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500 Words Day 9: Box Part 2 of 2

“Well here goes nothing.” Cutting the top of the box open he sifted through the packing peanuts until he found what he was looking for. Inside was a manila envelope containing documents detailing vital information regarding the Parsons trial. “This is incredible, with this new evidence we could have a serious shot at winning the case.” Vince was unable to suppress the huge grin that formed on his face. He wanted what these boxes contained and if he could leverage what their contents could be he wasn’t going to question where they came from.

In the proceeding days Vince searched for ways to tilt the scale in his favor. Visualization was a large portion of his efforts. Believing that if he focused enough the things he wanted would appear the next day. Unfortunately, nothing as impactful as the documents appeared. Aside from the information he received he would have to do the leg work for the case properly.

Regardless of all the preparation he has done before Vince always had trouble sleeping before a trial. Lying in bed he goes over every detail again and again like a ritual. The last thing that lingered in his mind before sleep took him was what the contents of the next box would be.

The morning had gone off without a hitch, leaving now would give him ample time to mentally prepare himself before entering the courtroom. The last step before leaving was retrieving whatever was in the box. Like clockwork another box had manifested in front of his door again. Anticipating a game changer he was optimistic about the contents. There were a variety of things Vince hoped would be inside but he never imagined something dangerous. What emerged from the packing peanuts was unmistakable, it was a gun. Vince had been to the shooting range before and shot a hand gun but he wasn’t expecting it this morning. Shaken by his recent discovery he tosses the gun back into the box like he was holding a hot coal.

“This can’t be happening. What am I supposed to do with this thing? Self-defense? It’s not like I can bring this to court, that’s ridiculous. Sure the case was pretty high profile but… A gun? This goes against everything I stand for, you can’t find justice by ending everyone who wrongs you. This is crazy. Is this a sign? What’s the purpose of this?” Beads of sweat were starting to form on his forehead. It took everything to process what was going on that he didn’t even realize he hadn’t taken a breath in a minute. Feeling faint he uses his arm to prop himself up against the wall. “I don’t like this. Something bad is going to happen.” Reluctantly he fishes the gun back out of the box stowing it in his backpack. “Hopefully, just having it will be all that’s necessary.” Steeling himself for what’s to come he departs.

Arriving on time he spotted his legal team conversing amicably together. Stopping mid conversation Will calls out from a far. “Over here Vince!” Stepping up to his team he gives them a greeting to the best of his ability. Not missing a beat Will interjects “C’mon man! What kind of greeting is that? You sound like a dead fish.” Will slowly eyes Vince up and down. “You look like one too, what’s wrong? You look like you just got out of bed, did you get enough sleep last night?” Waiting for a response Vince replies half-heartedly, “Yea, I guess I just have the jitters. You mind if I clean myself up real quick inside?”

“Alright, I’ll meet you outside the courtroom to discuss our plan again. Just don’t be late!” Will turned away and continued his conversation.

Going up the steps felt like climbing a mountain as each step felt heavier than the last. But before he could reach the top noticed the defense team with their client near the entrance. They paid him no mind which was a blessing, He didn’t want them to see him look so spooked before the trial and give them any advantage but, in the corner of his eye he barely caught a glimpse of the person rapidly climbing the steps. They were making a beeline for the defense team. Normally he would have just ignored this but, with the current situation and information he could gather from his box today, something was going to happen.

The person was wearing a jacket with the hood pulled up and their hands were in their pockets. Their pace increased after each step. Motives unclear Vince had little time to contemplate, the weight of the gun in his backpack felt even heavier as he scrambled to free it. The next few moments stretched on for ages as the assailant slowly flashed their gun. Leveling out their arm to take the shot. Vince cried out, “STOP!” Knowing every second was precious, he just needed to distract them long enough to pull out his own weapon before something terrible happened. The rest was a blur as Vince could feel a sharp and searing pain begin to blossom across his forehead. The pain was unbelievable as it made him crumple to the floor motionless.

The last thing Vince could recall was shouting and revealing his weapon to the gunman. Staring at his lower extremities covered by a blanket he could only imagine he got hurt in some fashion. Taking stock of his surroundings he clearly recognized it as a hospital. Not long after gaining consciousness, he started to feel a throbbing pain spread across his head. He tried to call for help but his throat was dry, barely able to choke out in pain as the throbbing got worse. Immediately, the machines in his room began beeping loudly in response. Like a chain reaction his coughing set off the machines and the machines summoned a nurse. Before long he would get the nurse to fill him in on the situation and the extent of his injuries.

Little by little he began to piece together the story after he passed out. The gunman managed only managed to fire a couple of shots, one glancing off his skull shattering a portion of it and the another embedding itself into the steps of the court house. Afterwards, the defense team and a few other brave souls jumped onto the man before he could fire again. The exchange left Vince in the hospital for over a month in a coma.

Vince sat in silence as he contemplated all the information he had just learned. Awareness of the fact that he brought an unlicensed gun with unknown intent to a courthouse made him worry, at worst he may serve a couple years for unlicensed possession but, knowing that he stopped something worse from happening set his heart at ease. Whatever happens next at least he can feel proud about his actions.

After some time another nurse entered his room to check up on him while holding something peculiar in their hands. A non-descript box. Vince’s body tensed. “Is that for me?” He asked. “Yeah, they’re your belongings from that day.” They replied. Laying it down on his lap as he sits in bed. “Thank you.” Vince barely manages to eke out. Running his hand over the top of the box he contemplated on whether to open it. “There couldn’t be anything I’d want to see in here, right? That’s behind me.” He said to himself unconvincingly. The morbid curiosity gnawed away at him. Again, against his better judgement he opened the box. The contents were as mentioned, they were his belongings from that day. After pouring through the contents he noticed something that didn’t belong, another manila envelope. “Seriously… It’s not over?” After coming this far he forces himself to open it. All that’s inside is a single sheet of paper. Reading along it became clear what it was, it was the verdict of the Parson case. In order to make it feel more real he read it out loud the second time. Choking up at the last sentence he manages to get it out between sobs. “The court finds Mr. Parsons guilty of all charges.” Laughing to himself he puts the paper back into the envelope. “I guess the box still managed to give me what I wanted-- some justice.”

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