“Repeat after me, you did not kill that man.” He grabs me, squeezes me back to the now. I feel the sting of his hand against my cheek “say it.”
I fix my eyes on him but he is a blur. I squeeze my eyes shut and open them again. Sweat pours off his face, his lips are moving earnestly, he shakes me.
Finally I speak “I didn’t kill him.” The words are barely a whisper and they float off into the wind before I can catch them.
I feel his hand in mine as the murmur of sirens can be heard in the distance. He presses a finger on my lips before I can speak. “Never mind what’s going on out there. Focus on me” he says. I breathe deep and long, I fill my lungs with air, my eyes not leaving his. The sirens get louder.
I nod, my hands falling to my side, fingers unfolding from the tight fist they were in.
And then they are here, surrounding us, flashing lights. Uniformed bodies pour out of cars, guns pulled. In between their screams to ‘get on the ground’ it starts to rain.
He shields me, shows them his badge “My name is Detective Manson, this lady is under my custody.”
The rain drenches me and I gasp at how suddenly my clothes stick to my skin. Now I am shaking from the cold, or the fear, or both.
The shouting stops and suddenly it is quiet except for pellets of rain hitting the ground. He turns to face me. I feel his breath, “Remember what I told you” he whispers. I nod allowing the rain to fall onto my lips “I didn’t kill him.”
He gives me a reassuring smile that convinces neither of us. Gently he pulls my hands behind my back. I hear and feel the click of the handcuffs around my wrist. He pushes me through the crowd of uniforms.
An officer grabs Manson by the elbow “you know she killed one of our own right? I don’t care what your relationship is with her. This is personal.”
Manson helps me into the car and closes the door. Through the misty window he turns to the officer, his mouth moves calmly. I imagine he is telling them the same thing he told me. I did not kill that man, but he and I know the truth.
I did kill him.