Chapter 1: The Courtroom

Chapter 1: The Courtroom

A Chapter by E. Paris

The Novella my group wrote for an English, I had the first chapter. I unfortunately don't have the rest, but hope to expand it some day. Hope you like it!


BANG…BANG…BANG…BANG…BANG…five shots rang out suddenly sending everyone in the court room for cover. The loud thuds broke the once enveloping silence, people ran, screaming and crying in all directions. In a flash Landon drew his gun looking for the perpetrator and the target of the attack. 

~ ~ ~

            “Where did you find this stuff?” Erin O’Brien grimaced at her steaming cup of coffee. “It tastes awful.”

            “The vending machine down the hall, it’s not like there’s a full service Starbuck’s in here,” Her partner Landon answered.  

            “True, but you’d think they could make it taste a little bit better.”

            “It is a court house; I don’t think serving good coffee is a top priority” Landon said. “So are you ready?”

            “Yeah I’ll be fine.” Erin lied, tossing her coffee in the nearest trash can; she didn’t need bitter coffee making her stomach any more nauseous than it already was.

            “You don’t have to do this you know.” Landon said placing a hand on the small of her back and leading her over to a bench right outside of the courtroom.

            “Yes, I do.” Frustrated, Erin ran a hand through her thick red curls, “I’m the key witness, my testimony is what is going to send this creep to prison.”

            “That doesn’t mean you actually have to go on the stand, there are ways around it you know.”

            “I know, but I can handle it. Cops face this kind of thing all the time, what’s the big deal?” Erin put on a tough exterior that had forever been made of stone but the happenings of the past few months turned it into mere eggshells.

            “The big deal Erin is that he tried to kill you!” Landon said turning toward Erin, he couldn’t help but feel partially responsible for her almost death although if he would have stopped her, they might not have caught the killer.

            “I know Landon, but it’s all the same, they guy needs to go to prison, I don’t even think a life sentence is long enough.” Erin thought to herself how nice it would be to not have to worry about her almost killer, and to not have to testify when the large oak door swung open and the bailiff prompted them to enter the courtroom.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The courtroom was quiet as the judge reviewed the case file in front of him. Erin spent hours reviewing everything in it she could almost recite it to the judge by heart.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

            “What have we got today Landon?” Erin inquired taking a sip of her tall caramel coffee.

            “Nothing much, reviewing old case files, that kind of thing.” Landon said with a sigh, hefting both feet on the desk in front of him he leaned back in his chair with a big yawn. “You know for being a homicide unit, you would think we would do more than just read case files.”

            “Yes but homicide isn’t pretty, just wait till you see your first stiff, I don’t think you’ll be that thrilled then.” Erin sat at her desk stacked with old case files for review, a murder would kind of spice things up a bit, but she didn’t wish a murder on anyone or their family.

It didn't take long for Landon to fall for the bouncy red curls and expressive green eyes.  Erin intrigued him; she had a lot of spunk and attitude that made her a great detective. He couldn't believe he'd been partnered with her. Watching her work, the way the curls fell over her shoulder and how she brushed them away, made him wish he could do the same. He enjoyed watching her although he was a little disappointed that they hadn't actually worked a case together yet. Landon wondered what she would be like when a murder happened. He imagined a fire behind those green eyes to match the red in her hair that would blaze until the killer they sought was behind bars.


The phone rang bringing Landon and his wandering mind back to reality. Before he knew it Erin was up and out of her chair ready to go. He was finally getting his chance to be a real detective.

“Hello…yeah…Marley’s Park the Center Fountain…uh huh, yeah we’ll be there right away.”

            “What was that all about?” Landon asked from his relaxed position at the desk.

            “There’s a floater in the fountain down at Marley’s Park, apparent drowning victim.”

            “So they call in muder detectives?”

            “She was scalped.”


            “Ready to go?” She asked grabbing her gear.

            “Absolutely,” Landon jumped away from the desk like it was on fire, though a little unsure that he was ready to see his first murder victim. Even though Landon was only a few years younger than Erin he hadn’t been on the force very long and still had a somewhat immature sense about him. He goofed around a lot but knew when to take things seriously. Erin hoped he would take this murder seriously.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

            Erin came spinning back to reality when the gavel hit the sound block. So many memories from the past months flooded her mind and they all came down to this day. Her stomach was tied in knots at the thought of getting on the witness stand. 

            Landon watched Erin closely as he did most of the time. He should have figured things out sooner than he did. He thought back to the day that stuck out to him from all of the months of the investigation.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"This doesn't make sense!" Erin blurted out, frustrated with the coroner’s report.

"What doesn't make sense?"

"This...nothing came back on the toxicology report. No drugs, no sleeping pills, nothing!"

"Wow! Yeah that really doesn't make sense. They tested her for all the usual stuff right, Ativan, Haldol, coke, meth?"

"All of it, everything came back clean." Erin rand a hand through her hair. The fire blazed in her eyes. She didn't like when a murder investigation made no sense, because it meant the killer was even harder to catch.

"How do they explain the fact that she was drowned and scalped without fighting it?"

"They can't for right now, there has got to be a reason for it, people fight back, it’s a survivors instinct.”

"And all three are like this, no trace of any drug." Landon sounded as disappointed and frustrated as Erin felt.


The phone rang, Erin looked at it with dread. Landon reached the receiver first, his face immediately went white.


"What's wrong?" Erin looked up at Landon. He seemed quieter, more thoughtful. “What...what's going on?"

"They found another one Erin." He sighed and buried his face in his hands. "Erin, I think you need to stop working these cases"

"What...I can't do that Landon, I'm the lead detective they can't do that to me."

"It's not an order from anyone, it's just...just my personal suggestion."

"Why?" Erin was curious, yes the cases had been taking a toll on her but it certainly was no reason she should be taken off the investigation.

"Haven't you noticed? Erin, all of these women look like you!"

"Huh..” Erin was shocked, Landon couldn’t be right, but there in front of her were pictures of three women all with the same characteristic.

"Red curly hair, green or hazel eyes, late twenties to early thirties, Erin...I hate to say it but I think someone is after you.”


© 2010 E. Paris

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Added on June 11, 2010
Last Updated on June 11, 2010


E. Paris
E. Paris

Lancaster , PA

I love writing but haven't had much time to do so in the last few years. But now that I'm done with college, I hope to get back into it and maybe finish a novel. I think that God has gifted me with th.. more..

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