“How’s she doing Sergeant?” Inspector Carlton look up from his paperwork, eyes red and sore behind his old horn-rimmed specs as DS Marlowe entered his office.
“As well as can be expected Guv, she’s seen the doc and he’s said that, other than being under-developed for her age and malnourished, she’s not in too bad a state”
Carlton could see that the younger man was agitated and indicated that he should sit down. It had been a difficult case for all of them but Marlowe seemed to have taken it all very badly; he was an experienced copper and had seen far worse so Carlton felt that he needed to get to the bottom of things.
“What’s going on Gary?” They could dispense with Serge and Gov for this chat.
“I’m sorry Dave, I shouldn’t have let this get to me but I just can’t stand what’s been done to that kid. She’s 11 years old for Christs sake, she’s never known a minute of love or affection and she’s seen things no child should ever have to see” He was shocked to find that his voice was breaking and tears pricking his eyes. He turned his face away from his superior, embarrassed at his lack of self-control.
Inspector Carlton was a kindly man who took a personal interest in all the members of his team and he knew that Gary Marlowe had suffered the death of his youngest daughter two years previously. It had been a freak accident, nothing that anyone could have done but he had taken the loss very badly.
“She’s safe now mate” Marlowe felt a hand on his shoulder and was grateful.
“Her mother was a drug addict and her father a pimp. She’s seen other addicts, even prepared their hits for them; she’s seen women sell themselves and be beaten for not performing well enough and now she’s seen her father kill her mother in the worst possible way. These are things that will scar her for life but at least she has a life to live thanks to you. If you hadn’t have worked out who was controlling the drug cartel and prostitution ring, we wouldn’t have been there to stop Maccy before he turned on Megan, you need to remember that Gary”.
Marlowe stood up and shook his commanding officer’s hand
“Thanks Dave, that means a lot mate” his obvious sincerity touched Carlton but he said
“Get on with you, go and look after Megan….hey, I’ve just realised, it’s bloody Christmas day tomorrow” With all that had been going on with this case, he’d completely forgotten. “I’m off to buy something for the wife, see you on Sunday”
“OK boss, Happy Christmas” Marlowe headed back to the interview room, giving a thumbs up to his colleagues as he passed the canteen.
Ten minutes later Megan was standing, with her hand in Marlowe’s, staring up at the worn paper Christmas decorations, the tacky plastic tree, the fake presents and the mound of sausage rolls and sandwiches that covered the tables in the canteen. Her mouth was a perfect O as she walked across to the tree, dragging Marlowe behind her. She reached out her other hand and gently touched a slightly grubby fairy with a torn skirt before smiling up at the Sergeant and saying, in a voice filled with wonder
His own smile was warm as he saw her experience, probably, the first real joy she’d ever known.
“It is isn’t it? Happy Christmas Megan”
Written in response to another motivating prompt from Fandango