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one more soul to the call

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Michael Walker, police officer of five years, entered the interrogation room.

Daniel Maybury sat handcuffed to the desk, staring at the wall directly ahead of him. His eyes were rimmed with red and he looked like he hadn’t slept in days.

Michael sat down in the chair opposite the suspect.

“I’m sorry,” whispered Daniel.

“Daniel, I’m here to talk to you about the murder of your daughter.”

He didn’t respond.

Michael waved a hand in front of his face. Daniel blinked and his gaze locked onto the cop.

“Can you tell me about the last time you saw her?”

Daniel’s eyes flickered quickly over Michael’s shoulder.

“Daniel.”

“Yes.” Daniel cleared his throat. “The last time I saw her alive. We were at the lake.”

His voice sounded detached, monotone, like he wasn’t all there.

“Can you describe the events leading up to her death?”

“Yes, of course. Her mother – Emily – she died a couple of weeks ago. I took her to Dark Score because I thought it would help us… mourn her in peace, I guess. It was somewhere we weren’t constantly reminded of her absence.”

“And did it help?” asked Michael, knowing it clearly hadn’t.

“Klara was constantly crying for the first few days. I didn’t really know what to do. I thought it would be nice to take her down to the lake.” He paused like he was trying to recall. “I had a really bad feeling that morning. Not grief, this was something… something else. I didn’t really think anything of it, but I brought the gun along anyway. Just in case.”

Michael shifted in his seat.

“We were walking down to the lake, and I started to get this awful… headache, of sorts.”

“Of sorts?”

“Like a kind of pressure. Like something else was inside my head, just… rattling around in there. We got to the lake, and I just… lost control, I guess. I…” he trailed off.

“Please continue, Daniel.”

“I wanted to kill her,” he stated bluntly. “Obviously not, you know, consciously, but…” he cleared his throat again. “I don’t know what came over me.”

“You murdered her, yes?”

“I just couldn’t… resist… the urge. You know? I grabbed her, and I held her under the water for as long as I could stand. I could feel her thrashing, trying to break free, and it was so awful that I… I came back to my senses for a few seconds. I knew I couldn’t resist it for long. Not long enough actually to save her, I mean. I didn’t want her to suffer, so I pulled out the gun and I – I shot her in the side of the head.”

A single tear ran from the inner corner of his left eye.

“If I’d had a few more seconds to think I would have shot myself instead.”

He suddenly let out a strangled sob.

“I – I – I watched the light leave her eyes. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

He broke down into incoherence, tears and snot streaming down his face.

The cop waited for him to finish. After a few minutes, he stopped crying enough to form words again.

“I need her to know that I am sorry. I’m sorry, Klara. I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.”

“Daniel.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just… It was the last day I saw her alive, and she was fucking terrified.”

Michael registered what he’d said.

“What do you mean, alive?”

“She just… she won’t leave me alone.”

“What do you mean?”

“I keep… seeing her.”

This guy was definitely going to need some kind of psychiatrist.

“Do you mean in your dreams? Or in… some kind of flashbacks?”

“No.”

“Where do you see her, Daniel?”

Daniel’s gaze shifted back over Michael’s shoulder.

“Everywhere.”

A shudder ran through him. He resisted the urge to turn around.

“Everywhere?”

Daniel nodded slowly, his eyes not leaving the area behind Michael.

His job was done. He had his confession. There was nothing stopping him from leaving. But he had to ask.

“Is she in the room right now?”

Daniel’s shoulders trembled slightly.

“I’m sorry.”

“Daniel?”

“Klara, I’m sorry.”

Michael stood up to leave. Daniel didn’t acknowledge his movement. He mentally prepared himself before turning around.

There was nothing, just the door. Michael let out an audible sigh of relief. A cold shiver passed through him halfway to the door. He glanced back at Daniel on the way out, to find that he was now staring at him.

He closed the door and tried to forget the image of the man’s haunted eyes watching him.