In uniform

She bore within her the restless, shifting light of home, the playful colours of the sky, the ghostly twang of ice echoing through the lake in winter and its smell of minerals and algae in summer. Her family had lived in the same valley for generations and like them she’d made her first friends and enemies there, dreamt a thousand dreams, broken hearts and had hers broken. She was proud of the coat of arms of her home town, showing Justitia, a young woman, blindfolded, a sword in her right hand and a pair of scales in her left. Encouraged by her uncle, a policeman, she’d decided to join the police force. Sparwell was her first placement after police training college.

Now, in the patrol car outside Sparwell Sandwich Bar, her white twenty-two-year-old body was held in its sitting position by her seat belt, a roll with chicken in one hand and nothing in the other. Her head was on her chest and blood spurted down the side of her face from the blackened hole showing through her hair. Looking down, her departing spirit saw one person running away, and another running to the car. She had no reason to suspect that she was about to become the major lead in a series of racially motivated murders spanning nine years.

By Fiona Niedermayer