Penny reefed open the curtains, flooding the room with afternoon light. I winced from the brightness and looked down. In front of me, on the coffee table was my mother’s favourite vase. A fine pale crack snaked from one end of the vase to the other. I knocked the vase over when I was five years old and my mother had spent hours painstakingly fixing it, telling me that if you loved something enough, it was worth all the time in the world to put it back together again. The vase stood brimming with blood red roses she had picked yesterday. Petals were scattered around the base of the vase. At some point during the day, the roses had wilted and died.
Detective Bletcher walked back into the room, his mobile still stuck to his ear. He finished the conversation and snapped the phone shut.
“I’ve got to go,” he announced, nodding toward Penny, and then toward me. He left without saying another word.
Penny crossed the room and sat next to me. I leaned in to her as her weight sunk down into the cushions. I edged away and stared straight ahead, wondering when someone was going to say something. Her partner perched himself on the edge of the seat of an armchair, his head instinctively cocking to one side as a siren wailed somewhere off in the distance. The room grew uncomfortably quiet, filled only with the rhythmic ticking of the clock above the mantle.