The Sanction

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4

I was up later than I should've been, and I knew I would not feel okay going into work. It was already almost four in the morning, so I went ahead and called the front desk and left a message for the receptionist. I also called Bethany's, Christine's, and Aidan's extensions, informing them I wasn't feeling well and that I would not be in today. I knew it would surprise Bethany and Christine, but I figured Aidan might tell them I wasn't feeling well, and that we had to reschedule our meeting. Since I could get into my email from home, I knew they wouldn't be too disappointed that I wouldn't be in the office.

This mystery person and these text messages have my brain completely rattled. And not only that but, the information I'd found last night was still racking my brain. Even after I'd made my phone calls, I couldn't force myself to shut my computer off and go to bed. Whoever this person was, if their intentions were to drive me insane, they were utterly successful.

I spent another two hours, looking up every case file I could find, and delving as deep into research as the internet would take me.

That is, until my computer died.

I had now been up for a full 24 hours, and it was as if my computer shutting down signaled the same message to my brain. My body finally felt fatigued from the day before, and from being up all night. I plugged my computer in to charge, then made my way to my room.

The last thing I remember running through my mind was, how did the previous case files connect to Aidan, and how did this person know all this information?

That night, I had one of the most vivid dreams I've ever had in my life. Most times, when I wake up, I can't remember anything from my dreams. Or if I'd had any.

I was sitting in the back of a courtroom, and everything seemed to be frozen. I got up from my seat and made my way to the front of the room.

I recognized the judge from one of the case files, as well as the defense attorneys. When I looked over at the prosecutors, I noticed one of the faces seemed to be blurred out. I knew which prosecutor it was immediately, because he was the only one I could not find any information on.

I glanced at the paperwork on the prosecution table and realized which hearing this was. When I looked around again, I saw the foreman about to announce the verdict to the court. I knew what would happen from this point on, and all the careers this moment would ruin. I decided to walk over to the defense table and see if I could get a look at any of their personal paperwork. Everything I saw matched the information on the prosecution side, except for one small note, handwritten by one of the attorneys.

'If we lose, don't lose your temper. If we win, don't you dare smile.'

Whichever attorney wrote that, knew there was a 50/50 chance the case could go either way. Because I'd recently read the case file, I already knew what happened after the verdict was announced to the court. I was becoming more confused about the whole thing and what could've really been happening behind the scenes.

I woke up suddenly, to the sound of my phone ringing. I'd left it in the kitchen so that I could get some sleep. I could tell it was now mid-day from the look outside of my windows, when I got to my phone, I silently wished I had just gone back to sleep.

Another text message.

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