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The Moon's Permission

Chapter 38

By DuointherainPublished 2 years ago 7 min read

All things considered, Gael did not feel like a lawyer. He felt like a fraud. These weren’t feelings he could listen to when Jack was present. If he lost Jack’s respect, he’d have lost everything. Sitting there in that cab on the way to the jail to meet his first serious criminal, nay, capital case, he wished very much for a flask of whiskey that Jack hadn’t done away with already. Damn choirboy.

Nervous, he pulled out a cigar and chewed on the end of it. After he had his conversation with this woman, who probably did kill her lover, he was going to go somewhere there was whiskey and smoke his cigar. It would be somewhere outside, so the smoke wouldn’t linger. Then he’d maybe buy some small gift and go back to the hotel. If his lover would hold his hand, in that tender and sincere way that he did, then Gael would count the world to be his.

He didn’t want to believe in ghosts either. Sometimes he’d give his other eye if the voices hadn’t come back, the things he’d never get back out of his head.

“Give me that cigar,” Hank teased, sitting on the other side of the antiquated carriage cab.

Gael rolled his eyes at the ghost. “I’m a fraud.”

“You’re telling me,” Hank complained. “The flu is bad here, Gael. There are all kinds of new spirits.”

“Well, don’t tell them about me. I’m barely a lawyer for the living, I’m definitely not taking any dead clients.”

“Don’t give yourself such a hard time, Gael. I’ve never known anyone who could argue bullshit like you. I never met a lawyer, other than you, but you could talk the red off the Baron, well, if you could have talked to him.”

“Fuck that bastard,” Gael grumbled, not wanting to think about the German ace. “Planes aren’t courtrooms.”

“That’s what I’m saying. The only weapon in the room is that silver tongue of yours. Oh,” Hank said, looking out the window at something that Gael had no desire to look at. “I have to go talk to her!”

Gael waved at his dead friend with a sigh. If he’d died in the war, he could just follow Jack around and give him impure dreams. In that moment, it felt like that might have been a better outcome. He held his head in his hands, willing the headache starting in his empty eye socket to go away. He was tired of being sick. He was tired of part of himself still and endlessly being ‘over there’. He was very tired of feeling like all of him didn’t come home, way beyond his eye.

“Sir,” the driver said, now standing beside the carriage, door open. “This is the jail, sir.”

“Indeed,” Gael said, double meaning kept to himself. His knee refused to bend as he got out of the carriage and he rested his weight on his cane, lips tight, gripping his leather satchel with unventable rage.

“Are you alright, sir,” the driver asked.

“Yes,” Gael snapped as his knee finally decided to be semi-functional. “I’m fine. Here,” he set his satchel down, pulled his wallet from his inside vest pocket and gave the man a whole dollar as a tip.

“Thank you, sir. I bet you gave the Bosche what they rightly deserved.”

“With all my will,” Gael said resolutely, picking up his case and making his way painfully up the stairs into the jailhouse reception. This was just one more enemy to fight. Courtroom or sky, he was going to be someone others hesitated to fight.

That was his frame of mind when he got to the front desk. Determined, more about the fight than the niceties of legal discourse, he smiled at the desk sergeant. “I’ve come to see my client. Alice Tyndale.”

“You don’t look like a preacher,” the sergeant said with a sneer.

“At least your eyesight is good. I’m her lawyer, Galen Francis McNeil.”

They locked eyes. The sergeant frowned, then looked up more properly at Gael. “Lose the eye in the war?”

“I did.”

“I thought lawyers were rich and the rich didn’t go.”

“I was a pilot,” Gael said firmly, as if that was an explanation and not a side step.

“I’ll ask the captain,” older man said, getting up from his squeaky chair.

“Make sure to tell him that people are innocent until proven guilty. If you want to have a trial, the accused needs a lawyer.”

“I suppose that makes sense.” The man grabbed his hat and put it back on his head before trudging back to an office with the blinds down.

If there was one thing that Gael had learned, being a lawyer was at least 50% waiting on someone else to make a decision. It was his least favorite part of the process. It felt like forever, but it probably wasn’t longer than twenty minutes until a boy, who Gael didn’t think was old enough to be in the police force, led him down a hallway, a gray, drab, slightly moldy hallway that was way too much like getting processed into the jail himself. As his stress rose, the sounds he didn’t want to hear and refused to let himself pay attention to clawed up the back of his sense of self. Bombs. Screaming. Mud. Mud makes noise when there's enough of it, latching onto a man's boots, setting roots into his bones.

One moment he was in the hall, the next he was sitting at a plain battered table, coated in grime and grease and tears to the point that it probably wouldn’t’ve made good firewood.

“Why are you here,” a woman asked him.

The voice was familiar, etched into his very being. A before time and a current time overlapped in his mind and he saw her staring down at him, hair pulled up, prim bonnet on and starched white like her will. “Why are you here, Captain McNeil? I’ll tell you, as you seem to forget so easily. Your plane was shot down and you are alive, but gravely wounded.” She held up a finger, more righteous authority in that finger than Gael expected he’d ever had in his whole body. “If you promise to stay in bed for the rest of the day, I will read you this letter that you have received, before I give you another shot of morphine.”

“Who’s it from,” he wheezed, his lungs hurt. His lips were dry, burned to desert by fever and the struggle to get air into his mutinous lungs.

“It would seem,” she said, studying the letter, “It is from one J. Walker, swirly handwriting, expensive stationary. Jennifer? Jacqueline? Juliet?”

“Jack,” Gael mouthed, barely getting the word out, and for just a tiny flash of a second, he was lifting Jack up onto the double spare tires on Alfred’s car, those fingers in his hair, and then looking up at his lover, green eyes staring back at him with love. “I can’t die. Jack.”

“Very well then. Is that a promise, Captain McNeil.”

“I promise.”

“Very well then,” she said, pulling up a chair to sit next to him. She took hold of his burned and bandaged hand. “Let’s read your letter. Is she your fiancee?”

“Yeah,” Gael lied, lower lip cracking, bleeding as he smiled. “I’m going to marry Jack and we’ll dance all night.”

“That sounds lovely. I’m sure you will. Tomorrow we will write Miss Walker a letter and let her know you are well.”

“Yeah,” Gael said, single remaining eye fluttering closed for a minute. His words slurred, but he whispered, “I’m listening.”

“To my dearest Gael,” she started, “I hope this letter finds you well. We have too many polio cases here. I think it might be safer over there. I visited with your mother last week and brought her fresh jam that Mrs. Gobsent had made. I have sent on a package with some for you, but as the mail is, one can never tell when it will arrive.”

Gael had drifted into dreams by then.

“I said, why are you here?” She demanded.

He blinked, ran a nervous hand over his hair and stared at her for another full minute. “I would have come faster, Nurse. If I had known your name. I’m here to get you out of this. I’m your lawyer. ”

fact or fiction

About the Creator


I write a lot of lgbt+ stuff, lots of sci fi. My big story right now is The Moon's Permission.

I've been writing all my life. Every time I think I should do something else, I come back to words.

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  • MR JOSEPH CLARK7 months ago

    The switch from one perspective to another draws the reader into an incredibly potent, powerful engaging read, connecting the engagement with the story topic.....the human condition and humanity, i commend the author....a masterpiece for all, I recommend it highly!

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