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The Clump in My Life

For the Just a Minute challenge

By Lana V LynxPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 3 min read
The Clump in My Life
Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

“Order in the court!” I hear as if from another dimension. Everyone stands up as the judge enters the courtroom and takes her seat.

“Be seated!” is the command that relieves no tension in my stomach. I plop onto the court bench and grab my sister’s hand with my left hand. With the right one, I am holding my abdomen that still burns with the pain of memories and a deep scar from that horrible night I still don’t know how I survived. Our 16-year-old son did not, and that realization washes over me again like a wave of tsunami. To suppress a coming sob, I switch my attention to him.

I cannot meet his eyes, but I see he is looking down, shaking his head in disbelief and anticipation, “How did I end up here?” I’ve seen this in him so many times. An abusive narcissist’s regret never lasts too long.

The courtroom is so quiet I can hear a fly buzzing around him.

“I understand the jury has reached the verdict. You may bring the jury,” the judge says and the jury members file in one by one.

While the jurors are taking their seats, he turns his head to his lawyer and mumbles something quietly. I want him to look at me, to meet my burning gaze, but he doesn’t dare. He then turns away from the lawyer and still whispers something under his nose. Is that a prayer? He is not the one who prays! I have never heard him pray, even once, in all 18 years we were together.

Once the jury is seated, the judge says, “Madam Forelady, would you stand for me?”

She obliges, holding pieces of paper in her right hand.

“Have you reached the verdict?”

“Yes, your honor, we have.”

A clump is forming somewhere below my abdomen scar. I’m afraid it will make me vomit.

“Is it unanimous?”

“Yes, your honor.”

The clump is slowly moving toward my throat. I gasp for air to push it down. Breathe, I tell myself.

“Alright, please pass it to the clerk who will pass it to me. And you may be seated.”

It takes seven seconds for the papers to reach the judge’s hand. I know because it’s exactly one of my self-taught calming breaths: breathe in on 1-2-3, breathe out on 1-2-3-4.

The judge shuffles the papers, studying them. The entire procedure must have taken only about forty seconds, but why does it feel like eternity?

“Defendant will rise,” the judge says calmly and waits for him and his lawyer to stand up. He stands tall, like a tower, but doesn’t look the judge in the eye. I can imagine what runs through his mind. He’s probably estimating how long it would take him to leap at the judge and strangle her before anyone stops him. The only deterrent is the bailiff’s gun.

“Madam clerk, would you please publish the verdict, starting with the first page,” the judge instructs.

The clerk starts reading the verdict out loud, citing the docket number, followed by a bunch of legalize I don’t understand. I am still managing the stubborn clump, trying to catch familiar words.

Finally, I hear, “On the charges of aggravated assault and second-degree murder – ‘Guilty’ verdict.” Many in the room gasp without making a sound. He keeps his stone face, looking down.

I collapse into my sister’s arms. She whispers gently into my ear that I can now live my life in peace, with my surviving daughter. And she will be always with me. I quietly sob and nod.

The judge is now talking, saying something about the sentencing and thanking the jury.

The clump is gone. So will he be soon, 25 to life.


About the Creator

Lana V Lynx

Avid reader and occasional writer of satire and short fiction. For my own sanity and security, I write under a pen name. My books: Moscow Calling - 2017 and President & Psychiatrist

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (9)

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  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Glad he got the prison sentence. Nice job. Justice needs to prevail and sometimes doesn't!

  • Novel Allenabout a month ago

    So many horror stories about such things. Why do women not go before they have those children who suffer the brunt of it. Narcissists are brain washing arses. Story well told.

  • Flamance @ lit.about a month ago

    Nice work good story indeed

  • Shirley Belkabout a month ago

    Well done! Bravo. Totally believable.

  • This reimagining of the events is so well written Lana.... though still tragic, there is more hope in this version.

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    So the husband killed their son? Gosh your story was so intense! I loved it!

  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    You could retell this from lots of different angles, too.

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    What a great idea for the challenge and you've captured that intensity and anticipation before the verdict so well, Lana. Excellent.

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a month ago

    Wow! That was pretty intense. Just like it should be before a verdict is read and you captured it! Well done, Lana!

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