A month had passed since I was arrested by Detective Carnes. A month of sleeping on a cot made of cardboard and springs. A month of listening to various other inmates make threats on my life. A month locked within my own mind. If I still had the ability to go crazy, I’m sure I would have.
I heard his footsteps approaching but I kept my head down as I sat at the end of my cot.
He stopped at the cell door and just stood there for a moment before speaking. “Ready to speak yet, Hastings?”
I wanted to tell him to bugger off, just as I had every other time he had come by, asking the very same question in the very same tired drawl, but my body betrayed me. Instead, I uttered a small, “Yes” which surprised both of us.
He clearly hadn’t expected me to break within the short span of a month and, honestly, it made me feel pretty shit that I hadn’t lasted very long. I thought about how angry Rhys would be when he found out and then… then I felt angry. I hope he does find out. I hope it pisses him off so bad that he can’t sleep for months.
But I know it won’t, because no matter what horrible thing that man does, he sleeps like a fucking newborn kitten, undisturbed by the consciousness that would keep a normal person up.
Carnes led me back to the same room that he had before, instructing me to take a seat.
He cleared his throat before pressing a button on the lamp. “This is Detective Jacobe Carnes of the San Myshuno Police Department. This is the second interview with the suspect, Tori Hastings, a known crime boss accused of various crimes. The interview will begin now.” He turned his attention toward me. “In our last interview, you stated that you aren’t the head of the Hastings group. Is this still the truth?”
“Yeah, it’s the truth,” I grunted. “I was just the pretty face used to lure people in. Make ’em feel safe and comfortable before the real boss arrived.”
“And the real boss’s name is…?”
I chewed on my lip nervously. If I said his name and opened this can of worms, there was no going back. And then I thought all about the shit I had gone through since I met him, all the hell I’ve seen and the terrible things I was forced to do. And suddenly, I didn’t feel so afraid. “Rhys… His name is Rhys Hastings.”
“How did you come to meet this man?”
The worms are spilling from the can. Even if I tried, I couldn’t get them back inside. “My dad… he was a drunk. All he did was blow money on alcohol, gamble for more money, and then drink some more. I don’t remember a time when he was sober. His debt continued to stack until it was so damn high, he couldn’t see the top of it. The man he owed… was Rhys.”
Carnes frowned at the information but remained silent. I knew he wanted more.
“I was nineteen-years-old when I first met him. I knew as soon as I laid eyes on him that he’s nothin’ but trouble. I got an uneasy feeling when he came to the house and now I regret not listening to that feeling.”
“What happened, Hastings?”
My nose wrinkled at the name. “Berges. My last name is Berges.”
“My dad sold me to Rhys to settle his debt. At nineteen, I became the fiance of an infamous crime lord. I had no choice in the matter.”
Carnes brought his head to his temple, disbelief written on his face. “Parents are supposed to protect their children…”
“Tell me about it,” I muttered. “I was brought here to San Myshuno where I was forced to live with him at the Old Salt house in the spice market district.”
His eyes lit up and he looked as if he were about to run from the room.
“Don’t waste your time,” I told him. “We moved out of that house a year ago. It was stripped clean by his people.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?!”
“You could have gone to the police!” He cried. “We would have helped you!”
“I did,” I responded with a blank look.
“He didn’t have a tight leash on me… at first. I hadn’t planned on going to the cops, the thought never crossed my mind, but when I saw an officer patrolling the park one day… I saw a chance to escape. I guess fate had other plans for me…”
“I told her that I was being held by a crime lord, that my father had sold me to him to settle off his debt, but she didn’t believe me. She said that I was too old to be making up such ridiculous stories. Said that if I was actually being held by a crime lord, I wouldn’t be walking around free. Apparently, she had seen me about the park several times in the past. Rhys found out after that and got angry. Honestly, I was sure he would kill me in that moment, but… for whatever reason, he didn’t.”
“Unbelievable,” he muttered under his breath. “Everyone in your life has failed you. Everyone that was put there to protect you failed.”
“Yeah, well… Life sucks.”
Carnes frowned deeply, seeming to be lost in thought for several moments before sitting back down at the table. “Listen to me, Hastin – er, Berges. If you co-operate with me and help me take Rhys Hastings down, I promise you I will help you.”
“Help me?” I scoffed. “I’m far beyond help. It’s true that everything I did was because Rhys ordered it of me, but… I still did it by my own hand. I had a choice – it was a shitty choice and if I hadn’t done it, I would have died, but it was a choice nonetheless. The judge will see it the same way. Whether I help you or not, whether he’s taken down or not, I’ll get my punishment. And that’s perfectly fine, I deserve that much.”
“You will most likely be punished,” he admitted softly. “But you didn’t have intent, you didn’t do it of your own free will, and that matters. You’ll get a lesser sentence.”
“I doubt that, but don’t worry, I’ll help you take him down. I’ll tell you everything, if only for my own peace of mind.”
“Will you tell me what happened after you moved in with him? After he caught you talking to the police officer?”
“At first, he was pretty lenient, let me leave and do whatever I wanted. I even made a friend…” I sat back in my chair as the memory flooded my mind, old emotions bubbling within my chest. I was ready to tell him everything, even if it meant my life was going to be taken by Rhys. I’ll be damned if I don’t take him with me.
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