Authors: Roger Hayden
The Decay: Episode Three
As the World Burns
This is a standalone book but episode 1 is available here for FREE:
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Table of Contents
Sacha awoke with his face resting on the table in the empty interrogation room at the NYPD's 20th precinct. A small puddle of drool had formed underneath his mouth. He slowly raised his head and rubbed his eyes. His face and neck were sore from the stilted position he had been sleeping in for the past couple of hours. The detectives, Captain Banks and Lieutenant Harris, had been questioning him since the deadly afternoon bombing of the New York Stock Exchange, later referred to as the Wall Street Bombing. Then they had simply vanished.
It got to the point where Sacha stopped caring about the surveillance camera in the room or what any of the detectives thought of him. He knew he had done nothing wrong and felt they were holding him on false pretense, however, he was not an American citizen, and wasn't entirely sure of his rights as a foreign tourist. Before he passed out, Sacha had tried the door, but it was locked. He pounded on it several times and even considered kicking it in. The door was constructed of thick steel and immovable. Had they forgotten about him? What could they possibly have been talking about for so long?
Under the circumstances, Sacha had expected that he would be waiting a while in the throes of the law, but his patience was coming to an end. The worst part was being held in limbo. A stroke of bad luck and now infinite purgatory, so it felt. He hadn't been charged with anything, but the detectives had their suspicions. Sacha had been outside the New York Stock Exchange following the blast that killed over twenty brokers and traders, and injured over eighty. He was detained by authorities not long after he rose from the hard pavement outside the building following an intense explosion.
His disheveled appearance and raggedy clothes immediately drew attention to him as an outsider with little ties to the financial sector. They discovered that he wasn't American, and before he knew it, he was in a police van with several other hapless individuals. One of detained men glanced at Sacha from the bench on the other side. He man wore a grease-stained blue jumpsuit with a patch that read:
. He looked at Sacha from under a dark mass of wild curls on his head and smiled.
When Sacha woke in the interrogation room, he wasn't sure how much time had passed. It could have been hours, or even days. In sheer frustration, Sacha looked up at the camera watching him from an enclosed bubble in the corner of the room.
"Did you forget about me?" he asked with his arms outstretched.
He paced in circles. He sat back down then stood up and paced again. He walked over to the door and hit it several times.
"Is there anyone home?" he shouted.
He held his ear to the door and listened. He could hear barely audible movement, footsteps, it seemed. He strained to hear any distinct sound—talking perhaps—or maybe the voices of the detectives coming back from a heavily extended lunch break.
Outside the interrogation room it was a different picture. The NYPD were evacuating the precinct and large commotion was in the air. Endless and panicked chatter on both office landline and cell phones filled the entire department. Police officers, detectives, administrators, and clerks gathered their belongings while talking over each other, some into their ear piece and others with their phones wedged between their shoulder and chin. They grabbed laptops, briefcases, badges, weapons, and anything else they could get their hands on.
Their movements were orderly, but rushed. The precinct chief stepped out of his office and called to a group of fully-uniformed police officers. They promptly walked into his office and shut the door. Captain Banks and Lieutenant Harris had just exited the office as the others piled in. They maneuvered through the clamor in the department making their way to the long hall towards the interrogation room.
It had been several hours since they had spoken to Sacha, one out of a dozen or so suspects apprehended following the Wall Street bombing. They had been interviewing suspects throughout the day and Sacha had been the only who struck them as being the least likely involved, though they weren't too sure.
"This is unbelievable. I mean, I heard what the Captain said, it's just not registering. It's impossible," Lieutenant Harris said as their heels clicked against the tile floor.
"Did you call your wife?" Captain Banks asked.
"Of course I did, how about you?" Harris replied.
"You know it."
"How did she take it?"
"How do you think she took it?"
Lieutenant Harris didn't answer. They came to the interrogation room where Sacha was being held, but stopped before entering.
"I nearly forgot about this guy," Harris said.
"Don't beat yourself up over it. We've got a lot on our minds," Banks said.
"So what are we going to do with him?" Harris asked.
"He's a suspect in a terrorist attack. We have to follow federal protocol," Banks answered. Lieutenant Harris breathed in heavily.
"Well, let's do it, then," he said.
They walked into the room. Sacha jerked his head up from its resting spot on the table. "Rise and shine, Mr. Kaminski," Harris said.
Sacha raised his head from the desk and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Again, he wasn't sure how much time had passed since he last woke.
"How long have I been here?" he asked the detectives.
They looked at each other, then back to Sacha.
"I apologize for the wait, there have been some recent developments, which we will explain to you in a moment," Banks said.
Harris pulled a chair from under the table and sat. Sacha looked at both detectives again noticing their lack of eye contact or specifics. He wasn't getting a good vibe from either of them.
"Do I need to get a lawyer or something? Have I been charged with anything?" Sacha rested both his arms down on the table in frustration. "I just want to know what's going on."
Banks took a seat next to Harris. Harris looked up from his notebook to address their suspect. "Mr. Kaminski, to answer your question, no, you have not been charged with anything. But you haven't been cleared either. You are being detained on suspicion of aiding or abetting a terrorist attack--"
"That's ridiculous," Sacha interrupted.
"Those are the facts, as we know them, that's all. Once we get into the matter of terrorism, it becomes a federal law enforcement issue, literally out of our hands."
"Yes, Lieutenant Harris is correct. Earlier today we were supposed to get a visit from an agent from the Department of Homeland Security. That is why you were being held, but now everything has changed and we're currently under a national crisis."
Sacha leaned in closer, trying to see what the men were getting at.
"What do you mean,
everything has changed
"We don't have a lot of time here," Harris said after looking at his watch.
"There are many things we're not at liberty to discuss, given your status, but what you need to know is that an official city-wide evacuation has been mandated," Banks said.
"What are you taking about?" Sacha asked. "Why?"
"There have been several unverified reports of further attacks that could inflict harm to the entire city," Banks responded.
"Attacks from where? How could that be possible?" Sacha asked with an exasperated tone.
"Maybe you could answer some of those questions for us," Banks said, leaning in closer.
Sacha face shifted to a deep grimace.
"I have told you gentlemen time and time again that I had nothing to do with the bombing on Wall Street. Nothing! Now if something else is going on, I can assure you that I have nothing to do with that as well. And if my life is in some kind of danger, then I would implore you to tell me what's going on."
"We're talking about nuclear attacks here, Mr. Kaminski. “Dozens throughout the United States," Banks hollered into the air.
Harris turned his head to Banks with a look of surprise.
"And you want to tell me that you know nothing about it?" Banks asked.
"The time for games is over. Tell us what we want to know before these attacks catapult us into the next World War!" Banks pushed himself close to Sacha's face, then slowly backed away while taking a deep breath. Harris looked at his partner with a perplexed expression. He didn't want to correct a superior in front of a suspect, so he chose his words carefully.
"I think we've asked all we can ask, Sir. We're going to have to let Homeland take it from here."
Sacha couldn't believe what he was hearing. They still believed him to be capable of the atrocities described. He placed both palms calmly on the table before him and spoke.
"I am not a terrorist. I do not know any terrorists. I have no clue what you're talking about. I'm a tourist visiting legally on a visa. If this city is in danger, I should be allowed to return home as I have no information or knowledge to provide."
"Not a chance," Banks said.
"Unfortunately, Mr. Kaminski, all flights have been grounded, indefinitely," Harris added.
Sacha moved uncomfortably in his seat. He scratched his head through his thick black hair in frustration.
"I want to go home. I do not want to be here in custody any longer. Please, gentlemen, I am innocent of any wrong doing. Perhaps I can be relinquished to the nearest Embassy and sent home. I have a family."
"I thought you said you were single?" Lieutenant Harris asked.
"I'm not talking about a wife and kids. I have parents, brothers, sisters. Everyone I know is back home in Poland. You have to let me see them," Sacha pleaded
"We're not going to bullshit you," Harris said. "We have no idea how a city-wide evacuation of over eight million people could possibly work out. I will tell you this, it's not pretty out there."
"Yes, but where is everyone going to go? Where am I going to go?"
"You'll be transported on a bus under close security to a temporary holding center," Captain Harris said.
Only half of what the detectives said had made any sense to Sacha. He could understand the words, obviously, but none of it sounded real, or even remotely possible. He wondered if perhaps it was an interrogation tactic. Maybe the more desperate they made him, the more, they felt, he would talk. Could he believe a word they said? What was their game here? He was even more confused than when they first brought him in.
being evacuated. That much we know," Harris said.
"All of the Big Apple, if you can believe it," Banks added.
Sacha grew frustrated to the point of tears.
"What does any of this matter if what you're saying is true? If someone is at war with America, that has nothing to do with me. It seems that you have much more to worry about than what I know, which is nothing. I want to speak to a lawyer, someone who can get me out of this and back home."
Harris rose from his seat and walked over to Sacha.
"As Captain Banks said, we don't have much time. We need to get you on a bus, quickly."
Sacha stood up and slammed his fist on the table. "Where are you taking me?" he demanded.
"On a bus," Lieutenant Harris answered.
"Yes, I know that. I mean where am I going? Where is the bus going?"
"We can't divulge any more information," Banks said.
"I'm sorry, I think we've said enough as it is," Harris chimed in.
"You've told me nothing but a bunch of wild claims and excuses," Sacha said.
"We should really get moving," Harris said after placing a hand on Sacha's shoulder.
The uncertainty of his next location made him feel worse. He hoped that everything was an elaborate joke, but it seemed less likely with every new discovery. Maybe they were trying to break him with some type of psychological tactic. Sacha could remember in the American detective shows that sometimes they would release a suspect in just to see where he went. Instead, they were taking him somewhere new without a single charge. Sacha wanted to fight, he wanted to scream of his innocence and the injustice being lodged against him, but, instead, he said nothing. Captain Harris walked to the door and opened it. A dark hallway awaited them. "After you," Harris said, gently pushing Sacha ahead.
As they led him out, Sacha could hear growing commotion beyond the hallway. It seemed as if every phone in the building was ringing. The precinct was in an uproar, people ran back-and-forth. Swat teams geared. There was an endless array of conversation, shouting, and instruction. Sacha could barely keep up with it. Lieutenant Harris kept his hand on Sacha's shoulder and pushed him forward, through the crowd. The precinct captain walked out of his office. "Banks, Harris, in my office now!" he shouted. Captain Harris turned to address him. "One minute, sir. We just have to get this suspect on the bus." "Well, make it snappy, that bus is about to leave."
Police officers swiftly moved past Sacha, gearing up for war, it seemed. He did his best to move throughout the chaotic atmosphere without running directly into anyone, but had no clue which direction to go. Bank's back was his main view.