By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
(AUTHOR’S NOTE – For those of you not familiar with my writing, Erin Jovanović is my lesbian vampyre character. She has appeared in SAPPHO OF TOULOUSE TO SATURN’S TREE, FALLEN, AND VENGEANCE IS MINE. Erin currently resides in New York City. Thank you for reading my story. VMLS)
The woman leaned back in the grey metal chair and looked around the small room. Gunmetal-grey steel door with a grey plastic keypad set in the wall level with the doorknob. The bare walls were cinderblock… painted the same industrial grey as the chairs and table.
She looked up at the ceiling. The same dingy-white fibreboard ceiling tiles as a dozen other rooms just like this one that she had found herself in at one time or another; the only difference being that this ceiling had six Eberhard Faber No. 2’s impaled in it. Set in the tiles directly over the table was a long fluorescent light, the inside of its cigarette smoke-yellowed bulb shield was dotted with the corpses of several dozen moths… lying in silent repose in their little lepidoptera heaven.
The only other furnishings were another chair and a round, grey metal wastebasket. The room smelled of stale cigarette smoke and fear… an eau de cologne of sweat and vomit, tinged with a hint of urine.
Turning in the chair, the woman’s gaze tracked around the room, coming to rest on the large mirror set into the south wall. Experience had long ago taught her that the mirror was in fact, a window into the adjacent room, allowing its occupants to observe the dramas that played out in this room with some regularity.
A faint beeping sound brought her attention back around to the door. The door swung in and a tall, thin man walked in the room. A brown manila folder was tucked under his left arm, the hand holding a ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ coffee mug. The man was dressed in a grey suit… Macy’s ‘off-the-rack’, her practiced eye told her. A gold detective’s shield hung from the breast pocket of the jacket.
Wordlessly, he walked to the opposite side of the long narrow table and tossed the folder down before settling into the twin of the chair that Erin occupied; his cell phone joined the folder. He took a noisy slurp of coffee… his mouth making a bitter mewl. A subtle sniff told the woman that someone had burned the Folgers that morning. The detective opened the folder in front of him and flipped through its pages before looking up at the woman. He set a small microcassette recorder in the center of the table and pushed the record button.
“Have your Miranda rights been explained to you?”
“Do you wish a lawyer?”
“No.” The woman waved an impatient hand.
“This is not your first brush with the law, I see. You have a problem with the laws of this country…” he paused, flipping back to the first page… “Ms. Jovannavich?”
“Yovanović.” Erin said, correcting his pronunciation. “Your laws are stupid… some of them.”
“We’re pretty big on laws and people’s rights in this country. They protect our citizens.”
“Not always!” The woman smirked… something in her eyes…
“You find something amusing about the brutal murder of two women?”
“Some people just take up air. Your city is better off without those two. They were whores… cruel… ruthless… heartless. Now… they have no hearts. Is justice… no?”
“That sounds like a confession.”
“I look stupid? If I kill them, I would not talk in this manner… telling you.”
“You were the last person to see them alive. Witnesses saw the three of you arguing in Club X last night, and you followed them when the club closed. Six hours later, their bodies are found not four blocks from your apartment. One woman’s purse is in your bedroom. I’ll tell you right now… when the blood in your bathroom sink matches those women… you’re going to get the needle!”
“Is… how you say… coincidence. A little disagreement. I find purse in alley. Blood is mine… ‘time of month’, yes?” The woman shrugged. “You have cigaret?” Her eyes bore into him… compelling him.
The man fished in his jacket pockets, pulling out a pack of Camels and a well-worn Zippo lighter. He slid them across the table to the woman.
“Camel no-filter… a real man’s cigaret!” Erin gave him a slow wink; then with practiced ease, flipped one from the pack and into her mouth. Instead of picking up the lighter though, she leaned over the table to the detective… waiting… locking eyes with him. The almost imperceptible tick of his cheap watch and the faint whir of the microcassette’s motor were the only sounds in the room for several moments. Finally… he picked up the lighter, holding the blue-orange flame just under the cigaret.
“Why did you kill them?”
“I no kill anyone.”
“You just admitted it!”
“I am only… how you say… thinking out loud?” She smirked again at the detective, blowing smoke across the table at him.
“You think this is a fucking game?” He slammed his fist down on the table, staring at her… anger rising in his eyes.
“You want confession?” She leaned across the table… staring intently back.
“I want the truth!”
“Fine… I tell you. First… I want beverage. Coca-Cola. Diet. Cold!”
The detective glared at the woman, then rose and walked to the door. He stuck his head out and called to someone. Erin reached over to the recorder, studying it with her fingertips. The conversation at the door ended… she settled back in her chair. The detective returned to the table and set down the soda. Erin opened it and took a long swallow.
“First, you tell me something… yes?”
“I’m not going to bargain with you!” His anger rose again.
“Fine… I want lawyer now.” She leaned back in the chair, crossing her arms. They studied each other for several minutes.
“Fine… ask your damn question!”
The woman sat back up to the table, helping herself to another cigaret. She leaned in.
“How long you separate from wife? She know you cheat on her even now?”
“What? None of your business… how did…?” the detective was visibly shaken.
“Ring missing.” Erin indicated the tan line on his ring finger.
“Suit crumpled… shirt no ironed… spot on tie. Perfume on you too expensive for policeman’s salary, I think.”
“That doesn’t mean anything.” Involuntarily, his gaze shifted from her.
“Guilty look means much.”
“You know nothing! I answered your question… now talk, damn it!” He glared at her.
The woman said nothing for several moments.
“These women… they were diseased… they spread their sickness… hurt many people… some die because of these women.”
“They didn’t look sick to me… only dead now… because of you!”
“I smell it on them… they bring death to others. Now… no more. I finish them!”
“You’re not even sorry… are you?”
Both were silent for several minutes; then the detective reached over and turned off the recorder.
“A stenographer will transcribe this and once you sign it, you’ll be booked.”
“Your wife will divorce you now?”
The detective looked up at Erin… puzzlement on his features.
“You get many texts on phone… face is not happy… is wife, yes?”
The man’s eyes told her that she had struck a nerve… the woman continued.
“Yes… wife divorce you… take children… take house… you are no longer man.”
“Shut your mouth, bitc…” He bit off the word.
“I know what you do… maybe I talk to your wife, yes? You fuck other woman… now wife will fuck you. Who is sorry now?”
“Fuck you!” The detective picked up the recorder and rose from the table. At the door, the woman stopped him.
“Detective!” He turned back to her. Erin withdrew her closed hand from the pocket of her leather jacket… held it over the table… her fingers opened… a small object fell to the surface.
The detective stared helplessly at the microcassette tape… then at Erin. She spoke.