Quis

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Quis is a story of when power is abused and the consequences of that abuse. I recommend 12 years and up, due to some violent content, though to be fair it's basically a psychological story.

Submitted: January 10, 2012

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Submitted: January 10, 2012

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Quis

At first, there was innocence. A breath of cold night air, a swish of tattered, frayed fabric swirling around the legs of the figure walking freely in the night. The rushing splash of sound from the high street was gently growing and ebbing and breaking over the secluded lane, like ocean swells on the bow of a smoothly sailing yacht.

A sudden wave, a crash of harsh sound stopped the figure in their tracks. A brief glance at the grey stone pub in the distance showed light spilling from the open doorway, a portcullis of rusted rivets and ancient steel, and two figures standing on the pavement in front of the portal, shouting drunken goodbyes to unseen companions. The little shape bowed its head and hurried on, not wishing to be seen. The two men however had other ideas, and directed their attention to the brisk little creature hurrying down the street. With their blue shirts unkempt and their heads awash with warm liquor, they stalked the figure, wolves under an artificial moon hunting a prey that has never felt the chase.

The innocence is gone now, scrubbed clean by the rush of fear. The pace quickens now, and the two men are running, shrieking like banshees at their terrified quarry, and laughing as their target trips, crying out to a world that does not care.

There is pain now. It is not the sharp pain of a blow, nor is it the dull ache of a knife wound. It is the deep, agonizing pain of knowing that the ones who have pursued you, the ones who are beating you and the ones who are laughing at you like blood-crazed hyenas over a fallen gazelle are your people. They are human beings, with families and jobs and lovers. As their truncheons bludgeon and their handcuffs gleam on innocent wrists like silver daggers in the light, they strip away the veil that holds every human back.

It is over now. Now, there is only a dull pain, but it is the deepest pain that can ever be felt. As the two policemen swagger away, feeling exhilarated and dominating, the little homeless girl lying bleeding on the hard, uncaring concrete quietly whispers four ancient words:

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

* * *

DCI Gareth and DC Jones stuck the pictures onto the dusty corkboard with a pair of bent steel pins.

“The crime scene investigators sent us these photos this morning” said the DC “and the uniforms have identified her as Katie Fenton, a homeless girl that they sometimes see on their rounds”.

“Why didn’t they report her to child welfare? That’s horrible!” replied DCI Gareth, a look of shock on his mild face. “Apparently she ran away. Twice. The plods have given up trying to house her, and stick to dropping her some food every day and giving her a place to stay at the house when she needs it”. The DCI didn’t like the casual tone of his DC’s voice, but let it pass. Cases like this got to everyone eventually.

“What I’d like to know is what the message means. She took the effort to scrawl it in her own blood for Pete’s sake! And send a uniform down to forensics to pick up the results of the post-mortem examination. I need to know what killed the poor child.” The DCI’s words came out anguished, strained and slightly desperate. He hated murder cases, they were always so senseless and tragic, but child murder of a malnourished homeless girl? It was evil.

“Luckily, we already have that little gobbit. Cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the base of the brainstem from a long cylindrical weapon, most likely a baton or truncheon. There was signs of several blows which damaged the spinal cord in 2 places and caused respiratory failure. She suffocated to death.” This was reeled off like a record, after which the DC added “nasty way to die, very nasty… anyway, I have a report write, so I’ll leave the solving and figuring to you.” He trundled of dully, his head full of figures and words and preemptive boredom at the task ahead.

Turning back to the board, Dwayne Gareth, DCI reached out a hand and touched the second picture of little Katie. It was a bird’s eye view, and included the head-and-shoulders view of the dead girl, with her right arm stretched out in front of her. Just above her bloodstained fingertips, in a style that was both beautiful and horrifying, were four simple words:

 

WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?


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