The Verdict

Catriona jumped when she heard the clang of metal keys against the cell bars. The groaning of the rusty door unnerved her as she awaited her fate.  A uniformed guard stepped into the dirty cell, glancing down at the frightened girl. 

“Time to go, miss,” he spoke, offering Catriona his hand. It was almost time for the baby to come. It was becoming more difficult to rise from the stone floor unaided.  She offered a weak smile in thanks for the guard’s help.

“I won’t forget this kindness, sir,” she replied, following the man outside. 

The courtyard between the jail and assembly room was bright and caused Catriona to shield her eyes from the glare of the sun. She strained to keep her eyes on the guard’s belt as she followed blindly.  She couldn’t risk falling. She must remain strong, regardless of her fate.

Seated in the same seat as before, the girl listened as a member of the council stood to read the verdict.“We find the accused, Catriona Ryan, guilty of theft. After she is delivered of her child, we recommend that she be hanged by the neck until dead for her crime.”

The girl snapped her head up when she heard the charge. “Theft? I don’t understand.”

The tall interrogator crept from the shadows with an object in his hand. “This knife was found in the Captain’s cabin by O’Malley, the first mate. He claimed it had been stolen from another crewmember. Do you recognize this knife, girl?”

Catriona stared at the knife in disbelief. The carved ivory handle displayed a solitary rose.  She trembled as she nodded her head in agreement. She wasn’t going to die for murdering the Captain, but she was still going to die. The room began to spin. She fell. 

The End

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