Well, it's not a lead, but it's sure as hell something.
I'm just not sure what to make of it.
Some mother called in to report that her son was acting bizarre. Staying in his room more when he used to go out almost every night, acting moody and reserved, sometimes violent. The final nail in the coffin was when she came in and saw that he had drew all over his wall, the same circles in “X's” like a messed up game of Tic-Tac-Toe.
That was enough for us. So they brought him in for us to question. Me and Lizzie watched him through the glass for about twenty minutes before we finally went in, just trying to figure him out.
His name is Sam Ford, sixteen-year-old brown-haired green-eyed kid with freckles dotting his face like a game of connect the dots. Maybe once upon a time he was outward and friendly and just a ray of sunshine for the world to see, but now he looked like an empty shell of a human, bones and limbs but no soul to operate them. His eyes just stared blankly at the table until we came in, and even when he looked at us it was like looking in the eyes of someone who had just died. For some reason, I felt chills go up my spine.
The following is the conversation as it happened in its entirety. I basically came here to write it all out because I didn't want to forget a word of it; there was too much mystery wrapped around it to let it just rattle around in a brain that drops everything the minute he steps in the door to his house. I'm starting to think this was the underlying reason that Lizzie had when she made this.
I put pauses in where they belonged, so you can get an idea what went on when this happened:
Lizzie: Sam? I'm Detective Armeen, this is Detective Strahm.
(Thirty second pause)
L: Your mom asked us to meet with you. She's very concerned. She says you've been acting strange lately...
(Forty second pause)
L: We'd like to ask you a few questions, if you wouldn't mind. About...well, about you, I suppose.
(A minute pause. He looked up at her with that same haunted look. It was at this point that I took over)
Strahm (me): Sam, right? You go by Sammy, Samuel, or just Sam?
Ford (so you can tell one “S” character from the other): ...Sam.
S: Alright, Sam. Tell us when all this started.
(Five minute pause. He closes his eyes and scrunches his face up as if reliving a nightmare. Lizzie turns on the tape recorder)
F: It started three months ago...I was skateboarding with a few of my friends out by my house...we built this skating rink for my fifteenth birthday...I had just landed a trick when I looked out towards the treeline...and that's when I saw HIM...
S: Him? Him who?
(There's another five minute pause. I should mention here that he mentions a “HIM” several times during the conversation, always putting an emphasis on HIM and HE, yet every time I try to get him to elaborate he refuses to respond; almost as if he's trying to bury the identity so that HE doesn't come back for him.)
F: At first, I didn't think anything of it...my friends saw HIM too, but we just thought it was some guy standing around...then two nights later I caught HIM staring through my window...and then I head HIM...
S: He talked to you?
F: No...the voices were in my head...next thing I knew, it was morning and I was standing in the middle of my yard...and I had no idea what had happened...that was the first night HE contacted me.
S: He who?
(Ninety second pause. It's almost like he's trying to forget instead of remember. I stand up and lean over the table so that, were his eyes open, he'd see me eye to eye.)
S: Look, kid, your mother just pulled you out of a room that has more cryptic drawings on it than it has actual wallpaper. Two teenage girls are missing, and there is a rising sense of panic growing in their wake. And everything we have found is pointing to this guy, this “HIM” as you keep saying, as being the one behind it. My only questions are who he is, and why he's doing it.
(He opens his eyes and sees me standing there, and right then I see some flicker of an emotion in his pupils. Fear. But it's not from me.)
F: HE comes to me...no matter what I do, I lock the door, I lock the window, I shut the blinds...HE finds me. HE sees me.
S: Who IS he?
F: So eventually, I just stopped sleeping...but HE still came...I can't remember the last three nights...HE's getting stronger.
S: He who? He who? Who are you talking about? Talk to me!
F: HE wants me to do things, and I...I don't want to do them...but I can't control myself...I'm NOT myself...
S: What do you mean? What does he do? Sam, who is doing this?
F: (as if he doesn't even hear me) The angel of death comes for us all...
(At this point, Lizzie takes out Victoria Krell's drawings and places two of them on the desk. One is of the Spider-Demon chasing the two kids, the one straight from the sketchbook. The other is of the weird X in the circle that keeps popping up.)
(The minute he saw them, Sam started to freak out.)
F: NO! NO!
S: Is this the guy who's doing this? Is this him?
F: HE'S HERE! HE'S COMING FOR ME!
S: Who is he? Why does he have eight arms here? Who are the kids he's chasing? Are you one of them?
F: Running running running running running it doesn't matter I'll just keep running until HE gets me.
S: What's with the symbol? What does it mean?
F: HIS mark...
S: WHOSE MARK?
F: HE marks us with it...it's his way of telling us...
S: Mark WHAT? WHAT IS HE MARKING?
F: TO LET US KNOW!
S: KNOW WHAT? KNOW WHAT?
(And right then, the room just goes dead quiet. And he gives me this look and his next words just send an ice cold wave flooding down my body:)
F: We're next.
The conversation stopped there. Once we calmed him down he refused to say another word. Lizzie's baffled, and so am I. I've seen some people get hysterical under interrogation, but not the kind of fear that this kid was showing.
Nothing he says makes any sense. All we know for certain is that this guy's a pro, but we still don't know who he is, or why he apparently turns into a Were-Spider when it's just him and the kids. That part still just confuses the hell out of me.
Things I've gathered that also confuse me: His friends saw the guy. They joked about it. So why is it just this one kid? Or is it all of them, and no one's speaking up? I'm going to get the names and we'll go to the parents to check in. I'm pretty sure we'll be able to tell right away if these kids were getting hit up too.
Another thing I don't get is this symbol. Yeah, it's the same one as the others, but what does he mean “mark them?” They're the ones drawing the things, aren't they? So wouldn't that mean they're marking themselves?
And finally, these memory gaps. Three nights just erased from his memory, among countless others...I don't even know where to begin. How the hell do you just not know where you went? Sleepwalking? Or is this guy dragging them out? And the “voices in his head”, what he's telling the kid to do...
Is it hypnosis? Is that how he's doing it? Is he putting these kids under some sort of spell?
We're closing in on a possible suspect, someone acquitted of rape a long time ago, before either of us joined the force. Word is he's still in the city, we just need to track down where exactly.
I'm hoping this guy is the key. If not, I'm not sure where the trail goes from here. In the meantime, the chief's keeping Sam here over night for safekeeping. He's given a solitary cell, two officers standing guard to ensure no one comes for him. Hopefully, this guy will just give him up as a lost cause.
Again, I can't find myself being all that optimistic.