The door of his room was open. Special Agent Scarlet Hail walked in and he turned his head to see her. Without a word, she continued for the chair next to his bed. A clank over the bed’s frame made her breath easy. The boy looked at her with a blank expression on his face, while she tried to decide if she should smile at him or be made of stone.
“I guess you are here to see if the stories you’ve heard check out.” He said and a long pause made the room feel awkward. “Arnas, the blond guy, he was the one pulling the strings on the other two. Ninior, the one with a busted lip, he sometimes wanted to hang out, but always changed when Arnas was around. You’d be amazed by the speed he goes from a really dumb friend, to kick me in the guts.” He smiled and Scarlet relaxed, held off the scoff.
“I know everything.” She broke the peace and entered the conversation. “The girl they used to prank you with, was Arnas’s sister. She is married and has a family of her own. He used her old photos to fake a love interest.” Scarlet mentioned it distant in thoughts, and her resting face tensed with curiosity. “I’m disgusted by what they did to you. I knew boys in your age can be difficult, but this is beyond normal. Funny, these were the words older folk told me when I was your age. We have no sight for those things when we are younger. Hormones, lust, emotions cloud our vision so we think everything around us is a due course. When you reach 21, you finally start seeing the world as it is. And you don’t like the world you live in, but you realize it is too late to change it, so you move on and despair you missed your chance.” Scarlet explained, somewhat philosophically describing the process of growing up.
“I’ll have a lot of time to despair in the prison cell.” He added.
“Listen, Varo…” She went to touch his hand, but he moved it.
“Call me Crucifix. My friends call me Crucifix.” He added.
“Listen. You barely grazed the guard. He is fine, but still… You’ll be charged to multiple accounts of the attempt of murder, civilian imprisonment, causing panic and disorder, taking hostages and a few other things. No sane judge will let you go on a minimum sentence. You are looking at life in prison without parole.” The compassionate voice made him tear up.
“I know.” He said briefly and swallowed the bitter spit.
“You are not a bad guy, not really. You are uncorrupted, your soul is clean, but this, this looks bad. They will throw you among the vilest criminals and there you’ll become something you are not. I can’t think of the worst punishment.”
“It’s my fault I couldn’t hold it off. I broke. It’s my fault.” He said, tears running down his cheeks, unable to wipe them.
“It’s not your fault. Nobody should suffer the stuff you’ve been through. They made you do this.” Scarlet squeezed his hand as tightly as she could but he turned his head away – shamed because she was there.
A few more word she tried to exchange, but he had no strength to voice his thoughts, so she left. That was the last time she saw him as a free man. The next time they met, it was in court. Media did it’s part and made everything speed up, and the public demanded a conclusion to this story.
It was the second week of a trial and his classmates went to the witness stand. The lawyers made an effort to leave the most gruesome parts out of the testimony, securing a bright future to these assholes, while all blame shifted to Varo and his actions.
A few days later, sentencing was scheduled and Scarlet sat in the waiting room when the Captain approached her.
“Come on. Let’s go.” Captain twitched his head and Scarlet frowned at him.
“But the sentencing.” She said.
“There will be no sentencing today.” Captain proclaimed and they looked at each other for a while. “I’m so sorry. They told me to inform you. He is not coming. They found him in the containment with his wrists cut open up to his elbows.” The Captain spoke like under a threat and Special Agent Hail shivered before tears came running.
The Captain gasped, helped her get up to her feet and put his hands around her. She trembled in his arms, every step she made insecure and slow.
Captain drank his whiskey just to keep himself occupied, but Scarlet drank for the both of them. Her swollen face was drained of emotions, where only a mascara threaded her facial outlines.
She heard a joyful remark from the table behind her when the news announced Varo’s death. Someone in the crowd even paid the drinks for the whole bar, saluting to the death of a monster, saluting to the death of a boy he never knew. She drank it up, honoring the fine artist who couldn’t bear the humiliation and miserable life. She drank it up, on the contrary, like a rebel, just like Varo would.
Even his burial was a spectacle. Angry mob stood near the fence with protest signs in their hands, chanting, and media covered it. Varo’s father yelled at them when he couldn’t hear a word from the priest, and it was clear from whom his son got that sense of righteousness.
Saying her goodbye’s, Scarlet left a small crucifix over his casket and police Captain left a patrol near the graveyard so nobody could vandalize it. It was very thoughtful of him to do that.
She took a few days off work and spent it on a gravel shore, looked at the waves and a grey sky on top of it. Scarlet tried to reflect, contemplate on life and summon herself back to normal. Such a thing demanded time to heal, involving work or a hobby to switch off for a second. When she came back to the city, the first thing she did was going to the store. Her basket was full of materials necessary to build a replica of a crate.
G A M E O V E R
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