The first time I saw Mara Shawl I remember thinking ‘How can a girl so slight, have done something so horrific?’
She was sitting on a cold, metal police chair in a tiny cement box that the Boston P.D. deemed an integration room. She was slight and had red hair that hung down just past her shoulders. She had her hands gripping the metal table in front of her, her knuckles were white as she held on for dear life.
“Hello Miss Shawl,” I said in my best ‘I’m an attorney, appointed by the state, I’m your friend’ voice.
“Mara,” she whispered.
“Excuse me?” I asked as the door was flung open behind me.
“Welcome, Haubrey,” a rather stout police officer said.
He looked around mid forties and had a gut that hung over his uniform. His chocolate skin was in direct contrast to the late twenties police officer that came in behind him.
“Pleasure to meet you, Mr Haubrey,” she said. Her pretty blonde hair seemed to shine under the fluorescent strip lighting than hung above us. Her lips were full and her body was trim in her police uniform. She was gorgeous, a real babe. I took a mental snap, saving it for later.
“Interview, Shawl, Mara beginning at 21.09 on September fourteenth, 2014. I am Detective Bunton and this is Officer Minley,” he said, indicating to the stunning blonde at his side.
“Good evening Miss Shawl, would you like to tell us about what happened tonight?”
“Mara,” she repeated, just as quietly as she had whispered to me.
“Louder, please, for the tape,” the blonde officer said softly.
Mara’s shoulders seemed to tense up a little as looked up to the officers infront of her.
“Mara,” she said more clearly this time, “I prefer Mara to Miss Shawl.”
“O.K., Mara,” the male detective said, “would you like to enlighten us as to what happened to Miss Elessen and Miss Gurrter tonight?”
I was slightly stunned as to how confident her voice was and how well spoken she seemed to be. It was apparent that she was wise beyond her years. Fitting, for the crime she was being interrogated over.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said turning her face back down to her knees. The pale ivory dress she was wearing was covered in dirt and blood. Her face seemed freshly washed but small clumps of Earth still lingered in her hair.
“Unfortunately, that’s not an option young lady,” the female officers voice had noticeably hardened. “A very serious incident occurred this evening and you are the only person found at the scene. We need to find out what happened to those two girls, your friends, and soon. We will ask you again,” she leaned in close to Mara, “what happened to Polly and Rita?”
“Woah,” I chimed in, “lets remember that Mara is a young girl herself. We have no idea what she’s seen or what she’s been through. Lets not treat her like a suspect, huh?”
“Of course, Haubrey,” he looked at me like he thought I was an idiot. To be fair I did sound like one. Of course she was a suspect.
“Mara,” he looked at me pointedly as he asked this next question, “how did you get covered in so much mud? And the blood, could you tell us where that came from?”
His point was made.
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” she looked dead ahead as she spoke. Not at the officers in front, I got the feeling that she wasn’t looking ahead so much as desperately trying not to look behind her.
“You haven’t spoke about it at all, Miss Shawl,” Officer Minley said sternly.
“Did I stutter bitch!” she slammed her hands on the table as she shouted at the stunned officer, “No I didn’t, why don’t you take your fucking questions to a cunt that gives a damn?” She started laughing manically before she regained her composure.
She looked stricken as she placed her hands back on the table.
“Sorry, sorry I didn’t mean to -,” she started to cry as her head rested on the table.
“Come on now, come ssshhh,” I said softly to her, the sight of a little girl in distress was not something I enjoyed. It evoked a usually dormant sentimental side of my personality. I reached over to put my hand on her shoulder and she snapped her head round in my direction and looked at me with such fear that I was frozen with my hand mid air.
She mouthed what looked like ‘Don’t touch my back’ before resting her forehead back onto the table in front.
“Mara, is something scaring you?” I asked.
She didn’t respond. I looked at the detective who seemed to be reaching the end of his tether.
The silence was solid but only for the humming of the tape recorder resting against the wall. I barely had time to question why such an old fashioned method of voice taping was being employed before a loud knock on the door shattered the relative silence around us.
“Come in!” Detective Bunton shouted to the closed door.
“You’re going to want to see this,” a large breasted brunette woman said as she poked her top half through the interrogation door.
I should have became a police officer if this is what the women look like.
“Interview pausing at 04.22 due to Officer Hyron calling at the door,” he spoke to the tape before pressing a button that paused the recording.
“Excuse me,” he said leaving Officer Hinley in the room with us.
I stayed quiet, trying to listen into the conversation beyond the door. Hinley seemed to be staring at something that she couldn’t quite see behind Mara. Mara’s eyes remained fixed on the wall behind the seat Bunton had just vacated.
My head began to ache. I’d just got over a severe cold recently but the migraines remained. I pulled some paracetamol from my pocket and popped two. No one in the room even seemed to notice that I had moved. I dry swallowed the pills as they left a bitter taste across my tongue.
Bunton came back in, his face a pale white – almost like chalk. He sat down with such force I thought he would break his chairs legs. Mara’s back straightened, we were about to find out something gruesome. And she knew.
“Let me tell you what I know, hmmm?” he said, “shall I Mara?”
“If you-“ she was interrupted.
“What I know is that two girls were murdered tonight. I know that they were in a tent in Rita’s back garden. I know that you went up to the tent in the middle of the night, you left footprints in the snow. I know that Rita’s mother heard a scuffle outside at around 01:02 am and she looked out her bedroom window and all she could see was you climbing over her garden fence, the tent ripped to shreds.
“I also know that I now have a morgue with two girls. Both of them almost torn apart, their faces cut and sliced so violently that there was almost no skin left on Polly’s face and Rita’s eyes were both punctured.
“However, do you know what I don’t know?” I heard him say as I felt the paracetamol nearly come back up. The bile was bubbling away and ready to surface at a moments notice.
“What I don’t know is how a girl of only eleven years old could carry out such an attack?” he leaned forward, “I also don’t know where the weapon is that was used to carry out the horror inflicted on those two young girls.”
“But do you know what I would really like to know Miss Shawl?” his hands were almost reaching out to her own. I saw as she flicked her eyes behind her, as if something was breathing on her neck. I could almost see the hairs move.
“What I don’t know, and would most like to find out, is who the footprints belong to that accompany yours in the snow? They lead up to the tent but, for some reason we can’t explain, only your footprints lead away.
“So tell me Miss Shawl, just who was with you in the snow when those girls were murdered?”