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Silence Is Golden
The world is a place of justice. It’s humanity’s way of dealing with tragedy. We believe if there is someone behind bars, he is punished for the better of the pained. Only the ones in grief know that justice does not ease the ache, no not at all. Justice may pay the lawyers and it can fill the empty cells, but it can never undo the evil. The sin, the absolute malevolence remains for eternity, possibly not in the minds in those content people, but those willing to see the darkness which mankind decides to deny. Inside, no matter how far beneath the skin you must seek, there is complete and utter maliciousness. Most refuse to see it, but those few who discover and embrace their wickedness, have found themselves at last.
“Please sweetheart. You need to tell us something.” Jaden Emerson, a girl of an age where innocence is possibly still present, sits at the far end of a mahogany table. She fiddles with the quivering fingers of her right hand, focusing on each miniscule cut and blemish on her usually flawless ashen skin. Under the wooden table are her legs, crossed with mucky sneakers covering her bare toes. Her left hand twists the mangy shoelace, slowly untying the knot she formed before. The knot is abnormally large, making the shoe nearly impossible to slip off.
She wears borrowed clothing, fabric with unfamiliar scents attached to them and colors stained too brightly. Her tattered cloth in which she named her very last possession was replaced with this new, fresh article. She refused to wear the clothing at first as she was instantly disgusted by the vibrant cerulean shade, but they told her she needed to “be helped.” She stayed quiet as she does.
“I know you’ve been here for a long time. All we need for you to do, Jaden, is tell us what happened. We can send the bad man to jail, but only if you can testify against him.” Her eyes dart from her palms, reaching the glance of the lady eagerly awaiting the response, if any, of this young girl.
To be truthful, this woman pities her; such a child is commonly assumed as weak. Jaden is far from weak, even after such a tragedy. They all offer their condolences, tell the child they understand the pain, and then continue their day with a vain grin. As no one can know her pain, she feels it is not necessary to tell.
The girl is being watched behind the glass and she knows this well. She lets them look and study her, but only because she simply wonders if once they will have the courage to probe their curiosity. Never have they asked her of her favorite color, or to describe the beauty she found in the flowers of her mother’s garden. They wished for the misery to remain in her. Each inquiry, every question deals with her parents’ death, whether it’s how it happened or what she was doing at the time. Perhaps she does not wish for the bad man to go to jail. Maybe she simply wants to forget and wake up in the morning anew. A demand they could never grant.
Jaden clutches a lacerated rag in one hand, as the other still plays with her shoelace. The material is rough and a dim crimson shade. She keeps it close to her cheek, holding her eyes closed and imaging a different time and place with different people and different clothing. The invented world merely exists in Jaden’s head at this time, but at another, it was real. In the past, the girl recalls, there was hope. There was a thing called love. Emotions are so foreign these days. There is no hope, nor love, simply the quiet to accompany Jaden. She wonders if it is enough.
“Please, darling. Just let us help you. Let us bring the man to justice! You deserve that, you know you do.” There is that word again. Justice. It makes Jaden cringe just thinking of it. She seems to be alone in her understanding of this world. This girl knows there is not justice, nor fairness. There is simply punishment and whether the revenge makes you feel complete inside is completely up to you.
“Please go over the evidence once more, Officer Harlow,” requests the woman. Jaden looks down, burying her expression into the coarse material, the cloth covered with small spots darker and crisper to the touch. By hiding her face, she covers her emotion, not wishing anyone to view it and read her as her mother once did. The sound of shuffling papers fills the silence.
“Everest and Mallory Emerson were found dead at 10:23 p.m. after a phone call from the witness, Jaden Emerson, age seven. No family DNA has been found on the bodies yet, but we have scientists on the issue as of this very moment. Everest, the father of the witness was a mechanic as his wife was a nurse on the weekends. The only other witnesses or related suspects now are the babysitter and colleagues of the deceased. Michael Edwards, the babysitter, is currently missing. That is all.” The man with the files speaks with precision and clarity, not daring to miss a syllable. After he finishes and clears his throat, they turn to Jaden, as if repeating the horrid event would somehow spark a desire to speak.
“We only want you to say the truth. Just please speak. Talk to us.” And with the words, there is realization. Jaden’s eyes widen as she lifts her face from her comforting cloth, the cloth stained with blood. She reveals emotion at last, but perhaps an emotion unwanted. She might have been better in her own world, one silent and sealed from reality. It was safe there. She was free there, without worry, without sorry attempts at integrity. It is now that Jaden comes to comprehend that they would never release her from her hell. They would force the grief to return with each petty question. She decides fate left justice to her, gave her a deed that only she could fulfill.
Jaden tugs roughly on the end of her shoelace, the knot undoing completely. As the shoe loosens its tight grip on her ankle, the dim luminosity of the overhead light reflects on a small strip of metal. Without the attention of the two people in the room and those watching her from behind the glass, she pulls out the blade, smirking quaintly. She will find her justice. She will find it in death.
The happiness and feeling of content stays with Jaden as the last witness of her crime becomes her last victim. Her grin seems firmly set on her previously vacant expression. She grabs her beloved cloth from the table, slowly wiping the knife and cleansing it of any bloodstain. The scarlet fluids of her recent victims cover the blood of a murderer. The man had such dirty blood, Jaden recalls. After three years of looking after her, one would think she could have seen through his lies. It only takes witnessing a murder to become what you fear. Or perhaps what you truly are.
Jaden places the blade in her shoe once again, knotting her shoelaces as she does. She looks at the rag now smothered in the blood of multiple people. With a bizarre chuckle, she drops it over the mouth of the woman with the vile questions that could bother her no longer. Jaden looks into the eyes of this beast and smiles, seeing unconditional terror still set in her glance. Though Jaden is now a killer, she feels this woman deserves one answer.
“I didn’t see a damn thing.”