In the hall of mirrors, Detective Cud Wilson didn’t know who looked worse: the corpses hanging from the ceiling or himself. His brown suit jacket worked too well with his zombie make up. This was what he wore most days. At least with the make up he looked less divorced. He avoided mirrors when his daughters were with mom. He was missing more then. A ghost limb instead of a fake one.
He roamed through the haunted maze until he found his dark corner and waited. Kids screamed and laughed. Reacting to bored teenagers and guilty adults as they jumped out of cardboard coffins and piles of hay.
Wilson couldn’t steady his breathing. Couldn’t keep it quiet at all. His stomach expanded every breath, refusing his summons to calm. Every stake out and interrogation, he had always been calm. His breathing went on like machinery. Not a thought wasted on the basic functions of his body. As he waited for little kids on a cold October night he sweated and huffed.
Two girls we’re walking through the dark towards him. One looked to be older then the other, holding her hand for quiet comfort. A motion sensor went off and a cheap clown head toy popped out of a table. The youngest one giggled.
They came near to the detective’s corner and he jumped out, “Boo.” His youngest daughter ran away without screaming. Just a release of air like something deep in her stomach moved.
His oldest kept her gaze on him, “I’m sorry Dad I’ll go get her.” She ran off, following the youngest back towards the hall of mirrors.
Detective Wilson still had to fight with his breathing as he stood there alone. Sticking his gut out in an embarrassing way. He realized he hadn’t recognized his daughter’s giggle.
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