Thursday, April 21, 2011


The theme this week was closing arguments, with a genre of courtroom drama. We had a themed word list as follows: Money, foolish, kneecap, trace and widow, and a word limit of 1,000, and could write from the perspective of the prosecution or the defense.

This was a real challenge for me since I’ve never approached a story from the courtroom side. I’m not sure where this came from, but the idea for this one interested me. Hopefully, you, the reader, will find it enjoyable.


“Members of the Council, I present to you the case of Julian Cardemond, who stands accused of treason.”

“Treason? Who have I betrayed? Why am I being painfully restrained? Why is this being done to me?” Julian stood and struggled against the ropes binding his hands and ankles.

Imperial Prosecutor, Phillipe Bertrand, placed a hand firmly on the young man’s shoulder, his long, sharp nails piercing the skin on Julian’s upper back.

“Sit and be silent,” he said angrily. “You will have a brief opportunity to address this Council in your own defense. You are being restrained to insure your--shall we say, cooperation. If you remain motionless, your pain will lessen. The rope has been soaked in vervain oil and as you have discovered, contact burns the skin. Disrupt these proceedings with your foolish outbursts again, and you will be injected with the extract. Am I clear?”

Julian slowly sat and nodded. What was suddenly crystal clear to him was that he was in a fight for his life.

“Members of the Council, my apologies for the interruption,” Phillippe continued.

Julian hadn’t believed it would be possible, but when Phillippe glared at him, he thought he actually felt a chill run through him.

“The Prosecution affirms that two nights ago, specifically on Friday, the 17th of September, the Defendant did willfully, and without trace of remorse, murder the Widow Fontaine, one of our Protected.

For this Council’s edification, Mrs. Fontaine had been first encountered during her incapacitation due to a shattered kneecap resulting from a fall. During a visit by several of our elders, she expressed great interest in providing assistance to our community by way of donating money for the purchase of clothing and other items necessary for our survival in this area. In exchange for her life, she agreed to maintain our anonymity and thereafter became our ward.

Her desecrated form was crudely displayed in her atrium. The kill was unnecessarily brutal and enacted without first obtaining permission from our elders. Thusly, the Prosecution pleads for a judgment of guilty and a sentence of death, to be carried out immediately.”

“Death?” Julian jumped to his feet, the pain in his hands and feet unbearable. “I didn’t know to ask,” he gasped. “I awoke early and was so hungry. I didn’t know there were protected ones. I didn’t know about the rules. Please give me another chance. I can learn. In the future, I will do right.”

The Council’s Chair addressed him.

“Young Cardemond, stupidity is not a defense. It is your responsibility to seek required knowledge. It is not our responsibility to simply provide it. As a fledgling vampire, you are required to wait until the elders in your pack have fed to their satisfaction. Only then are you allowed to feed on that which may remain. You may not initiate a kill until such time that privilege is granted to you. This Council finds you guilty and sentences you to death. Enforcers, take the defendant to the northernmost field and bury him face downward.”

“No, please,” Julian begged. “I shall be unable to rise. I shall slowly starve and eventually die. Banish me if you must. Mark me such that no other pack shall accept me. Curse me to wander the rest of my days alone and vulnerable. Let my miserable existence be a lesson to others.”

“A lesson you shall be indeed,” the Chair responded. “A permanent one. Chief Enforcer, take this abomination away. Perform your duty.”

The three newest members of the pack watched as Julian was led away. It appeared to them as if tears glistened on his face, but how was that possible? This night, their third without being permitted to feed, would pass unchallenged. They were quick learners.


  1. What a great take on the prompt dear! As a reader, I had trouble placing the setting at first but I realize now that that was your intention all along. If I was going to use two words to describe this, they would have to be "slick" and "professional". As always dear, very well done!


  2. The official language the authoritative tone are used to great effect here. A brilliantly dark piece Joyce.

  3. Awesome work, like Doc I was a bit thrown off at first thinking it might be a medieval setting but I loved it.

  4. Had me guessing as to what these people 'were' and I couldn't read fast enough to find out.

    Great take on this Joyce!

  5. Brilliant! It was such a delicious thrill to have it slowly dawn on me what was actually happening in the story. A lovely twist to the assignment!

  6. Richard, Thanks so much. I tried to make it sound as official and solemn as I could to get across the seriousness of it all. Vampire, perhaps, but the punishment was no less devastating.

  7. Doc, Thanks so much for your comments. I deliberately tried to let the true picture of it all sneak up on the reader. So glad I pulled that off! So glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Beach, Glad you enjoyed it. I tried to set it up like it was from a certain period of time, then reveal later that it could really apply to any time at all. Young 'people' can overstep their bounds during any millenium.

  9. Ray, So happy you enjoyed this. I tried very hard to sneak it in what 'people' were involved in this. Believe it or not, it didn't start out as vamps. They snuck up on me too while writing it. I love when that happens.

  10. Barbara, Thanks for your comments and so glad you had a good time with it. I tried to build it up as slowly as I could and then whoa! vamps? I had a lot of fun with this one.

  11. Little late coming in here from fff.

    That was awesome Joyce. I was just settling in for a nice period piece and it turned around.

    The dialogue is first class..x

  12. Rosalind, Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. My primary genre is noir/crime fiction, but I love horror and I thought I'd give that a shot with this one. I'm happy with the way it turned out, and really glad you enjoyed it. Thanks again.