Interrogation (Flash Fiction)

“But I set them free,” he said.

Bob looked at the man. “You honestly believe that?”

The man smiled with clean, white teeth. “I certainly do. With all my heart, I do.” He kept his hands folded on the small table in front of him. The handcuffs clamped to his wrist didn’t seem to bother him at all. His shirt was white and very clean. The pants that hung from his thin waist were tan and freshly creased. He regarded Bob with patient eyes of blue.

“In your home, we found materials that could be used to make hundreds of bombs, hundreds,” Bob said. He flipped the pages in the file. “What were your intentions for them?”

The man smiled the way an adult does at a misunderstanding child. “Sir, am I not making myself perfectly clear?” he asked. He slid his bound hands forward and pointed to the papers. “This one I did on August 23rd. It was a small hotel on Route 12. Do you know why I killed them?”

Bob shook his head.

“It wasn’t the hotel, or the owners, or the specific location. It was them, the family,” he said to Bob with eyes so blue the color could only be found on some vacation shoreline. “You truly don’t understand, do you?”

Bob shook his head again. “What’s there to understand?” Bob asked. “You kill innocent people. It’s fun for you.”

The man leaned back in horror. “Fun,” he said. “Fun?” His eyebrows furrowed. “This is not some cheap thrill, sir, I assure you. Please don’t take me for some deranged terrorist blowing people sky-high in the name of Allah.”

“Then what the hell?” Bob said. He saw his reflection in the two-way mirror and paused. The anger on his face was obvious. “I mean, why?”

“I’m saving them,” he said. “I’m saving them from this life.” The man turned his pointed jaw and looked around the small interrogation room as if it weren’t there. “They suffer endlessly, tremendously. They spend their lives attending schools that bore them so they can get jobs they hate so that they can breed and do it all over again.” He shook his head, and his eyes seemed to fill with sadness. “Our world today is built upon the modern-day slave,” he said. “Don’t you see?”

Bob said nothing. He sat and waited.

“Those people in the hotel, in August,” the man continued. “They’re in heaven now, thanking me. The father and the mother and their four children are free from pain,” he said. He raised his arms to the sky as well as the handcuffs would allow. “They look down on me and thank me for setting them free. The father suffers from his cancer no more. The mother no longer needs to hold two jobs. And the children, well,” he trailed off. “Let’s just say that there’s plenty of candy in heaven.” The man smiled directly at Bob.

Bob looked at the two-way mirror. “I’m done,” he said.

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