Chapter 1

Written by: Ray Stone

Jenna felt her heart beating faster as the court remained silent. The judge wrote slowly on her pad before looking back at her. She felt an invisible force of guilt and shame. She knew her mother’s life was saved but her father’s taken. With glazed eyes she looked down at her feet, unable to look anywhere else.

After calling for an ambulance and the police...that’s when she had found it. It must have been the cause but she was not certain although four ripped parts thrown across the kitchen floor showed someone’s anger. It was her secret and one she could not share.

“Ms. Shields, how do you plead to the charge of manslaughter?” The judge’s soft voice broke into her thoughts and made her look up.

“Not guilty, your honour.” She choked on the words and began to tremble.

The judge looked over the top of her glasses and across at the prosecutor. “Are you ready to proceed, Mr. Alfredson?”

***

Jenna sat holding her mother’s hand gently, wishing she could feel a slight twitch of a finger or a flickering eyelid. Still swathed heavily in thick white bandages about the swollen head and face, her mother remained in a coma and on a life support system that clicked softly each time the pump pushed air into her lungs. The  judge granted bail as long as Jenna remained with her grandparents but she gave her permission to visit her mother at the end of the first gruelling day of the trial.

“It will be another forty-eight hours before we can say how bad the brain damage is and we will not know how it will affect her definitely until she wakes.”

The doctor smiled nicely and raised his hands as if to say ‘who knows.’

Jenna leaned forward over her mother. She whispered, “I found it, Mother. I wish you would wake up and explain. I can’t tell anyone until I know.”

She sighed deeply and closed her tired eyes for a moment. Looking back to her childhood she could remember the happy times she spent with her mother during school holidays. The park, the zoo, the beach; all memories of her beautiful mother and father swinging her around and making her scream and giggle with joy and-. Her jaw dropped. She opened her eyes and realized who else was with them. He drove them in his big blue and white convertible Ford. She felt a sudden chill.

“Jen…”

Jenna gasped with joy and grabbed her mother tightly. “Mother, it’s me... Jenna. Can you hear me?”

Jenna called for the nurse.

“She spoke my name,” explained Jenna tearfully. Looking down at her mother she pleaded, “Oh, mother, please wake up. I need you so badly.”

She fingered the pieces of the old black and white photograph in her pocket. The second time she looked she recognized the young man with a small baby in his arms standing next to her mother. Her uncle Nick.

Comments

Wow! What a fantastic twist. It'll be interesting to see where this goes. Loved the 'invisible force of guilt and shame.' Great stuff.