You and I, we send criminals to their fates and killers to their deaths, and no matter how they plead and beg for forgiveness, we must ignore the whispers and the screams, so we are able to give our unblemished verdicts.

Because, you and I, you see—we aren't supposed to care.


I'm not a judge. I am not a product of the orphanages, an outlier to be forgotten, seen but never spoken to. I share my thought with others, I am not lost in the sea of faces, in the crowd of bodies and limbs. And—well, I suppose I am an orphan, now.

It's hard to forget that last bit when I sit in the highest row of the gallery, watching a man be tried for double homicide.And you want to know what the funny thing was?

It took one sentence—nine words, fifteen syllables—to let him walk free.

"There were traces of another individual at the scene."

I mean, absolutely hilarious, right? A joke. A sham. A sad waste of a law system, a—no. I'm good. Why ask when you don't want to know the answer, right?


Judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, the police—lob them all together and you don't seem to get much further than an arrest, maybe a trial. But a conviction? I'd say, keep on dreaming inside that fluffy, pretty little head of yours. Trust me.

You'll miss it.

I wish I still dreamt. I can't get rid of the stain of nightmares on the walls of my braincase; there are black smears—dried blood, they smell like, copper and rust and smoke and whisper-sharp blades—on their padded surfaces. Like a box for nut jobs that I've spent far too much time in.


So that was...what, five years ago? No, must have been longer—the faces were fuzzy and too far up; I could read fingerprints from my viewpoint. Eight?

But here I am, sifting through pages of paperwork, in a building I shouldn't be in. I'm listening for a guard, for an alarm, while searching for an answer.

And, glowing white in the light of the open doorway, it's there, at the top of the pile.

For a second I've lost my breath and the sheets in my hand start to slip and spill—it's done, it'll be over, something has happened and I don't know whether to die or cry—but then I grab it, fold it as neatly as my shaking hands allow, and shove it into my jacket pocket. The rest of the file I rearrange and stow back into its metal skeleton of a home, with all the rest of its lying kind. I must leave the drawer open, but I'm grinning too hard to care. I don't even pass a guard on the way out.