Chapter 31

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The floors around me are white tiles, gleaming in the fluorescent lights above our heads. I'm sitting at a wooden table, on a small plastic school chair and facing me is the old dark-eyed officer from earlier and a new woman I've never seen before. She has dirty blonde hair and dark bags under her eyes as though she hasn't been sleeping. I don't blame her, though. A police officer must be a tough job.

"State your name."

"Amelia Harris," I say in a small voice. I feel intimidated by these two people. Their straight faces and stern voices do nothing to make me feel any less nervous.

"Age?"

"Sixteen."

"Address?"

I tell them the address and the man goes writing down the responses whilst the woman folds her hands into themselves and interrogates me.

"So, Amelia Harris. I hear you have a close connection to Joshua Middleton."

I swallow, trying to show no discomfort but I don't think it's working. "I do," I say.

"How so? How close were the two of you?"

"Not very close."

"Friends?"

"Um," I start and I ponder on that question. I don't actually know if we were friends. Well, I mean I did put a lot of trust in him. Does that count as friendship?

"We are waiting on a response, Miss Harris."

"Uh, yes. Of course. Yeah, we were friends. You could say that."

I can hear the pencil scraping the paper as the police officer scribbles all of this down. Why did I agree to do this? Why did I agree to put Josh's life at risk?

"And do you have knowledge about who Joshua really is, Miss Harris?"

There's something lodged in my throat and I can't breathe past it so it ends up suffocating me. Here I am, being bombarded with questions that will put either myself or Josh in jail.

"No," I lie.

The woman leans forward slowly and when she does that, I see her eyes are narrowed and her lip is taut, in one line.

"Miss Harris. A truthful answer please. You agreed at the beginning of this statement to only tell us the truth."

"I know," I whisper. "And I am. Josh is a human being."

A thought flashes through my head. Of course he's a human being. What else would he be unless I knew about his powers?

I can only stare weakly as the woman raises an eyebrow. "And what about the ice on the floor? You believe that was Mr Middleton?"

"Joshua wasn't in the house then," I argue.

She leans back into her chair and flips her hair over her shoulder. "Yes, of course. He arrived at eleven-twenty-three later that day, armed and attempted to terminate the life of a police officer."

It sounds so much worse when someone else says it.

"Who else was in that attic, Miss Harris? Any clue?"

I can hear the scratching of pencil on paper. It's the sound of doom. Everything I say is being recorded.

"Remember, Miss Harris. The truth."

The tears are coming out again and I blink hard to get rid of them. They're too strong for me and fight the barrier of my eyelid until a single tear falls down my right cheek.

"Would you care for a tissue, Miss Harris?"

Shakily, I draw a hand and wipe the tear from my eye, snuffling and shaking my head no. The woman eyes me as intently as before, not a single trace of sympathy anywhere.

"A response, Amelia Harris. Do you know who was in the attic earlier today?"

Tears falling. My heart shattering in two. Indecision. I can't choose.

"If I tell you," I manage to croak out, "what will happen?"

Something flashes across her face and for a split second I think it's confusion but it's gone as soon as it comes.

"We're not entirely sure, Miss Harris. But those people would say a statement too and we would decide based on that."

"And nothing... bad will happen?"

She shakes her head. "No. We promise you that, Miss Harris. Just a single name, please. That's all we need."

So, I don't know how I could have been so stupid but I leant forward and whispered the two names I knew were right.

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