Chapter 35: Police
The police were quite easy-going about having Edie and Professor Lal come along; in fact, the one female cop said that she was glad Corrie had a friend and a responsible adult to go with her. Riding in the back of the police car was uncomfortable, and a longer ride than Edie had expected—they must have been going back to the city, or to some other centralized police department, rather than just the West Ashburn police—but nothing stopped or stalled them.
“Can I talk to Paul?” Corrie asked the female cop as she showed them into the police station. It was quiet, presumably because it was Sunday night; there were just a few cops doing some paperwork at desks in the front area. Edie glanced at a clock on the wall and saw with a small shock that, actually, it was Monday morning, nearly one AM.
The female cop glanced at her partner. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea. He tried to attack you.”
“I don’t really think it was me he was trying to attack,” said Corrie.
“We would very much like to speak to him if possible,” Professor Lal said. “He may be able to tell us things about the attack that ordinary police wouldn’t understand.”
“We’ll see, after Corrie gives us her statement,” said the female cop, but she didn’t look too happy about it.
“And you witnessed the attack, didn’t you?” the male cop said, looking at Edie.
She swallowed. “Yeah. I’m the one who called campus security.”
“Good work. We’d actually like you to give us your statement separately. You’ll be in adjoining rooms and your professor can wait in between so you won’t be too far separated, but we just want to make sure the stories match up.”
“Are we being accused of something?” Corrie asked sharply. “Because if so, I’d like my lawyer.”
“No, of course not,” said the female cop. “We just want to have as many different versions of the story as we can in case this goes to court. You’re not in trouble, but you saw different angles on things.”
Edie glanced nervously at Corrie and Professor Lal. She didn’t want to be separated from them, but she did want to give the cops any information they needed to go after Paul. And it did make some sense that they would want to ask them separately, to make sure they didn’t confuse each other with what they were saying. After a moment, Professor Lal gave her a small nod, staring at her with those inscrutable dark eyes.
Edie sighed. “Okay. We can do that.” She still wasn’t happy about it, but Professor Lal had saved her once before—she trusted the teacher.
“This way,” said the female cop, leading them down a corridor. She walked with Corrie into one room, and after telling Professor Lal to wait there, the male cop led Edie into another. She was reassured to find that though it was obviously an interrogation room, the light in the observation area had been switched on, so instead of a two-way mirror there was just a window leading onto an empty room.
“Our conversation will be recorded, if that’s all right,” said the cop. “You could also write it down if you’d prefer.”
Edie shook her head. “It will be quicker if I just tell you, I think.”
“Great. Any questions before we start?”
“Um…” She squirmed a little, embarrassed, but she didn’t want to tell this guy everything that had happened tonight without knowing anything about him. “What’s your name?”
He grinned suddenly. “Sorry, I guess it got lost in all the excitement, huh? I’m Officer Mustafa. Robin Mustafa. Do you want anything? Glass of water?”
“No. I’d rather just get it over with.” She was thirsty, actually, but she wanted to tell her story as quickly as possible.
Officer Mustafa nodded. “Then you can start whenever you’re ready. Just tell me about what happened tonight. Run it through, starting from when you decided to go outside.”
She explained how Corrie had told them that she’d set up a meeting with Paul to get him to leave her alone once and for all, wishing they’d had a chance to talk together and figure out what story to tell exactly. But something seemed to tell her not to mention magic—Professor Lal hadn’t done so earlier, after all. So she just told the story as though Paul were the stalker he was, and Corrie had finally gotten the courage to tell him off, but she and Dawn wouldn’t let Corrie go alone.
She stumbled on the part when Paul and Corrie had gotten soaked, but the explanation seemed to come to her without her conscious thought when she paused. “There was a firehose,” she said. “The college is really strict about fire-prevention measures. Dawn grabbed it, I guess to push Paul away from her, though the pressure must not have been turned all the way up.”
“That explains the water in winter,” said Officer Mustafa. “Go on.”
“Well, I didn’t see it that well, because I was on the phone with security, but I think Corrie was fighting with Paul. I tried to grab his arm—that’s right, she was trying to take the knife away. We have no idea what happened to the knife. Then Corrie fainted right before the security guards showed up.”
“Did you see what knocked her out?”
There was a strange, insistent voice in Edie’s head telling her to say Corrie had hit her head on the ground. But she’d repeatedly told the hospital staff that she didn’t know why Corrie had been knocked out, and she wasn’t going to change her story now. She pushed it away. “No. I have no idea.”