The blue and red lights kaleidoscoped outside the ranch-style house with the perfect address, on the street bearing the name of a tree nowhere to be found in the neighborhood in which it existed.
The lights were wildly inappropriate as they played havoc on the thick Midwestern summer night. They interrupted the starlit sky and the made-for-TV dramas flickering behind the neighbors' curtained windows.
Standing in the driveway, she cringed in the pulsating colors. They exposed so glaringly the lie that lived within the ranch on No-Such-Tree Street.
The staccato lights beat over her and the one who was being led away, handcuffed, spitting outrage through gritted teeth.
The girl and the boy did not see (but Mrs. Dupree across the street did) the lights bouncing crazily about the ranch on the street that would never be the same. They did not see the man who came with a warning label they couldn't quite read, be made to enter the black and white car with the emblem and the psychedelic lights.
The images fade with each flutter of her eyelids. With an accustomed weariness, she dragged herself from the bed to begin the day, already hotly oppressive. She dressed carefully, sliding the long, black sleeves over the mottled colors of her arms. She warily eyed his officer's badge on the bathroom counter as she reached for her makeup.