Fiction Friday: Disengagement

The room was a sullen gray with brutal fluorescent light raging down from the high ceiling. Nothing was on the walls except a long mirror on one side of the room. A long black table sat positioned in the room’s center with only two chairs; one on either end. Peter Dominic sat alone, handcuffed with his head in his hands sobbing. As he sulked, trying to remember how the last few hours must have unfolded, a man and a woman entered the room. The woman carried a manila folder. Peter believed this folder contained everything that happened and personal information about him.

“Good evening, Mr. Dominic.” The woman said.

The man who entered the room with her stood behind by the door.

The woman continued.

“My name is Detective Hartley. You know why you’re here so why don’t you tell me what happened.”

“What was her name?” Peter said.

“I’m sorry?”

“The woman I… I killed. What was her name?”

Detective Hartley looked surprised. She looked through the file.

“Her name was Sarah Nicole Morris.”

Peter wiped his eyes.

“Sarah Nicole Morris. Could you tell me about her? What did she do for a living? Did she have a family; children?”

Peter still felt upset about the incident. He was not a killer.

“She was studying at the community college to be a radiologist. She lived in an apartment with her boyfriend, they didn’t have children.”

Peter closed his eyes.

“Please tell the boyfriend I’m sorry.”

Detective Hartley grew impatient.

“If you’re sorry, why did you kill her?”

“I wasn’t trying to kill her. I thought she was someone else; something else.”

“What do you mean something else?”

“I don’t know if what I saw was real or not. I’m not sure if I was being brainwashed or if I was hallucinating but I never wanted to hurt anyone. I never wanted to kill Sarah.”

Peter sobbed and dropped his head back into his hands.

“Mr. Dominic?”

He didn’t respond.

“Mr. Dominic?”

Detective Hartley felt Peter was playing her for a fool. She smacked the table causing Peter to jump.

“Tell me what happened. Why did you kill Sarah Morris?”

Peter wiped the tears off his face and cleared his throat.

“It was an accident. This all started in the morning on my way to work. I had finished eating breakfast and was about to leave.”

***

“Thank you, sweetheart. I need to go now before I’m late.”

Peter kissed his wife as he finished chewing the toast his wife made for him. He was double-checking his briefcase when the phone rang.

His wife answered.

“This is the Dominic’s. Oh! Hello Jason. Peter was about to… I suppose he… all right hold on.”

She covered the receiver with her hand.

“He needs to talk to you.”

“Can’t it wait until I get to the lab?”

Jason had never called him this early.

“He sounds upset. Something could be wrong.”

Peter took the phone from her.

“Yes Jason? What!? No, nothing was unusual last night. Around four in the morning? You’re sure? And it’s already hit? Yes, I’ll meet you at the sight. Okay. See you in about… twenty minutes.”

Peter giggled as he closed his briefcase.

“What is it dear?”

“A meteorite landed last night outside of town. Jason got a call from the lab’s security about all the instruments making loud noises. He’s on his way out to the site now.”

Peter couldn’t contain his enthusiasm.

“That’s wonderful Peter. Take lots of pictures for me.”

She was always supportive of Peter’s interests.

***

“I rushed out the door and drove ten miles over the speed limit all the way to the meteorite. This was something that excited and thrilled me and I was proud to be a part of it all.”

Peter was silent for a long period.

“What kind of music do you think she listened too? What might her hobbies have been?”

Detective Hartley thought the only way to keep Peter talking was to tell him about who Sarah Morris was. She had information in the file but not a great deal. She gestured to her partner to come closer and whispered in his ear. He left the room. The detective continued her questioning with a different approach.

“I will tell you what I can about Ms. Morris, but I need you to continue with your explanation Mr. Dominic.”

“Have you ever killed anyone, Detective?”

“No.”

“Then you don’t understand how it feels to take someone else’s life. It’s sickening, like I may vomit. Please tell me something and I’ll continue.”

Peter said with hopeful eyes. Remorse was the only emotion he could display.

Detective Hartley sighed.

“She was five-nine and brunette with green eyes. She was very healthy and was a life guard volunteer with the YWCA.”

“She sounds like my wife. Tell me more, please?”

“The more information you give me the more I give you.”

Peter took a deep breath.

“When… when I arrived, Jason was taking samples. He was running tests to check for any radiation and magnetism. I couldn’t believe how large the meteorite was…”

An excerpt from “Disengagement” from the short story collection The Morbid Museum.

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