Anastasia doesn't respond to the person standing in front of her. Her lifeless eyes remain fixed on her hands lying in her lap. The scent in her mind is cold and metallic, vividly wet and unfeeling.
"Anastasia Bedlam?" The voice is a pitch higher, sharp with an underlying tone of annoyance. "I asked if you want to plead guilty."
She looks at the person. Her eyes can't focus.
The man doesn't have her father's dark hair or his sharp nose. There's no soft warmth or enthusiasm in his eyes. He is watching her as if he's looking at an abomination, disgusted by her for sure.
Though the man's face doesn't look anything like her father, Anastasia can't tell it apart from her father's face. The warm brown eyes that she longs to see aren't there, yet she doesn't want to see any difference.
That's how much she wants to see her father.
Sighing, he asks her again, "Do you accept the charges against you?"
"No," Anastasia replies, offering no further explanation.
"Anastasia Bedlam." The lawyer places his clasped hands on the table and looks at her scornfully. "Do you know that nobody wanted to take your case?"
She shrugs. "Why did you take it then?"
"I was allotted to you."
The lawyer doesn't say who made him become her defence lawyer. Anastasia doesn't ask either.
"If you don't plead guilty, it's a death sentence." The lawyer tells her with a tense voice, "You killed your husband and daughter just like the way your father killed your mother and his other victims."
She wants to tell her father that she failed. That's why her wrists and ankles are bound to an uncomfortable metallic chair. As she curves her back slightly, the needles on the chair stab into her back again.
Anastasia doesn't show any reaction to the man. She can get used to this pain. It's nothing compared to what is going inside her heart.
Her father also received a death sentence.
Death sentence in this city is true death.
"You have nothing to say, do you?" He tsks. "Bad seed fathers a bad seed."
They will try to find a reasonable explanation for her behaviour. The researchers will analyze her thoughts and body. They will question the public if evil is genetic. The government will apologise and promise that it will never happen again.
When a tiny stone is thrown in a pond, there are waves reaching for the edge of the pond. The disturbance disappears after a while and the pond regains its tranquillity. Anastasia knows that people will stop talking about her after a day or two.
The lawyer lifts his head and gives her a scrutinising gaze. "Do you have nothing to say? You killed your own daughter. Did you not hear her screams or the pain and betrayal in her eyes? Are you even human? How could you kill your own flesh and blood?"
Anastasia turns her head away, staring at the grey wall.
Her daughter and her husband have been dead for a week already. Their funeral was done when she had been going through trials in the virtual court. Now, the lawyer wants her to admit her guilt. This is her probably her last chance at life.
Labelled as a dangerous criminal, she's been held inside a holding room where there is no light -- none except for a tiny white bulb that is stuck on the centre of the ceiling.
The eyes are always monitoring her. Even if she pees in the toilet bowl hinged in the left corner of the room, there's someone looking at her through the cameras in the corner of the ceilings.
She has been pretending to be a white sheep like everyone else. After leaving the orphanage, she worked as a part-timer until she met her husband, a nobody accountant in a low-rank distribution company. Like everybody else, she had tried to be an ideal wife. Love was only a delusion that he wanted and she gave him that in the form of fake orgasms. Maybe he had sensed it too. Maybe he never had. The man was already dead.
Anastasia relaxes her shoulders again, only to be stabbed by the needles on her back.
"So, you will rather accept death than fight for yourself."
The voice is deep and husky, intimidating and provoking. She looks at the lawyer. There's a glitch. The man's face freezes, unblinking and flickering. The hologram is gone. The table is clean.
She's finally alone in the cold room, waiting for the