Deadly justice, p.28
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       Deadly Justice, p.28

           Darrell Case
At that moment, two men in dark suits exited the elevator. Allison could only blink as they hurried toward her.

  “Agent Stevens I'm Agent Dale Thompson and this is Agent Hale Foley. We are placing you under arrest for the murder of Derrick Strong.”

  Foley shoved her face forward against the wall, pulling her hands behind her back. The world swirled around her. If they hadn’t been leaning against her she would have collapsed. All eyes were on her as they rushed her down the elevator and through the lobby. In the back seat of the SUV, she broke down sobbing.

  Sitting beside her, Foley stared at Alison with what she thought was compassion. In the driver’s seat, Thompson cracked a half smile. The telegram from Derrick’s room was tucked safely in his pocket.

  The next three hours were a nightmare. Always before, Alison had enjoyed interrogating suspects. Now it was she who was caught in the snare. Thompson and Foley were relentless. They hammered her for hours with no break. They revisited the same details again and again until she felt her head would burst.

  “I told you. I just found his body. I did not kill him,” she protested emphatically. The tears were gone now, leaving behind crusty deposits around her eyes and salty streaks down her face. “He was my friend.”

  “Is that why you had a violent argument with him just an hour before he was murdered?” Thompson said, glaring at her. “I told you before, we have a witness.”

  “Your witness is mistaken or lying. When we returned to the hotel Derrick went up to his room to take a nap and I went for a drive.”

  “Right, and just happened to come upon a quarry, Foley said, sneering. “Let me guess, that's how the powder residue ended up on your clothes.”

  “You don't have to guess. I told you twenty times. I went for a ride. I came across this abandoned gravel pit and I fired thirty rounds,” Alison said wearily.

  “And no one saw you. And no one heard you,” Thompson chided. Foley rolled his eyes.

  “It was way out in the country. I...”

  Thompson slammed the telegram down in front of her.

  Alison's head swam. She nearly fainted as the words registered. Steel had named her as the suspect. He had set her up and framed her.

  There was a knock. Closest to the door, Foley opened it. A uniformed officer handed him a piece of paper. He scrutinized it. Nodding to Thompson, he waved it in Alison's face

  “Did you really think you could get away with murder? This is the ballistics report. The bullet that killed Strong came from your gun.”

  “Stand up Stevens.” Foley commanded, producing a pair of handcuffs.

  “I'm being set up. Can't you see that?"Alison cried, her whole body shaking.” Someone took my gun, killed Derrick and put it back."

  “Yeah right. You and every other murderer,” Thompson said hauling her to her feet. “At least we're getting one dirty agent off the street.”

  Snapping the cuffs on her, Foley said, “Alison Stevens you are under arrest for the murder of FBI agent Derrick Strong. You have the right to an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning. If cannot afford an attorney one will be provided to you. Do you understand these rights as I have explained them to you?”

  Alison's head spun. Blackness flickered before her eyes.

  “Answer the question, scumbag,” Thompson said. She forced herself to focus.

  “Yes.” She murmured.

  Alison awoke to the second greatest horror of her life. For the past 10 years, she had concentrated on putting criminals in the very place she now found herself. Her back hurt, her head throbbed. Despair filled her soul. How could this be happening to her? Yesterday she was an FBI agent today an inmate in the Marion County Jail facing life in prison. Or death.

  During interrogations, she herself conducted, she had laughed at suspects who claimed to be innocent. The bureau’s policy allowed her to stretch the truth in an attempt to elicit a confession. She became quite proficient at lying. Nevertheless, when she did so even in the interest of justice, she felt like a hypocrite. Regardless, when there was little or no evidence or too little to warrant an arrest, she’d keep pushing until she either got the confession or the suspect screamed for a lawyer. Let the jury decide. Innocent or guilty she just kept putting them away. Always by the book. At least that's what she told herself.

  A screeching sound caused her head to snap toward the cell door. The cuff port opened and a black hand stuffed a newspaper through the hole. It fell to the floor front page up. Her day was about to get worse.

  The headline screamed:

  FBI Agent Kills Fellow Officer

  Her photo beside Derrick's stared up at her. The article beneath could have been written by either Foley or Thompson. It painted her as a cold-blooded killer. Alison's eyes opened wide and her breath came in short quick bursts. The article implied, and not subtly, that she was the mastermind responsible for least 12 murders. Scenes of the night before came back to her in bits and pieces.

  While searching her D.C. apartment, had found a sniper rifle and bomb- making materials, including the same compound that had been packed into the exploding golf ball. The rifle was determined to be the same one that killed Card.

  Throwing down the paper, she vomited in the toilet. Dear God, they wanted her dead. Steel set her up and whoever killed Derrick planted evidence in her apartment. For the next hour, her mind went crazy. She envisioned herself on death row strapped down to a gurney, the needle sliding into her vein, dead. Would she even last that long or would they send in an assassin to kill her? If she died, where would she go? Hell opened to her like a wide dark chasm. Derrick's wife, their children did they believe she murdered him?

  The cuff port opened again.

  The same black hand set a tray on the lip. Oatmeal, she hated oatmeal. It reminded her of home in Indiana. Growing up her mother would serve it three or four times a week. Alison would heap butter and sugar on the gooey stuff to try and make it edible. This morning there was no sugar and definitely no butter. It didn't matter. She had no appetite.

  She left the tray untouched. Twenty minutes later, it disappeared.

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