Red Rooms

There have been a chain of murders across central Manhattan. All the victims are teenage introverts, as described by their parents. Never going out, always contained within the same four walls, scrawling ironically through social media. Police are dumbfounded as to what caused the many deaths. Allegedly they were the repercussions of an internet link, but the men were apprehended. Investigator Carrie McKee has been fascinated by the mystery of the case itself, and takes it on with the few leads she has. Little does she know that she was entering into something far deeper than she had first anticipated, that could cost her things she never knew she had. This wasn't a small case. This was something global. It was all over the internet.

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10. Firearms and Fire-Alarms

The car drive with Mal was as awkward as you'd expect it to be. Carrie actually wished she was imprisoned in a cab with T, as opposed to be crammed in the back of a Lebaron sedan amongst an excretion of chip packets and Thunderbirds merchandise. It shook and rattled as it fought the speed bumps surrounding the police station. Every slight rattle elicited a manic gasp from Mal, before a quiet chunter at the expenses of the minor damage.

'I swear to God if this damages the bumper for the third time...' He snapped, maternally examining the vehicle from the driver's seat. Carrie sighed, looking out the window.

She hadn't realized how nervous she was going to be, stepping out of the shitty car onto the shitty tarmac. She would be seeing Aaron again. The last time she had seen him stung sharply in the back of her mind. It was a personal regret of hers to have left so quickly. Abruptly, without reason. It wasn't Aaron's fault she'd had an awful relationship. She couldn't blame him for trying, even if it was straight out of a cliché pickup book. Smiling to herself for the first time in days, she followed Mal eagerly into the station, where they'd be confronting an alleged murderer. The thought sent shivers down her spine. Bad ones.

'I didn't do shit.'

Luke Hughes eyed them all with distaste. He was tall for a highschool senior, but not that awkward-tall where nobody wanted to be friends with you, just tall. Kind of intimidating. Mal had informed her that he was a British transfer student, 'seems to be what they call a 'chav', watch yourself'. He'd said. She didn't know how he had the nerve or the gumption to say these things about people, when he was a divorced flop living on fast food and xbox live subscriptions. In itself he was an entire blend of stigmatisation.

Without hesitation, Mal placed the photograph of Michael's overly-explicit corpse on the table in front of him. Luke flinched.

'The body of Michael Baxton was found this morning on the second floor of the the Brixton apartment complex. Your apartment complex, if I'm correct.'

'G-Get that away from me.' He spat. 'I don't want to see it.'

Mal smirked. 'Once you tell us what we need to know. Tell me, why do you think we are here?'

'Because you don't get the 'real cases'.' Luke sneered. 'Fucking puppets.'

Laughing, Mal slammed his fist against the table, his expression immediately changing.

'If anyone's being controlled, it's you, pretty boy. We called, you came running.'

'I came in a police car.'

'Little fucker, cracking wise when his friend's dead. S'that how you cope with murder?'

Apparently it was Luke's turn to get pissed off. 'You know fuck all about how I'm 'coping'. Because I'm not, not fucking 'coping' with this at all, "pretty boy".'

He rose slowly out of his chair. staring bloody daggers across the faces of the detectives. 'You think I fucking shot my best friend. Because he exposed a fucking internet prank. You're acting like he fucking slept with my girlfriend, shot her and threw her body in the river, sods to it. You're here at bloody broad daylight, shining your interrogative torches and making your fucked up little assumptions, that 'justify' your even more fucked-up accusations.'

He laughed slightly. 'And you act like I'm the irrational...little...prick.' He drew out the words, drawing his face closer to Mal, who remained unfazed.

'Why do you hate us?' Carrie heard herself speak, eliciting what looked like a brief look of sympathy. Immediately Luke shook his head.

'Carrie this isn't the time to get butt-hurt.' Mal scoffed. 'Hush up.'

'He was...my best friend.' Luke murmured, his facade splintering, revealing a broken soul. 'But that doesn't matter, does it?'

Mal, humouring only himself, shook his head.

Luke's whole body was shaking, now, as he sat back in his chair. Tears prickled in his eyelids, Carrie could tell. It was something she'd been all too familiar with. Whilst silent, she had spent this time observing all his tendencies, mannerisms, and she could conclude that Luke had a lot to say, but didn't have the confidence to tell the whole tale. He certainly hated their organisation, as any misunderstood youth would hate overly-institutionalised 'cops', but it seemed as though there was something more to it. The way he glared at Mal...it almost seemed as though they had a history of dispute. A long, impossible history unjust by about a 40-year age gap.

Luke's eyes met Mal's. 'You're a cunt. A lapdog to the real law enforcement.'

'I spoke to Michael...' Mal Said, and immediately Luke fell silent. 'He knew he made a mistake. He didn't deserve what you did to him...' He whispered, his voice dripping with malice, a grin spreading involuntarily across his lips.

Luke snapped; bursting into furious tears and throwing himself over the desk for Mal, and despite being bound by shackles he managed to land a few kicks as Mal backed away.

Carrie did nothing; she was disgusted. Mal completely crossed the line, treating the interrogation as a way to redeem himself after every insult, in Luke's words "sods to it".It wasn't at all professional, and now the kid was a wreck. She herself was familiar with why one could hate law enforcement, and now she found hating the MIU relatable. Policemen burst in the room and threw him back in his chair. T was at the entrance of the chamber, holding the door open for the officers. Carrie assumed she was monitoring the interrogation, a crucial role Mal disregarded. Yet again it was up to T to ensure the MIU had some credibility.

She whispered something to one of the passing officers, nodded to Carrie, before glaring irrefutably at Luke. He stared back, his face glazed with sweat and panic. She made a swift exit and the door closed, confining them together once more, with the new addition of the security guard.

Mal brushed himself off, wiping his lip Luke had just managed to graze, slightly. He glared at him as T had done.Suddenly, the door opened again, and one of the back-office detectives hobbled in. Malcolm acknowledged him with a wave, encouraging him to speak.

'We've got the reports from forensics. The bullet was a direct match with the fifth model.' The little man said, nodding to his clipboard.

Mal smiled, as though he'd won a small lottery, or in a more applicable case, won a gaming level. He turned slowly to Luke, who was sweating quite publicly.

'You know, with the six unregistered firearms and the matching bullet smack-dab in the side of your besties skull...hmm, suddenly l don't think we are being so irrational with our 'fucked up accusations.' Mal grinned.

'Infact...'

It was evidently his turn to play exaggerated bad-ass, as he to bent across the table.

'I think we are dead on target.'

'I don't even know about the guns, goddamnit!' Luke protested, arrogantly swinging his arms around. He looked incredibly flustered now.

Mal wasn't convinced.  'Look kid, we found the guns,  your  guns. In  your room. You didn't register them, why was that?' He asked, completely ignoring the dismissal of ownership.   

'I don't know what you mean, I have no idea what you are talking about!' Luke shouted.

 'Jesus kid!' Mal exclaimed. 'What possible defence could you possibly bring to the table now?'   

  'This wasn't...supposed to happen.' Luke complained. 'I didn't mean to I-'

He didn't have time to correct himself. Mal leapt up faster than he did when the weather girl  came on the news at the office.  'Guilty, get him outta here.' He boomed.    

'Wait!' Cried Luke. 'The guns they... They weren't mine, I was keeping them, for...someone.'

'Oh really?' Mal said, feigning a petty interest.

'Yeah, they're Aaron's. He's as much involved in this as I am.' Luke said. 'He knew.'

Carrie's eyes widened involuntarily. Alarms went off in her head. No. Why did there always have to be something wrong with the men that caught her attention?

Mal looked dumbfounded. 'Get him brought in here.' Mal said. 'He's in the station,right?' The little man nodded. Mal turned to her. 'Turns out your 'client' is a little more involved than you led me to believe, huh? You're staying out of this one.'

She was confused. 'Wait why? I thought-'

'Just do it.'

Police officers came to cuff Luke; they pushed past Carrie as she made her exit. As she looked back once more, she saw Luke staring right at her. Sadness in his eyes, or was it...sympathy again?

Whatever it was, it scared her a little bit.

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