“I’m trying to help you here, Mr. Frost.” I lean back in my seat. I would’ve thought, what with its fancy new budget proposal, the detention center could’ve afforded some less wobbly chairs.
The man on the other side of the glass won’t stop staring at his hands. That’s not good, Mr. Frost. That’s not good, at all. How am I supposed to have you see my way if you won’t even see – me?
Let’s try this again. “Mr. Frost—”
“I appreciate you trying to help me. Miss Cykes.” His voice truly lives up to his name, even with the faint crackle of the microphones and speakers between us. “But I’m afraid I’ve said all I’m interested in saying.”
“That’s not a lot of interest, then.” I smile, absent-mindedly flipping through the case file I already know by heart. “Which is a shame. I think you’re a very interesting person, Mr. Frost. Not a whole lot of people would do what you’ve done. Shoot a man in broad daylight. Full view of witnesses, store security cameras – you even left the gun next to the body.”
The chair shivers. The squeak makes even Frost flinch.
“It’s all one big mistake.” he shrugs.
I remember Simon once telling me about the one cell he never got to see in all his years in jail: solitary confinement. He didn’t cause enough trouble for it. Even those that did, actually, he said, never seemed to warrant being put away.
Save for one man. A quiet, non-threatening man, with the voice of an angel. And for this one man, all the guards and guardettes brought out this big leather chair and dragged it across the hallways – to that cell seemingly meant for no other man than him.
Simon seemed to think it was a room made for the Devil himself. I’m still not sure if he was joking.
“Playing dumb isn’t going to get you out of this.” I sigh. “Your fingerprints are on the gun. You have an unmistakable scar that no less than ten people—"
“Why exactly do you care so much?”
“—and three professional video analysts—”
“How many times—”
“—frankly, no defense team will last ten seconds in a courtroom, even with the dumbest ju—”
“And I’m not expecting them to.” he says. “This is all a mistake. All of it. One big giant mistake. The domino fell, and it pushed another, and another, and another. The last domino was me shooting him. That’s it. What more do you want?”
“Everything.” I smile. “You haven’t told me anything, Mr. Frost. I still don’t know any more about you or about Mr. DeCarr.”
“He’s dead. I’m not.”
“Trust me. At the rate you’re going—”
“Oh, I’m racing straight to hell. I know. But that won’t make him any less dead, won’t it?”
I click my tongue. There’s nothing in his voice. No fear. No remorse. No joy. I’d compare him to the Phantom if his face didn’t give so much away. He was either born with stubbornness or is going to plain die from it; either way, he’s not interested in sharing anything. And I can’t figure out why. “You know, some juries can take pity given the right motive. We could take the death penalty off the table and—”
“What happens to me is none of your concern, Ms. Cykes.” He signals the guard behind him. “You did your job. That’s all anyone could’ve asked of you. Just like I did mine.”
“Mr. Frost—I just—DeCarr was over ninety-years old! Ninety! Why would you throw your life away if—”
His own chair squeaks.
The door squeaks.
A bird outside the window squeaks.
Now there’s nothing. Just the same distant whispers as usual, and the faint buzzing of the overhead light.
I rub my temple. My back is killing me. It’s the stupid chair.
I bet if I asked, they’d bring that leather one from solitary confinement. I’d be a worthy successor to it, I’m sure – considering I just killed this man, and I don’t even know why.
On my way out, I pick up my belongings from the security checkpoint.
“Something wrong, Chief Prosecutor?” she asks me.
“Nothing more than usual.” I murmur, slipping into my coat and stepping out into the snow-covered morning.