Milano Miller was clapped in heavy irons only minutes after he made his confession.
Samuel made sure the chains were attached to both his wrists and his ankles, with both the cuffs and the chains made of thick, heavy steel. His escorts were three orderlies Samuel had asked for by name; officers he could trust with this simple but critical task. The orderlies carrying out his instructions asked only once why he was being treated as a dangerous criminal.
"He's on suicide watch," Samuel said before the two orderlies led the quiet, broken man away.
"Sam," Angela said, as the chained man was hauled away on a small cart, little more than a dolly. "That's pretty burning severe. Wrist cuffs were probably enough."
Angela looked pale and clutched at the collar of her coat with her hand. Her expression as she stared at Samuel, was a very thin veneer of calm poorly applied over horror and disgust.
"Do you think my suicide watch call was unwarranted, Ang?" Samuel asked.
"I think clapping him in ankle chains and hauling him away like he was the Cutter of Rosethorne Heights is really burning dehumanising, Sam," Angela said, as she gestured towards the crowd forming at the edges of the square.
"That's not what I asked, Ang," Samuel reminded her quietly. "Do you disagree with putting him on suicide watch?"
Angela hesitated, then shook her head. "No. A guy like him, with resources and connections, could easily get someone to help him die if we aren't careful."
"And what you're seeing is the protocol for transporting someone on suicide watch. A protocol based on examining thousands of cases over decades since the Fifth. I don't like seeing it, but it is how things are done. And it will keep him alive," Samuel asserted as he fished his watch out of his pocket.
"And letting the privileged powers of High Central see one of their own get clapped in irons had nothing to do with your decision?" Angela asked.
"Are you kidding? I don't need that kind of attention," Samuel said as he shook his head. "We should head back to the precinct. We can start investigating at the Frosty Hearth, ask around to see if anyone has seen Silas there in the last few nights. Maybe start with that bartender friend of yours, Clovis."
"Isn't he your friend, too?" Angela asked, laughing as she jabbed him in the ribs. "After that man to man talk of yours?"
"To be honest, I trust him less after our talk last night. Your friend has his hands into some soot that's never seen the sun," Samuel said. "But I think I need that bartender friend of yours to help move this case forward."
"Right. Where the burning hell is Bertram, anyway?" Angela asked.
"Over there," Samuel replied, pointing across the square towards the entrance to the Agora. "Talking with his boss."
Almost as if he had invoked their attention by talking about them, both Agrias and Bertram turned from their conversation and walked over to join them.
"How did you make that connection, Inspector?" Agrias asked. "How did you know that Milano Miller had done someone a favour to pay for his son's protection?"
"I ran into the victim this morning, in the precinct. A clerk in the same Bureau named Darrick Vorlan. Darrick knows enough about the process to know when the proper paperwork hasn't been finished. He also had the sense to remember the name of the Crafter who carried out the order," Samuel explained. "All I had to do after was send a courier to ask the Crafter. She threatened to light me on fire if I bothered her again, but she gave me Milano Miller."
YOU ARE READING
Bitter Cold Truth: A Tale of the Everburning CityFantasy
There is no night in the Everburning City. There can never be. Fourteen people lie dead on the platform of Billows Station, killed by fire and rage. And as the perpetrator hides within the millions of people who inhabit the City, the task of findi...