A policeman heard sounds coming from a trash can, and when he drew closer, he realized it was a little child crying. He helped the child and she brought him joy.
“I’m getting too old for this,” Scott Wilson muttered to himself as he walked the dark night on patrol.
He was a 30-year-old cop with a chip on his shoulder and a permanent frown on his otherwise attractive face. His colleagues called him the Grinch because of his perpetually morose countenance, but none of them truly knew him.
Wilson had been transferred to the suburbs a month after he hunted down the serial killer who took the life of his wife and child. Of course, his supervisors kept it hush-hush because they also needed the killer put down for killing so many people.
While he hunted for the killer, Wilson did not eat, and he only slept in snatches, often startling awake because of the nightmares he had of his wife and child’s death.
When he finally took the man down, he expected all the rage to disappear, but it remained, and it made him even angrier. His saving grace was that he knew how to bury it deep within himself.
Still, his supervisor had decided that some time in the suburbs, away from the city he lost his family, would do him some good, so he was transferred, despite his pleas against it.
“I’m perfectly fine right here, captain,” he’d said. “I just need to be able to do my work and keep my mind off what happened.”
“And that’s why I’ve had you transferred to the suburbs where things are less chaotic,” the captain had replied. “You could lose your life if you’re caught off guard on patrol and I will not risk the life of one of my best. Take some time and return feeling better.”
That was how Wilson ended up in the quaint town he now lived. The place was truly serene. The worst he had been called to had to do with a cat stuck in a tree — the cat owners had called it a catastrophe, and he had almost cracked a smile. As he breathed in the gentle breeze, he had to admit that the quiet countryside did a lot to distract him from the negative emotions imbued within him.
One day, while on his night shift, he stopped at a fast food joint and bought a couple of donuts and a jumbo-sized cup of coffee. He ate it on the move, and when he took a detour from his patrol to a backstreet to dispose of his garbage, he heard a strange sound. It seemed to come from where the trash cans were and it immediately put the veteran cop on alert.
“Who’s there?” he asked, his hands slowly reaching for his firearm. “I said who is there?” he growled again.
Then he heard a sob. It sounded like a little girl. Throwing caution to the wind, he risked a peep inside one of the large trash cans, and there he found a young girl. “Who are you?” he asked gently, trying not to scare her. She just stared at him. “What are you doing here?” he asked, but the girl just kept staring with her large doe eyes as though afraid he would hurt her.
After a few moments of silence, Wilson switched tactics. He brought out some money and promised to give it to her if she answered him truthfully. Her eyes lit up at the sight of money, but she didn’t move.
“What’s your name,” Wilson tried again.
“Laura,” the little girl said with a small voice.
The little girl’s eyes lit up at the sight of money | Source: Pexels
Wilson promptly handed her a ten-dollar bill before asking her another question. “Why are you here Laura?” he asked.
“I ran away from my mother and got on a train that brought me to this town. I started staying in this alley because I was shielded from the rain by this large trash can. I now sleep inside it at night as well,” she told him.
“Why did you run from your mother?” he asked after giving her another ten-dollar bill.
“I wanted to find my father. She said he had gone to heaven but I didn’t believe her. I do now and I miss her so much,” Laura said.
Wilson talked her into going to the police station with him the following day and he made sure she was returned to her mother, who was glad to see her daughter after looking for her everywhere.
Laura reminded Wilson of his late daughter, and she had left a lasting impression on him, so he did not stop visiting the girl and her mother.
Unfortunately, Laura fell sick shortly after and would have died had he not helped her. Each time he went, he would buy some groceries and drugs and leave them some cash to assist them. He wanted nothing to happen to the child.
For a few weeks after, Wilson wasn’t able to visit because he was transferred back to the city, and when he finally had the chance to return to visit, Laura was gone.
Wilson became worried that she had succumbed to her illness while he was away and was nearly in tears when he saw a friend of her mother’s. The woman told her the girl had recovered and had resumed school. To make ends meet, her mother had also taken up a trade she could sell at the markets, which is why he did not find them at the shelter they often stayed at.
Wilson smiled happily when he heard this because he had been so invested in helping Laura and her mother. For the first time since his family was killed, he felt at peace with himself and the world.
What did we learn from this story?
Revenge doesn’t change anything. Wilson hunted the killer who took his wife and child but even after he successfully put the man down, the rage he’d felt up till then remained within him. Getting revenge did not change that.
Life is full of pleasant surprises disguised in the direst of cirumstances. Wilson would never have thought that a chance encounter with a crying little girl inside a trash can would eventually give him the sense of peace he thought he lost for good after the death of his wife and child.