I take my seat, looking around the courtroom. It’s practically empty. Adam, sitting next to me, shuffles in his seat. “I hate this,” he whispers to me, looking to an old woman whispering back and forth with someone. Must be Mrs. Becker. “I know, so do I.” I reply, looking behind me, toward my mom. She looks heartbroken.
Both of Adam’s moms won’t look at us. Lilly and Suzie sit behind them. They look ready to drop. “Is the defendent ready to begin?” the Judge asks, his voice cutting through the hushed whispers. “R-ready.” Adam sits taller, clearing forcing his anxiety out. I try and do the same.
Rather than ask the actual lawyer, the judge then looks to Mrs. Becker. “Are you ready, Mrs. Becker?” She presses a tissue to her nose, turning away from the person she’s speaking to. It’s Casse. “I’m ready, yes.” “Then let us begin.”
The trial beings. I get called to speak by none other than Casse, standing between Mrs. Becker and her lawyer. She squeezes past them and to me, clearing her throat and locking eyes with me. She stares. I have no option, and stare back. She comes closer. I lean toward her. Nobody speaks. Nobody moves.
“Fred.” Casse says finally, looking away. “Freddie,” I snap. It came off meaner than I wanted. “Mmm. Answer these questions as best you can.” I nod, then suddenly shiver. Out of nowhere, I feel like the room got colder.
“You ‘found’ Talyn, yes? In her...” “Living room. On the couch.” “If she was home at all I would have known!” Mrs. Becker cries, shooting up from her chair. “I looked all over our house!” “Mrs. Becker,” the judge says calmly.
She takes a seat, unwillingly. Again, I shiver. It feels even colder. I look around for a window. “Continuing,” Casse says. “When you found her, can you describe how she looked?” “She had marks around her neck. And holes on her chest, like she was pierced there.” “With something like...”
Crap. I fell for a trap. Detective Casse has a tiny smile on her face, but the judge doesn’t seem to notice. “A knife...” I finish. I see Adam sink back into his seat behind Casse. She picks a plastic bag up, and sure enough, there’s the bloody knife Adam picked up.
“This,” she says, setting it down in front of me, “I got tested. Fingerprints were in fact discovered.” “Adam’s?” I hiss. “How did you know?” Everyone is looking at us. Another shiver. When did it get so cold? “We found it—”
“I found it!” Adam interjects, rising from his seat. “I picked it up without thinking, I didn’t kill anyone with it!” “I’m asking Fred.” Casse warns. “I’m going to say the same thing he did.” Casse nods. “Of course, yes. I just would like to hear it from you.”
“He found it,” I repeat. “Adam found it and picked it up.” She nods. The judge looks unamused. Mrs. Becker is very unhappy. So is her lawyer. So is Adam, and Lilly, and Suzie, and my mom, and— “That will be all, Freddie, thank you.” Cassie declares. I give her a look and stand, taking my original seat.
Adam opens his mouth, and a loud bang is heard. Every head whirls around to the doors. Lilly, Suzie, and the three moms are the first to react. They all gasp and whisper, staring at the opened doors. The lawyer for Mrs. Becker stutters, before blinking. Mrs. Becker has started crying again. Even Detective Casse is shocked. Adam turns to me, shaking his head quickly.
“ᴛʜɪs ᴄᴏᴜʀᴛʀᴏᴏᴍ ɪs ʜᴀɴᴅʟɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴀʟʏɴ ʙᴇᴄᴋᴇʀ ᴄᴀsᴇ, ʀɪɢʜᴛ?” “This would be the courtroom,” Freddie says. Talyn nods, walking down the aisle. Jaws hang open, eyes out of their sockets. Nobody speaks. “ᴀᴍ ɪ ʟᴀᴛᴇ?” she asks Adam. He shakes his head slowly, and she smiles.
“ᴛʜᴇɴ ʟᴇᴛ’s ɢᴇᴛ ᴏɴ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜɪs ᴄᴀsᴇ. ɪ ᴅᴏɴ’ᴛ ᴛʜɪɴᴋ ᴀɴʏᴏɴᴇ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴍɪɴᴅ ɪғ ɪ ᴛᴏᴏᴋ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴀs ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴇғᴇɴᴅᴇɴᴛ’s ʟᴀᴡʏᴇʀ?” Talyn looks around. The silence that followed her question reminded her of the Afterlife’s silence. “Oh, uhm...” Adam sits up. Freddie and Talyn look to him. Everyone else is staring at Talyn. Adam whispers something to Talyn.
“ᴏʜ?” Talyn looks around, her eyes landing on a young woman. “ᴡᴇʟʟ ᴛʜᴇɴ. ᴍɪɢʜᴛ ᴀs ᴡᴇʟʟ.” The nineteen year old ghost approaches the detective. She looks the ghost up and down, taking a stumble back. But it didn’t matter. Talyn grabs Casse by the arm and pulls her in, slamming her lips against the breather.
The lawyer passed out. Talyn pulled away from the kiss and asked, “ᴡʜᴀᴛ’s ʏᴏᴜʀ ɴᴀᴍᴇ?” “D-Devin,” she gasps, her cheeks red. “I-I... Call me Detective Casse...” “ɪᴛ’s ᴀ ᴘʟᴇᴀsᴜʀᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴋɪss ʏᴏᴜ. sᴏʀʀʏ ғᴏʀ ᴀ ʀᴜᴅᴇ ɪɴᴛᴇʀʀᴜᴘᴛɪᴏɴ, ɪ ᴅɪᴅɴ’ᴛ ᴍᴇᴀɴ ᴛᴏ ᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ᴀ sᴄᴇɴᴇ. ᴍᴀʏ ᴡᴇ ᴄᴏɴᴛɪɴᴜᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛʀɪᴀʟ?”