The chief sighed, then leaned back in his chair. Through the duration of my account, he was as expressionless as a rock. None of my statements affected him in any way, shape or form.
Hardy, of course, had been frowning and squinting at me the whole time, no doubt wondering how far he could throw me across the prison yard.
“I still refuse to believe this” the Chief stated basically, which to me ultimately meant “You’re screwed, shut up and go get shot”.
Office Hardy nodded. “It’s like what I said, chief, this story is just a load of crap” he said once again. “Smart kid or not, this is but science fiction”.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “I’m not making any of this up!” I shouted at them. “These people I’m talking about, they’re all real, I-“
“Of course we know they’re real” Chief Darrell laughed. “It’s the story you’re involving them in that’s fake. You have no real proof of this so-called zombie infection. I don’t care how smart you are, I’m not buying this”. The chief took a deep breath and released it. “Wonderful tale boy, but I most sadly end it. I’m sure it’ll win some awards when you’re locked up”.
The chief stood up and motioned for Officer Hardy to go over to me. He unlocked the handcuffs that bound me to the desk, brought me to my feet and bent me over. My arms were pinned behind my back.
“Tyler Goades” the chief began, “you are under arrest for the bombing of Rueger High School. You have the right to re-“
An officer barged into the interrogation room before the chief could finish, looking pretty frantic. This one was named “Officer Jakobs”. I could tell by the look of him that he probably had a lowly desk job.
“Sir, there’s some kids bugging me at the front desk”.
I raised my head. Had Burt and the others come looking for Hannah and me?
“I’m in the middle of something here Jakobs, wait outside”.
“No, sir, you gotta hear this. These teenagers, they’re talking about some sort of zombie virus, I have—“
“Teenagers and zombies, hmm?” the Chief said, suddenly becoming intrigued. Then he looked back over at me, muttering “why would they turn themselves in?”
“Can I please—“ I tried saying, but I was cut off by a forceful shove from Hardy.
Harley looked at me, calculating in his head the reasons why my friends would be arriving at the station. His confusion could have been beneficial… but my comrades had arrived too late. I didn’t think I would be able to escape now that I was under arrest.
The chief sighed. “Show me” he said, turning away from me. Jakobs led the chief out of the room. “Finish booking this kid” the chief said as he walked out.
Officer Hardy continued to read off my rights. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. You are allowed the right to-“
“You know, there’s a benefit to being contained” I said, hoping to at the very least get the last word against the man who now held my fate in his hands.
“Enlighten me. What is it” Officer Hardy said contemptuously, clicking the handcuffs on me.
“I won’t have to see you anymore”. A smile crawled on my face.
Hardy laughed. “Trust me” he responded, turning me towards the door. “I’m going to be your best friend”. His threat even made me on a feeling of uneasiness.
Just before I could be taken away, the chief came back inside of the room. “Hardy, hold on. We can’t arrest this boy just yet”.
Officer Hardy shot an angry glance back at his chief. “And why the hell not?”
“Don’t talk back. And it’s because…” he looked over at me. “You’ve got friends here that want to see you. Your associates in your bomb plot”. He walked over to me. “If they all have the same, bullshit story you’re telling, then you’re done”.
“Okay, fine. We’ll bring them in and see how his story holds up” Hardy said, regaining his composure.
“Exactly” the chief replied, nodding.
“They’ll check my story out!” I said. “They’ll have proof!”
“Because you told them to make false evidence” Hardy chimed in, still trying his best to throw me under the bus.
“Can you listen to me?”
“We’ve been listening to you, boy” Harley chuckled. “It’s not believable. Without proof you can’t convince us, no matter how detailed your story is”.
Officer Jakobs come back inside the room, looking as frantic as before. “Sir, this one boy… I can’t believe it but… you gotta see his scars!” he said.
I smiled. Well played, Steven.
“Scars? You gotta be kidding me” the chief said angrily, his face turning red. “He was running through a forest and got a scratch. Whatever. We’re busy here”.
“You won’t believe this. The doctor here has been checking them out and he has no idea where the hell the marks came from. Nothing checks out”. Jakobs’ eyes were wide open.
The chief cooled down, but snapped at Jakobs. “Why didn’t you didn’t just show me this before? You’re holding everything up”.
The chief left the room again with Jakobs in tow. Officer Hardy let go of me and shoved me against the wall. He walked over to the opposite wall and stood staring at it as though it was some sort of philosopher that held the answers to the universe.
After all of my desperate chess moves, it seemed checkmate had finally been executed. I breathed a quiet sigh of relief. If the chief saw the evidence of the zombie talon marks, I’d be in the clear… I would finally be out of the confines of these bleak walls… that damn table, these damn handcuffs…
“Those scars” I said confidently, hope coming back to me “came from zombie claws”.
Officer Hardy bowed his head. I guess at this point he was done trying to lock me up now that there was confirmation of the zombies having existed. Finally I had beaten him.
“I still… can’t and won’t… believe this” he muttered. Even though he lost this battle, he still tried to make himself believe that my story, now proven true, didn’t exist. Maybe if the zombies ever found a way back, he’d just push them aside and say “You aren’t real”.
A few minutes later, the chief came back in scratching his head. He seemed very confused and shocked at the same time. It was interesting to see how dynamically he had changed—from yelling at me, believing me to be a terrorist, and now this.
“I had those scars checked out” he said. He paused. “It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before. The DNA we got from the attacker was completely out of the ordinary. Nothing like it has been seen or recorded before”.
He paused again, then delivered the news I’ve been waiting to here, the phrase that I had been hoping to hear ever since I started speaking... the saying that would forever dispel the notion that I was insane, and I was telling the truth all along.
“Looks like your story checks out” he said, looking away from me as he said it.
I could tell the difference between the chief and Officer Hardy was that the chief was just confused and shocked as to what the zombies were, while Hardy looked at everyone that came in the station as criminals and tried his best to break them, believing their stories to be false along the way. For once in the past hours, I was able to mutter a “good cop bad cop” joke to myself.
Now he was backing my story. Now I was free. I could finish this up and run away from all of this bullshit…
The chief released a deep breath and sat back down. “Well, I guess we should get back to your story then” he said. “And try to make it quick. HQ desires a good, detailed report for this, and they expect it on their desk before midnight”. He turned to Hardy. “Take the cuffs off. He’s clean”.
Slowly, Officer Hardy came over and unlocked my restraints. Nothing was put on me, and I finally felt completely freed. My arms and legs felt weak as though I had been ran over by a car. Instead of returning to sitting down, I stood up, just to get the feeling back into my body.
The chief yelled over his shoulder, “Jakobs! Get back here”.
Officer Jakobs once again came running back inside. “Sir?” he asked.
The chief whispered in his ear, “Look up on this zombie infection, OK? I need to look into this”. Jakobs nodded and ran back to his desk.
“Alright” I said, sitting back down. “I’ll try to wrap this up as fast as I can”.
Officer Hardy made no notion to show he was listening to the story or even paying attention to what was going on. I think he was pretty much done with me and interrogating. Maybe he wanted to take Jakobs’ job at the front desk.