Guilty Until Proven Innocent

“Shut up!” Indo shouted as he launched himself at Cot. He went down immediately, his back and pants instantly soaked from a deep puddle, while Indo swung his leg back and kicked him hard in the rib cage.

“Stop! I’ll shut up! Get off me!” Cot begged mercy as his sides locked up with pain, but Indo was angry. No one insulted his father, not to his face. He kicked him again. He wouldn’t let this kid get off easy. He knew the rules.

“My dad is not a murderer! If I hear you say that again, you won’t still be living!” After a third and final kick, Indo turned and stomped several feet away toward the end of the alley.”I’m sorry! I was just kidding!” Cot gasped, trying to get a hold on his screaming body. He was still lying in the puddle when Mrs. Kern turned the corner on the way the her apartment.

“God, Cot! Indo! Come back here!” Indo turned and caught a glimpse of Mrs. Kern. As soon as he realized who had called him, he jumped to a run and leapt over the chain-link fence at the end of the street. He wasn’t about to get in trouble again.

Mrs. Kern helped Cot sit up, and slowly brought him inside her apartment. Thankfully, her door was only about thirty feet past them on the first floor of the building. Once inside, she bombarded the boy with ice packs and various medical supplies, stripping off his shirt to reveal the awful black and purple skin below.

“What did you do to deserve this?” Mrs. Kern was in her late twenties, but she was considered one of the mother-hens of the neighborhood. She was willing to help anyone with their problems, without question. Someone like that was hard to find in this town, and Cot was lucky to have gotten beat up outside her door.

“I was only teasing him about his dad.”

“Geez, Cot! You should know better. It doesn’t make what Indo did right, but you can’t go around making fun of other people.”

“Well, I’ve learned that lesson, I suppose. I don’t even think he did it, I was just kidding.”

“I know. I don’t think his dad is guilty either. I knew him. But, there’s not much proof otherwise. It really can’t be fixed.”

“It’s difficult when all of the evidence suggests that he murdered his wife. I mean, she was left in their kitchen, with a knife through the heart. She was having an affair, but you can’t assume that means he killed her.”

“I know. But there wasn’t any signs of a break-in, no fingerprints, no anything. He didn’t have an alibi.”

“And that’s what makes it so hard. But, I thought Indo was over it.”

“Not at all, by the look of things. Having a dead mother and a father with a lifetime sentence is something that you don’t ‘get over.'”

This short story was written as a response from a prompt.
The instruction was to write a short story (under 1500 words)
based on a photo.

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