Eve tried the handle as she called out and thought the door was locked, but as he finished speaking it gave suddenly and she realized it had just jammed. Fire regs. They're probably not allowed to lock them. Besides, I would have heard a key turn and no one came near the door. She went in cautious as always, although what could happen? - taking everything in.
One boy, aged about seventeen, stood near the PC, which was off. Two beds, one neatly made-up and one occupied by the other boy, the one she'd come to see. Otherwise the room was quite bare and surprisingly ordered. Books were lined up on the bookshelves, all drawers were shut and surfaces were free of clutter. She'd expected a mess. They didn't even have any posters up. She remembered posters. Her teenage bedroom wallpaper had gotten lost under them.
The first kid was coming toward her with a friendly smile, his hand stretched out, self-possessed and radiating more confidence than some men twice his age.
"Hey Officer," he said. "Can we help? My name's Joe. Joseph Tayna. That's Mal over there." She followed his gesture, looking over at Malcolm Larsson. She'd only glanced at him before and now studied him. He flushed to the roots of his dirty-blonde hair and shifted uneasily, although he didn't get up.
"Hi," he said and tried to smile at her but his eyes were wide and anxious and the smile was weak.
"Malcolm Larsson," Eve nodded. "I need to speak to you concerning the disappearance of Brittany Sanderson. Mr. Tayna, if you'd kindly wait outside?"
"Don't think I can do that, sorry," Joe Tayna said. He shrugged apologetically and sounded truly devastated he couldn't comply. Eve stared, thinking she'd misheard.
"That wasn't a request," she said. "Well, it was a request. I asked it as a question so he has the right to refuse." What am I saying? Her tongue was gabbling all by itself. What in hell? "Look just get out. This doesn't concern you Mr Tayna."
"Joe," Malcolm said, somewhere between pleading and warning. He still hadn't moved and his expression had changed from anxiety to fear.
"Mal," Joe said and tutted like an indulgent parent. "Mal, do you think this is a good idea? The two of you having a little talk? Because I don't think so, I really don't. You've been a bit too exclusive. Maybe I should broaden your education. How about that? She's got a gun too."
Eve was utterly confused. She didn't know what was going on and struggled to speak. I have to be in control. Me. What's happening? Shit I can't move! She couldn't speak either, couldn't open her mouth and her feet seemed to be stuck. Her heartbeat sped up and she stared as Malcolm stood up. He moved across to her jerkily, like a puppet, his expression was flat with terror.
She tried to scream. It came out as a whimper and she fought against hopeless rage and horror. What is this? What is this? Oh god help me! Malcom had his hands on her. Actually on her. His fingers ran up and down her shirt, exploring. She could hear the other one behind him, laughing merrily like this was the funniest thing he'd seen in his whole fucking life - which would not be very long if she could get out of this. Move! she commanded her body. She raged against her stubborn legs, pummelled her arms to lift.
Her arm did move, but only to unclip her gun, and she went from fear into shock and panic. No no no! No don't do that! Don't fucking do that!