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Surveillance – Ch. 16

The man with the glasses and tie was upset. That weight returned to his chest as the man left and he waited for the woman in white to say Okay again, but she left, too. Alone, he glanced around the room, his gaze falling on that strip of gold on the wall. It had moved and turned orange, but he still didn’t know where it came from. He looked away. He didn’t like that light; it made him feel empty, like something inside him was missing. With a sigh, he closed his eyes.

He woke up to find more people in his room. The woman in white was there, standing near his feet, her arms crossed over her chest. Beside him stood a woman with dark skin and dark hair. For a moment, he thought it was the woman in blue, but she didn’t smell like clean, she smelled like bitter and sweet, like something with color. Behind her was a man, but not the man with the glasses and tie. This man wouldn’t look at him.

He looked back at the woman in white. He knew her, she was okay, but all these other people, they made him feel empty, like the light. He didn’t like them.

“John, the police want to ask you a few question,” the woman in white said, using that word again. John. She said it a lot when she spoke to him. The man with the glasses and tie said it, too.

“John?” the dark woman asked, raising an eyebrow.

“John Doe,” the woman in white said. “We don’t know what else to call him.”

“He won’t tell you?”

“He hasn’t spoken since he woke up,” the woman in white said. “He hasn’t even tried. He also hasn’t moved his right arm or leg, and he doesn’t respond to commands. It would appear he sustained significant brain damage.”

“Or he’s faking it,” said the dark woman.

The woman in white uncrossed her arms, her eyebrows drawing together. “He was shot in the head. Explain to me how he faked that.”

“You don’t know this man, Doctor,” said the dark woman. “I’ve been after him for months. He’s capable of anything.”

“What has he done?”

“I can’t comment on an open investigation,” said the dark woman, “but he’s been present at the scene of more than two dozen crimes, including several homicides.”

“He was present? So simply being there makes him a criminal now?” the woman in white asked.

“He’s a person of interest,” said the dark woman, “and I have the authority to detain him until such time that I am convinced that he does not pose a threat. And I’m not convinced.”

Something shiny caught his eye and he watched as the dark woman held out a pair of silver metal circles attached together by a short chain. She put one circle around the rail on the side of the bed. It made a clicking sound. Then she placed the other side around his wrist. It was cold and heavy. He didn’t like it.

He tried to pull away, but it was on the arm that he couldn’t make move. He reached over with his other hand and tried to take it off, but it was stuck. He pulled on it, the movement sending a sharp pain through his chest and he gasped. He didn’t like that, either. He looked up at the dark woman. Why had she put this cold, heavy thing on him? She just stared back at him, her face hard.

“Is that really necessary?” the woman in white asked, moving to the side of the bed and stepping in front of the dark woman. “It’s scaring him.” She placed her hand on his. “John, it’s okay,” she said. “Leave it there, that’s right. It’s okay.” He let her lift his hand away, but only because she said it was okay. She started to set his hand back down beside him, but he didn’t want her to go away again. He wasn’t sure it would still be okay without her. He grabbed her hand, holding it tight.

“This is police brutality,” the woman in white said, looking back at the other two. “He’s got the mental capacity of a three year old, and you’re chaining him up like a vicious animal!”

“I’m also stationing an officer in the corridor,” the dark woman said as she headed for the door. “Be sure to call if he decides to start talking.”

“I’m calling your precinct and filing a complaint, that’s what I’m going to do!” the woman in white said, her voice loud as the two people left. She was angry and upset, her face wet again. He didn’t want her to be sad.

He squeezed her hand. “O…kay,” he said, surprised by the sound and the feeling in his throat. He said it again, “Okay.”

The woman in white looked at him for a long time, then reached up and touched his face. “You’d tell me if this was just a trick to fool the cops, wouldn’t you? John, please…tell me it is…” Her face was still wet. He hadn’t made her feel better, and he didn’t know what else to say, so he said nothing.

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