Under the Microscope

by A. Molotkov

The little boy stared suspiciously out of his dark brown eyes.

“Can you tell us what happened?” The police officer was pale, freckled, with a confident thin face.

“I already told everything.” The boy averted his gaze.

“Right. But you didn’t tell us.”

The room was a mess of toys, clothes, balls, books. A beige apartment. “Daddy was acting pretty weird.”

“How weird?”

“Weird.” The boy made eye contact again. “Will he be OK?”

“I don’t know, kid. I’m a cop; I don’t know about those things. What did your dad do that was so weird?”

“He…” There was a long pause. “He wouldn’t come out.” “Come out?”

The boy just stared.

“From his office.” The mother spoke with a strong accent. “I just got back.” She sat on the floor, her back against the wall.

“How long was he in his office?”

The boy stared blankly, as if the question had made no sense.

“How long was he in his office?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you try to talk to him?”


“What did he say?”

“Nothing.” The boy shrugged. “Why wasn’t he responding?”

“I don’t know, kid.” The officer jotted something down in his notepad.

“We’ll figure it out. Could you hear anything at all while he was in his office?” “He was talking, but I couldn’t understand.”

“So he was talking?” A puzzled face. “Why couldn’t you understand?” “He was talking in…like…a different language.”

“Were you scared?”

“No… a little scared.”

“Why were you scared?”

“I didn’t know what was going on because Daddy was not coming out and I didn’t know when Mommy was coming back and I was worried.”

“I see…What did he do then?”

“He ran out.” The boy was avoiding eye contact again. “He didn’t even notice me.”

“Did he look ok to you?”


“What was not ok about him?”

“His clothes were all wrong and he was looking strange.”

“How strange?”

The boy shrugged his shoulders.

“Can you hold on one second?” The officer walked out of the kid’s room and joined his partner, who stood by the fireplace in the living room, fiddling with her phone.

“Do you think the father did it?” she asked.

“Probably. It’s hard to say. These immigrant families. You never know what to expect.”


“The kid’s testimony is no good.”


Back in the small room, the boy tucked himself in his mother’s lap. “How are you doing, sweetie?” The mother’s eyes were shadows. “Good.”

Uncertainty in the little boy’s voice. “Do you think they’ll find Daddy?”

“Yes. I think they will. I think they will.”