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Fiction: Legal Theft–Sentencing (470 words)

He was not an innocent man. Even if he hadn’t come out and admitted to everything that he had done, the evidence was stacked high and far against him.  Everyone knew what he had done, even if they didn’t know the nitty gritty, they knew that he was not an innocent soul. They had no problem with him being locked away in the darkest tower for the rest of his life. Many of them even slept a bit easier with that knowledge.

He was not an innocent man. She knew that, even before this crime came to light. She knew the kinds of things he had done for himself and others in the past. She did know the nitty gritty of many of the crimes he committed in this city.  And she knew that if the orders came down from his boss, he could do horrible things to people she loved and held near and dear to her heart. And he would do it without hesitation because that was his job.

He was not an innocent man. But he had been an innocent boy. He was the boy who would come and find her during the storms, to make sure that she’d found some place with a roof over her head. He was the boy who would sneak leftovers to her, so she could eat a meal, even if it was cold and a little squished. Even when there wasn’t that much left over for him to spare. He had been the little boy who held her close in a dark alley with a hand over her mouth to keep her quiet while the gang he eventually joined came screaming down the streets, riding wild and ready to take it out on whoever they ran themselves into. And he was the boy later that held her as she sobbed in fear, and calmed her by kissing her gently on the lips.

He was not an innocent man. But there was so much more to him than the crimes he committed. She brought him food during his trial, and a blanket for his head when he was left chained out in the rain, and accepted the booing of the common folk who didn’t know her or what he had done for that scared lonely little girl.  She couldn’t feel the relief of his sentencing, or breathe easier with him locked away in the tower. She knew that the streets were safer now, for her and her daughter, but she couldn’t feel any joy in his being locked away.

He was not an innocent man. But that couldn’t stop her from loving him. And only his flesh and blood could keep her from locking herself away with him.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2017 in Legal Theft Project, Stories

 

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Fiction: Legal Theft Project–Arrested (1031 words)

Careful so the guard wouldn’t notice, he tossed his handkerchief over the side of the cart, someone would find it.  Whoever would pick it up would notice the Crest of the Lake Family, and take it to return it to Annamarie in the hopes of getting a gold piece or two.  She had to know that Lewis wouldn’t have lost it on accident. She had to realize that he usually wore it close to his heart, where it could never just fall loose onto the road. And he could only hope that she would follow the train of thought and realize he’d dropped it as a plea for help.

Lewis looked across the cart at Marcus, also sitting with his knees tied together, his wrists loosely bounded, pretending to be far more restrained than he actually was. An old trick they had learned from Marcus’s less than reputable biological father, who didn’t understand was appropriate for entertaining seven-year-old boys. Of course, Marcus and Lewis thought it was great fun.

Marcus raised his eyebrows at the careful little toss but said nothing. Lewis smiled a cheeky grin and gave a little shrug. Like this was just a silly night out on the town that they had done a thousand times, rather than an arrest by the royal guard. Marcus rolled his eyes, slumping back against his side of the cart.

It wasn’t that long of a ride. They hadn’t been walking too far from the high city jail when the guards had demanded they face the wall and stand still, waiting to be tied and all but tossed into a cart.  The guards unloaded them with all the care of a sack of potatoes, and lead them down two flights of stairs, awkwardly waddling with their knees together, until they reached a stone room with a barred door.  They sank together onto the rough wooden bench, waiting silently until the guards finished sneering at them, and returned to their desk at the top of the stairs just outside their door.

“So—What was that?” Marcus asked in an undertone.

“Nothing that needs mentioning right now,” Lewis replied sweetly. “If it works, I’ll explain it, if it does not—well, I’d rather not embarrass myself.”

“A little late for that,” Marcus sighed, resting his head against the wall behind him. “Wake me up if they decide to kill us so I can go out of this world screaming like the baby I was when I entered it.”

“Of course,” Lewis laughed, tapping his foot nervously in his waiting.

He didn’t have to wait long.  She wasn’t the kind of woman to do anything subtly, so he heard the ripple of her arrival as soon as she entered, even three floors down. Moments later, she heard the commanding voice.  “Well, the people upstairs tell me that you are holding my men here? Are they right or do I need to contact someone about the way this place is run?”

“Your men?” some poor soul asked, unaware of exactly he was facing, “They are your men?”

“Of course they are my men,” She answered, portraying her anger without actually raising her voice, “Do you think that I would come all the way down here to free some ruffians off the street?”

“Who is that?” Marcus whispered, causing Lewis to jump. With Annamarie’s arrival, Lewis had forgotten all about him.

“It’s complicated…” Lewis began.

“Well, they weren’t wearing the Lake Crest,” the poor man upstairs continued to stutter.

“Good man,” Annamarie’s voice was somehow even cooler than before, “I was raised to believe that the City Guards and Royal Guards were some of the bravest and truest men of the nation, but I am beginning to believe you are a few marbles short of a full game.”

“Ma’am?”

“Do you ever see the Crest of the Noble Houses on the street without an armed guard? If I sent two men out to do my shopping covered in the Lake Crest, aren’t I just inviting them to be pickpocketed or mugged during the errands? Do you think that the Noble Houses keep their wealth by advertising on the street what their servants carry in their pockets?”

Lewis couldn’t help but laugh at that, and when he did, he heard the quick walk of Annamarie’s shoes come towards the stair, her shadow darkening down to his view. “Lewis? Are you down there?”

“Yes, Milady,” Lewis called back, laughing, “I’m down here with Marcus. We regret to inform you we were not able to complete your  shopping list today.”

“I suppose that I will have to let it slide this time,” she yelled down the stair again, and then her shadow disappeared. “Well, are you going to release my men or not?”

There was a great commotion as the guards scrambled for keys and rushed down to untie the two prisoners, all bows and apologies now that a Noblewoman was upstairs waiting for them. Marcus was at least well-versed in the art of deception to keep his amazement and confusion off his face. They made their way upstairs, and both dropped into low bows in front of Annamarie. Lewis fought to keep the cheeky grin of his face. This would go very badly if he smiled at her like he’d seen her naked.

“Well, that took long enough,” Annamarie sniffed, “Come along, boys. I suppose I will have to wait until tomorrow for my goods.”

She led them out to the street and crawled into the awaiting carriage. Lewis and Marcus followed her in as if it was something they did every day.  It was only after they started to move, that Annamarie dropped her cold demeanor and dissolved into a fit of giggles. “Oh, Lewy, what did you do to get yourself there?”

Lewis let that grin he’d been fighting before spread across his face. Marcus looked back and forth between the two of them with an eyebrow raised. “Okay, what is going on here?”

“It’s a long story,” Annamarie offered.

“I’ve got time,” Marcus countered.

Lewis looked to Annamarie, who shrugged and gave a dismissive little hand wave. “Alright then,” Lewis smiled, “Let’s start at the beginning.”

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in Legal Theft Project, Stories

 

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Legal Theft Project: On the Run (129 words)

“You know hiding in plain sight is actually a dumb idea, right?”

James cut Andrew a sharp look.  “Your comments are unneeded at this time.”

Andrew shrugged, “I’m just saying. We’re going to be spotted and then arrested and then we will live out the rest of our days deep in some dark prison where not even God will be able to find us.”

The fact that Andrew was right only served to make James angrier. “Well, do you have a better plan?”

“Get off the street.  Try to stick to the shadows.  Make the rest up as we go along.”  Andrew answered easily.

“Well, then lead the way, Andy.  And just know—if we’re arrested I plan on blaming you for the rest of our very short lives.”

 

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2016 in Legal Theft Project

 

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Fiction: Dependable (182 words)

She knew that no matter what, Carson would be there.  That’s what brothers were for, right?  No matter how badly Joy messed up, no matter what rule she’d broken before, no matter what mistakes she couldn’t prevent—as long as she was sorry, Carson would forgive her.  That was the point.

She had to face this part alone—sitting silently while she was documented in what seemed to be a hundred different ways so that if she ever made this particular mistake they’d be ready to prove she was a repeat offender.  She had to explain what happened to several different people to prove that her story was always the same.  She had to look and sound just as remorseful as she felt as soon as it happened.  She had to deal with the fact that no one here was on her side.

But they had called Carson—and he would be here soon.  And Carson wouldn’t dare stand against her.  He’d be on her side, and she wouldn’t be alone anymore. With his support, she could do anything.

Joy could always rely on Carson.  Right?

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2014 in Stories

 

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