Disclaimer: I don't own Psych, To Kill a Mockingbird or Willy Wonka.
A/N: Thanks for all of the reviews! The chapters are going to become a bit shorter for a little while now, dropping to about 3K words, which is still pretty long. And this one is almost purely whump, so that should make up for being slightly shorter. :) WARNING: There is some pretty intense violence in this chapter. As always, see extended A/N and anonymous review replies at the end of the chapter. Enjoy; please review!
The Finch and the Mockingbird
Chapter Six: Heigh-Ho, the Derry-o, the Murder of O'Dell
When Aaron said the name O'Dell, everything started coming together. At the mention of the name, a conversation Shawn had had with his dad years ago, a conversation that had been lost in the never-ending clutter that was his eidetic memory, was brought back to the surface.
"In this case, I don't believe that he was the 'bad guy,'" Henry responded shortly. "The evidence was circumstantial, the guy's lawyer was crap, the prosecuting lawyer was full of crap, but he sure knew how to work the court to his advantage."
"How do you know he was innocent?"
"I don't know, Shawn, because the other suspect – Herman O'Dell, who we believe actually did it – is ridiculously rich and powerful, has no real evidence against them, and the defense's lead witness is conveniently dead. But I – not to mention, over half of the guys at the station – feel that the evidence isn't nearly enough to condemn a man to 35 years, parole in 25. But the fact of the matter was that what evidence we had was enough, especially coupled with my testimony–"
"Oh," Shawn said, blinking. "Of course. Herman O'Dell. He's super-rich, a businessman, share-owner, tycoon, czar or something."
"There are no czars in America."
"That you know of. I've heard the conspiracy theories."
Aaron gave Shawn a look that made the fake psychic afraid that his babbling and rabbit-trailing was going to earn him another punch to the gut, but the man didn't move and Shawn was relieved.
Shawn continued, "My dad was the lead witness in that case. That's why you're after him. Me. Us."
"The judge was an old coot who died of natural causes before I had completed my first decade in jail," Aaron said bitterly, "and the prosecuting lawyer is practicing halfway across the globe. But if it hadn't been for Henry Spencer," he said the name like it tasted vile in his mouth, "their case probably wouldn't have been strong enough to sentence me. He might as well have put me in cuffs and thrown me into the cell himself."
"He thought you were innocent, and so did like half of the police force," Shawn said softly, fighting off another stab of pain. "But there was nothing he could do about it. The court made a ruling. He told what he saw. Nothing more, nothing less. He just did what he had to, and he beat himself up about your sentence for days. He knew that O'Dell was the real killer, but the wrong person was sentenced, and once the case was closed, there was nothing he could do about it, no matter how much he wanted to. It wasn't his fault." Shawn's voice got weaker the longer he spoke. The pain in his head, limbs, and abdomen was making his ears buzz now. Every so often, a dark spot would blink across his vision. He was so dizzy, and the longer he hung there, the worse it got. He thought he might pass out any second.
Aaron didn't seem to notice or care in the slightest that his prisoner's condition seemed to be slowly deteriorating. "No, the fact that your father believed that I was innocent and still testified against me makes it worse."
"He didn't–" Shawn began, but Aaron angrily strode forward, and Shawn flinched, but the man didn't go for Shawn; this time, he veered toward the crumpled form of O'Dell who had collapsed a few feet in front of him.
"Yes, he did. He told what he saw, or thought he saw, which may of looked suspicious, but he knew the true story, and if he was so sure I didn't do it, he should have fought harder. Said anything to convince the judge and the jury of the truth." As he was speaking, Aaron shrugged off his backpack from his shoulders and dropped it onto the ground in front of the cowering O'Dell. "And he's going to pay for taking my life away from me.
"He beat himself up for days about it, did he? I wasn't built for prison. I was beaten up for years, physically abused, before I finally became stronger and accustomed to the environment. Federal prison is a world within itself, Shawn, a war-zone, and I can't expect you to understand what it was like. I went in weak and under the delusion that I'd be safe because I didn't do anything to deserve being there. It took me years to get to where I am now. But when I left the system, I commanded respect and fear from the most fearsome of lowlifes. And now, I am going to make your father pay, make him respect and fear me."
"By killing me?" Shawn asked. "Come on, you're above that, man."
"Am I?" Aaron said darkly. "It's poetic, really. Not simple revenge at all. Poetic justice. You see, I gained way more material for my research about Harper Lee's masterpiece in prison than I could have imagined through my incarceration. And I realized something profound. The symbolism of killing a mockingbird – of taking the life of hurting or destroying something harmless – is the story of me. The story of your father. And, because I'm re-writing the story for myself, my way, it's the story of you now, too. And your part is far from over."
Shawn didn't like the sound of that.
Aaron unzipped the backpack and pulled out a shiny black pistol. Shawn's heart hammered in his chest. The guy had been terrifying enough without a weapon, but now...
O'Dell whimpered pathetically behind his gag from his place on the floor. Even though Shawn now knew that the old man was a sleazy murderer and thief – some of the stories he'd heard throughout the years about the things this rich tycoon had gotten away with filtered through his mind, resurfacing from his memories after all this time, and they weren't pretty – he still felt pity for the guy. He was kind of sad, really, and it was almost hard to believe that the sniveling captive cowering at the feet of Aaron Stevens was a cold-blooded killer himself... almost.
"Come on, man, think about this," Shawn pleaded.
Aaron shook his head. "I don't think you understand, Shawn. Your father killed a mockingbird when he got me sent to prison because of his testimony. I was Tom Robinson, the innocent man caught in the crossfire. The court system, your father, was Bob Ewell and his slut daughter. But thanks to Detective Spencer and his enlightening testimony, the tides have turned. The roles have changed. I'm the new Ewell, and your father's playing the role of Finch. He made me into what I am today. And I'm killing a mockingbird, Shawn. You're my mockingbird, just like Jem and Scout were Ewell's, just like I was your father's."
"You do realize I've never even cracked the cover of this book," Shawn said dryly, trying not to think about the awful implications of Aaron's crazed speech.
"Doesn't matter. For all intents and purposes, you're in it now. You'll find out what happens soon enough."
He pointed the gun at O'Dell's head. The man stilled, eyes wide and terrified.
"Come on, Aaron. I know you're angry. Who wouldn't be? But no matter what this guy's done, you can't just kill him in cold blood."
"I'm not going to," said Aaron. O'Dell looked up, a tiny ray of hope in his miserable eyes.
"You're not?" Shawn asked shakily. His vision was dancing; he was light-headed.
"Nope. You are."
The gun went off with a resounding crack, and O'Dell flopped bonelessly to the floor, a perfect round hole in the center of his forehead. Dead before he hit the ground.
Shawn surged against his bonds instinctively, yelling his protests at having seen a man, no matter how awful of a man, murdered right in front of him. But the deed was done, and the struggling and shouting only made things worse for Shawn and his dizziness and pain.
"You may not have pulled the trigger, Shawn, but in the eyes of the law, you will have killed this pathetic bastard. Your fingerprints are going to be on the weapon. His blood will be on your hands. All circumstantial evidence will point to you."
Shawn was confused. "So... what? You're going to try to get me thrown in jail?"
"No, we're having our own private court session," Aaron said ominously, and he gestured around the room. "You didn't think I went through all this trouble making my building into a courtroom for nothing, did you? When your father joins us, he's going to be the jury. I'm going to be the judge. You're going to be the accused. And your father is going to condemn you based on the evidence, and then I will sentence you and carry out that sentence while your father watches on, helpless. It's the perfect plan. Poetic justice."
He shoved his hand into his pocket and pulled out a rag. He wiped the gun down thoroughly, then went back over to Shawn on the platform. As tall as he was, he actually had to stand on his tiptoes to reach Shawn's hands suspended above him. Shawn tried to struggle, but he barely even felt it when the lunatic pressed the gun into his right hand. That couldn't be a good sign. The man then placed the gun on the judge's podium and went back over to O'Dell, dabbing at the surprisingly small amount of blood that had pooled around the hole in his head with the cloth he'd used to hold the gun.
Aaron went back over to Shawn, who felt distinctly ill as the man's blood was smeared on his hand. "Please," Shawn said, his pride finally receding somewhat behind his desperation to live. He knew without a doubt that if this loony went through with his plan, he wasn't going to make it through.
The giant of a man didn't respond, only walked back to the judge's podium and picked up the large metal gavel that Shawn had confusedly noted in his earlier scan of the room. His stomach twisted as Aaron smiled and approached Shawn at the 'witness stand.' "Okay, Baby Bird," he said, "I've got a promise to keep to Mr. Finch."
Shawn looked warily at the gavel clutched tightly in Aaron's white-knuckled fist. He'd withdrawn a cheap, pre-paid, thereby disposable and untraceable, cell phone from his pocket with his other hand. Black and white spots flitted across Shawn's vision as he watched. He found himself actually wanting to pass out, because whatever Aaron had in mind for him was not going to be pleasant.
"I think I'm going to enjoy this," Aaron stated.
"You're crazy, you know that, right?" Shawn snapped, realizing before the words left his mouth that he should have swallowed them instead of letting them go.
Aaron's eyes flashed dangerously. "And your incessant rudeness and big mouth are exactly the reasons why," he growled.
He flipped open the cell phone and quickly dialed a number. "Not a word until I give you permission, and even then, you don't breathe a word of who I am. I want it to be a surprise," Aaron hissed as his finger hovered over the SEND button. "I may not be done with you yet, but I will have absolutely no qualms about shooting you in your kneecaps." Shawn swallowed hard.
Aaron hit the button.
Shawn could hear the phone ringing on the other end. He had a very bad feeling that he knew who was going to be on the other line.
His suspicions were confirmed when he heard a gruff, tired voice answer on the other end, and Aaron was close enough that Shawn could hear everything his father said (but it was most likely more to do with the fact that most of his dad's "talking" was "yelling").
"What?" snapped Henry Spencer's voice.
"Henry, Henry, Henry," Aaron simpered. "Quite the temper, I see."
A beat. "Who is this? Where's my son?"
"Still haven't figured it out yet, old man? Getting soft in your old age, huh? Pity. Your idiot son has already got it all figured out."
Henry snapped, his voice so loud that it almost made Shawn jump in surprise. "WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE TO SHAWN?! I swear, if you've hurt one hair on his head—"
"Temper, Henry," Aaron said dryly.
"Don't you dare—"
"If you want to talk to your boy, you need to calm down, Henry. Shawn's under enough stress as it is. He doesn't need you giving him anything else to worry about. Trust me."
Shawn could almost feel his father's anger waves bleeding through the phone's speaker, but Henry managed to say, in a much softer but no less angry tone, "Let me talk to him."
"Sure thing," Aaron said agreeably, malice easily detectable in his voice. "I'm going to put you on speaker phone." He hit the button and sat the phone on the platform near Shawn's feet, then stepped back slightly to observe.
"Shawn? Shawn, are you all right? Talk to me, son!"
His dad's voice, no longer angry, but just worried and nearly desperate, just about brought tears to Shawn's eyes. "Dad," he slurred, his head throbbing in time with his heart. He didn't even know how he'd managed to stay alert this long, but his head injury and strain from his position were really taking a toll on him. Everything was spinning.
"Shawn. How are you? Are you hurt?"
Shawn lied, "Nah. You know me. Tough as nails." The statement was belittled by a stifled gasp of pain as his shoulders once again violently protested their brutal treatment. Shawn wondered distantly if his arms would be several inches longer if he ever got out of this. He'd be like that stretchy kid from Willy Wonka.
Shawn closed his eyes and let his dad's anxious voice wash over him. "I assume you can't tell me who abducted you?"
Shawn gave a weak chuckle, still keeping his eyes closed. His swimming vision had really been making him dizzy. His head hurt. "My kneecaps say no, I can't."
Henry was obviously confused. "We're gonna find you kid," he assured his son. "We're not going to stop 'til you're back home. Just hang in there, Shawn."
Shawn actually laughed loudly this time, despite the fact that the action hurt his aching gut and ribs, the irony striking him as more hilarious than it probably should have. "On it, Pops." He sucked in a deep breath before speaking again. It was getting harder and harder to breathe in this position, and nearly impossible to hold his head up. "You at the Psych office?" He didn't really care where his father was at this point, other than on his trail, but he thought he sounded woozy and incoherent enough that he could slip in a clue without drawing too much suspicion from Aaron. If Mrs. Moore had gone by the Psych office like she'd promised and hopefully left the paper, or even a note or message for Shawn, then they might be a step closer to finding him.
Before Henry could answer, Aaron, who had been standing quietly to the side during the exchange, now spoke up. Shawn's eyes snapped open at the sudden change of pace. "Okay, that's enough catch-up. Henry, I have a promise to keep. I assume you got my poem?"
Poem? Shawn had no idea what Aaron was talking about, but when his dad responded, his voice was deadly quiet, dead serious. "Leave him alone, you bastard! Whoever you are, whatever I put you away for, your problem is with me, not my son!"
Whatever this promise was, it couldn't be good, Shawn decided.
"This is your doing, Henry," said Aaron. The blood drained out of Shawn's face as he watched the man grip the gavel – it was more of a giant hammer or a mallet, really, now that Shawn thought about it – with both hands and hold it back over his shoulder like he was getting ready to hit a home run.
Shawn struggled weakly and vainly, only managing to send more pain slicing through his arms and shoulders. "No," he said hoarsely. Just pass out, pass out...
But even though his body had been threatening to send him into unconsciousness for what seemed like hours, now blissful unawareness wasn't coming and he was forced to face this head-on. He tried one more time to dissuade his increasingly violent captor, desperation and pain clouding his better senses. "Aaron, man, you're better than this."
"Leave him alone!" Henry roared again.
"I told you," Aaron growled at Shawn, who suddenly realized his terrible mistake in calling his kidnapper by name. "No names." He swung the gavel back even further, then let loose with all of his strength. Shawn clenched his eyes shut a second before the mallet hit. Moments later, his world fell apart as the heavy metal slammed violently into his left forearm. He screamed, and the sound was more animal than human. Bones snapped, something sharp pierced his skin, and all-consuming pain filled every inch of his body, setting his nerve endings on fire, and his arm was the central hub.
He pitched forward, no longer able to hold up his broken arm, and all of his weight was suddenly on his right arm with his left one slumping limply in its bonds. If he had been coherent enough, he would have felt his right shoulder joint giving just a bit at the sudden added weight as his feet lost their purchase on the platform and he hung there. The rope around his left wrist had given a bit with the hit, which was actually a good thing – if the rope had stayed taut, his broken limb would be stretched grotesquely beyond its limits as well, not that all the weight on one dislocated shoulder was that much better, and at the moment, Shawn could care less that he'd been spared a bit (or even a lot) more pain; he didn't think there was such a thing as more pain than this, anyway. He'd never, ever hurt this badly in his entire existence. Ever.
He tried to contain his agony, but he was in a world all of its own, populated only by fire, fury, and debilitating, unadulterated painpainpain. The gavel hit once again, this time on his upper arm, near his shoulder, and again he screamed, voice hoarse, and something else in his arm cracked. He was completely oblivious to the sound of his father's yelling through the speaker phone. One more swing, this time to his right knee, and with a deafening crack and the most potent, concentrated blast of pain he'd felt yet, his world went startling white before thrusting him suddenly and thankfully into darkness.
Reply to Anonymous Reviewer:
To Hope:Thank you SO much for your amazing review and kind words! :D I'm so glad you're enjoying it, and I hope you continue to do so! :)
A/N: As you've probably noticed, my "Wednesday update" plan has gradually changed to Tuesday nights/afternoons, and I've decided to keep it that way. Tuesdays are some of the hardest days at work and I'd like to have something special to look forward to after getting back from work on Tuesdays, instead of updating on Wednesdays, when I have the day off. :)
So... things just got serious. While there was violence in this chapter, the gore was at the bare minimum, but it, too, will increase some in upcoming chapters, but like I said, I really don't think the violence or gore is M-rating worthy, brutal and disturbing as it is. *shudders* Poor Shawn. His poor arm... and knee... and shoulder... and... everything. Hope you enjoyed it! :D And for all of you hurt/comfort junkies like me, don't worry, we get Henry's POV for the whole conversation in the next chapter, and the whump, angst and h/c are far from over!
A billion thanks to everyone who reviewed chapter 5: thewarpedmind1, Hope, Leahelisabeth, PhantasmicFire323, ShamrockNinny, mushushy, Final Precipie, ChutneyMarie, Liberty Hoffman and Clara Brighet! You guys are AMAZING! And so is everyone who read, favorited, and followed! Thank you all so, so very much! :D
I'm really anxious for this next episode; I think it's the Nightmare on whatever street episode written by James Roday judging by the trailer, but I could be wrong. I just hope there aren't zombies in it like I think I might have read somewhere, or a some semblance of zombies. *shudders violently* I hate zombies. They're so... blech. Anyway... a Psupernatural episode, as they called it on the trailer... Maybe there will be some kind of "Psupernatural" Shawn whumpage. A girl can dream, can't she? ;)
Anyway, thanks again for all of your support, follows, favorites, and reviews! Please, please review! I hope you enjoyed; see you next week with chapter seven! :)