Prompt: “You are In an interrogation room. A man walks in and throws a bunch of photos on the table In front of you. The photos are old and were taken at different points in history. You’re in each one. He demands to know who you are…”
The white walls scream up around three walls and collide in this mess of miss-mashed of whites used to cover up cracks and patches. It pools around the edges of the doorway, and around a one way mirror. Reflecting the whiteness right back at the woman behind the desk. Waiting, watching. Her hair twined in a loose braid, threatening to escape altogether. Leaves and sticks are still entwined as her earthy fingernails try to pull one or two out. Her knees gently rock from side to side gently.
Jacob was waiting on the other side of the glass. Sizing up the woman inside, he wasn’t sure how to handle this. His fingers find the gap in his mouth. His wife made him give up two days ago. It really wasn’t the best time. Not with all of this happening. He brushed his hands against the folded up trench coat on the chair. He stopped in his step and picked it up. Photos in one hand, coat in the other he leaves the little room and closes the door. No one would be watching this one. He was lucky he was still on the case. It should have been transferred to someone higher up. The Americans could be all over this. If this was anything. He took a deep breath. The air filling the lungs causing a spasm of coughs. He leant against his shoulder into the wall until he stilled his body. A younger officer passed him. Jacob scowled. He turned to the door and opened it, pushing into the room, shutting the door and putting photos on the desk in a smooth movement. The woman looked down at the images as he gently hung his coat on the back of his chair.
The splash of white around the room was interrupted by the blacks and browns of an officer. The woman admired the way he so smoothly put the photos on the table after closing the door. She ignored the second in which he almost tripped over. She studied the photos one by one. They dated from the America Civil War, to England in the early 1900’s, to Vietnam to the beginning of the Millennia and few in between and beyond. She gently righted one at the bottom of the scattered pile. A picture of old scripture, carefully illustrated by a Monk. She smiled, her face appeared in each of them. Her hair a little different in each, her expression, her clothes change as much as the times do. Which in reality is not too much.
“You travel?” she could hear the smoke deep in his lungs. They would heal in time, If he had time.
“I do. I did. I will” she gently put the pictures into chronological order as he sat down. His hands disturbing the dust on the edge of the table. A question was brewing in his mind, slowly traveling through up his throat, edging at his vocal chords.
“Who are you?”
“You have my identification papers officer”
“Identification papers, huh. It’s just ID, love. Just ID these days. Though I supposed it must be hard to keep up” She smiled in response, genuine. He had seen her ID. It seemed legit. But after asking around, the hospitals, clawing through records…it was all made up. “When were you born?”
“You have my/”
“Yes I do. But I’m asking you. But I have things to do, and if I hear the 4th of April, 1985, well I’ll be off doing those better things”
“What do you want? What are you expecting?”
Jacob lent over the table. “Maybe its best if we start with a name. And not the dribble on your ID”
The woman watched as he hung there in the lean. Trying to get the truth. She looked at his hands on the table casting shadows on the white paint smothering the wood. Someone likes white.
“Think about all the possible answers I could give. All the possibilities. Technically all of those possibilities aren’t illegal. Really. You’re not here to charge me, and therefore I think I have a right to leave. Please”
“Fake ID can be a pretty serious crime, missy. Now I can get immigration in here, they might have a hold” he waited for a twitch, a breath, a movement…nothing. Her accent was native enough, but could never know these days. “With all these new laws all I have to do is say you are a threat and, well, you’ll be stuck here for quite a while. Or sent somewhere worse. I don’t think anyone’s going to miss you, eh?” He wasn’t lying. Strictly. The new laws could allow him to keep her here for a while. Unfortunately he wouldn’t have clearance. It was already bad enough that she was here in custody. Or as he called it “A brief chat”.
She sighed, her hair seemingly untangled and flowing gently down her shoulders, free from the braid. She looked around the white room again and at Jacob. His smile gently ebbed her curiosity but she knew his type. Just looking for the truth, always eager. But it wouldn’t be enough. Not words.
“I think I can answer all your questions with one field trip”
“Lady, we can’t take you/”
“Does your boss know I’m here” he paused. Technically the boss knew…but not all the facts. “There’s a lake, about a good hour, hour and a half away from here”
“What about it?”
“I’ve been figuring out which lake it was. It can be a bit difficult with old scriptures and modern theories. But it’s the one. You can even take me in cuffs…We just need to get there. Preferably before the full moon”
“Plenty of time then, but I don’t see how this explains fighting with the Aussies in Vietnam, and celebrating WWI whilst still looking as young as/”
“What’s your theory?” Jacob lent back in his chair. His eyes darting around her face.
“Not Botox. Not even that extends life”
“So?” It’s always the answers that make us uneasy, they make us run. He looked at his watch. She looked on, watching the grey hairs gently fold over his face as he looked down.
“If this is a goose chase I’ll have you up on/”
“Charges for wasting police time. I know. Law doesn’t change so much”
To be continued.
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