"This photograph? This is my mother." A finger slipped over the long blond curls and then slid the picture back across the cool metal table.
"Can you tell us a little about her?"
"About my mother? What's to tell? She's been dead for nine years. Killed herself once she found out she had a brain tumor. Gregory always called her crazy, I figured her for the only sane person-"
"Wait, Gregory is your father?"
A green gaze drifted to the recorder held in chubby, sausage-like fingers. "Well, in the most basic definition, yes he is."
"And this is a photograph of your father, correct?"
The uninterested gaze shifted over the picture and a slight nod agreed with the question. "Yes, that's him."
"Where is he? Can we get in contact with him?"
"You think I know? He disappeared about a month ago."
"Now you said, you believed your mother was the only sane person? Can you clarify that statement."
"Is it not clear enough? She was sane, you all are not. I guess I belonged in her world. Rather believe the world that suits you is the honest truth and the one that doesn't is a bold faced lie, correct?" The words were barely hindered by the heavy Australian accent.
"Tell us about that world."
"Why? Wouldn't that disprove your case if I'm a psychotic, disillusioned teen? How the hell are you going to prove it's real if I imagined the greater part of my childhood, who's to say I'm not still in that world right now?"
"What does this have to do with the case?" A green gaze drifted to the woman standing just outside the door. She turned her back on the stare.
"It's important, just answer the question."
"No, I'm not. I was happy when I was in her world. Do I look bloody happy to you?" A cigarette rested between strict lips as a shaky hand led a match to the butt of the cylinder.
"Sorry no smoking, kid."
"No worries. What else can I do for you?"
"Who is this a picture of?" A profile picture was pointed out to the younger male.
"Brooke, my baby sister."
"Tell us about Brooke."
A lackluster glare circled the room's occupants as the teen shrugged. "She's dead. Does that help?"
"She was in a car accident a month ago, correct?"
"Three weeks and four days ago. She was splattered all over the road, if I hadn't seen it I wouldn't have known it was my sister covering the front of that drunk's car."
"So, you saw the accident?"
"Didn't I just say that?" A hand moved to support the tired teen as he leaned his head on his palm.
"Did you see the driver?"
"Not really, Gregory shot him in the face with a shotgun. Not much to identify when most of him was on his windshield."
"And you said earlier your father disappeared a little less than a month ago?"
"Alright. Who is this?" Another picture was passed across the table.
"My ex, Marianne Peters."
"She grew up here?"
"Where America or Charlotte?" The male was holding up the photograph, examining it.
"Yes, but so did I. So what does it matter?"
"Just answer the questions." The sweating hand shifted the recorder in the older man's taut grasp. "Where is Marianne currently?"
"How should I know? Getting stoned, I'm sure."
"Do you have her number? Just to confirm what you've said about the recent occurrences."
"You have my phone, and I'm not good with numbers."
"One last photograph, sorry to have kept you so long." He passed the last picture across the table. "Can you tell me who this is?"
"If I could, why the hell would I be here? This is the man who is going to kill me if you don't do your job! I sit in here telling you everything you already know and what's the point of asking me about my family if you have a picture of the man who has made my life a living hell for the past few weeks?"
"Are you sure it's not your father, you said in our last meeting that he broke your ribs not long before your sister was killed. Could it not be your father who is stalking you?"
"No! It couldn't! Now do something!"
"Calm down, Aiden. They are only trying to help." The woman who had been standing on the other side of the door after a furious tennis match of insults with a taller male observing from behind the door, was allowed inside of the room.
"Miss Steiner, they wont release me. You were a lawyer once, negotiate! Tell them I've already told them everything I know and sitting here talking about my family is not doing anything for them or me." The teen glared darkly at the officer sitting across the table.
The woman picked up the photograph of the assumed stalker as she shook her head. "This really doesn't show any definition to this man's character, Aiden. They are going on very little, but gentlemen, if there is no more to talk about, I would like to remove my student from your custody."
"Yes, ma'am. Sorry to have detained you, kid."
Aiden stood up at this and nodded slightly to the men facing him. He followed closely behind his teacher, keeping his eyes down as he passed the officer who had brought him in. The tall, black male's hands were crossed placidly behind his back, but when the teen moved in front of him, he reached up. A heavy hand landed on Aiden's shoulder, gripping onto it reassuringly.
"We'll find him. Don't worry."
The teen moved quickly out the door after nodding once in response. His fingers pushed the leather band down to hang limply around his wrist and then back to tighten around his forearm. He peered up and down the sidewalk like a criminal that could not possibly hide his secret. He glanced at Steiner out of the corner of his eyes and she flashed a warming smile at him. A bus came to a screeching halt as it smashed into the oblivious female. Aiden stood still in shock and terror, his mouth agape to warn the woman. The only indication that it had been a person standing in front of the bus was a small red tennis shoe. He could barely see it from where he stood.