She lay strewn across the clammy stones of her cell, naked, shivering, bathed in moonlight. Just beyond the shafts of pale light from the barred window, out of sight, came a ragged voice. Soft, almost weak, but housed in the silence of her solitude, it cut through her breast(more) like a jagged blade.
"When you say what you've come to say," the voice began, "speak slowly. Say no more than you must to satisfy your case. They will use every word against you. They are stringent, inflexible in their judgment of others. And rest assured, they want to condemn you. But this is a public hearing. The powers that be will not risk a public scandal in order to obtain a conviction. They must maintain the illusion of parity. And--"
Here, she thought she heard a raspy twinkle of laughter--
"And even if you go free, they believe they can control you. So say what you must. They can see into your heart, so they will know if you lie. But they cannot force their truth from you, in your truth is stronger. Say what you must. Say what you must, and leave. Then-- on your own time, on your own terms-- you can come back and kill them all."
Then it was quiet again. Still she lay strewn on the floor of her cell, shivering in the moonlight. But the emptiness behind her eyes was replaced by a steely focus. And her palm, resting on the clammy face of a cobblestone, curled slowly through the soil and grit, and tightened into a fist.(less)