Chapter 16: A reluctant informant

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A dripping sound was echoing through the room. It was continuous, every ten seconds or so it occurred from a machine at the side of the bed. Other noises were prominent too. The sound of distant wailing was intermingling with chatter from a nurse station only yards away. A solid drone rested in the background from an air conditioner, struggling due to the heat of the day. These sounds were all playing second fiddle to a groan echoing from a man in a hospital bed. He was covered in plaster and bandages, appearing like his injuries were quite severe. Fifty percent of his body had been treated by doctors with his face bloated and rife with stitches. A bloodied bandage hung from his head, making him look like a mummy. He had tubes everywhere with some piercing his arm, while another was wedged between his nostrils. His right eye was bandaged, so only his left which was also heavily swollen was capable of allowing him to view Max and Grant entering the room.

An outstretched arm stopped them.

"I'm sorry, but no visitors," a nurse ordered them, "the patient is still in a perilous state."

A searing look was passed to her by Max, eyeing her up with disdain.

"We're here to interview him," he replied sternly, "he's a prisoner. He has no rights."

"I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave," she continued.

Max ignored the nurse and pushed past her, relying on his colleague to temper her mood.

"I'm sorry madam, but it's you that has to leave," Grant ordered her, before his words were met by a vicious frown, "this is a police matter. We need to speak to the victim. It's very important."

"I'm going to get my superior," the nurse growled, "I'll be back."

She stormed out of the room, followed by a heavy sound of weighted steps echoing down the corridor.

Both men walked further forward, revealing the blinds open, but the moonlight was not trickling in. A green tinge occupied the room instead from the illuminated heart monitor next to the bed. Max shifted his attention straight to Red, eyeing him up through his swollen left eye.

A croaky voice rang loud.

"I guess you know who I am?" the patient asked.

"Yes I do," Max responded. His nemesis's voice was hoarse, but its dark tone still sent a shiver of dread down his spine. The DA was brought back mentally to the shed where he had been so brutally tortured. There was no hiding his panic, instead a sweat chill saturated his forehead and his fists were tensed tightly.

"I'm sure you recognize my voice too?" Red continued, "I was the one who tortured you."

"I've known who you are for quite a while," Max admitted, almost with pride, "I've been looking for you."

Red shifted his body in frustration, but a surging pain halted the movement.

"Well, you caught me," he stated without fear, "you can enact your revenge now. I'm guessing that little hitch in your step is because of those two toes I sliced off. I bet you want me dead for that."

A bout of anger rose inside Max, but he cooled himself down with some calculated breaths. He needed to stay calm, if he wished to extract information from Red. There was already tension in the room, but he lowered his voice, pretending that his words had not affected him.

"I'm not interested in getting revenge. You will be tried for your crimes and sentenced. I'm more interested in punishing the people who hired you."

"I'm no nark," Red growled within seconds, "I won't tell you anything."

Grant chimed in for the first time, offering assurance.

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