from the long days events. I had one foot on the stairs when the phone rang. My immediate thought was that it was mum, so I jumped off the step and picked up the phone.

"Hello" I panted into the speaker.

"Hello is that Oliver Kroft?" A deep masculine voice spoke down the phone.

"No, this is his son Michael Kroft" I told the man, upset that it wasn't my mother who had rang.

"Can you pass the phone to Oliver Kroft please?" I man requested. I did as told, telling my dad the call was for him.

"Hello, yes, that's me" my dad took the phone, "oh, I see. Yes, I'll be there right away, of course. Thank you." My dad hung up the phone, sitting back down on the sofa, his head in his hands. He didn't move an inch for minutes.

"Is everything okay? Is there somewhere you have to be?" Flo had the courage to ask what we were all thinking. Das's head shot up, as if he had suddenly remembered he was not alone in the room. 

"Oh children" he sighed, "it's your mother."

"What's wrong?" I squeaked, my voice high in worry.

"The police found her outside Paul's Bar" he told us.

"Drunk?" Dianne checked.

"No" my dad shook his head, tears escaping his eyes, this worried me, my dad rarely cried, "they found her dead".


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