Excerpt From The Book

The Alford Plea


Speculative Biographical Fiction

Edwina Louise Dorch

Chapter 1

Murder One & Murder Two

(On Groundhog Day)

On a clear night on Groundhog Day, the full moon lit up a Madonna-and-Childlike scene. A cinnamon-colored young woman in a navy maxicoat and a navy burka sat on a travertine limestone bench in a boulevard meridian-park.

A toddler hung from a wool sling around the woman’s neck. The young woman’s head was downturned. Her eyes were locked in a loving gaze at the toddler, who looked up at its mother with doll’s eyes. Both mother and child had been shot in the head and both were dead.

Folks on the east and west sides of the street crossed to the median island and encircled the scene to get a better look. A few ventured to guess the name of the culprit, and those whispered his name discreetly, and out of the side of their mouths to the person standing next to them.

Suddenly, a slender, copper colored woman broke through the circle and stepped forward. Onlookers stared at her. The pale blue moonlight encircled her massive Afro. The woman seemed calm and composed. But then, she recognized the dead young woman. Her stride faltered, her mouth twisted, and she dropped to her knees and put her hand on the dead woman’s knee.

“Why?” the matron shrieked.

A brash young recruit, hoping to demonstrate his knowledge of police procedures, reached out to grab the grief-stricken woman by the arm to pull her away. But calmly, the chief stepped out of the circle of bystanders and with an unwavering arm, lifted her from her knees.

“Khadijah,” he said softly. Khadijah swayed, as if she was going to faint, but the chief wrapped his arms around her shoulders and held her up. She buried her head in the chief’s wool overcoat, and in the moonlight the two swayed silently side-to-side.

A red-tailed hawk flew overhead making a kee-eeeee screech. Khadijah’s abruptly straightened her spine and she lifted her tearstained face to the sky as if the screech was a signal from God. But, seeing only a hawk winging its way across the night sky, her hope dissipated, and her body deflated and sagged against the chief’s robust chest

More and more bystanders amassed along the sidewalk, and more and more police officers prevented them from crossing to the median island where the bodies were. The officers dressed in riot-gear carried batons and other more aggressive crowd-control measures — pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, smoke canisters, and stun grenades. An officer on horseback with a bullhorn repeatedly barked a dispersal order.

Ahmad, Khadijah’s son—a broad-chested, snake-hipped, tawny-colored young man with dozens of shoulder-length dreadlocks swinging around his face, parked his door-less, roof-less, safari-style Jeep. He jumped out, ran to where his mother Khadijah and the chief stood, gasped and put his fist to his mouth in horror. He backed away at the sight of his dead sister.

He stood still and his head drooped for a moment, but then, he ran to his jeep and swerved it into the middle lane of southbound traffic. He’d had to influence crowds before, and he grabbed a fifteen-inch bullhorn from his passenger seat,stood on the side-step of his jeep and yelled to onlookers.

Tell the police to protect and serve us.” The onlookers repeated Ahmad’s phrase.

“Protect and serve us!” they shouted.

A KCTV 5 reporter arrived with her cameraman. “Khadijah always comes to murder scenes like this one to provide comfort to those traumatized by such heinous crimes. But, sadly, tonight it was her daughter and granddaughter who were murdered,” the young reporter spoke into her microphone, as she and her camera man roamed through the not-yet-flowering wisteria trees on median island of the wide boulevard.

Spotting the TV news reporter, Ahmad jumped down from the driver’s sidestep of his Jeep and ran over to her.

“Put your mic down. Show some sympathy—some empathy—for my family. Feel something,” he said.

“Who killed your sister?” the reporter demanded ignoring his appeal for her to summon emotion.

“Ask Sergeant Sauron or Captain Mordore,”

Ahmad shouted, his eyes darting wildly back and forth. He ran back to the side-step of his Jeep, put the bullhorn to his mouth, and again prodded the gathering to chant:

“Protect and serve us!”

Surprised by the taunting nature of the chant, the chief sat Khadijah down on the concrete bench next to her daughter and granddaughter. She covered her face and eyes with both her hands. The chief walked to Ahmad’s car and offered his hand to him pleading.

“Ahmad, come down. Don’t provoke the officers. Come down, son,” the chief said. His fingers on his right hand beckoned for Ahmad to come to him. Reluctantly Ahmad stepped down from the running board of his jeep and although still troubled, he allowed the chief to put his arms around him.

“Let’s get your mother home,” the chief said and he and Ahmad walked to where his mother sat all alone and solemnly on the limestone bench. Ahmad lifted his mother in his arms, carried her to his Jeep, settled her in the front seat, and drove her a half-mile to her townhouse in The Village Shire housing complex.