Chapter _; book ii.
Working chapter title: I'm always in this twilight
*author note: this chapter was replaced on 03.29.2011
The little camera lens followed her every movement, free-floating, always within two feet of her. From her lawyer's desk chair, she was being tried for murder. Her nerves shook beneath her skin but Malcolm rested his hand on hers and she felt herself ease into the chair. He didn't have to speak; they'd already discussed everything they needed to, it was just nice to have his support. To have him in her corner.
The small round sensor against the inside of her wrist, a monitor to detect when, or if, she was lying, among other things, itched and she fought the urge to scratch at it. She shook off the jitters and adjusted her blouse as movement appeared on the screen in front of them.
The camera switched to the Judge as he rose to begin speaking, his tone bored and sleepy. "Does the defendant, one Miss Eden Gallo, have any final statements?"
She kept her voice low, timid. "Yes, your honor."
"The defendant may speak."
Eden rose, shaking just slightly as the pterodactyls in her stomach battered her ribcage with the steady beating of their enormous wings. "You know," she started, pausing to clear her throat, "one of the things people say to you when something out of your control happens is, 'it's not your fault' - except, that's rarely the case."
Through the surround system in the office, the quiet gasps of surprise filled the room. The camera flicked to the jury for an instant before returning to Eden. The question hung in the air like a weighted balloon: was she admitting guilt?
"The truth is that I was in control. I pulled that trigger," she said, her voice cracking. She cleared her throat again and spoke more softly. "I took the killing blow. I made the choice to kill or be killed. There's no going back from that kind of realization."
She felt Malcolm's palm on her hand again but she brushed him off, twisting her fingers in her palms at chest level. Her anxiety was overwhelming her.
She hated the pressure; so many eyes judging her, so many individual perceptions she couldn't possibly combat all at once. She knew the heat of stage lights, the press of a baited audience beyond the glaring bulbs, the frenzied energy of a performance. The trial was none of those things.
"I'm not the kind to start fights, but I was put into a position where I had to end one. If I hadn't done anything, I wouldn't be here now, talking to you. I would be just another pile of ashes," she finished, letting one final, brief, pause linger on her tongue, "carried off by the wind." She sat down and the camera moved on to the Judge.
"The jury will deliberate. The court will reconvene in two hours."
His gavel hit his desk with a thunderous crack. Or maybe that was just her imagination.