(Haha... This is a story I wrote when I was fourteen or fifteen. I know it's going to seem odd, like it wasn't written by a fourteen or fifteen year old. I was just always like that. This was actually one of my least bloody stories from those times. It's also one of the few I still have around from those times... So for what it's worth, I enjoy reading it. I figured maybe you might as well.) The sliding glass door was broken when we got there, the remnants spread everywhere in a glittering ocean of fragments on the porch. The truth was that we had thought this was a simple burglary when we saw that sliding glass door shattered like that, but then as Ruiz and I approached the porch steps, two loud gunshots boomed inside the residence. We rushed up the steps with our pistols drawn. Our boots crackled on the broken glass, and I had the crazy idea that maybe the intruder would hear us, even over the third gunshot which sounded like it was coming from upstairs. Sirens screamed further up the street as our backup approached, but I was focused on the job. I pointed toward the stairs and mouthed silently at Ruiz for him to go up first. Ruiz raised his eyebrows and it was clear from his demeanor that he was attempting to communicate: Let's just go as a team. It was not what I wanted but I nodded after a moment and we carefully began stepping up the wide, carpeted steps. I had my gun out and aiming upwards and Ruiz had his gun holstered now and he was aiming a flashlight. We were halfway up when the guy with the bloody rag wrapped around his wrist materialized through the darkness into the flashlight's beam on the top step holding the shotgun. He was muscular and tattooed and he looked like one of those guys who had a hair-trigger temper. We stared at each other for a moment with guns and flashlight aimed and then the man spoke, in a gravelly voice that sounded as if it hadn't been used in decades. "Are you going to shoot me or not?" he asked. I stepped up onto another step with my pistol still aimed at the guy center mass. I knew that I had to try to calm this guy down or this would be an awful situation. "What is going on here, sir?" The guy chuckled and lowered the shotgun a fraction of an inch to show the six-year-old kid that was standing in front of him: a hostage. A bad situation had just gotten worse. "Can I ask you something?" the man growled. "What if your ex-wife let her fiance beat your daughter?" He didn't continue for a moment. "What would you do?" The guy paused, waiting for an answer. I struggled to find an answer that wouldn't jeapordize the man's calm. I looked at his daughter's terrified face. "You're scaring her, sir." The man took a deep breath. He looked like he was struggling to not break down and cry. "Officers, you had better back down the stairs before I do something I'll regret." Ruiz instantly obeyed, backing quickly down the stairs. I hesitated for a moment, but lowered my pistol. "You think I'm lying?!" the man screamed, eyes bulging. He looked like he was about to snap at any moment. I began backing down the stairs as well, until a quiet voice floated to my ears. "Don't go." I looked up. It was the little girl, staring at me desperately past her father's huge muscular tattoo-magnets that he called arms. "Please help him," she pleaded. Ruiz grabbed my own arm. "Let's go, let's go, come on," he whispered hoarsely in my ear. "I believe him." "Just hang in there," I called up the stairs to the little girl, but her and her father had disappeared as the flashlight's beam wavered away from them when Ruiz grabbed my arm. I shook Ruiz off. "Man, what about the little girl?" Ruiz blinked. "There wasn't a little girl, man. Come on. Just too much excitement. You're seeing things. Let's get back downstairs and wait for backup." I shook him off again where he had grabbed my arm. I turned back towards the stairs. "Sir, for your daughter's sake, please come down." "Shut the fuck up!" The unexpected roar from upstairs was so vicious that both Ruiz and I backed down a step each. "He fucking beat her and he killed her! She's gone! Go away or I will kill you!" Another gunshot echoed and then a second later the heavy body crashed into us. The man's head was gone. Brains glittered in the beam of Ruiz's flashlight. Without a second thought, I leapt over the corpse and rushed upstairs with my pistol drawn and Ruiz followed with the flashlight to light the way. Things flickered by in the swinging light. A buckshot-riddled, half-open door. A woman's body dressed in a bloodied nightgown sprawled half-in, half-out of the doorway with a massive wound in the center of her destroyed face. A man laying facedown by the top of the stairs with two huge shotgun blast wounds to his back. There was no sign of the little girl. I blinked and holstered my pistol cautiously. It appeared that there were no other suspects. I turned around and a sergeant was standing at the top of the stairs, conversing quietly with Ruiz. I walked over and asked what was going on. The sergeant turned to me with a raised eyebrow. "The woman was the shooter's ex-wife. The dead guy was the ex-wife's fiance. Both are... obviously dead. The ex-wife had custody of the shooter's daughter and... two years ago, the girl turned up dead. It was said that she fell down some stairs and that was the reason she had a broken neck, but the court knew that it was a lie and so did the shooter. He got out on a bullshit technicality though and the shooter had been a drunk ever since. I guess he finally came to take revenge." I blinked, standing there quietly. "The little girl was dead?" The sergeant stared at me. "For two years, Tom."