Fiction · PG-13

The Interrogation

The following short story is rated PG-13 by the Clark Board of Geniuses, for language and disturbing images. Also, just plain weirdness. Read at your own risk.

The man in the straitjacket stared blearily at the camera mounted in the corner to his left. He hadn’t blinked for a minute or so and was beginning to get on the head detective’s nerves.

“Blink, dammit,” muttered Detective Milestone as he swirled the lukewarm coffee in a coffee cup from his college days. The words: “Honors Community” were barely discernible on the mug’s off-white surface, having peeled off over the years of use. The man in the straitjacket continued to stare right through the computer monitor as though he was staring into Milestone’s soul. The officers standing guard looked at each other, uncomfortable being in close proximity with the prisoner.

The man in the Straitjacket didn’t have a name on file, but he was often referred to as “Six” due to the fact that he had a large number six tattooed on his forehead. The man was one member of the notorious crime syndicate known simply as the “Nonet”. They were a group of nine master-criminals who had banded together to run the city of Chicago. They all got a number, one through nine, tattooed to their foreheads and swore to only answer to that number. Their plans had nearly succeeded until six members had been killed in a police sting the night prior. Six, Seven, and Nine had all gotten away, due to a series of lucky coincidences, but Six had turned himself in several hours later, sobbing hysterically. Nobody had been able to get anything out of him since, except for strangled sobs and maniacal glances. Milestone wasn’t having any of it and swung his neck to both sides, only popping the left side.

“It’s always one freaking side,” thought Milestone as he pushed the door of the interrogation room open, stepping heavily. Milestone looked at Six and was met with the glance of someone who has nothing left to live for, but was fine with that reality. A faint smirk splayed across Six’s face, and he drummed his fingers on the table, expecting Milestone to make the first move.

“Look, Six,” began Milestone half-heartedly, “you turned yourself in for a reason. If you don’t want to give us something, then you must want something from us. Stop messing around, and tell me what you want.”

Six stared at Milestone, and his eyes sparkled, amused. Milestone had a tell when he was getting frustrated. He would put his left index finger on his forehead, his left thumb on his left cheek, and then would splay the other three fingers on his right cheek. He was often mocked around the station for it, but it was a habit he had yet to break.

“Stop staring at me, you little prick. What do you want?”

Six cocked his head back, giving Milestone a look that read as “Can I trust you?” After a moment, he finally spoke.

“Protection.”

Milestone sighed. Finally, something he could work with. He ran his hands through his greasy hair and smirked at the officers behind the two-way mirror.

“Alright, you want us to protect you? From what?”

Six started laughing. At first, it was a low, amused chuckle, but it gradually built into a medium-volumed guffaw, and then burst into outright hysterics. He was flailing back and forth, tears streaming down his cheeks, as he gasped for breath in between bursts of laughter.

Milestone stood up and felt for his pistol. Something was very wrong with the situation. He motioned for the other officers to prepare to come in if things took a turn for the worst. Six stopped laughing almost instantly, the tears from his laughter frozen to his cheeks.

“Protect me from Seven. If you can.”

Milestone swallowed, his throat uncomfortably dry. His palms had begun to sweat, and he kept a close eye on Six, who still sat in his metal chair.

“What are you talking about?” stuttered Milestone, with a noticeable tremor in his voice.

“Seven. The fucking psycho. The bastard who knows how to get into any building without alerting any of the goddam guards.”

“He’s not going to-“

“SHUT UP! He’s probably already here! This was probably his plan the whole time! Shit. He’s gonna kill me.”

Six slammed his face into the table with an audible crack. Blood began to ooze from his nose. Milestone grabbed his handheld radio.

“I need backup in interrogation room 23, stat.”

Six groaned as he rubbed his face all over the metal interrogation table. He whimpered like an abused dog and began to cry again. Milestone moved to the side as several officers entered the room with drawn weapons. Milestone stepped closer to Six, his hand on his pistol.

“What did Seven do?”

Six choked and slowly lifted his face from the table. At least one of his front teeth was chipped, and his nose was clearly broken. Blood, saliva, and tears were smeared from his chin to just above his eyebrows.

“Jesus,” cursed Milestone as he stepped back in revulsion.

Six chuckled, as more tears poured from his eyes.

“What did Seven do?” asked Milestone, “why are you so scared of him?”

Six stopped laughing and sniffed.

“I’m afraid of seven because seven ate nine.”

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