After I healed a little, enough that I wouldn't need medical surveillance, they transferred me to the local county jail. It would be the first of many that I would go to. I flinched at the sound of the heavy metal doors closing behind me. My hands hung in front of me, enclosed in silver handcuffs. I looked down at my feet in a kind of shame. I knew I was innocent, but there was nothing I could do about it. Two guards held my arms and ushered me into a small white, but dimly lit room. There was a window in front of me as I took my seat at a desk, I could see my own reflection in it.
I looked as though I had been screaming for days, eyes puffy and red, hair askew all around and my face looked shaken and ashy. There was bruising all over my face and a large scar near my left eye, where the object had hit me. I looked quickly away, not ready to see myself this way. The two guards left me in the room alone, going to stand outside in front of the door. They had left me with my thoughts, jumbled and in chaos. I had not slept in days, my eyelids were heavy, but I refused to shut them. I did not even want to dream, the dreams would only add more to the complete disarray of my reality. After a few minutes, a woman came in. Her hair had been pulled tightly back into a bun; her expression was hard, but I could see softness behind it. I was honestly surprised to see a woman, especially under the circumstances of why I was there. She took a seat opposite me, placing on the table a manila envelope.
"Hello Theodore, my name is Amanda Badget."
"Hello there." I was trying my best to play it cool, and calm, and show my innocence at the same time. My voice, however, cracked and hit a high pitch.
"Do you know why you're here?"
"I supposedly killed my best friend and raped his girlfriend."
"You say that as if you do not believe you did it."
"Look, Amanda was it? I did not kill anyone. I can't even kill a bug let alone a human being."
"Take a look at these, your evidence points it to you."
She pulled out a handful of photos from the envelope; they were upside down. I did not want to see, but at the same time, I was compelled to. I wanted to see what everyone had said I had done. I had to see it for myself. I took a photo in my hand feeling shocked, modified, and curious. Curious, because they were not the people in my memory. It was not Mikes face hidden under the blood and fore, or Lyla's smooth body next to his. These people looked similar to them, but I knew well enough to know, this was not them.
"This is not Mike and Lyla."
"Excuse me?" She leaned only slightly forward, and then sat back in her seat. She was slightly confused, but she recovered herself quickly.
"This is not them."
"Theodore, their families gave a statement and confirmed this to be them."
"For Gods sakes, stop calling me Theodore, please. Just Theo. I am telling you, this is not them. Who ever killed these people was not me."
"Then tell me Theo, what happened that night?"
My mind was racing ahead, confused and shaken. My heart was furious in my chest, sending blood to all my limbs. I wanted to run, but knew I would not get very far. Someone was setting me up, I could feel it. I placed my elbows upon the able, placed my folded, cuffed hands on my recovering forehead and sighed. I had already explained my story a few times, and already it was growing false to my own ears. As if every time I retold my account of what happened, the less I, myself, even believed it.
"We had just gotten through with seeing a movie and we were walking back to our cars. We were talking and joking around when we rounded a corner and I was hit in the head with a hard object, I think it might have been a pipe of some sorts, I do not know. I fell to the ground and could not see a damn thing and then I heard two gunshots. After it was quiet, I was kicked in the stomach a few times and passed out. That is all I can remember, until I woke up in the hospital. I did not kill my friends, and that was not them in the photographs. I'm telling you the truth as I know it."
"There were no witnesses to the crime; your DNA was everywhere---"
"Look, I've heard this already, I know what the police found. I am telling you what happened, what I saw and did not see. You can believe me or not, which I am guessing on the not. No matter what I say or do, everything is against me. Now, if we are done, I'd like to leave." I said as I got up and walked toward the door. I did not look back at her, but I heard her move and then a buzz unlocked the door where the two guards took me by the arms once more. They brought me back to my cell where they unlocked the handcuffs, and left me alone, for the most part. Other inmates were talking loudly around me. I went and lay on the bed letting my own agony swallow me whole.
"Books, ya want one?" I heard a voice a while later say. I only looked at him for a minute, and then I rolled over to face the wall.
"Come on son, have a book, might dull some of the pain your feeling."
I looked back over my shoulder for a split second to see his face. His skin was as black as night, one of his eyes was oddly shut and he wore a bight orange jumpsuit, like the one I had been wearing. He flashed me a toothy grin.
"You don't know anything about my pain."
"And you don't know anything about mine. See, we are already making small talk. Let me guess, you were put here because of a crime you did not commit. Now you are placed in here with the freaks and thief's and wondering where it all went wrong. Did I get it right?"
"Who are you?"
"They call me Chucky, because of how I got in here. Remember that doll that went around killing people? Or those kids anyway...."
"You're sick, really mental."
"Eh, you give you take. Can't complain really, I guess I deserve to be here." He handed me a book from a book cart he had been pushing, I hesitantly took it.
"Have fun readin' kid." He said and left.
I went back to my bed and looked at the front cover. It was The Bible; I was not sure what edition. I thumbed through it and found that every single page was blank but the middle one.
IN THE MIDST OF LIFE, WE ARE IN DEATH.
"Do you think that's funny?" I yelled after him. I threw the book aside, meaning the actual bible no disrespect, and laid down to sleep. I was not in the mood for games.
I had woken a totally of eight times during the night. I felt drained and restless as the lights turned on for the early morning. I did not do much for the day, since we were not allowed our own free time. We went out to "recess" as most inmates called it, our own little interaction time. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner and we were forced to take a shower. It was just as if everyone had told me in passing, never turn your back around. Keep your back toward the wall at all times, and be wary of the men all around you. I was glad no one put must interest in me as of yet, I was already terrified enough as it was. When I got back to my cell, I cried myself a river, wanting nothing more than to drown myself in it. After a while, I heard the sound of small wheels on the pavement. I looked up to see Chucky at my cell door, standing beside his book cart. I went over to him and handed him back the book.
"What was this about?"
He took the book and placed it back on his cart.
"Some people just need reminding is all. Don't ever forget what kind of things are out there." He said and tapped a book to his head. I smiled briefly and went back to my bed, laid on my back and listened to the wheels screech down the long road of inmates.
"Hey, about time you woke up," someone said in the darkness. I stirred in my sleep, but did not open my eyes. I knew the voice that was talking, but it was not possible, I must have been dreaming.
"You were always so damn anal about waking up, come on, it's not like the suns up. You can't complain about the light." My eyes slowly opened. I moved m head to where the sink was, and sure enough, he was sitting there. In the soft light that came from the towers outside, I could see Mike. He held in his hands a book.
"In the midst of life we are in death. Whoever wrote that must have either been very smart, or very mental."
I slowly got up and put my head in my hands. "I've lost it."
"Perhaps, you always were a bit nutty though, shouldn't come to much surprise."
"I didn't kill you."
"Didn't you though? I was there after all."
"How can you say that?" I was shaking my head. I was arguing with someone I knew to be dead.
"I didn't kill you, those people in the photos weren't even you both!"
"Come on now, Theo, stop all this nonsense. You killed me, just say it."
"No way in hell."
He threw the book across the room and got up from the sink. He moves slowly at first, and then in the blink of an eye, he was in front of me, grabbing my throat. I grabbed his firm hands and struggled for air. He lifted me up and shot a wicked grin. In the next instant, he let me go. I fell to the floor in raspy breath, coughing loudly.
"What's wrong with you?" A guard asked from outside my cell.
I got up quickly and brushed myself off. I looked around the cell and found that no one but me resided within it.
"I fell." I said, sounding slightly hoarse. The guard made a scuffing sound and left. I touched my throat softly, feeling the tenderness of it. My eyes glanced to the corner of the cell, searching for the book that had been thrown there moments before. There was nothing there, but the sounds of silence. I touched my throat once more and climbed into bed.
"What the fuck is happening to me?" And I laid my head upon the pillow and fell into dreamless sleep.