The worst part was that the stupid lab rat had scrubbed my hands, right after they'd shoved my face on the floor of the dead troll's cell, with some chemicals to make sure that I'd shot the gun. The stench was still filling my head with some toxic-smelling chemicals that he'd used on the cloth, which was also laced with the retched odor of his cheap aftershave. (I couldn't believe that they even still sold Polo aftershave.) And hello, I shot my gun. I hadn't protested their claims. I seriously doubted that they'd already forgotten that I had fired my weapon; given the spatter and corpse it was a no brainer. But hey, just in case old grandpa troll's kin came in looking to sue someone. I knew the Johnny-come-latelies that had filled the cell after I'd shot the troll would all say was that I'd only been a consultant, and in no way were the local police in the least responsible for my actions. That's what the tech said to me while swabbing my palms after I'd admitted to shooting Charlie. They had to follow procedures in the event of legal issues. Yeah, I could look forward to yet another fucking lawsuit -- which eventually went away. Shit, could this night get any longer?
Keeping with my practice of not eating or drinking anything offered, I was getting cranky and pissed off at having let Charlie get to me. Even if I wasn't saying all my curse words aloud, I still was angry. Yep, Charlie had gotten to me. I shot him and I wasn't acting in the least like expected. I really wished that I could do the big fake tears on command, but generally I stuck with staring at the idiot bugging me until my eyes freaked them out. These cops being so close to Mexico and messy border issues made it so they weren't easily cowed by dead eyes. From what I read, the drug cartels were still dropping off heads all over Mexico and along the border, creating anarchy and fear. My eyes weren't going to do much but piss off one of the more experienced cops.
I missed Sam Fortuna, my official handler. If Sam had been around, I wouldn't have stayed more than a few hours in a cell. I was mentally grumbling at the idea that I was stuck until Archibald decided to get his ass to San Diego and work on getting me out. As dawn approached, I could hear the erratic snores and vague mumblings from the drunks down the corridor as they semi-sobered up ... at least the ones that weren't hard core passed out. Some of the clanks and metal on metal let me know that some of them either were being pulled out to see a judge or had made bail. Nobody bothered to come near me after the creepy shrink had fled to write up the lies he'd made up in his mind. I hadn't given him anything to work with in the least.
Sighing, I heard footsteps coming down the corridor, and instead of stopping near where the other prisoners were being held and released, the sound continued and soon I looked up to see two beefy men in starched, crisp uniforms standing right in front of my cell. They stared at me for a beat and one said, "Delilah Monroe, stand up, please."
The please word was a cute touch, but it wasn't really a nice request; it was a nasty command from a well-groomed man. His name tag was too far away to see, but I could tell from how he held himself that he considered himself to be an important figure around the station house. His hair was dark with glints of gray along the sides, trimmed to nearly military regulations. I wondered if he'd served in the military before becoming a cop. Buffed and a sharply carved body from working out daily at the very least, he was an imposing figure at about six and a half feet tall. The lines on his face weren't from smiling, but were crow's feet deeply etched from the glaring light of the hot sun-drenched San Diego climate. There were no laugh lines anywhere on his face. This man took life, his job and himself seriously -- I knew it from his tone. His shorter companion wasn't exactly a slouch, either. Wiry, with a tad longer brown hair, a darker mustache with dark brown eyes -- the man had the appearance of a long time officer who wasn't as hard. Alone he would have been somewhat imposing, but next to the other man he was little more than an afterthought.
Keeping my eyes dropped I stood up and waited. The man said, "Put these on."
He pulled out a set of handcuffs and reached between the bars and tossed them under handed towards my stomach. Instinctively I snatched them and held them between my hands. There were a few warm spots where the man had held them, but I felt the steel biting into my palms with an icy coldness. I felt a tension tighten in my stomach at the idea of handcuffing myself on purpose. This wasn't what usually happened when I was arrested.
Steadily staring at me, the larger man dipped his head while my eyes met his. I felt of flash of something rear its ugly head. He wasn't pure human. Oh happy days -- or in this case wickedly early in the morning. His lips twitched in what could have been his flat rendition of a smile; either way it was scary. He might not know exactly what I was, and I didn't have a glimpse of what he was cloaking, but it was pretty obvious that he didn't trust me and wanted me to know who was in control.
Ducking my head back, I snapped my right wrist then flipped my hand over and snapped the left wrist into the cuffs.
The smaller man shouted out, "Clear."
The cell door rolled back, being controlled by another guard not yet in my view. The smaller man's voice was deep and it sounded like he'd been screaming and yelling all night long. His equally well-pressed uniform let me know that he'd just come on shift and by all rights should be fully rested. His voice gave lie to that notion. I shoved the knowledge into my brain for further analysis. They put me between them and indicated I should go with them. I chanced a glance at both of their name tags. Office Randy Winsome was the smaller of the two and appeared utterly human from my hunter gaze. Monster man had Sergeant Mark Bryce on his tag and he was radiating sheer power and something otherly. I still wasn't able to get a glance of his creature, but was positive it wasn't something pretty.
We reached the gate I'd initially come through oh so many hours ago and headed towards the main body of the jail. Instead of going to the exit, we were let through another door and down a corridor I'd not seen before. The twists and turns grew numerous and I was pretty sure we were going in a maze on purpose to confuse me if I were to break free. It didn't matter because I had no intention of trying to escape. That would be stupid since I didn't need a record, and needed to be able to travel freely -- a breakout would definitely put me on the radar.
Finally we went out of the jail and through a set of steel doors to a more professional-looking section, and there weren't any jail bars and prisoners lining the path, just ugly painted hallways with darker doors. The walls had pictures of police officers in all walks of life and at various times. There were graduation shots with dates in the forties, and I saw some softball teams playing, and single pictures of what appeared to be deceased officers. Finally we came to a solid heavy door and Officer Randy opened it saying, "After you." The noticeably scratchy voice still intrigued me.
Once I was inside I saw the stereotypical interrogation room with a sturdy table bolted to the floor and a mirror lining one wall. Other than a few chairs and an obvious video camera in the corner, there wasn't much else. Well, except a pad of lined paper with a stubby golf pencil next to it. Indicating that I should have a seat facing the mirror, Sergeant Mark said, "Please start writing down what happened last night."
I flashed back to Charlie Woodvine and hours ago, his holding up his shackled hands begging for me to sympathize with his cuffs keeping him in place. Not bothering to assume the same stupid pose, I simply arched an eyebrow at Officer Randy with a sideways smirk. He blushed lightly and quickly came over and unfastened my cuffs. Not bothering to thank him, I contented myself to rub my lightly reddened wrists.
Without another word, they both left me with the notepad, pencil and my thoughts. Glancing at the mirror, I knew there were more than a few folks watching me. I shook my head, still hearing the sound in my mind of the door shutting, and knowing that the door didn't open on this side. I began to write. Being contrary and stubborn, I used my Latin. Yeah, I figured writing in a dead language mildly cute, and if their camera was able to see the words I wrote, it would take a couple hours if not days to find anyone fluent in Latin. Sam had made sure I had many tools in my personal arsenal, not simply the expected guns and ammo stuff.
Taking my time, I wrote out the barest version of the story of the missteps of the previous evening, using Latin not normally taught in school. My teachers had been old school; I learned not only the textbook words but a few nearly-forgotten archaic twists.
After a few minutes of faking interest in the vague stories I was spinning, the door was blasted open. Sergeant Mark Bryce was standing there nearly breathing fire from everything I could see on his ... stony face. Just like that, my hunter's view snapped in place and I figured out he was an elementally-fueled creature. Not a shock to find out that stone was his main virtue, but that also meant he was stubborn and more than capable of rolling over anyone in his way. And right behind him was Archibald Roberts, looking quite taken with himself.
"Ah, my pet, what have you gotten yourself into this time?"
Not bothering to answer him I simply got up from the table and walked out of the room brushing past both cops and Archie. They all seemed shocked that I didn't miss a turn but made it to the front of the jail without any directions. Part of Sam's rules for hunters was to memorize all floor plans and find any way out necessary. Even after the maze game from the remote part of the jail I was perfectly capable of leaving.
I didn't have to spin around to see the slack-jawed expression on Officer Randy's face. He'd been convinced that I had been lost coming through the rural part of the jail to the interview rooms. That's how they were marked on all the maps -- not interrogation rooms like I figured them to be.
Once we all arrived at the front desk, Archie was pushing forward to establish his role. I was still wearing blue scrubs and being squeezed between the two cops and found his bullshit to be mildly disturbing. I kept those darker thoughts to myself and let Archie posture. Ten minutes later, I was out on the street without my clothes or my carry-all. My driver's license and wallet had been returned, but not much else. And I didn't get a trial date or any admission that I had anything pending over me from the shooting. They did give me back the keys to Ruby's car, but with Archie standing by my side, I was torn about revealing to him that I had her car.
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