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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5. It's a teen thing.

Carrie stumbled out of the yellow cab and shivered with cold as November greeted her bare legs. Tipping the driver, she entered the building, her apprehension building with every step. She didn't know why she felt so afraid; it was a small-scale case with little aftermath...this wasn't a serial murder case or, in fairness, any case with much hype at all. She made her way into the elevator, nodding to the receptionist before the doors rolled shut.

'You took your time getting here,' Mal scoffed, rifling through documents almost aggressively. Carrie was too tired to retort in her usual way, so proceeded to take a seat at her desk and watch the paperwork fall onto the floor. Such disorganisation, Mal was clearly irritated.

 

'Are you going to tell me who's responsible?' Carrie asked. 'Oh, and how you found out because again, I thought this was my case.'

Mal refrained from looking upwards. 'T managed to trace the URL submissions. She's got ID.' 

Of course T did it, Carrie thought. She could never have her moment with a vulture like T in the office taking everyone's fame for herself. What made it worse was that she managed to make everyone look stupid by compiling and concluding their cases in half the time it took them to find their first lead. Evidently, Mal didn't need other employees. Of course she wouldn't ever say that to him, she needed  the job and quite frankly it was sometimes fun to watch Mal go all Hulk at the expense of losing a videogame.

T walked over to Carrie's desk, silently placing a document in front of her, before making a swift exit into one of the corridors.  Carrie opened the folder to discover pages of screenshots circled and annotated in red marker, accompanied by several photographs of two young males, and one darker figure.

'She linked the URL's to three different social network profiles. One Twitter, one facebook and one instagram. The individuals seem to be confined to their network and neither one of them has accounts on the other sites. Seems like an attempt to cover their tracks, hoping that multiple locations would give any pursuers a sense of hopelessness,' Mal explained.

'As though the links were submitted by any and everyone, with no definable target,' Carrie concluded, resulting in a somewhat approving nod.

'They have also done their best to omit any personal details, however one of them evidently didn't receive the memo.' Mal gestured to one of the screenshots, where one of the profiles had posted 'New number, inbox me contact info?' 

'How stupid do you need to be...' Carrie sighed. 'In fairness it makes their whole system seem like less of an operation and more mere coincidence...that they all use different sites.'

'You'd say that, but they really were very subtle in their activity, and in fact have posted pretty orthodox statuses, as well as the links on their own pages to elude suspicion. Quite smart if one of them wasn't completely brain-dead.' 

Laughing, Carrie proceeded to rifle through the pages of social statuses, her mind envisioning the three perpetrators, one of them reflective of 'Sloth' from the Goonies.

'So did you phone the number?' Carrie asked.

'Don't be stupid, Carrie!' Mal snapped. 'If I rang them saying "oh. hey it's the FBI we got'cha" they have time to act. I contacted the Manhattan police unit. The guy's sitting in custody as we speak, has been for twenty minutes or so.'

'What about the others?' Carrie grunted, still ashamed of the previous question.

'Allegedly he's exposed them,' Mal said, before laughing to himself. 'It's funny because the police have no idea why they are bringing these sixteen year olds into custody at 4 in the morning.'

'Didn't you tell them?'

'We don't have to. We have the force at our disposal. Plus, if I gave them the full, disclosed details of the case they might feel it too petty to act upon directly.'

Carrie stared at him in disbelief. 

'I just don't want to wait any longer to yell irrationally at someone.' He smiled, briefly, before collecting his coat. 'Come on let's get down there, cab's outside.'

'You are such an asshole,' Carrie said.

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

The police custody unit was as dim and lifeless as the men who operated within it. Carrie hated the Manhattan Police Force. They were an organisation of hollow, dead men, with little or no compassion for misfortune. It was ironic, because their work circulated around resolving such misfortune, yet they remained men of steel. Cold, polished metallic identities, barren of emotion, concern or humanity. They were just there to sit behind a desk, sit behind a computer, stand behind a gun. But they would hide behind facades of kindness. The law wasn't kind, even to those that followed it, and Carrie knew all too well, as she was crying in a glass room, her waist bandaged with cloth. 

They were directed to a small room overlooking an even smaller chamber. Within it sat T, facing a young boy, who was picking at the corners of the table. She spoke quickly, as onlookers wrote down her words through the glass pane. She spoke dryly and monotonously; Carrie almost pitied the child. The officer that chaperoned them exited the chamber, leaving her with Mal and the more expendable agents she hadn't bothered to learn the names of. They were only called in for police interrogations. They needed no acknowledgement.

'There are two more chambers across the hall,' Mal whispered, in respect of the scribbling onlookers. 'I'll take brain-dead, you take the one before.' He gestured to two agents to follow him into the second chamber, expecting carrie to do the same. She simply grabbed two of them by the elbows and yanked them along with her. It was funny because they couldn't shout or retaliate in any way, incase they disturbed the activity. Smiling, she proceeded into her chamber, where her eyes met with a man who could in no way be in highschool. He was kicking at the table legs and tapping his fingers impatiently on the surface. A practice he watched with unusual intensity.

'Am I in the right room?' Carrie asked, genuinely, because this 'boy' could be several years from retirement, rather than graduation.

'Apparently,' said one of the minor-agents. 'He's the one connected to the Twitter account, and seemed quite proud to confess his involvement. He also has a string of accounts on various social networks, including Snapchat, Tumblr, Skype and Google Plus, allegedly unknown activity from the perspective of his co-conspirators.'

'How did you find out about the other accounts?'

The agent paused. 'He told us. It's like he's going renegade on an organisation that really couldn't give a fuck.' 

'If you could even call it an organisation.' Carrie scoffed. With that, she entered the chamber, shutting the door swiftly behind her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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