Table of Contents
The Moving Finger
Amidst the odors of gravest sanctity I sit; there is the sharpness of varnished wood, the musky sweetness of polished leather, the dry dustiness of paper. Sunlight streaming through the high windows floods the chamber with sticky amber, where I am caught, helpless, as words swell into the silence, thus: "We, the jury, find the defendant, Lieutenant Michael A Kavanagh, innocent of the crime of murder," and thus: "We, the jury, find the defendant, Lieutenant Michael A Kavanagh, innocent of the crime of torture," and thus: "We, the jury, find the defendant, Lieutenant Michael A Kavanagh, innocent of the crime of rape." The room echoes with booming shouts, moving bodies, chairs scraping on the floor. Ignacio grasps my hand hard, pumps it up, pumps it down. His lips stretch in a widening grin. A distant rain of hands slaps my shoulders, my back. Teresa is hugging me, displacing her brother, pressing her cheek against mine. My face is wet with her tears. High pitched wailing flows and ebbs and flows above the base and tenor notes about me. Through shifting bodies I glimpse the shuddering back of my accuser, as she weeps into the arms of an elder relative... her father? I do not know. His eyes spill bright trails of moisture down his wrinkled cheeks as he comforts the sobbing girl. Beside them stands the prosecutor. Her face, so expressive during her summation to the jury, is as gray and stiff as her suit. Then, my last perception on that slow, slow day. A shove, turning me about. Shouts rising toward panic. I am looking into a raging, twisted face. Black eyes, black hair, flaming hatred. A man shouting oddly accented words I do not comprehend. The gun lifting in his hand. And then a final surge, to darkness.