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The Letter of the Law

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Submitted by Grace Toussaint on September 14, 2010 – 07:04

Grace slowly climbed the stairs to her office, the dark night close around her. She had much to ponder and research….


The interview had revealed a few surprises and also confirmed a few of Grace’s own suspicions. She had a list of several people she hoped to interview, particularly one urchin called Bill. Grace had managed to procure a copy of Doctor Miggins’s autopsy report and apprised Mr. Underby of the results.

“What do you know of the nature of such creatures, Mr. Underby?” Grace had asked.

“A homunculus? It is an artificially-created thing, Miss Toussaint,” he had replied.


Alone in her office Grace bent over the dingy old book on her desk.

Murder is the most egregious of human crimes. It is defined as the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought, and with no legal excuse or authority.

Grace stared at the words “human being” and thought back to Underby’s cold description: “an artificially-created thing.” She shook her head and looked up to stare out the window at the dark, smudged sky. Though it went against her nature, she knew what she must do. She must follow the letter of the law and demand Mr. Underby’s release.

“Whatever Pip was, the law does not yet recognize him as a being to be protected. A man cannot be guilty of murder if there is no victim,” Grace muttered under her breath as the thoughts swirled in her head.

She stood up, took a quick turn about the room, then threw herself back into her chair and pulled a clean sheet of paper in front of her. The night passed quickly as she drafted her arguments.

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