A while since I’ve had any character backstories to post, but here is the story of Sunny Wright’s conviction and how it sets up his relationship with Perry, his older brother, in Emotion.
Any comments welcome.
Sunny Wright – Verdict
The jury is made up almost entirely of bonecrunchers, so Sunny Wright is not hopeful of a positive outcome. He is unsure what exactly gives them away – The leather shoes? A certain look about the eyes? Perry says it is the stench of death that follows them around, but Perry is full of shit much of the time. Whatever it is, Sunny like his older brother can spot a bonecruncher at ten paces.
There are ten on the jury for sure. One greasy-haired young woman might just be one of those “allegetarians” – claiming to be vegetarian while gleefully munching on murdered fish. Sunny dislikes these people even more than he dislikes bonecrunchers: being indecisive is no reason for killing animals.
Whatever this woman’s persuasions, Sunny knows his chances of walking out of court are slim.
The prosecution have done a good job of painting him as a crazed and dangerous animal rights activist, responsible for the death of an ‘innocent’ man. Not exactly hard work, with the exception of Sunny being ‘dangerous’ – only those who abused animals had anything to fear – and the dead man being innocent. Oliver Seward was an evil bastard who deserved everything he got. Not content with chasing down and butchering countless foxes, Seward had been in the process of beating Perry Wright to death when Sunny’s well-delivered blow to the back of the head ended his campaign of killing.
Sunny has never quibbled what he did; he has described the day exactly countless times. It’s the charge that he disputes. There’s no way saving his brother’s life is murder. Fuck sake, Perry still has a metal plate in his face and a scar set deep in his forehead. Despite being given a community service order for his “crimes” of assault and criminal damage, Perry has weathered the four months since Oliver Seward’s death far worse than Sunny.
Looking up at the sullen, scruffy man in the public gallery, Sunny knows his brother has changed. Dark circles sit deep beneath his eyes, he has put on weight and been smashing his already injured face and cutting and scratching his arms. Two rows behind him his erstwhile girlfriend, Rachael, sits stoically in support. Though she was sentenced to community service for criminal damage too she and Perry have not spoken since he threw her and her daughter out of their squat and he blanks her now though she looks desperate just to touch him, to squeeze his shoulder and lie to him that everything will be OK. She knows better than to try.
Sunny’s own girl, Charlie, is serving three months for assaulting the huntsman who smacked her to the floor and kicked her in the kidneys. She would be there if she could. The public gallery is full of Sunny’s supporters – he’s been with most of the girls at some point, and as he regards the gallery sadly he wonders how long it will be before he gets to lie with a woman again.
If he goes down for manslaughter he could face five, maybe ten years. Celibacy has never exactly been Sunny’s strong point and the past few months have been by far the longest he has ever gone without sex.
You realise how many girls you’re going to have to do for me? He laughed on his last visit with Perry. To keep up the Wright boys’ reputation. I know it’s not exactly your strong point, being the ugly brother, but you have to at least make the effort.
Catching his brother’s eye now he smiles slightly and Perry tries, really tries to smile back, without so much as a glimmer of success. He just looks strained, and the deep set blue eyes barely conceal his fear, or grief, or rage. Perry always has to wear his feelings like a choker: it is his biggest weak point.
Could at least have worn a suit, Sunny thinks as the judge begins to speak. A black shirt and blue jeans are smarter than his usual attire but scarcely appropriate court wear.
Sunny himself is increasingly uncomfortable in the oversized suit he picked up in the charity shop for previous court appearances. That and the smart white shirt don’t exactly go with the dreadlocks and vegan shoes; add the tie and Sunny feels like he did when he was a child, forcibly dressed for school by his mum in an outfit that exactly matched Perry’s.
Every morning they would run around the corner and as soon as they were out of sight of the house unbutton their duffel coats and tear off their ties, hiding them in their schoolbags or wrapping them around their heads. The skill of tie tying always eluded Sunny so he’d always need Perry to retie it for him before they got back to the house; though they’d spend much of the day punching and kicking each other in fits of sibling rivalry, Perry would always tie it for him, muttering words they weren’t allowed to use and pulling faces of mock disgust and horror to raise a smile.
Touching the Windsor knot Perry did for him during his three minute visit this morning he looks back at his brother once more and mouths the word “cunt” to make him laugh. The vaguest flicker of emotion moves across Perry’s tired face but as he puts his finger to his uninjured eye Sunny realises it is not happy nostalgia that he is feeling.
He also realises that the judge is speaking to the greasy allegetarian juror – foreman of the jury, who confirms a verdict has been reached. Perry’s piercing stare snaps instantly on to her and Sunny realises that though he can hear the judge he cannot make out the words – a pulse in his ears beats like a bongo drum.
Manslaughter. It was hardly going to be good news. Five years or maybe ten – vegan food in prison was bloody terrible, too, Sunny had plenty of pals who had been inside. Last time Perry was arrested at an anti-fur demo the only thing he had to eat in 24 hours in custody was a half frozen jacket potato.
“Bloody hate potatoes, too, bloody hippy food,” Perry had snorted on his eventual release, his mouth full of chips.
Sunny half sniggers at the memory but stops dead as his eye catches the judges and his hearing comes back on at deafening pitch.
“On the count of murder, how do you find the defendant?”
And without so much of a breath as she fucks his life and Perry’s with it, the greasy woman says:
There should be silence. That or screams. But all that Sunny hears is Perry as he leaps from his seat and roars “No you fucking bastard cunts you can’t do this! Bastard twatting cunting fucks it’s me not him!”
The judge orders Perry to sit down or be arrested too. Rachael, sobbing, touches his shoulder but he shrugs her off with a cry, and Sunny can hear nothing as his brother’s face shatters and explodes with snot and tears. But he sits down; he cannot leave.
It is some moments before Sunny can understand words again, as the security officer beside him prompts him to stand up.
“Sunny Wright. You have been found guilty of the murder of Oliver Seaward. This I believe was a cold blooded and premeditated crime. As an animal rights terrorist you set out that morning with every intention of inflicting violence upon any member of the New Forest Hunt unfortunate enough to cross your path. Therefore it is my duty to make an example of you, as a key member of a group full of young, impressionable individuals. You have robbed a wife of her husband and two children of their father because of your warped ideology that the legitimate and legal activity of fox hunting is a crime, and one that you, Sunny Wright, believe is punishable by death.”
Sunny can hear Perry crying now, along with many others in the public gallery. The bastard huntsman’s family say nothing but he can feel their elation.
“Sunny Wright. I sentence you to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years…”
“Cunt!” Perry screams again, unable to stay seated. His face is read and his eyes blazing. “No you fucking, fucking cunt!”
This time he is grabbed and bundled from the courtroom, as Sunny puts his hand to his face and realises he is shaking.