This is one of the saddest stories based on a true incident you'll ever read, so, if you feel you can take it... Tricia, one of my granddaughters, used to stay with me weeks at a time when she was little. I guess you could say I was babysitting at those times. I certainly didn't mind it back then. I'm sure nowadays I'd feel differently if asked to do so. Tricia was always getting up early those mornings. It was such an early hour that anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half would pass before I'd call her for breakfast or, even, she'd ask me for it. Many times she would play with her dolls during that lull or look out the living room window, which had a view of the busy street I lived on at that time. (I still live on a busy street but it's a different street!)
Tricia got accustomed to seeing a certain mother and her daughter, who was nearly Tricia's age, come and go from a nearby residence mornings and afternoons. The mother would bring her daughter to the corner near a traffic light just in front of us. On that corner a little van-style schoolbus would pick the girl up and whisk her off to school. The same scene took place around 3 in the afternoon. The girl's mother would walk to the corner and wait patiently a brief while until the schoolbus stopped and her daughter got out, happy to have finished another "academic" day and ready for her after-school snack. (I'm presuming the snack part based on experience and on Tricia, of course.) I didn't pay a lot of attention to the daily event but Tricia would inform me of small details on some days such as whether or not the girl wore a neck scarf or whether she'd gotten a new one and what color it was. Things like that. The girl's mother was young and pretty and always dressed immaculately, so, that told you that the two weren't suffering from any economic crisis. (Of course, one never knows, I'm sure you'll agree.)
Although I didn't pay a lot of attention to it as I've mentioned, Tricia began saying a man was watching the mother and daughter from a distance. It was just a comment here and there. She was never insistent about it. After two or three days, I remember she said two men were watching the pair from a distance. One of those days I looked out the window a moment and, indeed, saw the two men Tricia was referring to, but they were, to me, quite innocent as they were having coffee or breakfast in a tiny cafe that was near that corner. I remember saying, "Two men are having coffee, Tricia. No big deal." She said, "Yes, grandmother, but they're always watching the mother and girl. They never stop." What could I do? No law was being broken, was it?
The day of horror arrived soon afterward, although we didn't know it at the time, of course. Tricia was combining her doll play with looking out the window. It was early morning--time for the girl's schoolbus. Then I heard three or four loud noises, which I presumed to be the backfire of some old vehicle. It's hard, you know, to distinguish those from gunshot. When Tricia, in tears, cried out "Grandmother", I nearly had a heart attack. At first I wasn't sure if something bad had happened inside or outside--in the living room near that large window or outside on the corner by the traffic light. "Grandmother," Tricia cried again, "They killed them! Those two men. They shot them then jumped in a car and left."
I ran to the window, of course. There, before the eyes of both of us, lay two figures in pools of blood. The pretty mother and her schoolgirl daughter. The mother's body was still moving--sort of twitching, I guess you'd say. I felt sick immediately, as if I'd been hit by bricks or something similar. I grabbed Tricia away from the window and closed the curtains. We heard the sirens of the police cars or ambulances already approaching. I tried to calm Tricia down as much as possible. I called my son and his wife, Tricia's parents, so they could leave their offices and come to help me. Or us, rather.
Of course, the next day the photos were in the newspapers and a lot of the true story came to light. The little dead girl was an heiress to a considerable fortune. She had been the product of a second or third marriage. When it became known that the father, upon his death and in his stupidity, had left practically everything to this small, last child of his, hatred from the offspring of the other marriages began to grow like a malignant tumor. The two men Tricia had been observing were actually the girl's half brothers who were full of rage. So sad and senseless were those two deaths but then, name me a murder that makes sense. Not so easy, is it? It took my granddaughter, Tricia, a long time and a lot of effort to get over having witnessed such a gruesome incident. (If, indeed, she has gotten over it.) Even for me, her "strong" grandmother. But then, look around you a bit. Look at this old world that Charles Spurgeon calls evil. Isn't murder practically "all in a day's work" in so many places? What's the big deal with two more in front of my living room window with a young girl looking out of it? THE END