The Nights That Followed (Chapter 2)

Genre: Suspense

The hours dragged on as if a magnet was somehow pulling back the hands of time from moving at their normal pace. A distraught Michael lost in one valley of thought or the other, kept imagining the sound of footsteps as he anticipated the arrival of Ryan. The person who at this point in time had his utmost trust and literally held Michael’s life in his hands. 

In desperation for a little sustenance, he tore apart the empty packets of corn chips lying around the room and he licked at the crumbs stuck in the corners of the packets. It was far from being a meal even fit for a stray dog, the flakes of chips barely made it past his tongue and the mere hint of flavour only furthered his hunger.

It was now dark outside, optimistic thoughts gave way to fearing for the worst. Hungry and unable to focus, Michael heard the whirring of police sirens in the distance and with every second he listened they edged closer and closer. It was not until the sirens were unmistakably outside the building that panic overtook him. There was no false comfort to be gained by pretending that the police had come there for a different reason besides capturing him. It was clear that they wouldn’t just come to surround an abandoned building for a normal call. The first instinct that he felt was to find a back way out of the building and make a run for it, but he thought of a bed to sleep on, a warm meal and the company of another human being.

Jail suddenly looked like sweet heaven at this point and sullen he began making the painful journey to hand himself over to the cops. It was that point were the spirit was saying “NO run and live to prove your innocence another day” but the needs of the body far outweighed the spirits resolve.

“Michael Sterling come out with your hands above your head,” the words were spoken on a loud megaphone. Michael was nearing the door at this moment and he paused to look back and give running away one more thought. A short conversation was held within his mind to make certain he was sure of his decision. The hands of time in his own world had again been held back to a near stop. After seconds that felt like minutes he came back to the present moment. He walked on, busting through the front door to be torched by countless lights and screams of “On your knees, on your knees!” 

He complied with the orders as several officers rushed to handcuff him and read him his Miranda rights. Then there as he was being walked into a patrol car he heard someone who’s voice he recognized shout “I’m sorry Michael” and as he looked up he saw Ryan, handcuffed too standing next to one of the other police cars…

Ryan three days earlier had found himself in quite the predicament when he got home. The police had been waiting for him at his house and upon his arrival, he was asked to go to the police station out of his own free will or under arrest. Knowing of his guilt in the past day’s events he chose the latter. It was all in the name of a short questioning but he knew the cops had far stronger intentions than they were letting on. 

At the station he was asked about what had gone on at no.4 Hudson Road (Michael’s house) and what part had he taken in it? He genuinely had no idea, so he thought to himself this was simple enough to answer, but he was way off. He told them he didn’t have the slightest idea about what had gone on and he even went on to name a person who’d alibi him as to where he was the previous night.

The police then confronted him with the pictures of bloody footprints leading from Michael’s back door towards his garage. He tried his best to remain clueless to all of this. Only when it finally came to the subject of Michael’s current whereabouts was he jittery but in his answers he remained adamant he hadn’t seen Michael in over a week.

This is when things turned to the worst for him. You could say his lie was caught red handed. It was revealed to him that the guys from the Blackout bar, were they had been to on Sunday had called the cops just after they left. It was that awkward moment when you felt you looked as dumb as a pile of nails but you didn’t know what to say next. When he still failed to give them Michael’s whereabouts he was immediately arrested and charged with criminal obstruction of justice. An offense he thought to himself he could wiggle out of with just probation if he hired a good lawyer.

In the remand jail cells he had tried to hold out as much as he could to the repeated questioning and attempted trickery by the police. Just as he was beginning to think he held all the cards the prosecutor had threatened to add the charge of accessory to murder on top of the charge of obstruction. This had been too much to bear for him, he couldn’t stand facing 25 years or probably a lifetime in prison for something he hadn’t actively taken part in. So reluctantly he gave up Michael or rather he betrayed his trust because to him it felt like he had just hung out his own brother to dry. 

Well self preservation the most basic of human instincts, is an all too common adversary that always gets it’s way. 

Ryan as he saw Michael being handcuffed and lead into the patrol car was filled with guilt. He had banged his head against the mesh screen separating the front and back seats in the police car, all the way from the police station to the flat he had stashed Michael.

However for Michael being arrested was just the least of the shocking events to unfold on this night. At the police station was going to be the shock of his life. The ride in the back seat of the police car was a humbling one for him, he could see a life behind steel bars coming next. Michael forgot his hunger as it dawned on him that men get raped in prison. He imagined a large man looking down at him and saying “Thanks for dropping the soap man!” In between guffaws of laughter. He cursed at the Boondocks, the adult animation series that had put prison rape in his mind…

-To be continued 


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