The Whole Truth

This little story was inspired by a prompt from Tomi Adeyemi’s site.

**

“You only heard his side,” Mykolas Balchunas said, his voice strained.  He slapped fisted hands down on the table and shook his head.  “You don’t know the truth.”

Detective Hale frowned at Balchunas.  Normally, he was such a mild-mannered person.  He ran a café.  He baked cookies and made regional food.  He should be the last sort of person to have repeated run-ins with the police.  Yet, somehow, here he was once again.  This time, he was even sitting in an interrogation room.

Actually, it was showing Detective Hale a side of the quiet baker that he’d never imagined.  Blachunas might be placid and easy-going when he was dealing with customers at his café.  However, when he felt like there was an injustice going on, he wasn’t the sort to back down.  He was not a push-over and he wouldn’t allow anyone to run rough-shod over him.  He was quiet, but he had nerves of steel.

“I haven’t heard your side of things,” Detective Hale said, nodding.  His brows furrowed.  “Your side of the things is more truthful than his is?”

Balchunas clenched his jaw and seemed to take a moment to center himself.  When he spoke again, it was in his normal, gentle tones.  “There are things he doesn’t know,” he said, shaking his head.  “He told the truth as he saw it, but… it wasn’t the whole truth, because he didn’t see what he thought he saw.”

Detective Hale frowned at Balchunas for a moment.  Then, he leaned forward.  “What is the whole truth, then?” he asked, his voice soft.

For a moment, he wasn’t sure that Balchunas would say anything.  Then, the young man released a shuddering breath and nodded.  “If you need to verify what I’m telling you, contact Henry Shepherd with the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” he said, his voice soft.  “It’s something that sounds… insane, actually.  That’s why I’m telling you to verify with him.”

“Fair enough,” Detective Hale said, nodding.

Balchunas closed his eyes.  “There are, in this world, demons, Detective,” he said, his voice soft.  “There are ghosts and spirits and a host of incorporeal beings that are not visible to everyone.  Of those, demons are the most dangerous.”

He looked up at Detective Hale, meeting his gaze.  “Just as there are beings of evil, there are forces of good that are called upon to counter them,” he said.  His brow furrowed and he shook his head.  “I didn’t kill anyone, Detective Hale.  I also didn’t hide any body so that there wouldn’t be evidence of a murder.  What Mr. Jones saw was a demon inhabiting a corpse.”

“What?” Detective Hale said, frowning.  “Like a zombie?”

For a moment, Balchunas chewed at his lip.  Then, he shook his head.  “Zombies are corpses animated through the magic of a wizard,” he said, his voice soft.  “These would be more properly termed revenants, although we call them Singers.”

“So… you killed the demon?”

“I damaged the corpse, so that the demon had to repair it before it could continue its attack,” Balchunas said.  He shrugged.  “Then… I purified the corpse of the evil inhabiting it.  The body is gone because the act of purification is so powerful that the corpse was consumed.”

“And the demon?”

“Is in the Abyss, Detective,” Balchunas said, his voice faint.  He shook his head.  “I didn’t kill anyone because the person Mr. Jones says he saw me attack… was already dead.  The demon killed him by ripping out his heart and consuming it.”

Detective Hale stared at Balchunas for a moment longer.  Then, he said, “Wait here, Mr. Balchunas.”  When the young man nodded, he stood and left the room.  For some reason that he couldn’t quite explain, he believed the story.  As insane as it sounded, it made sense.  The man Balchunas was supposed to have killed had been missing for a week.  Jones had said his clothing was torn and blood-stained on the chest.  Not only that, the man had been, by all accounts, a gentle person who fed ducks and birds in a local park.  Why would he have attacked Balchunas in the first place?

He grimaced at his partner and nodded.  “I believe him,” he said.  When she smiled weakly, he said, “I’ve got to call Agent Shepherd and get some verification, but I believe him, Miriam.”

“I’ll wait until you’ve got the verification you need before I go and speak with him,” she said, folding her hands on her desk and watching him expectantly.  Detective Hale knew that Miriam had believed Balchunas couldn’t be a murderer from the beginning.  It made him wonder what she knew that he didn’t.

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