Saturday, 21 June 2014

Appearances, by Cate Lloyd

Amelia still isn't sure what it was she saw that day exactly, but she is a truthful person. That poor girl suffered a terrible wrong. The truth needs to be told. 

At their last meeting, Mr Blayney suggested she dress for the occasion, so she purchased a brightly patterned jersey frock to guarantee confidence. She walked briskly from the station. At the steps, Mr Blayney and Mr Winter glanced at her then quickly looked away.

She approved: staring seldom conveys anything complimentary to a lady. 

They accompanied her inside, but left her to settle themselves at a long table. She waited quietly until her name was called. As she made her way to the front, someone in the side seats nudged his neighbour and said softly, ‘There’s something you don’t see every day, eh mate?’ An inconvenient flush travelled from her chest to her scalp. 

She answered each of Mr Blayney’s questions clearly, and gradually a picture of the events emerged. 

Mr Blayney thanked her and sat down. 

Then, a Mr Cahill stood and began to ask the same questions, all over again. Such a terrible waste of time, she thought; but perhaps repetition would clarify? 

She had just returned and was unlocking her front door when she saw that young man – she gestured then waited patiently for an interruption concerning ‘the record’ to finish – stop his silver sports car.

He called out to the girl – another interruption while her identity was established – who was sitting at the kerb a little way down the street. She had been curious, so she had delayed entering her house. 

No, she had not heard all their conversation, exactly. Mr Cahill seemed lost in thought for a long moment. She volunteered that the youth’s tone was clearly unfriendly – another interruption while something was struck. 


He raised his hand, and she was in no doubt that a threat was made, which led to another tiresome interruption.

The car drove off, and she immediately went to the telephone stand in her hallway to record its licence plate. She was now very glad that she… Yes, she would try to confine her answers… No, she was not yet back outside when the fatal collision itself occurred, but she saw the same silver… No, she could not see the license plate on the car clearly that time, but she… No, she had not seen the driver at all... 

Mr Cahill seemed very pleased when, like Mr Blayney, he thanked her and sat down. 

She noticed the young man in his new navy suit staring at her, his head tilted, a slight smile on his lips. She wondered, perhaps he doesn’t speak our language? 

It was over soon after. Amelia didn’t follow everything, but it appeared the judge was very uneasy. Little, he felt, had been reasonably proven.

In the street, the young man caught her eye, smiled widely, and walked away. A little further on, he looked back over his shoulder and pointed at her before continuing.

1 comment:

  1. For such a tight short story this one packs a punch. The naivety of Amelia, captured in the narration, leaves her vulnerable but unaware - the reader fears for her. The ending led me to a closer re-reading and I appreciated the embedding of the court's languages and processes - and of course its shortcomings.