“Take it out.” On my command, Seth removes the shirt from Luke’s mouth, ripping the duct tape across his skin in a swift motion. The bright pink skin left behind marks where the tape once laid.
“I didn’t do it,” Luke screams immediately. Even as the pain tears through him and he’s forced to wince, he continues to plead. “Whatever it is, I didn’t do it. I didn’t fuck with you guys.”
“Jenny Parks,” I say quietly, and it’s all I say. Realization dawns on the man that he did, in fact, do it. He fucked with us. And it shuts him up, although his bottom lip still quivers.
There’s a knowing look of fear in his eyes. The lack of an exhale, the stale gaze he gives me. “You know her name.”
His mouth closes before he speaks and he visibly swallows.
“Every time you hesitate, I take something from you,” I tell him easily, crouched in front of him and waiting for him to acknowledge what I’ve said.
The second his mouth opens to speak, I grip his hand, choosing his pointer first. The clank of the cuffs and his protests mix in the damp air that still smells like piss. Seth does his part, shoving the shirt in the man’s mouth as I clamp down on the clippers. My left hand keeps the other fingers bent, stopping them from interfering. My right hand closes the blades around his pointer. The flesh cuts easily; blood flows just as easily as he lets out a high-pitched muffled scream, but the bone I have to break away from the ligament first before it’s cleanly gone.
I take a half step back, watching the blood pour from where his finger was moments ago. It streams out steadily and more blood creeps from under the metal cuffs that keep him held down as he struggles. Seth keeps his hand over the shirt, and watches Luke’s face turn bright red, struggling to breathe, screaming with everything he has in him.
His chest heaves. But it never lasts long. The screaming is only temporary. Just like the hesitation and the lies.
“I’ve done this a few times, Mr. Stevens,” I comment as I wipe the blade on his dark blue denim jeans. Although he’s stopped screaming, the shirt stays where it is. Seth knows to only remove it once I’m ready for the man to speak.
I let out a heavy exhale and then crouch down in front of him again as I say, “I don’t like to waste my time.” My tone is easy, consoling even as I stare into his bloodshot eyes, noting the desperation that flows from his sweaty skin. I tell him, “I just want answers, and then all of this is over.”
He tries to shriek through the shirt, his neck craning as he more than likely pleads with Seth to remove the gag. The tendons in his neck tense and he keeps it up, which only pisses me off.
“We don’t have time for your comments or questions. Now answer mine. Do you know Jenny Parks?”
With the question asked, Seth removes the rag and the man in the chair stumbles over his words.
“She’s the girl I took to the bridge.” He does well with the first statement, but then he backtracks and barters. My irritation would show, if I weren’t expecting it. After all, I have done this more than a few times. He started off strong, thinking it was a negotiation, but the tilt of my head changed his tone to one of a beggar.
“If I tell you everything… will you just let me go? Please! I’ll tell you everything!”
I stare at the clippers and take in a breath. A single breath waiting for more information and then my gaze moves to Luke, my eyebrows raising in warning.
He looks to his left quickly, as if anything is there. He tries to get up as if the cuffs had disappeared. What he doesn’t do, is give me the information I need.
The shirt is shoved back into his mouth and his ring finger goes next, leaving the middle finger on his left hand easily available for the next time I need to prove a point.
Tears leak from the man’s eyes and his cries turn morbid as he mourns his mistake. I feel… I feel nothing but anger for him. Anger I don’t show.
“Mr. Stevens, I read your file. You killed your mistress and then your wife. Or no,” I feign a correction as I keep eye contact with Seth, not the man I’m determined to kill tonight. “Was it his wife first and then his mistress?”
“You’ve got it a little wrong, Boss,” Seth tells me casually, the shirt still balled up in Luke’s mouth, even though he’s only crying, no longer screaming. “It was his sister and then his wife.”
“No mistress then?”