Two guards brought Bates into the conference room, one on each arm. Full of Haldol, he walked with a slow, shuffling gait, concentrating on the floor. They put him in a chair, pushed it up to the plastic table and left.
“Hello, Mr. Bates. I’m Melissa Frye, your court-appointed attorney,” said a slight young woman sitting across from him. He raised his head slowly to look back at her. Smooth black skin, somewhat large eyes, hair swept up in a complicated swirl pinned with a flower. “I need to know,” she continued, “How many people you’ve killed.”
He frowned, moved his lips, and counted on his fingers; then subsided into immobility. “Mr. Bates!”
He started over again. She watched, and interrupted, “What happened to your right hand?”
He held it out and stared at it, as if he’d never seen a hand before. It was scarlet. He compared it to his other hand. He opened his shirt and peered down the sleeve; the inflammation reached nearly to the shoulder.
He looked up, face registering slow anxiety.