Hours. Days. Alan couldn’t tell anymore. He was now clad in a white jumpsuit that had appeared during one of his short naps. Alan could feel his personality ebbing away. Not a soul had come by since the operator had thrown him into his cell.
Alan spent most of his time attempting to train his newfound telekinetic abilities. The only thing he had to work with was his cot, so he spent hours on end trying to lift the cot while he sat up against a corner as far from it as he could.
Once he had successfully lifted the cot, he graduated to lifting the cot while he sat on top of it. That proved a little more difficult, but eventually he was able to raise the cot while sitting on it. Alan wobbled a little in the air, like a gymnast trying to stick the landing.
“Knock it off,” a tinny voice echoed through a speaker in the hallway, cutting off Alan’s concentration in the process.
The cot fell to the concrete floor, and Alan grumbled under his breath. A whooshing sound emanated from down the hall, and the operator walked up to Alan’s cell. His annoyed look spoke volumes.
Alan stood up reluctantly.
Alan rolled his eyes and complied. The cell door slid open, and the operator grabbed Alan by his shirt, then pulled him back into the hall.
“Where’re we going?”
“Shut up,” the operator replied, and he pushed Alan forward down the hall.
The operator took Alan into the D block, a long corridor filled with doors and mirrored glass. Once inside, Alan would no doubt be observed, unaware of the onlookers spying on him. The operator opened the door to D23, and then pulled Alan inside and sat him in an uncomfortable metal chair.
“Wait here,” the operator commanded, then he left through the door they had come from. Alan looked to his right. There was another pane of mirrored glass opposite the doorway they had come in. Alan felt like a rat in a maze. But was he going to get the cheese or the shock?
Directly across from Alan the wall opened up, and a young man in a suit walked in.
“Mr. Mitchell,” the man held out a hand across the table. Alan looked at it suspiciously, then gave the man a confused look. The man looked down at his own hand, and shook his head, “Excuse me, where are my manners? My name is Connor. I’m your legal representation.”
Alan couldn’t help but let out a thunderous laugh that echoed in the room. The lawyer seemed just as confused as Alan. Alan wiped the tears of laughter from his eyes.
“I’m sorry,” Alan replied, then coughed. He continued, “Sorry. But you’re doing a hell of a job, Connor.”
Connor cleared his throat and set his briefcase down next to his seat, then he sat down across from Alan. They shared a brief moment of silence before Connor continued.
“I am here to help you mitigate your sentence through cooperation with the Board,” Connor started.
“Yeah, that sounds more realistic. So what do they want.”
Connor pulled out a folder from his bag and tossed it onto the table. Inside were several photos of Alan standing next to Marshall.
“The Board believes you have access to information about this individual.”
“I know Marshall. Yes. That’s about all the information I have,” Alan replied. He knew it was partially a lie. Marshall had shared a lot with him that night after the bus accident. But he wasn’t about to sell out his friend to help big brother get an advantage over him.
“We – ahem – the Board are aware that you are close with Marshall Roberts. Bearing that attempts to extract information from Mr. Roberts has been fruitless, and operatives have had little success as well, the Board has decided to offer you an incentive. If you can provide us with information on Mr. Roberts’ associates, then the Board will consider your parole from this system.”
“We are aware that Marshall Roberts has divulged certain details and/or whereabouts of his family to you. This information is deemed an organization imperative by the Director of the Board.”
“I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about,” Alan played dumb, his arms folded over his chest.
“One of our informants is giving us live playback of your thoughts, Mr. Mitchell. Please don’t play dumb with us,” Connor retorted. Alan looked to the mirrored glass. No doubt, a reader was standing behind the glass. Alan considered how selfish a person could be to use their abilities against their own kind. Then he thought of how he harmed Elizabeth. Connor held a hand to his ear, clearly taking in some bit of information.
“Mr. Mitchell, we would be willing to overlook your murder of Elizabeth Dawes if you were to cooperate with the Board.”
Alan could feel a burning in his chest and a lump in his throat. He felt violated. He looked over at the glass, and his look spoke more volumes than his mind possibly could.
“Why don’t you tell whoever’s behind the glass that using my past against me isn’t going to get them what they want,” Alan looked back at Connor. Alan could feel tears starting to form in his glossy eyes. Connor paused for a moment, clearly listening to the other side.
“Your guilt clearly says otherwise, Mr. Mitchell.”
Alan slammed his fist on the table. The chairs and table – though bolted to the floor – shook angrily.
“I’m trying to help you,” Connor replied calmly. The outburst clearly hadn’t shaken him in the slightest. But it wasn’t meant for him, but for the person behind the glass. Alan heard a switch flick and the hallway mirror turned transparent. Alan could see the operator on the other side shaking his head disapprovingly. “Another outburst, and we’ll send you back to your bed.”
Alan looked back to his right at the glass still opaque. He felt like a wounded animal. A wounded animal that was being kicked after the fact. Insult to injury. Alan started to think deeply about his surroundings. The room, the lawyer, the operator, the mirrors, the informant Reader. He felt outside of himself. He looked down and saw the room from above. Outside of himself, he could float around and see what appeared invisible before. The taser strapped underneath the table next to Connor. There was a small switch panel next to the door he had entered. The operator’s hand was on the mirror switch, about to flip back to the opaque function of the window. Alan’s mind floated back to the other side, using his perception to find the other panel. He flipped the switch, and the mirror on his right side turned clear as day.
Alan looked into her eyes, the informant reader’s green eyes. She didn’t realize at first that Alan could see her. But then it became painfully obvious as their eyes locked to each other, like they were caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.