The door was unlocked and he was taken into the room.
“We’re right outside if you need us Doc!”
The two guards watched as he sat and then they left.
“Sit down Mr Fish or may I call you Jim?”
“You knew that I was coming to speak to you. I’m Doctor Wood. Please begin whenever you are ready.”
“The kid always stared.”
“…All children stare.”
“I know that. But not like this. He stared. Not only that, he stood and stared.”
He looked through his notes.
“What age was your child Jim?”
“The age that it says in your notes. In the beginning…Too young to stand.”
The doctor shrugged. “But children can pull themselves up from a very early age.”
“I didn’t say anything about a toddler hanging on to the spars of its cot. He was standing in the middle of his cot waiting for me to go into his room.”
“Did your partner witness this?”
“You know that she didn’t.”
He laughed, “What an idiot! I was so happy the first time that I saw this… But even then, there was a knot in my stomach. I foolishly put that down to excitement. I shouted to Louise. He just stood and stared. I heard her coming up the stairs and looked round. When she reached me and we looked into the room, he was lying sleeping. Louise thought it was a joke and slapped me.”
“Did you agree with that? Or did you insist on what you had seen?”
He picked at his thumb nail.
“I said nothing. She was laughing as she went back to whatever crappy programme that she was watching. I turned back towards the room and I swear that I knew! He was standing staring again. No expression, all I could see was dark eyes staring.”
“What did you do?”
“I very slowly closed the door.”
“Did you see him lying back down?”
“No. I thought about opening the door and looking in again but I knew what I would see.”
“And what would that have been?”
“Did you check on him any other times that night?”
“No. She did. Each time she went up to the toilet. And lastly before we went to bed.”
“And she smiled like a proud mother whose baby was sleeping.”
“Did you mention the incident to her anytime throughout that night?”
“No. She kept saying that she would have to get me back. A joke, I told you that. That was what she thought it was.”
“So when was the next time that you saw this?”
“… Following night. Same thing. I was asked to go and say goodnight and when I did he was standing staring.”
“Did you say anything?”
“No. I closed the door over and told her he was fine. That was the last time I went into his room by myself, well until that night.”
“We’ll come to that… Did you mention this to Louise, anytime over the next few weeks?”
He rolled his shoulders back and forward.
“I was terrified.”
“What were you terrified of?”
“What harm did you think a baby could do you?”
“I have no idea. I just knew that I was scared.”
“What do you think was causing the fear in you?”
“Again, what do you think that he could have done to you? You are a grown man?”
“That was not what I meant. You asked what was causing the fear in me, I stand by what I said. HE was causing the fear.”
Dr Woods leaned forward, “Do you think that what you are saying is logical? Looking back, don’t you see how unlikely this was?”
He nodded, “It is not logical. And yes it is very unlikely.”
“So do you still believe in your take on these events?”
Jim sighed, “Yes.”
He smiled as the psychiatrist scribbled some notes down.
“Are you able and willing to talk about that night?”
“I need to.”
“That is a good start. Take your time and talk me through.”
He pointed towards the bottle and cups, “Do you mind?”
“Please, go ahead.”
He downed a cup of water and poured another.
“I had avoided being alone with him for a couple of months. He was moving about now and was able to pull himself up. Whenever we were anywhere as a family, he cried, played, did everything that a kid should be doing. He treated me as what I suppose, you would expect. Crawling over to me, slobbering on my trousers.”
The psychiatrist smiled, “So you felt as if you had a normal family?”
“Never! The thoughts on those two nights were always there. They became clearer whenever I tried to forget them. When I saw him, I could only see him the way he was that night standing and staring.”
He took another sip.
“Louise hadn’t returned to work but was asked out by her workmates. I tried everything to get out of looking after him. We don’t have many friends and our families are all miles away, so I was stuck. Jesus! I even considered leaving him by himself. ”
“Did you know what you were going to do?”
“Please go on.”
“She went out. She had fed him and he was settled down. She looked beautiful!”
He rubbed his eyes.
“I thought that I may get away with ignoring him. She hadn’t been out drinking for so long, I was hoping that it would be an early night for her. But that didn’t matter. It all started as soon as the taxi had left our street. There was a thump. I ignored it. Then another. Then a scraping. Then another thump. It went on for about half an hour. Then the crying started.”
“Did you think that he had fallen?”
“What were you thinking?”
“That I had to get this over with.”
“… Can you explain?”
“That was what I was thinking. Nothing else.”
“I went upstairs…”
“Aren’t you forgetting something?”
He stared straight at him, “The knife?”
“Why did you take the knife with you?”
“To get it over with.”
“… OK we may come back to that but please go on.”
“I took a breath and opened his door. He wasn’t lying on the floor. He wasn’t crying. He just stood in the middle of his cot and stared.
“… I raised the knife and he spoke.”
“He spoke to you? What? A word? You could make it out?”
“Not a word. A sentence.”
“A sentence? Are you sure?”
“I’m sure. That’s why I had to use the knife.”