Good lord, this was taking a lot of time.
"Let's try this again," Anza sighed, rubbing his head with no longer feigned frustration. "You and Billy were seen eating lunch together. Apparently you went to all your classes, but he vanished one class after lunch. Then you and Irwin weren't seen at school for the rest of the day after that. Billy's body was found at five PM in the Pottery Club's industrial oven." He looked at her with emotionless, expressionless eyes, a trick he'd developed to help with interegations. "You feel like talking about how it got there? We've only got an hour and a half before the police are taking you in."
"I have no idea how it got there. I haven't seen Billy since lunch." Her tone was flat, and her dark green, nearly black eyes met his unflinchingly. "And you're welcome to turn me over to the police, Officer."
Anza looked at her with something akin to deeply buried hatred, but said nothing. Officers knew how to keep their mouths shut in times like these. Exiting the closed room, he turned to Folsom and, with a heavy sigh, shook his head. It was seven thirty, and at the end of his shift he'd still yet to crack the girl. She was at home, she said, when she'd left school. Her parents had vouched for her, as had her friend, Irwin. She had actually managed to pass a lie detector test. Her prints were nowhere to be found at the scene. Her record was spotless. She could even lie while making eye contact, something that (according to Ingrid) only one percent of the population was capable of.
"We have got to get her talking," Vallejo said, looking at her file with disdain. "If we can't, we'll have to give the police a Declaration of Innocence."
Ingrid blinked, looking up from where she'd been reading through all of Endsville Middle School's newspapers. "A what?"
"It means we'll have to tell the police we don't think she did it even after through investigation," he explained. "If we give her a DI, they'll close the investigation into her within the hour."
"Well, one of you better get her to crack!" Folsom snapped, looking livid. "I will not let murder go unpunished at my school. Keep her here as long as you have to, just get her to talk!" Storming out, Vallejo couldn't help but notice that she hadn't threatened to disband the Safety Patrol. This was getting to her so badly she couldn't even shout because she was so furious at Mandy.
"Fillmore," Vallejo said, and that was all he had to. His eyes were tired and his face was downtrodden. "Please-"
"No problem," he replied, smiling in what he hoped was a confident manner, "I got this."
"Don't you want to look at her file?" Ingrid asked, confused.
"Nah." He said softly, expression turning dark. "Sometimes the best conversations are ones where you don't know each other."
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Mandy was quiet, unnervingly so. She sat rimrod straight in her chair, arms resting uneasily on the table, looking straight ahead with very well feigned innocence. Everything about her, from the way her feet rested on the floor to her immaculate appearance, was deisgned to throw off guilt. A guilty kid hunched down and made noise, shifted, glared, crossed and uncrossed their legs, and looked like crap. She was the polar opposite of all that the handbook for the SP said she would be. It was no accident, Fillmore knew as he sat down across from her. It was a very purposefully done mask. Too bad for her Fillmore was an expert at cracking that kind of mask.
"So, you're Mandy. Officer Fillmore. Nice to meet you," he said, not taking his eyes off her for a second. "Let's get down to business. You killed Billy."
Her eyes widened slightly. "Isn't it against school policy to accuse me directly?"
"Mandy, school policy doesn't apply to recordings we turn in to the cops," he returned evenly. "So, you killed him. Not very subtle, putting him in an oven. First time?"
A normal kid would have been indignant, scared, horrified, or at least object. Instead, her face remained calm and collected. "I didn't kill him."
"Was he in the way of something, Mandy? And don't tell me," Fillmore said, grinning, holding up a hand to stop her from speaking, "That you've got a clean slate. A pure white record is worse than one that's all black when something big goes down. Was he a liability? Was he gonna squeal on you, let us know about something you'd rather have hidden?"
"You didn't read Billy's profile, did you?" she replied, raising an eyebrow at him. "He was-"
"Mentally retarded, I know. Badly. His grades were on the level of a first grader," Fillmore said, struggling to keep his voice level, "But he wasn't as stupid as you think. He was a good kid, a nice one. He told on kids even after he'd promised to be quiet. He knew right from wrong, even if he couldn't understand two times two. I don't claim that Billy understood what you were doing. I get that the boy was dense. I just think he understood it was wrong."
This stunned the platinum blonde girl into silence. Her heart shaped face was impassive as she forced her hands to unclench and sat up even straighter. Fillmore could see why Irwin was head over heels in love with her. She was beautiful, with her almond shaped eyes and delicate features. Too bad that her mind was so twisted and ugly. Even as she fought down the urge to move and give herself away, Fillmore could tell he'd made the first crack in her perfect little mask. He met her eyes with a cool, collected smile. An hour and twenty minutes left on the clock before she could escape him.
All the time in the world.