The jury foreman stood in the quiet court room, the paper in her hand an anvil weighing heavy on her heart. She did not want to read the words aloud, did not want to be burdened with the responsibility of setting this monster free.
“As to the charge of first degree murder, verdict as to count one, we the jury find the defendant not guilty, so say we all, dated at Ocala, Marion County, Florida this the twenty second day of June, 2014.” Her voice hitched as she continued, all further counts a continual finding of not guilty.
Echoes of the verdict slipped past unbelieving lips. Furious whispers and shocked gasps surrounded the court room, rising in temperament until the judge was forced to bang her gavel. The action was almost unheard in the uproar. She banged it several more times, harder and louder demanding that there be order in her court.
Announcing it had made it real. Not Guilty. The bitch really was going to get away with it. She sat, quiet as a mouse, her complexion ashen from months of being locked up. From behind the defendant’s box she looked so innocent. Long sleeved shirt buttoned to the collar. Tucked into a pair of grey slacks and matched with a pair of simple black flats. Dark circles lined eyes that were red-rimmed and teary. Just the right amount of reaction and nothing more. But for her it was all a game. She had planned it this way.
Lack of evidence was the one thing saving her from conviction. But she had made sure there was one person out there who knew she truly was guilty. And now it was her turn to play with him. Like a cat with a string. The jury finished out their duties, each individually responding to their verdicts of not guilty before the judge called the defendant up for her final sentencing.
“Anya Renee Petrova, a jury of your peers has found you not guilty as to the charge contained in count one of the indictment murder in the first degree. At this time I will adjudge you to be not guilty and you are free to go.” The court room was in a state of chaos as she followed her counsel to freedom.
* * *
The glass doors opened and she was ushered into the fresh air by her lawyers and a small group of officers. Outside, the crowd was monstrous. Camera crews cascaded the steps the courthouse, each wanting first crack at her response. Angry followers marched the street, signs in tow, pushing one another to get to Anya through a barricade of reinforcements. It was a madhouse and she was the epicenter. Suddenly a shot rang out and panic ensued. What was already a disaster turned into a zoo of hysteria. Screams filled the area as the marchers and journalists ducked and covered, the cops that surrounded Anya pushing her forward to the unmarked car that had been waiting for her. They shoved her in the backseat and gave the trunk a hardy slap to send her off. That was it. It was over.
The driver was visible through the grate that separated the front and back seat. He was tall, thin. Hair freshly cut and clean shaven. He seemed familiar somehow but from this angle she couldn’t place him. Until he spoke.
“Hello, Anya.” She would know that voice anywhere. She had been thinking about it for weeks now. Dreaming, planning, plotting.
“You’re going to pay for what you did.” Click. She was locked in. It was her turn to be the victim.
This was in response to Thain in Vain’s challenge for week 25. At first I couldn’t think of anything and then I was watching some news footage and this kinda came to me. It’s not as “full circle” as I wanted it to be but I was already over the word limit and didn’t want to go even more. So here’s what I ended up with. Meh.