In a world made of black and white, a girl and a boy see all the colors.
The Addby Court House was packed with people when I arrived. The trial was just about to begin and the tension in the room was at an all-time high. These kinds of cases weren't unusual in this city but they were always anticipated. The crowds always enjoyed a little blood.
I sneaked past white suits and black dresses and gray people, finding my usual spot at the edge of the court room. I had been here enough to know exactly where to get the best view. Even with the bobbing heads and restless chatter, I could clearly see the judge, jury, lawyers, and soon suspect.
The judge slammed his gavel and his booming voice echoed over the crowd. Voices could still be heard whispering incessantly but by now it was a known fact that it was impossible to quiet the masses. The judge went on with a bored look on his sagging face.
"The trial will now begin." He droned. "Bring in the prisoner."
A side door that was barely noticeable opened and in came the suspect with two guards leading him. The court room burst out into frantic noise. This was the first time anyone had seen the so called traitor and he was exactly what the people expected.
The prisoner could only be described as dark. Everything was dark around here but this man was all shadows and sharp edges. He could barely even be called a man, he looked about 18. Close enough to my age that shivers ran down my spine.
The guards led him to his seat which was surrounded by blocks and dull things. Charms used to block off the prisoner's magic. He sneered at them as if they were children's toys.
"James Harper, you are accused of treason by way of being a Daydreamer." The judge said when the prisoner had settled. "How do you plead to these charges?"
The prisoner peered up at the judge, his eyes peeking out through his dark hair. He gave a wicked smile that sent the crowd into silent chaos.
"Guilty, your honor." He replied. His voice was like ice and I imagined his eyes were too. In a world without color, it was easy to assume.
"We'll start with the prosecution then." The judge smirked, looking much too proud of himself. As if Harper wasn't willingly giving himself up.
A prim woman with a neat bun stood from the prosecution table. She had a sharp look about her and I imagined her nails to be red. A deep red that made men intimidated.
"I'd like to call our first witness. Benjie McKinnon, would you please come to the stand."
A dirty bearded man stood from the crowd and began migrating forward. Everyone around him scrunched their noses and whispered to their companions with looks of disgust on their faces. McKinnon didn't seem to notice, just pulled his knit hat from his head and took a seat beside the judge.
"Mr. McKinnon." The prosecutor began, pacing the floor with precision that made it seem like she was taking up the entire room. "How do you know the prisoner?"
"I didn't know James well." The man said with an earnest look. His voice was rough and it made me think of rocks grinding together. "I live on the streets, you know and James would walk by every morning and strike up a conversation. He seemed nice enough."
"What made you realize that he was a Daydreamer?" The prosecutor continued, glancing at Harper who looked thoroughly bored.
"He had a lot of money for a start. He would flip me coins most mornings like it was nothing. Buying me food and whatnot. I never thought anything of it until he mentioned the colors."
It was a fatal mistake. So was the money. After countless years of murder, Daydreamers had learned to steer clear of anyone that wasn't their own kind. Accusations could be thrown at the drop of a hat and trials like these weren't easily won.
"What exactly did Mr. Harper say about the colors?"
The crowd buzzed with excitement and McKinnon suddenly looked miserable. He turned to Harper and something flickered in his eyes. It wasn't hurt but that was the closest word I could use. McKinnon coughed a bit before continuing.
"He said that he wished I could see them. He didn't come right out and say he was but it was obvious. He trusted me not to tell." McKinnon wiped at his smudged face. "I'm sorry, Jamie."
"That's enough." The judge interrupted sharply. "Next witness to the stand."
McKinnon was led out by another set of guards and another witness surged through the crowd. This time it was woman in her 20's, clad in a tight dress and thin heels. Even with color, her outfit would have been a stark black. She had a vicious look in her eyes.
"Miss Chapelle, when did you first meet the prisoner?" The prosecutor asked. Chapelle glared daggers at Harper before answering with a slight accent that would probably be considered cute.
"I met him at the Midnight Club in Paris. I was with a...friend when he caught my eye." Mutters surfaced at the word friend but Chapelle didn't seem to notice.
"Of course I had business to attend to so I ignored him but later in the night he appeared out of nowhere and offered to buy me a drink. Being the proper lady I am, I accepted politely. I'm used to young men vying for my affections through alcohol."
This woman really didn't hold back. Even the judge flushed a bit at her words and it seemed that she was putting on more of a show than a testimony. The prosecutor gestured for her to go on.
"We started talking and suddenly we couldn't stop. He had sucked me in with his smooths words and looks. I've never been one to fall in love easily but James made anything seem possible. He was something like a dream."
The tension seemed to burst then and the court room broke into shouts and insults. Chapelle smirked with full lips and long lashes and it took much longer to settle the room than it should have. She was playing a dirty game and I suspected that she wasn't against lying to get what she wanted.
"Do you have a point, Miss Chapelle?" The judge asked once the room had been hushed.
"My point is that no one has swayed me like James Harper did." Chapelle said with a hint of disgust in her voice. "And from what I can tell, it must be the work of a Daydreamer."
I kept my face neutral but inside I was raging. Daydreamers couldn't compel others and everyone knew it. It made me sick to think that these people were so thirsty for blood that they would lie to themselves just to have another head on a stake.
"Our last witness." The prosecutor said as an angry looking man took Chapelle's seat. "The prisoner's father."
Harper finally looked up then, his eyes full of horror. The man had a gruff look to him like he had seen far too much and it had fractured him. His eyes were like a dull blade and he was more colorless than the rest. It was like he was a black hole, sucking even the darkest shades into himself.
"When did you find out that your son was a Daydreamer, Mr. Harper?"
"Not my son." He growled before the prosecutor even finished her sentence. A hush fell over the court instantly and all eyes fell on Mr. Harper. Except for mine which were seeking out his son. Harper was staring at his father like he was being faced by a ghost.
"I discovered this traitor was a Daydreamer a few months ago. I hadn't seen or talked to him in over a decade due to certain circumstances," I noticed Harper shudder. "And I hadn't planned on thinking of him ever again. But I received news of a Daydreamer roaming our streets and I couldn't leave the citizens of London in danger."
"Please elaborate on what your job is, Mr. Harper." The prosecutor said with a hungry look in her eye.
"I'm a private agent for the London police department." Gasps came from the crowd and Harper closed his eyes.
"Were you aware that the Daydreamer was the prisoner sitting before you?"
Mr. Harper gave his son a withering look. "I didn't until I caught up to him. My team and I had been doing research for days and had finally got a lead. We found him in a dark alley doing who knows what. We assumed drugs.
"With my team, I followed him through the streets until he stopped for the night at a well-known Daydreamer hideout. Most had thought that it was out of use but apparently not. That's where we found him when we arrested him."
"That'll be all."
This trial was going downhill fast. I had been to my fair share of Daydreamer cases and not one of them had had a happy ending but this was just unfair. I searched for Harper's lawyer for a bit of false hope but the defense table was unoccupied.
"We'll hear from the defense now." The judge said as if it wasn't obvious that there was none. There used to be a time when this kind of thing wouldn't pass but nowadays the justice system was less about justice and more about blood.
"If there's no defense, we'll take a short recess and announce the verdict afterwards."
The court room emptied out and filled back up, new people and old filing in and out. Harper remained in his seat all the while, watching on with blank eyes. Sometimes it was hard to believe that so many colors could come from such a normal mind. That's why Daydreamers were so dangerous, of course.
I was still in my spot against the far wall when he caught my eye. There were only five minutes left until the verdict was called and the room was the emptiest it had been. There was no one in front of me or beside me or even near me which meant I was what he was gazing at like I was a painting in a museum.
Daydreamers couldn't sense each other despite popular belief. There was no signal or sign that gave it away. No secret mind messages that could be passed between us. It was mostly instinct. And colors. It was easy to see another Daydreamer's colors if you shifted your mind just the right way.
Harper was all blues and greens. Cool colors that made me think of winter and water and cold. Surrounded by greys and blacks, he was the brightest thing in the room. His lips pulled into a smile as sharp as a knife and I raised an eyebrow in return. He knew exactly why I was there.
The judge called the court back to order and the room was filled once again. Harper was led up to the stand and the entire court held their breath. It was obvious what the outcome would be but pretending that it was a mystery was the fun part.
"James Harper, you are accused of treason by way of being a Daydreamer and you plead guilty to these charges, correct?"
"You're quite right, your honor." Harper replied with a grin. He was a horrible sight standing in the well-kept court room with his too long hair and jangling chains. He was a disaster that had already reigned.
"The Addby Court House of London, England finds you guilty of treason against the royal crown. You are sentenced to death by way of Devil's Tongue at midnight tonight."
The judge slammed his gavel with a flourish and the court dispersed with cheers and applause. I stayed in my spot for a moment longer, waiting for the exit to clear. I watched the judge sip from a flask that he thought no one could see and the guards jeer at the thought of another dead Daydreamer. I saw Miss Chapelle conversing with a rich couple that looked to be on the edge of disgust and awe and Mr. Harper gazing at the ceiling with the same irritated look on his face.
Harper was starting to be dragged back through the door he came from when he glanced back. His eyes didn't even need to wander to find me. He knew right where I was. I only had to shift my mind a touch to see the colors. His lucid blue eyes and dirty purple t-shirt. The aura around him made of snow and ice. Our eyes met for only a few seconds but it felt like hours.
I was going to save James Harper. I had only met him in stories and dusty files but I was going to save him because that's what I did. While the black and white people in their black and white world kept thinking that they were on top, the daydreamers lurked in the colors, striking without a trace. We might never rule the world but we would always have our colors.