Excerpt from The Gods Defense

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Here’s an excerpt from my book The Gods Defense.  I’m going through one more round of edits to clean and tighten it and then I’m sending it off to betas.  This excerpt is about a third of the way into the book, where the main character Cassandra is trying to get through one last trial as a prosecutor after Apollo tricked and bribed her to agree to work for the gods.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

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“And I woke up, I think I woke up at least.  I don’t know if I blacked out or was just in shock,” Ashworth said on the stand.  “I didn’t know who hit me, or why.  I just was on the floor and my face was killing me.”

Something almost like the rumbling of thunder seemed to come from above.  I glanced up.  It wasn’t supposed to storm today.

“Can you tell us how you felt after that?  As in, how did the attack affect your emotional well-being?”  He gave me a blank look and I resisted the urge to shift on my feet or bring up my hands to do the talking for me.  We’d practiced this.  How did I ask without leading him if he was freezing up?

“Have you…”  I paused, the rumbling getting louder.  Ashworth looked, well, ashen as his eyes met mine then went up.

“Ms. Berry?” Spenser asked.  “Is there a problem?”

“Could we have a short recess, Your Honor?” I asked.  “Just to get maintenance up there to figure out what that is?”

“What what is, Ms. Berry?”

I switched my eyes to him so fast they got whiplash.  “You can’t hear that?”  We weren’t at rock concert levels, but certainly in the range of a normal speaking voice.  Can you say time for a hearing aid?

Then I looked around.  The jurors and the few people behind them observing the trial were all looking at me the same way the judge was.  Like I was a few fries short of a combo meal.  Mr. Ashworth cleared his throat and I looked back at him, raising my eyebrows.  He nodded once, a quick jerk of the head to say he heard it, too.

We’d found out soon after meeting that he had some sort of slight psychic ability that manifested as auditory, enough that he heard what was real but not perceivable by others.  He’d thought he was borderline schizophrenic and was hoping it’d go away before he met me and I saw his psychic abilities.

Was it not a coincidence that he was the one to get attacked?  It looked random and certainly seemed that way, but since the whole thing was orchestrated, maybe Apollo had wanted me to meet this guy so he’d know he wasn’t crazy.

I was probably giving Apollo way too much credit; a question for another time though.

What do I do?  I was on the record.  Everyone was looking at me like it was time to get the butterfly nets.  That sound wasn’t going away, and if only psychics could hear it, I was betting it was magic and not good.

“Your Honor, I don’t know if this is the proper forum for this, but-“

A Rummmmmmbb, cut me off.

The judge jumped and a few of the jurors started as well.  So at least they heard it now.

I squinted at the ceiling, bright white flicked through cracks that weren’t really there… yet.  For some reason the phrase, “Lucy, I’m hooooome,” seemed oddly appropriate here.

“Move it, people!” I yelled at the jurors, lunging forward to the first one on my end.  I grabbed his shoulder and pulled.  He went with it.  “Up and out.  Come on.  This isn’t a show anymore and there’s no audience participation.”

They scrambled once the first guy was moving out of the way, and I got behind them, ushering them away from the jury box, through the gate to the public side of the courtroom, and towards the door.  I backed up to my table, eyes on the ceiling.  Just in time.

CRACK.

The ceiling fell in over the front of the courtroom like someone cut a hole out of it with a cookie cutter and didn’t bother catching the cut out piece before it thunked down.  Plaster and dust puffed out, making me cough and stumble backwards.  The jurors ran for it, their footsteps echoing down the hallway outside before the dust settled enough for me to blink it out of my eyes.

I think it’s safe to say this one’s ending in a mistrial.

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