t was strange the way he’d been found, the officer said. Pulled apart like
focaccia. The coroner said it was like an animal attack he’d seen at the zoo,
but the door to the apartment was locked from the inside and there was
nothing out the window but a lot of air. There was a bowl and a spoon on
the kitchen table. It was like a riddle.
They had the pieces safely stowed in a body bag before the parents arrived, but there was nothing they could do about the carpet. Like a torrent of arrabbiata, the officer said, suddenly hungry.
His mother wept soundlessly and dry. His father checked the water pressure in the kitchen. How do they get it so good this high up, he said. What, said his mother. He had been the least favourite of their children, but he was still blood. He was only blood now.
What a mess, his mother said, picking a hat off the floor. Big and blue, the kind of thing someone would wear with an eyepatch to a costume party. She put it in the laundry hamper and then started separating his colours. What a mess, she said again.
His father checked the kitchen cupboards. Need a little oil there, he said. What, said his mother. Need a little oil, said his father louder. I can’t hear you, she said.
There were boxes of cereal. Boxes and boxes. None of the ones they’d weaned him on. Shredded, puffed, creamed and rolled: a childhood without taste. Instead here was a circus of brightly coloured cardboard. Looped and flaked and frosted and crisped and sugared. Not an oat in sight.
Diabetes, his mother said. That’s what it must’ve been. But his father was already off checking the water pressure in the bathroom. Twenty storeys up, he was thinking to himself.
The neighbours later reported hearing things the night before. The cawing of some exotic bird, the growling of a large cat, the snap, crackle and crunch of bone. A rabbit was found loose in the hall. He hadn’t owned any pets. His parents wouldn’t let him. You might have allergies, his mother had said.
Remember when you were a minipop, and you saw that film, you know, the one you loved that never had a sequel? Well, let's say it did. And it was just like you imagined it, only a little bit worse.