Every eight seconds, the second hand made a funny noise. A ‘tock’ instead of a ‘tick.’ Sam had noticed that after three days. In “The Cave,” as he had decided to call it, thick concrete walls blocked out all sound. Unless he created his own, the only sound was that clock. He looked up at it. It was just like a normal clock, but instead of plastic, the sides were hard metal, with thick bulletproof glass. The glass distorted the numbers, making it hard to tell what time it was. Not that it mattered; he was stuck in that room.
In another week, assuming he was well behaved, he would be allowed into the exercise room, under strict supervision of course.
He looked again at the clock. It was bolted to the wall, presumably so he couldn’t attack anyone with it. The few other things in his room were bolted down as well. The un-blanketed bed, the sink, and the toilet with no seat.
Everything was metal and grey; he could almost feel it draining the hope from him.
This was all a mistake. Sam was in solitary confinement for killing four people. He had been deemed dangerous and mentally unstable, sent away to this dreary, soul-sucking room.
But he had never killed anyone. He worked for his father, doing paperwork in an office. Sam had just been caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a bad habit of his, if you could call that a habit.
He had been walking through the forest on a late night walk. Maybe he was at fault for being out so late, but he didn’t think it would have made a difference in the end.
Either way, he had come across a body. There had been no blood at the scene, but her neck was twisted at an unnatural angle. Sam had leaned over her, horrified, and held her head, checking her pulse to see if she was alive.
Looking up, he had noticed a man standing on the path, watching him. Sam had shouted at him for help, but the man had just turned and ran.
Just as he was standing up to pull out his phone and call the police himself, he heard a shout. The police were already here, Sam realized a moment before he was shoved to the ground and knocked unconscious.
When Sam had woken up, he’d realized that the murder must have happened just before he had arrived. Someone must have seen the real killer and called the police. He had seen the real killer, he realized. Not well enough to give a description, but well enough to recognize him if Sam saw him again.
No one would believe he wasn’t the real killer. There had been three similar murders around town in the past month. Neck snapped, no evidence, not even fingerprints. Until Sam had left some when he held the victim’s head.
Those who had seen the murderer described him very similarly to Sam.
Everything fit together.
Sam still wasn’t sure why he was being held in such high security. All he knew was that in two days’ time, the soonest he was allowed, he would demand a lawyer.
It didn’t matter whom, so long as they could save him from this mess.
After two days of waiting, he jumped at the sound of his food latch being unlocked. He kept a respectful distance, not wanting to ruin his only chance.
“I’d like to see a lawyer. No specific preference whom.” Sam said diplomatically.
To his surprise, the guard on the other side agreed.
“We will collect you in three hours,” he said.
More hopeful than he’d been in days, Sam ate quietly and waited. For once the clock proved to be useful.
Eventually, the heavy duty doors opened and two guards stepped in. Sam stood still as they cuffed his hands and feet and led him down a dull hallway.
They approached a door labeled “Interrogation Room 1.” As one of the guards opened it, Sam’s blood turned to ice. Sitting snugly in a chair, a warm coffee in his hands, dressed in a three piece suit and shiny black loafers, was his lawyer, the real killer.