Sitting at the improvised court hall, I realize how serious the situation is. As if I hadn't noticed that before.
The newest people, who've entered the prison just this week, look around anxiously. They have probably no idea in what part of the prison they are right now. Most of the new ones get lost in the first few days after arrival. Some of the newbies are part of the jury. Six of them are new, and the other six have been here a little longer. Some of them know who Vicky is, but not everybody knows what she's done in the past, or what this is about.
With a jury like that, the outcome of this trial is very unpredictable. I just hope that my testimony will be enough to convince the judges about Vicky's good nature.
I feel a hand on my knee, and quickly turn my head. Maggie looks at me, with a slight smile on her face. "Why're you so worked up?"
I look around again, to the people entering the room and sitting down. I shrug. "I don't know, I just…I just hope Vicky is able to shut her mouth for once, and not make the situation even worse."
Maggie laughs slightly. "She's not gonna let all this slip by her. She'll find this amazing, and probably won't stop talking about it. If that's gonna make the situation worse….I don't know. These people don't know Vicky like we do."
"That's why I have to say something."
Maggie nods. "Yes, but she can't just get away by the bad things she's done. That's not how it worked before, and that's not how it's working right now."
I lay a hand on top of Maggie's. "I just hope we can change people's hearts somehow, so that the punishment won't be so bad."
"She punched a guy into a wheelchair" I hear a voice behind me. When I glance over my shoulder, I see Daryl leaning against the wall, his arms crossed. "What do you expect?"
Daryl doesn't look at me when talking, he's focused on a door at the other side of the room, where Vicky is supposed to come out of, to enter to trial. All of the people who wanted to be here, and who are supposed to be here, are almost here. Daryl looks like he wants to punch someone himself. He's very mad for some reason. Or, what I think is more likely, nervous. He somehow came to care about the childish, dangerous, insane, supernatural girl. He may not admit it, but they make a good team. He was very anti-Vicky in the beginning. If Rick hadn't forbidden it, he would've shot her in the face. Now the tables have turned, Rick is the one wanting Vicky out of here, while Daryl wants to give her another chance. Rick doesn't want her dead, but he's capable of anything if he has to protect his family. The outcome of the trial will decide what will happen to her, without Rick having a saying in it.
Less people are getting in, because the door is about to close. In the last couple of seconds, two figures squeeze through. I recognize one as Daniel. I haven't talked to the kid much, but he seems nice. I remember him being a friend of Vicky's, before she ran away and lost her memory. When she got it back, the wounds of what where said before weren't healed quite yet, and I have no idea what's been going on between them ever since.
The other figure is the new girl, who freaks everybody who's been staying at the prison longer than two weeks out with her red hair. The poor girl has no idea what's going on. Although Vicky seemed to know her, when she came back to the prison with Carl.
"Who's that girl?" I ask Daryl, since he's the one bringing her in.
"Her name's Katy, or something. Found her wandering the woods, on her own. She turns out to be Vicky's cousin."
"That…was unexpected" I mumble. "How's her….mental state?"
Daryl smirks. "Don't worry, man. She's totally sane. The opposite of Vicky, almost. Very calm, cool. I'd say she suffers in silence, or something like that. But she has some of Vicky's spirit in there too. Or something."
I watch the girl Katy sit down next to Daniel, looking tense. The last time I saw her, she had her hair over her eyes, hiding every look. But now she has her hair more out of her face, as if she wants to get a better view now. Or maybe because you're not allowed to wear sunglasses in court, so you can't have your pony over your eyes. I read that a few years ago, somewhere in a magazine while waiting for the dentist to call my name and check on my teeth.
"Didn't she want to testify?" I ask.
"Dunno. Maybe she and Vicky aren't that good of friends. Although she looks pretty nervous."
Then, the doors close. The man asked to be the judge, is sitting behind a table. He doesn't wear any special clothes, nor does anyone else.
"Good afternoon, everybody" says the judge, with a serious voice. He used to be in the army, as a sergeant. He still has some of that in his voice somehow.
I take a deep breath. It's starting.
"We are here today to decide the faith of a girl that has attacked a fellow member of this society" he reads from a paper. "This is a trial deciding what her punishment will be. Because we have no real lawyers, nor a judge, this trial is going to be a little different from what it used to be back in the old days. There will be some similarities, but don't expect anything."
He then sits down. I spot a hammer on the table, which makes me grin a little. At least they tried.
"Court is now in session. Will the defendant please take stand?" the judge says, and the door on the side opens. The door Daryl's been watching all this time. First entering, is Tyreese. He's holding a rope, and has a serious expression on his face. He doesn't look anyone in the eyes, he seems lost in his own thoughts.
Behind him, Vicky follows. The suspect in this case. Almost everyone knows she's guilty, but Rick still wanted her to have a trial. Because that's how it supposed to work.
Vicky looks like she's just entered Disneyland. Her eyes are widened and her jaw dropped. Her hair looks cleaner than usual, and she's wearing new clothes. A jacket that's way too big for her where she ripped the sleeves off. She seems to be pretty proud of it.
The rope Tyreese's holding is the same that's wrapped around Vicky's pulses. It's very loose, I can see that from here. Tyreese is too nice to her.
Vicky hasn't said anything yet, so far so good. She follows Tyreese to a table that's facing the judge. The jury sits on benches at the right of the judge. The benches for people who came to watch are stationed behind the table where Vicky's sitting, so there's basically a whole circle around the judge.
Vicky is sitting down, still looking around. When she looks over her shoulder, she spots her cousin. She waves at her.
"Hey, hey Katy!" she whispers, even though everyone can hear her. All the people in the room are silent, watching Vicky with a frown, or with an amused smile.
"We are here today to discuss the case of the attack on William Baker, a psychiatrist, who's been at this prison for about two months. The guilty one will be expelled for the prison from ten years to life. The suspect in the case is Victoria Robson-"
"Hold on mister! How the hell do you know my last name?!"
I turn my head, and see Vicky coming out of her chair. Tyreese, who's standing nearby, carefully pushes her down at her shoulders, but Vicky keeps eyeing the judge. The poor man is a little spooked, but continues.
"Do you, Victoria Robson, swear to say nothing but the truth when asked a question?"
Vicky opens her mouth, but shuts it soon after. She sits down, and narrows her eyes. "I'd say I would, but…what happens if I don't? I mean, it's not like there's a big mystery surrounding this so-called 'attack'. There were witnesses. Not that I don't like the idea of a trial, it's just-"
"Would you please answer the question, Miss Robson?" the judge asks with a impatience.
"Miss? Did you just call me 'Miss'? Wow! That's awesome! No, wait, you should call me 'your highness' next time! Or princess, or something cool like that!"
"Miss Robson, could you please answer the question?" the judge tries again. I see many people frowning at the weird conversation going on there.
"What? Oh, of course, sure. I'll tell you anything you wanna know."
The judge sighs. "Well, then. I can call upon the defence of the victim and the prosecutor of the case, Carol Peletier."
Somewhere in the crowd of people, Carol stands up. She's not wearing any special clothes, but she does have a very serious look on her face. She's holding a pack of papers in her hands as she walks to another table facing the judge. She bows to the judge, and sits down.
"Victoria Robson will speak in her own defence" the judge continues. Vicky lifts an eyebrow and opens her mouth, but Tyreese stops her by putting a hand on her shoulder.
I sigh, and rub my eyes. "So much for a good start."
Maggie takes a deep breath. "I think we need to consider arranging the wedding ourselves."
I look at her, and she grins slightly. Vicky's been talking about being the party planner for the wedding from the beginning. Looking at the situation right now, Maggie might be right.
"Seriously, shut up!" I whisper softly. Like she can hear me right now. What the hell is she doing? Playing all dumb and clowny? If that's even a word. I don't know, nor care.
The judge, an elderly man with a slight beard, turns towards Carol, ignoring the babbling of Vicky.
"Miss Peletier, you now have the chance to speak in mister Baker's defence."
Carol stands up, and nods. "Thank you."
She takes some of the papers with her as she walks to the front of the table. She turns towards the jury. She seems nervous, facing a group of people like that. There are lots of people in this small room today, all because Vicky did something. Punching a guy or something.
I'm sitting right behind her, staring at the back of her head. She seems to have taken a bath or something.
"Thank you for coming here today, jury" Carol starts, asking my attention again. "I can see that not all of you have been at this prison for a long time. Some of you don't know Vicky like the most of us do. I know Vicky as a lonely girl, who's locked herself up in this prison all winter, pushing herself into a mental state she cannot control. She has-"
"What the hell, Carol?!" Vicky suddenly interrupts her. "Do you even listen to what you're saying?"
Vicky is getting out of her chair again, and this time the man standing beside her isn't going to get through to her.
The judge slams his hammer on the table a few times, and Vicky looks up. She gasps amazed. "That's one awesome hammer! Can I get one like that? Hey, Tyreese, you had a hammer too, right? Do you think you can slam skulls with this one too?"
The judge hammers again. "Miss Robson, could you please be silent for a moment. You will get your chance to speak in your own defence later."
Vicky falls back in her chair, folding her arms. She looks like a little girl, acting like this. She purses her lips, and even sticks out her tongue towards the judge.
"What the hell is she doing?" I mumble. I hear Daniel next to me sigh.
"That's Vicky for yah."
Carol nods towards the judge, and turns towards the jury again. "As I was trying to say; Vicky has become a danger to herself, and especially for others. She simply cannot be around other people."
Carol stops talking, for a dramatic pause. Vicky sighs annoyed, and lets her head fall back over the chair.
"You all know Will, don't you? Will is a psychiatrist, and he naturally felt the urge to help Vicky, as her mental state was getting worse by the day. Vicky didn't want any help, but didn't think that her words were enough. I was there as she punched mister Baker to the ground, kicked him in the stomach, and tried to choke him, while screaming several words that I could not understand. Mister Baker suffered both minor and major injuries and is trying to teach himself to walk again. For as far as I know, Vicky knew exactly what she was doing at the time. She was completely in control of her own actions."
Carol pauses again, unintentionally giving Vicky the chance to say something. "Yeah, yeah. We all know it was me. I'm guilty, I admit it. Seriously, why are we even doing this? What's the point? There's no mystery or anything…."
And there again, the hammer comes down on the table, and the judge stares at Vicky with narrowed eyes. "Silence, Miss Robson. Or else I have to force you to leave this room. Let miss Peletier finish…"
"How am I supposed to know when she's finished if she keeps pausing like that?" Vicky asks, and I don't like to admit it, but she has a point. "It's not like her words get any more value or something."
"Miss Robson!" the judge warns, raising his voice. Vicky chuckles.
"OK, OK, I get it. Me shut up. She talk. I know."
"I'm getting the feeling the judge is losing his patience…" I say out loud.
"He's not the only one" Daniel mumbles. "She's playing with him. She's curious how he'd respond. She likes seeing people struggle with themselves."
"That's…kinda sick," I gasp, looking at my niece. What happened to her? Why is she being like this?
"I'd like to call upon a witness" Carol continues after a while. The judge nods, and Carol turns towards one of the audience benches. "Daryl Dixon, come forward, please."
"What the…" I mumble. There's a lot of mumbling and gasping as Daryl makes his way to the front. He looks very calm, and not very interested. I don't know why Carol called him forward.
"Why him? What does he have to do with it?" I ask Dan. He shrugs.
"I dunno. I guess because he was the one who pulled Vicky away after beating Will…"
Daryl stands still a little further away from the jury than Carol. He's put on a cold attitude, with his arms crossed and a blank face.
"Daryl, you were the one who interfered and prevented that Vicky from continuing to hurt mister Baker. Isn't that right?"
"Yup, that's me" Daryl grumbles. I don't know if I imagined it, but I thought I saw him glance at Vicky real quick. I'm not sure.
"You were the one who put her in a cell a few cellblocks away from the public ones. Is that correct?"
"What was Vicky's behaviour like when putting her in the cell?"
Daryl doesn't directly respond. He seems to take his time to choose his words. "Well, she wanted me to let her go. She said that she had other things to do."
"With other things…did she mean to go back and continue to harm mister Baker?"
Daryl makes a mocking sound. Some sort of chuckle. "Pff, no. 'Course not. She said she had other things to do. If she wanted to go back, she would've said so. Trust me, I know her."
"Oh, really?" I hear Vicky mumble. Daryl turns his head slightly, and narrows his eyes.
I don't know what the relationship between these two is, but I got the feeling that Daryl is trying to help Vicky. He's trying to tell her to shut the hell up, it seems. Maybe they're, like, buddies, or something.
"You really think you know me, Dary-doo?"
"Miss Robson, I'm warning you" the judge starts again, and Vicky sticks her tongue out to him again, but closes her mouth.
"Did you ever expected that Vicky would go this far to make a point?" Carol continues the questioning. Daryl shrugs.
"I never know what to expect with her. She's very unpredictable."
"Do you think that being unpredictable makes her dangerous?"
Daryl slightly lifts an eyebrow. "Well, yeah, but-"
"So you agree that she is dangerous and can't be around other people?"
"What? No, I'm not saying- hey, you're twisting my words, Carol."
Vicky smirks. "Playing it dirty, huh?"
I sigh, and shake my head. "This is a mess."
"I don't get it" Daniel says. I turn my head, and see him biting his thumb nail while thinking. "Carol was the one person who always protected Vicky. She looked up to her. And now she's plotting against her? What is up with that?"
I look at the grey haired woman, who puts her hands on her hips. She has a determined look on her face. What is she up to?
"Look, Carol" Daryl says, and Carol shuts her mouth. "I know that she knocked your friend up pretty bad, but that doesn't make her an evil person or anything. Yeah, she's outta her mind. But that doesn't make her bad. She more than that, and you know it. Hell, you basically said so yourself!"
I frown. This is all too confusing. How com Carol first was rooting for Vicky, and is now fighting against her? I turn my head to look at Daniel, and see that he's thinking the same.
"Come on! You can do it! Just a little further!"
Lizzie reaches out with her arm, and I'm barely able to grab her hand. The ladder we used to get up the roof is breaking down. And I'm afraid of heights.
Along with Mica and another girl they pull me up the roof. When I'm there, I lay down with my face facing the cold roof. That was really scary.
"Are you OK?" Mica asks carefully. I push myself up and sigh.
"Yes, I was just a little scared."
The other girl who helped me looks over the edge of the roof, and gasps. "How will we ever get down again?"
Lizzie looks over her shoulder, and her eyes widen. I think the ladder fell on the ground. Lizzie shrugs. "We'll figure something out. Now let's go! I think it's already begun!"
Lizzie starts running towards something that looks like a huge hole, and the other girl follows her. Mica helps me up and together we run after them.
Lizzie stops in front of the pipe hole. "We can go through here, and we'll end up in a room above the cafeteria where the Thing is going on."
I nod. Neither of us knew the name of the happening everyone was so excited about, so we just ended up with calling it 'the Thing'.
Lizzie looks at the pipe and the long way down. "So, who's going first?"
I look at the ground. I don't wanna go first. I learned that if you look away when someone asks a volunteer, you mostly don't get chosen.
No one's answering. No one wants to go first.
"Okay…" Lizzie sighs. I don't think she wants to go first either. "We'll rock-paper-scissor about it."
"Good idea," the other girl says. I look at Mica, who shrugs.
"OK, we'll do it in two pairs, like with a game of chess" Lizzie says. I frown. I haven't played chess in a while, but I don't see what this got to do with that.
"What does chess have to do with rock-paper-scissors?" I ask. Lizzie rolls with her eyes.
"It's just a matter of speaking!"
She turns to the other girl. "You and I will play, and Mica and Vinnie. The two who lose have to go against each other, and the one who loses then will have to go first."
"Oh, like that. Why didn't you say so?" I hold up my fist towards Mica. Lizzie grunts annoyed.
"It was just a matter of speaking! Gosh….whatever. Just do it!"
I look at Mica, who shrugs. "Ok, then. Rock…paper….scissors!"
"Oh, no!" I say when I see my hand is flat as a paper and Mica is holding up two fingers like a pair of scissors.
"Sorry…"Mica mumbles. I hear Lizzie cheer next to me, which means I have to go to the other girl who's name I've forgotten. I take a deep breath. I think I'm gonna go with rock this time.
"Rock" I start, and the other girl nods. "Paper…scissors!"
The girl is holding up two fingers. I've won.
"So, now you have to go first!" Lizzie says with a smile. The girl looks scared.
"Oh….why me? I'm scared, Lizzie….please, can't you go first?"
"No, no fair!" Lizzie says with a loud voice. "You lost the game, so you have to go first! You can't change the rules!"
"Don't worry" Mica says, while rubbing the girl's shoulder. "There's nothing down there. And we'll follow soon after you. We'll be right behind."
The girl looks at Lizzie, me and then Mica. "OK. I'll go. But don't wait too long. I don't want to be alone down there."
"Yeah, don't worry" Lizzie says, giving the girl a push toward the pipe hole. "There's a hall downstairs that immediately leads to 'the Thing'."
"Right, the Thing!" the girl nods, as she climbs up the pipe. She looks over her shoulder one more time, before she slides down. It actually looks kinda fun.
She lets out a small yelp when going down, and after that, we hear a thud. I bent over into the hole. "Hey, you alright?"
I hear some rumbling and coughing. "Yeah, it's OK. You can come down!"
"So you'll go next, Vinnie!" Lizzie immediately states, almost pushing me over. I quickly grab the edge and stand back on my two feet.
"Hey!" I say angrily, turning around. "Not cool. You don't have to shove me down there!"
"But you gotta hurry up! We might miss out on all the fun!"
I stick out my tongue to Lizzie. I don't like this plan any more. I just wanna go back to the cellblock and wait for Dan to come back. He won't like it when I tell him what we were doing up here. Neither will Carol.
"Just, go, already!" Lizzie pushes.
"Yeah, yeah. But DON'T push me!" I pull myself up, and sit down at the edge of the hole. It's dark and slippery, and the way down looks very steep. I don't like not seeing where I'm going. I take a deep breath, and push myself down. I don't have time to scream or anything, because I'm going too fast. Dusty air is rushing by me and takes away my breath. Before I know it, I'm sitting on my butt on the ground.
"Awhtsh!" I say out loud, and rub my back. I blink and look around. I've indeed ended it up in one off the dark halls. It's very dark in here, and I hear some footsteps.
"Hey…Uhm…you?" I don't know her name, but I can hear her walking. She should be the only one in here. "I'm sorry, I don't know your name…?"
"Hey! Hey Vinnie!" I hear from above me. It's Mica. "Are you alright?"
"I'm OK, you can-" Before I can say anything else, I feel a cold, slippery hand grabbing my foot. I smell something that reminds me of rotten eggs. And I hear something too. Grumbling. Moaning.
I can't move because I'm too scared. I want to stand up and run away, but all I can do is sit and stay silent while something is trying to climb on top of me. It's a heavy body grabbing on to me. The face is getting closer, and all I can think of is how stupid Lizzie's plan was.
As in an instinct, I take a deep breath to scream.
"DAAAAAAAAAAN! I'M SOOOOOOORRYYYYY!"