Myrna Sheen looked at the clock on her kitchen wall and shouted once again. "Amos, it's time to get up. You're going to be late for school." She wondered if he was feeling better today. He had complained of feeling sick yesterday and hadn't touched his supper and she sent him to bed. He was always coming down with a cold or the flu and this was probably another similar situation. Sleep always had a way of curing him.
Each day was a battle and as a single parent, getting her twelve-year-old son up and out of the house before she went to her job as a receptionist was hard. It was hard because Amos blamed her for the break-up of her marriage and the absence of Mark, the man she married 15 years before.
But who said life was fair. Mark's absence was difficult for her too and now Amos was doing everything he could to make life hell. Already his school's principal had phoned and said that he had been caught smoking and fighting. God, where would it end? Would her husband return or had turning forty caused him to seek a life of a young buck. Well, Mark wasn't young and as for being a young buck, that too would prove disastrous when he found that the girls were humoring him for his money. That money had better be spent on Amos and herself rather than for accessing some girl's body. She wasn't the only one. Why men acted like that was beyond her. She and her friends talked and Mark wasn't the only Lothario, but it still hurt to think he was making love to someone else.
"Amos, get your lazy ass up right now." She knew she had to get him up. If she was late, her boss might not understand.
She opened her son's bedroom door and there he was, still asleep.
She walked over and shook him. Then a terrible realization filled her mind. Amos wasn't moving. Amos wasn't breathing. Oh God, her twelve-year-old son was dead.
The police officer hated his job on days like this. He could handle the drunks, tolerate the prostitutes and their pimps and the other dregs of society, but whenever his job meant dealing with the death of a child it made him question the purpose of life.
He knew Amos Sheen. He wasn't a bad kid. Sure he was running with a bad group of boys, but that in itself wasn't unusual. He had been approached by the parish priest and told about Amos and his mother Mrs. Sheen and the break-up of the marriage. Mark Sheen was a fool. Why he had to wet his wick in some other place was a sign of middle age dementia that attacked many men.
The ambulance attendants were now carrying the body downstairs and several women were trying to comfort the lad's mother.
He talked into his radio. "Yes, this is officer Ravnor, I'm at 101 Oakwood. The ambulance will be bringing in the body of Amos Sheen, a twelve-year-old. There are no signs of violence. It appears that he just died in his sleep. Yes, it's a shame."
The hospital was always busy. Being in the zone between the ghetto and the poor was a place where life showed itself each night and each day with fights, robberies, and other crimes that highlighted the levels where man was now descending into an abyss of poverty and hopelessness.
Within a day, three other youth, all from the area around Oakwood Crescent, were lying in the morgue. Lying there without any signs of contusions, or other symptoms of what caused their death. The pathologist would have to find out why four young kids, at the beginning of their lives would die without any apparent reason. Was there a new pathogen out there? Was it the beginning of a disaster?