Taking a steadying breath, I stood. I could feel the sweat soaking through my shirt, and was glad for my dark suit jacket. A trickle ran down my spine, pooling in the hollow of my back. I gripped the edge of the table in an effort to keep my hands from shaking. Nothing calmed my nerves, and I needed to swallow several times to find my voice.
“On October 9, of last year, I killed Micah Ingram. I waited for him outside his Oak Grove home, and shot him twice – once in the chest, and once in the head after he fell to the ground.”
My attorney poured a glass of water and slide it toward me. Before entering the courtroom, I asked her to not speak to the judge, nor to touch me. Her unfailing belief in me, and that I would be acquitted, was more than I could have expected. I think she took my conviction harder than I did. Any further display of comfort would have been my undoing.
The cool water did nothing to sooth my parched throat, but there was more I needed to say.
“Mr. Ingram assaulted my daughter and the judicial system was unable to bring him to justice for his crime. Through a technicality, his case was thrown out, and the D.A. refused to re-indict.”
I kept eye contact with the sentencing judge, hoping that even if he found my actions reprehensible, he could at least understand my reasoning.
“I was convinced that my child was still in danger from him, and that he would victimize more women. The police refused to help. I did what I needed to do to protect my family from a monster.”
Steepling his fingers, the judge looked down at me over his reading glasses, his lips pursed and his brow in a deep frown. I wanted to believe he hesitated because he regretted what he had to do.
“Having pled guilty to second degree murder, with special circumstances, you are hereby sentenced to 25 years in prison.”
With the bang of his gavel, I nodded my acceptance.
The bailiff cuffed my wrists, then took me by the elbow to lead me from the room. Ingram’s mother called out from the gallery.
“You got exactly what you deserved!”
“You might be right, but so did your son,” I said. “My conscience is clear and I will sleep well tonight, and so will my daughter.”
8 thoughts on “Gazing into the abyss”
Another great one! It amazes me how captivating your stories are and in such few words. Well done!!!
Oh yes, a perfect ending to this piece. Safe dreams are ensured with the slaying of a monster.
Nice, and I love the gargoyle!
Wonderfully narrated! A powerful story..you’ve done justice to the prompt!
She took the law into her own hands to protect, but she didn’t try to lie about it or cut and run. I admire her for this. Very well done.
Powerful. And yet this gargoyle smiles…
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Very powerful and nicely written
powerful prose and very well imagined