THE FACELESS MAN
The interview room was dull with smoke stained walls and little in the way of furniture. A metal table with a black plastic top was flanked by two steel chairs. A thick cloud of smoke hung above the table, slowly twisting and rolling under the fluorescent lights. One of the bulbs fluttered into life and, for a moment, looked as though it would stay lit, but it then went out with a faint 'ping'.
Gin sipped at a plastic cup of coffee and took a drag on his cigarette. He rolled his tongue in his mouth before letting wisps of smoke out of his nostrils. Gin studied Osborne's seemingly innocent demeanour; how his eyes were fixated on a speck of dirt on the tabletop. It made him sick to look at this man, but he should have been used to that feeling by now. His life had been full of sickness and disgust.
He dabbed the cigarette butt in the ashtray and slammed his palm down against the table. Osborne jumped in his chair, breaking his focus. Gin was pleased by the surprise on the man’s face.
'You've done terrible things, Mr Osborne,’ Gin said calmly. 'They lock people like you away for a long time and forget about you. That gives you plenty of time to think about what you've done and why you're going to live the rest of your life in a solitary cell. And then, of course, there are the other prisoners. I'm sure they'll take a particular interest in you for the crimes you committed, and I'm not talking about a picnic in the exercise yard.’
Osborne looked up, tears in his eyes. 'I... I don't know what you're talking about.' His voice quivered and he started to sniff.
'Don't play stupid with me!' Gin spat back. 'I've been in this game far too long for you to string a load of bullshit out in front of me. The evidence is stacked against you, and I know full well that you're as guilty as the Devil. I'm going to bring you down, Mr Osborne.'
Gin picked a file from his bag and slapped it onto the table. He opened it to reveal photos of child-victims in an array of sprawled positions and varying degrees of undress. Under the photos were their names. 'There are eight photos there. Eight children killed by your hand; Nancy Farquar, Thomas Whitmoore, William Grey, Samuel Dunn, Jessica Smith, Diana Aaronson, Claire White and Bobby Peterson. Every one of them had traces of your DNA on them; I can show you the evidence if you like. And this doesn't include the thirteen other kids who are missing. Would you like me to read their names to you?'
'No!' Osborne's tears now fell freely down his cheeks. 'I don't know what you're talking about. I've never hurt anyone in my life. All I've ever done is help people.'
Gin was close to blowing his top. The thought of picking Osborne up by his neck, throwing him against the wall, and strangling him ran through his mind like a freight train. He refocused his anger.
'Your fingerprints were all over the bodies, we found fluids, hair and six of the murder weapons just laying around the shed you call a house. You know exactly what I'm talking about!'
'I-I think that I w-would like to speak to a lawyer,' Osborne stammered.
'A lawyer?' Gin laughed so heavily his voice broke into a wheeze, he cocked his head skyward as he went on laughing. 'What would you want with one of those? They've got nothing left to save you with. You've been far too sloppy!'
Once again the fluorescent light flickered and popped out of existence. Gin looked up at it absentmindedly. When he looked back at Osborne, the man's face was in the process of a metamorphosis. A wave of shifting muscles stripped away that innocent mask and began to shuffle like a deck of cards. When the change was complete the face was familiar, though rewired. The eyebrows were lower, darkening those brown pools, the skin over the nose was tighter and the mouth was as taught as a whip. The sight put a chill in Gin's heart.
'They were so young, like tender new-born calves, I just couldn't help myself. Seeing them run and play made me so excited, Detective. I just had to hunt them down. It was such a pleasure to reave them of their lives, to hear their screams die to dull groans, to watch the sparks leave their eyes... to fuck them in that silence.' The voice was calculated, solid. It never faltered or flickered. It was perfection, and it was horrific.
Gin's heart was struggling to escape from its tomb of bone, he was paralysed and he suddenly became aware of how cold his rose necklace was against his skin.
'This is what you want to hear, isn't it? You seem to enjoy throwing these images around,' he said stabbing at the file, ' but I can show you so much more. I could tell you of things that you never thought were possible. Come closer, Detective, let me look into those eyes of yours and I will tell you of my exploits.'
Osborne let out a chuckle that reverberated around the room and stabbed into Gin's heart like a thorn. He leaned across the table, his dark eyes staring deeply into Gin's. 'You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into. A storm is coming, and when it arrives I will be free and I will come for you.'
Osborne’s head dropped to his chest, his shoulders relaxed and the aura about him seemed to cool. When Osborne raised his head again, that innocent face had returned. 'I'd like a lawyer, please.'
Gin’s heart pounded so hard that it made him feel nauseus. His chest was tightening and saliva torrented into his mouth. He leapt to his feet and ran out of the door, racing down the hallway, crashing through colleagues and criminals alike. He sprinted to the gents and vomited into the porcelain toilet. His stomach heaved, trying to rid itself of the wrong that had invaded it. Eventually, he was reduced to dry heaving.
'Are you alright?' Tom asked as he walked into the room.
Gin spat into the toilet and wiped his mouth with paper. He took some time to calm himself, pushing the handle and watching the swirling water in the bowl. He opened the door and walked out of the cubicle. 'We need to get him checked over by a shrink.'
'I asked if you were alright.'
Gin brushed passed Tom. 'Just do your job and get me a shrink.’
Tom watched the door close behind his partner and he ran his fingers through his blond hair. 'I think we need more than a fucking psychiatrist.'