“Matthew Kate, you are here by sentenced, by the state of Massachusetts and the people of this court, to 25 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the crimes committed against Austin Shechter in the first degree of murder. ” The harsh slam of the gavel caused the room into burst into a mass of chaos.
Everybody was rushing towards the stands. Family members in shouts of protest, the paparazzi for a few pictures of the now convicted 17 year old murderer, the security guards rushing to hold the sudden flood of people back. Then there was me, and what was I doing? I was running in the opposite direction, away from my family, away from the pap, away from everything. I just had to get out of there.
I burst through the heavy wooden doors before the walls could cave in on me.
“Bella!” I heard a familiar voice calling after me. I ran faster hoping my dad wouldn’t catch me, I never was the fastest in gym class.
“Bella!” He was farther away this time, his voice quieter. That meant he wasn’t in pursuit. I looked back and saw him standing on the steps of the courthouse. A few of the paparazzi were around him, trying to ask him questions but he ignored them, “Bella, come back!”
I willed myself to keep running; away from my father’s loving arms, away from my brother’s murderous ones.
Brother. Murderer. I tried to tie those words together but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t imagine my brother murdering someone. Let alone him murdering my fiancé. That last thought sent my knees buckling. I collapsed on the ground, violent sobs wracking over my body.
I still couldn’t believe it. How could Austin be dead? I’d never get to see him again. Never get to feel his gentle touch, his soft lips against mine. I’d never get to hear his sweet laugh when I did something embarrassing again.
And to know my brother did it, my own blood, ended Austin’s life with one swift jab of a knife.
I was so happy when he proposed. Just thinking about it now almost made me smile. Almost.
Three days after he proposed, he set up a date in an abandoned warehouse for us. A picnic I guess you could say.
‘Almost there. Xox’ I texted him.
‘Can’t wait! ;)’ he responded immediately.
Five minutes later I walked into the warehouse.
“I’m here!” I called, “Austin?”
I rounded the corner. My phone dropped from my hand.
**END OF FLASHBACK**
I didn’t want to see his dead, lifeless body again, or the pool of blood that surrounded him. His blank eyes staring at the ceiling.
“No,” I sobbed, “It can’t be true, it can’t be,” I hugged my knees, trying to keep myself from falling apart.
The sky was dark, the stars bright against the black sky.
Suddenly, a dark figure blocked out the shining stars.
“Look what we have here, boys,” He laughed, “We have ourselves a wittle baby. Did you want me to warm up a bottle for you? Where’s your nookie, did you drop it in the dirt? Is that why you’re crying? You poor baby.”
“Leave me alone,” I muttered, standing up.
“What are you doing? Babies can’t walk.” He said and pushed me back down. I let out a startled cry of surprise.
“Just leave me alone,” I repeated, standing up again.
“But somebody’s gotta watch the baby,” He motioned for somebody to join him, “Let’s give the baby her first lesson, boys.”
I didn’t like that he said ‘boys’. How many of them were there? Two? Three? There could be seventeen of them. Who knew? Well, I guess I would in a few seconds.
Suddenly I was lying on the ground gasping for breath. My lungs burned as the air was pushed out of them. I looked up and saw what must have been one of the “boys”. He smiled at me as I felt another blow to my side, the air being knocked out of me again, the tears welling up.
I couldn’t cry in front of them, I couldn’t let them see that they were hurting me, although they obviously were.
Another kick to my leg, one to my arm, and then the death blow. Well, not really, just in the back of the head. You didn’t think I’d die already, did you?
The blow blurred my vision even more, worse than the tears did. A dull ringing in my ears was all I heard.
The kicking stopped and I curled into a ball waiting for them to return. They didn’t. Instead I felt hands on me. They were trying to pull my arms away from around my legs.
“No!” I screamed, “Don’t touch me!”
“Bella, it’s me, Bella,”
My eyes flew open. Somebody was standing over me. I hit out at them.
“Sweetie, it’s dad. Shh, it’s okay.”
My eyes focused.
I reached out for him and let the tears flow as he wrapped his arms around me. I clung to him.
“Sweetie, he couldn’t make it.”
“I know, I just thought-“ What did I think? That they’d let him out to see me in the hospital? A newly convicted murderer. Right.
“How could he do that, dad? How could he do that to him, to me?” I cried as I watched him rub his thumb along my hand. His thumb stopped.
“I don’t know,” He said abruptly, “I’ll get the doctor,”
Good, I just wanted to go home and be in my own house, alone.