As Kevin led Brian into the police station, Brian fought hard to conceal his nervousness. The second he walked into the building he felt his stomach beginning to churn, even though he had made the decision to come here himself. It was better to do this now than to wait. This way he could try to forget about everything that had happened instead of reawakening everything later on.
Kevin had suggested that he wait a few days but Brian had chosen to talk to the police on his way home from the hospital. After this, he would be on a plane with his parents to stay at their home in Kentucky and he could begin to piece his life back together.
Beside him, Kevin was quick to spot the desk at the end of the lobby and immediately began to stride towards it. Brian trailed after him, trying to ignore the posters upon the walls begging people to come forward with information regarding murders. No matter what everybody said, Brian knew it would be a long time before he felt free of guilt.
"We're here to see to see Nathan Peters," Kevin declared.
"I'm right here," a familiar voice suddenly said.
Brian spun around to see Peters coming towards them. He took a deep breath and stretched his fingers for a moment to try and ease some of the tension. He wasn't here to be questioned or accused so there was no need for such tight muscles.
"I'm pleased you agreed to this, Mr. Littrell. Hopefully it will help us to find your attacker," Peters said. "If you'd follow me, I'll take you somewhere more private." v Brian nodded slowly, his nerves flying about his stomach and rebounding from the walls to send nauseous quivers up his throat. "Is it okay if my cousin comes with me?"
"Of course," Peters said. "If you'd both follow me." He began to lead them towards a door to the right.
Brian hesitated for a second. Even though he was not being arrested, he still felt a small surge of dread flowing through him at the thought of heading deeper into the station.
'What if they find a body? What if they do find me guilty?'
The unsettling and frightening thoughts refused to cease plaguing his mind.
"Let's go, Brian. Once it's over, it's over," Kevin said.
Brian nodded and slowly began to follow Peters down the corridor, trying to control his breathing. He wondered vaguely if his nerves would ever be normal again…
"This room," Peters instructed, gesturing to a door on the left.
Brian entered the room Peters pointed to and found himself in a small, office like room. There was a desk in the centre surrounded by four chairs and a computer sat to one side. The walls were white and Brian was reminded of the films where he had seen people dragged into such rooms. He closed his eyes for a brief second and pushed his negative thoughts to the rear of his mind. He had to regain control and composure, otherwise his attacker would have won. Brian was not going to surrender and break down.
"Take a seat," Peters said.
Obediently, Brian seated himself upon one of the chairs and Kevin sat down beside him. Unconsciously, Brian's fingers tightened about the bottom of the chair.
Peters seated himself opposite them and pulled out a lack file from a drawer. He checked inside for a moment and then nodded to himself.
"Thank you for coming today, Mr. Littrell," Peters said. "I know this must be difficult for you."
'No, you have no idea…'
"Brian just wants to get everything over with so that he can get on with his life," Kevin said, when Brian did not reply.
Peters nodded. "I'll try not to keep you here too long," he assured them. He turned to Brian. "Okay Brian," Peters said. "You said that your attacker had dark hair, so I've only got photos of criminals who fit that criteria. I need you to look at this file and tell me if any of these guys is the one who attacked you. If not, I'll get the description off of you and we'll start looking for a new guy, okay?"
Brian nodded again and then took the file from Peters with trembling fingers.
'Why am I so nervous? They know it was an accident and it's not me they want to arrest.'
But as his eyes scanned the page, he couldn't help but remember his own fear of being sent to prison. Now his decision could send another man down instead… but didn't evil people deserve to be shut away where they couldn't hurt others?
He stared down at the file. There were several pages within it and each page was covered in photos of men. Some where in colour, others in black and white but all of them had one thing in common - they were dangerous criminals.
Peters had indeed selected only photos of dark haired man for Brian to look at, but none of them resembled his attacker. Though some of them had a similar, muscular build and the same scruffy hair, none of them had the same eyes. A few of them had the hint of cruelness within their dark eyes, but none radiated the same maliciousness that had reeked from Brian's attacker.
His eyes scanned the pages and then he turned to the next, carefully trying to pick out the one man who had caused him so much pain.
"Take your time, Brian," Kevin said softly.
Brian furrowed his brow in concentration as he scrutinised some of the more blurry photographs, but each time his eyes would be faced with a stranger and he would move on to the next.
Suddenly, Brian saw him. It was only a blurred photo, probably from a security camera somewhere. The edges of the face were fuzzy and it was only a side view, but Brian would remember this man for the rest of his life.
He felt his heart beginning to pound harder within him as he stared into that face again. The face with the same malevolent eyes that seemed to burrow into his soul and tell him that he was going to kill him.
He realised that his fingers were clutching at the file tightly, so tightly that his knuckles were turning ghostly white to contrast with his pink hands. The perspiration began to turn his fingers clammy and slowly he allowed the file to slip from them where it clattered to the floor.
"Brian?" Kevin asked in concern, his arm quickly moving to Brian's shoulder.
Brian turned to face his cousin and gulped slightly, noticing that there was a sudden ball of nausea within his throat.
Peters retrieved the file from the floor and flicked back to the page Brian had been staring at. "Is he here?" he asked calmly.
Brian nodded slightly, his tongue sticking to the roof of his parched mouth and the words seemed to refuse to form.
"Who was it?" Kevin asked gently.
Peters turned the file back round to face Brian. Brian gulped again and slowly his hand trailed over to point at the photo that held his nightmare.
"Him?" Peters asked.
Brian nodded in acknowledgement and then quickly withdrew his hand as if the photo could somehow snatch at his wrist and tug him into its murderous world. "It was him," he murmured. "I'm certain."
Peters nodded picked the file up. "3209," he said. He turned to stare at the computer to his right and pulled the keyboard closer to him. Brian watched as he typed in the code of his attacker and then he waited while Peters tapped the desk in front of him.
"Anything?" Kevin enquired.
Peters waited for a moment and then he placed his hand to his chin in thought. Eventually he spoke. "His name is Liam Baker. We've been after him for a long time, but we've never managed to catch him."
"What did he do?" Brian asked.
"Burglaries and murder," Peters replied. "He's very dangerous. I'll have people search the area for him and I'll put out a local warning."
"I - I'd rather you didn't do that," Brian confessed. He couldn't let his attacker know that he had been to the police, that would surely bring him back to Brian for revenge.
"Don't worry," peters assured him. "To be honest, I don't think he's likely to stick around with the cops everywhere. He has a knack for moving on quickly. He was once caught on camera in Florida robbing a house, but only hours later he was spotted in California. He moves very quick."
Brian nodded slowly, praying that Liam had already ran and that he was not lurking somewhere plotting revenge.
"Thank you for your help, Mr. Littrell," Peters said, holding out his hand for Brian to shake. "I'm going to have cops searching the area for Liam, but I doubt we'll find him. He's probably already left the state."
"Do you think he'll come back for me?" Brian whispered, voicing his most nightmarish fear.
Peters was taken back by the question. "I'm not sure."
"What about the others Liam attacked? Did he ever go back to finish the job?" Kevin asked and Brian shivered inwardly at the words. He had never been faced with anybody as malignant as Liam had been and it made his blood quiver and freeze within his veins to think that he might return to 'finish' him off.
Peters looked uncomfortable. "No, because none of his other victims ever survived the first round. " His eyes met Brian's for a moment. "You're lucky to be alive, not a single one of his other victims managed that."