Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: New England, USA
Inmate 392: The Harvest
Just a little something I came up with. I may continue it depending on response. Unfortunately, I don't have enough to focus on more than one project. So read, critique, and vote for fic of the month!
“State your name for us please,” said a short police investigator seated at a metal table across from a man overwhelmed by shadow.
The darkness of a cold steel room engulfed Lieutenant Travis Barnes and his interviewee, a patient from Trinity Park Mental Institute. Nighttime had set in as only the moonlight and a small overhead light slightly illuminated the room. The man across the table from Barnes had his hands tied behind his back, bound in chains, and was restrained additionally with a straight jacket.
“Inmate 392. I’ve been sentenced to life in solitary confinement, a place where I can’t harm anyone ever again.” He spoke in an unearthly tone, one that told of unknown troubles and terrifying experiences. Inmate 392 had a voice that was so calm and lacking of any worries.
To some, fools don’t worry about anything. However, people who have nothing to lose are frightening. 392 was such a man. Yet, he was the one in the restraints, sitting across from investigator Barnes, two very heavily armed guards and was well aware of the automated machine guns outside the doorway to the rooms and behind the mirror glass.
“Why are you here?” The investigator readied a clipboard of papers.
“For the murders of Dianne Stone, Jack Miller, Corey Daniels, Michelle Carlton, Dennis Rearing, Melissa Johnson, Seth Smith, Jacob Carpenter, Lindsay Hagerty, Jason Thatcher, Moreen Thatcher, no relation of course-” He stopped mid sentence and looked up at the balding black cop.
A look of immense fear had overcome him. He now stared at Inmate 392, as if spines were to spring from his skin and fire from his eyes. In thirty-two years, the investigator had never heard someone list off victims so haphazardly. The sounds of crickets chirping outside from the moonlit window fluttered in. Barnes was under the impression that he killed only three people. This man had just laundry listed people as if they were an itch he could just scratch away.
“Are you afraid of me, sir?” 392 spoke in that same godless voice, his face still hidden in darkness.
Trying to butch up, the man responded grittily, “Let’s cut through the crap. How many people did you murder?”
The twirling metal fan above the table screeched a bit, causing Barnes to twitch. The patient remained still.
As if calculating the totals in his head like a child playing with marbles, the darkened outline of 392 looked upwards, pondering his answer. The interrogator took his best shot at intimidating the patient with a mean stare. He attempted to twitch his eyes and crunch his face. It was a futile effort though; a man with no visible expression is no real challenge. It had to be deliberate, the lack of need to be seen by 392. His ghostly aura seemed to penetrate the blackness that surrounded him.
“One hundred and seventy-two.” Inmate 392 responded, his voice echoing a bit.
“I see. Do you know all of them by name?”
“Only a few of them. Mainly the ones I just named, but that’s because I knew them,” he replied with what seemed like a hint of remorse. However, his face remained unidentifiable of emotion or life, yet still hiding some forbidden secret, like a blood-soaked rock.
“Tell me what happened. Everything. I want to know what led you to this point,” the investigator spoke.
“I have a feeling I will be leaving this facility tonight,” 392 said, clearly ignoring what had just been asked of him.
“What makes you think you’re going to go free?” The investigator, becoming for frustrated as time went on, said impatiently.
“I will tell you what happened, sir, on one condition. You must visit me tomorrow, after my story has haunted you. When you are eating at your dining table, a filling meal, my face will be in the reflection upon your china plate. When you step into the TV room, the room with the big comfy couch and cheesy paintings on the walls, you’ll see me again. When you lay in bed next to your wife, warm with love and body heat, my figure will dwell in the mirror. Shake it off and you will fall asleep. Amongst your dreamscape, I will be there, my story will be there. Isn’t it funny that when you hear something that impacts you, whether it’s funny or disturbing, you need to tell someone?” 392 said, pausing to chuckle.
“Yeah, actually I do,” Barnes said. This man was sick; Barnes knew it and this proved it. This was a tactic; Barnes had to level with 392. He had to try to be able to relate to a convicted murder, a sociopath who seemed to take joy in the suffering of others.
“Well, you're going to have to come to me to tell of what you saw and how it haunts you. I warn you, this is not your presumed story of “crazy man kills people for fun”, this is much more. I can sit here all night and argue with you that I’m not crazy, but here I am with a straight jacket on and chains around my wrists. So what am I to do? Deny such a great opportunity to tell a tale of death, lies, romance, and bravado? I don’t think so. It is you who will free me tomorrow, Lieutenant Barnes,” 392 said.
Barnes twiddled his thumbs with fear and impatience.
“I had an uncle once, he was a weird guy. I remember as a child, watching him mix drinks in our kitchen. I was the only one who saw this and it bothered me. There was no reason for him to be in our fridge, let alone mixing our drinks. Turns out, he had been spiking my father’s whiskey. My dad died and my uncle, being his favorite brother, made off with half of his stuff. The point is, that man had motive for everything he did. All men have motive. No one walks out their front door every morning because they have nothing to do. I didn’t see it then, but I’ve learned to spot it. I know you’ve got something to hide, punk. I’ve dealt with sick kids like you before,” Barnes said, continuing his campaign to frighten the patient.
In the shadow, Barnes thought he saw a slight movement. He heard 392 reposition himself in his chair. The sound was enough to get the investigator's blood racing. His primal instincts of fight-or-flight activated. It was as if Barnes were a daring mouse and 392 the cunning viper hiding in the thicket, sure of the mouse's death. The viper's fangs dripped with unnecessary venom, for the shock alone would surely stun the rodent into submission.
“When it comes to wine, age improves it, enhances its qualities. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way with us humans. Your skills of observation, whether they ever existed or not, are rusty, officer. I have no motive of cruelty as you probably think. My single motivation was to survive," 392 said, leaning back in his chair, farther into the shadow.
A deep sigh left the sweaty chest of Travis Barnes, who felt his fear and anger rising in unison. He could just imagine what the patient's face would look like. He could see a grim face, with scars and contours that would tell of this harsh life he's lead. It undoubtedly began with an abusive child. Perhaps a touchy father, something that would truly damage him to this point was the reason.
"Have you ever wondered that I may not be insane? You've probably thought at some point about a place in my life that would explain my case. I remember psychology in college. It was only about ten years ago. I assure, my parents were very good people," He spoke calmly. Probably with a slight grin, too. "Sometimes, genius creates the monster. How do you know I'm guilty? You only have accusations," 392 continued.
"Alright, shut it creep. I came here to hear why you did because some people think that you'd be better off sizzling in an electric chair," Barnes said, once again pursuing a means of shaking 392's confidence.
"You didn't answer my question yet. Are you afraid of me?" 392 said.
"How can I be afraid of a man without a face?" Barnes replied sternly.
A second sound of a chair sc****** the ground arose as the shadowy man shifted in his chair. He stood up, parts of his face visible through fractured light and the straps of the jacket brushing lightly against the table. There was a tense silence. The most dangerous man Barnes ever confronted was standing over him. Restricted as he was, there was still a fear of this specter.
"Make yourself comfortable, this story is long. I guarantee the authenticity of this story, even though you may not accept it. You may also want one of your little guards over there sit next to you so he can hold your hand because as you can see, I can't do it for you."
Yesterday upon the stair
I saw a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
I wish I wish he'd go away
- Hughes Mearns