"You're a psychopath, Eric." The smoke came out of the lieutenant's mouth as if his words were stoked by an inner fire. "A monster."
Excerpted from Tenderness by Robert Cormier. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Eric recoiled, as if the old cop had struck him in the face. Monster?
"Chances are you'll kill again. You know it and I know it."
Or was the old cop merely trying to taunt him? Trying to make him lose his cool? Don't let him do that. Monster was only a word, anyway. And those were the only weapons the lieutenant had: words.
"You're taking a lot for granted, Lieutenant," Eric said, the sound of his voice reassuring, establishing his control of the conversation once more. "You're making wild accusations. I wasn't even convicted by a jury. A judge heard my case. He didn't think I was a monster. He was very sympathetic. So were a lot of other people."
"Other people? Did you take a close look at them? Who they were, what they were? You killed your mother and father, Eric. In cold blood." Not sounding tired anymore.
Eric did not smile but his eyes gleamed. The lieutenant did not know about the others. Nobody knew about them.