Sixteen-year-old Sean stood in the queue, waiting his turn to compete with the saber. He looked up at the bleachers. He had no problem locating his dad; his parents sat in the same place every time. His dad was talking to their flat mate, Gordon. His mom couldn’t make it this time – she had to work. Every year since Sean’s first tournament, his parents gave him a choice. Since the tournament and his birthday were generally only a few days apart, Sean got to pick which event his parents would attend, since it was impossible for them to get both days off from work. Sean thought of a compromise. He really wanted them to watch him compete, so, as a birthday present of sorts, they could take him out for a special dinner afterward.
When Sean, Gordon, and his father returned home that evening, they were greeted by a squad car waiting in front of their apartment building.
“Sorry sir,” the officer said as he met them at their taxi. Sean’s father was a sergeant with the mounted police. The officer looked uncomfortable talking in front of Sean and Gordon.
“Go ahead, officer. We’re family,” said Elias.
“Sorry sir,” the man repeated. He hastily took off his hat and gripped it in his fists. “Sir, you need to come down to the station. It’s your wife, sir. She…she’s dead. You need…”
Sean didn’t hear anything else. The monotone voices of his father and the officer no longer translated into words. He found the hood of the police car and leaned on it, his sword case hitting the pavement with an audible thump.
Gordon wrapped an arm around his shoulders. “Come on, I’ll get you inside.”
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