Friday, March 16th, 2029
I watch them leave. Sarah leaves ahead of the group, and Iris runs up to be next to Gavin. I’m a little surprised he doesn’t notice her practically throwing herself at him.
Maybe he does. Then again, with all that he’s been through recently, I couldn’t blame him for not wanting to get into things like that now, but it does concern me that he didn’t want to tell Sarah and Iris about his condition. I hope he doesn’t keep it a secret for too long.
“I see you didn’t mention the murder weapon,” Jen says, snapping me out of my trance.
“Huh? Oh, yeah…well, she’ll find out soon enough,” I say. I sit down on the bench reserved for the court stenographer and place my head in my hands.
“Do you think you’ll be able to pull through this?” Jen asks me.
“I don’t know. The circumstances of everything are stacked against us. Then there’s the fact that Jake is handling the case,” I say.
Jen is silent.
“Are you sure you’ll be okay?” I ask.
“Yes, I think I can keep it together.”
“I just…I still don’t know how he’s here, to be honest.” She turns to look at me, biting her lip.
“Maybe he didn’t die when his father shot him like you think? Maybe it was like a taser or something?”
“I saw him get shot. I can’t stop seeing him, Andy. That plus the copious amounts of diseases he had, the Vitiligo, C.O.P.D., I can’t believe he didn’t get through that without losing a lot of himself.” She says.
“Diseases. The first was the Vitiligo,”
“Yeah, that was the one that turned his hair gray and took the color from his hands.”
“What was the other one again?”
“The other one is the one I’m worried about. It was deteriorating his lungs and he told me on the last day I saw him that he wasn’t going to be living much longer.”
“And now he’s here.”
“You do know the rumors around him though, right?”
“Yeah, I heard them, and frankly, I believe there’s a reason that there’s word going on about scandal with him. He wouldn’t willingly do something so dirty after what his father did and how that affected him.”
Jake’s father was the chief of police who’d been caught up in a scandal with a good majority of the Colorado police force. They’d since been jailed for abuse of power. They’d been arrested for assisting Jack Adata’s personal vendetta with the abduction of every living person who was taken into Elysium. Plus the murder of everyone who hadn’t made it through to the end. The cops being in league with him was the main reason why he had a hold on us for so long, not because the police couldn’t find him or stop him, but because the majority of them didn’t want to.
I learned this two years ago when President Avery came into power. The old police had effectively been routed out like a tumor and Avery had replaced it with his own personal command, replacing one person’s personal police with another. I don’t really know which is better, to be honest.
Since then, I’ve only heard passing rumor of Jake. I’d heard about a ruthless lawyer in New York with political connections that could go on longer than a laundry list. It seems something other than coincidence is at play here it being Jake.
“Well, we’ll do this one step at a time,” I say. I stand up and look her right in the eyes. “It’s time to rock and roll.”
I push open the courtroom doors. Jen and I enter the hallway and the crowd that was once abundant throughout the hallway has since dispersed. I walk into the courtroom and a familiar wind blows past my face, it is the wind of a new beginning. I see the gallery is packed full of people and I can pick out the group in an instant. Sarah and Lindsey are watching intently, while Iris and Gavin are looking at each other talking.
My focus returns to the pit, as I like to call it. It is the area between the gallery and the judge’s bench, the battlefield between the Prosecution and the Defense. I take my place at the bench and I see Prosecutor Jake Carroway staring holes into my head.
“So, it seems like an utter twist of fate to see you again, Cress?” Jake calls out.
He as a scowl plastered all over his face. I shake my head.
“No, Jake. I volunteered. And what of yourself? You seemed to have fallen off of the face of the earth the past seven years,” I say.
“Has New York turned you into some sort of soup kitchen now, volunteering?” He sneers.
“I think it’s made you quite the opposite, and why do you feel the need to dodge my question?” I reply.
He recoils slightly. “Wouldn’t you like to know,” Jake says.
I think back seven years ago. The day I’d first met Jake. It was at one of Jen’s soccer games. The two had been best of friends. I’m back in the present staring at Jake Carroway, demon prosecutor, asshole at large.
“Will the defense and prosecution leave the bickering for inside the actual case?” A voice chimes in.
I look up to the judge’s bench to see the judge presiding over the case in his chair. He’s balding and wears glasses that are slightly too large for him.
“Y-Yes your honor,” I mumble out.
“Now, if you two would like to get ready so we can start this trial already?”
Jake stares at me for a few seconds and then he looks back up at the judge. “Why, I’d love nothing more, your honor.”
Why that cheeky little-
“Will the defendant take the stand!” The judge bellows out and the crowd in the gallery is silenced. The judge’s voice echoes throughout the large courtroom and I can then see John being led to the witness stand. He is clad in prison orange.
“Mr...Baker, is it?”
“You are being indicted on three charges of first degree murder. Do you understand that?”
“I do your honor.”
“And what is your plea?”
“Not guilty, your honor.”
“Very well then. The prosecution may make its opening statements.”
Jake nods his head. “The defendant was found at the scene of the crime, covered in blood.”
“Objection!” I yell, a little too loudly.
“Mr. Cress, what is it? We’re all in the vicinity, you don’t need to yell,” the judge says.
“U-Uh, yeah, I’m sorry, but Mr. Carroway’s statement is incorrect. John Baker was found on the outskirts of Queensbury on an old forested road,” I say.
Ha, counter that!
“Why, thanks, Cress, for pointing that fact out. In fact, why was Mr. Baker found on the outskirts of town? Was he simply trying to run from his actions?” Jake asks, smiling devilishly.
Shit! He wanted me to point that out!
“N-No! I...I have witness testimony that explains what he was doing out there!”
“If you’re talking about the two lovely ladies in the gallery, Cress, then you can just stop right there. I knew of their whereabouts and I was just merely testing you to see if you’re ready for the big leagues,” he says, smirking once more.
“Can we please leave the tests at home and not deal with the pointless questions?” the judge asks.
“Sure enough, your honor. I’ve concluded my test anyway, this should be a fun little tête–à–tête.”
“Let’s just move on,” the judge says.
“Alright, so Mr. Baker was found on the outskirts of town because he had been in a car crash with the two ladies in the gallery, Miss Sarah Newman and Miss Iris McCallum. Now, the body of Mr. Daniel Underwood, one of the victims, was found three feet from the back row bleachers in the Queensbury High School Gymnasium…” He stops for a breath. “He had several entry wounds in his torso including his stomach being cut open and its contents strewn about the floor. There was also a bullet hole found in the victim’s forehead. Then, a blood trail leads from the gymnasium in a path throughout the school to the outside, where the path ends.”
“Were you able to find a murder weapon?” The judge asks.
“Yes, well, mostly,” Jake answers.
“We were able to find the gun, your honor. It was a .38 caliber revolver, but we were unable to find out what had cut the victim open, your honor,” Jake amends.
“You mentioned something about there being more than one victim?”
“Peter and Tonya Baker, the accused’s parents. The same bodily wounds and bullet holes were found on them, your honor. The only difference being that they were killed in the victim’s room.”
The judge looks straight towards John.
“I know I’m supposed to be impartial, but this isn’t sounding too good for you, son.”
Impartial my ass.
“It is the prosecution’s accusation that Mr. Baker had killed his parents and then left to go kill the gym teacher,” Jake says.
“You have your work cut out for you then, Mr. Cress.”
“The prosecution would like to summon its first witness,” Jake chides.
“All right. Let the first witness take the stand!”
I can sense some nervous stares digging holes into the back of my head from the gallery and I can feel the nerves coming in, but I can’t let them interfere with this. This case has become one of my most important in my entire career and all because he is at the apex of it all. I see a well groomed man approach the witness stand. He is wearing a low cut auburn suit with matching slacks. According to the case report, this must be the leading detective on the case and the one who had arrested John.
The bailiff walks up to him and holds something in his hand.
“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
“I do,” the man responds.
“Will the witness give his name and occupation to the court?” Jake asks.
“Certainly! My name is Ace Harde. Ace Detective, if you please,” he says and laughs silently to himself.
“So that would make you the detective who first arrived on the scene?” I ask.
“Certainly!” He flashes a sort of grin, but to me it looks a little forced. He gives himself a sort of applause.
Why do I get the nut cases?
“Would you mind giving testimony of the events you had witnessed?” Jake asks.
“Certainly not, Mr. Carroway,” Detective Harde straightens his tie and in a flash he seems to be the most composed gentleman in the world. I place my hands on the desk, ready like a puma ready to pounce on its prey.
“Is the prosecution ready for the Direct Examination?” the judge asks, looking over to Jake.
“Of course,” he replies.
“Well, go on then, detective,” the judge mentions.
“Witness, at what time did you arrive on the scene of the school gymnasium?” Jake asks.
“Approximately twenty minutes after a call was placed into the station. This was around 9:23 am.”
“And was this call of any urgency?”
“Urgency? Certainly. The caller had said there was someone outside the school covered in blood!”
“When you had made the arrest of Mr. Baker, wasn’t he covered in blood, similar to that phone description?” Jake asks.
“Objection! The prosecution is attempting to lead the witness,” I call out.
“Objection sustained,” the judge says.
Jake looks at me with what seems like irritation. “Fine. Did anything about the defendant surprise you as you had arrested him?”
“Why, certainly! He was covered in-“
“I had certainly seen blood on his clothes, your honor. Once I brought him down to the precinct I had the blood tested and it was that of the victim,” he says.
“And which victim would that be, detective?” the judge asks.
“The blood on Mr. Baker had belonged to Mr. Daniel Underwood.”
“So, it was the victim’s blood. It seems like a pretty open and shut case. Don’t you, your honor?” Jake says with a sort of hopeful look in his eye.
“The evidence is pretty much there, I’ll admit,” the judge says.
“Your honor, the prosecution has yet to provide a motive for my client!” I say.
“Well, the defense does have a point,” the judge says.
“Alright, I should explain that the witness was the one who had examined the scenes of Mr. Underwood and the Bakers, so his knowledge of the arrest itself are none and just,” Jake explains. “Will the witness kindly explain what he had found on the scene?” Jake asks with a smirk.
Detective Harde nods quickly. “Certainly! When I had arrived on the scene I had found the .38 caliber revolver lying in the pool of blood!”
A freeze frame, time begins to slow to almost a halt. This is my power. Whenever people lie, or if they don’t tell the whole truth they let off their nervous habits. This detective is hiding something very important in his testimony.
I can see his right thumb rubbing in-between his index and middle fingers. His thumb is twitching something terrible. Another moment and time reverts back to normal. It doesn’t matter, I’ve got him now.
“Objection! Detective Harde, whenever you had mentioned finding the gun your thumb had started to twitch and you began rubbing it nervously with your other two fingers. It was only during that section of your testimony. It’s as if you’re nervous about something,” I say.
“What? What does that have to do with anything? I wouldn’t lie to-” he begins.
“Now, detective, I never said anything about lying. Why would you jump to such an accusation, unless there is something you’d like to tell us?”
“Objection! Your honor, you can’t honestly-”
“Objection overruled. I’m quite interested in where this is going, myself.” the judge says.
“I’d like to think more testimony about the gun is in order, your honor,” I say.
The judge nods. “Why, I’d like to know more about the murder weapon, too,” the judge answers.
“Cress, you don’t know what stones you’re turning over in this, do you?” Jake asks, his teeth clenched.
“I’m simply just looking for what really happened,” I say.
“Fine. You can cross examine the witness,” he grunts.
“Great, now, Detective Harde, you had mentioned you had found the gun lying in the pool of blood, correct?” I ask.
“That...isn’t possible,” I say, a grin starting to form on my face.
“What are you getting at, Cress?” Jake asks.
“Explain yourself, Mr. Cress!”
“It shouldn’t be me who should be explaining, but our witness. It’s he who has lied to the court,” I say, my arms now crossed.
“What? I certainly-”
“I’d like to call Mr. Baker to the stand and have you swear in his testimony, your honor.” I say.
“Alright, any objections Mr. Carroway?”
“None, unfortunately,” Jake says.
“Okay then, Mr. Baker, please take the stand!”
A few seconds later, John stands up and I can see his chest move up and then down slowly. “Mr. Baker, you’ve been listening so far, am I correct?”
“Yes, your honor.”
“Now, what was the state of affairs like in your own view?”
“This started when I woke up in the gymnasium.”
“Woke up? I’m afraid I don’t understand, you were sleeping in the gym?”
“No, sir, or, I didn’t intend to, anyway.”
I walk up to the judge’s bench and I put the slip of paper before him.
“Yes and?” Jake asks.
“He also makes mention that aside from the blood, the floor looked like it had been recently waxed and there had been no blood between the pool of blood and the body of Mr. Underwood.”
“I still don’t understand.”
“That means he took a look around the floor around him, no?”
“I’d assume so.”
“If he had, he would have certainly seen the gun lying next to him.”
“What if he hadn’t woken up there? What if he had entered the building with the gun in tow?” Jake asks.
“And how do you suppose Mr. Baker, of his stature, to carry the dead body without any blood getting on the floor?”
“Maybe he wiped it up?”
“Why would he go through the trouble of wiping it up and then leaving the gun in the larger pool of blood? The only explanation is that the body was moved by a third party and this third party had forged the evidence which is that gun to accuse my client!”
“Objection! Your argument hinges on the sole fact that a third party exists! Do you have any proof of this third party at all?”
“I have one piece of evidence to give a shred of a doubt,” I say.
“I’d like to see this piece of evidence.”
“Certainly!” I scream out.
“Hey! That’s my line!” Ace calls out. He looks like he is almost in tears.
“I have with me a note, a note that bears a message intended for the defendant. In the message it mentions the need to borrow Mr. Baker for a period of time,” I explain.
“I believe the note may be talking about a possible kidnapping. With your permission, your honor I’d like to have Mr. Baker testify about the meaning of the message.”
“I’ll allow it. Mr. Harde, feel free to wait in the gallery or the lounge or whatever you prefer.”
“C-Certainly...” Ace says as he leaves the witness stand.
The gallery is almost in an uproar. I turn around and catch Lindsey giving me a thumbs up. I smile and turn back around. I take a quick breath. It’s not over yet, but I’ve poked a hole in the prosecution’s case. I just hope that hole is ready to be ripped open wide.