It’s all over the news. New York City Hall collapsed in on itself. Sixty people dead. New York City’s latest terror attack, and everyone’s pointing a finger at someone.
The New York FBI Headquarters is buzzing, and Officer Hazel Arona has never been more stressed. One would think her first case as a real officer would be exciting, but not this exciting. Sixty people? How was she supposed to be able to handle something like this? So far, she’s spoken to the President, Vice President, Secretary of State and the leaders of every security agency in the country, some of which she didn’t know existed until this point.
She puts down the phone after talking with CIA director Gabriel Pope, whose choice words reflected anything but what’s expected by the name “Pope”. Inhaling deeply she tries to regain her composure. I can do this, this is what they taught us to deal with. They just didn’t include the part where you get cussed out by the most powerful men in the country. Her thoughts weren’t exactly helping either.
Devin Remston, her Senior Officer, about 45, walks in with a Caucasian guy around Hazel’s age in handcuffs. Both men look like they’d rather be anywhere but here. One of them had a good reason for that feeling. That was fast. She rushes over to Remston, he looks sideways at her. All the men looked sideways at her here. It was worse than college.
“Who’s this loser” she asks, trying to fit into Remston’s cold mood “is he our guy?”
“Meet Glen Slater,” he says curtly, he shoves Slater forward “New York City’s latest public enemy number one.”
“Hey beautiful” Slater says with one of those Harrison Ford smirks. “Who are you? My escort?”
“Oh look, he’s trying to be cute” she says, not meeting his wolf-like gaze, “but mommy never taught him manners. You gonna need any help with Guantanamo’s latest playboy?”
Her confidence was feigned, a tool utilized by most agents working anti-terrorism. It’s an intimidation ploy.
“Troy will do fine” he gestures to the suit behind him. Of course. Let the “boys” handle it.
“Right. Well the President will want the update” she says, with more force than was probably necessary.
“Not necessary. Watch from the window.” Remston says, looking forward, expressionless. “Vince, we’ll be in Interrogation 5A”
“You got it boss” the fat techie responds, “Cameras are set”
“No need. Turn them off. That’s an order”
“You heard me”
Hazel stands shocked for a second. Vince and her share an equally confused look. As she follows the others, she runs the situation through her mind. No call to the President? No cameras? Remston was no saint, but he’d never disobey protocol. Especially on something this big.
They reach the interrogation hallway. She hasn’t been here yet, at least, not for real. She goes into the dark viewing room. Through the one-way mirror, she can see Remston and Troy enter with Slater. The questioning room is lit by a single light in the middle of the room, with a single metal chair and table below it. It’s just like the movies. Except without the handsome co-star. Speaking of which, her date with that guy is Friday. The guy she met at the…
Remston slams the door to the interrogation room and throws Slater into the chair. His head falls back and, as he tries to lift it, Troy hits him across the jaw.
“Ok kid. Start talking” Remston says as he walks to the opposite end of the table and puts his hands on either side. He leans close. Establishing dominance. “You obviously didn’t do this alone”
“Well, you’re wrong about that” Slater says, his gaze travels from his interrogator to the one-way mirror. Straight into Hazel’s eyes, “but I’m not saying anything else unless she does the asking”
Yeah, you and me both. Wait. She shouldn’t be agreeing with the suspect. He just killed sixty people. “Stay objective,” Remston would say. Troy hits him again. Other side of the face this time
“Where you get the explosives?” Remston growls
No answer. He’s still staring at Hazel, through the glass he can’t see through.
“Slater, Where?!” Remston nods to Troy, who walks behind the suspect.
No answer. Slater’s eyes slowly lock onto Remston’s.
“You know where and why”
Remston signals to Troy, who grabs Slater’s head, and slams it into the table. The crunch of Slater’s nose almost is louder than the slam of the table. Remston doesn’t flinch. He’s not serious, right? There’s no way Remston would know anything already…unless…
Hazel picks up a tablet from the table behind her. After logging into her level 1 clearance, she searches Glen Slater.
“Don’t play games with me Slater” Remston continues, Hazel looks up for a second. Troy pulls Slater back up. Hazel guesses from the blood his nose won’t ever be the same. “My patience is nonexistent after what you did”
“Ha. So, we’re on the same page.”
“What do you mean, boy?”
“You seriously don’t remember? Glen Slater? As in Glen Slater of Abbotsville, Kentucky?”
Remston stiffens. Troy looks at him in confusion.
The tablet finishes its search, one file, “Abbotsville, KY, 2006”. Agent assigned: Devin Remston. Hazel taps it. It opens to a whole lot of black stripes. Requires Level 9 clearance. At least there must be something here… she scrolls on.
“What did you just say?” Remston’s voice is shaky now. He backs out of the light.
“Abbotsville, KY” Slater says it slower, leaning toward Remston.
List of victims. Catherine Harding (64), Jerry Alfwell (30), There are sixty in all. The final name, Glen Slater, Sr. (45).
“Don’t get any closer!” Remston is manic now, he backs away.
“Why not?” Slater’s obviously in control now.
“You’re a monster” Troy spits out, grabbing Slater’s head and turning it towards himself.
Slater glances back to the mirror, again, right into Hazel’s eyes. Remston signals Troy again.
“A ’monster’ doesn’t stop. I turned myself in. No resisting. No demand for a lawyer. No shooting” , he says that word with odd emphasis towards Remston, “Your boss on the other hand–”
Troy shoves Slater to the floor. Remston pulls his sidearm. Troy locks eyes with him. They seem to be communicating with each other telepathically. A shot rings out, Troy falls against the wall, soiling it with red. Shot through the head. A second shot rings out, there’s a spray of blood from the floor where Slater is lying.
Hazel stifles her scream but stumbles backward into a table. It falls to the floor with a crash. Remston turns with surprise and shoots wildly into the mirror. Thrice. It shatters. Hazel dives down and reaches for her own pistol.
“Get up Hazel! Get up!” her boss shouts, but it doesn’t sound like him. An unnatural pitch.
Tears stream down her face as she presses herself further into the floor. She’s got one hand on her pistol, but there’s no way she could get a shot off. She’s frozen. She can’t think straight.
“Sir, please, I don’t understand!” she shouts, trying to stall for time.
Footsteps leaving the interrogation room, getting closer to her. She slowly turns around. There’s no way he’s letting her out of this.
She turns around, Remston is in the doorway, she raises her pistol. His is already poised to fire.
A final shot echoes through the hallway.
Written for Chuck Wendig’s “Monster Flash Fiction Challenge”.