tw: racial slurs
November 15, 198X
The victim was ‘Randy’. I never got the full names of the B-2 group, perhaps to keep it anonymous for the subjects. Randy was a drug addict that had been arrested multiple times for dealing. I’d not liked working with him, but I hadn’t disliked him. I mostly hated his breath, his teeth were rotted out and made me nauseated.
The incident happened sometime between five and six AM. The power had gone out, likely due to the windstorms we’d been getting, and when it came back on one of the doctors stumbled across his body. I heard him shriek and ran to the source, stumbling across the gruesome scene.
Randy’s head had been bashed in, likely someone had grabbed him by the hair and repeatedly slammed him against the wall, judging by the blood smear.
However, what had shaken me up was that Randy’s hands were clutched around his middle, holding his stomach. I came closer and carefully moved his arm to see why he had died holding himself like that. His intestines bulged from a gaping wound before spilling free, like bloody bags.
The rest of the B-2 group was rounded up and put in separate interview rooms. I spoke to Ollie and Ernie.
Ollie’s interview… went as expected.
“Do I have to speak to you?” The man grunted, scratching his large stomach. The image of Randy’s innards flashed back through my mind and I swallowed the acid in my mouth.
I kept my face straight. “No, but if you refuse to speak to me, I’ll have you marked as uncooperative. And if I’m reading here correctly, you are the one with murder on their record. Things aren’t looking good for you.”
Ollie sneered, his beady eyes narrowed. “Fine, play it like that. No wonder you’re not married.” He gave a meaningful look at my left hand. “Didn’t murder Randy. Damn crackhead pissed me off, kept asking for drugs. The only drugs I have is pain meds for my arthritis. And I ain’t sharing with an addict. But I didn’t kill him. I was asleep.”
I glanced down at my list of questions I was asked to cover. “… Did Randy seem to have anyone who was actually that ‘pissed’ at him? Maybe Rex? They got in a fight a few days ago, I’ve heard.”
“The younger nigger?”
My stomach turned harshly and my fists clenched. “Ollie, I’m going to request you watch your language or this interview is over.”
Ollie raised his hands. “Hey, only saying the truth. And I didn’t pay attention to most of it. Think Randy caught Rex stealing his stuff and it all boiled over after that. Ended when someone put a fist through a wall, dunno who, I wasn’t paying attention. Bet Rex killed him though.”
“We’re not going to discuss that.” I glanced at the next question and my fingernails dug into my palms. “… Do you believe this could have been caused by someone under the influence of… demonic… forces?” I was stunned that they were already going over this. A man died and the project had still taken priority.
Ollie cocked his head to the side before he smiled and nodded. “You don’t believe in this bull either?” He guessed.
I cleared my throat. “I’m not going to talk about my personal beliefs with you,” I said.
“’t’s okay, means you got some sense.” Ollie shook his head. “Nope. It was just human nature, Barbara. Just human nature.”
I was thankful when I went to interview Ernie. He was far more tolerable.
“You doin’ all right?”
I allowed a faint smile reached my lips. “I’m fine. A little shaken, like I imagine we all are. Did you overhear anything, were you asleep?” I asked.
Ernie ran a hand through his thick hair. “Hmmm. Around that time, I was doin’ my Bible reading. I keep feelin’ dark forces in my room. It’s hard to sleep with all that.” He shivered.
“I know. Did you hear anything though? A struggle, Randy getting out of bed?” I questioned, pressing past the ‘dark forces’.
Ernie thought for a moment. “I think I heard someone talking to Randy, maybe asking him something… but that was it. The whole thing took place too far away for me to hear.” He shook his head. “Poor kid.”
Like I said. Ernie was far more tolerable than Ollie.
“Are you gonna ask me about the fight between Randy and Rex?”
I nodded. “I have to. Do you know what took place?”
Ernie sighed. “Randy was on something, I dunno how, but he wasn’t minding Rex’s space. Kept badgering him. Rex tolerated it until Randy said he could see something in Rex’s head. Something cold, lurking, waiting. Rex didn’t like that. Belted Randy across the face. Randy was the one who put his fist through the wall. It wasn’t Rex though. Wasn’t Rex who killed Randy.”
“What makes you sure of that?” I asked.
“Easy.” Ernie jerked his head to the side. “I heard Rex talking with someone about that time. His room’s next to mine. A doctor named Emmet?”
I felt my spine grow cold. “I’m… not aware of a doctor by that name. Are you sure that was Rex said Emmet?”
Ernie nodded. “Heard it as clear as your name, Dr. Moore. Rex was talking with Emmet about the Legion Studies. Emmet has this high pitched voice? Maybe that’ll make you remember him. Anyway, they were talking about the studies, how they were going. Rex sounded nervous. I think he’s not so sure about signing up. He is pretty young, this is heavy stuff. Is that all?”
“One more question… actually two, and the second is rather personal.” I paused. “Do you believe Randy’s death had a supernatural element to it?”
I was not surprised by Ernie’s response. “Yes. Someone killed the man in cold blood. Brutal and evil. What’s your second question, doctor?”
“Why haven’t you asked Father Carter to keep you company? To scare off the… ‘dark forces’.”
Ernie recoiled like he’d been slapped. He shook his head wildly no. “I did that once and it was a mistake. Father Carter just made it feel heavier. It was like someone was pressing their hands into my shoulders. I almost fell over. I end up telling him to leave. I’ll keep myself safe. With my Bible in hand.”
I walked out of the room to run into Hugo.
Hugo looked grave. “Emmet’s here?” He asked.
“Ernie said it was one of the doctors. There’s a lot of staff here, I don’t know all their names-“
Hugo raised his hand before he pulled off one of his many necklaces. Without a word, he fastened it around my neck. He stepped back and nodded.
“There. Just… don’t take it off. That’s one of my blessed pieces.” He looked me dead in the eye, and I felt that chill from the interview room return. “Don’t take it off. Please?”
I gripped the silver cross. “Okay. I won’t,” I said.
Hugo sighed with relief.