Opening Statements (3)

“This is the footage from the 11th of November.”

Prosecutor Schaefer held three CDs in her hands, holding them up high so the whole court could seem them.

“The proof is in the pudding. Please watch the first clip first.”

Every time her clear, carrying voice traversed the courtroom, my heart raised alarm bells. I’m begging you, please don’t bring out any more disadvantageous evidence.

Throwing my opinion to the wind, Prosecutor Schaefer issued prompt orders. But the only thing she did was give orders, and the one actually starting up the courtroom’s magic apparatus, and doing it all was someone else.

All the good prosecutor had to do was insert the disk into the CD slot on the prosecution desk, and that alone was enough to reproduce its images.

“Is everyone ready?”

As if that was the signal, the court’s lights suddenly went out, making everything pitch black. In exchange, a rough, monochrome sandstorm swept over the center of the room, forming a giant image.

It was an air-projecting display. The word, ‘Pause’, was displayed in the top right to indicate the large display wasn’t playing anything yet.

“Then let’s playback. It’s a bit shocking, so ladies and gentlemen in the gallery. If you’re easily squeamish, please make for the exit. Ready? Then play.”

Her words as the start, the sandstorm display suddenly depicted a monochrome scene. There were fashionable outdoor lighting fixtures, and with those at the base, the surroundings were dimly lit up.

“This is the roof, meaning the footage from the viewing platform.”

On her words, I finally realized that. Sure enough, there was a wall-like thing in the back, and a binocular to the side.

But even if they were there, there was nothing that really stood out. There were stars in the night sky, and not a single scrap of litter on the ground. There wasn’t a soul sitting on the benches, and the only movement was on the digital clock ticking up the seconds on the upper right of the display. It was currently 21:16:52.

53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, and the minute slot hit 17. On the right side of the screen, a human figure appeared.

“The victim, Hal Anderson,” the prosecutor put in her explanation.

Hal Anderson was wearing a white coat over his guard uniform. He was holding an electric torch in his right hand, approaching the depths of the platform, meaning the place with the binoculars.

Nothing really stood out. If I had to say, he was wearing his guard cap, so I couldn’t really make out his face.

Eventually, Hal Anderson made his way to the parapet, suddenly jerking to look at the ground below.

… What? Did he drop something?

Curling his back, he left his flashlight on the floor. Rummaging with something in his hands, if he wasn’t wearing a guard uniform, I’d only be able to see him as a suspicious person.

I don’t know what he was doing, but nothing particularly happened, and time alone passed by.
As I stared at it blankly, it deluded me to think the video was actually paused, but the time display in the corner continued to move.

When the clock was about to strike 21:30, the footage was paused.
“Now then, from here on’s the real deal. From here, the defendant appears, and slices the victim’s back with her sword. For those bad with blood, it’s a tad grotesque, so if you don’t want to see, no one will mind if you make for the door.”

I heard some gulping sounds on her words. But not a single person stood from their seat.

“Is that so. Then I must conclude I am proceeding with everyone’s consent. No one complain to me later, please.”

When her words had just about ended, Defendant Claudia who’d been rattling her chains to her point began struggling even harder.

Her complexion was somewhat pale. Was something bad going to show up? Or was it finally getting hard to breath in that thing…

“Wait a second.” Said I to the prosecution. “The defendant has been restrained for a prolonged period. Afford us a brief recess, and…”

Before I could finish, the images were moving. “You should say those sorts of important things sooner, Mr. Lawyer. I already pressed the button.”

That was definitely intentional. I was convinced as I saw the twitches in the corner of her mouth.

The paused digital clock started moving again, the time hitting 21:30. On the left side of the display, from the shadow of a hedge pruned into a rectangle, a humanoid figure in a black hood appeared.

It was a moment’s events. The hooded figure pulled a sword from their coat, and lifting it up high, they lowered it right at the guard, cutting across his back.

The word blood spurt played through my mind for a moment. There was no audio, so I couldn’t directly hear what sort of sound came out, but seeing the deep black liquid spouting into the night sky , my mind arbitrarily played a ‘glop’ sound effect.

The judge furrowed his brow, while the clerks who usually didn’t do anything but dictate opened their eyes wide.

There were some sounds of sobbing mixed in with the crowd. As a stir took up the courtroom, only one, Prosecutor Schaefer was expressionless.

At the start of the footage, because of his guard hat, I had a faint hope that perhaps that wasn’t the victim, but that ended in needless anxiety.

The moment of the swing, the hat fell to the ground, showing his short black hair and his facial features.

No doubt it was the man himself. Shock was passing through his face.

Of course it was. His back was suddenly sliced open in the middle of his rounds. Of course he was surprised. I don’t know what the victim was thinking, but he likely tried to run away. He limped as he placed a hand on the parapet for support, eventually slumping over and falling from the viewing platform.

There was only one figure left on the scene. They were wearing a black coat, so it was hard to make out, but their clothing was probably soaked in blood.

Eventually, a wind blew, offering a glimpse of the hood’s contents

With her black hair fluttering, it was the defendant, Claudia Rheinland.

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