Prelude (An Alec Winters Series, Book 1)

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Chapter 8

At police headquarters, Alec was booked. He verified his address and other pertinent information was correct on his driver’s license. He was fingerprinted and his picture taken. After these steps, he was led to an interrogation room. On the way, Danaé Chisholm suddenly appeared.

“What’s going on, Alec?” she asked in surprise. “What are you doing here?’

“He has the right to remain silent, Missy,” the gruff booking sergeant replied.

“Oh, I see,” Danaé responded while taking in the full scene. “I guess he can listen though, right?” She didn’t wait for a response and continued, “Don’t worry, Alec. I’m here to get my father out of the drunk-tank, but as soon as we’re finished, I’ll get you some help. I’ll let your family and friends know.”

“Thanks, Danaé,” Alec glumly replied.

“Chin up, Alec, and don’t worry. Really, your grandfather told me to remind you that everything will be all right.” That news might’ve been comforting if his grandfather was alive, but he wasn’t. He’d been dead for many years. Alec dismissed the comment and tried hard to stave off the dire thoughts of his future.

In the interrogation room, Alec readily disclosed that he had tried to stop his father from raping his sister, but denied killing him. He gave every detail he could remember, but he didn’t mention that he was the cause of Buck’s fright. He didn’t mention Catalina’s reaction either. He knew the men around him would never understand that part of his story…He didn’t fully understand it either. He listened to all the accusations thrown at him and refused to confess to a crime he didn’t physically commit. He obstinately held to the only statement he could make, “I didn’t kill my father. I protected my sister.”

“There isn’t any physical evidence that your sister was in imminent danger or that your father had ever raped her,” DeVry argued.

“She’s at the hospital now,” Alec softly responded. “There will be evidence.”

“How do you think that’s going to help you?” DeVry sarcastically allowed. “If you know this with certainty, how long were you aware of his abuse? Did you use that knowledge to plan his murder on this very night? Was this premeditated?”

“No, I didn’t know that my father abused my sister until tonight.”

“If that’s the case, we have to consider that your father didn’t attack you first. This wasn’t self-defense. Even if he had molested her for months, you weren’t under attack from him. Besides, she might have encouraged him…pretty little thing like that…no one knows for sure whether or not she enticed him to her bedroom.”

“That’s a terrible thing to say!” Alec stormed, nearly losing his resolve to stay calm. “Are you out of your mind? She’s a child…Are you suggesting that she seduced him! Do you think she is responsible for his deviant behavior?”

“I’m suggesting that you initiated this,” DeVry nervously sidestepped the question, avoiding a very slippery slope. “The smart thing to do was to call the police, but you took matters and justice into your own hands. You became the judge and jury. We don’t much care for vigilante justice in Nawlins.”

“No,” Alec said, “you only care about your clearance rate. You don’t care about the truth.”

“You’re the tough-guy, but you smart-alecky types always get what’s coming to you. Let’s see how smart and tough you are when you go to jail for murder. You’re only a few weeks shy of eighteen and I’m going to make sure you’re tried as an adult. No juvie hall for you!”

The intimidation tactics might’ve worked if Alec hadn’t caught a whiff of the vanilla-scented tobacco his Grandfather Saguache had always smoked. The aroma seemed to permeate the room as if his grandfather stood beside him. Did he really tell Danaé that everything would be all right? Alec wondered. Is it possible that I’m not alone? Remembering his ancestral heritage gave Alec renewed courage and hope. A feeling of deep calm settled on the young man, reminding him that more than five generations stood behind him.

“I’ll go to trial and take my chances in court,” Alec quietly contended.

Alec spent the first night in lock-up. His arraignment would take place the following day at three o’clock. If anyone of his friends or family worked to help him, he’d find out the details then. He didn’t expect an outpouring of support. What could his mother do? She was practically useless. What could Cat or Sabrina do? To the authorities, they were only children.

Although he felt completely and utterly alone, he made a decision to hope for a miracle. Surely, the night’s incident had happened for a reason. Even though he wasn’t privy to the motives, he had to hope that there was something bigger at play here.

Alec was understandably confused. The events that had transpired that evening happened very quickly. And yet, in some ways, the entire incident had moved in distressfully, slow and painful motion. Once again, the terrible scene replayed in his mind. He recalled both his father’s terror and his sister’s joy as each looked on his face. Although Cat was there as Buck prayed and called his son a demon, it was as if she wasn’t aware or affected by that conversation. Addled by the experience, the only thing he knew for sure was that the occurrence had drastically changed each of their lives forever.

In the meantime, Danaé risked a lot to alert Alec’s friends to his situation. As late as it was, she first climbed the balcony of Sabrina’s home and tapped on her bedroom window to awaken her. “Come on…Alec has been arrested for the murder of his father. We have to help him if we can,” Danaé urged. Then, while Sabrina waited on the lawn, she did the same to Chaz. Together, they hurried to the Winters’ home, but as teens, they weren’t allowed to enter.

“This is a crime scene. Get back and stay back,” an officer gruffly ordered.

“We’re here to see Mrs. Winters,” Danaé explained.

“They’re at the hospital. Go home. This is no place for you youngsters. Now, clear the area.”

The three teenagers went across the street, but they refused to leave. The officer on duty didn’t have an extra patrolman he could order to take them home so he simply ignored them. From the sidelines, they held vigil. Huddled together, they waited for either the police to finish and clear out or for Cassidy and Catalina to return from the hospital. They wanted answers, but since they were only kids, no one would give them any.

The cops finally turned off their blue flashing lights. Then, they went about the business of photographing the home and collecting evidence. A few neighbors were still outside determined to watch the catastrophe to its conclusion, but otherwise, things were quiet on Carrollton Avenue.

“Danaé, are you sure you heard this right?” Chaz worried as he looked across at the Winters’ home. “Who else is hurt? Why are the others at the hospital? Is Buck Winters really dead? Maybe they’re at the hospital because he’s still alive.”

“I was at the precinct to pick up my father from the drunk-tank. I saw Alec after he was arrested and I heard the charges against him. Some of the police officers insisted that he killed his father, although, I did hear several others comment that he was only protecting his sister. That’s all I know.”

“Protecting her from what? From whom?” Chaz anxiously questioned.

“But are they really accusing him of killing his father?” Sabrina tearfully asked.

“They are,” Danaé solemnly reported. “They really are. No one would tell me anything else. I suppose I could go to the hospital to check on Mrs. Winters and Catalina, but it’s been hours now and I expect them home very soon. Maybe I’ll talk to those neighbors over there.” As she was about to leave, Martin Saguache appeared.

“They’re on their way now,” he advised.

Danaé turned back to continue waiting with Chaz and Sabrina, but she didn’t add anything else to the conversation. She couldn’t admit that she had seen the long-dead Martin Saguache at the precinct where they held Alec. She could never reveal that Alec’s grandfather had told her the entire sorry story. She couldn’t acknowledge that the Saguache elder now stood only a few feet away either. The others would have to wait to hear the rest of the story from Cassidy.

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