This week’s Flash Fiction Friday prompt:
“The formality of the court room and the seriousness it conveyed was palpable as he sat there, a powerless onlooker in the gallery, awaiting the final verdict.”
The formality of the court room and the seriousness it conveyed was palpable as he sat there, a powerless onlooker in the gallery, awaiting the final verdict. Jeffrey glanced at his wristwatch, astounded at the swiftness of the jury’s return. The jury foreman, who was a staid matron of indeterminate years, rose from her seat, the document containing the verdict clutched in her hand. She stood, spine rigid, while the judge questioned her.
“Madam Foreman, do you have a verdict?”
“Yes, your Honor, we do.”
The soft rubber soles of the foreman’s sensible shoes chirped with irreverent squeaks as she shifted her weight from side to side. Her hand shook, causing tiny flutters to ripple across the paper, but her voice was steady as she began to read.
“On the charge of voluntary manslaughter we find the defendant, Emily Jane Lufton, not guilty.”
The courtroom exploded in shouts of protest, representatives of an entire community crying out from the pain of justice denied. The woman next the Jeffrey began screaming obscenities at the jury. A bailiff grabbed her by the elbow and pulled her from the room, but more protesters rose from their seats. They climbed the bar and rushed toward the bench, but were quickly blocked by several officers. A small security team materialized and began clearing the courtroom.
Jeffrey was one of the first to leave, having no desire to be counted among the mob of malcontents. He slipped out the door and walked down a long hall until he found a quiet corner with an empty bench. His outward calm belied his unsteady legs, and he collapsed onto the wooden slats. His phone buzzed silently in his pocket. Somehow, Jean must have already heard the news.
“Is it true?” she asked, blurting the words out before he had time to bring his phone completely to his ear.
“Yes, it’s true,” he said, only now fully realizing what this meant, for her — and for him.
“Look –” he paused to make sure no one could hear him — “I’m ready to do things your way now. Set up the meeting.”
He hung up before he could change his mind.
One way or another, he would have justice today.
Thank you for reading. Here’s are some ways you can help keep this feature going:
- Submit a first line suggestion for next week in the comments section. No obscenities, please. Prompts will be chosen at random, lottery style.
- Come back to Bright Tuesday next Friday to find out which suggested first line was chosen, and to read the next Flash Fiction Friday story (750 words or less).
- I appreciate constructive criticism, so please offer your thoughts and opinions in the comments.
Fiction Writers: You are invited to write your own story using today’s prompt to post on your own blog. Please include a link back to this post, and leave a link to your story in the comments section. Doing so allows participating authors to read and comment on each other’s work, and also helps readers find new authors to enjoy.