Monday 3 – Friday 7 March 2014
Restricted to how much he could move, Robert had given up attempting to stretch his legs, and was prostrate on the well-worn mattress. He gave a passing thought to how many men had lain upon the mattress before he, and how many were murderers or rapists. A prison cell was not how he had anticipated spending any part of the year, but here he was, three months after being arrested. The court case was set down for the better part of the year, and that meant that Robert would be incarcerated for that length of time. His own daughter had been the one to convince the judge that Robert was a flight risk, and as a result the police had taken his passport, despite the fact that he was in no position to leave the country.
Angela, his wife, had not been to visit. He had forbidden her to step foot inside the prison, and as always, she had obeyed that instruction.
‘Where did I go so wrong with my child?’ he mumbled. He was angry and frustrated with Adelaide’s desire to persecute him in a legal manner more than he was disappointed in how she grew up. Robert had given her everything that she had wanted when she was a child. She lived the life of a princess because of the money he made with Carter Industries, and yet, as an adult she set out on a journey to ensure that the very company that allowed her a privileged childhood was dismantled and crushed.
Looking impeccable in is trademark black Armani suit, Carter slowly sat up, and swung his legs over the edge of his prison bed. Waiting for the guard who would escort him from his cell, through the prison, and out to the prisoner transport vehicle that would take he and three other prisoners to the courthouse that morning was difficult. Those small moments of almost-freedom at the courthouse added to his frustration of being locked up.
Like clockwork, the guard appeared at eight twenty-five, ordered Robert to stand with his hands behind him, and his back to the cell door. Robert heard the buzzer that indicated his door was about to open, and then the clanking and grating of the metal sliding back. The guard was swift in tightly restraining Robert’s hands with cuffs, and shoving him out of the cell. Robert stumbled twice as he made his way down the corridor, another day of court ahead of him, but he refused to be beaten down. Until the final judgement had been read, Robert Carter would stand tall, and proud, and undefeated by anyone.
* * * * *
Harper Cahill attended every day of Carter’s trial. As steadfast in his denials of committing any crime, of doing anything wrong, Harper was equally as steadfast in her desire to see Carter pay for the damage he had done. His denials meant nothing to her, she, like most of the other people watching the court proceedings, knew that Robert Carter was as guilty as sin. It mattered little whether he had committed the criminal acts himself, or encouraged or hired employees to do the dirty work for him. As far as Harper was concerned, there was blood all over Carter’s hands, and he was going to pay for everything that he’d done.
She was surprised to see Adelaide take a seat next to her.
‘What are you doing here? Why aren’t you prosecuting him?’ Harper whispered.
‘We considered our options, and decided that it was best if someone else prosecuted the case. That way Carter can’t say that there was any sort of conflict of interest because I’m his daughter,’ Danvers whispered in reply. Harper’s jaw dropped.
‘He’s your father? Robert Carter is your father?’
Adelaide shrugged her shoulders, and offered Harper a weak smile. There wasn’t much she could say to explain away her relationship to one of the world’s simultaneously revered and reviled men.
Once over the shock, Harper asked in a whisper, ‘Do you think the jury’ll find him guilty, or has all of this been for nothing?’
‘At this point, I honestly don’t know. I hope that he’s found guilty, but anything is possible.’
Harper nodded as if in agreement with Danvers. Looking around the packed courtroom, Harper spied Henry the behemoth, and Carter’s former head of security and investigations, Mike Albright. She’d seen on TV that Henry had killed Albright, but here he was, most definitely alive.
‘I thought Henry killed Albright.’
‘Long story . . . I’ll fill you in on the details later,’ replied Adelaide.
* * * * *
A small team of employees from the Department of Justice had effectively cleared out Adelaide Danvers’ office in a matter of hours. She stood where her chair had once been, and quietly contemplated how the court case against her father was progressing. Adelaide had invited Harper Cahill to join her before she cleared out of the office completely, and moved on to another case. She glanced at her watch, and noted that Harper was now an hour and a half late for their meeting. She pulled her cell phone from her inner jacket pocket, and dialled the number that she had memorised for Harper.
There was no dial tone; the phone immediately diverted to voicemail.
‘That can’t be good.’
‘Well, not for you it isn’t,’ replied Harper as she strode into the office with a handgun levelled at Danvers’ head.
‘What are you doing?’
‘That’s a slightly stereotypical response, I think. So, I’ll reply in kind. What does it look like I’m doing? Obviously, I’m brandishing a weapon, and at the moment, it’s aimed at your head.’
. . . To be continued . . .