Outwardly, he looked calm, but there was a distinct light in his eyes. It was unpleasant to watch; it spoke of greed, lust and violence.

She shifted in her seat slightly, glancing down at the recorder to make sure it was still going.

He stopped speaking and turned that look on her.

“What happened next,” she prompted, trying to keep her face completely passive.

He leaned forward, looking past – no, through her as he remembered.

“I knew it was too risky to do it right there,” he said. “Anybody could’ve come along. So I grabbed her. Dragged her away. I mean, she were tiny, I could lift her with one arm, so I had the other free to keep her quiet.”

She didn’t want to hear this. She didn’t want to hear the details. It was bad enough that she’d already seen the crime scene photos, she didn’t want to hear it from him.

But she had to sit there, face passive, watching the recorder, while he recounted exactly what he had done to that little girl.

Eventually, he stopped and leaned back, a grin on his face.

She looked up at him. “So, how do you feel about it now?”

“Much better, to be honest,” he said. “Talking about it, it’s – what’s the word…”

“Cathartic?”

He nodded enthusiastically. “That’s the one. I mean, keeping schtum through the search and the investigation and the trial and all that, that’s one thing, but finally being able to talk about it, it’s, it’s like a weight off, you know?”

Her throat was dry. She swallowed uncomfortably and nodded.

“So, it’s worth it, right? The story, I mean, it’s worth the five grand, yeah?”

She smiled thinly. “I’ll have to take it past my editor, but yes, I think we can do something. If you come to the office at nine o’clock tomorrow morning, we should be able to give it to you then?”

She gathered her things and left as quickly as possible. She forced herself to drive calmly around the corner before pulling up out of sight, attaching the recorder to her laptop and quickly making a copy. One for her editor – she had promised his story would be in the paper and by God it would, this was going to be the biggest exclusive of her career – but her conscience dictated that a copy go to the cops, too.

She thanked her stars that the idiot had heard of double jeopardy, and thanked them again that he didn’t know it no longer applied. He was going to get quite the welcome in the morning.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: The Three Word Wednesday prompts this week are Cathartic, Jeopardy and Risky.)

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