Theo is in bed at home in his apartment. The place is a shoebox sized single room with an attached even smaller box where the toilet and shower can be found. It’s nine in the morning and the delivery ‘driver’ only got in a couple hours ago. He’s still fully dressed. All he did was collapse exhausted onto his bed. It took barely a second for him to drift off to sleep. He’s sprawled across his mattress. His boots have soaked the lower region due to how wet they are after having to step out in the rainstorm that is continuing to rage outside. Theo can’t hear it. He’s too far off in the land of nod.
He’s splayed out on his chest with one arm under his two flat pillows while the other is bent at the elbow next to him and over the empty space at his side. It’s a double bed and is as wide as the room itself. That means whenever it is that Theo wakes up he’ll be forced to crawl across the area of damp. Even if he were awake no such thought would pass his mind at the moment. A half smile is ripped across his face. It disappears quickly and is replaced by a blank serene expression. Theo is dreaming. It could be of anything. More than likely it’s more sleep. He gets so little oft times that a full nights rest, during the day, really is a privilege.
The rest of his apartment ignoring the bed is made up of a kitchenette totalling six cupboards, a fridge freezer and a cooker, plus a number of box towers. All the boxes are still full. Theo lives out of them. The only things not in boxes are what he uses most, his clothes. They are hung on a rail he assembled. It has wheels but is never moved. In part the lack of movement is due to the number of boxes packed around its base. The room is pitch-black. There is no natural light. That is one of the few things Theo likes about this apartment as it means he never gets disturbed by sun shining into his eyes and blinding him while he tries to rest. By contrast his en-suite has a window. It’s a tiny square high up on the only partially unoccupied wall of tiles that cover everything except the ceiling. That particular surface has a harsh white light recessed into it. Not that it matters that Theo has a window because even if he opened it all he’d find is another wall. The wall belongs to the adjacent building. It is four inches from the building he’s in.
At one time his apartment had possessed a window but that has long since been blocked up and happened when they extended his complex more than a generation ago.
For once all is quiet, deathly so. If it weren’t the Arden delivery ‘driver’ would have been roused from his slumber. No Bass Bursters, other forms of music, rows, sounds of loud sex or anything else are present to bother him. He should count himself lucky and would if he were conscious. Sadly, the peace isn’t going to last much longer. Not that he is aware of that, as yet.
Suddenly there is a knock at the door. Theo stirs but does not wake. His brow has furrowed and he’s rolled onto his side but that is the extent of his movement in the moments before his mouth falls agape and he begins to snore loudly. The sound rumbles out of his gaping maw, emanating from somewhere at the back of his throat.
Perhaps a minute passes prior to there being a second knock. This time the wrap is harder, more insistent. It’s the kind of knock that demands attention. However, there is no voice to accompany it, and still Theo sleeps. He again twitched in response to the sound but did not rouse.
Finally there is an almighty boom. Theo wakes with a start. His eyes shoot open. His ears ringing tell him this is not a dream. He bolts upright having only recently rolled onto his back. He is facing the door and is greeted with five armed men, their weapons pointed at him. Theo can see nothing but the men’s eyes. They are piercing, staring through him. Theo gulps and realises they might not all be men. He has no way of knowing. Stupid thought, what was the point in that? He doesn’t know. Maybe a distraction meant to divert his attention away from the fact that he has large guns pointed in his face. Suddenly it dawns on him he hasn’t raised his hands. They’re visible but down. He makes sure to keep them visible and outstretched but slowly raises them. No sudden movements, he tells himself. His breathing is short, his chest is heavy; he doesn’t like this one bit. Somehow his fear is nothing compared to the thirst he feels. His mouth is dry and more than anything he wishes he could get a drink. He’d attempt to speak but can’t with how parched he feels at present and so he remains sat there, bent at the waist with his hands raised to a little above the crown of his head. Already his fingers demand he stop because he’s forcing them splayed and its beginning to hurt.
“Are you Theo Castellanos?” One of the voices demands.
Theo can’t tell which due to the balaclava’s covering their mouths. Still, he offers his reply quickly first with a nod and then, “That’s me.” A brief silence hangs in the air. It wasn’t as difficult for Theo to speak as he was expecting and so he queries against his better judgement, “Who are you? And what do you want?” Theo’s voice cracks as the words pass his lips. He knows he is the one saying them and yet they sound foreign to him, as if he is hearing someone else speak them. Yet, the voice is undoubtedly his own. His fingers meanwhile sear and scream he relaxes them, if only a smidge.
“Quiet! We’re asking the questions here.” The same hard male voice spits angrily and just as one of the masked figures eyes flares. Theo can only take a stab at them being the one who is speaking. It’s all he has to go on. The only movement, bar natural swaying, that any of them perform. Not that reaching a conclusion, right of wrong, helps or changes his current situation or feelings toward said situation.
Suddenly a figure appears in the doorway behind the armed masked wearing figures. They’re little more than a silhouette because the room is still bathed in darkness, save for the torch lights being shone in Theo’s direction. Those lights keep him more than half blinded.
It is then that the apartment light flicks on. They are a series of five soft yellow lights arranged in a cluster on the ceiling. Not Theo’s taste at all but sufficient at their job, hence why they have remained. The delivery ‘driver’ winces but urges himself to keep from moving or dropping his hands. He succeeds and when he feels able to look again finds the armed men have backed off. They no longer crowd the foot of his bed but do continue to keep their weapons trained on him.
For reasons he can’t give the blue eyed man looks down to see the red dots shining on his chest. He gets the message, not that it was ever lost on him in the first instance. When he looks up he gets a perfect view of what he can only assume is who he’d seen in silhouette previously as they stand at the foot of his bed now. They are male and are wrapped in a tan coat that ends somewhere below the height of Theo’s bed. On one lapel is a badge and it denotes the man as a police officer. Theo’s eyes shoot up to the face of the man. The officer has swollen eyes that are a deep brown in colour, in addition to thinning dark brown hair. He’s lost no colour in it as yet and looks as though he will go bald first. Still, from the style he has his hair in it is clear the officer isn’t concerned about his loss of hair. It is simply just there. It doesn’t look as though he cares about it but then it is soaked which tells Theo it’s still raining. Not a lot you can do with wet hair to keep it styled unless you have a hat and then… Theo trails off chastising himself for his pointless thoughts.
“Morning Mr Castellanos, I’m detective Elliott Allen.” As the officer speaks his introduction he taps at the badge clearly displayed on his lapel. He does it in a manner that suggests he wishes its presence not to be missed. It doesn’t matter that Elliott is aware Theo glanced at his badge because this is a well versed introduction. The one he always gives without deviation or consideration, and this time has been no different.
“Hello detective.” Theo replies nervously. His blue eyes flit periodically from the drained face of Elliott Allen to the figures with their guns. The eyes movements don’t escape the notice of Elliott and so he addresses the presence of the armed officers.
“Don’t worry about them. Just precautionary is all. They won’t make any sudden movements as long as you don’t. Now, I’m sure you’d like to know why I’m here Mr Castellanos. Is that right?”
Theo nods slowly, purposefully. He is taking great care not to make any sudden movements just like Detective Allen reminded, not that he needed too.
Elliott would chuckle if it were not unprofessional as no the careful movements of Theo are not what he was referring to when he said no sudden movements. Still, he can’t doubt the brown haired man’s compliance while sat on his bed in this shoebox apartment fully clothed.
By comparison Elliott lives in a thankfully larger unit. It’s one of the perks of being a police officer. Yet, unlike his ancestors he doesn’t have a house with a yard. Yards don’t exist; except for the mega rich and only if they want the hassle of being burdened by such a thing. Still, this Theo fellow doesn’t look right for the crime he’s been linked to and Elliott is investigating. Then again, police don’t really investigate anymore. All they tend to do is round suspects up. The judge will preside over the evidence, what little there will be, and then pass judgement based upon it.
“Well, it’s quite simple really. We’re here… because… well you’re under arrest Mr Castellanos.” Elliott shrugs. There was no easy way to put it and sure he could’ve beaten around the bush but what would have been the point? None is the answer and so the detective just came out and said it.
Theo’s jaw drops in response to hearing that he is under arrest. He feels lost, confused, dumbfounded and a whole host of other words which don’t properly convey his shock. A thousand things flow through his mind. None of them are helpful. He feels he should say something but he is lost for words. When his mouth moves finally no sounds comes out. Theo imagines he must look ridiculous and he does. To be frank he looks like a guppy, his mouth flexing open and closed in silence. Elliott would expect no other reaction. He is sure this isn’t their man and yet the decision has been made. There is to be a crackdown on crime and to achieve that officers, detectives included, have to stop thinking and just do. So that is what Elliott is doing. He doesn’t feel good about it but there is always the chance that Mr Castellanos is a good actor. He wouldn’t be the first Detective Allen has come across but if he is then he’s much better than most, maybe he should’ve taken it up as a profession. He really does have the bewildered look in his eyes down pat. The one innocent people who have never done a single thing wrong in their lives have. Yet, orders are orders. If it was a decision of his own making Elliott wouldn’t be able to sleep at night for his treachery and betrayal of the legal process he swore to uphold. He scoffs at the thought of it still inevitably being called that because the reality is that the legal process is dead and gone. He remembers the tail end of when it hadn’t been. That had been when he’d been a rookie. Officers and detectives had still been tasked with investigating crimes then. Not simply arresting the most likely suspect for trial and conviction. Those days are gone and they’re not coming back, at least not in my life time anyway, he reminds himself.
“Put out your hands.” Are the next words that pass Elliott’s lips. Instinctively Theo follows the orders issued unto him. By the time he wonders why he so diligently obliged one of the masked figures is locking cuffs around his wrists. Too late now, is the statement that enters his head. Not that he could’ve done much to change the application of the cuffs really.
As soon as the cuffs are in place Theo hears mechanisms engage and then the cuffs tighten around his wrists until there is no ability for him to move of flex the joints where his arms and hands meet. He wouldn’t call the sensation uncomfortable or painful but he doesn’t like it regardless.
Detective Allen steps back now that the cuffs have been applied, sniffs once and then gestures for several of the armed police to aid the now apprehended suspect. A brief pause hangs in the air during which a blinking exchange is offered. Ultimately a couple of the masked officers descend on the foot of the bed so that they can lean across, grab a hold of one of Theo’s arms each and then haul him forward and off the bed.
“I don’t understand. Why am I being arrested? What is my crime? I’m an innocent man. I work as a delivery driver for Arden. Please someone tell me what I’m supposed to have done. You must know you’re the police.” Theo pleads in desperate protest while being hauled out of the studio apartment that he has been living in.
Elliott sighs and nods. His eyes are pointed to a space between his polished shoes. Just at the edge of his vision he can see the bulge caused by his weapon as it sits beneath his tan coat in its holster along his waist. He really doesn’t like this and rubs at his days’ worth of stubble. The action does nothing to ease, calm or change his mind.
What’s done is done, no changing it, you were only following orders. These are all things he hears the voice in his head say. His subconscious is trying to apply reason and logic to something where there is none, from what Detective Allen knows. He understands why his brain is trying but dislikes it intently for doing so. After all, he shouldn’t be attempting to reason away as to why this man has been arrested. Plus, he should’ve informed him of the charges he is believed guilty of, but he didn’t. Again orders dictate potential criminals are no longer made aware of the charges which they are being apprehended for. The reasoning is something about them being able to find loopholes and alibis that prevent them from being tried if they are. To Elliott it all sounds like excuses. A way to easily have every crime closed with a name attached. Such a thing helps to pad statistics and make the yearly public figure release sound better.
Detective Allen wonders how many innocent people have been found guilty of crimes they knew nothing about and whether Mr Castellanos is one of them. Worry only about what you have control of and nothing else, he reminds himself. The officer makes a final sweep, visually, of Theo’s apartment and then leaves. He can hear Mr Castellanos weeping and mumbling inconsolably and its getting louder now he’s stepped out of the shoebox sized apartment and closing the gap on the armed balaclava wearing officers and the detained man.