Officer Hardy leaned back in his chair. The man had been reacting to my chronicle of events in a very patronizing manner thus far, but had not spoken a word until now.
“That’s some story so far,” he noted dryly, clearly dissatisfied with the current proceedings.
He got up, then started pacing around the table once more. “But that kid, Chase, could not have been like that.”
I shrugged. “It’s all true.”
The officer stared hard at me. “I’m not lying!” I repeated.
Hardy sighed. “I’ve heard a story much like this already,” he said. “I’d rather not sit through a sequel.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but he held up a hand. “No disease in existence leads to these sort of side-effects. You said it yourself. So, already I’m finding it hard to believe your story. And you just got started.”
“This disease could have-“
“Quit this talk about ‘the disease’. You have no proof of it, just some paranoid man on an article—nice cameo putting that one in your story, by the way. His name was Joseph Yawkes. He was arrested a day later for cultivating marijuana in his backyard; I heard it through station reports myself. Needless to say, he ended up self-destructing his testament.”
Just like that, the one bit of possible true information I had was eliminated. I thought casually inserting it would bring some validity to my tale, but now I looked plain stupid, using a druggie to back up my statements.
The officer went on. “You haven’t explained the explosion, the deaths, the chase…there’s a lot of holes that need filling here. You haven’t assuaged our suspicions.”
“I’m just getting started. I figured you wanted to get the details. So I’m giving them to you.”
Officer Hardy frowned. “Don’t act smart with me.”
He gestured to a long scar that ran from his right eye all the way down to his mouth. “Got this from a drug bust” he said. “One of the henchmen came at me with a knife. I didn’t flinch. I shot him right then and there.”
“So what makes you think I won’t shoot down your little fairytale?” he finished his ultimatum.
I tried to stand up: I feel more in control of a debate when I get up on my feet and make my points. But the handcuffs weren’t helping me. I remained firmly restrained in my chair, vulnerable and accused of every horrible crime under the sun.
Hardy must have thought I was trying to escape, because he laughed as I attempted to stand.
“I already told you whatever I say is true,” I said.
Officer Hardy shook his head. “Right there is a lie.”
“I’m not lying, I’m not lying!” I shouted.
A fit overtook me and I began thrashing about in my seat, trying desperately to release myself from the handcuffs that bound me. The officer promptly stormed over and dealt me a slap across my face, ending my brief tirade.
My heard jerked violently from the blow and I felt a sharp pain in my cheek. I tried to raise my hand to feel the damage, but was once again reminded of my helpless state.
Hardy looked me over, distaste locked in his expression.
“You’re mad,” he said, disgusted.
There was no way I would stand for this. Both physically and mentally.
“How about I just get to the point; when Chase spreads the infection, and the deaths toll up.” I tried to make my offer as tempting as I could.
“Now, just wait a minute: no more of this zombie crap,” Hardy criticized. “You can’t keep carrying on like this when you have nothing to back your argument up. At some point you’re going to have to give up this charade you got going on.”
“If you want the truth, you’ll have to listen to ‘zombie crap’.”
“I don’t have to listen to anything. If you refuse to comply, you can be taken to a government prison with the snap of a finger.”
“Then why are we still here?”
The officer looked over at the glass panel as though asking the people behind it for options. Since he didn’t receive any, he sighed, then sat back down.
My mind relaxed for the moment; there were ways I could elongate the time I had to tell my tale. They needed to hear the information about the deaths somehow and required my words. At the very least, my stalling could buy me time so I could find a way out of this mess.
“I’m listening,” he muttered, bringing my train of thought back to the issue at hand.
My window of opportunity was slowly closing. This interrogation became a race against time. If I desired any chance of reunion with my friends I needed to be play extremely conservatively. I didn’t go through what I did just to be at the mercy of this officer.