Framed

I DIDN’T DO IT

A puddle nestled between the gaps in the cobblestone road splashed as I sprinted past. Soaking my aching feet. The shopkeepers looked up from their wares at my racing figure in horror. It seemed that the news traveled faster than I could run.

My stepfather always had it out for me. Though he was pillar of the community, he was a cruel man. It started with little things. My mother’s ‘stolen’ necklace stashed under my pillow to turn her against me. A local grocer’s till found under the floorboards of my room to portray me as a criminal. He took care to never abuse me. At least not in any way that could leave a mark. He would always say the same thing: “Who are they going to believe?”

But it had never gone this far before. That man wanted to ruin me.

“You! Stop!” A policeman yelled from a passing alleyway.

He shouldered a flintlock rifle to scare me into submission. I didn’t stop. Even when my leg exploded in pain at the cracking of the gun. I collapsed onto the ground, clawing my way down the street. I had to escape.

“Get him!” An orchestra of fast footsteps grew louder.

I felt a boot press against my bloody leg. Though the agony was unbearable, I pushed the impending screams down to the pit of my stomach. I looked up at the grizzly man in uniform.

“Alan Whitaker. You’re under arrest for matricide. You fucking scum.”

I could hear the ferocity in his growling voice. He was right to be angry. A woman was dead. My poor mother. I found her head under my pillow when I got home, her hacked up body was crammed under the floorboards. When I confronted my stepfather in his study, he only laughed.

“Who are they going to believe?”

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