Microfiction written for my AP Lit class (Mr. M, if you're looking it up to see if I plagiarized, no, I didn't. This is my account).
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I met Kronos again today. It was eight and the café was bustling, as women in sharp heels and men in heavy brogues lined up for their morning coffee. I sipped my own, barely tasting it as I listened to the case.
Then the table shifted and I pulled my headphones out. Even before he spoke, I recognized him. I'd know that mouth-breathing anywhere.
"You're picking up cases again," said Kronos.
I put my headphones back in. My laptop's screen reader was still droning on — until Kronos closed my laptop, clipping my fingertips.
He paused for affirmation I'd never give before continuing anyway. His mouth reeked of false pity.
"For a kid in the ghetto, playing with Mary Jane. No lawyer. No justice."
It was a fist around my heart, clenching tight, wringing it out. "Someone had to."
"You know how often it happens, Themis. Natural law crumbles at your feet, mortals execute by the millions, and you're stalling. With a single boy."
"He has a child," I snapped.
The world paused. The clacking of shoes, the clinking of mugs, the chatting of customers — silenced. Suddenly, my glasses slid off my nose. The café was frozen in time, and Kronos leaned close over the table, examining the opaque black lenses. "I preferred the blindfold. Harder to take off."
My face burning, I snatched the glasses back. For that second, Kronos met my gaze.
"Justice is dead," said he, "and was reborn as a demagogue."
When I blinked, he was gone. There were sounds again, and scents, and sights. Mortals all around me. I slipped my glasses back on, my hands unsteady.
A moment later, a door opened, a cool breeze brushing my cheek. A forlorn pair of sneakers shuffled towards me.
I inhaled. Carefully, I told my client to sit, folded my hands around my lukewarm coffee, and offered to buy one for him.
At first he said nothing. Then he whispered, trembling, "I'm going to jail."
In a different age, Kronos would be right. I would be less soft. But in this one — one where I offered my hand, and the boy accepted hesitantly, and I felt the flutter of a pulse that didn't know any better — I have no regrets.
And I told him, "You won't."