b'27Clip boards in hand, the officers of the Idem policeHe was full of hopes and dreams. This one was spiked the adrenaline in me. I could see their eyesshadier. I always thought my son to be steadfast andThe policemen remained indifferent and racing over imaginary questions, two men, one sharpindependent. I blamed myself, if only I had seenin control. At the final moments of the the other soft, one tall and strong and the otherthis beforehand, if only I had known that Alfie was plumper and more fragile. Both calm in the safety ofso impressionable, I might have been able to stopsearch, we were trudging up a hill. I was procedure, we skipped past condolences and wentall this from happening. Is this really who he thinksexhausted, I wanted to give up, to go straight into the tough questions.the world wants him to be? Resentfully, I turned myhome. As dawn arrived, the gentle sun My husbands dead. (That was easier than I thought).head towards the influences: I thought of breakingbeat away some of the fatigue from my Last night? I was working late at the bank on the highthat picture on the wall. I looked at his friends street. Alfie was out last night yes, sleeping over at hisfamilies, took a deep breath, and I decided it waseyes, but seeing Idem in daylight only friend Jerrys house (Is Jerry here?). He does go outnot the time for this. I had a clarity in my head thatreminded me of how long I had been often sir Im often usually until late, but Ive knownwas unprecedented. My fears, ever present and nowsearching, shining my eyes to the futility the families he stays with for over a decade. Yes, sir Ireformed, gave me purpose. We needed to find him,of it.know them closely, and my son is very responsible.and we needed to find him quickly.(No one is looking at me). Drugs? (No. Please no. NotIdem is a small and picturesque town, ensconcedSo, lacking the will to go forward but having the my Alfie) Sorry, I-I didnt know. I dont encourage suchin nature, closely flanked on all sides by woods andstrength to turn back, I started my way down the things in my house, this is the first time Im hearingsmall green hills. Last night Alfie and his friendshill. And yet as I walked back, my eyes still searched, this. No officer Im not on Instagram Ive never seenbrought down chaos, the policemen told us aboutmy throat still yearned to scream his name. I his account before. Um, yes sir that is his bedroom (alltheir exploits.became hopeful under the grace of the morning of that was in his bedroom?). That was all taken fromsun. And then with chance I saw him, lying in the his room last night? Im sorry but can I have a look atA trail of receipts for food and booze,undergrowth, white legs splayed against green leaves.his Instagram? dozens of resident complaints, cases ofIt was Alfie. Dead and pale. He had been slaughtered He was a stranger online. It was still him,damaged property. To think I had been soby wild animals, wild dogs maybe. Just killed, not but his smiles carried a dubiousness thatoblivious, all of this was right under myeaten. A bite to the back of the knee to cripple, a bite Id never known before, he even dressednose. They had been everywhere, the boysto the neck to kill, preceded by bites all over, just for among us did not even remember howpleasure. His head was bent at an awkward angle different, tackier - as if trying to beand the sun highlighted his blue veins. I could not tell someone else.they got back in one piece.for how long he had been dead. His photos were filled with some dodgy personalitiesThe search for Alfie led to the outskirts of town, andThe others were catching up to me, the whom I had never met nor heard of. He had beerthen further beyond. The wildlife was a menace, thestrength in my legs brought me to him bottles littered all over his feed, night time shots ofdarkness was an annoyance, and I was deathly cold. alleyways, of clubs, of him with strange women.HeMy larynx had grown tired of screaming Alfies name,quicker than expected, but I had none of was shallow. Absurdity tried to tell me that this wasand I was sounding more desperate by the hour. Talkthat strength left in me. I really remember not my son, I might have fared better by listening.among the search party was kept to a minimum, webeing out of breath. I just sat down beside But it was him! There was no mistaking it, althoughall reeked of guilt and unease, except a few distanthim, looked into his soulless eyes, and let the boy on the screen could not hold a candle tomembers of the group, some of whom left because the one I had known: principled, intelligent, caring.of the awkwardness.my tears fall onto them.'