In this portion of The Posture of Innocence, Lilith DeVille, the woman whose lies allowed the murderer of John Soames to go free for 25 years in her quest to get a Black man killed for that crime, tries to manipulate Commissioner Scott but ends up encountering Captain Lee, and then does something REALLY, REALLY stupid ...
To get totally caught up on The Posture of Innocence, here are the prologue, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 3.5, day 4, day 4.5, day 5, day 5.5, day 6, day 7, and day 7.5, day 8, day 9, day 9.5, day 10, day 10.5, day 11, day 11.5, day 12, day 12.5, day 13, day 13.5, day 14, day 15, day 16, day 16.5, and day 17!
Commissioner Scott had been talking quietly with Mrs. DeVille about the two DeVille boys in jail downstairs, looking at the grandmother's photographs and wondering how those pictures compared to their mugshots, and at last smiled gently as he heard Captain Lee's step approaching.
“Excuse me a moment, Mrs. DeVille – my secretary has just gone home – come in! Oh, good afternoon, Captain Lee!”
Mrs. DeVille froze in momentary terror, a terror that turned into rage as she realized that Commissioner Scott had set her up.
“Mrs. Lilith DeVille, you are hereby under arrest, on the charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and of giving false statements to the police, relative to the Soames case. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
Commissioner Scott marveled at how calmly and beautifully – almost mesmerizingly – Captain Lee delivered the Miranda speech. It did not sound threatening at all, as if he was inviting the person he was arresting to just take a little evening walk. The commissioner got a little too comfortable, so that he missed his grip on Mrs. DeVille as she picked up his nameplate and flung it at Captain Lee, who ducked, and went backward in tactical retreat as the shrieking woman picked up her entire chair and flung it at him.
Demoniac – there was almost no other way to describe the transformation of Mrs. DeVille in her rage, as what was inside of her burst the bonds of her sweet old lady façade and came to the surface, with red face and bulging eyes and unbelievably foul mouth and strength almost unthinkable – but she was a large woman, and not so old – as she went after the man who had forced her lie into the public eye. Still, Commissioner Scott got around the desk thinking about the welfare of Mrs. DeVille, who knew not that she was pursuing the Angel of Death...
It only took ten seconds from beginning to the nail-biting part. Mrs. DeVille kept throwing large objects – at Commissioner Scott behind her to slow him down, and then at Captain Lee with the intent to kill him. Officers were running up from lower floors, guns drawn because of the sound when Captain Lee backed out to the top of the stairs as Mrs. DeVille ran at him, nails and fingers arched, to slash him and push him right over – only for him to duck all the way down, and for Mrs. DeVille's forward motion to carry her up and right over the rail! Her scream lasted longer than one would expect, however, and there was no sickening smack of her hitting the floor, four floors down. Captain Lee had reached up and caught her by the leg, leaving her to view what she could have dropped to.
Time passed. Everybody had frozen. Innately, everyone knew Captain Lee was more than capable of dropping Mrs. DeVille and never thinking twice about it – at her size, and the way she was twisting and screaming, it would have been so easy for her to slip through his hands. There would be no accountability for it, either … in the same way nobody had bothered Lilith DeVille for 25 years. Yet she had met her match, for a White male named Lee, in the Virginia she wanted to see return to life, could do anything to anyone he wanted, without accountability. She just never expected to be the victim of the fact.
No one at the station was ready to confront the old realities either ... as the seconds passed and no one could find their voice, the tension rose to nail-biting levels as Mrs. DeVille screamed and screamed, held far enough out so that no one could save her ... .
However, Captain Lee deplored the old legacy, and his voice, ever so quiet, echoed down the stairwell after Mrs. DeVille stopped screaming... .
“ … You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you ... .”
Mrs. DeVille would cry for real later, but she was stunned into silence by that time, and her expression was one of awe and terror as she was at last pulled up by Captain Lee into the waiting arms of two more officers. Those who knew all that had happened in that building since the Gilligan House Burning knew why she was like that … she had seen the Angel of Death face to face, and felt the touch of his hand … and lived, for he had spared her.
Yet Captain Lee was not thinking of mercy, but judgment, in the full heat of his anger. Later, he would make his thoughts known to his cousin, Captain Ironwood Hamilton:
“Let her die – and escape the full humiliation of her deeds where the victims of her crimes might see and know there is yet justice in the earth? Escape the full public reckoning for the wicked, ravening soul she revealed this day? Never! Let it be known far and wide, what wickedness has destroyed all semblance of justice and right and trust in our land – let it be known what lies behind the polite veneer of such people!”