A murder mystery with a twist ending.
|As my eyes open the bright white light floods my vision. I blink a few times till my eyes adjust. I’m sitting in a square room with white walls. On one wall lies a two-way mirror. On the other, two cops lean against the wall, one with a cigarette in his mouth, the other, fingering the gun in his holster. I sit at a table in the middle of the room with my hands in cuffs. Then, as if something were to trigger a lost memory, I remembered why I was here. I remembered the blood on my hands and the knife lying beside me. I remembered seeing the woman’s body lying on the floor spilling blood on the carpet made from the fresh wounds. I feel the lump on my forehead and remember the cops storming in and bashing me on the head knocking me unconscious. The cops, hoping to find the killer at the scene and only finding me, but how would they know that? How could they know the truth? The officer with the cigarette stepped away from the wall and sat at the table opposite of me. He wore a black suit like you see detectives wearing in the movies. I didn’t expect to see a real detective this close in my lifetime. I thought I was better than that. His badge was sticking out of his chest pocket. The name read Carson. His last name I would assume.
“So.” he spoke. “Where would you like to begin?” I sat up straight and stared at officer Carson across the table.
“Well where would you like me to begin?” I asked in a mocking tone. “Would you like me to start with a confession or tell the truth?” He looked at me like I was crazy. “How about I just tell you the story and you take what you want from it.” Officer Carson took a drag off his cigarette and ashed it on the floor.
“Why even try to talk your way out of this?” he asked me. “You were found at the scene with the murder weapon in your hand. Your fingerprints were the only ones on the weapon. Both victim’s blood was all over you.” Both victims? Oh yes. There was another. A male person, at the top of the steps. His blood was flowing down each step leaving a trail of bread crumbs, so to speak, to his alleged resting place. His throat and wrists slashed. It looked as though he was tortured. I think all this, but I say it out loud too. The cops don’t know what to think.
I bring my hand out from under the table and place them on the flat surface. The handcuffs around my wrist clank when they make contact. Officer Carson continues to puff at his cancer stick. The other officer, his badge read Emerson, Came away from the wall and closer to the table.
“Are you going to confess to us or not?” Emerson asked me. I turned my attention away from Carson and toward this new interrogator.
“Apparently you haven’t been listening to me.” I stated. “I said I would confess to nothing. I would only tell a story and you could take it as you want. Then when I’m done you can talk to my lawyer.” This seemed to infuriate Emerson who grabbed a Cigarette out of his jacket and lit it hastily. The room was filling with smoke now and I just couldn’t resist. I looked back at Carlson. “Do you think I could bum a cigarette? I’ve been trying to quit but all this smoke and questioning has gotten me riled up.” Carson looked at me as though I were joking. I just stared blankly at him as serious as could be until he reached into his pack and pulled out a white cylinder and tossed it to me. I picked it up and just continued to stare at him. “A lighter would be helpful.” He gave a mocking chuckle as I put the cigarette in my mouth and leaned forward. He pulled out his lighter and lit my cigarette. I took two puffs and leaned back blowing out smoke.
The two officers just looked at me. They believed to be sitting in the room with a murderer. How far from the truth were they? In truth they knew nothing about me. I had no identification on me and it would take a while to run my fingerprints.
“So what can you tell us?” Emerson asked impatiently. I straightened myself and collected my thoughts of everything that has happened. What could I tell them? That I did know the woman and man whose lives came to an abrupt and unsuspecting end only a few hours ago, that I know exactly who killed them and how. Why were they worthy to know? They would have to earn that honor. I spoke,
“First of all you must realize something. I have all the answers to the questions you could ask. I know the victims, and I have ties to them in some way or another. I also know who killed them.” This seemed to interest them. “But I will not tell you directly when asked. You will have to earn the answers. You ask your questions and I will answer them the way I want to. No more, no less.” The two officers just eyed me with a look of disgust. They obviously didn’t like me at all. Good. I didn’t want them to. I continued to speak. If at anytime during my stories I feel threatened, I will stop and the rest can be worked out in court. Do you agree to these terms?” Carson seemed to understand but Emerson looked furious.
“Fine.” Carson said. “We’ll play it your way.” But Emerson did not like that idea.
“Bull shit! This is bull shit!” He screamed. Without turning my attention from Carson I said,
“I don’t like his attitude. I want him to leave the room for the time being. He can return later.” This just fueled his anger. He started to get angry and scream until Carson stood up and took control. He convinced Emerson to leave the room and then took his seat again. I took another drag on the cigarette in my hand and ashed it on the floor. Then I spoke to him again. “This is how it will work. You will ask a question and I will answer them with my recollection on the events. If you ask the wrong questions at the wrong time I will not answer. All answers will come from what I have to say.” Carson thought about this for a while. He took drags off his cigarette and then put it out on the table dropping the butt to the floor.
“That seems fair.” The detective said. I smiled and nodded. Then he began to speak again. “The first question would have to be, who was the woman?” I slouched a little in my chair and pushed my brown hair out of my eyes.
“The woman was my wife.” I replied. This seemed to surprise officer Carson. He was obviously not expecting this answer.
“So you killed your wife for cheating with the other man?” He started. But I interrupted him.
“Detective!” he corrected.
“My mistake, detective. I told you that I will tell my story and that is all. If you’re going to keep interrupting me I will become silent and we will work this out on trial.” He sat quietly as I continued to go on. “I will not confess to the murder of my wife or the other victim. It wasn’t me who killed them. It was someone else. I saw the whole thing.”
“So who was it?” he pressed impatiently. I raised my hand and shook my finger no.
“In due time you will find out everything. Now ask your next question.” Carson seemed stumped for a minute. He knew he had to make his questions in the right order. I would not make this easy on them. He continued to be silent until he thought of another question.
“Who was the man at the top of the stairs?” he asked me curiously. “Was it your wife’s lover or a friend?” I sat silently and thought of my answer.
“He was once a friend yes, and was he the one my wife was cheating on me with. I would have to say yes. But did I kill them, no. I loved my wife detective and I could never do what was done to her. I loved her since the day I met her and problems with marriage wouldn’t lead me to kill her.”
“Well what about the other man?”
“His name was John Gibson, my best friend since high school. He was the one who introduced me to Allison.”
“Is Allison your wife’s name? “ He questioned. I nodded. I took another drag off my cigarette and blew out the smoke. I could feel the smoke burning my lungs. It had been so long since I had a smoke.
“I hope you don’t mind but could I trouble you for a glass of water?” I asked him. He looked at me strange and then got up and walked over to the door. He opened it and asked someone standing outside that I could only assume was Emerson to fetch a pitcher of water and a cup of coffee for himself. That probably made Emerson even angrier. First kicked out of interrogation and then forced to do meaningless errands. A few minutes later Carson walked in holding a glass pitcher containing water and a Styrofoam cup full of black coffee. A cup was placed in front of me and I poured myself some water.
“So what would you say your relationship was with your wife.” I took a drink of water and looked at him as though he were a moron. How far from the truth was it.
“She was cheating on me detective what do you think.”
“Well she must have had a reason. Women don’t cheat on their husbands for no reason. I mean did you beat her or were you unfaithful yourself, did work get in the way?” This was insulting, to think that I didn’t care for my wife.
“I loved my wife detective I said that before. Why she cheated on me I cannot say. Perhaps I wasn’t loving enough or the spark had disappeared from or marriage. My work was in the way sometimes but I always made up for lost time.”
“And what was your work?” he asked me. I shook my head.
“That’s not important right now. My work is just like any other job. You do it because you have to. Because you need to put food on the table and money in your pockets.” We both sat in wait as he thought of his next question. He was trying to find a motive for me to have murdered her. But a cheating wife is hardly a motive with the love I had for her. I felt insulted.
“So why don’t you tell me about your day up until the murder.” He told me. I figured there was no harm in that.
“My day was the same as ever. I woke up and had breakfast with Allison. Then I visited some clients and completed my work for the day. When I came home I saw my wife with John in the bedroom. Then I saw a third person. He had our kitchen knife. He killed them both. He stabbed her in the back and she tried to run out of the room but fell down the stairs. John didn’t get far before he was knocked unconscious. Lying at the top of the stairs. The killer walked down the stairs and continued to stab Allison repeatedly. Then he went to work on John.” The officer looked puzzled.
“Where were you when all this was taking place?” This was an obvious question.
“I was tied up with ropes to the stair hand rail.” He made me watch as he killed both of them. I watched as he murdered my wife. I watched as he tortured John by slicing his wrists and letting it bleed down the stairs to where I was sitting. Then once the deed was done he left the knife by me and left. I cut myself free and ran to my wife. That was when I was found.” This all seemed to make sense to him. But I know he wasn’t convinced.
“Why would he have left you alive? Was he wearing a mask or anything?” I took one last puff of my cigarette and tossed it to the floor.
“No. He wasn’t wearing a mask. I saw his face perfectly. I even know who it was. I’ve known him for the last few years of my life. I guess he was just trying to get close to me. To hurt me. To manipulate me. To torture me by making me watch everything I loved be exposed and taken from me.” Carson didn’t seem to comprehend everything I was saying.
“So you know who did this?” he asked me. I just stared back at him.
“That is what I said isn’t it.”
“So why don’t you tell us so you can go free. I mean if it wasn’t you and you know who it is why stall.” I just smiled and gave a chuckle.
“I have nothing better to do detective. You will find the killer in due time. Don’t worry he isn’t going no where.” Carson slammed his fist on the table.
“But he could be out there murdering someone else and you want to play mind games.” I did not like this.
“You’re being too aggressive detective. Why don’t you step out and send Emerson in. I’d like to speak with him now.” Carson did not like the idea of this. We both knew Emerson had an attitude and he could ruin the questioning. But these were my terms take it or leave it. With reluctance Carson stood up and walked to the door stepping outside. In a few minutes Emerson emerged and closed the door. He made no motion for the chair but just sat there. I pointed at the chair opposite of me.
“Sit.” I said to him. He looked at me and then made for the chair. “Well,” I began as he sat down, “I take it you know the rules.” He nodded. “Then ask your first question.” We both sat in silence as he thought of a question. He knew he couldn’t ruin this or they would never find the killer. I would take the fall. And the murder would remain unsolved, by their standards anyways. But I would know the truth. Emerson continued to speak and then finally spoke.
“Tell me about your wife.” This was kind of a surprising question for him to ask me.
“What’s to tell?” I asked. “She’s dead now.” This wasn’t the answer he was looking for.
“There’s got to be more to her than the fact that she’s dead. What kind of person was she?” I thought about this for a minute.
“She was my high school sweetheart. We met our junior year and have been together ever since. She worked as an accountant with a law firm after graduating college. We had a normal family life. No kids even though she talked about it a lot.” I gave a small smile. “She loved kids. But I just wasn’t ready to be a father. It’s only recently that seemed to be getting distant towards me. Something was causing her to not love me as much as she used to. I was always there for her when she needed me. Maybe it was because I wouldn’t have kids or because work was in the way, but I always made time for her.” Emerson just nodded.
“Did you ever get into fights?” he asked me.
“What couple doesn’t? But we never had that big of arguments, we were always able to work things out pretty quickly.” Emerson poured himself a glass of water from the pitcher and took a drink. I took another drink from my own glass.
“What was your relationship with this John character?”
“He was my best friend since forever. He was the one who introduced me to my wife. He used to have a crush on her in school but instead she fell for me. It always kind of ticked him off. At least he got a piece of what he wanted before he was killed.” Emerson seemed amused by my calmness of the situation.
“Did you ever have any resentment towards either of the two? Did you know this was going on behind your back?” he asked me. Did I know? Was I supposed to know?
“Yes.” I told him. “I knew about it for a month now.” A look of confusion came over his face.
“Did you confront her about it?”
“Why not?” This was a difficult question to answer. Cause I myself had no clue.
“I thought she was happy. I figured if she needs someone else to be happy then so be it. That’s all I really wanted for her. Her happiness.” Emerson took another drink of water and then lit a cigarette. He tossed one to me too and lit it for me. He must understand the situation. Maybe his wife had cheated on him too.
“Did you ever think of getting a divorce?” what a shameful thing divorce is.
“I don’t believe in divorce detective.” I told him. “I still loved her even if she was cheating on me. I was planning to confront her about it, but by then it was too late.” We both took a drag off our cigarettes at the same time. I looked across the table at Emerson’s face. “Are you married detective?” I asked him. He glared at me as though his confusion had turned to anger.
“What does it matter to you?” he retorted.
“Well you seemed to sympathize with my situation. I was just wondering if you were married.” He took a drink of water and puffed vigorously at his cigarette. He didn’t want to be here playing games. He wanted to be out catching a murderer, being a hero, and proving himself.
“Yes I was married.”
“Was?” it was obvious he didn’t want to talk about it, but he had to play my game if he wanted to find his killer and be a hero. He looked down at the table and put out his cigarette.
“We just got a divorce last month. I caught her cheating.” I gave a chuckle. He took it the wrong way. “What you think that’s funny!” he shouted. At least I didn’t kill her for it like you sick bastard!” I sat there quietly until he had stopped screaming.
“Are you finished detective? Don’t take my laugh as disrespect. I merely find it ironic how similar we are. And once again I did not kill my wife.” He stood up and just glared at me.
“I’m nothing like you.” He told me pointing a finger. Then he started to head for the door. I had to stop him from leaving or the game would be over.
“You can’t leave until I say detective, or you’ll never find this killer.” He still kept heading for the door. “Detective!” I repeated. He didn’t stop. He reached for the handle and the door swung open. This time I couldn’t contain my self. “DETECTIVE!” I screamed it at the top of my lungs. This made him stop and turn around. I pointed back at his chair. “We are not done yet I’d still rather talk to you than Carson. So please take your seat.” Emerson just stood in the doorway. I could see Carson and another officer standing in the open door. No doubt trying to stop Emerson from blowing the whole case. The detective just stood looking back and forth from the chair to the door and me.
He let go of the door and it closed. He slowly walked back to his chair and sat down. He was quick to pull out another cigarette and light it. I took the last drag off of mine and put it out. Then I proceeded to pour myself more water. We both just sat in silence waiting for one of the other to speak.
“Tell me about your wife.” I said to him. He just sat there in response. “Please detective I’m being questioned for murder. Humor me.” He blew out smoke and began to speak.
“We were married for five years. She was a beautiful blonde with blue eyes. Perfect body, the whole package you know? Well my work was getting in the way. I had a large amount of caseloads at the time and just couldn’t make time for her. We had one child, a little girl. Named her Catharine.” He gave a chuckle. “It was my fault she left me.” He said. I felt I should say something.
“Sometimes you have to lose something you love to realize what you really had. That’s how it was with Allison and me. I knew she was cheating but I thought if she was happy then it wouldn’t matter to me. And now she’s dead and I’m being blamed for it.” Emerson was still convinced that I was the one who killed my wife, but I could tell he sympathized with me. “Ok your done here for now.” I said. “Send in Carson now I would like to talk to him again.” Emerson took a puff off his cigarette and stood up. He gave me a quick stare and walked over to the door, opening it and stepped out.
A few moments later Carson emerged. He walked over to the chair and sat down. “So,” I spoke to him, “its good to see you again detective.”
“I wish I could say the same.” He responded. I took a drink of water and set my glass back on the table.
“Your partner is a very emotional man. Not only does he express and excessive amount of anger but he had a lot of love for his family.” Carson leaned back in his chair but still stared at me.
“He still does.” The detective informed me. “He just let his work get in the way and now he’s paying for it.” I nodded in agreement. I suppose I could compare to that. Maybe Emerson and me weren’t that different, but inside I knew he was right when he said that he was nothing like me. None of them were like me. They haven’t done the things I have for the reasons I had to do them. They don’t, in truth, know anything about me. Only what I tell them. Carson just sat there not saying a word.
“So detective. What’s your next question?” I spoke with a calm tone. He looked at me for a second as in deep thought but I knew he wasn’t thinking too hard for the question he asked.
“What is your name?” I laughed. I was wondering when this would come up. I just thought it would be much sooner.
“I thought that would have been your first question detective. You seem to know exactly what to say in my little game. Yes I think you can know my name now. My name…is…” Something was stopping me. For some reason I felt the need not to say it. As if someone was holding his hand over my mouth. Someone deep inside me was holding me back from telling the officers everything. They had been doing it from the beginning. That was why we are playing this game.
I shook my head around and the feeling of suppression went away. “My name is Brandon.” I said. Carson just sat as if expecting me to say more. I just continued to think. Has this person had control over me the whole time? Then my concentration was broke when Carson spoke.
“Just Brandon? No last name at all?” I shook my head.
“All you need to know is Brandon right now.” Carson sat up straight and put his hands on the table.
“Look, why are you protecting the man who killed your wife and best friend. If you know who it is why don’t you just tell us so we can arrest him and get this maniac off the streets?” His choice of words angered me.
“Watch your words Detective. I don’t like the idea of the word maniac. We’re all maniacs and psychos inside. Its not our actions that define us but our reasons and purpose.” Carson slammed his fist on the table and stood up.
“Then what is the purpose for this game?” he shouted. I just looked up at him without changing my expression or posture.
“I know who the killer is so there is no way he is getting away. When I’m done you will have your man and the streets will be safe. And believe me when I say you don’t have to worry about him killing again while we are here.” He seemed confused about how I could know so much. But I already told him I used to be friends with this man who had taken everything from me and tried to frame me for it. The fact that he tried to have me put in jail though confuses me because it would affect him more than me.
I motioned for Carson to take his seat again. He pulled out the chair and sat back down. I picked up my glass of water and drained what was left in it into my mouth. Carson then poured himself a glass and lit a cigarette. These cops smoke too much. But I can understand what kind of anger they must have. I have some of it myself. They’re not the only ones playing this game. I am too. Someone is holding me back from just saying who the killer is. So I’m an equal player in this game. I can feel his hand over my mouth when I try to utter the words but there is no one there in the room but Carson and me. Or is there.
Just then the door opened. The older man I saw earlier who I figured was the captain walked in holding a tan file folder. My name was on the tab of it. So they identified me. I wonder who had read the file yet. I wonder who knew more about me. It could ruin the whole game. The “captain” placed the folder in front of Carson, who replied,
“Thanks chief.” So they called him the chief instead of the captain. After the file was placed the captain turned and walked out closing the door behind him. I drew my attention to Carson who had turned the file right side up so he could open it right, but he did not open it. “Is there anything you’d like to say before I find out who you really are?” he asked me. I nodded my head.
“If you open that before I’m finished detective than the game is over.” He looked at me as if asking why should he care now. He has my file. He was sure he could find an answer in there. How far from the truth was he? “I told you I will tell you who the killer is when its time. You have my file now, what harm could it do to wait a little while?” Carson just stared at my file lying on the table. He looked at me and then back at the file. He put his hand on the tan folder and pushed it aside staring at me.
“So what is it that you do for a living Brandon?” he questioned with a more confident tone. I gave a chuckle. No more secrets.
“I’m a high school science teacher.” I told him. This was obviously not the answer he was expecting.
“You work with children?” I shook my head.
“If that’s what you want to call high school students. No I wouldn’t say I work with children. I work with young adults. And a few demons.” I gave a chuckle. Carson didn’t like the fact that I was laughing while looking a murder sentence in the face. But I didn’t like it either. “What ever you want to call it I am in fact a school teacher.” The look on Carson’s face was almost priceless. He thinks I’m a murderer and a cold-blooded killer working with kids is just unheard of. Carson shook off this thought and brought up his next question.
“Have you ever had a violent nature towards anyone?” I nodded my head saying yes. “When and to who?”
“Lots of people.” I replied.
“Have you ever killed anyone before?” I nodded my head yes again. “So you’re confessing to murder then?” Carson questioned. I shook my head no.
“I used to be in the military detective. Served in the marines for 6 years. I served in the first desert storm war until I was discharged dishonorably.”
“For what reason?”
“Attempted murder of my commanding officer.” Carson gave a chuckle. The evidence against me was piling up and he thought he could use this against me. But there was still no proof that I killed anyone. I continued to speak. “Apparently someone set up a trip mine at the entrance of his tent when he was sleeping. When he stepped out in the morning…well you can imagine the damage. He was thrown back and cut by shrapnel. He was lucky to have even survived. Both his legs were amputated however. Three surrounding tents were also damaged, but there were no casualties.”
Carson took a drag off his cigarette witch had been slowly burning out. He hadn’t touched it since he lit it. Then he took a swig of water. Took a drink of my own water as well. I looked around the now smoky room and into the two-way mirror. I could see Emerson and the “Chief” watching on the other side. Even though all I saw was my reflection in a mirror I knew they were watching. I gave a little wave as a joke. Or maybe it was to taunt them. It didn’t even feel like I was moving my own arm. It was as if someone was making me wave. I shook off the feeling and looked back at Carson.
“So did you murder your captain?” Carson questioned as if confused. I shook my head no.
“No detective. The real murderer was later found and arrested. The people I killed in which I mentioned earlier were enemy soldiers.” He nodded in understanding, at the same time taking a drag off his cigarette. I fingered at my handcuffs around my wrist witch had now become very uncomfortable. I knew it would be out of the question to ask for them to be removed or loosened.
“Why don’t you tell me about your day in full detail.” Carson continued. I sat up straight and finished my glass of water and poured another witch emptied the pitcher.
“I woke up and the first thing I saw was my wife.” I declared. “She was sleeping soundly next to me as always. Everything seemed normal, but that’s how it always was in the morning. We both knew of the affair, we just never spoke of it. Today however I was planning on coming out with it and confronting her about it, but I never did get the chance as you know.” The detective just stared at me as I continued. “I got out of bed and showered and dressed. Throwing my pajamas and dirty towel in the clothes hamper in the bathroom. By the time I was downstairs Allison was already there cooking breakfast. I went to the downstairs washroom where I shaved and brushed my teeth, then I came to the kitchen for breakfast.”
The detective did not say one word as I was speaking. He was always listening to what I was saying and taking no chance to ruin the game. But his hand still rested heavily on my tan file folder. “After breakfast I drove our car to work while she got a ride from a friend. On my lunch break I called her cell phone but there was no answer.” I looked down at the table. “She always answers her phone. The only time she doesn’t is when…she’s with him.” I felt a tear start to escape from my eye but I held it back. “After work I stopped at the Starbucks uptown and got myself a coffee and then headed home. That was when I saw the other car in the driveway.”
“Whose car?” Carson questioned. “The killers?” I shook my head no.
“Johns car, my best friend since forever. I couldn’t control my anger. The fact that she would bring him to our own house in our own bed was just insulting. But when I got out of my car and entered the house. I immediately knew something was wrong. I hurried up to the bed room and that was when I saw them.”
“Your wife and John?” I nodded my head.
“And someone else too. My friend that I had made only a year ago and had spent a lot of time talking with recently. He was in the room with one of our kitchen knives. Neither Allison nor John had noticed either of us. Then, he struck. He attacked John first. Stabbing right into his back into his spine. This would make sure he couldn’t run. The knife must of also reach Allison too because when she got out from under John she was running naked out of the room with a wound in her stomach.”
“Didn’t she see you and stop?” Carson responded. I shook my head no once again.
“She ran right past me. It was as if I wasn’t even there. She was running too fast however. She didn’t even make it down the first step of the staircase before she slipped. She tumbled down every step and lay on the bottom unable to move. John by this time had crawled out of the bed and hadn’t made it far before the killer got a hold of him and sliced both his wrists and his neck.”
“Why didn’t you do anything to save them?”
“I was frozen in fear. Or maybe I wanted them to pay for their deceit. After John had bled to death was when I jumped in. I ran straight for the one who had murdered my best friend right in front of me. But he was quicker than I was. He took me down with ease but left me conscious. He had the rope from our garage and tied me to the stairs with it. Then he went for Allison.” This time I couldn’t hold it back and a tear rolled down my cheek.
I hated myself for being to weak to stop him. And I felt resentment for not doing more than I should have. He made me watch as he killed my wife. And here I am protecting his identity from the one people who can stop all this. I could still feel the hand over my mouth every time I wanted to shout my wife’s killer’s name. I reached for my glass of water but my hand was shaking and I tipped the glass over spilling it over the side of the table.
I flipped the glass right side up again and stared at Carson. “Do you think you could get this pitcher refilled?” He looked at me as though I were the most pathetic thing he had ever seen an emotional wreck. How far from the truth was he? He picked up the pitcher and walked over to the door and handed it to someone standing outside. A few moments later it was returned to him full again. Carson walked back to the table and placed it back where it had once stood. The second it touched the flat surface I snatched it and poured myself a glass and chugged the whole thing. Then I poured another. I set this one aside and stared back at the detective.
I wiped the tear off of my face and maintained my composure. Carson pulled out another cigarette and handed me one as well. He looked into his box and threw it on the table. It was empty now. Just like me inside. Empty, without anything else to hold on to. I guess being accused of killing your wife can do that to you. Carson lit both our cigarettes and we continued with the interrogation.
“Have you worked any other jobs besides a school teacher?” Carson asked me. I shook my head no.
“Right after high school I enrolled into college and got my teaching degree in math and science. I’ve been teaching since then.” We both took a drag from our cigarettes.
“Have you ever thought of another career?” I shook my head no again.
“I loved the idea of helping young adults learn. I tried to make teaching fun and the kids never had a problem with me. But there are always the trouble makers.” I gave a chuckle and then looked at the detective. “Were you a trouble maker detective?” I asked him. He also let a laugh slip.
“As a matter of fact, me and my group of friends gave our teachers hell.” He replied. “We were the ones always skipping glass or smoking in the locker rooms, always the first to be busted by the cops at parties. It’s a wonder why I ever became a cop at all.”
“So why did you?” I questioned curiously. He shrugged his shoulders.
“I have to make something of myself. I couldn’t be a troublemaker forever, especially with my old man. He was the only person I knew who ever really scared me.” He puffed his cigarette again. I leaned back in my chair and stared at the wall to my left.
“I didn’t know my dad.” I spoke. “He left when I was very young. I never really thought about him much. But every time I do, it makes me angry to know that I came from such a coward that he would run out on a woman once she was having his child. I guess I always had some built up rage towards him. I think that’s why I never made many friends. I was scared to let people close. Sometimes that fear would turn to anger. And sometimes I’d get into fights for no reason.”
Carson leaned up in his chair and gawked at me as though he had discovered 20 dollars in his pocket. The look on his face showed pure amazement as though he’d just figured me out. But I knew he was nowhere close. He is still convinced that I’m the killer and that is why he will never understand me. Cause he doesn’t know who really killed my wife and best friend. But they need someone to take the fall and as of now that someone is me. That is until my game is over. I looked at Carson and spoke again.
“Our time is up for now detective. I’d like you to send Emerson back in.” Carson just glared at me and then he stood up and headed for the door. He didn’t even have to ask Emerson to enter, the second the door was open Carson was walking out and Emerson was walking in. He was quick to take his seat and place my file in front of him.
“Now I want you to listen to me!” He demanded. Anger filled his voice and I just sat in place without flinching. “I’m sick of this little game of yours. Are you going to tell me the truth and confess to the murders or am I just going to have to silence you and open your file.” I just sat without saying a word. Emerson stared right back at me straight into my eyes.
“You can’t make me confess to something I’m not guilty of.” I finally said. “But if you really want to settle for what you believe in than go ahead and open my file. Read all about my past and decide my future for me, but the least you can do is just wait a little longer and let me decide my own fate.” Emerson stared angrily at me across the table. I could see the fire in his eyes. He wanted to leap across this table and strangle me. But he wouldn’t, and we both knew this.
He angrily pushed my file aside to the edge of the table and banged his fist on the table.
“So speak and tell me what it is you want.” He demanded once again to me.
“You know the rules.” I simply replied. Emerson stared at me with great anger and then slouched back in his chair and pulled out an empty cigarette pack and threw it across the room.
“What is it you want me to ask?” Emerson spoke. I just narrowed my eyes and glared at him like he was an imbecile. How far from the truth was it?
“You know I can’t answer that detective. You must think of your own questions. I can’t help you if you want to find out who the killer is.” Emerson sat upright in his chair looking more confident.
“Alright then. You said you and this man were friends. Where did you meet him?” I was surprised it took them this long to think of that question. We were making progress at least.
“I met him about a year ago in a bar. One day after work I had stopped in for a few drinks and he sat at the bar right next to me and ordered the same drink. I was a regular at this bar and knew a lot of the people who came in. They didn’t get very many new guys there.” As I spoke Emerson listened with interest. “The bar was really busy tonight and Wallis the bartender never even got around to getting this man his drink so I gave him the rest of mine and then we started to talk. We had a lot in common. I didn’t know that at the time but I know why now. We liked all the same stuff drove the same kind of car and had the same type of childhood. It was like finding a clone of myself that I could be friends with and hang out. Every time I invited him over however he never could come. I told my wife a lot about him but they never did meet. Till today anyways.”
“Did she seem interested at all?”
“No. She never cared much about people I talked about. It was usually always about us. She was kind of conceited like that.” Emerson nodded in understanding. “Well I met this man periodically over the year and when ever I was with him we would go out and cause trouble and have fun. Stuff I wasn’t able to do before. It was a way of escaping from my problems. But in reality that’s when all the problems started. It was at that time when my wife’s affair started. So I guess it was my fault.” I grabbed my glass of water and took a drink. “I didn’t pay much attention to her because I was with my new friend looking for the fun and excitement I wasn’t getting in my normal life. Well I guess he gave that to me now. So should I really hate him? Or should I embrace him?”
Emerson looked extremely confused. He had no idea what I was talking about. How could he? I probably seemed crazy to him. Was it far from the truth? I didn’t even know anymore. As the minutes drag on I feel more and more like there is no reason for this. But I can’t tell them just yet. He is still holding me back and I don’t know how since it was just the detective and me in the room.
“What was your financial history like Brandon?” I looked at the handcuffs and then back at the detective. I see where he was going with this.
“We had no financial troubles. Always paid our bills and taxes on time. We would never buy something we knew that we didn’t need. And even if we did we could afford it. Money was never an issue. So you can get that collecting on life insurance scheme out of your head right now.” Emerson nodded.
“Very well.” He tapped his fingers on the table and then spoke again. “Have you had a prior criminal record?” I shook my head no.
“Aside from being kicked out of the army I have no record, maybe a traffic violation or two but nothing serious. I’ve never had a problem with drugs or anything.” Emerson just nodded again. I could tell he was frustrated. I had given him nothing to work with.
“Were there any weapons in the house, like guns or specific kinds of knives?”
“I don’t like guns detective and I didn’t have any blades of any kind. Only in the kitchen.” Emerson had a look of confusion on his face. He probably found it strange that someone in the military would have no guns in the house at all.
“Do you have any medical records or conditions?” He questioned. Jackpot. He had done it. The right question to ask, finally.
“Well there is one thing.” I responded. “I have a disease, a brain disease. The doctors said it was strange that I developed this disorder so late in my life. But it wasn’t my choice.” Emerson looked puzzled. I could only imagine. “It started out as hearing voices, usually late at night. Then the loss of sleep started. The voices, they would keep me up. And then one day they stopped. It was the same day that I met my friend in the bar. At this point my life seemed dull and needed a change. I think it was the pressure of knowing the woman I had loved since high school was cheating on me. The fact that she didn’t love me anymore. But something inside of me broke. And he was planning on fixing it.”
The door opened and Carson walked in and leaned against the wall. They knew it was my breaking point and he wanted to hear this. “As me and my friend talked, I told him about how my life had become boring and how my wife was unfaithful. He seemed to sympathize with me. It was like he felt sorry. So he decided to care of her. I didn’t ask him too. I didn’t want him too. But there was nothing I could do about it. And he had the perfect disguise. He didn’t wear a mask or a costume. He was wearing…me!” Carson leaned away from the wall with a look of shock on his face. Emerson just glared at me. “Its known as schizophrenia. He was my illusion, my way out of my boring life. He was going to give me purpose if I wanted it or not. He killed them. And I watched. He took control over me. When we got home from work and saw John’s car in the drive way, he wasn’t going to let it slide.” The words were just flowing out of me. Nothing is holding me back now. “He went to the kitchen and grabbed the knife. He went upstairs, and he put an end to everything. He calls himself Jack Steiner. Call him what you want. But either way you look at it. It was still me.”