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Now what?

1

Ok, Brian thought. Now what?

He'd just defended himself from foul, broken and fallen fellow human beings. But not just any human beings. Not just anyone.

And no, not even human anymore.

He looked straight ahead as he stood (well just barely capable of standing), clinging to the white porcelain sink under the mirror in the next to pitch dark bathroom. His knees were struggling to grant his simple wish keeping him on his feet. Although they admittedly would prefer to stop shaking by simply let the man drop. They would be well within their rights if they so chose to, he thought. His night vision had settled in for some time now and he wasn't that surprised he actually could see pretty well at this point. He could see a bearded man staring back at him, eyeing his face up and down. Most of his features were covered in something; fresh blood, blood clots and brain tissue? From the corners of each eye plowed a pale miniature river through the dark gradient of red on his cheeks. He thought he looked like he was in his early sixties, at least that's what he felt like, when in reality he was closer to 30. And to think that just moments ago that man, this man, was happy? He was thinking that it might as well have been in the stone ages.

The eyes with big dilated pupils staring back from the reflection had nothing in common with the eyes of the man he thought he was. Or wanted to be. A good citizen. A perfect spouse. A "The World's Greatest Dad" dad, as the desktop brass plaque received last birthday humbly announced. The eyes were those of a man in survival mode, a man all crazed up and ready to chop anything off. But maybe that was good, he argued. Maybe it's what I need right now. Where I need to be, the inner voice said.

"Daddy", he heard from the other side of the bathroom door. Or he thought he heard. "Daddy", and now it was decided. His ears still worked, he thanked whoever would listen to his thoughts. They might have taken some scratches (hopefully no bites to be on the safe side should this shitstorm be a zombie outbreak) which rendered him with a burning sensation in his left ear, but they were there and still in office. Just as his knees. Good thing. But were they only scratched? He couldn't really see as he turned his head to either side to investigate. They were totally covered in blood, and by the color and viscosity of it, the blood seemed at least two days old. But it wasn't his blood, he knew.

What he heard made his action mode eyes soften and turn into those of a weary old man who was done with this world. He felt a tingling sensation and his eyelids started to jerk slightly. He realized he hadn't blinked for eons and let the eyelids wet the eyes and shifted his focal point beyond the face in the mirror, and as he feared what might be heard, or happen next, from outside the door his eyes started to well up.

"Are you", the voice began in a soft tremble as if the words had to struggle to get past the tonsils of the young speaker. "...in there", the voice concluded.

What Brian heard was the voice of his son. But he knew that it wasn't his son. His son was dead. Slain by "The World's Greatest Dad".

2

"I'll get it", Toby claimed it and leapt from the construction site leaving his father still in the middle of it. "Whoa, wait a minute", his father responded, dropped the remote control to the crane and somehow beat him to the door. "Unless you have cash on you, I guess you will need help" he said. In honesty he wasn't keen on letting his freckled four year old son let whoever might be on the other side of the door right in. But he had a pretty good notion of who the bell toller might be and let Toby unlock and open the portal under parental guidance.

"Mr Bennet?" a teenage boy in a red cap, matching red shorts and tee asked. A tag on the chestpocket said "Kevin". "Yes" answered Brian promptly. "Right. Two Margueritas Special" the Kevin said and handed them down to Toby who reached for them. "Can you handle them?" he asked Toby with an acted surprise in his looks. "They're heavy" he warned looking back up at the kid's father who returned the gesture with a silent nod. He added "And hot. Be careful." "I'm a construction worker" Toby said reassuringly. "I can handle." The pizza guy, this one apparently named Kevin, smiled and decided it was safe to let go of the pizza box. "You accept credit card, I guess?" Brian asked and let Toby run to the kitchen table. "I hope. Careful with that now, Piglet. And tell your mother to come out for dinner." "Sure thing, Mr Bennet" the pizza guy answered and reached for the card reader on his belt at the hip. "That'll be eight bucks and a half, if you please." "Make it ten, Kevin. Will you?" Brian suggested. "Sorry?" the guy in red asked. Brian noted the kid's hair was of same color as his outfit. Almost chuckled at it. "I'm in good spirit today, son" Brian excused himself. "Make it ten" "Well thanks, Sir. But the extras won't reach me, you know. If that's your intent... I'm not being ungrateful, Sir, or anything, but... You know" the pimpled guy said. "Oh. Sorry" Brian excused. "No, it's ok, Sir. Just how things work, I guess." "I guess. Well then, Kevin. I could offer you a 'Big Thanks'. Would that - Hey!" Brian abruptly interrupted himself and gave the kid what he found in his wallet. "There you go. Off the book and all" "Gees, mister! Thanks a bunch!" the pizza guy said in an excited voice. "No wait, are you sure?" he added when he realized the size of the bill. "Sure of what?" Brian asked as if he knew nothing of the ongoing talk. "I mean, you sure? For real?" the pizza guy asked again and offered the twenty back. "Don't know what you're talking 'bout, son" Brian smiled and made a move to close the door. "Thanks for the pizzas, and have a good one, Kevin!" "You too Mr Bennet. You too" Kevin replied with a broad smile on his lips.

Brian closed the door shut and went for the kitchen table as he heard the unmistakable sound of clattering cutleries, plates and glasses being placed on the table. "Pooh Bear?" Sophie asked. "You coming?" "Zuuup?" Brian asked as he grabbed her from behind and gave his wife a hug.

3

The two pizzas didn't last long and all three were filled to the brim. Of course it didn't take much to fill Toby, but his parents both struggled a bit to not let anything go to waste. Toby even looked like he would lean off his chair and fall asleep midair. Sophie was the first to stand up from her chair and when Brian did the same he felt his stomach delay for less than half a second. He didn't really think much of it, but it wasn't a familiar sensation. "No, you sit Hunny. I'll get it!" he offered. "Don't! You silly old Bear. It's just some plates. I think I'll manage" she cut him off. "I'm not disabled, you know" she added and pat her stomach. "Just full" "I know you're full" he smiled and winked. "I should know. I put it there" "Put what there?" Toby cut in, still among the living after all. "The pizza" his mother quickly replied as she wasn't ready for the talk just yet. The eyes she trained on her husband was not easy to misinterpret, except if you were in Toby's age, that is. "No he didn't. You did yourself" their son said as a matter of factly. "You see?" Brian said. "Sharpest tool in the toolbox" he proclaimed referring to his and Toby's ongoing play on the construction site in the dead center of their living room. That being said he reached for Toby's head to pet him parentingly, but he didn't get to do that before he threw up. Inches behind Toby's back. "My God!" Sophie exclaimed tap dancing await from the ricochets of chewed, not yet digested, pizza. "Brian! Are you ok?" She tried to reach him, but Toby was quicker and had in a flash leapt to his mother and hugged her around her waist like a koala bear would an eucalyptus tree trunk. Brian had a hard time answering, and even a harder time keeping the next one in. Two seconds later he lost that battle too and let go a second time. This time the flow was bigger, the speed was way faster, and the mass of it was just huge. Perfect sequel. "I..." he began. "I'm sorry". He didn't dare to speak in longer sentences. "I'm so, so" and then he surrendered a third time.

4

Brian Bennet, the Do Gooder, woke up when Toby, who'd been lying by his dad's side ever since Sophie tucked her husband in, leapt off of Brian's gentler parts. Almost as a visual retelling of where Toby came from, even before he was "put there". Not even aware of that he's been out cold Brian could hear Sophie race Toby for the door, just as he'd done earlier today. Today? Is it still today, he asked himself as he still had his eyes closed without the concept of up and down. Let alone the sense of time.

A brawl broke out just outside the master bedroom and he could hear Sophie screaming something about Toby. Inbetween an unfamiliar voice. Pizza guy? Brian thought still on the border of his almost hangover like sleep. Realizing the voice wasn't that unfamiliar he also noticed it didn't word anything. But rather... Growled? More screams. Shoes. Toby's voice. Thuds. Another loud growl. Or howl. A loud crash and more thudding. The big mirror crashed. Million shards on the floor. A cat. Good riddance, Brian smerked. He'd never like that fucker of a cat anyways and completely missed the "why" for the commotion. All was over as sudden as it had started and the apartment fell silent again.

5

The darkness had made it's presence known and as if disturbed by it and the silence Brian woke up with a jerk. In one single cougar like movement he was sitting by the edge of his bed. The absence of lights was one thing; he had yet to reprogram the timers for the lights to better suit the daylight of the approaching fall. But this was really dark. Even with the apartment empty it would still be lights from outside reaching in, he thought. Couple it with the silence and you'd get creepy. Creepy as the dream he just had; the dream about chaos by the apartment door. Why had Kevin returned? And why is it dark, he asked himself. And silent?

He felt dizzy and fatigue as he checked his system. Neck - Go. Shoulders - Go. Fists - Go. He stopped when his eyes didn't respond as expected. Ok. That's new, he thought. Am I blind or is it really that dark? He raised his hands and yes, he could see them. More and well enough than just barely, but definitely not as good as had it been in broad daylight. Eyes - Go, he checked. Ok legs, you better be at par with the rest, he demanded. And they were.

He got up, dragging his feet, more than walking, to exit the bedroom. Although he barely touched the handle of the door, it easily swung open and he took a step back to keep his toe nails intact. Something voluminous and heavy by the floor welled in. He saw the face of Toby floating down from an elevated position towards the floor to let the back of his head land with a heavy thud. It seemingly dragged the rest of his tiny body with him, and when it too landed on the floor it pushed Toby's sleeping face further towards Brian's bare feet. While still processing, his eyes caught another movement, very much like this single flow of motion. He looked slightly up to where Toby had started to slide and saw Sophie leaning against the door. She sat straight up, just previously with Toby in her lap, but with no visible effort of keeping him there. Her arms by her side and her head in an angle saying it had no support of the neck to keep it upright. Then he noticed the goo smeared on and all around his family. The white walls we're painted with random and asymmetrical large spots in a single shade of dark color. The walls had some planted, and some dragged, handprints. Not being a doctor or anything nearly like one, he still knew what the color on the walls and floor was. What it meant. He just wouldn't think any of it applied. Not to his family. Not to Sophie. Not to Toby.

"What in the..?" he asked while getting down on his knees. "Hunny?" He didn't expect an answer, but he prompted one anyway. "Piglet? Toby? Sophie?" No matter what name he tried, the only voice he could hear was his own. "Come on!" he half screamed grabbing Sophies shoulder. The perfect balance of her torso was disturbed and she started to lean away from him, but he kept her upright by tightening his grip. He was lost for words and could do nothing but mourn. It all had happened while he was asleep - almost asleep - and he cursed himself for not getting to his feet and intervened the commotion.

He was thinking that now would be a good time to wake up. Maybe he could induce an awakening; this old "pinch yourself" to check if you're dreaming would do, wouldn't it? "Fuck, fuck" he swore while pinching himself over and over again until he drew blood on his left arm. He kneeled by his loved ones as tears erupted.

6

The phones were useless. He couldn't get a connection, let alone a signal. He tried his phone, and frustrated turned to Sophie's. They had different operators, but the line was dead all the same. Could he get help from a neighbor, he thought and that was the first time he let anyone but his family enter his thoughts. "The pizza guy" he whispered and turned his head right toward the entrance. The door was ajar and outside it the corridor leading to the stairs and elevator was even darker than inside the apartment. You're not helping, he thought and addressed the darkness.

Why was it so dark anyway? He realized that the only source of light, besides an almost non-perceptible orange from the fading sunlight outside the windows, were the phones in his hands. Litterally no other lights. Obviously not from any ceiling lights inside, no street lights, neon signs nor vehicle headlights from outside either. Not even a freaking stand by led of any house hold appliances.

A faint growl startled him and Brian returned from the mystery of missing lights. He couldn't pin point the source of the sound but it seemed to emerge from either Sophie or Toby. His heart leapt. He lifted Toby up like he would moving him from the sofa to his bed when Toby had, against his assuring promises fell asleep watching some random show for kids. Brian checked Sophie too for any signs of life when he felt a movement not stemming from himself in his arms and thanked God for bringing his son back.

"Toby?" he asked. "Hey, Piglet?" The response wasn't clear or even Toby-like, but it would suffice. Anything resembling a sign of life would pass, even Toby sounding like - a dog? "Daddy's here", he said pressing the question of sound aside too, just as he did with concerns about missing light sources. "Don't you worry, Piglet. I'm not going", he sobbed. "Daddy's not going anywhere. You hear? Not anywhere." He started to cradle Toby back and forth in his arms as he'd done when Toby still was light as a feather. He knew this, Toby returning, alone was a miracle, but couldn't help wanting more. "Hunny" he said looking at Sophies' open, but vacant, eyes. "Hunny, look who's here", he said paraphrasing the first time she met Toby after the anesthesia had lifted. "Piglet" he said. "Meet your mum."

As if the exact phrase kick started her she grasped for air with a sudden surprise and life came back into her eyes. Brian couldn't believe what just happened and threw himself, with Toby still in one arm, into her outstretched reaching arms. The three (soon to be four) of them were one again. One and more importantly, whole, again.

7

Brian never thought of the need to barricade himself in the bathroom. He'd just hopelessly stumbled through the hallway, into the bathroom and to the sink with the simple aim of washing off his hands. The mirror by the sink had indifferently informed him the need to also wash his face, should he be disturbed by the amount of yuckiness in it. But why care? Why care locking doors behind him. Why would he? Sophie and Toby were dead? For the second time at that and this time for good. He hoped. It struck him that he'd never in his wildest imagination could have found a reason to wish them dead. And - what - for good? What was wrong with him? No, he thought. This aint on me. Nu-uh.

He swung around and turned his back to the mirror, focusing at the door handle and the white semaphore above the turn. He couldn't recall he'd close the door, but it was shut, all the same. Thank God for that, he thought but guessed it wasn't enough. He needed to see the semaphore show red. He needed the door locked. Without further hesitation he leapt three steps, one more than he'd anticipated, and trained for the turn hoping he would beat his son - or whatever it was - on the other side of the door to it.

"Pooh Bear?" No, no, he pleaded. Nooo! Please! Not her too! Minutes ago he had to muster everything in him to deal striking blows to the - things - that once was his family after finally getting the upper hand. Killing - ending (he was pretty sure they'd already been killed), them both was hard enough once. But his deed now seemed totally undone? It was evident that not only Toby was back for more, but also Sophie. He would be forced to do it a second time? And would that be enough? A third time? How many times more?

Had he not rushed for the turn, the door would swing right open by now, as he watched the handle push down in a slow testing fashion. He let it rotate as to not reveal his presence but readied himself in case it really executed what it was intended for. The mechanics inside the door had successfully been bypassed and he treated himself to a big sigh of relief. So the bathroom was locked down. Good thing, he concluded. He was contained in it with no other exits. Bad thing. He was now besieged. A troublesome thought started to simmer. Who would last the longest. Him without food, or them without - food? At least he had water. Good thing.

"Pooh Bear" he heard again. "You ok, in there?" During some seconds of silence he had, unintentionally, held his breath, bit his lips and pinched his eyes like he wished for everything to end. To stop. "You want me to take you to ER?" she asked in a totally normal way. Yes sure, a worrying flavor of normal, but the unexpected header here was Normal. "Piglet and me, we're fine. We are" she added still in a perfectly nothing-special-has-happened voice. How the fuck can she sound so - alive, he cried out in his mind. Everything he knew, well that is everything he'd seen in movies, heard in audiobooks or read in novels, about - His thought paused. He hadn't really decided what category this nightmare would best fit. Ghosts? Ghouls? Undead? Zombies? Vampires?

First off, he was pretty sure that killing by a blow to the head, would get them all. No matter what kind - Ok, maybe not all of them. Maybe ghosts were not physical enough to get affected.

Second, if they came back, and that's a major if, they almost certainly would have some sort of a change in persona. Physically and or mentally. Like a limp, maybe missing body parts, deepened or a windy whispering voice. Or if they'd been damaged to the head, say for instance if they're jaw was broken, like Sophie's surely was, he and Batman had made sure of that, she would have a hard time forming words at all. But here she - it - was as if nothing had happened. And it ridiculed him by asking in a perfectly normal, albeit worrying, voice if he needed to go to the hospital. And also, she rhymed. Fuck you, he almost screamed but restrained himself from. This far they didn't know if he was in there because he hadn't said, replied or done anything to reveal himself. Except locking the door, but the mechanics was plastic and didn't make much noise. He assumed they neared the bathroom door because they assumed he was in there. And they'd be right assuming that.

Third, this is seriously fucked up.

8

"Batman!" his head exclaimed and was ever so glad he had kept him by the door in the hallway through the years. He'd never had any excuse of really using him, not since his junior league days as a - The - batter of the Red Starlings. But he had reached for it a couple of times when his spider sense warned him of danger on the other side of the apartment door. Tonight Batman had made a comeback, and what a comeback! "Yes, a clean hit and Brian, son of Bennet, keeps his no strike streak for another walk in the park home run!" the speaker announced as the Red Starlings fans cheered wildly and thanked God they had Brian on their team.

Batman had crushed the ribcage of Toby, disabling him enough to be defenseless for the final blow to the head. Brian felt sick to the stomach recalling it, but he'd already raised the bar miles high for "sick to the stomach" today to not be bothered by it. Other than the emotional effect, it was his son he'd hit, after all. No it wasn't, he reminded himself.

The second victim of Batman this night had been his "Hunny", of course. Not in an motherly attempt protecting her son though, which would be perfectly understandable if she had. But he guessed motherly ties were unimportant for these abominations - unless it was for the sake of luring him out of the bathroom. He had swung the blood and brain spattered light weigth aluminium at Sophie and missed a couple of times, partly on purpose, giving her a chance to back off, and partly because of simply misjudging the distance as his eyes were flooding with tears and smeared in hers and Toby's body fluids. And flesh. She had lunged herself with arms stretched out baring her teeth in a let's-end-this-shit-grin and he'd struck her chin with a full blow. The bone structure collapsed under Batman and her cheek tore apart from one of the two hinges. The pale skin ripped like dry rice paper below her left ear and had it not been for the cheek on the other side of her face, which the flying Batman didn't reach, the jaw would have flown across the room and deflected off the flat screen TV, as did most of the teeth. Instead it swung like a broken bar door held to the face by the skin of her right cheek. Resulting in a gaping hole in the bottom half of her face baring the dropped tongue, just beneath her perfect freckled, and this far untouched, nose. The combatants had paused for a second, both surprised of the outcome of Batman's talents. Brian had come to his senses first and lifted Batman over his head for a vertical swing and, as he'd chop fire wood with an axe, came down upon her head and forcefully compressed what was left of her face.

Batman was left at the construction site, being as useless as a baseball bats usually were lying about doing nothing.

9

Brian was in a dark place. Literally. He didn't see the point of this anymore. The way he saw it, there were two alternatives. Either he slashed his way out of here, past his family. With what. And into what? Where would he go? Judging by the total darkness and the utter silence of the world it probably would be the same wher ever he'd go. He went through the different zombie apocalypse scenarios he'd seen, granted they were work of fictions but they were as close as he would get to a manual, and none had had a happy ending. And he knew he definitely wasn't made of survival stuff. The other alternative was to do nothing, and then it would be matter of time before he'd succumb to either starvation or them.

Ok, he thought without getting into high hopes. Let's not jump to conclusions. He leaned himself away from the door and enough to force his left foot to move one step forward and then the right foot, if he were not to fall. This pattern brought him back to the end of the bathroom with the sink and the mirror. To the left of the set there was a thigh high wagon with small wheels on it. It was white, but in this darkness had faded to grey, and had shelves made of netted thin wires and served as an open locker on which the small family of three placed just about everything that were supposed to be in a bathroom. And also, what was not supposed to be in a bathroom, Sophie would remind him from time to time. Like Brian's computer magazines, or coffee cups Brian had brought to the toilet (so?) left and forgotten about, or Brian's used tops. One time Sophie had found their used condom, in a knot and with liquid content, and only after a dinner with friends over. Somehow the disposed item was Brian's responsibility which he would argue against. But he learned that that wasn't the issue here. My God did he miss his beautiful wife. He would give anything just to be back in that row again right now.

The couple outside was silent but they had started to do something. He heard small thuds, seemingly moving through the apartment. They almost sounded like a sound test showing off surround sound capabilities. Brian assumed Toby ran around looking for something. So what was Sophie up to then? The answer became clear as a loud bang exploded from the door. She had flung herself at the door with an attempt to break it open. Brian froze and a chilling feeling ran from his neck down his shoulders, through his spine and settling at his waist. The door wouldn't hold for long, he realized. It wasn't meant to hold a panic room, it was meant to keep your privacy when your'e doing your business. That's all. A simple wall. More or less. A simple paper thin wall. The door slammed again, and this time Sophie had put more speed into it. "Silly Old Bear" she said calmly. "You're making me do this!"

He quickly sorted through the shelves as best his eyes would allow and it ignited an irritated reaction in his head. He felt that this probably would put his already stressed eyes and brain in an even higher gear passing the "Do not overload" tag, but he had no choice. If there ever was an emergency, this would be it. He found nothing of use on the fragile wagon. For once it seemed to only hold stuff really intended for bathroom use. Tops, cotton pads, hundred variants of lotions, panty liners, nail polish, hair dryer, nail clippers and so on and so on. No wait, there were a bottle of pills. Hah, he thought. Those pills were Sophie's and he knew they were lethal to Toby. To anyone, he thought and he knew she knew and at last he'd have something to bite back with. He smiled and thought of sweet revenge. But then again, if he couldn't kill Toby with Batman, this probably wouldn't do a better job either. Fuck, I'm lousy at comebacks, Brian cursed and dried his face off of tears and sweat doing nothing in reality than putting more blood make up on. A pair of tweezers? The fuck! he exclaimed softly to himself.

He turned to the tub and went through an inventory in his mind of what was there, as would he in a game of memory with Toby during bath. He thought of objects that would pass for weapons; pointy, sharp or heavy enough. Toothbrush? Maybe, but his family, or enemies if you will, would probably not even register a toothbrush in their eye socket. No, he needed something heavy. Just like that one, he realized when he heard a pitched metallic reverberation after a heavy thud. He immediately understood that the sound came from hitting the door with the fire extinguisher. He guessed that Toby had found it and that Sophie was using it as a battering ram. He quickly made an estimation with guessed variables of the door's material and thickness, Sophie's strength, the fire extinguisher's weight and durability and estimated she'd break in under a minute. He found the WC detergent and unscrewed it.

Epilouge

A shooked up Sophie got wrapped in a grey anonymous fleece blanket when a child psychologist and her staff promised to start with a crying Toby immediately to minimize his trauma. Still shaking, and feeling like she wasn't really following what was going on, Sophie was separated from Toby and lead into a small room with green painted tiles containing nothing but a simple table with a recorder, some scrawny chairs and a mirrored wall.

The officer assured her, using a tired and monotone voice, she was not a suspect and that this interrogation was more of an informal hearing. The grayed officer continued by adding that they had ruled everything out but suicide, so there was no pressure on her, although being a spouse and one of two witnesses at the scene, his job required that testimony be recorded. Although it sounded all too well rehearsed and bordered on patronizing, the officer was seasoned enough to stay just within that border. After getting a written, and thus formal, "Ok" from Sophie, the officer started a small recorder and stated the date, place of interrogation and the three participants. Then he began with a short background as to introduce the listeners of what had lead to this recording.

The officer shuffled and eyed through some papers, made some notes here and there while occasionally looking up at Sophie over the rims of his glasses. "The coroners preliminary reports suggests" he began. "Not taking the immediate cause of death, suicide by consuming detergents, in account; the deceased, Mr Brian Bennet, suffered from delusions due to food poisoning. Short hearings on site and evidence at the scene suggest Mr Bennet became violent against his family; his wife of five years, Sophie Bennet, and the couples' four year old son Toby Bennet. And threatened to, and I quote 'Fucking kill you all'. End of quote. With an aluminium baseball bat" He looked at Sophie as this was both a delegation of findings to her, as much as it was for the sake of the recording. He made a pause to let her have a moment for reaction or in case she would need a minute before he would continue. Sophie had managed to figure this much out by herself and wasn't shocked by the preliminary reports, but of course burst into more tears.

"The spouse of Mr Brian Bennet, Mrs Sophie Bennet, claims Mr Bennet vomitted heavily shortly after dinner. What did you eat, Mrs Bennet?" "We had", said Sophie clearing her throat. "Pizzas. We had pizza" "And did you, all three of you, eat the same... Pizzas?" "Yes, sir. We did", she answered, timing her sobs. "Sir" "Uh-huh." The officer ticked a box on a paper. "And then what happened" the officer asked. Sophie's sobbings grew louder. "He was" she started. "We tucked him -" A short sniff. "In. We just let him... Oh my God. Toby!" she cried out. "I need to -" "Mrs" the officer said wanting her to continue. "Please, Mrs Bennet. You do understand that we have Toby's best interest, and nothing but his best interest and a speedy recovery, in mind?" "Yes, sir" Sophie answered. "I know, but..." "Good" the officer got the needed confirmation. "So you tuck your husband in. You said 'we'. Who were you reffering to, for the record. If you please, Mrs Bennet." "Uhm... Me and" she tried to stay focused but had to take some seconds. "Me and Toby. Our son" And then she broke down completely. She was obviously defenseless against the still ongoing shock, and the attorney did the only humane and decent thing to do and demanded they'd take a break. "The public attorney request a short break at 3:25." the officer stated and reached for the stop button of the recorder with a sigh.

THE END