Origin Story #3: Part 3
“All rise for the Honourable Judge Bower.” The bailiff barks as the judge appears from behind the bench. The jury and the collection of attendees do so, the air in the courtroom is thick and viscous as I watch her from several rows back. Why I’m here, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s to see where she might end up, perhaps for another reason.
She is different, no longer the scrappy, sarcastic inmate I once knew. Gone are the white, dehumanizing garments she wore back in Battery Hill. She is now dressed in a skirt and high-neck sweater, a fitted houndstooth blazer laid over top and finished with black heeled boots. With the absence of any shapeless clothing, I can see just how small she actually is. Her shoulders narrow and rounded, her dark hair spilling over them, half of it pulled away from her face and tied back. The swelling in her eye now dissipated and has been covered over with makeup as best it can.
The jury, public attendants and I sit when the Judge motions for it. She turns to her defence lawyer, an older man with an expensive-looking suit and combed-back blonde hair. They converse silently as the judge begins with opening statements until her eyes find mine. She smiles, somewhat surprised that I am here and gives me a nod, I do the same.
I can’t help but be tense as the trial continues. The prosecution calls witness after witness from the robbery up to the stand wherein they swear an oath.
“Please identify the person in the room whom you saw rob the bank.” The prosecution lawyer asks. One witness after another, after another, after another. And every single hand shot up at her. I should have noticed sooner, parts of the jury, the public attendees, possibly even judge. The Ahnenerbe insignia subtly present on their bodies, whether it be on their clothes or marked onto their own skin. Illegal gifted-citizen protesters. A modern day KKK. These people weren’t objectively chosen, they came with purpose to this hearing. Not out of curiosity, not out of moral obligation, out of spite. Little did the both of us know that we were voluntarily sitting in a nest of vipers.
“No further questions, your honour.” The prosecutor says, a s**t eating grin poised upon his face. The defence attorney collects himself and rises from his seat next to her, approaches the witness and the screen playing the surveillance footage.
“Miss *******, where did you say you were on the ** of ****** at **:**?” He asks, his smooth voice echoing into the rafters.
“I was at the ******* bank on **th street.” The witness says, enunciating each of her words with a bite of attitude after being asked for the 4th time.
“And what were you doing at the bank that day?” He asks cheerfully ignoring her snappy answers.
“I was dropping off the office’s daily deposit.” She replies, propping a hand under her chin.
“But you decided to go inside that day, right?” He asks, pacing back and forth the stand. “Instead of just using the machines outside like you always do.”
“Machines were down.” She answers. “Had to go to a teller inside to do the deposit.”
“And when you were in line for the teller is when you allegedly saw my client and one other assailant enter with a contraband handgun.”
“Yes, that is correct.” She answers.
“And when you saw the two assailants enter, Miss *******, were both masked?”
“No, one was masked. The other was not.”
“And would you please identify the alleged unmasked assailant for me please?” The defence attorney asks calmly, the witness pointing a finger at the inmate as the public gasps at the defence undermining his own client. The prosecutor squeaks out a laugh in disbelief shaking his head to the public attendants behind him.
“Now, is it also correct to say that the record reflects the existence of my client’s physical abilities as mentioned earlier by the prosecution. Those abilities being invisibility, disappearance and/or cloaking, etc. That the use of these abilities, given at birth, may be and/or have been allowed by the state for my client to use at any time and/or place my client sees fit.”
“Correct.” The witness answers warily, her ears perking up as the gasps from the crowd silence.
“Objection!” The prosecution lawyer stutters. “Abilities are allowed until an individual infringes upon gifted-citizen crime laws-“
“Overruled until infringement is given just cause.” The Judge demands, his voice rough and booming onto the marble walls. The prosecutor whimpering in embarrassment. “Let the defence continue cross-examination.”
“Thank you, Your Honour.” The defence replies. “Now, if it would please the jury, would my client would be so kind as to give us a demonstration of her abilities?”
The defence lawyer looks to the jury representative and then to the Judge for approval. When both are granted, he turns to the inmate and smiles.
She warily nods as well, then slowly disappears completely and returns to the surprise of the court. Her lawyer regains the rooms composure and continues on.
“Yes, you can plainly see my client’s face here on the footage. But if my client had been present at the robbery, unmasked, might the jury find it odd for a gifted citizen with such a crucial asset for a crime such as this choose to not to use her ability on purpose?” He asks, enticing the audience. The rage in the eyes of the gifted-citizen protestors growing.
“Objection!” The prosecutor interrupts again. Her lawyer turns and waits patiently for the prosecution’s next move but nothing comes. A vein in the judge’s head throbs as he casts a lethal glare towards the prosecutor.
“One more objection without just cause a you will be in contempt.” The judge says passing it back onto the defence.
The defence lawyer looks at the jury as they murmur to each other, then he looks to the judge. “No further questions Your Honour.”
Finally the judge calls for closing arguments and the prosecution clumsily tumbles through his closing statement, demanding the stashed bills found in her apartment are evidence enough to lock her up. When her lawyer rises again, he picks up the footage screen remote and begins to pace once again.
“Every part of my client’s case is damning. The evidence is clear. The stashed bills, the footage. But one thing isn’t clear.” He says as he pauses the footage, a frame showing her face without question. “If my client didn’t do this, who did?”
Pressing a button, the screen shifts to the a mugshot image of a beautiful woman with long platinum blonde hair and fair skin. In her hands is a slate with her information redacted, the letters blurred. The crowd gasps again.
“Code name, Mimic. Known gifted criminal. Records of past major robbery attempts. Her gift? Human shifting.
My final words. My client was framed by this woman, who took her identity and stashed the bills in the apartment.”
He extends his arms and drops the remote like it’s a microphone, a subdued grin stretched neatly across his face.
“I rest my case.”
• • • •
After a long 90 minutes, the courtroom opens again and the public and I seat ourselves. I never got the chance to talk to her about it. About how she feels or what will happen when it’s over. My stomach lurches from nerves as I find a seat and the jury emerges from the other room with a deliberation. But she turns back to me and we share a look and take a deep breath.
“We, the jury find @#$%*^&#* @#*!$^! convicted of robbery and the possession of a contraband firearm guilty on all charges and sentenced to three years in a maximum security prison.” They say, the world beginning to spin. The words echo around my mind and time seems to stop as the room fills with gasps and shouts. My eyes shoot to her and the colour has left her face. She sits face forward, every bit of air in her lungs squeezed out in utter disbelief. How did this happen?
Her lawyer comforts her but her posture stays the same. Suddenly, the bailiffs dart towards her and put her into chains, hauling her thin body up from her chair. I instinctively bolt up, my chair screeching against the marble floor. Her heads whips back around, her brows turned up sympathetically. Our eyes connecting one last time as she mouths the words ‘thank you’.
Thank me for what? For condemning her? For getting her hopes up? For letting her down?
Lastly, the bailiffs jerk her eyes away from mine and drags her through the door next to the judge’s desk while the public exit through the door behind me. I know this courthouse like the back of my hand from transporting convicts for trial to, and from Battery Hill. With the inmate and the bailiffs already gone, and the judge preoccupied, I slip past them and dart through the door she was taken through and take the C-shaped hall that joins the straight hall in the middle and the end. I beat them to the end get to the part of the ‘C’ that joins at the exit and wait in the darkness as the three of them approach and stop. Just outside the door should be a transport vehicle with a driver. The vehicle sits outside, but there is no sign of the driver.
My legs have taken me this far without my brain getting involved. ‘What am I thinking? Not only am I supposed to enforce the law, I’m about to break it.’ I think to myself. Wait, am I?
I can see her from a few inches away, just inside the darkness. She waits patiently behind them with her eyes turned down and her hands folded, the chain wrapped around her hands silent. I wonder what she’s thinking, steps away from her own personal hell. Like a bird looking straight into it’s cage, it’s wings about to be clipped.
Bailiffs sputter around, calling in on their walkie-talkies asking for whereabouts on the driver. They ignore her and one of them drops the lead on her chains. My eyes light up, this is her opening, if she wanted she could vanish and make a run for it. But she continues to stand honestly, waiting quietly behind them. Seconds fall like minutes and she still chooses to be still. But yet, unknowingly my hand dares to stretch out of the darkness and pull her into it and out of the light. She falls onto me, make no sound except for quiet jangle of the chains as the bailiffs tirelessly continue to search for the driver.
Her eyes register quickly in the dark, and it’s a surprise for her when she sees me.
“What are you doing?!” She asks somehow both silent and audible at the same time.
I don’t want to alarm the bailiffs, so I simply press a finger to my lips and try untying her chains as quietly as I can.
We look for any cause for alarm and I softly lay the chains on the ground. I take her hand we silently creep to the centre of of the C-shape hall and then back through the door I came in next to the the judge’s desk.
The lights in the courtroom hurt my eyes as we enter.
“Can I help you?” The judge asks as I whirl my head back around, realizing she has already disappeared before I knew it. The sensation of her hand still wrapped around mine.
“No. I mean yes.” I say, bumbling. “Sorry, I got lost, oh look, there’s the door, ok, goodbye.”
He gives me a strange look then leaves through the other door on the same side of the courtroom.
She reappears and we keep on running, out of the courtroom, in the grand hallway and out of a first floor window into the city. We keep going, hand in hand until we reach a safe area in the middle of a dimly lit courtyard nearby.
“Why did you do that?” She asks, somewhat out of breath.
“I don’t know, I just-” I say, feeling then need to turn away from her. “What happened back there. It wasn’t right.”
I turn back around and watch her gaze endearingly at the streets as the crowds walk past.
“What will you do?” I ask, my eyes focusing on her outline and letting the background blur to nothing.
She turns away from the streets and has to think about it. “Try to start over. Try to stay out of trouble. And pay Mimic a visit. What about you?”
“I’m gonna take a break as a CO, maybe rethink law enforcement all together.” I say with a smile.
She shakes her head and separates her hand from mine, perching it under my chin. “No way, you’re going to make an amazing cop.”
“Owen.” I finish for her, offering a hand.
“Violet.” She smiles, shaking it before vanishing for good.