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Chapter 1

The sweet aroma spiraling through the air smelt like coffee which was typical for the venue. For Alexander Macklemore, this scene was all too familiar. This day was different however; Macklemore was on the other side of the gavel. He was facing a man that he would typically see at meetings, and to his left stood a tall brunette named Valery HightowerMacklemore. Val had incredibly stunning features, a small rather pointy nose, a pair of hazel eyes, sleek hair and a figure that you would only see on a model. Macklemore glanced over at her; he couldnt resist remembering the good times as the nostalgia forcefully paralyzed his body. They had met in law school 22 years prior to the event and they sought to be lovers for life. Macklemore never thought they would make this decision, especially with their son in the equation, but the pain she brought upon him was rather unbearable.

Her high profile and stunning looks made the men around her transform into hormone driven teenage boys, chasing her, while on most occasions she would flash her big diamond on her left hand which would usually act as a repellant. She was a successful lawyer, and the daughter of Chicagos most wealthy man Lyle Doc Hightower making her the Georgiana Darcy of her city. When she was approached by Nick Cooper, a 37 year old soccer star, Val could not resist his muscular-stature, his tattoos, his lightly gelled hair and his thick delightful British accent. He was a mediocre player now, but his vast popularity, his somewhat remarkable ball handling skills and his appeal to women brought him to America with a large salary. It started off as a normal conversation until the paparazzi spotted Val sneaking into the bachelors house at night when she claimed to be at work late for litigation preparation.

Valerie stood tall, she knew that she was the most eligible bachelorette in Chicago and Macklemore was a walking zombie smothered with stress from work which, unfortunately, aged him incredibly. His persona was no longer satisfying to the beautiful Val. Macklemores lips were trembling, as if time stood still. He stared at Val for what seemed like an hour before he could even begin to notice that Judge Walker was waiting for him to speak. All of a sudden, Macklemore was stunned by a loud bang--All rise said the bailiff. Mr. Alexander Macklemore and Mrs. Valerie Macklemore-Hightower, your request for divorce has been granted by the city of Chicago in the state of Illinois. You may all go in peace.Macklemores heart dropped to his stomach; it was over. Till this point, he didnt realize that he still loved Val until it was legally over. As she strutted out of the court room Macklemore, struggling to find the words to apologize, reached for her arm and began to say Val can we She interrupted his speaking to say Ill see you Saturday night when you pick up Jp at 7:00 oclock sharp, DO NOT be late I have a meeting with a client!

Macklemore, frozen with surprise, could do nothing but stop and stare. He swallowed the last bead of saliva in his throat and then took a deep breath which felt like the last, agonizing crock of his life as it rattled its way out of his throat. He watched his newly ex-wife walk away. Her boots loudly clapped against the ground and her thick, chocolate locks of hair swayed side to side. Macklemore walked behind her in awe as he went to exit the court room. He immediately loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt. When he took his first step out of the door, he reached into his suit pocket, and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Macklemore believed cigarettes were the key to relaxation, and so he took one and lite it up. Cigarettes and alcohol had become his new safe haven, as the drugs helped me escape from reality. Ever since

Val committed adultery he found it as a therapeutic method to cope with his pain. His routine had turned into a cigarette and a pot of coffee with a glass of whiskey every morning and every night. He sat on the steps in front of the court house reminiscing about times with J.P. and Val playing ball at the park and visiting the lake in the summer. The happy family they had been suddenly crumbled into just father and son. Time had slowed, his world started spinning slower. He sluggishly walked to his car, with weak knees he stepped into his shiny Chevrolet Impala with a slightly faded Vote for Kennedy sticker on the left side of his bumper. He drove to his new apartment where he moved the day that he and Val had initially separated. He ignored Ponco, the door mans wave, which was unlike the actions of Macklemore. He opened his door and lightly closed it. It was only 3 pm but he poured his Jameson in his #1 Dad glass with three ice cubes, he walked into his room and clicked on his TV to BBC as he faded away into a drunken slumber.

Chapter 2

*Beep* *Beep* *Beep*. The alarm rang loud and obnoxiously and pierced the silence of Macklemores slumber. Argh! he growled as he leaned up from his bed to check the time on the clock. It read 6:00 AM. Macklemore had to be in work at eight oclock to prep for his nine oclock case. The alarm continued to ring until Macklemore turned it off. His head was pounding from the hangover he got from drinking too much the night before. He sat up on his bed and stared out his window into the dark Chicago morning. He finally worked up the nerve to head to the kitchen for his morning coffee and toast. Of course! he shouted. Why doesnt anything in this house work! Macklemore walked into the kitchen to find that his coffee maker had not started brewing his coffee. The damn timer must be broken. He said as he punched dials on his

Keurig. He was about to start brewing his coffee when he notices the time. Six thirty? When did it get so late? I dont have time for this shit. Macklemore pressed cancel on his coffee maker and went to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of Tropicana orange juice. He poured a half glass and took a sip. His stomach is in an extreme amount of pain, he cant muster big gulps of his orange juice as he usually could. He took some bread and threw it in the toaster. During his wait the room began to spin. He leaned over the counter top and placed his head down while his bread toasted. He is snapped back into reality when the buzzer from his toaster went off making his head throb even more. He grabbed a paper towel and placed the toast on it, he sat down with his orange juice and toast and waits. He finally took a bite from his toast. It was over cooked, the taste of burnt toast was unbearable. He sipped his orange juice and the combination of tastes sent his stomach into a frenzy. He ran to the bathroom and began to toss up everything he consumed in the morning and the night before. Macklemore felt terrible, he stumbled over to the shower, turned on the hot water, took off his cloths, and climbed in. He let the water hit his skin, it felt good. He leaned on the tiled wall of his stand up shower, and fell into a slumber.

He woke when the water turned cold since there was no longer hot water left in the tank in the basement. No, no, no! he shouted. Macklemore rushed out of the shower, he grabbed a towel and rubbed himself dry. He quickly brushed his teeth and ran to his room. He pulled out his work clothes and dressed in a rush. He turned and looked at the clock. Seven twenty no, Im going to hit the morning rush! He quickly grabbed his car keys off of the rack in the dining room and ran out of the house leaving the half eaten toast and orange juice on the kitchen table. He ran to his car and pressed the unlock button on his keys. He sat down and shoved the key in the ignition. He turned the car on and pulled out of his drive way with ease. Macklemore was feeling a lot better now that he was in a rush. Damn Im never late, this is all Vals fault, if she

didnt do this to me, my life would be the same as it ever was! Macklemores mind went off on a tangent on his drive to work. He thought about how everything wrong in these past twenty-four hours was his ex-wifes fault. He is brought back to reality when a loud car horn goes off because Macklemore had almost ran a stop sign. Asshole! was screamed by the opposite driver as he passed the intersection. God I hate Mondays! Macklemore screamed in his car. He then turned the radio and continued, his drive went on as normal. He hit traffic, as he predicted and arrived at work twenty minutes late. Youre never late Alex, whats up man? said a tanned skinned man in a light blue dress shirt and blue tie. He was built heavy and looked like a body guard standing by the judges podium. I had a long day yesterday, didnt get much sleep is all. Are you sure man you look pretty bad. No offense. Im fine Antione!

Macklemore climbed the steps to his seat and sat down. He went over paperwork and previewed his case that was scheduled for nine oclock.

After being late for work, he managed to get all his prep work done for his first case. The case is a civil one, Susan Miller vs. Scott Baker. Scott Baker Seems like hes always in and out of here. Macklemore said to Antione. Yea the town drunk, wonder what he did this time. Says here he went on a drunken rage, broke his neighbors mailbox. He needs to control himself, save my time for cases with more meaning.

Yea right, some people just cant handle their alcohol like I can. By the way can we try hurrying things up today I have plans to go to the bar with the bros. Youre welcome to join us Alex." "Nah I think I might go home and be alone, its been a hard couple of days. Okay Alex. Macklemore and Antione exchange small talk until the plaintiff and the defendant walk in. All rise! Court is now in session Antione says. The case of Susan Miller vs. Scott Baker will now start. You may be seated. Macklemore tells the audience. Okay Susan please explain to me what happened. Well it was around ten oclock when I heard screaming and yelling going on outside. I rushed to my window to see what the commotion was. To my horror I see Mr. Baker running outside screaming at the top of his lungs I WONT GO! I WONT GO! while he is half naked and smashing my mailbox. Everyone knows Scott is a drinker, this place is like his second home! Objection! Scott yells. Sustained. Macklemore tells him. Please Mrs. Miller explain what you meant by half naked He was not wearing a shirt or pants your honor. Well Mr. Baker what do you say in your defense. Uhm I had a few too meny?

That does not justify your actions, if someone is intoxicated and harms another they are still responsible for their actions. Judgement for the plaintiff.

Mr. Baker and Mrs. Miller left the court room. Macklemore sat back and went over more paper and notices his next case. The Chicago police finally caught the axe murderer that has been running loose. Celeste Marcov was the womans name. This case should be interesting Macklemore thought as he walked into the break room to find a cup of coffee to try to ease his lingering hangover.

Macklemore sits down at the table and enjoys his coffee. Antione walked in to join him. Is everything okay man? You really seem out of it. Im Fine Antione. Look Alex, Im here for you. Do you really want to know? I would like to. Okay, Val divorced me, she took J.P with her, she took everything, she took my sanity. I sit here and wonder why? Why did she do this to me? I didnt do anything wrong! Im an honest man! Why did she cheat on me, and it wasnt that she cheated on me, I was willing to work it out, I loved her! She just left. Bro Did she say why?

She told me I was spending too much time here, well I need to make a living, these cases need to be judged, I dont know what she wanted from me! Im so sorry Alex. You didnt deserve that, you were too good for her, I saw her around, shes nothing but a whore, I saw her coming out of that soccer stars house, shes nothing but trash. How about I take you out tonight, try meeting some ladies. No man, I dont think Im ready, maybe another time. Okay, you know Im here for you. I know man youre a true friend.

The two sit in awkward silence until the clock hits quarter of eleven, Macklemore got up and walked to his podium to prepare everything for the next case.

Chapter 3

One by one people begin to enter the dark courtroom in the city hall of downtown Chicago. The audience slowly fills up with many different faces, scared, nervous, , old, and young faces, all while rain continues to poor down outside. The people of the audience and jury make small talk while they wait but then suddenly a woman in handcuffs walks in and everything changes. The small talk is over and theres not even the sound of breathing in the room. The only sound in the room is the sound of the raining outside hitting the window. All emotion is wiped from everyones faces in the room, all except for the smile that sits on the handcuffed womans face. A bailiff by the name of Antoine Walker then calls out, All rise for the judge, and everyone stands until Judge Macklemore walks in, sits down, and tells everyone

to be seated. Not a sound is made as he sits there looking over the file. He then looks up after reading the name on the file and sees the most beautiful girl that he has ever seen in his life. He stares at her for a couple seconds until he somehow manages to break the spell that her bright green eyes have over him. He then begins the trial. Good morning. We are here for the trial of Celeste Markov, who is being charged with five accounts of 1st degree murder by axe. Ms. Markov, he says while nervously choking on his own words, how do plan to plead against these charges? Celeste calmly sits there for some time, causing everyones heart to race faster and faster but she finally gets up and says one, a word that caused much shock throughout the courtroom. Innocent.

No one can believe what they have just heard. All evidence clearly shows that she is the one that committed these murders, how is there any way possibility that she will be able to prove her innocence? Youre sure about this? says Macklemore, who is very sure that she is guilty. 100% sure, your honor, replies Markov with a very evil, yet beautiful smirk on her face. As you wish, Ms. Markov. It is now time for the prosecution to begin its interrogation. Please step up to the stand, Ms. Markov. He watches her walk up to stand, staring at the defined curves of her body, her luscious lips, and her thick black hair. But the thing that had him really locked on to her was her eyes. They were unlike anything he had ever seen in his whole life. Her eyes were as green as emeralds and he felt though as if they were holding on to him, in a way, and he did not want them to let go. Your honor your honor? said Antoine, trying to get Macklemore to regain focus.

Oh Im sorry. Right. Mr. Baker, the floor is all yours. Mr. Baker is the attorney general for the city of Chicago and is the one in charge of prosecuting Celeste. He stands up confidently and heads towards to stand where Celeste sits calm and collected. Ms. Markov, do you think that killing another human is an okay thing to do? No, I do not she replies. No? Well what about killing five people? Not just five people, but five innocent people. And not only to kill five innocent people, but to brutally chop them into pieces. How does that image make you feel? Do you feel sad? Or scared? Do you feel guilty, or worse, do you feel nothing? How does it make you feel when I repeat the story of what you did to those five innocent people who did nothing to you?! I didnt do it! I didnt do it! yells Celeste at the top of her lungs. Screams from all around the court repeat the same sentences over and over. Yes you did! Youre a Liar and a murder! Give her the chair! Give her the Chair! Macklemore bangs his gavel as hard as he can, trying to regain control of the courtroom. Order! Order! Order in my courtroom or I will kick you all out! The audience eventually calmed down, and the real interrogation process. The first piece of evidence that was brought out was a blood and dirt covered axe. Antoine carried the axe over to Mr. Baker, who then put gloves on and carefully took it out of the bag and walked over to Celeste with it. Ms. Markov, do you know what this is?

Yes, its an axe, replies Celeste. And can you tell me what is on the axe? She looks at the axe and calmly replies It appears to be blood and dirt. Blood and dirt, Baker repeats. Now tell me, Ms. Markov, why do you think there is blood on this axe? Celeste answers, Maybe something was killed with it? Or maybe someone right? Baker asks her. Yes, I guess maybe someone as well. I dont know. So Ms. Markov, you would agree with the statement that there is blood on this axe because something, or someone, was killed with it. Correct? Yes, I guess I would. Now Ms. Markov, why do you think that there is dirt on this axe? Do you think that it could have been buried somewhere like, say, someones backyard? Yes, I guess that it couldve been buried somewhere, answered Celeste. Now answer this for me. Would agree with me if I said that this axe was potentially used to kill someone and then buried in a backyard?

Uh I dont know replied Celeste nervously. Ms. Markov, would you agree with my previous statement? Do you agree that this axe was probably used to kill someone, or five people, and then buried in the ground somewhere, or if the murder was stupid enough, they made the mistake of burying the axe in their own backyard? Do you agree with this statement? Answer my question Ms. Markov! Order! Order! Thats enough Mr. Baker, back off. Court is now in recess until tomorrow at 11:00 AM. says Macklemore. He stared only at her as the courtroom cleared and did not take his eyes off of her until she turned around, looked at him, and then sent him a wink and a smile. He knew from that moment that he was stuck, and there was nothing he could do.

The whole way home after the court case, he could not stop thinking about her. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw her sitting there, looking at him, smiling at him, winking at him. It made his heart beat faster than the rain beating on his window as he drove. He pulls into his driveway but does not yet leave the car. He turns the music all the way up and tries to get her out of his mind, but its no use. Nothing will work. He runs from his car to his front door in an attempt to stay dry. He then sits down to look over Celeste Markovs case again and begins to take some notes. After an hour he looks down at his book and realizes that he has done nothing but write her name down over and over again. How can it be possible that he is so obsessed with her so quickly, without even speaking a word to her? He cant stop thinking about her eyes. And her smile. She might be an axe murderer but she was still perfect to him and he was somehow in love with her. He knew that he had to be with her no matter what it took, but how would it be possible if she was to be found guilty for the murders? It would not be possible, so he had to do something. He walked up to the mirror and took a long hard look at himself. Am I really willing

to break the law and jeopardize my job in order to keep this girl out of prison so that I can be with her? He said this over and over in the mirror, and every time, he did not have an answer for himself. He knew exactly how much trouble he would get into if he was caught, 60 years in prison if he was lucky. Was it worth it? Does she even like him back? Of course she likes you back, he says to himself. You saw the way she looked at you. He could not decide what to do so he instead just went upstairs and tried to get some sleep. After a little help from his friend Jameson, he was knocked out within an hour. Throughout his slumber, many different dreams of Celeste made him sleep very well. He fantasied about being with her, holding her, kissing her, loving her, losing her. He awakens. There was no way possible he would let himself lose her.

Chapter 4

It was the start of the second day of the trail. Macklemore just could not help himself. Always a stickler for details and a man of attention, Macklemore was uncharacteristically lackadaisical with his rulings during this trail. As he seemed to be spooked by every objection and request to approach the bench, it was becoming clear to the attorneys that something about the judge just was not quite right today.

Eyes fixated on the defendant, Macklemore pondered a dream scenario where they could be alone. Atop the hood of his car on a dusty and deserted road, they listened to his all-time favorite Bob Dylan track. Quietly they appreciated the music while being unable to hold in their shared case of the giggles. He had never spent such and afternoon with any woman, especially his ex-wife, just listening to what he considered to be the voice of a generation. Unable to actually hold eye contact with Celeste for more than three seconds, she was surely the one to make the first move. As she leaned in surely to whisper soft words into his perked up ears,

Macklemore is suddenly back in the present. His ideal day was shattered by the echoes of her lawyers demand for objections.

Awkward stares aside, Macklemore decides to continue with the case. Now sharing shameless glances with the defendant, Macklemore realized that the trail had escalated quickly and he has seemed to fall behind. This court is now in recess, Macklemore exclaimed to a confused courtroom. Pausing for a moment, Macklemore then stated strike that, this court is adjourned until Thursday. As many of the jurors are seen whispering and asking questions in a disorderly fashion, many exit the courtroom. Macklemore then coolly chases Celeste, providing a brief and flustered apology. This was followed by a discrete giving of his personal number to her as she flashed a flirty grin and walked away.

Still in a dizzying state, Macklemore rolls his windows down to get some fresh air flowing through his car and more importantly his mind. Trying to reconfigure his thoughts Macklemore barely escaped a fender-bender by rushing through an ignored stop sign. He thought then that the best way to relax was to partake in his latest favorite hobby. Quickly feeling in need of a drink, Macklemore drove to a near and favorite watering hole of his. Walking through the front doors of Calvins Den Macklemore made a b-line to the bar and took a sat down at least four seats from the closest patron. Without hesitation the bartender served Macklemore a glass of Jameson on the rocks. Laying it on the counter, he ask How are ya today Alex? Macklemore responded with the removal of a Lucky Strike cigarette from his hidden pack. Fumbling around for a lighter Macklemore was oblivious to the follow up question, So when did you take up smoking sir?. As another customer called the barman away from

Macklemore he felt nothing but relief. Now he could finally enjoy some much needed thinking time that the day had prevented.

Following several drinks and smokes, Macklemore stumbled towards the exit. The subsequent drive home felt increasingly eerie to him however. Coming to a halt at a red light, Macklemore was uncomfortable when a police cruiser pulled up in the next lane. Trying not to panic, Macklemore griped the steering wheel until his knuckles turned pale. Glancing over at the cop, both share a stare for a moment before the officer nodded his head and drove off as soon as the light turned green.

As the light rain began to pick up, Macklemore was forced to roll to roll his windows up. Feeling trapped in his increasingly hot car, Macklemore rolled his windows back down. The delicate interior of his vehicle now soaked, Macklemore felt more and more liberated with every raindrop that pounded onto his face. Unable to contain his giggles, he allowed each slow moving drop to pace their way down his jaw

After he pulled into his driveway, Macklemore had a sadistic smile on that could earn the clearest minded man a stay at any mental institution. He then decided to brave the walk from his car to his front door with his umbrella in its wrap. He then lost his grin as the rain became all too real. Finally reaching his own fort, Macklemore entered and let off a bellying wail that resembled a yawn. He climbed into his couch as his own bed, mere feet away, seemed to be a mile long trip. Tossing his keys and paperwork onto the adjacent coffee table Macklemore pressed his wrinkled face into the pillows.

Reaching over the sofas armrest to answer the ringing phone Macklemore jumped up he realized the caller was Celeste. Conversing shortly about the days unusual events Macklemore was relieved to discover that Celeste not only viewed the day as comical but that she also found him charming. Composing himself for a minute after his ego boosting compliments from Celeste, Macklemore promptly tries to end the conversation as he claims it to be unprofessional. After she bid goodbye, Macklemore scrapped his papers together and resumed his work. However, his phone rang. As he answered it, Macklemore was greeted by his sons doctor. Being that he is still his sons number one contact, the doctor gave Macklemore the news first. After a series of explanation of test results, Macklemore was devastated to find out that J.P. had a terminal case of cancer. Going through various standard questions according to the doctor, Macklemore was on the verge of tears. After a lengthy and heartbreaking conversation. Macklemore relegates the task of informing his ex-wife to the tragic news to the doctor. He insists however, that the doctor tell her the best way to tell this to J.P. is as a family.

Chapter 5

Judge Alexander walked down fifteenth-street through the shifting haze of fog and the hot steam spouting from underground vents. Early the next day this cloud of vapor would be poisoned by the exhaust of the early morning rush, but in the quiet, open night the tendrils of meaningless air served as a beautiful distraction. Unfortunately his silent friends were unable to accompany him to his final destination, and as the doors closed behind him, Alexander was struck by the irony of his situation.

Moving through the bright, spotless hallways, the Judge felt like a ghost. A phantom, unable of interaction with the living, breathing world. To him it was no longer a world he was a part of, and the light that was impossible to escape had revealed him as an outsider.

After an unknowable time he arrived at the door he wanted. It was unremarkable, and similar to all the others in the hallway aside from a few alterations. Cards attached to the door and an unusual scuff on the edge, but even without these distinctions it was the number that stood out above all. Room number 323, a number burned into Alexanders memory through the sheer repetition of his visits, was all the man could stand to see.

God knows the willpower it took, but Alexander managed to tear his eyes away from those simple black marks and walked slowly into the room. Pain like no other pierced his heart as soon as he laid eyes on the end of his journey. His only son, lying flat on the hospital bed with his face contorted in pain, by all accounts would not see the sun rise again. He moved over to the bed, and took Justins hand as he had so many times before. His skin had always been cool to the touch, but now his fingers were a deathly cold, and the feeling only served as a reminder of the reason Alexander had come. The struggle that his son had been consumed by, year by year, had finally arrived to claim his life.

Suddenly Alexander was returned to his awareness, the senses that had been blocked rushed back to fill some of the emptiness he had been feeling. He noticed the nurses in the room, quietly moving around and performing their duties. The chill of the hospital room made him shiver, the cold steel of the machines shined in the light. The endless beeping noise of the heart

monitor that had come to haunt his dreams. For what felt like the first time in an eternity, a voice spoke. Were ready, it said. A simple phrase for an end of the world.

And then it happened again. There was no noise as Judge Macklemore stood there, holding his sons hand. The sensation of cold was replaced by nothingness and even the lights seemed to dim. All there was in the world was Justin, his hand and the goddamn beeping of that machine. Time slowed to a crawl and for just a moment it truly stopped.

Then it was over, and the only thing that Macklemore could feel was the unquantifiable void in his chest. It was as if his rib cage had caved in or he was shot through the heart. For him there was no comparison, and he staggered back to sit down in the chair. There was activity in his peripherals, nurses moving, maybe a doctor or two. Somebody was asking him questions but eventually they went away.

It felt like hours before he even felt anything. The first thing to come back was the cold. It was slow but persistent, and it was that more than anything that got him out of the chair. He walked over to the bed with deliberate steps and looked at the corpse of his son. Thats all he is now, he thought to himself, A corpse. That was the moment that it all came back. Guilt, unfounded and unnecessary but crippling nonetheless. Fear of how he could stand to live with this big of a hole in his life. And grief, endless as the boundaries of the universe and powerful as all of the other emotions combined. It was after he had experienced all of these that he arrived at the last. Anger at every bad decision he had ever made. All of the times that he couldnt be there, all of the times he had been stuck in court and all of the times he had just one too many drinks and blamed it on the stress of the job. Anger at his ex-wife, at seeing guilty men go free, getting cut off in traffic and the inevitability that his son was always going to die.

All of that rage built up inside of him in the space of a second, and there was only one course he could think to direct it. The heart machine was one of the few pieces of equipment that had been left in the room. It was quiet now and the silence was what ignited Alexanders rage into action. With three direct strides he walked across to the monitor, ripped the cords out of the wall and threw the entire machine through the window.

A lot of things happened after that but it was all a rush. Screaming, yelling, running, grabbing. And there was always that piercing light overhead. It would have been confusing if Macklemore had cared about any of it. The only thing that mattered was that at the end of it he was outside, back to walking through the darkness.

Chapter 6 Much to Macklemores dismay, he awoke, only to feel as though everything was in a fuzzy haze. His attempt to take his life had been unsuccessful, and now he had no choice, but to pick his flaccid body up onto its feet and work another day. He felt terrible. How else would one expect to feel after waking from what was supposed to be a death trip, and after presuming to be dead? He dragged himself to the bathroom and started up the water in order to take a shower. He stepped into his shower and let the water run down his body. He stood motionless, looking up into the shower head with closed eyes, as though there was nothing to do ever again. Suddenly he went to twist around and in the process, ended up slipping and falling through the pane of glass his shower do was made of. Just my luck! Macklemore said, as he gently removed shards of glass out of the palm of his hand. Now he was going to be late for work, having to clean up his hand and call for a

replacement pane of glass. After tending to his wounds and arranging the repair of his shower frame, Alexander had to quickly change into his suit. However, Macklemore could not escape his bad luck as all his suits were at the dry cleaners. Except for one, and of course that one had to be the suit given to him by Vivian. He remembered how she threw it at him exclaiming he had no taste, and needed a cleanup. It was right before they split up, and he never had time nor the desire to wear the suit. He had imagined ridding himself of the suit previously through burning it, but now was in the unfortunate predicament of having to wear this so-called gift.

Macklemore pulled up to work about a half hour late, and before he was two steps through the door, was charged to by his assistant who feverishly told him of the case awaiting his attendance. It was that of a murderer. A woman named Celeste Markov was the accused. She was a redhead which for some reason, presumably her fiery appearance, turned Alexander on. She had a very soft pale complexion, and her red hair accented her beautiful, round, blue eyes. His eyes were locked on her as Antoine called for the room to rise in his presence. The people all sat in synchronization with Macklemore, then the room sat quiet. Alexander sat with a blank stare as though mesmerized by the sight of Celeste. He sat shocked for seconds before Antoine snapped him out of it and he finally addressed her. What is your plea Ms. Markov? Not guilty, your honor Celeste stated. Thirty minute recess shouted Macklemore as he slammed down his gavel, before whispering for Celeste to come meet him for council. She trailed behind him, like a puppy and its owner, all the way to Macklemores office where she sat across from him on the opposite side of his desk.

Before sitting he took off his gown due to sweating profusely with both it and a suit on. He sat, then began, I have reviewed the evidence, and it seems as though you are guilty, he said I mean the axe has your fingerprints on it, and the murder occurred in your house. I swear it wasnt me, your honor! whimpered Celeste. Please, call me Alexander he said. Oh she said blushing Alexander. So how is it that you are innocent? I am being framed. I know it. Do you think a small woman of my size could yield an axe and split open a mans head open like a watermelon? I dont think so Celeste plead. Well with such an innocent face like that its hard for me to put up a fight. You think Im cute? Did you not notice me staring at you for the first five minutes of the session? I thought you were distracted, or withdrawn. Well you were right, I was distracted. By you. Well I couldnt help but notice how handsome you are, and especially in that snazzy suit Celeste said blushing. Oh, I wish you hadnt of mentioned it Macklemore said.

Why? My there was a pause ex wife gave this to me, and I hate it. Ex-wife? Yes, he said ex-wife. We split up not too long ago and its been difficult. And on top of that my son recently passed away making this the worse month of my life. Aww, you poor baby said Celeste as she rubbed his thigh. Im sure I could brighten up your day a little. How is that Alexander said.

Without saying anything, she ripped open his shirt and began kissing him. He could not resist her and he was but a tool at her disposal. He took her right there on his desk until Antoine came knocking on his door to remind Macklemore that the thirty minute recess was up. We have to get dressed, and back into that court room said Macklemmore to Celeste. I dont want to! I want to run away with you. Be gone forever. Disappear.

Macklemore was stunned. He sat as though petrified, unmoving. Antoine knocked again, saying that the thirty minutes was up and he needed to come now. Macklemore finally snapped out of it and said to Celeste Maybe, but not right now. I have to look like an unbiased judge of the law and we must not look at all like friends let alone lovers. Well talk afterwards he said. I understand she said Lets meet tonight, heres my number. Now lets go.

They exited and entered the court separately to once again begin the trial. Once the proceedings started Macklemore dazed off and pondered if it was truly possible to run away with Celeste and live happily ever after. Once all the evidence had been shown Macklemore gave the jury twenty-four hours to decide their verdict. That was if they were still here.

Chapter 7 Almost mirroring the dusky sky, Mackelmores mood became darker and darker as he dragged himself home from the hospital. He felt as though a bag of sand was resting upon his back and all he could do was slouch.

The sun had long disappeared by the time he reached the door to his marble mansion. He suddenly took a step back to notice his home, a multi-million dollar property he now lived in alone. It was sickening. He stood outside until he couldnt stand the freezing temperatures of mid January, hoping the cold would numb his broken heart as it numbed his fingers and toes. Unsurprisingly, his strategy failed, so he decided to move inside so he could at least be miserable where it was warm. Making his way through the spacious hallway illuminated by sparking chandeliers, Mackelmore suddenly felt exhausted and collapsed onto the big leather chair next to the door of the power room. He remembered how JP would always make himself comfortable in that same seat and marvel at Mackelmore while he shaved his beard some mornings before work.

Thinking about his son brought about an unrelenting pain throughout his entire body. Mackelmore never anticipated that any sequence of events could literally make him feel like an eighty-pound weight was dragging his heart down, past his ribs, and into his stomach. He closed his eyes and tried to understand how a pain so emotional could become so physical.

Time had passed but Mackelmore had no perception of it. He worked up the strength to sit up. He surveyed the room like a patient just waking up from surgery, and then something clicked. The key to his sorrows! Such a key was a mere three feet away on the top shelf of the medicine cabinet. He stumbled over to the vanity and slowly opened the cabinet, fearing that this key didnt actually exist. But it did. It was in a small orange bottle with a white cap and a label reading OXYCODONE-Valerie Hightower. Val had left him exactly what he needed.

Mackelmore had seen her take them a few times before. Remembering how calm and happy they made her gave him an uncontrollable urge to feel the same. As a judge, he had always felt rational, and responsible, yet all of these qualities seemed to have diminished as he pushed the down on the white cap, turned it counterclockwise, and popped it off. There were three red pills left, and Mackelmore told himself he would only have one. His shaky hands managed to pick one out and place it on his tongue. He swallowed hard and felt the capsule traveling through his system. It was time to relax, he decided, and sat back down on the big comfy leather chair.

Once again, Mackelmore was oblivious to what time it was. He was oblivious to most things, like the fact that he had four missed calls from the office and a voicemail from the court letting him know his case of the beautiful axe murderer would continue the next day at 9 am. None of it mattered to Mackelmore, he truly and honestly felt numb. It was a happy numb, not frostbite numb. As he tossed back the remaining two pills, he didnt even remember that JP had passed just a few hours ago.

He had not been so content in a long time. He felt dazed, everything was hazy and when he waved his hand across his face he could have sworn he was moving in slow motion. Out of

the corner of his eye he spotted a figure coming towards him. As it came closer he decided it was a woman, a mysteriously seductive woman with dark black hair and bangs. She was dressed like a belly dancer and Mackelmore was blinded by the shiny beads on her little skirt. She danced her way over to him and whispered in his ear Runaway with me. Then she took his hand and led him out the front door and through an opening where he saw nothing but blue skies and blue water. As soon as he walked through the opening he was greeted by sunshine and sand spilling into his brown loafers. Mackelmore smiled and closed his eyes to soak in the moment, only to open them and find that the big leather chair was soaked in drool. He pulled off his right shoe and turned it upside down. No sand poured out.

His vision began to clear and Mackelmore frantically began searching for his phone. He found it buried beneath the cushions of the leather chair he had apparently been sitting on for nearly twelve hours. His phone now had fourteen missed calls and it was 11am. Woops! he exclaimed. He was already late, so he figured he might as well be really late. He hopped in the shower and then sat down to have his coffee and Jameson. JP still weighed heavily on his mind. He wondered when he would start to feel better, or would these sorrows last forever?

Quite possibly the only thing motivating him to leave his house was the guarantee of seeing Celeste in court. It had been days since he had been able to stare into those dark, beautiful eyes. Before leaving the house, he turned to the right and looked at himself in the antique mirror hanging on the wall of the foyer. His pale skin and sad eyes led him to the conclusion that he was in desperate need of some positive energy. He took a deep breath in and walked out of the house.

As he pulled into the parking lot, Mackelmore wondered what his colleagues decided to do about the trial, considering that he was a good three hours late. In the past, Mackelmore had

always been punctual, now he simply didnt care. He figured he would be removed from the case. He exited his car and was turning the corner when he found himself body to body with a startled Celeste. Celeste! he exclaimed. What are you doing? The trial was pushed back until tomorrow. But I overheard them talkingyoure not emotionally capable of serving as a judgetheyre removing you from the case. She explained. Honestly, I figured that would happen I just dont care. Mackelmore said expressionlessly. But I care! Any other judge will probably find me guilty! Alex, I need to get out of here. Lets go. She took his hand and led him to his car.

Without thinking, Mackelmore got in the car and started to drive off. Almost immediately Celeste blurted out, Alex, run away to Europe with me Mackelmore looked over at her smiling at him, her hair blowing in the wind, her pleading eyes. He wondered how he could ever say no.

Mackelmore took a few seconds to reevaluate his life and realized he had nothing to lose at this point; he had already lost the single most important person to him and he was fired from Celestes trial. Suddenly he remembered his dream from the previous night. It wasnt just a dream, it was a vision. That paradise was some warm country in Europe, that mysterious belly dancer was Celeste, and it was all about to come true.

Okay! Ill go! Mackelmore announced. Celeste smiled and squeezed his hand that was resting upon the stick shift. A feeling of pure excitement rushed through his body. Mackelmore laughed and drove off through the Chicago streets with Celeste by his side.

Chapter 8

It was bright and beautiful outside, with just a small breeze of wind. Court was about to be in progress and Macklemore still had trouble sleeping. He was imagining stepping through the doors of the court, sitting in his seat and banging the gavel. This is my life and life wants me to be a judge. He takes a gulp from his bottle water and takes some painkillers. Walking towards his office, he is mumbling to himself saying If theres is nothing left of me in this life, why am I still living? He was so confused, he was thinking of what more could he do and give too this world. I can't live day by day, doing the same thing and expect nothing more exciting to happen to me Macklemore was an excellent judge, he put society in order and did right for the country, however he couldn't make himself happy.

Celeste left him not only with an option but a new life path, a new beginning. It was wrong though, according to the law, it was against all rules and his morals. Both of them can be put away to jail for running away from a court case. No matter how much Celeste's information on the folder says about her being corrupt, Macklemore saw a whole different side to her. She cant be evil, shes too sweet for that saying to himself.

Macklemore had the choice, go to court and report Celeste for planning to run from the case and charge her guilty for her charges and as well as perjury. But what was troubling Macklemore the most was choosing the option of just running away with her and not having to

worry about the case, the court, his job, or anything anymore. Two things interfered between his two options, justice and love. What mattered more? His heart was telling him one thing, but his mind was telling him the other and if he chose one, he would break the other.

He walked into his office of the courthouse and sat down with his hands on his forehead. As Macklemore let go of his hands on his head, he noticed a picture on his desk. It was a picture of him and his son fishing a couple summers ago He started having more memories of him and his son and remembered taking care of him when he was sick. He also started remembering good memories such as his birthday and when he was first born. A smile came across Macklemore's face, it was the first of many smiles he had in a quite long time. Macklemore made his decision of what he was going to do. Who knew seeing a picture of his son was the solution to his problems.

As Macklemore leaves his office, he finds Celeste taking her seat in the courthouse with her lawyers, he slowly approaches her. Macklemore tells her, Im sorry but I was born to always do the right thing, it was how I was raised and taught in life, which is why I became a judge. From her face, you could tell that she was about to go into an emotional breakdown. He says, Please step in my office in the back for I need some papers for you too sign. The lawyers stand up, Shes not signing anything without our consent of knowing. Macklemore replies, Relax, its just a sign in sheet to her previous court dates. Celeste looked upon Macklemores face and saw a new man, a more confident one. She felt like she didn't know the previous Macklemore anymore and that they didn't share the same emotions they did towards each other a day ago.

Time passes and it was 10 minutes late for court session, the whole jury was there and so were the lawyers who were anxiously waiting. Everyone was waiting for Macklemore and

Celeste too come out of the office. No more time could go to waste since there was another trial in an hour, so one of the security officers goes into the office to check up on everything. All you see is him rushing back to the court and saying," Judge Macklemore is gone, as well as the defendant!" Everyone jumps out their seats and is yelling how is this possible? Everyone jumps to conclusions that Celeste kidnapped the judge.

Officers immediately rush to the court as well as the sergeant who is actually one of Macklemores closest friends. He goes back to the office and searches around the room for any evidence but only to find a cracked open window. As the sergeant searches more, he finds a letter on the picture frame of Macklemore and his son fishing. It was hard for anyone else to notice but the sergeant was the first and only one to spot the letter. As the sergeant opened the letter, the letter summarized how Macklemore couldn't handle being a judge no more and wanted a new life. The letter talked about him moving to another country and how he couldn't live without Celeste and she is the only thing that pushes him forward of living. The letter also mentioned about how the pressure of him taking care of his son and living to see him die almost made him go over the edge himself but Celeste was the one love in his life left and couldn't bare to lose her as well. A cop comes into the room and says, Sergeant, we must send ground teams out to search for them, have you found any evidence yet? The Sergeant crumbles up the paper and throws it away in the trash bin and says,"I found nothing. I have a feeling they'll return however, I know Macklemore as a friend and this was his option of running away, not a kidnap. Plus a person isnt technically missing until 24 hours under the law, so I want a search team for them in 48 hours if

they don't return by then." The Sergeant thought this was plenty of enough time for Macklemore to leave the country.

For the Sergeant had many questions to himself, he never knew if Celeste was a murderer or not, or if she was just using the Judge as an escape goat to have her freedom and not be in jail. But the Sergeant thought that Macklemore would die from either depression of without her or the chance of her actually being a murderer and killing Macklemore at the end. Which brings back to what the letter said that Macklemore wrote, Deep inside everyone is dying, everyone dies at a point. When my son was dying, I understood that we were all in the same situation as him, but his time was speeding up faster. However we can ignore the fact that we are all dying inside, by finding that happy place. And I found it.

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