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One Drunken Night

Tommy awakes with a gaps in his memory, is he a murderer?

By Sam H ArnoldPublished 6 months ago 5 min read

Clutched in Tommy's hand was a bloody handkerchief. He remembered the trip to the pub the night before. He didn't think he had drunk that much.


His hands trembled, and he threw the bloody handkerchief away like it had caught fire. A quick search of the clothes he had worn revealed more blood. Tommy threw them all in the corner and tried to block them from his mind.

He went into the shower and let the warm water wash away the thought of blood and the effects of the alcohol. He was still shaking when he finished dressing for work. His mind kept travelling back to the night before. Why had he drunk so much?

The train rocked gently on the way to work. The familiar clunking of wheels on the track started to calm Tommy's nerves. As with commuting, everyone sat in their familiar seats, avoiding eye contact. It was a cold day, and Tommy pulled his thick coat around him to stop the draft from the window. Pulling the cuff from the coat over his hand, he started to scroll through his phone.

Ten minutes before the train pulled into the station, he saw the story. He felt sweat pour down his back and shifted several times in his seat.

Police appeal for witnesses to a fatal stabbing last night outside Oasis nightclub.

Tommy's eyes clouded over

Police would like to talk to a six-foot blond man seen in the area.

Tommy looked at his six-foot, blond reflection in the train window. The sweat down his back seemed to be keeping time with the rain running down the train window.

You hear all the time about innocent men going to jail for crimes they hadn't committed, he thought. He was back in Oasis arguing with a stranger over a spilt pint. He could almost feel the pressure of Dan's hand on his shoulder, trying to calm him down.

The train stopped, and the doors opened. Tommy came out of his daze and approached the exit and work.

Everything that could have gone wrong at work did. While he was filling his coffee cup, it splashed onto his trousers. Pulling his clean, white handkerchief out, he dabbed at the stain. His mind travelled back to the bloody handkerchief still on his bedroom floor.

During lunch, he met Dan coming out of the lift. Dan punched his shoulder, laughing. "Man, you were wasted last night," he said.

Tommy tried to stop for a chat, to compare notes, but Dan kept walking. "Sorry buddy, I have a meeting. Catch up tomorrow."

Whether it was the effects of the alcohol or the anxiety over the description in the paper, he couldn't eat the limp cheese sandwich. After one bite, he threw it in the bin and left the canteen. He needed to find out what Dan remembered from the previous night.

Tommy sat in his cubicle for the next two hours while his stomach churned. At 3 pm, he made his decision. He was going to report to the police station after work.

Two hours later, Tommy took a deep breath and pushed open the door. It was heavy and creaked as he put his shoulder behind it. The reception area was stark and bare. It provided the typical crime posters and hard chairs. Walking over to the counter, he asked if he could speak to someone about the stabbing at the Oasis nightclub.

Fifteen minutes later, he was shown into an interview room. The plainclothes policeman introduced himself as Detective Inspector Swift. The room was small and smelt of dirty feet. In the centre of it was a metal table bolted to the floor. The walls were covered by a metal grid, which hid the speakers. The policeman indicated that Tommy should take the chair furthest from the door. He asked Tommy about the Oasis nightclub.

Tommy stumbled his way through his story. All the time, staring at the bald head of DI Swift as he took notes. When Tommy mentioned the bloody handkerchief, DI Swift raised his eyebrows. Taking a moment, he returned to scribbling in his notebook more ferociously.

When Tommy finished, his mouth was so dry it felt like he had gargled with sand. He took the plastic cup from in front of him and gulped down the lukewarm water like a starving man.

DI Swift stood up and excused himself. Tommy then heard the lock engage in the door of the interview room. His blood turned to ice; he was locked in. He waited in the room for what seemed like a day, but it was only ten minutes.

When the door opened again, DI Swift was accompanied by a younger man introduced to Tommy as PC Smith. PC Smith sat down opposite Tommy and smiled. This classic good cop, bad cop routine did not fool Tommy.

"Tommy, do you remember me from last night?" PC Smith asked him, still smiling.

Tommy made no move to answer the question.

"I was the first responder when the victim was stabbed."


"Tommy, when we arrived, you were covered in blood and trying to save the young man's life. Admitted you were drunk, but something in your memory must have remembered first aid. You were attempting to revive the victim. Unfortunately, he was dead before he hit the ground with the severity of the knife attack."

Tommy felt the weight lift from his shoulders. He wasn't suspected of killing the man. He had been helping out. That was where all the blood had come from.

"The blond man we are looking for was ruled out, as you, on the scene. We couldn't interview you in the state you were in. Seeing as you helped, we thought we would leave you to go home and sober up. I was going to talk to you when DI Swift came in and said you were in the interview room." PC Smith said. This time, the smile seemed more genuine.

Tommy didn't trust his voice at the moment. He could feel the fear lying over his skin like a thin mist. He explained that he couldn't remember much of what had happened. When they showed him his witness statement, he signed it and was free to leave.

As he left the police station, he stood on the top of the steps and wept. It was the first time Tommy could ever remember crying. The events of the last 24 hours had physically and mentally exhausted him. At this point, his stomach growled to remind him he hadn't eaten all day.

He collected a takeaway from his favourite Chinese and went home for a long bath and relax. Stood in his PJ bottoms, Tommy emptied the containers onto a clean plate and reached for the cutlery drawer. Opening it, he smiled his first real smile for 24 hours.

There was the bloody knife he had used to stab the cocky northerner. The police had confirmed he was in the clear. No one ever suspected the first aider trying to help the victim. Police always thought the blood came from trying to save a life, not from taking one.

With his Chinese in one hand, Tommy walked over to the fridge and, using the pen on top, put another stroke onto the chart. Three victims altogether, Tommy was now officially classed as a serial killer. Today had been a very good day.

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Short Story

About the Creator

Sam H Arnold

A writer obsessed with true crime, history and books. Find all my dedicated newsletters whether you are a true crime fan, bookworm or aspiring writer on Substack -

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