A bit of Flash Fiction for the upcoming OWFI conference.
“Mrs. Dowel, do you know what this is?” The lawyer asks, holding a strange device overhead as he struts about the courtroom.
“You’re not even looking at it, Mrs. Dowel.”
I lift my head, but quickly look away. I squeeze my lips. He walks towards me, holding it in front of him. Keeping my head down, I strain my eyes to look at it. I shake my head.
“Then why does it have your DNA all over it, along with the deceased?”
I adjust my posture, thinking nobody will notice, then sigh.
“It’s…it’s just a toy. It’s harmless.”
“So, you DO know what it is.” He turns to face the jury. “This is what they call a choker. During sex, one simply places it –“
“It’s NOT dangerous!”
Everyone is silent for a moment. The lawyer holds it out to me again.
“Mrs. Dowel, would you show the jury how it is used?”
“Objection!” A man in a blue suit stands smartly.
“Overruled.” The gray-haired judge replies. “But let’s keep it civilized.” He nods at the lawyer and at me.
I slowly reach out to take the choker from the lawyer’s hand. His face curls into a smile as I take a deep breath and hold the choker in both hands. I stare at it for a moment, then I start to loosen it.
“Please don’t adjust it. It is exactly as it was when the police found it at the murder. Just put it on for the jury to see.”
I squeeze my lips, and raise the choker to my neck. I know, due to the configuration of the release clip, it is almost impossible for the wearer to remove. That must be done by another person. The lawyer probably planned it this way. I swallow, place the choker around my neck, click it shut, and press the locking latch closed. I feel an instant tightening in my stomach.
“You see, the device is meant to…”
The lawyer drones on about the use and purpose of the choker. My eyes water, and I try to swallow. I realize I’ve been holding my breath. My eyes bulge as I try in vain to breath. The pressure didn’t seem so bad at first. I fidget with the lock. The lawyer continues unaware. Panic begins to take over, and I tear at the lock. I retch as I attempt to stand. All eyes of the jury turn to look at me. Their faces betray the horror they are witnessing. I feel my fingernails break as I claw at the choker. I turn my back to the lawyer and point at the device furiously. My hands are quaking, and I begin to see a fuzzy black outline to my vision. I hear a loud crack, followed by a sharp pain in my temple. Hands begin pulling at me, and I hear strange muffled voices, filled with panic.
But, why are they panicking? Everything is fine. I feel fine. I feel nothing.
#writingprompts #flashfiction #owfi #amwriting