Brian sat with his knees tucked up tight against his chest as the police officer stared down at him gravely. His stomach was writhing about within him and sending sickening quivers through his body. Only such a short time ago he had been normal, or as close to normal as he possible could be, but now things had changed. Things had changed within his life and now the world was not such a rosy colour.
There were two police officers that had been sent to talk with him and Brian was feeling more nervous each second they were with him. He could almost feel the way they glared at him in amusement as he told them his pitiful story. They did not believe him. How could they believe him and set him free when he was such a valuable prisoner. How many people were just waiting for a pop star to get locked away?
They both sat by his bedside. The dark haired office, Peters had placed a tape recorder upon a small table to record all of Brian's shaky words as he recalled that terrible night. The second officer, Fren, was the one who unnerved Brian the most. He could see the sneer on the man's lips and almost feel the coldness within his heart.
"Brian, how can you be certain that you killed this man? We found no evidence of a body," Peters said softly.
Brian bit his lip slightly. Nobody else seemed to understand what Brian had done. They thought he had been hallucinating, but he knew what he had seen. The image of his motionless attacker lying upon the floor with his eyes wide and glazed was still fresh in his mind.
"He was dead," Brian replied. "His eyes were open and he wasn't breathing. I killed him."
He was guilty and there was no use hiding from this fact. He deserved to be punished. He could feel tears beginning to form into droplets, ready to streak down his face and he forced them back determinedly. It was no use crying at the thought of spending night and day in a prison cell. He should have thought of the consequences before he killed another.
"Did you move the body?" Fren asked. His eyes were so dark they were almost black and Brian felt as if they were somehow piercing his soul.
Brian felt a wave of sickening dread creeping over him. They didn't believe him! It had been an accident! Why would he have moved the body? He remembered feeling so weak and nauseous at the time. That thought had never occurred to him. Touching something dead would have haunted his mind and nightmares for eternity.
"No!" Brian replied. "I told you what happened after! I was scared and I ran away!"
"Why did you run?" Fren persisted. "It was self defence so why were you frightened?"
Brian felt a thin trial of perspiration beginning to slide down his face. They could never understand. It was easy for someone to say that he should have stayed calm, but there had been so much blood upon the floor and his mind had been alight with fear after the attack.
"I just wanted to get away from everything and pretend it never happened, I guess. I went to the park and then I called my cousin," Brian explained, feeling his voice catch slightly. "I thought he was dead and I was scared. I've never hurt anyone before and…"
To his shame, the tears had finally found their way out of his eyes and the sobs were now trying to escape from his mouth. He broke off and stopped to wipe them away as well as to try and regain his breathing which had increased to a rasp almost as he thought of the man lying upon his carpet.
"And when you got back the body was gone?" Fren said, ignoring Brian's despair.
Brian nodded and sniffed slightly to try and clear his mind and his throat.
"Did this man you 'killed' have an accomplice? Someone who he was working with?" Peters asked, his tone more gentler than that of his partner. "Maybe he moved the body after you left."
Brian shook his head. "He was alone in my house. There was nobody else," he replied, his voice still sounding hoarse.
"But he must have had a vehicle of some kind. Did you see anything?"
"I - I didn't notice anything. There's always lots of cars in the street though."
"I think you've had enough for today," Peters said sympathetically just as Fren was about to jump in with another question. "Thank you for your time, Mr. Littrell."
Brian looked up at them both as Peters fiddled with the tape recorder. Today was over with, but they would be back with more accusations. Even Brian was not sure what to think anymore. He had killed and yet it had only been an accident. He had been frightened and confused… was he really going to be punished for that?
Brian watched Fren and Peters leave and it was almost as if they were taking his freedom with them. He was going to go to prison, he knew he was.
He wrapped his arms about his knees to turn himself into a small ball and then he allowed the sobs to come.
"What do you think?" Peters asked Fren as they left the ward.
It had been a confusing investigation from the beginning. Lots of blood, two knives and a man unconscious in the hospital. How could they decipher this one?
"The guy's a murderer. Body disappearing? I don't think so!" Fren snorted. "He probably buried the poor geezer in the backyard!"
"You really believe that? He seemed pretty shaken to me," Peters replied. "Anyway, according to his story it was self defence."
"Does self defence include killing somebody?"
"The man pulled a God damn carving knife out on him! Besides the evidence we have already fits his story. Remember the blood we found in the payphone and in the park when we first got called out? Well, that fits with Brian running away plus the woman opposite him says she saw him leaving the house at a run, alone! I think she would have mentioned if he was carrying a body!"
"Maybe she didn't see right."
"Joe, he'd just been stabbed! He couldn't have carried a body in his condition! Give it a rest, the guy is innocent. You just wanna send a popstar to jail."
"I don't see why they should get let off the hook so easily!" Fren shot back venomously. "We shouldn't be giving him special treatment!"
Was Brian Littrell truly a murderer? He certainly didn't look like one and he had been trembling ever since the police arrived. If he was lying, he was certainly a good actor.
"We're not giving him anything anybody else wouldn't have! A normal person with that story, and we'd call it self defence and say no more about it."
"He was playing up to it! If his story is true, then where's the body?" Fren pointed out.
That was the only mystery. Brian sounded certain that he had murdered him, but Peters could not believe that. He had been trembling ever since they had arrived and was clearly very shaken up and upset. If he was lying, then he would have to be one hell of an actor to pull such a convincing act.
He sighed slightly. No matter what his personal feelings were, a missing body was an important question and it needed answering.
"All right, have it your way," Peters agreed. "Get a team to search the yard, his house and the surrounding area, but I don't think you'll find anything. That guy is not a murderer."
"I'm a murderer! I'm a murderer!" Brian sobbed, cradling his head in his hands.
He had watched Peters and Fren throughout the entire interrogation and he knew that they were laughing at him. They couldn't wait to pack him off to the nearest prison cell to see how he fared with all the criminals. How hilarious would it be if a Backstreet Boy got sent to jail?
Kevin was now back with him, having rushed in as soon as he saw the police leaving. His presence only made the pain inside of Brian burn even fiercer though, as he would be alone when he went to prison and there would be no Kevin to help him through it. This might be one of the last times he could ever talk to his cousin without being watched by suspicious eyes.
"No you're not!" Kevin argued, placing a hand upon Brian's arm. "It was either him or you and it was an accident!"
Brian stared up at Kevin through tear blurred eyes. It was an accident… that's all it had been, but the police didn't believe him.
"I'm gonna go to jail!" he sobbed.
Kevin wrapped his arms about him. "If they send you down, then I'm coming with you," he said. "I won't ever let you go alone."
Brian wiped his eyes on the back of his hand as he leaned against Kevin's shoulder. "They wouldn't let you," he replied. "If I do go to jail, then you won't be able to help me. I'd be alone."
Alone. He would be alone in a dark, prison cell surrounded by other murderers. He wondered what it would be like to wake up to the same, dull cracked walls every morning and know that outside there was a better world with the shining sun and the freedom. He would never know that again. He would be locked away until everyone forgot about him.
He began to cry. Thick drops of tears rained from his eyes and his body contorted with the sobs that shook him.
"Kevin, don't let them send me down!" he sobbed. But he knew that Kevin could not help him.