Monday, 11 April 2011


Judge Wilson looked down at the huge stack of papers on his desk and sighed. Paper, paper, that’s all my life seems to be revolving around. His latest case was that of a mass murder. He shook his head when he thought about it. The defence had everything, proof against the crime, eye-witnesses disagreeing with what the prosecutor’s client saw, and above all, a staggering amount of money.

Something was bothering him though, he just couldn’t place his finger on it. He reviewed the file countless times, again and again, looking for something against the man who reputedly killed those 5 innocent people. Maybe they’re right, perhaps this is just a misunderstanding. People get confused, hell, I do more times than I can count. The case had lasted for weeks, Judge Wilson had done everything he could to extend the case, looking for clues that would tell him if the man actually did it… Action would have to be taken this morning, if not, the case would have to shut down.

Judge Wilson recalled the time when he was still a boy, his teacher questioning him on why he wanted to become a judge.

‘M-m-mister Scott, you wanted to see me?’

Mr Scott’s office was a large, menacing room, surrounded by dark, thick walls. Heavy wooden chairs sat next to the looming front desk. Mr Scott’ office was not a place most kids wanted to be.

‘ Ah yes, Jeffrey, please sit down. Now, don’t worry you’re not in trouble. I just wanted to ask you something. An interesting remark came on your report this morning. It was the career selection. Now, most kids your age chose rockstar, basketball player, racer, but you chose, judge. Why is that?’

‘ I-I want to put evil people behind bars, where they belong, sir’

‘ Hmmm… Well Jeffrey, answer me this one question, if all the evidence pointed towards a man saying that he was guilty, but deep down inside, you knew he was not, what would you do? Would you let him go free, or sentence him to prison?’

‘I-I would let him go free sir.’

Judge Wilson never knew if he had answered what his teacher wanted him to. Shaking his head once more, he headed up to the courthouse.

‘Order, order!’ Judge Wilson shouted. ‘The court is ready to continue the case of Dr. Mathew Parkman, the prosecutor, against Mr. Alan Flint.’ Time blurred past. Judge Wilson sighed. It looked as if the man was going to go free after all. Just as he was about to declare the case closed, he looked at the accuse murderer. The tantalizing smell of freedom dulled his senses, and for a moment, his mask slipped. At that moment, Judge Wilson saw the evil, the hatred, the deceit in that man. He thought he would just walk away, freely.

Judge Wilson knew the consequences of what he was about to do. He could lose his job, his life, his friends. Nothing, however, shook that sense of justice from his mind. He took a deep breath and stood up with a fierce determination in his eye. His hammer ringed down thrice, each strike resonating powerfully throughout the courtroom. ‘Mr. Flint declared guilty. Case over.’


  1. hi wordsmith,

    I think the best paragraph is the penultimate one. Especially:

    The tantalizing smell of freedom dulled his senses, and for a moment, his mask slipped.

    An excellently distilled moment.

    Also, the flashback is quite powerful and the description of Mr. Scott's room both evocative and appropriate. A kind of judge's chambers in itself.

    I think the first paragraph is a bit rushed, trying to sum up the judge's position. If the reader were less certain that the judge was certain then what follows would be more startling and morally ambiguous.

    One prose tip. There are some unwieldy sentences which could be improved by using the active voice. The main subject preceding the main verb. For instance:

    Paper, paper, that’s all my life seems to be revolving around.

    might sound better as "Paper, my life revolves around paper."

    Overall, though, polished and powerful. Looking forward to more.


  2. Hi Wordsmith,

    I enjoyed your piece this week. I like that you've got an arc in your prose, the way that Judge Wilson feels about the case, and his profession at large. i think that the flashback works well, although what Mr Scott says does seem a bit too convenient to the plot. It's quite long too, and I'm not sure that it's all necessary. Perhaps cut down on the flashback a bit, just leaving the bare bones, and give some more detail about the case. How does everyone perceive Mr Flint? What details can you give us about Dr Parkman? Who is Dr Parkman and how is he involved exactly?

    The penultimate paragraph is my favourite too, the mask of innocence is a really strong image. I like the ideals that lead to Wilson to act the way he does, despite knowing the risks, "lose his job, his life, his friends. Nothing, however, shook that sense of justice from his mind". I'm not sure that people in real life would have the courage to do this, but I always enjoy reading it.

    A good effort, and with a bit more polish, I think it could be really great. I look forward to reading your next task!


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