He almost felt sorry for the woman in the witness box, she looked so pathetic with her scraggy hair, tiny watery eyes and turned down mouth. ‘She really is one of the most unattractive women I’ve ever seen’ he thought to himself.
“So, Miss Babcock, you maintain that, on the night in question you were in the Downey Arms until just before 11pm, is that correct?”
He had always prided himself on his beautiful speaking voice and one glance at the jury told him that he had their attention.
“Yes……yes I was” Her voice was like the feeble twittering of a baby bird
“And can you confirm who you were with until this hour?”
“The defendant” He could barely hear her answer so he was sure that the jury couldn’t
“Louder please Miss Babcock, for the jury if you please”
Her voice cracked with the effort, it was as though she was so used to cowering in the background that she’d lost the power to be heard. Her eyes were downcast and she was twisting a small handkerchief between her fingers. ‘The ultimate wallflower’ he thought.
“The defendant, ladies and gentleman of the jury, she was with the defendant. This means that the man accused of these crimes cannot possibly have committed them as, at the time of the attack he was with Miss Babcock. Thank you miss, I have no more questions”
The prosecutor tried every trick in the book to trip the witness up but she would not be swayed. He showed the photos of the poor young girl that the defendant had brutally raped and then stabbed to death and, although, she looked aghast and started to cry silently her resolve never faltered. Damn! He hoped that the evidence he’d presented would be enough; he had a witness and there was a certain amount of circumstantial evidence but no DNA.
He glanced across at the defendant. The man was, in the prosecutor’s opinion, too good looking by half and even he had to admit that he had charisma but there was something off about him, his unshakable self-belief, under the circumstances, just didn’t seem natural. ‘May be he was innocent after all’ he thought…
“Not guilty” the verdict rang out around the courtroom and there were several gasps of surprise but also a few concerned faces, this meant that there was still a vicious murderer out there somewhere. Reporters dashed off to file their stories and elaborate warnings and the public gallery slowly emptied. At last just he and Miss Babcock were left
“You did quite beautifully my dear, well done”
He took her clammy hands in his own and tried to suppress a shudder of revulsion. She looked up at him and gave a tiny smile
“I did it for you” her little voice was full of adoration and she took a half step closer towards him
“And you will always have my gratitude”
He enveloped her in his arms and felt her cling to him like a barnacle, as though he was giving her a life line. ‘Such a sad little thing’ he thought ‘she’s never known the pleasure that a man can give, that’s for sure’.
“I love you” she whispered.
He couldn’t bring himself to say it back to her but he held her even closer and hoped that would be enough. She’d been such easy prey, an obvious target with her little pink cardigans and sensible shoes. He’d flashed a smile and listened to the boring stories of her boring little life, he’d bought her drinks and then dinner, all the while flattering and cajoling. Their night at the Downey Arms had been almost insufferable for him but, for her, it would never, ever be forgotten. He’d walked her right to her door, arriving just before 11.15pm, he’d taken her face in his hands and kissed her gently on her drooping mouth
“You’re beautiful” he said before he turned and walked away.
At first when they spoke of it she said “that special Saturday”, obviously he’d had to remind her that it had been Friday several times before it became fact in her mind but for her it was their date and not the day that needed to be preserved in her memory. They’d talked about it so often after that; he’d call her or send little text messages just to let her know that he was thinking about her, remembering…..
Of course, he’d had no choice but to defend himself in court; he knew she’d be only too happy to share her special memories with him but he couldn’t trust her if she was under attack from an experienced barrister. It was a risk he’d had to take and it had paid off and now he was free to pursue his passions; there’d been a particularly juicy looking journalist in the gallery, he couldn’t wait to hear her scream!
As for little Miss Babcock, well, she’d have her memories….
Written in response to a gentle prompt from the lovely Fandango