This story is by Ellis Nash and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The man stared at her over the table, leaning on his elbows with his hands linked. Amy stared him down. She wouldn’t back down to the likes of him. She hated the whole lot of them. They brought nothing but trouble. She had an innocent role to play so she couldn’t flee the scene of the crime but she wished that they had bought her little act. But this guy was too smart and saw past it in an instant. Why couldn’t she have gotten a dumber police officer? He had put her in handcuffs immediately and all but threw her into the back of the police car. Maybe he had seen her before… She shook the memory out of her head. He can’t have. She had been so careful up until now. This was the only time she had had to make a scene like this so her having witnesses of any kind before was just impossible.
“Miss Cox, what were you doing when the murder took place? Apart from wailing over the dead body, of course.”
Amy made sure to look the man straight in the eyes and not break eye contact. Any shying away would taint her name and she couldn’t have that. Not after everything she’d been through.
Most people would have been traumatised by what had happened to her just a few hours ago but Amy was different. It almost excited her. The blood on the floor. The woman’s lifeless body. Her own screams filling the air until a stranger came running over and called the police. Those were, of course, fake. It had taken place in a dingy alleyway so there were no witnesses as far as she knew. She had checked several times if anyone was looking out of the windows. Maybe someone saw at the last minute but she hoped against hope that hadn’t happened.
She realised she had been staring at the officer for some time. Long enough that she was making him uncomfortable. Almost scared. She knew it was suspicious but she enjoyed it all the same. She had to suppress a smile.
“I was on my way to fetch some groceries when I saw this woman on the floor. There was blood all around her head…” Her voice faded away. It was how she thought someone would act if they were innocent in this situation, which she clearly wasn’t.
She hoped she had gotten away with it and the officer would sympathise with her but she only got a hollow laugh. She scowled at him.
“A likely story-”
“What do you mean a likely story?” She cut him off, her voice echoing around the bare room. She didn’t mean to break character but she couldn’t have anyone slandering her like this. “That’s exactly what happened!”
The officer put up his arms in surrender. “Jesus, lady. I wasn’t implying anything. A lot of people come up with that excuse, see, and-”
“Excuse?! It’s the truth!”
He suddenly smirked. “Oh, is that right? ‘Cause it sounds like you’re more guilty by the second.”
Amy cursed inwardly. That moment of silence brought more confidence to the man. He’d had a feeling she was guilty as soon as she saw her. Kneeling right next to the body like that. Anyone with half a brain would have put that woman behind bars immediately. But no. He had to go through the formality of questioning her first. He sighed. This is gonna be a long night.
“Am I to believe that you didn’t call the police?”
Amy nodded. She had been good at lying. She tried to make her voice shake and make herself cry for good measure. She had always been a good actor. “Yes. I was honestly traumatised, sir. All I was thinking about was how awful the whole thing was. I was scared that the murderer was still present so I screamed to bring attention to the scene.”
He continued to stare at her, his face void of expression. She wished he would stop looking at her like that. “Right. You’re twenty-five, correct?”
“Yes…” she replied slowly, not knowing how this was relevant.
“Surely, you’re old enough now to deal with all this. Why did you need someone else to call the police for you?”
Amy was offended. Who does he think he is? She took a deep breath once again. She had to keep in character. She tried to bring herself back to her shaky voice and teary eyes. “Yes, I agree with that, sir. It’s just that I was completely in shock. I didn’t know what to do but I knew I had to do something so I just… screamed.”
The police officer nodded, clearly not believing her, and shifted in his seat. They had both sat there for a very long time. There was no clock in the room but Amy would have guessed at least half an hour. It was excruciating. All this acting was exhausting but she had to keep it up otherwise she could kiss goodbye to any sort of life. She just wanted to go home. Sure, if she hadn’t killed that woman, she would be at home right now. But that woman deserved it. Amy wouldn’t let her get away with what she had done.
The man stood up, feeling as if that was as much as he would get out of her for now. He could tell that she was lying but he knew only his word wouldn’t change anything. He wished he had more power with cases like this but it seemed as if he would have to rely on the officers higher up to deal with this further. Not to mention the trial that was going to be taking place in the next few days. He smirked. He couldn’t wait to see her testimony unravel like a web of lies. Then he can tell everyone he told them so and he knew it all along. This woman was guilty!
Amy scowled at him, her act fading. She was tired of trying to pretend to be someone else. “What are you smirking at?”
The man laughed and shook his head. “Nothing, Miss Cox. Now, get up. You’re coming with me.”
She groaned loudly and deliberately waited a few seconds in her chair before rising. She knew that in court, the odds will be against her if this officer had anything to do with it but she knew she could keep her cool and get a not guilty verdict. She didn’t even want to think about what would happen if she was guilty… Her life would be over. But at least her mother had gotten what she deserved today.