General Fiction posted February 2, 2019


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A verdict is difficult to accept

Blind Justice

by Tpa


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

“NOT GUILTY!” said the jury foreman.

Shouts of boos thundered through the courtroom as people stood up with looks of disbelief. Others in the gallery painted smiles on their face while the judge continuously pounded her gavel. 

“Order! Order in my courtroom,” said the dour-faced magistrate. 

A middle-aged woman sat in the front row. Tears streamed down her crimson cheeks.  

I don't believe it!

 Her limbs trembled as she felt the muscles in her stomach twisting into knots.

The jury made a mistake.

 She closed her eyes. 

This is a nightmare

She opened her watery brown eyes and saw the man who took her daughter away.

He stood tall, smiling as women embraced him, and men shook his hand.

“I want to thank you so very much,” the culprit said loudly for the mother to hear. He gripped his lawyer’s hand and shook it vigorously.

Reality stabbed at her heart as he exited the courtroom. 

My Cindy is gone.

She remembered that tragic night. The police knocked at her door. Her knees buckled as the patrolman delivered the shocking news. Liz screamed as she fell to the floor.

The officer helped her to the couch. Chills slithered down her spine, realizing her eighteen-year-old daughter was never coming home as she realized she will never see Cindy’s infectious smile, listen to her squeaky voice, and never comb her daughter’s sandy, long hair. If only, she had one more time to wrap her arms around Cindy’s tall, skinny frame and laugh at her daughter’s corny jokes, if only.

"Let's go, Liz." Her sister put her arms around Liz's narrow shoulders as they walked out the door. "Justice was sure blind today." 

“No Terry, justice was stupid. The jury believed all those people that said that bastard was with him at the time of the murder.”

“And, the person who found Cindy, testified that Ed Kent was the one." 

 "I know," she cried  "His friends lied for him. I know they did."

They stepped into the car, Liz assured herself justice had made a very grave mistake, but one she would rectify.

 After several days of absence from the hospital where Liz worked as a nurse’s aide, she requested and was given a leave of absence, stating to her superiors that she needed extra time to grieve. 

Following the days of Cindy’s death, Liz hardly slept or ate.

“You must eat something,” said Terry compassionately. She would bring food to Liz daily, but the woman refused every meal given to her.

“I’m not hungry.” 

“You love pot roast and mashed potatoes.” Terry unwrapped the plate of steaming food and placed it on the kitchen table adjacent to silverware and a cup of hot tea.

"Food is the last thing on my mind," Liz noted as she pushed the food away from where she sat.

“Maybe you should see someone.”

“I don’t need to see any shrink,” she snapped. “I just want to see that bastard rot in hell.”

Terry widened her eyes, fearing her sister may do something that she would later regret.

“Please Liz, don’t do anything foolish,” she pleaded.

“Nothing I do will be foolish, but I’m not going to watch that creep walk God’s earth while my poor baby is lying in the cold ground.” With a crumpled tissue, Liz wiped the tears from her eyes.

Awkwardly, Terry stood in the middle of the room. She knew words were meaningless. Her sister suffered tremendous pain that Terry found inconceivable, having been childless in her ten-year of marriage. She could only give Liz solace and pray she will abandon the evilness that imprisoned her.

Terry placed her hands on her sister’s shoulders, but Liz shrugged them away.

“Leave me alone,” Liz cried.

Terry dropped her arms at her side, softly whimpering as she walked out of the house.

One morning, Liz drove to Hudson’s Repairs where the culprit, Ed Kent, worked as an auto mechanic.
She discovered his occupation and place of employment during the trial. Many of his co-workers insisted Ed was with them on the night of the murder, which Liz refused to believe.

He drove to a lounge called The Beacon every night after work and stayed until midnight.
Liz followed him into the lounge on a Friday night. Sweet Carolina blared through the speakers. The stench of beer wafted through the establishment.

She saw him sitting with four young ladies at the bar. Liz clenched her teeth. Her eyes glared at his broad smile, wavy black hair, and athletic body. A smile emerged as she embarked upon a plan to dissolve his abundance of happiness.

She looked in the mirror the following evening.
 
Liz dressed in a tight blue skirt, black leather boots, and a white V-shaped blouse that exposed a little more cleavage than usual. She also wore a blond wig and red rhinestone earrings.
 . 
This might stir up his Testosterone.
 
She laughed as she picked up her small, red leather purse from her dresser. The handbag carried a drug called Aconite that she purchased on the other side of town.

Liz planned to drop the drug into his drink. Within minutes she would hope to see Mr. Kent put his hands over his chest and gasp for breath. Upon the paramedic's arrival, she expects that the man will no longer be breathing. 

However, the evening did not go according to her plan. 

Many women gathered around him as the night progressed. Frolic and laughter satisfied their appetite, but Liz waited impatiently. Her blood began boiling. She scowled watching him in a stage of delight while Cindy laid in a cold steel box. Her opportunity finally arrived. She walked to the empty barstool next to him and sat down.

“Well, my lady,” he smiled, “I haven’t seen you here before.”

“I from out-of-town. I’m here on business.”   

“Well, your presence sure decorate this place.”

“Thank you.” She grinned with an urge to gag from his words.

“What’s your poison?”

“A glass of cabernet.” She saw his brown eyes stray to her cleavage.

He called for the bartender.

“One cabernet and a glass of scotch for me.”

Their conversations were trivia. He did most of the talking, bragging of being a star quarterback and bringing a championship to his high school.  He continued his conceited style by declaring his merits in marksmanship and told that at the age of twelve he killed his first deer with his daddy’s Vanguard rifle. He even talked of his brother who Ed deemed as a lazy-ass and would starve if Ed didn’t bring him food.

“The only job my brother knows is pressing the buttons on the remote. 

She would smile and laugh, pretending to enjoy his dull conversation, but time soon became her enemy. The crowd became sparse as the employees started sweeping the floor and wiping off the tables.

I must do it now

“Would you put a coin in the jukebox and play Shallow?”

Mr. Kent smiled and walked across the room, but not before he’d placed his hand above her knee.
She pursed her lips into a forced smile, gently removing his hand.

As he walked away, she quickly slipped her hand into her purse and fished for the pill. Once retrieved, Liz gazed around the room, making sure she went unnoticed.

Her eyes glared at the man that sat adjacent Mr. Kent. She smirked, knowing the stranger was too intoxicated to see his glass let alone Ed's. Quickly, she dropped the drug into his drink.

“Let’s dance.” He smiled, waiting for her to come in his open arms.

“Let’s finish our drink, first.”

As he reached for his glass, the stranger next to Ed stood up, staggered forward, knocked the glass out of Mr. Kent hand, and spilled the beer on Ed’s shirt.

With her brows raised and hatred in her heart, Liz said, "I'll go get some towels."

She ran to the bathroom but never returned.

Days went by. Liz paced the floors of her apartment, filled with anger, and thinking of the man who compromised the task of eliminating Mr. Edward Kent. 

Maybe, my sister is right. I shouldn't do anything foolish. I was lucky this time. 

 Rays of sun slithered through the Venetian blinds as Liz sat on the bed next to Cindy's stuffed lion. Her dad won it at a carnival when Cindy was six. The week before he was deplored to Afghanistan. A few weeks later, the army informed her of his helicopter crashing into the mountains, leaving no survivors.

Her eyes became watery as she gazed about the room. The picture of Britany Spears hung above the desk next to Justin Timberlake. Liz smiled, remembering the many concerts they saw and the boxes of CD's that she had bought for her daughter. Soon, the smiled evaporated. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she saw Cindy's graduation gown hanging in the closet, never worn. As the hours ticked away, her heart became hardened for a man who disabled the joys that Cindy will never have.

Regardless what happens to me, he's going to pay.

Liz watched the news that night. An accident had occurred at a McDonald’s. The lady was ninety years old when she had mistaken the accelerator for the brake. No injuries happened. She did, however, shattered the front window and broke two tables.
 
Liz had a gleam in her eye as her thoughts turned like wheels of a locomotive. 

I got it!

 She waited in her car on a Friday night. Liz parked across the street from the Beacon where she could observe him leaving the lounge. She saw that Ed parked his car a half a block away from the establishment. 

One in the morning Ed exited the lounge and began walking along the deserted street to his car. Liz turned the ignition key. The engine hummed as she grasped the steering wheel tightly at three and nine o’clock. Her chest rapidly moved up and down while goose bumps swelled along her long thin arms while waiting for him to cross the street. Liz stepped on the accelerator. The engine roared as she moved from her parking space and into the middle of the street. 

A few hundred feet and justice will be mine. 

Suddenly, she slid her foot from the accelerator to the brake. She pushed down on the pedal, and the vehicle came to a screeching halt. Liz screamed as her eyes widened, watching a young man on a bicycle cross her path. Her hands trembled, and knees shook, looking at the man that she almost killed.

“I’m sorry,” she said, after rolling down the window.

The man showed his displeasure by giving her the middle finger and cycling away.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kent had driven off, leaving an angry woman disheartened for her unfulfilled deed. Discouraged by her failure, Liz drove back to her apartment full of resentment that another effort had been flawed. Still, her frustrations would not let her task go unsettled. 

Liz paced her kitchen floor for hours. She declined Mr. Kent’s amnesty from murder. After much deliberation, she labored upon a plan that assured her of the man’s passing. 

“A GUN! Are you crazy?” Mark Sawyer said to her.

"Please, you’re the only person that could help me.” She gave him a sorrowful look.

Sawyer was a short, portly man with barely enough hair on his head to cover a golf ball. He had been friends with Liz since their high school days. Mark, however, ventured to the other side of the track. He had a trite Robin Hood’s mentality. He did steal from the rich but kept all of it for himself.

“I don’t know if I can.” His stubby forefingers brushed down on his dark goatee, 

“You know damn well you can get anything you want.”

Liz then told him of her problem and that she could not rest until Ed Kent was dead.

He sympathized with his friend even offered to have one of his colleagues bump off the man for a price, which Liz declined. 

“It’s for my satisfaction," she said. 

After a lengthy discussion, Mr. Sawyer reluctantly caved into his friend's argument. He excused himself and ambled to the back of his pawn shop.
He removed the painting of a little boy fishing from a stone bridge from the wall of his small office. He made several turns on the dial of his wall safe. After a few clicks, the small steel door opened. Mark reached into the safe and brought out a nine-millimeter silencer.  Identifying numbers on the gun were erased.

“You know how to use it?” he said. 

“Please,” she snickered, “I did enough time in the military. Now, how much?”

He waved his hand. “It’s on the house.” 

“Thanks. I owe you.”

“Friendship is enough.”

“Sure thing.” She smiled, put the gun and ammunition in her purse, and walked out the door.

After a few weeks practicing on the shooting range, Liz felt prepared for her mission.

 Once again, she began stalking him. She followed him to the bar, waiting patiently in her car, and the opportunity of loading him with lead when he’d exit the lounge. Unfortunately, he never departed the Beacon without his arms embracing a girl as they sauntered to his car.

Then, one Saturday morning, Liz sat in her car across the street from his apartment. The sun had just risen, peeking behind a few fleecy clouds.
She was gulping her third cup of coffee when he walked out the front entrance and started moving towards his car. Liz picked up the gun that laid on the passenger seat and aimed, pointing the muzzle at his head. She put her finger gently on the trigger, ready to engage. 

Good-bye, you son-of-a-bitch.

Suddenly out of the corner of her eye, she saw a car coming down the street, a black SUV with flashing lights mounted on its rooftop. 
Quickly, she retreated, dropping the gun to the floor and kicking it under the seat. Her face turned red as she heard the pounding in her heart. She felt the queasiness lingering in her stomach, especially when the vehicle stopped before her eyes.

The officers stepped from the car. One of them gave Liz a passing glance as he ran into the building adjacent to where she parked.

As her nerves settled, she saw Mr. Kent drive away. The lines on her forehead deepened as she frowned then started following him,  never letting him out of her sight.

He had driven into the country with plenty of trees and fields of tall grass mixed with weeds and wildflowers. Houses were old as he drove along the one lane road, making some hairpins curves before reaching his destiny.

He turned onto a crumbled asphalt driveway alongside a small house with white chip paint falling from its sides and three wooden stairs that were rotting away with broken gutters hanging from the edges of the thatch roof.

Ed carried a bag of groceries up the stairs and opened a screen door that was hanging by the top hinge.  

Uncertain of his plans, Liz parked her car a short distance away hidden tall weeds. She walked towards the house where she lost herself among the thick and soaring weeds with her eyes sharply in view of the house. 

Liz stayed across the road from the house. She held the gun in her hand with her eyes constantly watching the front entrance.

A few hours passed when Liz heard the front door creak open.  She pointed the gun toward the man's chest as he descended the wooden stairs and walked to his car. 

Liz kept her finger on the trigger. Her left eye half-cocked as she steady her hand, waiting until her target walked down the driveway. Her finger pressed the trigger. A popping sound occurred that only she could hear.

A red stain started spreading across his white shirt. His knees buckled as Mr. Kent fell slowly to the ground. She let out a sigh, a sigh of relief, a sigh that Cindy received the justice that she deserved, even though Liz would always have the heartache of never sharing a life with her daughter.

She found no compassion as he screamed in agony, scrambling to stand up. He covered his heart with his hands dripping with blood. Liz showed no remorse for his suffering. She returned the weapon into the pocket of her jeans and started to leave when she heard the front door open.

A man ran from the house.

“Ed!” he cried, stooping down beside the motionless body.
Liz looked at the man. Her lower jaw dropped as she heard the heavy beats of her heart.

It can't be.

 The man was tall with wavy black hair and an athletic built just like Ed.

Her eyes became teary as she looked at the man slumped over the dead body. She looked at the man who killed Cindy.

Ed's twin brother


 



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