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She wished that she could just cut them off.

These little bastards that had proved to be so useful to her life before this point, now only served as an ugly reminder of what was to come in a few minutes. Her hands shook furiously upon her knees, and no matter what she tried to do, she couldn’t get them to stop shaking.

“Just stop!” She whispered angrily, trying to strangle her wrists with her trembling appendages. But they wouldn’t dare betray one another like that. They continued to defy her mercilessly, mocking her.

“Miss Baker?” The girl in question looked up, seeing a man dressed to the nines approaching her, and she caught a flash of silver as he walked, the handcuffs on his hips jingling ever so quietly. Jessica Baker took in a deep breath as she stood, grateful that it was only her hands that refused to still. “It’s time. Are you ready?”

Jessica nodded, licking her lips with her dry tongue, the rough surfaces connecting causing her to cringe outwardly. The man gave her a curious look, but then motioned for her to come forward, and led her into the courtroom.

Immediate silence.

The only noise that served as her entrance was the sound of her flats clicking against the linoleum floor, and the door shutting firmly behind her. It was nothing like what she had expected. The walls were a stark, off-white color, with old, fluorescent lights casting ugly shadows on everyone’s faces.

She looked up at the judge, dressed in dark robes, looking more like a grim reaper rather than a guardian angel. She motioned for Jessica to take a seat in the booth, and the girl watched as the man who had escorted her in took a seat next to the defendant, Dennis. The boy shot her a cold look, and she quickly dropped her eyes, her hands beginning to shake even more so.

Jessica averted her gaze to the tall, pretty blonde lawyer, dressed in a gray pantsuit -- a terrible choice really, blondes don't look good in gray. She gave Jessica a tight lipped smile, and Jessica returned it, her palms suddenly beginning to itch.

She resisted the urge to scratch, instead opting to grapple the sides of the cool steel chair that she currently rested upon.

“Can you please state your name for the court?” The blonde asked, and Jessica leaned forward a bit, staring at the microphone before her.

“Jessica Baker.”

“And how old are you Jessica?”

“E-eighteen.” Jessica’s nails scratched against the metal, causing her to let go and flex her fingers in her lap, struggling to relieve the feeling.

“And you go to school with Mr. Hopper, correct?”

“Yes.” The feeling wouldn’t go away. It traveled up her fingers, and she dug her nails into the fabric of her skirt. Her teeth hurt.

“How would you describe Mr. Hopper?”

Egotistical maniac. From her peripheral vision, she could see his perfectly coiffed red hair, not one out of place. Crude.

“Hey Jess, you’re not a lefty are you? Be kind of disappointing if you were.Dennis reached forward, touching her left hand with his forefinger, dragging it along the back. A sick smile sat on his lips, and she quickly pulled away from him, clutching the limb close to her chest, tears filling her eyes.


“Come on Jess, don’t run away like that! It was just a joke!” Dennis’s voice followed her out of the school, the laugh of his friends tearing at her ears like sandpaper against a chalk board. She began to tug at her nails.

My hell on Earth.

Jessica just shrugged and started cracking her knuckles.

“Do you often interact with Mr. Hopper?” The lawyer asked, pushing for an answer.

Every day of my life. “Yes, on occasion.” Jessica looked up, seeing the other victim in his seat. Taylor Westfall stared at her with a pleading expression, eyes desperate for her help. She scratched at her left palm, her own eyes quickly taking in his black eye and busted lip, one half of his face swollen shut. She could see the oxygen tank sitting next to him beneath the table.

“When you do speak with Mr. Hopper, what does he say to you?”

“He usually, uhm,” Jessica breathed in, now bending back her fingers until they practically touched the back of her hand. “Just-”

“Does he pick on you, Jessica?”

“Objection, leading the witness.” Came a voice from the left side of the room. Dennis’s lawyer, his father.

“Sustained.” The judge muttered, giving the blonde lawyer an icy stare.

“Let me rephrase the question.” The woman said quickly. She looked at Jessica, her eyes full of the same pleading of the people in seats. “Do you enjoy interacting with Mr. Hopper?”


“And why is that?”

Jessica rolled her wrists a couple times. “Because he torments me.”

“What about, Jessica?”


Jessica’s body stopped. Her hands no longer twitched, all feeling of urgency had left them, and it was now, they sat perfectly still in her lap. She looked down at them, her silicone hand seeming so off now in the horrid fluorescent lighting. She had painted her nails for the occasion, a nice, calming, green, but now that she looked at it, she just wanted to puke.

Smiling as politely as she could, and with all the strength she had in her small body, she slowly pulled off one hand, and looked up at the woman in the gray pantsuit, lifting what was left of the lower half of her left arm for the court room to see.

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