The first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was the sole of a cowboy boot on the floor inches from his face. As he pushed himself up, a wave of nausea swept through him, sending him back down. His head hurt. He put his left hand to his temple and recoiled at the resulting stab of pain when he touched the throbbing wet spot. He tried once more to get up, slowly this time, and had managed a sitting position when the smell hit him. It was a foul mixture of earthy metal and body waste. He knew immediately what that meant and struggled to focus, to be alert, defensive. It was then that he noticed the knife in his hand, a butcher knife—a bloody butcher knife. He struggled to his feet and backed away from the man attached to the cowboy boot…
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His clothes had been taken for evidence and replaced by what looked to him like baggy orange hospital scrubs. The interrogation room was like most he had seen, except brighter and cleaner. A woman in a gray pants suit stood against the far wall as the corrections officer, or C.O., led Matt to a table in the center of the room. He could smell the coffee that steamed in a paper cup in front of him.
The gray pants suit walked to the table as the C.O. closed the door. She pulled out the metal chair. It made a sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. They both winced. She glanced at the coffee and said, “I hope you take it black. I’m Detective Haskie. How’s the head?”
Matt shifted in his chair. His was bolted to the floor. “I’ll live.”
“You’ll live.” She smiled. “That’s an interesting response since the other guy didn’t.” Haskie flipped open a light green folder and consulted a stack of papers. “How well did you know the victim, Mr. West?”
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