Merry Christmas 'n' Happy Holidays to all our readers, writers, subscribers 'n' friends. This week the three editors will post a story apiece in our Editor's Christmas Special...
The five gang members stood cocksure in the dock, their smirks testament to the disrespect within today’s society, as the prosecutor called again for ‘Witness A.’
The black-gowned court clerk scurried in shaking her head.
The judge peered over his glasses, his red gown, white wig and wispy grey beard providing an unintended hint of the festive season. However, Santa he was not. The only pressies he’d be giving were prison sentences, although probably not today, such was the state of current proceedings.
‘So where is “Witness A”, Mr Oliver?’ he grunted.
The CPS lawyer, Tim Oliver, wasn’t feeling very Christmassy. With all eyes on him, he looked at the dozen intense faces of jury. Turning to the empty witness box, a burgundy curtained screen across it to protect Witness A’s identity, he tightened with panic. Oliver glanced at sneering gang leader, Jerome Kingston, in the dock. Kingston winked then grinned at Oliver, the defendant's gold incisor twinkling under the courtroom's lighting.
‘Please, your honour, give me two minutes.’
The judge’s gruff tones oozed both authority and derision. ‘Hurry, Mr Oliver. I don’t want to miss my Christmas dinner!’
Passing two armed officers, guarding the court from Kingston's crew, Oliver dashed from courtroom one, scanned the foyer. Left to the court's cafe, or right to the gents? He’d not lost a case for two years and with this unwelcome blemish on his impeccable record his bloody Christmas would be spoilt. As was Oliver's custom, there would be no boasting while toasting at the CPS Chrimbo do.
He had discussed the probability of defeat with his key witness, but David Gacy had been unimpressed by Oliver’s 30-70 against odds. Had Gacy given up on him or just bottled it? Understandable really, as Gacy had somehow survived a brutal attack by Kingston and his cohorts. His best mate, Brian Ranger hadn’t been so lucky, his head kicked about like a football. The life support turned off only last week.
The snow bucketing outside the foyer’s expansive second floor windows briefly caught Oliver's attention, until he saw a hooded youth shuffle from the gents past a poorly decorated fake tree. Could be anyone, but something in Oliver’s gut suggested otherwise. He headed for the gents.
The door squeaked open and he gasped.
David Gacy wasn’t there. A sprawled youth with a slashed throat was.
Feeling sick, Oliver raced to courtroom one, his mind spinning, his heart doing somersaults. He swung open the doors, hearing mayhem inside, people jostling past him, screaming. The judge scarpered swifter than Santa on his sleigh.
Four security guards and the two coppers grappled with Gacy, his eyes manic. A kitchen knife with the court cafe's logo on, shimmered in the struggle. The cops couldn't open fire in such a melee. But, anyway, it was too late. Kingston’s blood-pumping grin was now ear to ear.
Oliver gazed in shock…
…but, hey…at least he’d still not lost a case.
TKnC Crime Editor, Col Bury is currently writing a crime novel series with a difference. His ever-growing selection of short stories can be found scattered across the net, and in various anthologies, notably: THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME 9, RADGEPACKET 6 and children's charity anthologies, OFF THE RECORD and BRIT GRIT TOO. Col has an eBook of short fiction out, MANCHESTER 6. He blogs, reviews interviews crime authors at Col Bury's New Crime Fiction.