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The Murder - Finale

 
Hyle Troy's picture
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Ytte Maria Henriette von Skovlund sat quietly in the headmistress office of Hope Springs school. In front of her on the desk were several piles of paper all relevant to the case of the killing of Margaret Louise Decker. Beside all the police reports and statements she also referred regularly to the notes she had made during the trial.

The accused were Arthur Stanton, for the manslaughter of Miss Decker. Hana Barret, for perverting the cause of justice, tampering with a crime scene and conspiracy against the community. And Jonas Barret for aiding and abetting in the aforementioned crimes.

Ytte had dismissed the proceedings to be resumed later as she considered the sentences. The Accused had all pleaded guilty. She smiled wryly. In her former life there sentences would have been simple, merely requiring the employment of blindfolds and a row of muskets. But this was Hope Springs and different times, and Hope Springs had a progressive mayor. Hope Springs also had precious little in the way of resources to deal with this small explosion in the prison population, from precisely zero, to three. And a jail capacity of precisely one.

So it had fallen to her to devise sentences for the guilty. In previous discussions with Mayor Troy there had been a number of solutions devised, but now it was for Ytte, who now had the duty of being the town’s magistrate added to her role as school headmistress, to devise exactly how the punishments were to be handed down.


Some hours later Magistrate Skovlund sent a messenger out with instructions for the court to be reconvened.


The schoolhall rumbled to the sound of murmuring voices and shuffling as many bums tried their best to balance on chairs designed for much more junior posteriors. The hall itself was packed again but this time there were no flowers, no podium and no coffin. The seating was arranged in front of a large table for the use of the magistrate, and two side tables. One for the accused and one for the prosecuting constabulary, in the form of a recently promoted Sergeant Sweetly.


The shuffling and babble fell into expectant silence as the magistrate appeared and took her place behind the large table.

Arthur Stanton.”

Arthur stood up slowly, nervously, in his best set of clothing, clearly it was bought in better times by his mother for some occasion or other, but was clearly two sizes too small, and served only to accentuate his lack of years.

Ytte continued, “Having heard your account of the events of the night in question. The police reports of the same. And also having heard Doctor Troy’s evidence and admissions that in her opinion, the fatal wound was to all intents a tragic accident. I am inclined to agree with the conjecture that the death of Miss Decker was indeed a extremely unfortunate accident...”

Ytte paused, her Prussian stare fixed on Arthur, who on hearing the word ‘accident’ could not disguise the hope that he may be pardoned. It showed for a moment but was just as quickly extinguished by the stern expression on the face of the lady in front of him.

However, despite the circumstances, it is impossible to remove your culpability. Indeed if you had not involved yourself with Miss Decker, even though, as you have stated, you had no intention to harm her, your recklessness, which lead to her death can not be excused in any way, although you have expressed remorse during these proceedings”

It is therefore necessary to remove some of your personal freedom. I do not consider you a danger to the community. Therefore you will, for the next three years, present yourself to the Hope Springs Jail between the hours of 17:00 each evening and until 10:00 each following day. The time in between, you shall make yourself available to help with the care of your younger brother Dudley, therefore freeing your father to work and provide for his household. Failure to adhere to these restrictions will result in you being transferred to a term of at least ten years to Kingman Prison.”

In the few moments silence, amid the mumbles from the gathered audience, Arthur tried to make sense of his future and the punishment he had received. But there was more.

Concurrent with this, you shall receive rehabilitation counselling on a regular basis, the results of this will either increase or decrease your punishment term.”

Ytte nodded solemnly at one of the attending constables.

Take him away.”

The constable placed handcuffs around Arthur’s wrists and lead him, ashen faced between the rows muttering townsfolk.


Ytte sat for a few moments and entered a few notes into a journal, as a pause before turning her attention to the two Barret’s

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Hyle Troy's picture

 

Jonas Barret cursed as he swung the pick axe down on his sisters face.

Then again and again he repeated process

It was almost lunchtime and he was sweating like disco dancing Sumo wrestler.

Eventually he rested on the side of the ditch, catching his breath and gulping down warm water from the container beside him.

"These fucking overals!"  Hanna sulked as she sat down beside him. "Why do they make us wear them." She added.

"Because....." Jonas growled, making the word stretch out far beyond it's intended length to convey his continuing annoyance and anger at his sister. "... It ... is... a... punn..ish..ment.." Jonas didn't look at his sister, just at the patch of dirt in the bottom of the ditch he had been pretending was his sisters face moments before.

Unaware of his parricidal thoughts, Hanne tried to pull the coarse material of her orange boilersuit away from her sweating skin. It irritated, it chafed. She looked down at her rapidly blistering hands. She sighed more out of desperation than any sadness.

Her brother turned away from her, presenting only his back, and the big black letters stencilled onto the orange hemp. 'CS'. Community Service,

The resentful silence between the Barret siblings was broken by the command which came from the constable sitting in the shade of The Constabulary wall.

"Right! Rest over. Those foundations won't dig themselves, you know.!"

As the two Barrets made their way back into the ditch, Hanne tried to catch her brother's attention.

"You know what, Jonas?" She said hopefully

"Just shut up! Right?, Just shut the hell up. I am not interested in anything you have to say. I have listened to you all my life. You and your ideas. And look where they got us. So just shut up and don't talk to me again.. Ever!"

 

Once it had been revealed, during the trial. That upon hearing that a body had been found by the Black Beer. And that the body belonged to Magrat. Hanne had hatched a plan to put suspicion and blame onto the refugees from the hostel.

Together with Jonas they had contrived to make the scene look like the girl had been beaten up and killed by a group.

Hanne and Jonas had stabbed, kicked and beaten the already well dead body of Magrat and finaly dumped her remains in the trash bins at the rear of The Waffelhus where they would  be found easily.

In her mind, the plan was that the people of Hope Springs would then turn against the refugees, seeing them as murderers and rapists.

And also, in turn, rebel against the liberal, hippy dippy, progressive policies of that damned Mayor Troy. Therefore removing her from office.

And then she, Hanne Barret would be able to regain control of Barret Manor and return 'her' town back to the way things used to be. She would 'Make Barret Manor great again'.

Except... It had not turned out like that.. Not at all.

But the fact remained. The population of Hope Springs were, in the vast majority, refugees themselves (It may be noted that even the most conservative of Pre-Troy era residents. Even the Barret's. That they themselves, or thier forebears were also refugees at some point) The whole town had been horrified at Hanne Barret and her brothers actions. And the whole town, almost to a man had turned against them and the Barret siblings had gone from being pillars of the society to pariah's in the short time it took to describe thier crimes.

Now. They were toiling away, digging out and laying foundations for the extention to the jailhouse

Under the hot sun, under the vehmenent stares and disdainful comments spat at them from passers-by, they were serving the sentence handed down to them by Magistrate Skovlund for... "As long as it takes."

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers



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