The Light From Within

by E. D. Person

The clouds overhead stained the concrete of the frontsteps of the courthouse and bustling groups of attorneys, courthouse personnel and press reps clamored up the steps. Akilee was more concerned with the white pills of lint she now discovered on the front of her black slacks. Her palms had never secreted so much perspiration before. She would rub them together hopefully causing some evaporation or absorption, but it was all for naught. What was she doing here? What was she about to do? The questions swirled around in her brain until she swore the courthouse was spinning. She knew the exact answers to them, but for fear of realizing the reality of it all, she had placed them in the back of her mind until today.

She kept telling herself that what she saw was purely a figment of her imagination. Yet and still, she could still smell the gunpowder in the air. She still feel the coldness of the night air on her face. But worst of all, she could still see Jaquan’s fear and hear his cries for help that she couldn’t answer. How could a simple two block ride home turn into a night of terror and murder? There was so much to think of and consider, but very little was the time before she was beckoned inside this cold brick building to send her bestfriend to jail for the rest of her life. The other parties involved were of no significance to her. Just the design of the crime itself was enough to convince her that if they had their way, she too would have been laying next to him.

The entrance to the main lobby swung open to reveal a fairly husky bailiff with decorations on his chest as if to imply that he was within rank to pull her through the doors by force. He beckoned to her that everyone was waiting on her. She swallowed her intimidation and stepped forward until she was standing in the middle of the foyer. In the act of an amazed child, she did a three hundred and sixty degree turn to grasp everything in her eyesight. This was the first time she had ever had a reason to be in this place and as she surveyed her surroundings, more of that cold reality sunk in with her every breath. Eventually she was led into another set of double doors where a thousand eyes immediately devoured the new presence. In the front of the room sat a woman of very serious composure in a black robe. To the right were the jurors all piercing her with their stares and unemotional facial expressions. To left of her, with all eyes focused on her every step, sat her worst nightmare and conscience sitting almost arm-in-arm. Her bestfriend was Kym Green. The first person she met in her new hometown of Appleton. Her steady date for sleep-overs, birthday parties, family events and even all of their graduations. Her gaze was the most penetrating.

Then there was DeAndre’ Holliday. The epitome of everything that was calculating and insensitive. He was the real reason for her bravery. Recently, he was the root of all the arguments, cancellation of events and even a formal call the announced that her presence was not needed on a out-of-town “fun” trip she personally arranged. Instead, DeAndre’ was taking her place on the trip and Kym’s life. Every phone conversation centered around a new revelation from DeAndre’. When she was summoned to appear as a prosecution witness, she had to make sure that in her heart she wasn’t trying to get back at him for permanently removing her from Kym’s life. Once that minute passed, she knew it was up to her to discredit him, but also lose a very valued and sisterly friend. The choices were not easy, but she had to do this.

Then chills came over her. She hadn’t exactly forgotten that this animal killed her fiance. She had met Jaquan two years before Kym ever laid eyes on him. All their plans that would never come to be. All their dreams of leaving to find out what the world has to offer besides Appleton. He was everything she wanted her first and only husband to be and the feeling that was making her nauseous used to come to her with love wrapped around it. Her stomach fell as if she were on a rollcoaster ride with no uncertain end. It was really her fault that Kym was in this predicament. If only she hadn’t introduced them, if only she had insisted that Kym concentrate on completing college and searching her campus for Mr. Right. Instead, Mr. Right Now turned out to be Mr. I’ll Kill You If You Think You Can Get Outta The Game and now Kym faced a life sentence or possibly death by lethal injection. Guilty of wanting love and a stable relationship.

Her hesitance had caused a murmur to blanket the room. As she walked to the stand, she wanted so desperately to run to her sister and beg her forgiveness. She wanted to tell her that it wasn’t to late to turn state’s evidence and come back to sanity. But the steely glare in Kym’s eyes spoke no rationality, it simply boasted of contempt and hate. She proceeded to the wooden chair connected to the judge’s bench and position herself for display. The defense attorney for DeAndre’ was ignoring her and digging deeper in his paperwork as a magician would for a rabbit in a hat. He finally rose to his feet and approached the bannister in front of her. “Just be cool and be honest. We all knew what we were getting into from the jump,” the psycho-therapy she was attempting was to no avail. Damn! Where were those ruby slippers when she needed them? If only she could rewind through this nightmare and stopped the tape at November of last year......

The Light From Within by E. D. Person

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