“Kid, Hey kid, You gonna talk or what?” the policeman’s lip curled upward as he held back a snarl, the top of his lip brushed against his bushy and unkempt brown mustache.
“Look, we got all night. You aren’t walking out of this goddam room until you speak.”
The policeman’s eyes began to twitch, he had been awake for nearly 24 hours now, and his patience was growing extremely thin. Suddenly the door swung open, the lights flickering in the small white room as it bounced against the wall. A man stood in the frame, staring first at the boy, then at the man yelling at him.
“O’Hara, take a break, go grab some coffee or something, you look like shit. I’ll take a few minutes with Mr. Hughes here.”
Officer O’Hara looked at his commanding officer, then back to the child, then back towards the door, he gave out a loud sigh and turned away, walking for the exit without even a slight glance back.
The commanding officer let him pass and shut the door behind him, walking slowly towards the table where the child was seated. He slid the chair out from the table and set down, never in a hurry. He was middle aged, maybe somewhere in his 50’s, slightly overweight and his face bore the wear and tear of his job, day in and day out for the last 35 years. His shirt, white and pressed that morning, now ruffled, sleeves pushed back. He wasn’t about to take any sort of shit from some snot nosed punk tonight. No, not after what he had done.
The officer took a few minutes before he began to speak, studying the subject in front of him. He had been doing this job for as long as he could recall, but he had never been in this sort of situation before. It is not often that a monster, no, a devil sat directly in front of him. Sure, there had been many terrible, horrible people pass through this place, but this felt different. The air in the room hung heavy, like the feeling you get right before a massive storm rolls through. Uneasiness. Tension. Even though a mere child sat before him, the officer felt that he too could easily become another victim. The commanding officer opened a folder, pushed it forward towards the child opposite him letting some of the papers inside spill across the table. He looked at him, tried looking at him. The only thing he could see was the crown of this kids head. Hair matted, as if he hadn’t bathed in a month. It appeared reddish brown in this light, whether it was more red or more brown, the officer couldn’t be sure. He studied him some more, no words had been spoken, the room still and quiet. The child wore an old beat up t shirt, holes poking out in precarious places, with what appeared to be an old Red Sox logo that had since faded away. He could see the child’s pale skin poking out through various holes, white as porcelain.
The officer began to speak.
“Mr. Hughes, my name is Sergeant McNamara and I would like to ask you a few questions.”
“To start, the folder that lay in front of you is everything we have on you. Name: Clyde Hughes. Date of birth: February 14th. Parents: Deceased. A letter from a child psychologist stating you have yet to be tested for bi-polarism, have uncontrollable bouts of rage and anger and appear to be somewhat of an alcoholic. A few old pictures and that’s about it”
“Can you recall the events, in full, of the night of October 12th?”
“Look kid, just tell me what the hell happened. What drove you to this? You are only hurting yourself here.” The frustration was already getting to Sergeant McNamara. He sat back in his chair, folding his arms.
The boy never looked up.
Sergeant McNamara could have sworn there was something holding this kids gaze at the floor, without his permission. He could’ve been in a million different places at this moment. Being in this dimly lit room with an overweight and agitated police officer was apparently not one.
“If you don’t look at me and tell me what the fuck is going on, I will make damn sure that they lock you up and throw away the fucking key.” I don’t give a shit if you ever see the light of day again you little prick.” His heart began to pound faster, his adrenaline pumping, and a small drop of sweat could be seen in the top left corner of his forehead, gently making its way down the side of his face. He brushed it off with his crumpled sleeve. McNamara thought of his wife, how she always complained about ironing his shirts for him every single morning if he was just going to unbutton the collar and roll the sleeves up as soon as he got to work. “Fuck her” he thought in the far reaches in the back of his mind. There were certainly more pressing concerns at this moment.
The boy sat motionless, as if he were just a puppet his master had sat in the chair and wondered away from. His stare and occasional blinks gave away that he was, in fact, a human, looking down at the same spot on the dirty tile floor beneath him.
At this point, Sergeant McNamara had all but given up. What he thought had been a matter of minutes had actually been somewhere around two and a half hours, with nothing to show but a higher blood pressure than when he had entered the room.
“Alright, fine kid. Sit here all fucking night. See if I care. But let me tell you this, I could be the only person here that may be able to help, however minute that may be at this point. You don’t talk to me, you can forget about whatever rights you think that you have. You will burn, just like they did.”
Sergeant McNamara stood up from his chair, pushing it back and standing rigidly over both the table and the boy. He blocked part of the light illuminating the boy, casting a shadow over much of the room. The boy looked up, noticing the Sergeants gelled hair had been messed up, probably after running his greasy, sweaty fingers through it every 5 minutes for the past two and a half hours, and thought it funny that at two precise points on either side of his head the hair had stuck up and curled just at the tips toward the middle, making it look like two perfect little horns. The shadow of this colossus of a man looked as if the devil himself were standing before him. If he only knew.
Sergeant McNamara began to turn and slowly make his way for the door.
“Alright.” Said so soft and calmly it barely registered to the Sergeant from across the room.
“You want to talk, let’s talk.”
The Sergeant stopped. Turned slowly back towards the boy, adjusted his collar, and began to walk back towards the table, the boy staring directly into his eyes now. The sweat on his forehead was hard to hide; it was dripping at this point, yet it wasn’t overly warm in the room. He dabbed his forehead again with his shirt sleeve, now turning a mild yellow after each pass. He made his way to his chair, turning it towards him to sit again, the boys stare never breaking eye contact with his own. The papers and folder lay in the exact same spot as when he had tossed them over to the boy hours ago.
“Alright son, tell me everything.” McNamara said, clearing his throat to sound more authoritative. He knew he was not the one in charge in this room; the boy was, but how? How could a boy of 14 hold this much power over a man in his 50s? There was something different about this one, that was for sure, but to put a finger on it at this point was a shot in the dark. All the Sergeant could do was sit back, listen, and try not to interrupt.
The boy, never breaking his gaze, slowly opened his mouth and began to speak.