Chapter Seven: Henry

by Emon Hassan on December 7, 2008

He seems pretty calm for a 6-yr old being interrogated. He wishes his feet touched the floor – he doesn’t remember police stations being so dark on TV shows. The metal chair feels cold where his shorts end and his bare legs begin. He needs to go to the bathroom. His mom’s hand holds his right hand, but it doesn’t make him feel any better. Or safer.

“I wasn’t gonna hurt him.” He barely lets out.

“We know that, sweetie.”

Mom’s voice echoes, travels over to the wall to the left of him, bounces off and bounces off and bounces off. He can’t help but worry about those words making it back to mom. She would want them again, wouldn’t she? She’d need them again to tell him she knows what he’s going through.

“We’ll need Dr. Romanov to talk to him too.” Officer Armstrong reminds Doug of Mister Rogers.

“I don’t know if I can put him through more of this.”

“I understand, Mrs. Winters, but the best way to handle this is to prove that Doug does not have violent tendencies. If Ms. Carson press charges…”

Hushed voices make Doug uncomfortable. He covers his ears and tries to listen for Henry.

His dad bought him a toy piano when he was 3. Doug loved that piano. He played it every chance he got. But he really liked to play that one key that was broken and never got along with the other notes. He felt sorry for it because it stood out. He wanted to be its best friend until it got better one day. He gave the note a name. Henry.

One day, Henry was gone. Instead, sat a shiny new piano in the living room. Doug cried and cried past that Christmas morning well into the night the family watched the giant light-ball drop on TV.

“Max was hurting Henry. But I only wanted Max to go away. He kept barking.”

Mom and Officer Armstrong freeze into an old hand-colored photograph. His ears still covered with his palms. He wanted Henry back.

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