Prologue

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Three men peered into the small solitary confinement cell where a tall girl lay on the floor, her long legs stretched out and against the wall.

"Has she spoken yet?" The prison warden queried.

"She hasn't even moved, sir. Not even to eat." The guard replied. "It's been two days and she hasn't eaten a thing."

"If she keeps this up, she'll die of starvation before we can get the story out of her." The prison psychologist muttered.

"Unlock the door." The warden ordered. "Take her down to interrogation room 1. Have some food sent down as well. She should be hungry by now."

The guard unlocked the door and the warden and psychologist walked away, jeering shouts coming at them from the other solitary cells. Neither batted an eyelid, for this type of shouting and profanity was an everyday occurrence. What was not normal was the girl, lying still and not moving, even when the prisoners were to be taken outside for exercise.

The guard opened the door and told the woman to stand up. She did so, and offered her arms behind her back for the handcuffs that were necessary for transport. The two walked through the same hallway, following the path of the previous two, enduring the same taunts, except the woman didn't seem to hear the crude things they yelled. Her eyes remained unfocused, as if she were someplace other than locked in a high security prison, the type reserved for the most dangerous and hardened of criminals, not for girls that looked like this. Girls who seemed like they would disappear into thin air if you took your eyes off of them, or girls that would blow away at the slightest breeze. 

When they reached the room, the guard handcuffed the girl to the metal ring attached to the table, and she sat back, looking into the far corner of the room.

"I'll be back with some food in a few minutes." The guard informed her before exiting and looking the door behind him.

Once outside, the guard heaved a sigh of relief. He was used to the rough ways of the other prisoners, but this woman was entirely unlike any prisoner they had ever encountered. She didn't speak, didn't retaliate, and most of all didn't move unless ordered to. She responded to basic commands, such as stand, sit, eat, and walk, but it was almost as if her mind was elsewhere.

Once the guard had gathered the tray with food from the kitchen, he headed back to the interrogation room where their head interrogator was waiting.

"I'll take the food." The interrogator said, and the guard handed the food over before unlocking the door. The guard walked around to the walk of see through glass, and where speakers were playing audio from the interrogation room.

"Hello. My name is Richard Mills, and I have a few questions for you. They start out simple enough." He paused. "What is your name?"

The silence in the room was almost visible, and the interrogator glanced at the camera that recorded every session that they would have.

"Pax." The woman replied, after a long silence.

"Okay Pax, can you tell me what year it is?" Mills questioned.

"2016." Pax responded, just as slow as before.

Mills continued his questions. "What were you doing the night of October 23, 2015?"

Pax's eyes cleared slightly. "Getting arrested, I suppose." Everything that she said was in the same monotonous voice, as if there was no emotion possible.

Mills chuckled. "And what else did you do on October 23?"

"I was accused of murdering a man and woman in my own home, and burying their bodies under my porch."

"You say you were accused. Did you kill them, or did someone else?"

Pax turned her head to the interrogator. "I thought I had made myself clear. I have not murdered anybody. I was accused of murdering my ex-boyfriend and his sister, however, if you look at the evidence, not a thing points to me." This last phrase was accompanied by a small smile, that barely graced Pax's face before it disappeared.

"You say that the evidence doesn't point to you. If it doesn't point to you, who does it point to?"

The woman's head turned back to the corner where she had previously been staring. "If I knew I would tell you." She paused. "I would not take the fall for someone else's misdeeds, even for a friend. Because if any friend tried to prove me guilty, they are no friend of mine."

"Are you sure you don't know?" The interrogator pressed.

"I have my suspicions, as I'm sure you do, but, when I tried to tell anybody, they write it off as the delusions of a crazy murderer." Pax's voice lost its calm tone and was starting to reveal the anger. The guard watched the scene, fascinated, as Pax took several deep breaths before staring back at her spot.

Mills sat down in the chair across from the woman. "Eat." He commanded. "We can't prove your innocence if you die of starvation."

Pax didn't move. "They've already tried and convicted me of the murder, despite the fact that my fingerprints weren't on the murder weapon, I had multiple legitimate alibis for the day that the two disappeared and the day they were found, one being to join the search party looking for them in their last known location. Whether I eat or not, I will die in this prison, so I might as well make it sooner rather than later."

"I'll see you back here tomorrow." Mills said, "And we will start your testimony. I want the killer in jail as much as you, and I don't like seeing innocent people in there either." The unspoken words were that he believed Pax, believed that she was innocent. "We'll catch the killer, and we will get you out of here." The unspoken became spoken as the guard entered the room and refastened the handcuffs on so that he could walk her back to her cell.

The walk back to the cell seemed longer than normal to the guard, and he could tell that the woman was returning back to her usual state of mind, and he knew that once she returned to her cell, she would once again be laying on the floor, unmoving, silent, and in a different place mentally. He only hoped that she would get out of here soon enough because he had seen what solitary confinement could do, and he didn't want to see it happen again.

~~~~~~~~

5/4/17

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