The interrogation room had no similarity to the room she had seen in the movie. In the movie, the table stood on the center and the police would perform the interrogation process while the other officers stood behind the glass window listening to the conservation. It was far from likeness and it was scarier.
There were no table but four office chairs and four electric chairs that looked like mechanic tormentors in a horror movie. No doubt they were prepared for Alexis and her friends. The atmosphere was not chilling. What would they do to them? Alexis did not understand why they treated them like violent criminals.
Age of terror, it still existed.
They led Belinda to the first chair and she was crying in fear; Wade sat on the second, speechless. Alexis sat on the third and Oslo sat on the last one. Her legs weakened. She watched the police officer locked her arms on the armrests. The police wore the metal helmet with wires connecting to it on her head.
Oslo and Alexis exchanged their eyes, wondering why they had to use this kind of methods to them. Four interrogative officers in black suits entered the room and sat on the empty chairs. Two men and two women sat opposite to the boys and the girls. The woman in front of Alexis put the stonehearted mask on her oval visage, with her eyes fixing on the encounter.
The two police, one was the woman who brought them here and another one was Joseph, stood as their assistants. The silence frightened them. The time slowly killed their courage. She heard herself swallowing the saliva and also the beating heart. She still could not believe it was real.
“Good afternoon young ladies and gentlemen, we brought you here for good information and the truth. Don’t be afraid.” The man opposite to Wade spoke. “We have normal questions to ask you. All we need is the truth, the most truth.
You can see that you are sitting on the polygraph. In fact, it’s not the normal lie detector that you may have recognized. Once your mouth spread one lie, the chair will transmit the electrical current to cause an electric shock to you.”
He paused and smiled as if demonstrating how to brush teeth for little kids. “Listen carefully, one lie, your friend on the left-hand side will get the electric shock. And you, redhead,” he mentioned to Oslo, “For your lie, Ms. Carter will pay for it.”
“To warn you all, don’t try if you don’t want to cause pain to your friend. You understand?” They slightly nodded. Wade fixed his eyes on Alexis, trying to give a message through the eyes contact that he should not have to sit next to Belinda who was the biggest liar among them.
“I must be roasted alive.” She heard him whispering. It did not sound joking but serious.
“Okay, let’s start with Ms. Carter,” the woman on the right-handed side began. “Ms. Carter, tell me if you reported the false information to us that some of your friends who attended the party at the Miller’s mansion performed something that may involve with the qualifications of being the Risk.” “No”
Wade screamed in pain when the electricity shocked him. In her horror, she saw his big body suddenly shaking violently. The scream of pain made her blood run cold. It lasted just one second. Yes, only one second but that one second killed all her optimism. There was no sign of burns but Wade breathed hardly and was still shuddered for a few minutes after the shock.
“Fuck you, Bitch!” At least, he still had the energy to scold Belinda. “Are you alright?” Alexis asked him, shocking; still, her heart seemed like it stopped moving for a while when heard his howl.
The boy shook his head telling he was alright with a dreadful look. Alexis was incapable of seeing Belinda but heard the former student president’s sudden sobbing. Perhaps, Belinda might feel sorry to cause Wade’s pain which she didn’t mean to do or she was just too scared.
Dad’s right. This is not a joke. This was indeed a torture room, not the interrogation room. Alexis put all her effort to search for the answer to this arrangement but found none.
“May I ask you again, Ms. Carter? Did—you—lie—to—us?” The woman stressed her words. “Y…es” Nothing happened. Wade exhaled, soothing. “Why did you lie?”
Instead of answering them, Belinda preferred crying. For a few seconds, Wade screamed again. “Tell them!” He yelled after taking a breath. “I—I—I want to win the scholarship. I want to get rid of her. If—If she’s withdrawn, I know I will get it.” She? Belinda meant to entrap me only? WTH?!
“She? You mean Ms. Davis?” “Yes. Yes, of course. She was likely to win…and I need the scholarship. I didn’t intend to frame all of them but-but I can’t think of the other way to frame only one.”
“My dear, you can win if she wins. The scholarship provides for five students and we don’t have the quota-limited. It is still possible for you all to win together.” Belinda sobbed.
“Thank you, Ms. Carter, you committed the wrongful act in accordance with the Surveillance and Control of the Risks to Humankind Act 2966, Clause 31, the punishment of false accusation committed with the purpose to defame the other to be the Suspect or the Risk, the convict must be sentenced to life imprisonment. You’re convicted.”
Life imprisonment? Alexis thought that it was excessively severe punishment but if she considered if that false accusation destroys someone’s life, for example, Wade, Oslo, and Alexis were withdrawn from the scholarship, it might not overact. However, if they could prove themselves that they were innocent; this punishment for Belinda was a little bit too harsh.
Belinda did beg but Alexis could not catch the words because her pleading fused with her wailing. “Calm down, Ms. Carter. (Who can? Alexis thought.) If your action leads us to discover any Suspect or any Risk, intentionally or unintentionally, in other words, by your luck, the sentence shall be pardoned.
Unfortunately, we still have to give you the other punishment instead.” The woman changed her paper, the act of carelessness. “The good news is we found none evidence demonstrating that you are one of the Suspects or the Risks. Therefore, please wait for the others and we will come back to make the final judgment for your wrongdoing again.”
She ended the interrogation with the fake smile while Belinda could not control her emotions well. Life imprisonment meant the end of everything, the bright future, the dream. Belinda might not expect for the softer punishment. Alexis felt the complexity of her feeling towards Belinda, between sympathy and satisfaction.
(To be continued)