Not a member?     Existing members login below:

Little Fuzzy

XVI
They stopped whispering at the door, turned right, and ascended to the bench, bearing
themselves like images in a procession, Ruiz first, then himself and then Janiver. They
turned to the screen so that the public whom they served might see the faces of the
judges, and then sat down. The court crier began his chant. They could almost feel the
tension in the courtroom. Yves Janiver whispered to them:
“They all know about it.”
As soon as the crier had stopped, Max Fane approached the bench, his face blankly
expressionless.
“Your Honors, I am ashamed to have to report that the defendant, Leonard Kellogg,
cannot be produced in court. He is dead; he committed suicide in his cell last night. While
in my custody,” he added bitterly.
The stir that went through the courtroom was not shocked surprise, it was a sigh of
fulfilled expectation. They all knew about it.
“How did this happen, Marshal?” he asked, almost conversationally.
“The prisoner was put in a cell by himself; there was a pickup eye, and one of my
deputies was keeping him under observation by screen.” Fane spoke in a toneless, almost
robotlike voice. “At twenty-two thirty, the prisoner went to bed, still wearing his shirt. He
pulled the blankets up over his head. The deputy observing him thought nothing of that;
many prisoners do that, on account of the light. He tossed about for a while, and then
appeared to fall asleep.
“When a guard went in to rouse him this morning, the cot, under the blanket, was found
saturated with blood. Kellogg had cut his throat, by sawing the zipper track of his shirt
back and forth till he severed his jugular vein. He was dead.”
“Good heavens, Marshal!” He was shocked. The way he’d heard it, Kellogg had hidden a
penknife, and he was prepared to be severe with Fane about it. But a thing like this! He
found himself fingering the toothed track of his own jacket zipper. “I don’t believe you
can be at all censured for not anticipating a thing like that. It isn’t a thing anybody would
expect.”
Janiver and Ruiz spoke briefly in agreement. Marshal Fane bowed slightly and went off
to one side.
Leslie Coombes, who seemed to be making a very considerable effort to look grieved and
shocked, rose.
 
Remove