Stephen King once wrote: “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”
I distinctly remember that rainy Monday and everything that happened on that day a few weeks ago. It was the first time that I hadn’t felt the need to go to Ian’s hearing. I was a bit under the weather, but that was not the only reason. It was as if something inside me was ordering me to stay at home that day. However, it was me we are talking about, so of course I went… And it was that exact decision that made me witness the death of attorney Tyler Holland.
“Dr. Hurts please answer the question,” shouted Tyler Holland.
“Could you repeat your question Mr. Holland?” answered Ian calmly.
“No matter the verdict of the jury, do you regret the killings? Any of the killings?”
Ian looked at him in the eyes.
“Come closer,” he said.
Tyler looked at the judge who waived him negatively. He smiled with confident and walked closer to Ian, making eye contact. The atmosphere in the room was tense. I was sitting at the edge of my seat to hear what Ian would say. What he would do.
“I do not regret any of the things I did, and I am about to do…” said Ian. Tyler looked at him confused.
Everyone in the room started talking loudly and the judge couldn’t reinstate the order. I hid my recorder in my person and stood up. I was in desperate need of air, I could no longer stay inside that room, when suddenly I heard a voice calling my name.
“Helen? Where are you going? It is about to get so much better.”
Ian’s voice entered my ears like an annoying bee. I didn’t turn, I didn’t answer. I kept walking until I entered the toilet. I was alone. I washed my face three times, and I left the cold water running. It always felt so soothing to just hear the sound of the water running. It was time for me to go home. I was pushing myself beyond my limits and for what. Only thirty minutes left, and the hearing would be over. There was no point for me to stay any longer, what could happen in those 30 minutes?
I exited the toilets and headed towards the stairs. Two policemen rushed their way, next to me almost hitting my shoulder. I think I murmured something bad about them, but I can’t really recall at that point. My memory is so vague when it comes to such incidents… I mean comparing with what I was about to experience a few minutes later.
I reached the end of the staircase, and I could finally see the exit, when I noticed a bunch of policemen running up the stairs. I had to stay still in the corner to make way for them to pass, and then I heard it.
“That psycho Ian, come quickly.”
Did I hear correctly? Did the policeman say Ian?
I gathered my strength and climbed up the stairs back to the courtroom. Everyone inside the room was coming my way. A few cops were leading them to the nearest exit and keeping them calm so as to avoid the panic.
What the hell was going on?
I forced myself through the crowd and entered the courtroom. Policemen, paramedics were standing outside the little door behind jury’s stand.
“Miss? You are not supposed to be here. Please leave,” yelled a man who was coming towards me.
“What happened?” My voice was trembling. I made the question, but I wasn’t sure I could hear the answer.
“Please leave,” the man said pushing me out of the room.
I looked around me searching for the one person who I knew that could help me.
“Jake?” I screamed.
Ian’s lawyer, Jake York was waiting outside of the toilets, watching the crowd evacuating the building. He couldn’t hear me with all this noise. I ran towards him, pushing a few people on my way.
“What the hell are you still doing here? I thought you left.”
“What is going on? What happened?”
“I thought you left.”
“I was about to and then… Jake? Are you okay?”
“He killed him, Helen.”
“Who did? Ian? Who did he kill?”
It was at that moment that I felt my heart stop, my lungs shrinking, and my ears buzzing. My throat was so dry I couldn’t shape the words.
“Helen?” Jake asked touching my shoulder. His touch made my blood run again through my body.
“What did…? How did he…? Umm…”
“Let’s go outside, shall we?”
Jake offered to walk with me to the nearby café. I sat next to him and it felt like the old days. After our divorce, Jake rarely kept any contact with me. I never blamed him for that. My obsession with Ian was like a third person in our relationship. It was like a ghost standing above me, following me anywhere I go, to anything I do. But we were in love that was for sure, and we respected each other. That was why Jake made the impossible, possible. He managed to become the devil’s advocate, only to make sure that this bastard would end behind bars if not worse.
“The judge ordered a 15-minute break after you left. I excused myself to go to the toilet and Tyler went with Ian. From what I’ve heard, Ian requested to speak to him alone. Tyler agreed for the guards to leave the room. It only took a minute. Ian chocked him with the chain on his handcuffs. By the time the guards smashed the door, Tyler had been already dead.”
“What do you men smash the door?”
“Ian had put a metal bookcase against it, blocking the entrance for just enough time as it needed for Tyler to stop breathing.”
“What about the cameras? What about…?” Jake hugged me. I was furious but exhausted. I could not wait any longer. I started crying. I could feel my fever rising.
“Calm down,” Jake said.
“Prison is not for him. He has to…”
“I know…” Jake looked at me. “I know!” he repeated and for the first time I realized he finally understood. He was no longer doing me any favors. He knew that Ian had to die.