Home Cabin Staircase Promise

Meeting re: Cathy Evans

“Charles Redding raped me and I want to kill him.”

Michael Hammersmith watched as the newest client of Extreme Arbitration made a great effort to keep herself under control. Her hands gripped each other in her lap, her lips were pressed into a thin line, her breathing was fast and shallow, and her hunched shoulders made her body look tense and barely controlled. Her eyes, although opened too wide, never wavered from Hammersmith's.

The tension radiating from Cathy Evans fought against an office designed to soothe and relax clients. The dark wood paneling, law books standing at attention on wooden shelves, and two leather club chairs in front of a large mahogany desk were meant to reduce stress by looking like a TV lawyer’s office. Highly polished, the expansive top of the desk held only a laptop, a piece of paper, and a banker’s lamp with a green shade that pooled subdued light to the right of Hammersmith. Even his dark suit, white shirt, and red-striped tie were worn to help reassure clients.

“Chief Frank said you’d help me get, um, peace of mind.”

Hammersmith nodded, not surprised Frank sent her to him. He had been helpful in the past, and even covered for Hammersmith on the rare occasion his work was questioned by authorities. They had met five years earlier.

He pushed himself back to this case. “Rape is not a capital crime. Murder in this instance is, excuse the play on words, overkill. Unless he raped you as a child. That usually involves a different level of extreme resolution.”

Cathy shook her head and her long, straight, dark blond hair swayed under her face. “He kidnapped me, chained me up in his cabin, and raped me twice a day for two weeks. The two weeks of my vacation planned for a trip to New York so no one knew I was missing and kidnapped and being sexually tortured.”