Smoke

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man interviews a woman and discovers more than he wants.

Submitted: May 28, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 28, 2008

A A A

A A A


I shuffled into the dull room of nothing but two steel chairs, a desk and a light haze of smoke. A woman was sulking in one of the chairs a lipstick lined cigarette in hand. She wore what looked like to be prostitution attire with a short black dress, big hoops hanging from her delicate ears. I closed the door behind me walking over to the table. Her eyes watched me smoldering like the ember ashes dancing to the tile floor. It was going to be an uneventful evening of repetitive question and answer games.

Putting my coffee on the table I opened her file taking a seat and looking it over quickly but carefully. Her name was Max, age 25, brown eyes and hair…I kept looking… 5 foot 7. I sighed running course hands through my hair trying to figure this out. She worked as a secretary and was rooming with a friend who recently was released from the hospital. She didn’t seem like the woman that was facing me now. Something about her told me that there was more going on.

“ So, your names Max.” She brushed away the short strands of her hair releasing some smoke in frustration.

“ Yes,” she leaned back in the chair tipping it to the point of falling. She was wearing black pumps her hose ripped on the calves. I cleared my throat quietly before continuing.

“ Now we found you on the streets with—” I struggled with the way to say it my blue eyes shifting to the table. “ a client, from the descriptions we received he was about 6 foot, dark hair…not very tid—.”

“ That’s not how it was!” Max was leaning to me, those eyes burning into mine. “ I would never—”

“ What? Have sex with someone for money? I highly doubt that you aren—”

“ I HAVE MY REASONS!” She stood looking like a vicious cat with her eye makeup outlined and smudged. I scoffed at her, all of them are the same. I gestured for her to sit feeling like this story was going to be a big waste of time.

“ So, let me guess…your mom is an alcoholic and your Dad ran away when you were three so now you feel like being a criminal will put you back in a normal life,” I shook my head gently taking in some cooling coffee. Now it was Max’s turn to throw in some sob story. She tapped her cigarette on the table before enjoying another drag and releasing the teasing smoke. “ I’ve heard them all before Max, you’re no different.” A red smirk graced her lips as she looked at me from under thick lashes.

“ You’d like to think that wouldn’t you?” Her narrow shoulders relaxed as she snuffed the cigarette on the floor with her chipped heels. “ Too bad life isn’t that simple for me, I’m sure a well paid cop like you can understand my situation perfectly.” Sarcasm was her forte as it laced the tone. This woman had a lot of nerve to be so comfortable, she could really make a man feel intimidated. I took a slow steady breath, maintaining my composure.

“Fine. Try me.” I sat back in my chair and took another sip of coffee trying to ignore the flickering fluorescent lights. Max sighed crossing her perfect legs.

“ You know there are always those people you put your walls up around, because they cant be trusted and lets face it…we all keep secrets. From the people at work, home, school but,” she raised a finger hinting. “ no one puts secrets behind walls in their sleep and why should they? It’s their personal thoughts that only they can access. When you’re sleeping it’s an escape, unreachable by people. No one worries about a stranger probing and picking their mind but here’s the thing…they really should.” I felt my brow furrow, this woman must be crazy! “ Because…” her smile was smug. “ I can.”

“ I don’t know what you mean? You cant possibly—”

“ Look officer,” She hesitated briefly for any sign of a name tag, “I don’t mean to be difficult but…” Max swept back some hair carelessly before catching my eyes again. “honestly, I have no idea as to how I can do what I can only that…it’s possible.”

A part of me really thought that Max was an utter nutcase, a lunatic with a great body. No one, and I mean NO ONE has ever heard of a person able to do what this woman was implying. I was smashing my brain over the mere possibility of it. I took another gulp from the Styrofoam cup letting the coffee calm me.

Her dark eyes began to focus on the steel table as she continued. “ I was nine years old when it first happened, my sister and I had gotten angry at each other and that night I dreamed that we were at the pool and I was fighting her at the edge. I shoved her and she sank into the crystal clear water.” Her eyes were becoming glazed with remembrance. “I could feel the anger in me as she began to surface and I thought ‘why don’t you just stay under’.” Max shuddered slightly, “ And she did, my sister wasn’t surfacing…but I could see her struggling for air. I was scared to tears and I dived in after her. I awoke soaking wet and reeking of chlorine. I remember running to her room and seeing her bed sheets darkened with water. I was so frightened when I saw her not breathing, and skin cold. I shook her and screamed in my head for her to wake up! To come to my voice, I did this for a few minutes and she awoke water spurting from her mouth gasping and choking out of the nightmare, eyes streaming with tears.” She looked in her purse for another cigarette. “ Now that was when I couldn’t really control myself.”

I’m not going to bluff, this woman was intriguing, and it wasn’t even the stories. I suppose it was her spirit enticed me, like scattering smoke. Every time I thought I had a hold of it, it would slip and fade away into the smoke that seeped from her mouth. I shook myself from my thoughts upon facing her blazing stare.

“ So what about the prostitution?” She found the white roll hastily lighting it and inhaled shutting her eyes. “Well it started with my good friend, she met this guy and he seemed like the real thing.

“ Max, I’d like you to meet Sean.” A lean man reached for her hand his green eyes alight with contempt as he grasped it gently.

“ Nice to meet you,” She felt shocked at how handsome he was, brown scruffy hair and a strong jaw line. It was difficult to muster out a sentence and the sheepish grin just wouldn’t disappear. Sean smirked turning to embrace her friend his hands a bit anxious to tease her skin.

“ Of course I mean, I had hunches but  I wanted Carrie to be happy.” I guess a fragment of confusion flitted across my face because Max quickly added, “ my friend that I room with.” I nodded loosening my blue tie a bit. “ But it seemed that I should have acted much earlier cause things got bad quick.” Her eyes held the ceiling as she breathed out another cloud, watching it disperse and thin about her. “ The first few months were great and memorable, Sean was the perfect gentleman. He was polite, a bit touchy..but what guy isn’t? He always paid and Carrie was happy. But after that night I knew things were taking a turn.

“Carrie!” Max rushed to shut the door as she trudged in looking defeated. Carrie’s sparkling eyes were splotchy with tears making mascara run. Her chest was heaving in sobs as she held her face. “ What happened?” Max’s voice was unsteady and cautious as she reached to pull away Carrie’s hands.

“ Don-t, look. I-I don’t want you to—” But she’d already seen the bruising and swollen eye upon peeling away the hands.

“ What the hell?” Venom pulsed under her voice. “ Did Sean do this?” Carrie only released another cry, damp hair curtaining her face. Max shook her gently, “ Did he?” Only more crying ensued. “ DID HE?” She gave her a rough shake, getting at eye level.

 “ Well, did he?” I asked stirring her from memories. This was getting to be too long and I was running short of coffee.

“ Yes,” Max replied with an edge to her words. The cigarette had begun to die in her rested hand. “ And that wasn’t the last time, no, the last time was when he bashed her into a coma.” She switched legs to cross, adjusting her position in the chair with a deadly grace.

“ Now how does this connect to your newest hobby?” Max leaned toward me, eyes locking steady on mine.

“ First off, it isn’t a hobby. And second Sean has this whole control drive when it comes to women; he’s the modern day rapist. You see, when I finally got Carrie to speak she told me that he beat her because he didn’t get what he wanted. And Sean wasn’t some scrawny guy who’d slip a pill in your drink at a club then have his fun,” She rested her elbows on the table slanting to my face. “ No,” Max’s tone was bitter her jaw tightening. “ He’s the kind of guy that will beat the shit out of you,” She drilled the cigarette into the table watching it die and crumple, “then take what he wants.” With a sweep of her hand Max scattered the remains.

“ So, you’re telling me that…what you’re just some vengeful woman who thinks she can access people’s dreams? I have to tell you Max, you better watch it. I might have to deem you crazy.”

“ I’m not loosing my mind but Sean, he may be very soon.” I chuckled, in all my years in the force this had to be the best story yet. Max shot me a disgruntled expression allowing me to comment.

“ So, let’s just say you could make someone loose their mind.” I was trying to remain serious at the thought. “ How would you find the right dream and mind to twist?” She leaned back in the chair looking up, clearly feeling like this conversation wasn’t climaxing.

“ I have to make contact with them that day, skin on skin. Otherwise I cant seek them that night,” She took another deep breath crossing her arms. “ Once again I don’t know why, only that I can.” She shrugged brushing away a piece of hair. “ I knew he had a thing for prostitutes. I’ve even seen him slink off with one before.” I could feel the rage pulsing through her veins.“So, I decided to take action a few days after seeing my friend in the hospital with tubes shoved down her throat.”

“ So that’s the whole spiel for being a prostitute?” She nodded softly eyes stronger than ever.

“ But I don’t think you understand, I’m really not a prostitute, and I don’t want to go to jail or an insti—”

“ I’ll give you a deal Max, since you seem so interested in this man I want you to tell me his full name and number so that we can keep an eye on him.” I shuffled the papers into a pile. “ You do that and I’ll let you go. But if I find you near his house then we’re going to have a problem.” She didn’t look pleased but spoke calmly.

“ His name is Sean Barren, his number is…” she fished around in her purse briefly before pulling out a scrap of paper with ink scribbles on it. “ 789-5436” I wrote quickly before getting up to leave.

“ Thank you Max for an interesting story, ” I tried to be sincere as I shook her hand. She hesitated for a moment eyes searching mine for an explanation.

“ Thanks for letting me out Mr…” her dark eyebrows tensed for my name.

“ It’s Paul,” I gave her a apologetic glance.

“ Paul,” Max repeated flashing a genuine smile. I nodded and opened the door, I was almost out when she asked anxious.

“ Oh, are you going to look into Sean?” Max’ hand rested beneath her chin, I had this gut feeling that something stirred beneath her calm position and pose.

“ Well I guess that depends on what he does,” She opened her mouth as if to say something but closed it nodding slowly like a conclusion had occurred behind her eyes.

I was in the bustling hallway now, people punching words on the computer, others on the phone. The whole place smelt of fresh paper off the copier. I sighed, it was hard to adjust to the printing racket and the flurry of numerous conversations. Across the room I spotted George, his 6:00 shadow showing the long day. Threading through the bustling people I reached him, feeling the night take it’s toll on me. 

“Hey George, can you do me a favor and pull a search on this name?” I handed him the scrap of paper adding, “ I’d really appreciate it.” He nodded, jauntily going over to his desk and picking up the phone.  I noticed Max leaving the department her jaw taunt and looking down. There was no way that woman isn’t on medication, I smirked to myself gathering up my stuff for the night.

 

The Next Morning

 

I awoke to my phone ringing erratically next to me. Grabbing the receiver lazily I let it rest against my ear. 

“ Paul speaking,” my mouth was dry making my voice thick.

“ It’s me, George. Last night you wanted me to look into a um, Sean Darren” I propped myself up in the nest of wrinkled sheets, feeling anxious.

“ What did you find?” There was s muffled silence on the other line.

  Well, he had a seizure in the middle of the night at…about 2:00 in the morning, the people living next to him went to check on him,” he began to sound slightly horrified. “ The guy was bleeding through the nose, and screaming hysterically, the neighbors thought he was going to need a priest or something,” I felt my heart clog my throat, as bile rose and twisted my gut. There’s no way she—it isn’t possible. My breath was coming out in ragged beats, my heart ramming like an animal. “ Paul? You still there?” My mind was spinning like a carousel blurring everything around me. This…isn’t a fantasy novel or t.v. show…this is REAL life. Instances like this DON’T happen, they just—DON’T. I felt sick from the spinning vision and wrapped thoughts.

“ I really think you should see this, Paul?” I blinked clearing my thick throat and thoughts. 

“ Y-yeah I’m here.” I brushed away surfacing sweat. “ Where is he at?”

“ Madison Hospital, should I—” I was throwing off the sheets.

“ Yes, I’ll be there in…” I checked the clock quickly. “ thirty minutes,” I hastily slammed the receiver down and went to the closet throwing on my clothes.

The drive to the hospital was difficult, my hands shook and I couldn’t help but check behind me every minute or so.

  “ Come on, get yourself together.” I muttered pulling into the parking lot. While I was getting out I popped a couple Tylenol swallowing them dry. So many things were whirling in my mind. This woman can’t… she’s just some crazy woman…this HAS to be a coincidence! I scribbled my name on the check in log, spacing off as I gave it back to the nurse. Before I knew it I had pounded the number of the floor, feeling antsy for the elevator. Each ding of the passing floors made me wince. I mean it’s MY mind and dreams she can’t get me right? I took a deep breath as I paced to room 405 and opened the door. 

There right in front of me lay Sean Darren, tubes trailing from him like a deranged plastic and tape octopus. He was in a coma, a heart monitor tracked and beeped appropriately as he breathed. This—this—I couldn’t believe this! I couldn’t help but stare at his restless closed eyes. I noticed he had tremendous bruises on his swollen neck and face. A nurse brushed past me making me flinch.

“ Oh, I’m sorry dear.” She was stout her curves taunt in the dull green pants and shirt.

“ That’s alright,” I touched her on the shoulder for a moment. “ could you tell me where those marks on his neck and face are from?” She grimaced at me, moving by my side.

“ Well last night when he fell from his bed he must have slammed into the bedside table.” The nurse flashed a sympathetic smile at me. “ that usually occurs when someone has a violent seizure like he did.” I nodded, grinding my teeth.

“ Tell me if you need anything alright officer?” I bobbed my head ‘okay’ once again, allowing her to leave. I was really feeling sick now, as I edged closer to Sean looking at each wound in great detail, I’d ask for the pictures from George. Tilting my head I saw how long the bruises were, they almost looked like…fingers? I shuddered taking a step back from him. I heard the door open behind me and I whirled to meet whomever it was. Sure enough it was George and his paperwork.

“ Weird isn’t it?” George ruffled his short hair taking in the scene. I shook my head spacing out. “ I wonder what he’d thinking right now? Earlier I talked with one of the doctors and he told me that Sean wouldn’t stop saying, ‘ I didn’t mean it, I swear’” He licked his lips, “It’s sad to see stuff like this.”

“ Yes, it is.” I woke myself from my thoughts. “ George, I’m going to head back to the office and do some research—”

“ Speaking of which, why did you want me to get information in the first place?” His tone was casual but I knew I needed to answer him carefully.

“ There were some threats floating around and I just wanted to see what all the trouble was.” My hand was on the cool handle ready to throw the door open.

“ You think this was—”

“ I’m not sure, but I need to find out and get proof if it was.” He nodded, satisfied with my reply. “ I’ll be seeing you,” he gestured to me on my way out.

The quiet hallway was refreshing and yet chilling in it’s silence as I began to make my way to the elevator. I was feeling better, I mean as long as I don’t make contact with Max she can’t turn me into a vegetable. And today she hasn’t touched me so—that’s when out stepped a woman in jeans and a jacket. She was so normal looking without the hoops and dramatic makeup, but those burning eyes I caught immediately. She smiled at me smug in her sauntering walk from the hallway where I just was moments before.

Max put her arm about my waist in a caring way. She pulled me close to her, hot breath filling my senses.

I jumped at her touch, skin on skin. I made a low shout as her hand clasped my neck. She had me, and knew what she was doing. The stout nurse pursed her lips at the loving scene in a ‘get a room’ manner.

“ Sorry,” Max flashed a genuine apology. “ We haven’t seen each other for a long time, and under these circumstances…” She turned her face to me, shaking like an actress in an emotional scene. The nurse seemed to have bought it but still had a tint of suspicion in her eyes.  Cautiously like a guilty feline Max looked to see if the coast was clear. Satisfied with her observations she inched close to my ear her breath dancing on my neck. “ Look, you did me a favor and I appreciate it but I just couldn’t let Sean keep on being well, conscious.” She was murmuring in my hot ear. “To be blunt with you, I don’t want to hurt you. I’m really a normal person, I haven’t invaded someone’s dreams for a long time. But Sean was too much of a problem. You have to believe me, he wasn’t going to leave Carrie alone until she was dead. And she’s like family to me.” My breath was escaping through clenched teeth, hands trembling.

“ H-how?” voice barely above a whisper but throbbing with fury and uncertainty. “You hadn’t made contact with—” Her eyes snared mine, swimming with a sly smile. Then it came to me…Max had a client last night…my throat went dry, shriveling the words trying to surface. “ You—it was him—last night.” Every part of me was one edge, with her hand on my neck.

Max shook her head gently in a silent understanding. I tightened my jaw, I really wish George would come out so I could give him a heads up.  Moments later she sighed dropping her head slightly. “ So please, for your sake don’t pursue this case anymore.” And with that she broke away from me stalking off towards the elevator. An urge in me screamed to follow her and knot up this case. To make her wake up Sean from his nightmare. God I could see it happening behind his fluttering eyelids, the utter terror circling his mind. But at the same time, Max wasn’t going to spare me tonight if I tried to pursue her.  I had to restrain myself from grabbing her as she turned to me, hitting a floor number. Max was like smoke slithering out of my grasp, deceiving while choking and snuffing out life before gliding away just as quickly as she came. She was lighting a cigarette clicking the lighter to life.

“ Bye Paul, sweet dreams.” Smoke cascaded from her mouth spilling out of the elevator.  The white doors were sliding shut as she added, “ I’ll be watching,” Max saluted casually, almost mocking before the doors snapped shut. My heart was crashing in my ribcage, as I tried to wave the smoke out of my face. It was leaking into my nose and eyes making my head whirl like a siren. But I stopped feeling like it was going to be there whether I wanted it or not.


© Copyright 2017 sdheart. All rights reserved.

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