No Cognitive Defect - Part VIII


No Cognitive Defect - Part VIII

By James M. O'Meara, © 2008

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The Clinic...

In some parts of Massachusetts, the weather had been downright balmy a few hours before the storm struck. In Worcester, it was nearly fifty degrees at midnight before the temperature began to plummet. Northwest of Worcester, in Paxton, the temperature dropped nearly forty degrees in four hours. Farther west, in Glennon, the swing was forty-three degrees and the wind was gusting to fifty miles-per-hour as the first flakes fell.

Chief Magoon wondered early on if things were going to get as bad as they had in '78. That great storm virtually closed the state. He'd been living north of Boston then, a young part-time cop in Amesbury, not far from the New Hampshire border. He'd been the one who found the Fairchild boy a week after the blizzard, froze to death in a snow drift just a dozen feet from his house. Four years old, slipped out the front door while his mother was taking her jacket off in the foyer. She'd been trying in vain to shovel the walk and keep ahead of the falling snow. She'd looked for him for two hours, nearly froze to death herself before the boy's father got home. The husband had walked all the way from the interstate, where he'd abandoned their car. Magoon still woke up every once in a while after dreaming about the boy, about finding him face-up deep under the snow. Frozen ice in his eyelashes and eyebrows. Snow and ice frozen to the boy's jeans and Big Bird sweatshirt, the child's blue eyes staring up at eternity. In the dream, he'd sweep the snow away from the child's face and the dead boy's eyes would turn and lock with his. He'd wake up, chest pounding, and get out of bed. He'd spend the rest of the night sitting at the small table in his breakfast nook, sipping strong black coffee and staring out the bay window, waiting for the sun to come up so he could go in to work.