List of destroyed libraries - Wikipedia

“Do you know where you are?”

Malcolm smacked his lips a couple of times as the voice echoed in his ears, a sure sign that he’d been out for a while and was coming to. It was hard to focus on much of anything other than the voice, his head still hurt and his broken nose was like fiery brand in the middle of his face.

“In hell?”

A chuckle had him leaning forward, which was a bad idea. He was sitting up at least, but that only made the pain a little worse as the aching, burning throb between his eyes slowly but surely became a live firebrand as he groaned in pain.

“Hurts doesn’t it?” asked the voice, “We’re gonna have to set that before you go back, otherwise people might ask questions.”

Malcolm blinked, or tried to. His eyes were watering so badly that it was all he could do to open them for even a second. He could feel his hands bound behind him now, and his legs were stiff from having sat for too long he supposed. How long had he been out?

“So when did you join the other side Malcolm?”

“What,” he muttered, “What the hell are you talkin’ about? What other side?”

“Don’t play cute with me,” said the voice. Malcolm couldn’t see anything he realized as he finally opened his eyes to the darkness around him. They had him in a dark room, something he’d seen done during interrogation to break people. It worked sometimes, but it wasn’t going to this time. He wasn’t some weak-kneed punk afraid of the shadows.

“I don’t know, what you’re talking about,” he said hissing at the pain in his nose.

“Thanks to you the Nation of Islam gained a stronger foothold in 60s after Martin Luther King Jr. decided that peaceful protests weren’t going to cut it. Somehow, some way, Elijah Mohammed convinced King that his way was the only way, and the race riots began the year after Malcolm’s demise. Tell me how that happened, and what part you played in it, apart from letting Malcolm get killed.”

“Are you sure it was me?” Malcolm asked, feeling a chuckle coming on. He kept it down, but damn it was hard. It was a reaction to the confusion, and it had either been anger or amusement that was going to bubble up since he didn’t do fear or anxiety.

“What do you mean?”

“I know what I saw, and I know who I shot,” he said in a tired voice, “But whose story did you take first?”

There was silence for a long spell, though when the voice came back things didn’t sound any more hopeful than before.

“You’re clever,” the voice said, “I’ll give you that much.”

(to be concluded)

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