For this week’s post, I’m going to be sharing with you the first part of a short story I’ve been working on. The conclusion will be shared next Friday. I hope you enjoy the first half (which is really a little less than half) of “Sean Forrester is Innocent”
Sean Forrester is Innocent
Sean Forrester has never knowingly harmed a soul in his life. In fact, he’d never even looked at someone the wrong way. It is important to remember this because, out of all the things that happened to Sean Forrester, of all the things he was accused of, one has to remember that he is unapologetically innocent, this is what he and, now the rest of the public knows to be true.
He did have a hamartia however, and that was the fact that he was born with the sort of face that sent shills down your spine. He wasn’t ugly, in fact many women in Knoxville found him very attractive, but rather he was stern, gruff, his beard covering any hope of seeing his mouth. If you saw him on the street you would probably think he went hunting every weekend or that he liked to skin animals in his backyard, but that was not the case considering that, as I established earlier, Sean had never harmed a soul. Nevertheless people still judged him because he just looked so damn scary.
It was that look that caused the police to think he had been involved in a crime that occurred a few nights earlier. It was that look that caused Emily Peterson to pick him out of a line-up. It was the look he had been born with, the one that he couldn’t change even if he wanted to, that caused a jury of twelve to unanimously accuse Sean of raping and killing thirteen-year-old Bella Rightguard in her backyard.
It isn’t Emily’s fault, memory’s a fickle thing. Sean couldn’t be mad at her anyway because she was his daughter, she was only doing what she thought was right, what Sean had taught her to do. Sean should be, and was, upset with the twelve jurors, the ones that agreed with the thirteen-year-old.
He still remembers the sound of the juror, Bethany, standing up, he remembers the inflections of her speech when she said, “We the jury find the defendant guilty.”
He was led immediately from the courtroom to his new home. And a nice home it was, well other than the insults thrown at him because he was an accused child molester. He was stabbed once, twice, a few times. The guards didn’t care about him, they wanted him dead just as much as the other inmates, and if Sean hadn’t taken that self-defense class all those years ago, he would be dead.
So he waited. Thirteen years he waited in jail, dodging knives and hurled insults. He couldn’t say he was innocent because everyone says that, but no one believes you when you say you’re innocent.
Remember when I said that Sean had never knowingly harmed a soul in his life. It took the government thirteen years to figure that out due to DNA testing. But the thing about being in jail is that your life is stopped while the world around you keeps moving on. Emily was twenty-six now, married with a child of her own and another one on the way. His wife, Hannah, had remarried and had another child, making sure never to tell baby number 2 about Sean.
It was this world that Sean was coming into, a world so different from what he had left.
“You sir are a free man,” the guard said as he opened the gate to let Sean leave.
Sean looked at the guard, studied him carefully and said, “No, I am most definitely not a free man.”
And he was right. Sean was about as far from free as he could be. At least in the comfort of his cell he knew where meals would be, he had a group of people he liked to call friends. He had a bed, a job. Out here, in the real world, even though he was exonerated, he still had a long way to go before he would ever be considered “free” again.
The guard turned around and fled back behind the borders of Sean’s safe place muttering, “Whatever man.”
Seeing as how he had no car and no money, the compensation, which wasn’t even for the full amount of time he was incarcerated, would be coming by mail to Hannah’s house. He would have to stop by and grab it when it came in the mail.
He knocked on the door three times, the way he used to before he would tuck her in at night. He didn’t want to be mad at her, it wasn’t her fault, but he did want to talk to her.
She opens the door and, for a second seems disinterested in whatever he has to sell. But then she sees it. Whether it was the lines around his eyes or the gap in his teeth, Emily Forrester, now Lancaster, saw in this old and broken man the father she once had.
“I will scream,” she says. Her Tennessee accent is still strong, an attribute Sean’s glad that she kept, considering her mom and step-dad are both from California.
“Now look, honey, I’m not here to hurt you. I just want to talk.”
“I got nothing to say to you,” she spits.
“Okay then, let me talk.”
“Look, I know what I saw and no DNA can change that.”
His heart sinks.
“Sean, just leave me and my family alone, okay? I have no problem calling the police.”
“I know, just hear me out, please,” he says.
“No. Now leave before Alex comes home. He wouldn’t be too happy to see you here.”
“You’re right. I’m sure he wouldn’t,” Sean says, compromising, “If you ever want to talk, to hear my side of the story, I’ll be here.”
She closes the door, but not before Sean can put his hand out, stopping it to add, “And Emily, don’t beat yourself up, kid. I forgive you.”
Her voice quivers as she says, trying to convince herself more than the man on her porch, “I don’t need no forgiveness from you.” She slams the door and, unbeknownst to Sean, she spends the rest of the night crying in the safety of her house. She couldn’t need forgiveness because that would mean she was wrong and she could never be wrong, not about this.
Thank you all for reading! I hope you enjoyed it and I can’t wait to share the rest of it with you all! However for now be safe, have a great weekend, and remember to Always Respond!