Copyright © 2006 Sonja Baines
All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.
Kale jolted back to consciousness, tensing to run until pain flooded his nerves and he remembered where he was. The heat was probably fevernot that he could do anything about it even if he wanted to. Maybe he would end up fulfilling Brady's wishes and die in this cell.
Pull yourself together, Tyrell. Kale forced his eyes open and tentatively moved a hand. It seemed attached at least, but he didn't even want to speculate about the condition of his ribs, or his shoulders, or the kneecap that felt filled with boiling water and shattered glass. He was pretty sure it wasn't broken, but it hurt like hell. At least they hadn't hit his head too hard this time.
Gritting his teeth, Kale tried to move to the bed. He managed to rise to hands and knees, but a coughing fit sent him sprawling again. When it was over, he counted a full minute and tried again. This time, he gained his feet and staggered to the bed. He sensed the lady cop behind the desk watching him, probably with disgust. She'd no doubt been filled in on the nature of his supposed crime.
Let her hate me, he thought as he stretched his battered body along the bunk. Why not? Everyone else does. Kale preferred the anonymity that came along with the hatred; it kept people from asking questions he didn't want to answer.
Arranging his limbs as best he could to minimize the pain, he closed his eyes and willed himself to sleep. Slumber refused to cooperate, and when he opened them again, it was to see the woman standing in front of the cell door, staring at him.
He stared back, trying not to notice how much better the dark blue uniform looked on her than it did on Brady and Desmond. A few wisps of auburn hair framed her face, and something resembling concern lurked in her hazel eyes.
Still, she didn't move, and just when he started to think she was actually a cardboard cutout put up to fill some hiring quota, she whispered, "Did you really kill a cop?"
Kale sighed. He didn't want to talk to her. The best way to ensure this was to confirm her suspicions. "Yes."
Her features hardened, and the accusation in her eyes stirred something in him. When she turned away, he added, "I also shot John Lennon. And Kennedy."
He regretted his sarcasm when she looked at him again and he caught a whiff of sympathy. Damn it. Why couldn't he have kept his mouth shut? Now would come the questions, and the empty expressions of pity if he told the truth·or the loathing, if he related what the rest of the world believed.
But the woman just watched him, and after a minute she said, "We have a first aid kit out here. Why don't I come in there and clean you up a little?"
Kale propped himself up on his elbows. "Are you insane, lady? Your buddies will crucify you if they catch you in here with me."
"All right. Fine." Shrugging, she started back for the desk, but not before he noticed the sting his rejection had caused. Maybe she was just trying to be professional.
He sat up and maneuvered his legs over the side of the bed. "I could use a drink," he said hesitantly.
At first he thought she'd gone back to ignoring him, but she disappeared through a door and came back holding a small paper cup. Reaching the bars, she held it just beyond them and said, "You'll have to come and take it. I'm not allowed to hold it any further in without restraining you."
With a rusty laugh, Kale rose to his feet. "And you were going to just walk right in here to clean me up?" He wobbled four steps, but before he reached her, his knee gave out. He stumbled into the bars and collapsed in a heap on the floor. The cop jerked back, sloshing the water all over him.
"Jesus!" She clutched the cup to her chest. "I'm sorry. Let me get you some more. Can you get up?"
"What are you going to do if I say no? Ask again real nice?" Grimacing, Kale braced his body against the cell bars and pushed up with his feet to gain a few inches. "I'll manage," he said through clenched teeth. "Forget the water."
Her face flushed bright pink, but Kale barely noticed. Better this way, he thought. She'll ask about it. They always do. Easier to hate me... Refusing to meet her eyes again, he crawled back onto the bunk and drifted toward sleep, but some part of him remained aware of everything that happened around him·including the way she glared at him, as though he were Hitler incarnate.
That's right. Hate me.