Down at the Station

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe beefy detective slammed his hand down on the table for the third time.

Melanie promised herself she wouldn’t flinch, but she did.

“Who did you get the box from?”

“I didn’t do anything wrong.” Her voice trembled. But hadn’t she? Oh good god, what had she done? She’d taken the stupid, fucking box from that creepy lady. Her bank account had the money deposited, or so the text had said. Soon they’d throw her in jail and it wouldn’t be Orange is the New Black or Mayberry RFD. She’d probably die in a filthy shower and all because she’d been-

“Focus.” The bark snapped her out of the reverie. “”Look, honey…”

“Melanie.”

“Fine. Look, Melanie, right now you’re not being charged. You’re no killer. Hell, the woman isn’t even dead. At worst, you screwed the pooch. You’re young and cute. The DA will likely let you go with a slap on the wrist.”

“I’m not being charged?” She remembered something she’d seen online. She could go. They hadn’t read her her rights.

“Not yet.”

“Can I go, then?”

The big man scowled at her. “You can, but if you do, you damn sure better stay where we can find you.”

She stood. “I gave the officer my address and phone number. I want to catch the creep who did this as much as you do.” She had held back a few details, not sure that they’d believe a story about a computer making her the offer or taking money to do it. She’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As if reading her thoughts he got closer to her. Close enough that she could smell the corned beef and sauerkraut on his breath. “If we ask you more question in an official context, you better pray that your story hasn’t changed. Pretty girl like you doesn’t want to go to jail. The other jail bait isn’t all that you’ll have to be afraid of.”

She made a gagging sound in the back of her throat. She didn’t think she was going to throw up, but bile flooded her mouth.

He back peddled. “Restroom’s out there in the hall. Puke in there if you have to.”

She had already stood up before the second sentence started. She fled the interrogation room and managed to make it to the bathroom and spit out the foul mouthful before it caused her to vomit for real. Rinsing out her mouth made it a little better. She fished her phone out and texted Elard.

Come pick me up at the police station.

The text back was full of misspelled profanity and a promise to get there soon.

She waited outside in the cold, not feeling the least bit safe. Her phone vibrated against her thigh. At first she thought it was the phantom vibration she sometimes got, but it continued. She pulled out the phone and flipped it open.

Do you want another job?

She threw the phone down like it had grown eight legs. It shattered on the concrete.

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