***Spoiler Alert!!!!*** This post contains information about my story Innocence. If you haven’t read it, click here before reading on.
As I near Tinsley’s hospital room I’m stopped by an officer.
“No reporters allowed.”
“I’m a writer, not a reporter.”
“I’m sorry, miss. I can’t let you in.”
“Why are you guarding her room?”
“This is an open case, ma’am. I can’t discuss it.” He glances around and shakes his head.
“May I speak to her mother?”
“Isn’t there any way for me to speak to Tinsley?”
“Not until the case is closed. Even then, please, have some mercy on Tinsley.” His jaw tightens, his eyes pleading with me. “That little girl needs to put this behind her, and with people hurling a million questions at her, she’ll never be able to.”
I think about the officer’s sympathy and the tension in my shoulders lessens. as I get back into my car my phone begins to ring. “Hello?”
“Hello, again. I wanted to call and thank you for visiting my niece.”
“Who is this?”
“I’d think you’d know the name of a man you’ve featured before. Since you’ve forgotten, you can call me The Architect.”
My heart tenses and speeds. “Why are you calling me?”
“I thought I would give you the interview my niece cannot. I do so love the spotlight you shine on my work.”
“Tinsley is your niece?”
He giggles. “Yes. My brother, in all his infantile wisdom, decided to keep her from me.”
“Did you know about the terrible conditions she and her mother were being kept in?”
“No. I wasn’t even aware of her existence until she was discovered.”
I let out a slow breath to keep my voice from shaking as I try to scribble down his answers. “One reader did ask why your brother was hiding her.”
“To put it succinctly, I would have killed her had I known about her sooner. Children are dirty, loud, unnecessary nuisances to my line of work.”
“Why did he hide her in that disgusting place?”
“Because it has zero technology within a mile of it. No traffic cameras, no cellphone reception, it’s not even on a Google map. I tried to find it after she and her mother had been found and I couldn’t. He even thought not to disturb the floor plan too much so as not to alert the owners of the building they were there. I was surprised the idiot had been smart enough to hide them so well.”
I hear the smile in his voice. “Are you going to hurt Tinsley now?”
“Innocent Tinsley is in my good graces.”
“My brother will be easier to control, as will her mother. As long as they behave, her life will be like that of any other normal child—once she catches up.”
“Last question, aren’t you worried the police will use your brother to find you?”
He laughs. “They can try if it pleases them, but there’s nothing connecting me to any broken laws. If anything they’d arrest my brother. Now that I’ve answered your questions, do me a favor, will you?”
“I’ve left a doll by the front door of the hospital, take it to Tinsley, and tell my brother to let her have it. She needs something cleaner than the rag she’s used to.”
“The officer guarding her won’t let me in.”
“Of course he will. That’s my brother.”
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview. Want to see where The Architect got his start? Click here to read the story that started it all Plans.