The following is the chapter that I'm on for Rising Flame. I'm having trouble getting past the interrogation scene.
Johnny pulled the car up into the parking lot of the Central Midford Juvenile Center. The large four story building loomed over them as a behemoth dragon, guarding her treasure. Jason sighed. Whether it was because this was where he felt at home, or because he knew that he was innocent, he didn’t know. Perhaps it was both.
Johnny sat back in his seat and also sighed. He peers into the rearview mirror to look at the young man behind him. Fumbling around with his keychain, Johnny began yet again to do something that his instructor told him not to do.
“I didn’t do it, John,” Jason said, giving Johnny an ice cold glare.
“I’m not the one that you have to try to convince of that, kid,” Johnny pauses to let out a sigh. “I really shouldn’t do this, but what the hell…. The guy that they’ve got to interrogate you doesn’t mess around Jason. He’s gonna give you everything that he’s got.”
“Why are you telling me this John?” Jason asked.
Johnny sat silent and still for a moment, clutching the steering wheel with one hand so hard that his knuckles had turned white. Tears were welling up in his eyes, threatening to overflow.
“It’s because you remind me of someone; that someone is why I became a cop in the first place. Jason, with all the times that you’ve been here, and all of our interactions I’ve started to think of you as a brother. I’m even willing to risk my job for you!”
“We hardly ever talked to each other,” Jason said, befuddled by what Johnny had just told him.
“That doesn’t matter, not now.” A loud musical tune starts playing, causing Johnny to slightly leap from his seat. He pulls out his phone to look at it. “It’s time. I have to take you in now Jason.”
Johnny got out of the car and moved around to the back where Jason was. Jason cooperated with him, and allowed the officer to lead him inside. Once inside Johnny led Jason past a large office-like area, through a doorway, and down a hallway. Johnny had brought his adolescent captive to a room. Next to the door was a sign reading INTERRO 1.
“I can’t believe that this is actually happening. I’m gonna have to wake up from this nightmare eventually,” Jason said.
“I’m sorry Jason, but this isn’t a dream.” Johnny stared at the door, an uneasy feeling settling in his stomach. “Once we go through that door I can’t help you. All I can do for you right now is tell you that the guy holds the rank of Major in the military. I guess Mayor Salem Black pressed for him to get to the bottom of this…. Just because you’re a kid doesn’t mean that he’ll go easy on you.” Johnny said and opened the door.
The room that they had entered consisted of solid brick walls all painted a dull gray color. In one of them was a mirror. A single table was situated in the center of the room with several chairs placed around it. Jason situated himself in one of the chairs. Shifting his weight, Jason sat with his hands folded on the table. Johnny exited the room, letting the door close behind him.
For the first time in a long time, Jason glanced upward before bowing his head, and started to pray.
Lord, please get me out of here.
The door opened and two men entered after leaving Jason alone for what felt like hours, despite it being several minutes.
One of them, Jason noticed, was a familiar face. He didn’t recognize the other man though.
Great, not only do I have to deal with Jack, but now his dad as well! Jason thought to himself. He had sat himself down across from Clark and the stranger, who Jason could only assume was the major that Johnny had warned him about.
“Hello Jason, I’m Alex Devereux.” Alex said, introducing himself as he sat in the chair next to Keen, placing a briefcase down on the floor. He was a gruff looking man with small beady dark brown eyes, and buzz-cut brown hair. Wrinkles showed on the man’s face due to, Jason assumed, stress from his rank. The shape of his broad shoulders and muscular arms was only accentuated by what he was wearing.
“How’ve you been Jason?” Clark asks, wanting to make Jason as comfortable as possible before the actual interrogation can start.
“Alright, I guess. I’m not hurt or anything.” Jason responds.
“That’s nice to hear.” Clark notices the darkening crescents forming underneath Jason’s eyes. “Is everything alright at the shelter?” He inquires.
“I have a bed, a roof over my head, and I’m getting fed, so yeah, things are great.” Jason answers smugly.
“So Josephine’s treating you well?”
“She’s alright.” Jason says, turning in his chair to stretch his legs out, crossing them at his ankles, leaning back in his chair, making himself comfortable.
“Have you been getting enough sleep?”
“Not really,” Jason answers, scratching the back of his head. “It’s a bit too warm in my room at the shelter.”
Jason swiftly sat up straight. I know where this is going. “That wasn’t me. I didn’t start that fire, Mr. Keen!”
Clark places his hands on the table, fingers interlaced. “Actually, I was asking about your classes. Are you passing them?”
Jason squints his eyes, watching the father of his bully carefully. Alex Devereux notices that the sickly sweet smell of smoke permeates the air, seemingly radiating off of the young man sitting before him.
“Any problems at school that we should know about?” Major Devereux finally inquires.
“Actually, yeah, there is,” Jason snorts, “Jackson Keen’s been bullying me,” he retorts, looking Chief Keen directly in the eyes.
Clark shifts uncomfortably in his chair, making a mental-note that the major is jotting this down.
“Were you aware that your son was being a bully?’ Alex inquires of the chief.
“There were some… disciplinary measures taken,” he answers. “He’s been kicked off of the basketball team.”
Some good that’ll do, Jason thought skeptically. I wonder if…. Could Jack somehow be the cause of the fire? Other than the obvious, what would his other motives be for setting fire to the school? Questions race through his mind, his face slowly flushing crimson as miniscule droplets of sweat start to form on his brow.
“Would you like something to drink?” Clark asks, taking notice of the sweat forming on Jason’s skin.
Major Devereux bends down to pick up the briefcase. “Speaking of the school,” he pulls out several printouts of fire. “I hear that you like fire. Care to say why that is?”
Jason looks at the pictures, which Major Devereux spread out across the table. The bitter taste of ash creeps into Jason’s mouth, leaving an unpleasant flavor. Coughing, the smell emanates from his mouth, only perceptible to himself. He snorts, crossing his arms, interlacing them and clenches onto one of his biceps.
The Major pulls out more documents, briefly glances them over, reminding himself of the contents. “According to this you had several occurrences involving fire: burning a book and posters in elementary school; lighting fire to random objects; burning some houses down.”
Rivulets of sweat sprang to life on the men's foreheads. Clark stood to remove his jacket, placing it on the back of his chair. He wipes his hand across his face, clearing some of the offensive liquid. Sitting down, he loosens the constrictive, noose-like tie from his neck. Imperceptibly, a thin wisp of smoke rises from Jason's fist, which he had curled up to try to keep himself calm.
“Those were deemed accidental,” Jason responds in a slightly orotund voice. Seeing the pictures of random fires caused a sense of uneasiness, a serpentine knot forming in his stomach.
(This is what I have planned for the chapter itself.)
Keen takes time to relate to Jason on a personal level. (Asking about school and personal life, even offering something to eat and drink.) Jason doesn’t understand why Johnny warned him about the major.
Devereux comes in carrying a binder of evidence and Jason’s record. He pulls out some photos of fire, and asks Jason why he likes fire. Jason doesn’t verbally respond. Devereux doesn't take kindly to this, and starts mentioning Jason’s past, pulling out reports and files on the past fires. Heat starts radiating off of Jason, making the room a bit uncomfortable for Keen and Major Devereux. Clark leaves for a moment to get something to drink for them.
Devereux starts naming people that have been injured from the gym fire, trying to get information out of Jason. Jason is annoyed and angry, for he’s already repeated that he wasn’t responsible several times. Clark returns with drinks to find that the Major has resorted to showing pictures of those injured/killed in the fire, causing Clark to become hostile towards the major himself. Just when Jason is about to confess about his powers, his lawyer shows up, and puts a stop to the interrogation.
(This is something that I kind of wanted to happen)
“No thanks.” Jason answered. So far he wasn’t getting why Johnny was concerned of this man’s presence.
“Well, it doesn’t matter even if you had said yes. I wouldn’t have given you squat, you little worm! And it’s no thanks, sir!” Alex said, slamming his mighty hands down, and leaning over the table. Spittle hit Jason in the face. He turned one of his hands into a tight fist to try to keep himself calm.
“Take it easy, Major Devereux.” Clark requests of him in a respectful tone. Alex settled himself back into his chair, and straightened his tie.
“So Flayme, why’d you do it?” Devereux asked.
“I didn’t do anything.” Jason answered.
“Well, according to witness statements you were the first to run outside before the fire took hold.” Clark states.
“People were hurt, Jason.” Jason sits silently, looking down sorrowfully. Alex and Clark also remain silent. Clark breaks the silence.
(This is what someone said about it, and what they came up with as an alternative.
From what I read I like it. You set up the anticipation for the Major early on in the scene so the reader can start making opinions about him (is he a jerk, a hardass, the serious no playing type of guy) Good job.
For the dialogue, I would take out some of the 'he said', 'he sighed' and naming the characters. In the car scene, I know that it is just Jason and Johnny so having that constant reminder breaks up the flow of the scene. If you introduce a new character then, yes, restate who is talking, otherwise your reader can keep up.
Okay, this part of the interrogation… I will put my comments in parentheses.
“Hello Jason.((I would say the characters name here, like an introduction)) Would you like something to drink? Perhaps something to eat?” Alex Devereux asked. He was a gruff looking man with small beady dark brown eyes, and buzz-cut brown hair. The sound of his deep voice reverberated off of the walls, making Jason a bit uncomfortable. Wrinkles showed on the man’s face due to, Jason assumed, stress from his rank. The shape of his broad shoulders and muscular arms was only accentuated by what he was wearing. ((great description))
“No thanks.” Jason answered. So far he wasn’t getting why Johnny was concerned of this man’s presence. ((I would comment more about why Jason seems unconcerned. Maybe something about past authority figures that seemed scarier then him or he has done scarier things….))
((This turn of personality happened WAY too fast. Build of the tension. Draw it out like he is the good guy, wanting to help Jason. Get Jason and the reader to let their guard down then hit us with the personality switch.))“Well, it doesn’t matter even if you had said yes. I wouldn’t have given you squat, you little worm! And it’s no thanks, sir!” Alex said, slamming his mighty hands down, and leaning over the table. Spittle hit Jason in the face. He turned one of his hands into a tight fist to try to keep himself calm.((Can Jason control his power?, maybe he loses control a little bit and his cheeks flush a crimson red, grits his teeth and a faint smell of smoke permeates the air….? Keep teasing the reader about a possible catastrophe and reminding us that Jason is powerful))
((Also, if this Alex is a major, wouldn't he be more in control? They are pretty tight on their emotions to get that rank so I would think he would be manipulating Jason and his emotions… maybe showing him a picture of the fire to get a reaction and playing off that, and if he didn't get one then he could explode…))
“Take it easy, Major Devereux.” Clark requests of him in a respectful tone. ((Clark requested in a respectful tone)) Alex settled himself back into his chair, and straightened his tie.
“So Flayme, why’d you do it?” Devereux asked.
“I didn’t do anything.” Jason answered.
“Well, according to witness statements you were the first to run outside before the fire took hold.” Clark states. “People were hurt, Jason.” Jason sits silently, looking down sorrowfully. Alex and Clark also remain silent. Clark breaks the silence.