Teth shivered against the cold; the thin, grey blanket barely covering his lanky form. It itched against his skin, and the hard, unforgiving bed creaked beneath him as he rolled over to face the wall. The cell was bare and concrete, a single barred window and the bolted door the only possible escape. He pushed the thought from his head. Outside the angry mob roared and screamed in the night, and the sergeant was on high alert. They’d catch him if he tried to get away now.
A key rattled in the lock and he sat bolt upright, staring towards the door. What was the sergeant thinking? He was under police protection while in prison; they couldn’t give him over to the dogs. Teth, ignoring the protesting ideas in his mind, crept across the cold floor, taking up position behind the hinges. In his hand he held the blanket, his knuckles white from their grip. There was a click as the door unlocked and on smooth hinges it eased open. Light flooded the cell, the sergeant’s shadow spread large across the floor. Teth could tell it was the sergeant from the way his hat sat crookedly on his head, the way his hand was fondling his gun and the fat soled boots on his feet. The sergeant was a short man, and he was vain about it. He had to wear his tall shoes so that he felt in charge, though usually it just brought more teasing. Teth still towered over the man.
“I know you’re in there,” the sergeant growled, taking a step further into the room. Teth could smell the smoke and alcohol on his breath. He’d been drinking, and something strong at that. “There’s nowhere to hide, so come out here and face me.”
Teth slammed into the heavy door, a hideous crack announcing that it had hit the sergeant squarely in the head. The sergeant staggered back and Teth sprang forward, smothering the sergeant’s scream with the blanket. He held it tight over the sergeant’s mouth, his other hand tugging at the sergeant’s hair painfully. The sergeant’s eyes bugged, muffled cries sounding from beneath the material. His noises ceased and after a few moments his eyes rolled up into his head and he went limp in Teth’s arms.
Teth stood back, letting the sergeant slump to the ground. He threw the blanket back inside the cell and began tearing off the sergeant’s clothes. Teth undressed and pulled on the police uniform, securing the gun at his waist and pushing the hat as far down over his face as it would go. He slipped the sergeant’s limp body into his old inmate’s clothes, tattered and worn from repeated use. Teth didn’t want to think about how many people had worn them before him as he grabbed the sergeant’s collar and dragged him out into the main office. He found the sergeant’s ash tray on his desk, the smell of smoke hanging in the air. Teth rubbed his fingers in the ash and smeared it across all the sergeants exposed flesh. He dug into the sergeant’s top draw and found the keys to the squad car, tucking them into his back pocket. The noise of the mob outside egging him on as he rubbed the remaining ash through the sergeant’s short blonde hair, turning it an unconvincing black. Teth shrugged. The mob were desperate for blood. They’d worked themselves up into a frenzy, so hopefully they wouldn’t look too hard.
Grabbing a cigarette on his way out, his other hand dragging the limp sergeant behind him, Teth threw open the door. The mob let out a great cheer as Teth pulled the sergeant out after him, slogging him down the steps. The mob surged forwards and Teth darted away, keeping close to the edge of the building. He heard the screams behind him as the sergeant awoke, his protests as the people pulled and clawed at him.
Teth ignored it all, climbing into the police car. In an instant he’d inserted the key and started up the engine. Without glancing back he drove off into the night, leaving the sergeant yelling in his wake.