Mia Villagana held her breath, pausing in front of the closed entrance to the Dark Court. The intimidating door composed of calacatta gold marble loomed large above her tiny frame like a towering monster. She felt like something serious lay behind it, but an unusual dread chained her mind to feeling she couldn’t go through. Her heart darkened, immersed in the past, struggling to breathe, which caused her emotions to quarrel.
Do I stay or go? she thought.
The door opened, unleashing a blast of light from within. Mia shields her eyes with her palms and felt her body being pulled ahead…
As her eyes opened, Mia found herself among a crowd of others with bowed heads, mute, and still as stone. Cold marble splattered with gray drenched the floor, walls and soaring ceiling. The court reeked of desolation, despite Mia being surrounded. She couldn’t shake the familiar pain; much like her boyfriend’s stony heart with their rocky relationship. Mia felt she had to apologize to him, but couldn’t recall what for.
I miss you, Double, Mia thought, unable to shake her feelings for him.
She took a seat in a vacant spot on a soft, dark-colored cushioned bench, waiting. Wondering if Double missed her, if he still loved her, if he remembered he said they’d be together, always…
When the door opened again, Mia turned and stretched her neck for a better look as a court guard led DJ Double Base inside the Dark Court. Double smirked, glaring at the crowd gathered. They paid him no mind. Mia assumed he thought they were here for him as he pressed forward with his familiar, cocky stride. He always loves an audience, she recalled.
As if he heard her thoughts, Double shocked Mia when his eyes met hers in the crowd. His face shifted from surprise to bewilderment to rage. Double lunged in her direction until the court guard reeled him back with glowing white irons that wrapped around his waist. They did not tolerate outbursts like these in the Dark Court.
“Why is she here!?” Double yelled. The guard straightened him upright and pushed him forward.
Mia hung her head, wounded. She let her long brunette hair hang over the front of her face, cloaking her tears.
“SPEAK,” the thundering voice of the judge echoed through the Dark Court.
“Your Honor,” Double began with a groan. “I confess…”
In the Dark Court, everybody told the truth, even when they wished to lie.
“… I confess. I robbed a bank, and I murdered someone.”
“EXPLAIN YOUR DECISION.”
“I needed the money for some new equipment. I’m a DJ…” he sighed, pushing loose strands of blonde hair from his face. “Well, used to be. I, uh, I used a code that was given to me, to get into the vault. We got in, then the authorities rolled up on us! It was her fault!” he erupted, staring at Mia. “She set us up… There were shots from my boys outside, inside… I had my piece ready, then got spooked by a stupid teller that ran by… I fired by accident.” Double teared up, his head sank. He paused for a moment. “I shot Mia…” he shook his head, fighting the pain.
Mia gasped. She rubbed her heart, but there was only a hole in its place. She pulled away, staring at her crimson drenched hand. He killed me…? she panicked. Double continued.
“Then I… I shot myself.”
“YOU WILL GO TO NOTHING,” the judge announced.
With his judgment delivered, the court guard led Double out. The massive door opened then, this time to raging black seas eager to devour him.
“Wait! Please!” Mia leaped from her seat. “Your Honor, may I speak?”
The court guard and Double stopped to listen.
“It’s my fault. I helped Double rob the bank I worked at… I got him the code to the vault. But I—I wrote the wrong one. I gave him the decoy code that alerts authorities when a holdup is in place. I wasn’t thinking straight.” Mia turned to Double, sobbing. “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry… I didn’t get to explain. I was going to tell you, then I fell asleep…” Mia trembled. The chilled reminder of death surrounded her.
“AN UNNECESSARY DEATH,” the judge paused. “FOR THAT… YOU MAY RETURN.”
“But… What about Double? Can he come with me?!” Mia blurted, rubbing tears away with her hands.
“YOU CHOSE WHAT YOU WANTED THE MOMENT YOU ENTERED.”
“I did, didn’t I…” Mia thought for a moment. She looked at Double with a lighthearted shrug.
The guard released Double from his irons as Mia ran over to him. He swept past her without a word as a blinding light replaced the raging black waters.
Double took off into the light.
Mia ran after him, to start again, some place, somewhere, wondering if Double missed her, if he still loved her, if he remembered he said they’d be together, always…
Author Note: Names, characters, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.