The rain was coming down thicker then anyone could remember. The city had been showered in water for almost a week now, and there were few people lining its streets. An air of gloom filled the area as people wondered when it would stop, and in one small corner, another attempt to light a cigarette was thwarted by the constant downpour.
The officer shook has hands dry and spat out the white stick, finally giving up the exercise. He'd been meaning to give up for a while, he told himself, so perhaps this was some grander power giving him a hand. Turning round, he set his mind back onto the grim task at hand. A smoking house, almost on fire but not quite due to the rain, lay in partial ruins. It had been a fine house once, but some act of nature had reduced it to nothing.
Then his worst fears were realised. Officer Cook emerged, a white stretcher carried behind him with Turlough holding the other end. A dirtied and burnt bedsheet, presumably from the downstairs bedroom he had so frequently visited, covered the body, but as the two men were moving it down the front steps, a horribly blistered and scarred arm fell from the stretcher, making for a terrible insight into how the person had perished. As they reached the bottom of the steps, Turlough noticed the arm and lifted it back under the sheet.
He turned to face another officer, this one in liason with the firemen who were tackling the remaineder of the fire. She was holding a soot-covered passport.
"I'm so sorry, sir. It wasn't your fault, nobody can predit things like this."
Daniel Anders, Seargent of the city's police department, took the passport and opened it. Inside, untouched by the fire which had claimed his life, was Ryan Meler, eldest of the two children he had come to call his own. The passport was only a year old and Ryan had managed a half-smile for the picture, a rarity of late as he became drawn into his own dark little world. Daniel could not hold back the tears as he closed the book and handed it back.
"Take over, Janet" was all he managed before bursting into tears and collapsing to the floor. As much as he wanted to hold together, he simply couldn't do it. He had loved Alison and her two children more then life itself, and it was more then he could bear. Janet Sanders, his second in command, crounched down and comforted him as the house he had once called home collapsed, along with all his hopes and dreams.