The Prisoner – Part 1

The policeman took the file from the Woman Constable without so much as a glance at her face or any word of thanks and pushed open the door of the interview room. She followed him in and closing the door behind her, stood with her back to it and fixed her eyes on the barred window, beyond which heavy rain from the dark night sky splattered the glass with large, drops. Superintendent Simms threw the file on the table and sat down across from the woman suspect.

With his training and experience, he had taken in her appearance and present state of mind in the time it had taken him to get from the door to his chair. She was English, in her early thirties, a quick glance at the arrest sheet confirmed her age as being thirty-one, her long black, hair hung in what should have been fashionable rat’s tails around her face and her full lips held a sneer that even now was beginning to lose its strength. She was scared, despite her defiance.

The policeman looked up from the file just in time to see her quickly lower her eyes and take up the sneer again. She had been watching him, wondering what the next few minutes or hours were going to bring. And wondering why things had gone wrong.

There was very little point in questioning her, decided Simms. She was obviously a nutter to have done what she had and she would have to be examined by the psychiatrists. If they found her to be, as he expected, a raving lunatic, then she would be locked away somewhere so she could do no more harm. He looked at her again and found that she still wore the sneer. When she spoke it took him by surprise.

“My master will free me.” She said, baring her, teeth. “He will free my earthly body just as he freed my mind. You’ll see!”

Simms looked on in morbid fascination as she wiped one manacled hand across her lips; they had kept her hands cuffed in case she turned violent again. For want of anything else to say, he asked her if she wished to make a statement and she sneered at him again.

“The wisdom that my master has imparted to me is not for the likes of you.”

“I see,” said Simms, wondering what the hell she was talking about, but seeing the madness in her eyes.

“Are you aware of what has taken place over the past six or seven hours?” He asked.

Her eyes appeared to glaze over as if she was reliving some event that was second only to multiple orgasms.

Then she said. “Your people interrupted something that you have absolutely no understanding of. If I were you I would release me now. Before you are punished.”

Wonderful, thought Simms. I was called out of a nice dry bed for this.

“Do I take it then that you do not wish to make any form of statement?”

And she replied. “Take it any damn way you wish.”

Not the words of someone who was stark raving mad thought Simms. But then she had to be. No woman in her right mind would mutilate a child the way she had.

“Is there anyone you’d like to call?” He asked. And her answer sent a chill up his spine.

“I’ve already called him and he will be here soon. My master is coming, will you be ready for him, I wonder.”

She said it softly with no sign of her former anger and her tone somehow added to the slight nervousness he felt despite himself. He was being foolish, he told himself. On several occasions in his career, he had had to deal with nutters and they had all made him feel uncomfortable in a way that none of the hardened criminals had ever done. Suddenly he wanted to be away from this woman as quickly as possible. He glanced at her and saw once again the hatred and madness in her flashing eyes and thought to himself that the only thing worse than a nutter was an angry nutter.

There was little point in continuing and without saying anything else he picked up the file and left the room. But he kept the door ajar and called to one of his sergeants and spoke softly.

“I don’t want that woman left alone and furthermore I don’t want anyone watching her on their own either. I want two people present at all times, the woman is mad. Make sure she doesn’t hurt herself or anyone else. Especially anyone else” He said, and gave instructions for her to be taken to a holding cell pending arraignment and hopefully her transfer to a centre for the criminally insane. The woman came out of the interview room sullen and quiet and walked away between two Woman Police Constables. A male sergeant followed them.

He watched the group until they disappeared round a corner and then went into his office wondering what to do next. It was too early to start work and far too late to go home to his bed. He sat down at his desk and leaned back in his chair suddenly very weary and listened to the rain splattering against his window. It had been a wild night when he had left his apartment to come into the station and it appeared to be getting worse. Still, there wasn’t a typhoon in the area so this was just a localised squall. The glass in the window shuddered as a gust hit it. He turned back to his desk and opened the file.

Simms had been with the police for a long time and had seen a lot of terrible things. But nothing he had experienced with the force had prepared him for what lay in the arresting officer’s report. This woman, Clara Robertson, by name had kidnapped a Chinese girl, Chow Siu-mei, and cut her throat with a kukri. She had then disembowelled the corpse and arranged the entrails in a circle on the floor of her apartment in the village where both she and her victim had lived.

The officers that had smashed in her front door had found her prostrate in the middle of the bloody circle. She had been chanting something that none of the officers could understand and seemed oblivious to their presence until they had tried to pick her up off the floor. Then she had gone berserk and attacked them, gouging one man’s face so badly that she might have done permanent damage to his eye. Another had looked as if he had been in a cat fight; it had taken three of them to restrain her. In the toilet of the apartment, they had found the remains of the little girl and the sight had been enough to make a hardened officer ill.

Simms saw all the signs of Devil worship. Something new to Hong Kong, he thought to himself. Never in his experience had he ever seen or heard of this happening here. Very occasionally there would be reports of graves being desecrated but the culprits had only been out for what they thought of as fun. There had never been any religious or cultist significance in their misguided actions. The case against the woman was clear.

She had been crazy enough to kidnap a girl from a house just a few doors down from her. The neighbours had heard the screams and called the police, the parents had been working late. He noted that they had not tried to intervene when the girl had begged for help. By the time the police had arrived at the scene it was too late for the girl. The thing that Simms could help but notice was that the woman had at no time tried to conceal her crime. This implied to him that she either believed implicitly in what she was doing, or that she was, as he believed, a complete nutter. And anyone that believed in Devil worship in this day and age was a complete nutter anyway.

There was a crash and the sound of broken glass from down the corridor and Simms went to the door of his office to see what had happened. In the outer office where the desk officers worked, a window had shattered and the full fury of the gale was blowing into the room. The force was incredible and Simms felt the strength of the wind even from where he was standing. The fluorescent lights that hung from the ceiling swayed and clattered against one another. Then one of the P.C.s stuffed an old file cover into the gap while another used masking tape to hold it in place and the screaming wind diminished. The whole thing had taken less than a minute but Simms found himself nervous and shaken by it. He went back to his desk and sat down, feeling very tired all of a sudden. Then there was a commotion outside and a sergeant appeared at his door.

(c) Copyright John Stewart Sloan 2020 – Not for Distribution

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