Provoke

This flash fiction is inspired by a WordPress daily Prompt from last week.

“But, how does that make you feel?” she persisted.

Ken frowned. Feel? How was he supposed to feel? Why couldn’t she just leave it alone? He turned to gaze out the window, focusing on the bright sky and vivid trees swaying in the breeze instead of the bars.

She sighed, then tried again. “Why do you think you did it?”

Did it? Did what, Ken wondered. He had done so many things in his life, and most of them leading to this room, with its industrial gray walls, bolted down furniture, and locked door. Was she worried about being locked in here with him? He shifted his attention from the sky to her.

She looked professional, with a trim business suit and hair drawn back. Concern lit her dark eyes as she leaned forward, trying to engage him. He liked her better than the guy they sent him last week, Ken decided. That guy had been smarmy, trying to be his best friend. Ken had met plenty of guys like that, and they really didn’t want to be your friend. This girl, she seemed like she might care, like she was real, like somebody’s daughter.

He wondered if his daughter was anything like her. He hadn’t seen her since she was three when her mom took her and moved away from him. She’d be twenty-three now, he realized. So many years since he had thought about her. She could have kids by now–his grandkids. Never see them in here, he knew. Ken hoped Barbara had done right, maybe even got her a good step dad.

His brother would have been a good dad, Ken thought. Maybe he’d been a good uncle too. He cast around in his memory, trying to remember the last time he’d seen Frankie. Fifteen years, maybe?

It was easier to remember their childhood games. Frankie especially loved cops and robbers, when Ken was ten and Frankie eight. Ken was the robber of course. Good life training, he thought wryly.

Sarah sat back, defeated, after the half hour passed. If only she could have provoked a response, any emotion. But he had simply stared at her, his seamed face impassive, before turning to the window again.

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