“Miss McBride, in all my years of representing clients whom other less well attuned legal brains would turn down as unwinnable, I have never come across one single case I could not win.” He pursed his lips. “Until now that is. Do you honestly think citing a…” He cleared his throat. “And, I’m quoting your expert witness Professor Romero here. ‘A virus that renders people incapable of rational thought and gives them an uncontrollable compulsion to consume human flesh, especially human brains,’ is going to assist your boyfriend in his defence after he was caught by two police officers, standing over the lifeless body of his friend, clutching a baseball bat soaked in the blood and chunks of brain matter from the deceased who was later found to have died from multiple brain injuries consistent with several blows to the head from a baseball bat?”
“Yes,” I said. “It’s the truth.”
Charles Benson, who had so many letters after his name it was like a game of Scrabble, eyed me like I was the last lunatic left in an asylum. “Did one of my learned colleagues put you up to this?” His eyes swept the room. “Are there hidden cameras? Is this some TV prank show?”
His reaction was hardly a new one. I’d encountered similar reactions from other barristers who were convinced I was delusional. “No,” I said, defiant, “this isn’t a prank. This is real.”
He raised his chin. The gesture reminded me of a haughty child.
“Well, in that case Miss McBride, I can’t help you. It’s a psychiatrist you need, not a man of law.”
Condescension seeped from his every word.
It was hard to hide my disappointment. I’d been sure he was the one man who could help us and argue that Scott had acted in self-defence. His friend, Archie was trying to eat him.
“I’m sorry to hear that, Mr Benson.” And I was genuinely sorry. If he couldn’t help Scott in this way he’d have to help him in another.
“I honestly thought someone of your calibre who’d successfully argued that a man wasn’t guilty of murdering his wife because he mistook her for a lion, would have a more open mind.” I paused to eye him with disdain. “Perhaps you could speak to Scott and explain why you won’t help him. He’s a teacher and a well-respected pillar of this community just like you. It’ll only take a minute. He’s outside.”
Charles Benson’s face went pumice grey. “No, I’m sorry, I don’t have the time. My next client will be here.”
I stood up and walked over to the door. “Well, in that case our business is over, Mr Benson. But there’s one last thing you can help me with.”
With a nod of the head, I opened the door. “I think you should meet Scott anyway, so you’ll understand. You see, in the attack he was bitten. More like a scrape caused by teeth sliding against his skin really. He didn’t turn as quickly as they do in the movies or in The Walking Dead.”
I gave a wry smile. “Well, things are seldom as they are in the movies.”
Scott shambled into the room, feral eyes glowing as he saw his prey. His nails were ragged and torn and bloody from eating the two prison guards on the way over and the secretary outside.
Charles Benson’s eyes were wide with terror. “You better leave now, or I’m calling the police.”
His words were strangled.
As Scott pinned him to the desk and sunk decaying teeth into his fat flesh, I couldn’t resist one last parting shot.
“Do you believe me now, Mr Benson?”
He was unable to answer. Scott had ripped out his throat – the blood that spurted out of the arrogant lawyer’s veins reminded me of raspberry sauce on an ice cream cone. Blood is never as red as you think, not when you get used to it.
Scott devoured the lips, then the nose, followed by the brain. The intestines he gorged on like cheesy string. Benson’s fingers he wolfed down like hot dogs.
Once he was done, he licked the blood and flesh from his teeth.
I wagged a finger at him. “Christ, Scott, we’re gonna run out of lawyers soon.”
Scott drooled. “HUNGRY. BRAINS.”
My face softened. “Okay, but we need to tidy up this office and go. We have more legal brains we need to pick.”
Bio : When Jenny Thomson‘s not planning how to survive the zombie apocalypse (she wrote a fictionalised version called Dead Bastards set in Scotland) she lives on a Scottish island where she writes about tough women for the Die Hard for Girls series of books. Real women don’t take any crap, so why should women in fiction?
How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks about a one-legged Glasgow barmaid on the run from a gangster after killing one of his goons, will be published by Snubnose Press.