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My hands shake as I slowly push open the door. Sweat beads roll down my forehead as I veer to the left and take a seat on the end of the first open bench I see. My eyes dart around to scan the room as I brush my hands off on my jeans.
Calm down. You can do this Quinn.
I hear whispers float around the court room as the air begins to blast out from a unit on the wall. The security guard emerges from the door behind the stand and begins to talk, but I can’t hear a word. The sound of my erratic heartbeat rings in my ears as I rise with the surrounding crowd. The judge strides in, case files in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Her heels click as she walks, and her robe flows with the movement of air in the room.
Her eyes scan like a snake’s, cold and unforgiving. She sits, and the rest of us follow. My hands are uncontrollably shaking and my leg begins to bounce, making a rather loud noise. The judge shoots me an icy look and I stop immediately. The room begins to feel small as they announce the docket information aloud. I hear Zeke’s name and my heart drops completely. Tears threaten to escape my eyes as I realize what is happening.
He’s being blamed for this. For all those murders I committed. he’s going down for this. What have I done?!
The prosecutor and Zeke‘s attorney walk in and take their places. I see a quick flash of a mob tattoo on the prosecutors neck before he readjusts his collar and begins to arrange his papers. The sound of shuffling feet and shaky chains let me know Zeke‘s here. Our eyes meet for a second before my attention is captured by the handcuffs surrounding his wrists.
He knows. He knows everything. And he’s about to go down for it.
“Zeke Hiles, what is your plead,” the judge asks, looking over at him. For the briefest of seconds, silence is cast upon the courtroom. Everyone is looking Zeke, except for me. In that ephemeral second, I turn. I turn and look at the families of my victims. Grief and anger is displayed on all of them, making my stomach churn.
They don’t understand. They weren’t there.
Zeke turns, shooting me a wink. “Not guilty, your honor.”
The families erupt with rage, yelling and screaming across the courtroom. Security guards attempt to have them sit as the judge bangs a gavel and demands order. He looks at me as the gallery recomposes themselves, as if to tell me everything is going to be okay. With a calming grin, he turns to face the judge. I wipe my palms furiously against the smooth exterior of my jeans. I close my eyes and they call the first witness up.
All eyes are on me as I rise up from my seat. They follow me as I pass through the gate and make my way to the stand. My converse seem to echo as the deafening silence consumes me. I sit down after what seems like an eternity, and lock eyes with Zeke. The prosecutor begins to pace across the floor, his posture straight and head held high.
“So, Miss.Cepko, how do you know the defendant,” he inquires in a smooth tone, his beady eyes staring at me as he stops in tracks awaiting my answer.
“He..he..he was my boss’s son. He came into the office and we bumped into each other.”
“And how would you classify your relationship with him?”
“He’s my friend. My best friend.”
“Hm. Why are you testifying today, Miss.Cepko?”
“To help him. I know he didn’t do it.”
“Ma’am, all of the evidence is very incriminating. How can you be so certain?”
“What evidence is so incrimination that directly points to Zeke being the killer?” I speak out defiantly, making direct eye contact with the prosecutor. He turns and grabs an evidence bag off of his desk.
“I would like to make note, this is exhibit 1a,” he states holding up the bag and copies for both the judge and jury. Walking his was to me, he hands me the document in the bag. “This is part of your incriminating evidence. It is a series of documents showing Mr.Hiles‘s father’s relations with mobsters that were killed. It would make sense for Mr.Hiles to kill them because in these documents it shows the mobsters were refusing to let his father quit doing shady business whit him. Are you still sure he didn’t do it?”
I glance at the documents, then at Zeke, and back at the documents. I raise my head, smirk covering my face. The prosecutor began to pace once more.
“100% certain.” The prosecutor whipped his head around. His eyes were dark and angry, as if to tell me that he thinks I am a liar. He walks over to the stand and looks me dead in the eye.
“And how, Miss.Cepko, are you so certain,” he says, his tone harsh and unforgiving.
I smirk at him and lean forward until there is only a foot between our faces. “Because,” I whisper, ”I killed them.”