Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Photograph (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Vonnie, over at her blog "My Backdoor Ministry." Stop by to read and share in the writing fun. 

A/N: This was a prompt piece written for my university's creative writing club this week, as per the given prompt. The idea was to be written in 500 words or one page, whichever came first and the prompt was "Cop". I think I've been watching too much NCIS this week. Oops. Enjoy the read!

The scent of raspberry tart wafted up from the bakery all the way to the upstairs apartment. The door was answered by a blonde woman with a kimono-style dressing gown hanging off her bony shoulders and a half-chewed croissant in hand.

Upon taking in the entire team of police officers and detectives in the hallway, she stuffed the rest of the croissant in her mouth before allowing us to enter. We all did, standing as carefully as we could in a neatly organized sitting space where everything was either white or beige.

Her eyes were red and bloodshot and she hugged her arms to herself after locking and bolting the door once we were all inside.

“Callie,” Detective Allen reached into his jacket pocket. “We were hoping that you could-”

“You said the last time was the last time.” Her voice was cracked and hoarse as if she hadn’t spoken yet for the day.

Considering the hour was only eight o’ clock, I assumed she’d been up for at least some time. Then again, some degree of blindness was necessary for the hideous kaleidoscope of color that made up her kimono-dressing gown.

Little feet came pattering into the room, a curly-headed boy in blue footie-pajamas with a death grip on a tall travel mug with a rubber band around the middle. He went straight for his mother, holding up the steaming offering. She called him a sweet boy and took the cup, bending down to his height to point him to the kitchen with directions for breakfast. She sent him off with a kiss to one chubby cheek.

Detective Allen stared down at his scuffed shoes and waited until the boy was in the kitchen. “They made me come, Callie,” he said. He held his hands out, palms up. “I promised Rafe I wouldn’t badger you and I’m not here to-”

“Spare me. Make your case,” her voice was clipped. She straightened and took a sip from the steaming mug. “I don’t want your useless excuses.”  

So he did. We all did. We told her about Toro Angelico and how they were smuggling children across closed borders, using them as carriers for drugs and selling them into wretched futures. We took turns, speaking at length. She drained her cup at the end.

“Please,” Detective Allen drew out the last photograph taken of Toro before he’d been released from custody. “Can you help us this once? I’ll do everything I can to get you off the list again.” She took the photograph and handed him the cup.

I’d never seen a metamorphic work before, but it was terrifying. Her bony shoulders jerked and twisted in an unnatural way as her forgettable face became fat, stubbled and scarred. A smirk touched her moistened lips. “What is it you want to ask me, detective?” The accent was unnerving coming from a face that did not belong on an obviously feminine body. “Something you cannot ask on the record?” 

(c) Sara Harricharan