The Midnight Hour, Part 10
Ten hours was a long time and yet it wasn’t. No amount of time was enough to decide the fate of a young man accused of murder, accidental or otherwise. ‘Beyond the shadow of a doubt’ was a mystery term, far beyond the realm of comprehension. So far beyond, perhaps, it had no true meaning at all. Was anything ‘beyond the shadow of doubt?’
Had the prosecution proved its case? Had the Defense proved them wrong? That was the question.
The Jury lived questions in their own lives; families, marriages, jobs. In-laws, money, vacations to plan, daycare, kids to ballet and piano and soccer. Baseball, football, art. How many made ‘beyond the shadow of a doubt’ decision in their real lives? How many made the right decisions?
So when the jury foreman announced they’d made a decision, there was a ripple of anticipation in the court. The judge returned from Chambers, the Jury to their box, the spectators to their seats.
No one laughed. No one spoke. Hardly anyone breathed. Would there be anger? Relief? Disbelief?
“Has the jury reached a decision?”
The foreman stood. “Yes, your Honor.”
A paper passed from the Foreman to the Bailiff to the Judge. Funny how a simple piece of paper, words passed down from the beginning of time, could capture the fate of a single man in slashes of ink. Letters meant so little; words everything.
The Judge read the verdict and nodded to the Foreman.
“In the matter of the State versus Bobby Wymith, the jury finds……”
Far in the distance, the whine of a siren startled the night. In the back, beside her father, Mary smiled.
To read Parts 1-9 of The Midnight Hour (all written from DP One Word Prompts) you can go to: The Midnight Hour, Parts 1- 10