When the verdict was read my client smiled broadly and rapidly turned toward me and shook my hand vigorously and patted my shoulder at the same time. His quickness of movement surprised me and as I stared into his smiling eyes and I saw no relief, only gladness. He again reacted when he saw my look and darted his eyes upward as if to thank the ceiling. He brought his gaze back down as open eyed innocence.

“Thank you much, counselor, thanks to you very much!” This time he spoke his congratulations as he continued to shake my hand. “I knew you were a good one, from what I heard and could see you calculate. You got a very good start and this only proves your worth. You have my utmost gratitude and I’m forever thankful.” He grinned widely then spun around to move toward his wife only a few steps away behind the rail.

A couple of other court observers came over to me but I kept a sideways glance at my client. With narrow eyes I could see their blank look at each other then a slight eye movement toward me from him to her that caused her to smile more yet unmoving her glance. They hugged one another as I turned my attention back to who was talking to me.

“For a youngster like yourself you did a meticulous job drawing the reasonable doubt. This was all circumstantial, and they knew it, but it was all they had. Just think they don’t like the couple, they’re kind of liberal with the kids. Nothing but bias, though a tragedy that kid got taken from their school. Good job, Hank.”

“Thanks, Ben; I really appreciate your opinion. It means a lot to me.” I told the older attorney. I figured he was here mostly to watch the proceedings.

As I gathered my paperwork I glanced over to the exit doors and they were already gone. They didn’t stay around for anyone else. They had just left.

The prosecutor nodded at me as he turned to head for the exit but said nothing. I went back to finish up when I noticed the detective standing at my table.

“At least we got them noticed. They’ll probably end up leaving the city to go further away. We’ll keep that trace on them, through the network, wherever they will land. These kind of people, once they got that taste they’ll have to do it again.” He kept his stare at me. “That kid was molested enough to have caused torture. Then they suffocated him. If we find the DNA match it’ll probably be a drifter they hired to ‘walk’ in around the same time. Then all he could say for the money he was paid they told him to pilfer through the living room to look for more cash and take pocket valuables. Just for an insurance claim, they would have told him. Too bad the living room led to the kitchen where the boy supposedly was making a snack. Holding the kid so hard to keep him quiet must of somehow cut off his air. Then to find the kid in the woods clubbed mercilessly with a log to create a messy distraction could have been anyone that carried him that mile. But it wasn’t.” He looked at the exit. “Didn’t you notice how they responded to the not guilty, counselor? It wasn’t with the stress of the falsely accused. You could see that, couldn’t you?”

“No sir,” I told him, “It was a random act. This city is dangerous.”

“They are,” he replied. Then he left.

As I left there was a couple more handshakes from people. Outside the courtroom I sat down on a bench after the court officer refused to look directly at me. I was young but sharp as I had been told and willing to dig through the details until I could make a point. But this was the first time my gut had started to react. And my observance has become keener. Yes, now I know there is something wrong with their story. Everything too pat in their telling and everything too smooth in what must have happened. I am getting better.

I got up to go back to my office for I know there will be more offers. This will help gain wider notice; these people had money and influence. This case will help me in the long run. What matters is the win.

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