Detective Falken had been on the force for twenty years. He had started out as a beat cop and worked his way up, finally achieving the title of detective seven years ago. He wasn't a strict by-the-book type, but he wasn't some loose cannon rogue either. He knew how to read a situation and could accurately determine the best way to handle it. In twenty years on the force, he had just about seen it all. So it was truly saying something that what he looked at now had him dumbfounded.
He stood behind the two-way mirror looking into the interrogation room, where a young girl was seated at a table.
"What's this one's name?" he asked the officer standing next to him.
The cop looked down at the case file he held. "Rachel Bluestar, age thirteen. She was picked up today after receiving a call from one of her neighbors. Apparently her family was having a barbeque today when the girl suddenly attacked. A few family members got away, but we counted a total of eighteen victims – nineteen if you include her unborn sister."
Detective Falken looked at the officer with wide eyes. "Eighteen people? How did she do that? Wouldn't someone have stopped her?"
"We haven't been able to get a statement from any of the survivors; they're all still in shock. Causes of death appear to have been from severe stabbing and lacerations. Some victims were found to have both entry and exit wounds, but no firearms were found on the property. Her parents didn't have any registered weapons, and the rest of the family is still being investigated. Maybe one of them had one."
"That still doesn't explain why no one tried to stop her."
At this the other officer shrugged. "We won't know until an eyewitness is ready to talk."
Detective Falken sighed and ran his hand through his graying hair. "What about her brother? Where is he now?"
"With their aunt," the officer replied. "She was one of the lucky ones that got away. According to the officers that arrived on the scene they found the boy in Rachel's arms, begging her to stop."
At this the detective groaned, pinching the bridge of his brow. "Why does shit like this have to happen? One minute they're normal kids; the next they're on murderous rampages."
"Tell me about it," the officer said, looking through window as well. "This one seemed so normal too. Straight A student, popular, goes to church every Sunday, volunteers in her neighborhood."
"It's almost cliché," the detective snorted. "Has she said anything since she was brought in?"
The officer shook his head.
"Of course not." He sighed again and held his hand out for the case file. "All right, let's get this over with."
The officer handed over the manila folder as Detective Falken entered the interrogation room. It was the standard set-up; single lamp hanging in the center of the room over a table with two chairs, a two-way mirror on one wall. Detective Falken had seen his share of interrogation rooms, and the only thing that ever changed was the person seated at the table to be questioned.
This time it was Rachel Bluestar on the other side. She had short black hair that framed her cherub-like face and dull blue eyes that once sparkled like sapphires. She wore a simple black dress with white stocks, black shoes, and black sleeves with lacey trim on her forearms. A bit of deep blue eye shadow that seemed too dark for her pale skin decorated her eyes, and she wore blue star-shaped earrings and a silver star-shaped pendant with a sapphire in its center.
She had definitely tried to look her best for the family gathering. But all the nice clothes and accessories couldn't cover up the blood on her hands. Even as she sat there the detective could make out the dark red splotches on the black fabric she wore.
"Hello Rachel; I'm Detective Falken," he said, closing the door behind him.
The girl didn't respond. She sat in her chair quietly, staring down at the table.
Figuring this could take a while, Detective Falken walked around the table and took a seat across from the young girl. He set the case file down and opened it, taking out a pencil in case he needed to jot anything down. "I know you're probably pretty confused right now," he said in his best attempt at a gentle tone. "But I'm going to have to ask you some questions. I need you to answer them as honestly as you can, okay?"
The girl remained silent.
Sighing, the detective began. "Do you remember what happened today?"
"Yes, sir." A simple response. Her voice was soft and harmless, completely unbefitting of what she had done. Another cliché.
"I killed them."
"So you're aware of what you did?"
"Is there any part of the day you don't remember?"
"No, sir," she said politely, "I remember everything from the moment I woke up this morning until now." Her voice never once changed. It stayed as empty as her eyes, which remained locked on the surface of the table.
"Did you know you were going to kill them when you woke up?"
"When did you decide to?"
"What do you mean?"
"It wasn't my decision, sir."
"Whose was it?"
"I don't know."
This was going nowhere, and the detective groaned. "If you didn't decide on your own, and you don't know who or what influenced you, then why did you do it?"
"Because I was supposed to."
Detective Falken rubbed the bridge of his brow again. This ordinary, adorable even, girl was starting to better fit the profile of a psychopath capable of the deeds she had executed that day. Exasperated, he asked with as much patience as he could muster. "What do you mean you were supposed to?"
"I mean it was something I had no choice in."
The detective tapped his foot against the floor, thinking he'd picked the wrong time to give up smoking. "Why didn't you have a choice?"
"I don't know, sir."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I have no explanation. I didn't question; I just did as I felt compelled to."
"You felt compelled?" His frustration was starting to come through in his tone. He couldn't tell if she was being smart by talking in what he perceived as a condescending way, or if that was just the way she spoke.
Realizing his current approach was futile, he decided to try another. "Tell me Rachel, did you have a happy family?"
"Very." This time he thought he saw a ghost of a smile on her lips, though it was fleeting.
Feeling encouraged by that brief show of emotion, he pressed on. "No one in your family ever hurt you? Yelled at you?"
"If I did something wrong I was scolded, but never any more than was reasonable. And I was never hit." Her responses were still toneless, melancholic even.
"Was there anything you didn't like about your family?"
"Nothing you didn't want to change?"
This time she hesitated before responding. "One thing," she said after a moment.
"What was it?"
"My little brother."
Detective Falken raised a brow in confusion now. Of everyone else she had killed, her brother hadn't been harmed. "What did you want to change about your brother?"
"I didn't want him to get more attention than me anymore."
"Why did your brother get more attention?"
"Because he was perfect." She said this stoically, with no trace of malice.
"He's only eight, but he was good enough to be promoted a grade in school. He's captain of his little league team; he almost always makes the winning run. He's even learning to play the violin. It's not so bad now, but I don't doubt that eventually their dotting would turn to obsession. It would've gotten worse when the new baby came."
"So is that why you killed everyone? You were afraid of being neglected?"
The girl closed her eyes and shook her head. "That's unrelated to what happened today."
"Then why did you do it?" the detective almost shouted. Just when he thought he might make a breakthrough, things had gone in a circle. His frustration was building and his patience running short.
Rachel showed no reaction to his outburst, not even a flinch. She just responded in the same monotone, "I told you; because I was supposed to."
Detective Falken dropped his pencil and rubbed his temples. He was about to give up and turn the girl over to a shrink, though he truly didn't want to. Something about the girl captivated him. He had one last idea in mind before he was ready to throw in the towel.
"I was told that when the police arrived you were holding your brother. Why is that?"
"Because he was crying." Detective Falken thought he heard a little infliction in her voice that time, a matter-of-fact type.
"He said he was scared because everyone was dying." Back to the same monotone.
"Was he scared of you?"
"I don't know, sir."
"Did you try to kill him?"
"Because I wasn't supposed to."
And he was right back to square one. Detective Falken was finally ready to give up when a knock came at the door.
"What is it?" he called.
The door opened and the officer from before poked his head in. "Detective, we need you out here. It can't wait."
The detective sighed and closed his case file. "It's fine, we're about finished. Wait here Rachel."
Falken followed the officer back out to the hall where two men in black suits were waiting. One of them was a Caucasian man with a blond crew cut and icy blue eyes. The other was a dark skinned man with a shaved head, who wore a pair of sunglasses and held a briefcase.
"Can I help you gentlemen?" the detective asked.
The Caucasian glanced pointedly at the other officer, a clear message that Detective Falken picked up on. He gave the officer a dismissive wave, leaving him alone with the two men in black. It was only then that the white man reached into his suit jacket and pulled out an ID badge with three instantly-recognizable letters printed on it. "Detective Falken? I'm Special Agent Clark, FBI."
Detective Falken blinked in confusion. Who called the FBI in? And so quickly at that.
"Is something wrong detective?" the agent asked.
Falken shook his head a little to clear it. "Um, sorry, I'm just a little surprised." He offered his hand and the agent shook it. "I didn't expect the FBI to take an interest in this case so suddenly. The incident just happened today."
"I'm afraid I'm only here as an escort," the agent stated, motioning to the man next to him. "For this man."
The dark-skinned man stepped forward and offered his hand to the detective. "Good evening, detective," he said in a deep, gravelly voice as they shook. "My name is Agent Charleston, and I'm here on behalf of The Black Sun Group."
The detective blinked. "I'm sorry, you're from where?"
"The Black Sun Group, and that's all you need to know," the agent said seriously. "We've been monitoring the Bluestar case for some time now. As of this moment, custody of the suspect, one Rachel Bluestar, will be transferred to The Black Sun Group." He opened the briefcase he held and withdrew a manila folder similar to the detective's case file and handed it over. "Here is the file for this case, from start to finish. You just need to file it. Nothing else."
Incredulous and taken off-guard, the detective received the offered folder and opened it. His eyes widened at what was inside. A copy of the case file he held, as well as much more information on things that hadn't even happened yet. The interrogation of the girl, her confession, trial, sentencing; it was all there. What's more, the agent had said his group had been monitoring this case for some time. How could that be possible? The incident just occurred that day, less than twelve hours ago.
"Our organization will handle the media and PR," Agent Charleston went on. "Nothing about this case leaves this station, unless it's what's written in the case file you now hold, understood?"
"Now just a minute here!" Detective Falken shouted, finding his voice. "You can't just waltz in here and do something like this. That girl murdered eighteen innocent people today! And you expect me to just hand her over to some organization I've never even heard of? Just what is going on here?"
He looked over at the FBI agent, hoping he might make some sort of sense of the situation, but Special Agent Clark just shrugged apathetically.
"We can and we are," Agent Charleston stated matter-of-factly. He lowered his sunglasses, revealing gray irises so pale they almost appeared white, and looked the detective directly in the eye. "I understand this seems odd from your end. It's best you forget I was ever here; that girl as well. You never heard the term Black Sun Group; understand?"
Detective Falken said nothing. His mind had gone blank. He just stared back into Agent Charleston's eyes, mesmerized.
Without waiting for a response the dark-skinned man looked over his shoulder and motioned to Agent Clark, who entered the interrogation room.
Recovering his senses suddenly, Detective Clark tried to argue. "Now wait –"
"Don't," Agent Charleston cut in, locking eyes with the detective again, paralyzing the veteran detective. "This goes far beyond you know. Just let it go."
Detective Falken wanted to argue but found he couldn't. He couldn't put his finger on it, but something about the man from the unknown organization stopped him. He put off an air of authority that wasn't to be argued with, one that seemed to get stronger whenever the detective looked into those vividly pale eyes. He found himself powerless and could only watch as Agent Clark brought Rachel out of the interrogation room and before the dark man.
Agent Charleston knelt down before the girl and smiled. "Hello Rachel, I'm Agent Charleston. I know what happened today and I want you to know, it wasn't you fault."
The girl stared at the man, her eyes wide. Then she did something that shocked the watching detective. She cried. A soft, steady stream of sobs crawled their way out of her throat, one after another, while tears sprang freely from her eyes.
"Shh, it's okay," the agent cooed, patting the girl's head tenderly. "We're going to take you somewhere to get some help, okay?"
"W-what about… B-Brandon?" the girl sobbed.
"Your brother?" Agent Charleston asked, earning a nod from the crying girl. "He'll stay with your aunt and uncle. They'll take good care of him. Then one day, when you're all better, you can see him again. But first we have to take care of you, okay?"
The girl nodded and the agent rose, passing the girl off to Agent Clark, who led her away down the hall. Agent Charleston reached into his suit jacket then and pulled out a business card, handing it to Detective Falken. "If you have any questions about today, or about what can or cannot be said, you call this number. Remember," he looked the detective directly in the eye one last time, "I was never here."
With that he put his sunglasses back on, turned, and started down the hall, leaving Detective Falken dumbfounded. It wasn't until the agent was about to leave that the detective managed to call out.
Agent Charleston stopped and looked back at him.
"Where… where will you be taking her?"
"Somewhere that she can be helped," the agent said. "She'll be enrolled in the Lionheart Institute."
Detective Falken blinked in confusion. "Isn't that just a school for gifted children?"
"Yes. And Rachel here is very gifted indeed. Good day detective." With that he turned the corner and left.
Detective Falken had been on the force for twenty years. He had started out as a beat cop and worked his way up, finally achieving the title of detective seven years ago. He wasn't a strict by-the-book type, but he wasn't some loose cannon rogue either. He knew how to read a situation and could accurately determine the best way to handle it. But he didn't have the slightest clue how to handle what had just happened. All he could do was follow the agent's orders and forget all about the case of Rachel Bluestar. And the very next day, that's exactly what he did.
He forgot everything.