The Fallowing – The Sixth, Part VI
by Steppen Sawicki
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I told them I was a bounty hunter. It was just easier that way. That Corrie had been noticing Milo stalking her, but that I had talked things over with him before and it was assumed he had backed off. That I was following up on a lead related to a band of criminals when Milo showed up. That maybe Milo was a part of this group headed by Amnon that accepted money to kill. Milo told them he had killed Corrie.
As it was, I was in questioning for hours.
A grizzled policeman finally barged into the interrogation room. “You’re free to go. Mostly ’cause we appreciate you handing him over to us without a fuss. We don’t have the best relationship with bounty hunters.”
I picked myself up from the uncomfortable folding chair. “You say that like I’m a monster.”
“Not at all. It’s just that a lot of them show up from out of town, guns blazing, demanding bounty. Completely disregarding the law. This isn’t some backwater burg; this is Chicago. We have due process.”
“Well of course. That’s why I turned Milo over to you guys.”
“And we appreciate you giving us what you know. We don’t want any more murders like this. It was gruesome. In plain daylight. Looks very bad in the headlines. We already have enough of a problem with all the homeless lying about. If there’s a group of killers-for-hire, we want to find them.”
When I exited the police station the sky was freshly dark. Snow was falling in what should have been a drowsy manner, but the city wind cast it here and there and drove it into my eyes. A church across the street was having an evening service. Was it a Sunday? The dim sound of untrained voices singing a hymn radiated from the squat building, light poured from its windows. People singing for salvation across from a police station lodging criminals. There was something in that.
I leaned against one of the station’s pillars that paraded across its front, flecked with green paint from long ago, and I thought of Corrie’s question.
Do you think deep down he really wanted to hurt me, or did that thing have some power over him?
I thought of Milo’s face in the dim room, tense and frightened at the prospect of meeting this man – this thing – again. That it would make him kill again. Did he really want to kill again? Had he wanted to kill at all?
What would have happened had I not come across Amnon? Would Corrie be dead and covered in scars? How much desire had been placed in Milo and how much had already been there all along?
Is this the guilt Sam carries?
I shook my head and shielded my face from the driving snow as I walked the steps down to the street. I noticed a man sitting on the short brick wall by the church across the road. It took me a moment to realize he wasn’t wearing any coat or hat. Just a dark sweater and dress pants. I figured he must have just stepped out from the church for some fresh air, a moment away from the stuffy hall. Maybe his wife had dragged him to the service and he took little breaks away from the fanaticism here and there.
But as I reached the bottom of the steps he hopped off the wall and started towards me. I stopped and watched him approach, aware that this could be the thing I hunted, or one of the lesser beings, or maybe just a man looking to bum a cigarette. I reached into my coat for my revolver.