After a long winter hiatus, I’ve started back writing. I left a lot of work on the back burner, stories that called out to me on those dark nights, when the world seemed cold and lonely. They yelled at me in the middle of the night to finished them, but I didn’t have the mental or the physical energy to seat in front of my computer and craft their tells. Now, that things have gotten to some normalcy in my life, I have started to get back into the flow of putting my butt in a chair and write. But what to write, there are so many voices, so many stories, that call out to be written. However, one of the voices screaming the loudest on those cold winter evenings, is my Daughters of Dahomey Series.
The Guards didn’t shackle Brooks today, as they led her into the court room, but she noticed the armed guards at each exit, and the one standing beside the bench. They waited until she sat before taking their positions on either side of her chair.
Brooks had sat at the defendant’s table patient, proud and purposeful, throughout the proceedings, no longer scared or remorseful. However, today she will learn her faith. She couldn’t deny she had butterflies.
They had charged her with insubordination, misconduct unbecoming an officer and other offences injurious to military discipline that constitute violations of military law. In essences, they were throwing the book at her. A conviction would have her spending a life sentence in a military prison.
Her military advocate was Major Lexis Rhodes; she represented all twenty women charged in this case. Advised not to take this on, by peers and others, who told Rhodes this would end her promising career with the military. Nevertheless, once Rhodes heard the women stories, she hadn’t back down, not once. Not even after all the threats and the likelihood they’ll eventually charged her with insubordination. She’s a courageous woman, Brooks thought, she hadn’t turned her back on us.
Rhodes had argued, masterfully on Brooks’ behalf, for nearly two weeks on her sovereign to act in this matter. She had complied files of military evidence, where others have acted in this same code of military conduct, and they were label heroes. Nonetheless, the Judges hadn’t admitted most of the evidence. It left Rhodes scrabbling to make her case.
Brooks stared at the panel of male Judges who held her faith. They were Colonials in the Army, men of power who hadn’t seen the face of the enemy up close and personal. But who can, so easily ask the young and poor to give their lives for a country that considers them pawns on a world chess board.
Brooks sat impassive, while she watched them read the small folded paper, not one looked in her direction, before passing it down the line.
She wasn’t naïve to think that she’d be exoneration.
The military protected their own, conversely, she was not a Captain in the Army today; she was just a woman who defied orders
Copyright © 2013 Glynis Rankin