Drama Mystery Crime

This story contains sensitive content

Warning, the following story contains: Mental health problems and Violence.

"I... I don't know" - James looked away as if trying to physically hide from the question itself, squirming deeper and deeper into the blood-red leathery armchair. Playing the killer as a victim, was by far his last resort. 

"Please try to remember, Mr. Middleton. I understand that it pains you to, but I have to know exactly what happened" - swiftly responded the doctor, in a well-rehearsed fashion.

An old man, in his 60-s, silver stubble face, pale complexion and glasses, always at the tip of the curved nose. He would slouch over the heavy desk, almost as if his arms were glued to its surface.

He picked up the file from the drawer and began swiping through it, like a well-read book or yesterday's newspaper. 

"Name: Adam Middleton, Age: 26, Occupation: police enforcer, not married, several previous cases reported, depressive disorder, a few other errors, but otherwise it's fair to say that you have a clean record for now." - the doctor signed, slouching even deeper, as continued to skim through the file.

"Let's hope for your sake, Mr. Middleton, you can remember this clearly, because this goes far deeper than just your place on the force. Please describe me the night of the incident... again..."

This is the third time the doctor asked him to revise the story, like a script. Ironing out inconsistencies, and slight bumps in his desired narrative, carefully using the groundwork set up decades in advance, for "Adam" to admit to anything he says.

"Happened on the 25th, night patrol, the north of 3rd Industrial district. Brick blocks, wet and oily asphalt, reflected the yellow headlight of our cruiser, I was at the wheel, my partner on the lookout-"

"Adress him by his name, Mr. Middleton, that would be the least you could offer, after you sealed his fate."

"I- I didn't, I mean, I don't remember, I can't- I..." - he was trembling, eyes darted towards the window, then down to the desk, and finally back to the disinterested doctor, whose marble eyes pierced through him.

"Calm down, I'm here to help you, just continue. Anxiety will pass, once you accept the truth."

"James was, he was quite fond of night patrols, well at least I think he was since we would often stop by alleys and he would go on foot, looking into each nook and cranny. Every time I asked why, he simply replied that he was searching for someone. 

That night was no other, he stepped out, then I heard shouting coming from the alley, so I stepped out to take a look, then I... then... there was a gunshot"

"And you blacked out, yes? West Park Lane 23, then straight home, still drenched in blood. You shot him, Adam, did you not?" - the doctor stood up, file clenched in his hand, as he began circling the deputy, like a vulture would his dying prey.

"No, I'm sure of it!" - James knew he was already found out the moment he walked through the door, if not when he made the appointment as "Adam". However, it wasn't a matter of settling this case, but another.

"How can you be so sure? All by your lonesome, not a single witness and mysterious alley. Confess and cleanse your soul, your mind, Adam."

"I wasn't alone... there was someone on the fire escape, James looked at him when h-he got, he got-"

Doctor slid back to the desk, pen hovering over the file, like a bingo card.

"It was someone from my childhood" - continued James, "I didn't see their face."

"Surely, you must remember something exact, they must have left quite the impression on you, I'm sure." - he put down the pen and slowly drifted his hand towards the drawer.

"The blood."

"I'm sorry?"

"I see that face when I smell blood, ever since I was 17"

"Drop the act." - the doctor stood up, revolver in hand - "I know your type. Sacrifice all for fame and justice, no matter how many perish in your shadow. You didn't give a living shit about Adam, so don't act like you knew him! He would've been free if it werent for your medling!"

James didn't flinch, not uttering a single word. For doctor to shoot him now would be his one way ticket to a life in solitary or death row - they both knew it. Atfer all, he was the only one who could get him off the hook or convict him.

"Look, I- I tired to help him, poor kid would not stop digging himself a grave." - the doctor fell back into the chair, setting the revolver on the desk.

"So you shot him, how merciful!" - spat out James.

"It was mercy. He was my first patient 10 years ago, a troubled teen with blackouts over and over. I saw him suffer enough. He was better off dead than back in that state." - his hands began to shake, as the marble eyes came alive for a moment, only to glaze over again, when he offered James the file.

Inside were countless notes and photos dating back at least a decade. The first one read: "Admitted due to depressive behaviour, disturbed sleep and slight memory loss. Underlying cause: loss of his brother in an accident", with the word "accident" crossed out.

What followed, were detailed records of medication and countless therapy sessions, all uncharged, until the last statement: "He finally forgot. In fact, he believed that it he never existed. My work is done and thus I'm warranted forgiveness".

James remained unconvinced, if anything this "redemption" made his blood boil. He saw the kid with his own eyes, hands cut off, leg broken by a bear trap, only to meet his brother years later, "cured" by this lunatic.

"Let's end this for today" The doctor threw the file back into the desk and stood up. - "It devastates me, how much you've suffered. I'm sure when next time we can make it clearer for Adam and his poor brother's sake."

As he slowly stood up. Shots rang out.

James slowly stood up, hand still shaking from the recoil.

"You son of a bitch" - hissed the doctor, crawling away, only for James crush his hand with his boot.

"Why not shoot me right away, Doc? Your rightious mind forbade you to?" - James shifted more and more weight onto the doctor's hand, feeling every crack and snap of his hand underneath. 

"I knew, I knew, you wanted him to suffer! You led him right in, just to have the whole investigation to yours-" - the doctor turned white, as his gasps and grunts turned to screams. He had overstepped the boundaries of mercy.

James pulled the trigger. 

The next day was a lot more silent. As he walked past the press surrounding the precinct and made his way to the old desk his mind would ring out the same words again, and again and again:

"I killed him".

February 24, 2024 00:49

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