Daily Blog 9/6/17

There seemed to be an issue with the URL when I posted this yesterday, making it impossible to properly link it in the previous blog-post. So, I’m just going to re-upload it an hour before I put out Daily Blog: 9/7/17.

Enjoy!

Previous: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/05/daily-blog-9517/

IX

November 21st, 2016

Hadley had been clean eleven and a half months. Furthermore, she’d stopped drinking beyond the occasional glass of red with dinner, or sharing a bottle of Krug with Simon on special occasions. She’d gained a healthy five pounds of lean muscle, and Bill had told her if she keeps her win-streak up she’d make partner in a year or two. Another two months and Adam would complete her family and she could be whole again. Well, that is if Simon ever came back from the bathroom. She and Simon had reservations in thirty minutes at L’Espalier, the swankiest restaurant in Boston, and Simon was busy mucking around the bathroom.

“Simon, what the hell. We’re going to be late!”

Something about a stomach ache. Since when does it take five minutes to piss and take a god damn pill? She’d bought a new dress, and even had her nails, hair, and makeup done. This was the first time, in a long time, she’d bothered to dress up. She heard the bathroom door open. A couple seconds later Simon walked into the room, smiling. Feigning indignation, Hadley asked “Are you going to make it a habit to keep me waiting? On my birthday, no less?”

Chuckling, Simon replied “My apologies, madam. One thing just led to another!”

“Oh, really? Please, do tell.” said Hadley, maintaining a straight face.

“Well first, there was the Ibuprofen. I just couldn’t break that child lock. Not for the life of me. So then, naturally I had to find a small reflex hammer. I mean, a large hammer wouldn’t do, I needed the pills in-tact. “

An abrupt pounding made Simon stiffen. Hadley’s face, previously contorted in laughter, suddenly grew concerned. “Who could that be? Were you expecting someone, Simon?  Another…lover, perhaps?” At this their tension released and they both burst out laughing, Simon clutching his side as he opened the door.

Their laughter faded quickly upon seeing Tom’s sullen expression.

Warily, Simon asked, “Tom, what are you doing here? Did something happen?”

Hadley noted that Tom’s face, while distraught, was still attractive. He had piercing hazel eyes, and a full head of dark brown hair, like his brother. He also shared his wide, and well-defined Jawline with Simon.

Looking down, and then to the left, Tom sighed.

“What’s wrong?” asked Hadley softly. Tom winced, looking up to meet Hadley’s eyes. But he still wasn’t making eye contact. He was looking through her. What’s going on? Hadley’s hands began to shake in fear.

Mournfully, in his soft tenor, Tom said “There was an accident. My wife…” Hadley rushed forward and pulled Tom into her arms, as Simon fell back against the left door-hinge.

“I’m so sorry Tom, is Gia okay? What…what happened?” asked Hadley, pulling him closer.

Stricken, Simon asked “Tom, is Adam with you?” As tears ran down Tom’s cheek, he looked to Simon and shook his head once. Simon started to slide down the wall, until he sat on the ground leaning against the door. Hadley paused, looking to Simon and back to Tom in confusion.

“Wait… Where is Adam… Where is my Son!” shouted Hadley, pushing away from Tom. Simon’s face was buried in his calloused hands. “He is my Son! Mine, where is my Son! Tom, tell me!” Tom’s head hung low, his eyes wide, tears trickling. Hadley started to hit Tom’s broad chest with her fists. “Tell me!” She screamed, tears falling.

Shamefully, Tom whispered, “Gia was driving him home from his doctor’s appointment.” As he started to speak, Hadley stopped hitting him and stepped away, bouncing from foot to foot as if she were about to box. “She stopped at a red light, and when it turned green, she went. But another car ran the red. He broadsided Gia’s car. Gia and the other driver are both in intensive care. He was drinking. Adam…” Tom choked, struggling to continue “Adam didn’t make it.” No.

Lunging forward, Hadley attacked Tom, screaming “He is my Son!” Tom tried to grab her arms as she scratched at his face. “You were supposed to protect him, keep him safe!” Tom got a hold of both of her arms, wrapping his own around Hadley, restraining her as she struggled. “How could you let this happen!” Hadley bit Tom’s shoulder and he shouted in pain, maintaining his powerful grip around her shoulders.

“I’m so sorry. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.” Tom shouted back, trying to shake free of Hadley’s maw. Hadley loosened her bite to spit in Tom’s face. Surprised, Tom let go of Hadley and she lunged at Tom, but Simon caught her around the waist, her blue dress tearing as she struggled towards Tom. Simon pulled her in, turned her around and hugged her, hard. Defeated, Hadley fell limp, arms hanging listlessly at her sides.

“He was my…son.” She sobbed in Simon’s arms. He was ours.

___________________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/08/daily-blog-9717/

Sometimes I Repeat (Poem)

We all do, though.

Sometimes I repeat<——–Click here for Poem PDF

Written 9/6/17

 

Picture info: Finally got around to doing the watercolor over-lay of the Hunger-Demon/WallSpider as well as some grey-tone shading on Amy’s back. I think it made the overall tone a little bit dark by reducing the contrast. As much as I like contrast, too much white can be a bad thing.

FullSizeRender (13)

Daily Blog 9/4/17

Chapter 6-2 and 8 are very positive chapters, especially compared to the maelstrom/gauntlet that is 9, 10, 11-1, 11-2, and 12. These lighter chapters are easier to edit than the heavy ones. Revisiting some of the darker chapters tends to sour my mood as I remember writing it and being in such a negative place. But they’re important to the plot and overall pacing that I’m striving for, so it’s worth it.

Besides, to edit, is divine. This is one of the easiest ways to edit. Simply go over a single chapter a day at a time. I caught about four typos/mechanical errors, and improved the overall flow in about forty minutes of working with this chapter, which is really encouraging. About two chapters ago, I found a major issue with the timeline, and was able to fix it pretty easily which was great.

I hope everyone had a great Memorial day weekend! Mine was basically preparing chemistry-related class materials, which wasn’t as bad as it may sound. But I hope you guys got to do something fun with friends and family!

Enjoy! : D

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

*Explicit language.

 

VI-II

December 4th, 2015-Hadley

 

“Would Hadley Sheffield please rise to testify?” recited Keller, as he turned to Hadley, smiling in his collected, grandfatherly, gate. Alright, stay calm. You can do this. Returning Keller’s smile, Hadley pushed back her seat and got up. Simon gently patted her lower back as she walked around him towards the stand. As she sat, Hadley noticed for the first time how many people had bothered showing up. There must be over forty people here! A bit of an audience for a shut-in like me. Deep breathes, Hadley. In the back, there was a channel 6 local news camera-man. The case was by no means high-profile, however, Simon’s academic fame had drawn some media interest, exacerbated by an outburst during lecture five months prior.

The Judge recited, “Do you, Hadley Sheffield, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; so help you God?”

“I do.” said Hadley, steeling herself.

Keller smiled reassuringly at Hadley, and asked “The pills you took that night, what were they, Hadley?”

Returning his smile, she responded “It was folic acid, during my pregnancy with Adam, I took a morning and nightly dose.” Clear and confidant, pretend it’s a school presentation.

Nodding, Keller continued, “CPS ended up performing their screening for drugs based on Gia’s report. While her intentions were noble, she didn’t understand the circumstance. SS shouldn’t have administered a drug test until it was clear what you had taken. Furthermore, the drug test did not find traces of oxycodone in your system. What can you tell me about what they did find.”

Cautiously, Hadley answered, “I can’t lie, Keller. I’ve struggled with addiction since I was seventeen, but I’ve been clean for quite a while now, despite having Adam taken from me. I took the heroin they found in my system long before I knew I was pregnant, I thought I’d gained a couple pounds, initially, as the doctor had recommended, I put on at least fifteen pounds and I was eating a lot at the time.”

Nodding, Keller asked, “The drug test also discovered light traces of a barbiturate. What can you tell me about that?”

This caught Hadley off guard, they hadn’t gone over this part. Why mention that? Biting her lip, Hadley responded, “Well, Simon prescribed me a very light dose to ease the severe withdrawal symptoms. He said it could be dangerous to go cold turkey without immune support as well as a barbiturate. He actually told me the withdrawal could potentially harm the baby more than continuing the drugs, and he said the risk was minor.”

Looking back to the Judge, Keller said “The defense rests.” Keller gave Hadley a quick, reassuring wink as he went to sit down.

Jacobs turned to Jeffrey, asking, “Would the plaintiff like to cross-examine?”

“Yes, your honor.” Jeffrey said, in his haggard southern drawl. I’d give anything to not have to talk to this troll.

Approaching Hadley, Jeffrey fixed his collar. Wearing an expression of disgust, he asked, “Mrs. Sheffield, you don’t honestly think Adam would be better off in your care, do you? A woman, who readily admits to injecting heroin for at least six years of her life?” How dare he judge her?

Hadley felt a sudden twang of rage, fists tightening and cheeks flushing, she shouted, “I never said that! I only used for a year. I said I struggled with addiction for six years, and I’ve been clean. Dumbass.”

“Language, Mrs. Sheffield.” Warned the Judge.

“For what, two months?” Jeffrey responded with mock sincerity.

Hadley’s jaw tightened and her grip tightened around her knees under the table. He’s making that obnoxious face again. Baiting me… Against her better judgment, Hadley spat, “Fuck you!”

The Judge slammed her gavel, announcing, “Order, Mrs. Sheffield, last warning on your language. Mr. Jeffrey, this is not a criminal trial, get to the point.”

Jeffrey smiled, nodding at the Judge before saying, “I think Mrs. Sheffield has proven my point. Plaintiff rests.” Sighing, Hadley got up and returned to her seat, guiltily avoiding her husband’s gaze. As she sat down, he rubbed her back lightly. As she looked to him, he smiled, before mouthing “It’s okay.”

Looking to Keller, the Judge asked “Mr. Ross, is your final witness present, and willing to testify?”

Keller glanced at Simon, who nodded, and replied, “Yes, Mr. Sheffield is ready.” Simon stood and approached the stand. He was wearing her favorite navy blue suit, the one with the matte finish that contrasted well with his striped blue and black tie, and clean white shirt. As he swore his oath, he made eye contact with Hadley. His face looked tired, worn down. She gave Simon a quick smile, before turning towards Keller as he started, “Simon, the Plaintiff’s noted in their opening statement that their appeared to be MDMA, also known as ecstasy, in your wife’s system. You’ve indicated that these readings may be inaccurate, can you elaborate for the court?”

Smiling, Simon responded, “Yes, what the lab results actually tell us is that Hadley tested positive for heroin, in addition to an unknown empathogen. The marker used to detect this is not drug specific. This means that several different drugs could cause this positive read. One is MDMA, another happens to be the barbiturate I put her on to ease withdrawal related symptoms. In my medical opinion, the suggestion that Hadley had used MDMA within the stated period is an invalid assessment because she is already on a drug that will trip the same blood marker. Any qualified medical practitioner or toxicologist will tell you the same.” Damn, he’s sexy when he’s smart.

Keller gave Simon an approving nod before announcing, “Defense rests.”

The Judge looked to Jeffrey and asked, “Will the Plaintiffs cross examine.”

Looking smug, Jeffry responded, “I don’t believe it to be necessary, your honor. Unless the court is willing to take an expert testimony from someone who clearly has a conflict of interest.” He knows Simon would make him look like a dipshit.

Curtly, the Judge said, “Are you insinuating that Mr. Sheffield, a widely respected medical doctor, would risk his considerable reputation by lying in a publicly televised courtroom proceeding? Now, unless you have evidence that Mr. Sheffield has committed perjury, a criminal offense, or anything relevant to your claims, I suggest you keep your speculation to yourself. This is not a criminal trial, we are here today to determine what is best for Adam Sheffield, nothing more.”

On the verge of laughter, Simon stood, and walked back to his seat. As he sat down to Hadley’s left, she whispered, “That was good, wish I had kept it together.”

Smiling, he muttered in response, “Well…it was an easy question. I didn’t have that dick looking down my shirt while shouting at me either, though I want to give him a piece of my mind after this is all over.”

“You’d stan–BANG!“ Hadley started before being interrupted by the Judges gavel.

“I believe, having heard from both parties, that I understand the case.” Oh shit, she’s already decided? “While Mrs. Sheffield may have shown poor judgment in the past, I’ve heard no evidence that supports the CPA’s allegations that Mrs. Sheffield knowingly used illicit drugs when pregnant with Adam Sheffield.” Wait, she’s siding with us? Suddenly, Simon gripped Hadley’s hand, she could feel his perspiring hand quiver, ever so slightly, as the judge continued, “Adam’s safety is of utmost importance to me, which is why I’ll be releasing him to his biological parents.” Yes! “On the condition that they willingly submit themselves for blood testing, once a week, for one year. If both Mr. and Mrs. Sheffield stay clean, and the fitness of their financial situation remains reasonable, Adam will be released to them on December fourth, two-thousand and sixteen.” Another year…but we’ve done it!

____________________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/05/daily-blog-9517/

Writer’s Response 9/3/17

Question: What kind of music, artists, or audio-recordings do you listen to while writing? What gets you in the right head-space? Is it different for different types of write/genre’s? Does music distract you, do you prefer silence?

Most of my recent writing has been narrative-focused. So a mix-bag of descriptive poetry, short-stories, and my novella. A lot of times I’ll switch up the tone of feel of the music based on the emotions I need to convey. For instance, for action oriented sequences, I’ve found my more traditional metal to be really helpful.

One album in particular has been extremely conducive to my writing over the past three weeks. “Dystopian Fiction” by The Aviators. 

One of the singles off the album can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f52mI1YHp-k

The consistent Gothic, melancholy, conceptual, and relaxing vibe of the album has been perfect for much of my recent content, which deals with a lot of complex emotional and psychological intricacies. I find it to help my writing achieve a better balance while still flowing. Sometimes I hear things in the lyrics too, things that give me ideas, inspire me, or synergize with the concept I’m trying to convey.

For me, it’s been really important to get in the right head-space to write. I have a specific area I go to do it, I plan ahead to get the right cadence with music, and I usually avoid distractions like FaceBook or meals (the skipping meals thing isn’t always helpful, it’s more by accident).

Let me know if there are any bands, artists, or compositions you find really conducive to your work! I’d love to check it out, maybe it can help me with my work.

Daily Blog: 9/3/17

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

Previous chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/02/daily-blog-9217/

 

Happy memorial-day weekend everybody!

*Explicit language and brief torture/violent scenes.

VII

Present Day-Silgan

 

Lethargically, Silgan walked to the observation window closest to the technician. He felt empty, helpless, as Alex walked through the door. “Who are you? Where am I?” Nessa asked, frantically trying to get a look at Alex. Her voice echoed clearly through the observance PA system. She had short-cropped black hair and wore a yellow tank top with a cartoon mouse Silgan didn’t recognize printed on the front. She wore loose, black pants, and had no socks on. She’s too young…this isn’t fair.

Red welts branded her wrists, neck, and ankles; where she was strapped down to what appeared to be an old psych ward apparatus. “Please help me! I don’t know why I’m here…Please!” Alex, ignoring her, pulled the metal table within her view and set down his toolbox. “What is that, si…sir please don’t hurt me.”

Alex paused, slowly looking up to meet her gaze, and said, “I don’t have to hurt you, but I will if you don’t answer a few simple questions.” His tone was flat, emotionless.

Nessa’s legs started to quiver, as she shouted, “I’ll answer anything, please, what do you need to know?!” The poor girls already cracked. She can’t know anything, look at her!

Silgan felt a rush of anxiety as the voices responded, “Do what you have to Simon, it’s either us or her, and no matter what you do she leaves in a body bag. Either man up or join her.”

I can’t hurt her, I can’t let Alex hurt her. She looks like a young Hadley for Christ’s sake.

“So what? You gonna do yourself in like you did Hadley?” mocked the voices, cruelly.

It wasn’t me who did that to her…

                Alex removed a small, metal razer. Nessa stared at the tool. “So, where’s your father?”

Eyes wide and confused, Nessa responded, “I don’t know who my father is! What are you talking about, what are you going to do with that.” Please Alex…don’t, I can’t watch this.

                Sneering, a gruff voice shouted, “We can watch it…and you can too if it means survival.”

Alex brought the razer to her right shoulder as she struggled against the cruel straps. Suddenly, he dropped the razer on the table next to her shoulder. She slowed her struggling, looking at him warily. “I should disinfect the area first, sorry, I almost forgot.” He said, smiling slightly. Reaching back towards his toolbox, he picked up a small packet. He opened it, exposing a small alcohol wipe. He quickly wiped a small portion of her right shoulder, discarding the wipe afterwards. Nessa started to whimper and struggled back and forth as Alex picked up the razer. Silgan put his head down as she started screaming. Alex dug the six-blade razer deep into her shoulder, and pulled down quickly, deliberately removing the top layer of Nessa’s dermis. Nessa’s screams were high, full, and accented by tears. I…I can’t…I’ll stop this.

Silgan went to the technicians PA monitor as Alex moved the blade back into position a few inches to the right of the first cut. Quickly, Silgan pressed the broadcast button, and said, “Alex, I think I have a more effective idea than…well, that thing you’re doing there.” Alex moved the blade away, turning around with a small, innocuous smile.

Shrugging, he responded, “Be my guest.” Alex put his razer back in the toolbox and walked towards the door. The large man gave Silgan a suspicious glance.

Silgan put his hands up defensively, and said with a humorous inflection, “Hey man, you really think she knows anything? I’m just trying to get this over with, and my chemicals will get the job done a lot faster, with a lot less screaming.”

Smiling, the large man responded, “You’re the boss, chemist.”

Silgan gathered his briefcase and headed for the door, Alex patted his back as they passed. Silgan closed the door behind him and moved to the metal table near Nessa. Her arm looks terrible, it was only one cut too. Three-by-two inches of skin was peeled off her shoulder. She was contorted in fear, tending toward the left, away from Silgan, and the metal table. He could hear her crying and whimpering from where he stood. I don’t have much time. I will save her.

Silgan set his suitcase on the metal table and opened it quickly. He scanned the various chemicals he’d packed. Thank Christ I brought the muscle relaxants. He grabbed an empty syringe and put it on the table. As he reached for “Part 1”, he asked, “Nessa, what do you know about where you were being held?” She relaxed slightly, but didn’t turn her face towards Silgan.

Quietly, she responded, “I don’t know that much about it. But there were men, who’d come throughout the day… I’d have to help them or the mean people would hurt me.” What the fuck. How did the boss think this was a fucking lead, this girls probably the kid of some other poor girl Sullie raped. “That’s really all I know, I don’t know anything about my father or who ran that place.”

Silgan released the cryo-tube “Part 1” was trapped in and set the solution on the table. I need to hurry before the reaction gets too far along. Picking up the syringe, he said, “I believe you, Nessa. So let me fill you in. The man who ran that prison is a…political adversary of the man I work for. He seems to share your DNA. Which honestly, considering the circumstances, makes him a real fuck. You see we thought his daughter might know something about her father’s operation, but he didn’t treat you right, and I don’t respect that.” A father using their child this way… makes my blood boil. Nessa had turned towards him, studying his face, cautiously. Silgan glanced up to meet her gaze, giving her a quick, and reassuring smile. Her eyes shot to his hands drawing “Part 1” into the syringe.

Panicking again, she asked, “What is that?! Please don’t hurt me anymore, sir, I’ll do anything!”

“I’ll tell you exactly what this does as soon as I finish mixing it. It’s a very time-sensitive process, I’m afraid. Let’s make a deal, you and I, you stop talking, and I tell you what it does when I finish?” Silgan responded in an even tone. He gave her a reassuring nod before turning to grab the type-B muscle relaxant. He set it on the table next to “Part 1”, opened it, and drew about half the volume of “Part 1” he’d drawn. Approximations will have to suffice. 2:1:1 should do the trick, she’s small.

Finally, he removed the two Lortabs from his pocket, set them on the counter, reached for his damaged surgical knife, and crushed them with the butt of the knife. He took a small plastic cup from his briefcase, swept the Lortab dust into the cup, and added a small amount of deionized water. After swishing the cup around a little, he took the now bubbling syringe, and drew about three fourths of the Lortab solution into it.

Syringe in hand, Silgan moved close to Nessa’s ear, and whispered, “Keep your eyes open as best you can, I’m going to get you out of here. This will slow your heart rate and put you in a temporary coma. They will think you’re dead. I’ll come collect you before you wake up if possible, but I can’t promise they won’t kill me for uh…killing you. I’ll put my surgical knife in your back pocket, if you wake up in a bag, remember the knife and use it to escape. Please scream now.”

She started screaming as Silgan brought the Syringe to her right inner elbow, he slapped the skin and found a vein quickly. She really is malnourished. Silgan pushed the syringe into the large vein, and injected.

___________________________________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/04/daily-blog-9417/

Daily Blog 9/2/17

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

Previous chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/01/daily-blog-9117/

__________________________________________________________________________________

This was a fun one to edit and review. The court case chapters were originally a single chapter, but were split into two parts: 6-1, 7, 6-2, 8, etc. They were seven pages, and very cumbersome. I think I’ve gotten them both to a digestible point, and they provide a lot of answers to questions posed in the early chapters. You find out what triggered the slew of events that’s about to go down in a relatively hopeful way.

It was one of the most difficult chapters to handle, due to the amount of research I had to do. I ended up watching multiple CPS related cases so I could understand the ins and outs of what I needed to portray in a concise manner. Dialogue can become very cumbersome, very quickly, so I had to pick and choose carefully what to omit. This is exacerbated by the motion-focused structure I’ve chosen to write this book in. There is a lot that happens in the decade or so that leads to what’s going on in the present. The order matters, especially when there are a total of seven characters perspectives to consider. I started with just three for act one, then cover a different group in act 2, which makes it a lot easier to manage (and understand from a flow/timeline perspective).

Enjoy!

*Explicit Language

December 4th, 2015

Hadley closed her hand around Simons, who sat to her left. She was three months sober, too sober as the jurisdictional hearing regarding Adam was about to start. The court itself was unimpressive, cheap wood and scratched furnishings. TV loves to play these things up.

A young male bailiff announced “Please rise. Honorable judge Tracy Davids is now presiding.” An old woman entered the room. “Court is now in session.”  Hadley rose, still grasping Simons hand, and studied the frail old-woman as she approached the judges stand. Her hair was a dyed light brown, her mouth cornered an ugly grimace, compounded by tens of frown-lines running up her cheeks. She wore a loose black-gown under large spectacles with a gold accent and chain securing them to her neck. As Judge Davids reached the stand, the bailiff announced, “If you have any electronic devices or cell phones, please silence or turn them off. You may be seated. Thank you.” He’s awfully chipper. 

Sitting back down, Hadley let go of Simon’s hand and started to nervously scratch her own. You can do this, Hadley. She’s human too, and a mother, she’ll understand. The Judge was shuffling papers around. Probably the social services complaint. It’s author, Gia, was sitting twenty feet to the left of Hadley and Simon. It took everything Hadley had not to try and tear her lying throat out now. But had she lied? I don’t even know what she told CPS. She was my friend, I’m being unfair.   

Voice cracking, the Judge started, “This is the case of Simon and Hadley Sheffield vs. the State of Massachusetts regarding custody of Adam Sheffield.” Thank Christ Adam isn’t here, I wouldn’t be able to control myself. “Are the defendants present?”

Simon’s lawyer rose, addressing the Judge, “Yes, your honor. Mr. and Mrs. Sheffield are seated to my right. My name is Keller Ross, and I will be representing their case, your honor.”

As Keller sat, the Judge asked, “Who will be representing the plaintiffs today?”

An older looking man rose, and said, “Your honor, I am Bill Jeffrey, and I will argue on behalf of the state.”

“Very good, Jeffrey and Ross, you may be seated.” Responded the Judge. She sounds…bored. Well fuck you too, bitch, you better do your job. This matters! As the two lawyers sat down, the Judge continued, “Gentlemen, I am Tracy Davids, and I will be presiding over this case. Now, from what I understand this case was appealed from a lower Court’s decision by Mr. Sheffield. Is this the council’s understanding?”

Keller stood, remarking “Yes, your honor, it is.” Before re-taking his seat. As the Judge looked to the plaintiff’s, Jeffrey simply nodded. Is he taking this seriously? Our case isn’t that hopeless, is it?

Jacobs pursed her lips, reviewing the document before saying “Due to the…severity of this documents implications, and the limitations of a single Judge presiding, I think it’s important to manage expectations, Mr. and Mrs. Sheffield. I find it unlikely that your son will be released to you today, however I will consider your arguments and potentially recommend this case for further review or a special conditional release, in the case I find issue with Social Services conduct in removing Adam from your care upon birth.” How dare she say his name. I just want my…my son. “I find these types of hearings to be more efficient allowing the plaintiffs to start. Go ahead Mr. Jeffrey.”

Standing, Jeffrey said, “Thank you, your honor, I’ll try to make this quick for you.” Smiling slightly, he walked forward, and continued in his monotone drivel, “Your honor, the defendants have demonstrated a clear pattern of neglect, abuse, and borderline criminal intent towards their son. All of this before he was even born!” Fuck you, you…bastard. I love Adam, you don’t know shit. “As if Gia Sheffield’s report to CPS wasn’t disturbing enough, I urge you to consider the toxicological reports, which found SMS traces of both heroin and MDMA in Mrs. Sheffield’s system.” As Jeffrey said this, he turned to look at Hadley. “As you likely know, your honor, this means it is a scientific fact that Mrs. Sheffield used both of these illegal and highly destructive drugs during the beginning of the second trimester or later. Due to this abuse, Adam was born prematurely, your honor.” Jeffrey’s face contorted into a vindictive, cruel, smile as he looked Hadley in the eye. “It’s a miracle that Adam was even born. An attempted murder case, would be far more appropriate under these horrendous circumstances than a simple custody battle.” As he finished, Hadley’s jaw started quivering and her eyes welled. He’s trying to fuck with me, I need to keep it together.

Gently, Simon reclaimed her hand under the table, squeezing twice, before tightening his grip. Hadley moved her right hand to rest on his. Thank God you’re here, Simon. Before Jeffrey could continue, Keller interjected, “Objection, your honor!”

Curtly, she responded, “Reasoning, Mr. Ross?”

Noticing the tone, Keller, exasperated, responded, “Your honor, besides the fact that Mr. Jeffrey seeks to intimidate my client by making aggressive faces at her, his argument is clearly speculative. He has no place making character assessments or suggesting a charge beyond the scope of this court.”

“She’s hardly on the stand yet, Mr. Ross. I see nothing wrong with Mr. Jeffrey’s opening statement. Please refrain from making comments about the oppositions face, moving forward.” Replied the Judge, smiling ever so slightly at Keller’s disbelief. She already thinks I’m unfit.

Chuckling, Mr. Jeffrey continued “I suppose I’ll end early, I think the court gets the gist of what’s happened here.” As Jeffrey returned to his seat, Simon’s hand tightened. Wincing in pain, Hadley looked up at her husband. His jaw had tightened, lips had folded into a snarl, and he was staring straight at the Judge. He needs to calm down, I’ve never seen that look. Hadley started messaging Simon’s forearm and kissed his shoulder.

Moving closer, she whispered, “She’s a bitch, it’s not our fault, we need to keep it together, honey. His face softened as he lowered his head in a defeated manner. I’m not sure I like that look any better.

Keller got up, approached the Judge, and said, “My clients admit they’ve made poor choices in the past regarding use of prohibited substances. But it has been stated time and again, that neither Mrs. or Mr. Sheffield realized that a pregnancy had occurred. When they did, Mrs. Sheffield immediately withdrew from all drugs that could harm her child. The test used is sensitive to the past six months, it was administered half a month after a premature birth, meaning Mrs. Sheffield could have stopped all use during the first trimester.” I tried. That has to count for something, right? “It’s widely available information that some women do not show in the first trimester, or even until the end of their second.” When you weigh one hundred and five pounds, you do. “As for my client’s sister in law, Gia Sheffield’s claims were both unwarranted and inaccurate, which I will demonstrate.” Keller moved back to his seat.

The Judge, looking unimpressed, turned to Jeffrey and asked, “Is your first witness present, Mr. Jeffrey?”

Standing, Jeffrey responded, “She is, your honor. Gia Sheffield please rise for testimony.” Hadley watched as Gia got up and walked towards the stand. She wore a modest, green dress that draped over her knees. She was a stout, uptight looking women in her early thirties, and stood at a modest 5’3. As she sat Hadley made eye contact and Gia pursed her lips into a conservative, almost sympathetic smile. Don’t give me that look, I’ve been trying to reach you for months. Gia’s eyes were a dark grey with brown accents near the center of her iris. She had a clear complexion, muted cheekbones, and a long, angular jaw. She’s pretty, nothing special though. 

The Judge recited, “Do you, Gia Sheffield, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

Wavering, in a mousy voice, Gia said, “I do.”

The Judge turned to Jeffrey and said, “Plaintiff’s witness.”

Nodding to the Judge, Jeffrey approached Gia, asking, “Mrs. Sheffield, is it true that on August fourteenth, two-thousand fifteen, you attended a party thrown by your brother in law, Simon Sheffield?”

“Yes.” Gia responded, looking down at her lap.

Nodding smugly, Jeffrey continued, “Mrs. Sheffield, could you describe both the nature of the party and what you saw Hadley Sheffield do at said party?”

Gia quickly glanced at Simon. Her face had an apologetic, almost guilty grimace. Looking back to the states lawyer, Gia answered, “Well, Simon and Hadley had just found out they were pregnant. Tom and I were really excited for them, since they’d been trying for about a year. So, I guess it was to celebrate the good news. I need to be clear, Simon, Tom, and I were having drinks, probably too many, but Hadley wasn’t. That was good, but about halfway into the poker game, I saw her go into the kitchen and take a white pill. Normally I wouldn’t think too much about it, but Tom had just had surgery to fix his L2 vertebrate, you know he lifts a lot at that gym, and I always tell him he should slow down.”

“Please focus on what Hadley Sheffield was doing, Gia.” Said the Judge, annoyed.

Cheeks flushing, Gia bit her tongue, and continued, “Sorry, anyway, after his surgery he had to take these little white oxycodone tablets. The pill I saw Hadley pick up looked an awful lot like that. So, I was worried about the baby, you know. So, around thirty minutes later, Simon and Tom went outside for a smoke break. I don’t smoke and I guess Hadley had quit for the baby. I suppose, we were left alone, so naturally we talked a little bit. Eventually, Hadley went to the restroom…” Gia paused, blushing deeper. “…and I went to the kitchen to look for the bottle, just to make sure, you understand. In the second drawer, down, there were a whole lot of bottles. I’m sure that Simon, being a big-time doctor had some stock for various reasons. But on top of the pile was a bottle of oxycodone, and it wasn’t prescribed to Hadley.” No…I don’t understand! Fuck you! Wasn’t your god-damn place to snoop around our private property. Bitch…

“Who was the bottle prescribed to, Mrs. Sheffield?” asked Jeffrey, looking self-satisfied.

Pausing a moment, seeming to not want to continue, Gia said “It wasn’t a name I recognized.”

Looking to the Judge, Jeffrey said, “Plaintiff’s rest the witness.”

The Judge, face flat and unreadable, inquired, “Would the defense like to cross examine the witness.” As she said this Jeffrey sauntered to his seat. He looks so relaxed, so sure he’s got us beat.

Rising, Keller answered, “Yes, your honor.” He approached Gia, a kind, exposed look marred his aged face. “I understand, you must have been very upset, Gia. Finding out your friend, no, your sister, may have been exposing her unborn baby to dangerous chemicals?”

Eagerly, Gia responded, “I was! I was devastated! I mean, I love Hadley, and I love Simon. They are family to me, and they’ve always been the nicest to me out of Tom’s relatives. I couldn’t believe it. But I had to file a report to CPS, I didn’t want to, but for Adam’s sake…” Friends? Friends would ask for the context before shouting off to CPS.

Nodding empathetically, Keller continued, “Under those circumstances, I’d be a wreck. I’d probably have a hard time knowing what to do next, too.”

Jeffrey stood, suddenly, and shouted, “Objection! This is speculation!”

The Judge, smiling, responded, “Questioning sustained.” Shows him right, maybe Jacobs isn’t a total cunt. That was bad, I need to work on my language, getting too jaded…

Nodding at the Judge, Keller continued, “Now, under the circumstances, you were upset. Rightly so. What you describe, the entire drawer of pills, is concerning to me. Yes, you saw Hadley take a white pill, and yes the oxycodone you found was white. But as exhibit c-7 clearly shows, eight of the seventeen pill containers in the drawer contained white pills, four of which are similar in size and shape to the oxycodone. One, of particular interest, was a folate supplement prescribed to Hadley.” As Keller said this, Gia’s face paled. “As you likely know, having had a child, folate is extremely important to the development of the fetus. Most new mothers are given this prescription. Now I’m not saying you did something bad, but considering the sheer number of pills in that drawer, wouldn’t it have been prudent to simply ask Hadley what she had taken?”

Gia’s pallor had taken on a ghostly hue, as she responded, “I…when I took folate, it was a green pill. I hadn’t even thought of that.”

Smiling kindly, Keller continued “I understand your confusion, but you see, Hadley was taking a concentrated form of folate, folic acid, which is generally sold in a white capsule or a white tablet casing.” Damn, I see why Simon wanted Keller so bad. 

Gia’s brow tightened in distress as her eyes welled up. Scrambling, she wiped her eyes, looking to Hadley, and pleaded, “I had no idea, I’m so sorry Hadley, Simon. I didn’t know.” You should have asked, Gia. Feeling a sudden pang of sympathy, Hadley nodded at Gia, smiling in slight reassurance. Some color returned to Gia’s face, as she wiped the tears from her cheek.

Looking to the Judge, who seemed more engaged at this point, Keller stated, “Defense rests, your honor.”

Head hanging, Gia pushed herself up and returned to her seat, avoiding Jeffrey’s gaze. He was giving her his look. Clearly, he’s unhappy with how that unfolded. Not so cocky now, eh? Maybe we aren’t screwed after all. Hadley looked to Simon and saw a thin, hopeful smile on his face.

_____________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/03/daily-blog-9317/