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Chapter Three

9.


It would appear my time has come and I’m not as prepared for it as I thought I would be.  I must have been sat in here for hours planning what I was going to say, how I was going to explain it all, but all of a sudden I realise that whichever way you look at it, I killed Shaun tonight.  There’s no denying or escaping that little fact and there will have to be a punishment.  If only there had been another alternative, but what is a man to do when he’s backed into a corner?  I guess survival of the fittest would never work as a means of defence, would it? 

            Two officers came and collected me.  I’m still cuffed, of course.  You can’t relax the laws for a killer.  I could, theoretically, be dangerous.  A lot of killers are.  They’re sick on the inside, wanting to take the life of another for deviancy or pleasure.  It’s a choice as opposed to a last resort.

            But who in the hell is going to believe that?

            The way people are looking at me as I’m led to the interview room tells me that my name is known around here already.  I did something pretty remarkable tonight, I realise.  I hadn’t actually thought about this part.  In my head, I had hoped that there would be a way that no-one would find out.  I certainly hadn’t anticipated it being this public.  People were going to be making their minds up about me, maybe they already had.

            Mum and Dad would know.  That was going to be the worst part.  How could their bright little hope turn out to be a killer?

            I swear that copper is giving me a look of support.  He was there when they arrested me, called me ‘mate.’  He didn’t seem as scared of me as the others did.  Strange, how you can see that in some people.  Maybe he can just tell that I’m essentially a good person.  Or maybe he’d just heard the most pathetic ‘one phone-call’ ever.  I should have known better than to rely on a fatuous idiot like Ripley.  He was never going to help me, unless help meant writing me a fucking poem.  Did I tell him that I was in London?  He would have been more keen to help me, then. 

            I wonder if they’ll actually ask me any questions?  I mean, it’s obvious that I shot Shaun.  The evidence was there – I’m willing to plead guilty.  I’m just not ready for the consequences.

            DIMINISHED RESPONSIBILITY!  That’s what it’s called.  Surely I have a case for that.

            I mustn’t be numb any more – I’m able to be more calculating that I have been all night.  There’s a thought process.  I’m not just viewing the world any more – I’m partaking and I need to get my wits about me.  I’m in a stack of shit here, and I’m not sure I’m due any sympathy.

            Black and white – I killed a man.  It’s more than that I know – but right now that’s all people can see.  Could my words really sway their opinion?  Because that was all I had right now – a duty solicitor and my side of the story.

            They guide me in – it’s just like television, it really is.  Another sparse room, a table and a tape recorder, the walls only feature being a poster on the benefits of pleading guilty.  One-third off sounds good right now.

            This isn’t the main event, I slowly realise.  I’d forgotten that I had ordered a duty solicitor and I needed to have some sort of consultation with him, presumably to fabricate a story that will paint me in the best light.  I assumed that he wasn’t seeking a not guilty plea – that would be pretty impossible.  Especially if I could get a third off for an early guilty plea.  She strides in – quite a plain looking girl, well-conditioned dark hair tied back in a professional manner, average trouser suit and only a little make up.  Strangely I’d been expecting a man.  Nothing like on the TV – but I think that was my summary of the whole evening. 

            “Hi, I’m Michelle Atherton,” she introduces herself, not an ounce of humour on her face.  I guess she wasn’t pleased to meet me as such.  We sit down, and I get my chance to speak at last – or at the very least the dress rehearsal.

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