• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 08
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The portrait had been placed prominently in the well on an adjustable tripod easel which had seen better days.

Steph could make out splodges of Cadmium, Prussian, Persian and Titanium – a geography and periodic table of pigments – on the legs and the cross-member.

She even fancied she could smell the linseed and turpentine as she passed on the way to the Witness Stand.

The memory-laden aroma stayed with her now as she sat beside the assistant, admiring the theatricality of her lawyer as he sculpted evidence and logic to his own devices: dredging up old sins of the victim, and old wounds of Steph herself.

She began to feel sorry for the person she was described as being.

Steph stared at a cuticle and scratched at a spot of cyan blue which had somehow escaped the administrations of her nail brush and the sharp eyes of the prison guards.

She didn’t like the way the judge looked at her She imagined painting him.

Caught in that scenario, she barely noticed her lawyer retaking his place beside her.

The prosecution walked out into the middle of the court, shaking his head and sporting a wry smile.

Court attendants brought out a collapsible table with an assortment of brushes and palette knives.



Steph snapped out of her reverie, thinking they were her own.

No, they would all be in evidence bags.

He played with the fan, filbert and liner, miming applying make-up, eliciting chuckles from the jury, repressed appreciation from the court deputy and reporter, and a watchful eye from the bench.

“He’s developing a rapport.”

No kidding, Steph thought; then lapsed into her apathetic trance.

“Hair from the badger and horse … bristle from the hog … all can be used to produce beautiful pieces of art: emanations of the soul."

He paused to pick up an evidence bag with a large ‘flat’ in it. Steph hadn’t noticed that being produced.

“But the soul is a tricky thing…” He paraded the bag along the bank of jurors, seeming inadvertently pushing it a little too near some faces: suspected ‘hold-outs’

“Fifteen of these thrust with such force into Tony Jones’s body that these blunt instruments pierced his internal organs … causing him to bleed to death.



Yes, that is for whom we seek justice, not just some anonymous ‘victim’ ... Tony … husband … son … father.”

He commanded their attention for a while; then turned and walked back to his seat, tossing the bag on the table.

The jury didn’t leave their seats.

The chairman stood and said something.

The judge, though reticent, accepted the decision and the folded page delivered via the deputy.

Steph phased in again to find herself standing and the judge repeating himself with no little annoyance.

“Have you ANYTHING to say on your behalf before I pass sentence?”

She pointed at the portrait. “Ten days he stared at me like that. I couldn’t take it anymore.”

Steph liked the judge's expression of incredulity.