As it was five in the morning when he arrived at his parent’s house, he was understandably concerned about disturbing them when he came to the front door. He’d always had problems with that door, in damp weather it stuck and sometimes it required some persuasion to get the key to turn in the lock.
This time there was no problem, no noise.
He walked through the quiet house, silently observing yesterday’s remains; an empty mug, crumbs on the bread board, an open newspaper, the remote control on the sofa... He went quietly upstairs to his room, grateful that the stairs didn’t creak.
In the dawn’s early light he looked around his bedroom. Tidy for once as he hadn’t been home for a month. His books neatly arranged and DVDs and CDs all in place, his collection of key rings hanging from a hook He wouldn’t need any of those any more.
He felt the need to check on his parents. Slowly he made his way into their bedroom. He smiled at the noise of his father’s snores – nothing had changed.
He could make out his mother’s hair lay on her pillow – tangled as she was a restless sleeper, no doubt due to the loud snores! So very quietly he approached her side of the bed and leaned down to kiss her forehead. She didn’t wake but she must have felt it somewhere in her subconscious as she sleepily muttered “Night night, God bless” just like she did every night when she kissed him good night as a child.
It was time to go, there was no way he could stay. He gave them a last look and with a lump in his throat, retraced his steps down to the front door and out into the garden.
He had already disappeared into the morning mist when the police car quietly cruised into the street and pulled up by the gate. Just an ordinary neighbourhood with well tended gardens, that was so peaceful at this time of the morning. The uniformed occupants got out of the car with heavy hearts as they made their way to the house to break the bad news.