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The Philosophy of Nero

By atdi_fiction


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"She's a sociopath, Gabe." Samantha Lawry said

solemnly, watching the 19-year old girl whom she had

been brought down to interrogate. Samantha stood on

the other side of the mirror that looked into the dark

and sterile interrogation room. Its walls were

concrete and cold, the mere bleakness of them

providing a significant amount of intimidation for

anyone being questioned in it. Detective Gabe Locke

stood by her side, both of them horridly enchanted by

the sight of their confessor, Nero Hawthorne.

Nero was sitting in her chair quietly; a calm and

collected expression clad her face as she stared into

the mirror, fully aware that two others were staring

right back at her.


"That's evident, Lawry." Gabe replied, a slight

chuckle escaping under his words. "Too bad, that's

not what I need to know." He hadn't seen many cases

involving murderers as young as Nero, he'd only heard

of them on TV. Unfortunately, this wasn't like TV, and

the wickedness of the young girl in the interrogation

room sent chills and true terror into him.


Nero's stepfather, Andrew Hawthorne, was a very

popular philosophy professor at the local college,

Brigham University. Four hours ago, Andrew's body was

found floating in the pool in his backyard. Two hours

later, Nero was arrested for his murder. When brought

in, she straightforwardly stated that she was one of

the people who killed him earlier that morning.

However, she had refused to give the name of her



"She said she wants us to figure it out for

ourselves." Samantha replied, her eyes remaining

transfixed upon Nero. "I just don't know if she's

serious or not."


Gabe laughed deeply at Samantha's comment, and turned

to look at her. "What kind of therapist are you?" He

said, a devious, but skeptical, smile on his lips.

"You just don't know? We bring you down to

question our suspects because you're supposed to know.

If you can't do your job and get an accomplice out of

her, then at least get us a reason."


"I'm trying my best, Detective." She replied,

defensively. "Now, why don't you do your job and look

for the damned accomplice?"


Gabe smirked as he looked down, disapprovingly, at

Samantha. "I think I just might." He said, grabbing

his coat and heading for the door. "Report to Officer

Corrin if you find out something significant."


Gabe hadn't meant to become so confrontational with

Samantha; his outburst came from the frustration that

had been consuming him ever since he was handed the

case a few hours ago. He had been shocked when

officers had led Nero into the station, her hands

cuffed behind her back. The number of minors

committing murder was increasing by the day, but even

that couldn't ease his disbelief of such a normal

looking girl possessing so much evil within her.


He had been there when the paramedics had pulled

Andrew's body out of the pool. It was evident that

the body had been there for at least a day. It was

grotesquely bloated and the color of a pale blue.

Andrew's eyes were bloodshot and swollen; Gabe figured

they would probably burst with a poke of his pen.

There was a line stretching around his entire neck,

engraved in the skin with dry blood outlining the

edges. That was an evident sign of strangulation,

however, if determining the cause of death were that

simple then there would be no need for autopsies. In

addition to the strangulation marks, there were also

several bruises on both of Andrew's shoulders,

indicating that while one of the murderer's was

strangling him, the other was restraining him to the



The odd thing about this was the fact that he had

been strangled while being held down in the water of

the pool. And, simply put, it was overkill. To

murder him by both strangling and drowning him at the

same time was unnecessary. Gabe could only assume

that Nero and her accomplice wanted him to suffer an

excruciating and slow death.


"Why are you protecting them, Nero?" Samantha asked

for the second time. The first time she asked, Nero's

answer was that of a simple smile, and a look that

told Samantha that there was obviously something she

didn't understand.


"Who said I'm protecting anyone?" She replied, a

malicious grin still plastered on the corner of her



"You won't tell us who your partner was, don't you

think that's protection?"


Nero stretched her arms over her head, and laughed at

another of Samantha's questions. "I must say, you're

really bad at this. What are you going to do next?

Show me ink blocks?"


"You can play as many games with me as you want,

Miss. Hawthorne." Samantha replied, her voice tight

and rigid while she attempted to hide her ever-growing

annoyance and anger with Nero. "Sooner or later,

we're going to find whoever it is who helped you."

Nero tilted her head in Samantha's direction, and

leaned forward across the table as if she were going

to whisper in Samantha's ear. "What makes you think I

wasn't the one helping them?"


After his blow-up with Samantha, Gabe decided to go

back to the Hawthorne house and search for things he

might've missed the first time he combed through the

house. The Brigham Police Department didn't have a

stellar record when it came to searching for evidence,

especially with a case in which the evidence had been

found right in the backyard. Nevertheless, he knew he

had missed something. He couldn't put his finger on

the feeling; he could only describe it as searching in

the dark for a flashlight that may or may not have



He walked through the house slowly, analyzing

anything that he hadn't noticed before. The house in

itself was impressive. It was a two-story house, and

each square inch of it's floor, excluding the kitchen

and bathrooms, was covered with a cream colored carpet

that looked like so clean it was either brand new, or

washed on everyday of its existence. The only family

photos Gabe saw were on top of the fireplace, in the

living room. Each of the four pictures were lined up

on the dark brown bricks carefully, each appeared to

be separated by the exact number of inches. The

entire house, not just the pictures, was eerily

perfect, clearly too perfect for such a situation.

It took Gabe over an hour to go through the first

floor; by the time he was ready to move on to the

upstairs portion of the house it was already

completely black outside. Walking up the stairs, Gabe

cringed at the high-pitched squeaks that escaped from

each step under the weight of his feet. It was an old

house Andrew Hawthorne had spent years, and endless

amounts of money, remodeling, unfortunately he ran out

of time before he ever got to fix the creak in those



The unambiguous stench of involuntary excretion hit

him like a sandbag in the gut the moment he walked

through the door at the top of the staircase. Despite

the smell, he moved on into the room that was the

upstairs. It was a single bedroom; the walls were

bare except for the dark blue paint that covered them.

The only item in the room was a queen-sized bed in

the middle of the room; the sheets were crumpled in

the middle, right below the small attic door that was

on the ceiling.


Gabe swallowed a nervous lump of saliva, then stepped

onto the bed and pulled down the door. The

stepsfolded out and pressed down onto the bed. Just

as the steps had done, the bed creaked loudly beneath

his weight as he climbed the steps.


Multiple gags escaped his throat as he ventured

further and further into the humid, moth-infested

attic. The attic wasn't very spacious, but it was

large enough for him to walk around a bit. It didn't

take him long to spot a limp figure on the floor,

shoved in the corner, covered by an old, faded

Sanfranciso 49ers bed sheet. After a few moments of

hesitation, he held his breath and flung the sheet to

the right to expose the corpse of Susan Hawthorne. He

wrenched back his head in disgust when he saw her pair

of glossy green eyes staring back at him, an

expression of horror plastered on her face.


For the second time that night, Gabe held back the

vomit that was rising in him to partially examine her

body. There was a syringe sticking out of the right

side of her neck, from the blood and bruise

surrounding the point of entry, he assumed someone,

probably Nero, had jabbed it violently into Susan's

neck. The blood from her nose appeared to have

dripped down and mixed with the dried foam and saliva

that covered Susan's mouth and chin; he cringed as he

saw a small spider crawling through all of the dribble

and making a nice home for itself within one of her

bloody nostrils.




"Her mother?" Samantha responded in shock, as she

and Gabe once again stared at Nero Hawthorne through

the interrogation room mirror. Gabe nodded gravely at

Samantha's question.


"Yeah" He replied. "Turns out the fingerprints we

found on the extension cord that was used to strangle

Andrew Hawthorne were that of the Missus, Susan



"So, Nero was the one who held him down in the

water" Samantha said thoughtfully, slowly turning

around to leave the room. Gabe grabbed her wrist

lightly, and turned her back around to face him.

"Where are you going?" He asked, despite already

knowing the answer.


"I want her to admit it. She's got to tell the truth

now, Gabe, we have her accomplice." She replied

hastily, sounding almost obsessed with her own need to

derive some answers from Nero.


"I'll do it. You should go home, get some rest.

It's been a long day." Gabe said, leaving the room

quickly in order to sidestep Samantha's inevitable



"I'd rather stay." She replied flatly, right before

he closed the door behind him.


Gabe examined Nero's facial expressions long before

he opened his mouth to begin his interrogation. She

had been in that room for hours, yet her demeanor was

as cool and collected as it had been when she was

first led into the place.


"Why didn't you tell us it was your mother that was

your accomplice?" He asked, leaning back in his

chair, appearing to be relaxed even though deep down

the girl's very presence shook him to the core.

"I knew you'd find her, sooner or later." Nero

replied snidely. "I even left the syringe in her neck

with my fingerprints. I didn't want to make it too

difficult for you."


"Why did she want to kill your stepfather?" He

continued, all too aware of the small beads of sweat

that were forming above his eyebrows.


"He was an abusive man, Detective. Well, at least to

her he was. I really didn't have a problem with him;

he was quite clever to be honest. He had the best

quips" She said, a small laugh sliding out from her

last word. "But, hey, sometimes you have to sacrifice

a few things to get what you want."


"Okay, then" He replied, searching for another

question. "Why did you want him dead?"


Nero sighed and clasped her hands together, resting

her elbows on the cold metal table that stood between

her and Gabe, she replied. "Like I said, I liked him,

but he was abusive. People like that always deserve

what's coming to them."


"What did your mother do to deserve it?"

Nero inhaled deeply and closed her eyes, giving Gabe

the impression that what she was becoming restless.

"She took away my toys when I was ten. What can I

say? I hold grudges." When Nero saw the look on his

face, she threw her head back and laughed.

"You think this is funny?" He asked, his anger now

getting the best of him, as it had almost done with

Samantha hours before.


"Extremely." Nero purred, the smile never leaving

her face. "I killed her because she killed him. She

was always so high and mighty, as if her religion

actually made one bit of difference as to who she was.

If you can't practice what you preach, then you

should keep your mouth shut or stop your preaching.

If you can do neither, then someone will likely shut

it for you. She killed Andrew because he hit her. It

was her justice, and I knew that. That's why I helped

her. She died because according to her, murder is a

sin punishable by death. Not to say I'm religious or

anything, but I thought I might as well respect her

beliefs." Nero said, pausing to make sure she had the

Detective's attention.


"Were you aware that she had to inject herself with

Insulin shots to survive her diabetes? If I had known

injecting someone with nothing but the Windex from our

bathroom would result in them convulsing and spewing

blood and foam from their mouth and nose I assure you,

I would've killed her in a much cleaner method.

Messes are so upsetting when you're trying to keep a

house like that clean."


Later on that night...


"Do you think she'll get the death penalty?" Samantha asked

Gabe, as the two of them sat in their

living room drinking wine to drown out the memories of

the horrid day.


"Probably." He replied, shaking his head. "It's a

shame. She's just a kid. It's almost insane, but for

a moment I actually understood her reasons for killing

them. Before I left she told me that none of this

really mattered to her anyway. She said death was her

only intention of the day and she saw a chance to take

down the ones who deserved to go with her."

Samantha remained silent for a moment. Nero was an

intellectual murderer, the first she'd ever seen.

There was just one thing she still didn't understand.

"Did she ever tell you why she held up the

interrogation for so long? Ever than wanting us to

figure it out for ourselves, that is."


Gabe cleared his throat and swallowed the rest of his

red wine. "She said she went by her own philosophy.

"The slower you move, the faster time passes by, and

the quicker you die.'"

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