Wow! I actually wrote something for today?! What?!
Yes, yes. I know. Fictional Fridays is back. You’re welcome.
The room is lit only by a single, flickering panel of fluorescent light. The tiled floor once white and new, is stained and weathered. There’s water damage on the popcorned ceiling, along with an unhealthy amount of cob webs.
In the center is a rectangular table with only a simple glass of water perched atop it. A wooden chair is halfway underneath this table, facing a reflective wall.
In this wall, this mirror, I see all of these things. The light that’s meant to unease. The stains meant to unsettle. The neglected webs meant to frighten. The table that’s meant to offer some form of stability. The water that’s meant to soothe. The uncomfortable chair that’s meant to splinter.
And the girl, with greasy hair and sunken in eyes, who hunches over the table- awaiting her fate.
All of this might frighten me, if I were on the other side, with her.
But I am behind the wall, behind the mirror, looking in. My colleagues eye me suspiciously, wondering what this girl could possibly have to do with a string of homicides in the upper east sector.
The answer, of course, is nothing. Nothing at all.
I’m bounded by these primitive chains. They mean to terrify me, of course, with the staged stench of criminals past. But if they knew who I was and what I’m capable of, they’d be the ones who were scared.
Because these chains that are meant to bind me, well, let’s just say they’re a formality.
The door creaks open and reveals a man. His posture is that of confidence- rolled back shoulders, determined steps, and a head held high. But the droplet of sweat rolling down his forehead, the tremble in his hands as he sets down a folder, the quiver of his bottom lip before he speaks… suggests otherwise.
“Miss Jones, is it?” He raises his right brow slightly, as he says my last name. A tell not most people would pick up on. But alas, I am unlike most.
“Do you know why you’re here?” He stands as straight as he possibly can, only meaning to intimidate me with his height.
I refuse to answer him, studying each scratch against the hard surface of the table. I know my rights, at least, the ones they assume I have.
“Yeah,” He then lowers his voice, scratching the back of his neck. “I’m not one for small talk either.”
He points for me to open the folder, and I expect that this is the part where he’ll show me all the crime scenes of the murders I’ve been arrested for. I’m a suspect, they’d told me, though I could never imagine why.
I brace myself for the gruesome images, I’m sure I’m about to see. Yet, as I pull the folder a part, it seems to explode with a hundred or so photographs.
They’re all dated on the bottom. Christmas eve, 1998. Halloween, 1984. New Years, 1977. The Fourth of July, 1961. September 20, 1946. May 2, 1921. August 13, 1899.
There are even photographic copies of portraits and newspaper clippings. Sketches. Drawings.
She wears the same hesitant expression in each picture, regardless of if she’s wearing a full skirt, a form fitted dress, or bell-bottoms. Light eyes, paled skin, dark soul.
I look back to the detective, who’s glaring accusingly back at me. He means to bully me into a confession of sorts, I realize.
So I just lean back in my chair and appear unaffected.
“Well?” The frustration breaks his cool demeanor, and it’s all I can do not to smile at him with satisfaction. “You seriously have nothing to say?!”
I simply shrug, wishing my hands weren’t bound, and that I wasn’t still under the pretense that they were actually holding me captive. I could then cross my arms, adding more to the part I was playing of ‘coy and rebellious’ teenager.
What is one day lived in silence, when I have lived many in screaming exclamation?
No, this detective won’t break me.
We stare at each other a while, and when he slams his palm against the table breaking the silence, I dare to leap out of my seat.
“Who are you?!” When he screams, I see a familiar, burning curiosity. He’s allowed it to drive him mad with wonder. What am I? Who am I? How? Why?
It’s all the same with men. They desire answers, but ask all the wrong questions. Still, just like all the rest, I begin to pity him.
The crazed redness in the whites of his eyes, due to many nights of lost sleep. The disheveled hair, the unkept scruff against his cheeks. He’s broken by the need to know. He’s terrified of what might happen when he does. And terrified of not knowing all the same.
I sigh, giving in to my own weaknesses. I am far too kind for my own good. I scold myself, knowing what will happen next. Reckless, Reckless girl.
“I’m sorry,” The words flow out of my mouth, and I wish they wouldn’t. “But you’re asking me the wrong question.”
“And what should I be asking then, Miss Jones?”
I ask for a pen, to which he hands me eagerly. I flip a photo over, scrawling out what no has ever asked me, save for one miserable soul.
I slide the pen and picture back to him. I watch as his lips form the words.
When am I?
Writing Prompt: You are in an interrogation room. A man walks in and throws a bunch of photos on the table in front of you. The photos are old and were taken throughout different points in history. You’re in each one. He demands to know who you are…