C0 00- PROLOGUE
My heart was crashing against my ribcage, fear was clawing my throat as I slid down from my seat. It wasn't even a minute after Amicus Walker, my lawyer frowned down at me.
"Ms. Martinez, what are you doing?"
" Uhh… I was just… looking for cracks in the building's foundation." I whisper as he lets out a sigh.
" Please get up." He pulls me up on the chair.
" Ms. Martinez, please pull yourself together. This is the final moment." He says patting my back.
His words did no help. This is the final moment that didn’t give me any courage instead added more to my growing anxiety.
The clicks of metal cuffs sent goosebumps across my skin, my eyes stilted on my lap avoiding any chances of meeting the sight of them. With shaky hands, I tucked a few strands of hair behind my ear for the hundredth time. I just wanted to go home.
My lungs constricted the moment my senses picked the sound of the door swooshing open. Swallowing the lump forming in my throat, I bit my lips trying to gulp in the air just like Sabrina had taught me.
It didn't work. Nothing did.
The sound of footsteps shuffling already had me in tears, I dug my nails into my palm as the room grew quiet. My eyes pricked with tears as I forced them to focus down on my lap. This is the final moment, Sage!
" I need you to calm down, Ms. Martinez. You’re ripping off the material of your dress," Amicus mutters tapping his fingers on the wooden table. If only it was that easy to be done as it was said, if only . . .
I gulped loudly. Once. Twice. Thrice.
" I can't do this," I whisper, breathing erratically.
I slid down from my seat, hiding under the table from their evil gazes. My breath came in short pants as I rocked myself back and forth.
Amicus crawled under the table beside me, his face held a pang of sadness and frustration.
" Please. Please, just let me go. I don't want this. They're going to hurt me . . . Again." I cry pulling my hair.
" You have to be strong, Ms. Martinez. Don't you want justice ?" He mumbles gently.
" I wanna go home. I wanna go home." I chant but he shakes his head, pulling me up from the floor.
" You have to be brave, if not for yourself then for the little Sage they have killed. I promise you, this is the last time you’re sitting here. It’s the final hearing and if you lose courage now, you’ll never be able to forgive yourself for this." Amicus growls.
" I can't," I whisper feeling the weak side of me taking over.
" You can. You can, Ms. Martinez." He nods holding my shaky hand into his.
" All rise."
Amicus gripped my arm, pulling me out of my seat as the judge entered the room. There was a chorus of people shuffling around to greet the judge.
I gripped Amicus' hand tightly, supporting my jello legs. He kept stroking my knuckles with his thumb, it wasn't soothing but I liked it there.
" Be seated."
I threw myself in my seat, it felt as if my head was burning down, the mental walls I had built were crumbling with each passing second.
" This is it." Amicus whispers.
As he stands, I watch with blurry eyes, walking up to the center of the room and handing a file to the man seating near the judge.
" The court has taken its time to decide and based on the evidence given plus the testimony of the witnesses, we have concluded that both the defendants have been proven guilty.” the judge spoke as goosebumps broke across my skin.
The sweat beads felt heavy against my skin as I bit my lips trying to hold my anxiety in place.
" It is proven that Ian and Sean Romano are guilty on the account of abduction, sexual assault, human trafficking, and accessory to murder. Based on all discussions so far, this court declares seven years of imprisonment for Sean and Ian Romano.” the judge spoke.
The bang of gavel echoed through the room sealing his words.
“ No, please. Don’t do this to me,” Ian screamed falling on his knees.
I watched him with blurry eyes, no emotion, no sympathy, I couldn’t feel anything towards the boy crying for his life.
Sean stood beside a wailing Ian, his eyes didn’t hold any grief for the dark, hideous future he had dug for himself instead they held rage and an unsaid promise to me.
“ Finally, it's over.” Amicus sighs turning towards me.
“ Well done, kiddo.” he smiles patting my back.
Is it? Is it over or has it just begun?