The cast of fairytale characters around her, each of them wearing a beat-up jumpsuit, waited patiently.
Karoom sat head and shoulders above everyone else. Even the other ogres were shorter than her. And with the pygmy people, fairies, and dwarves refusing to look up, she had not made eye contact with anyone in weeks.
Her green cheeks turned bright red as her bum hit the ground suddenly, the old wooden chair she was sitting in, unable to bear her weight any longer. The guards remained at their posts, so she had to spend the rest of the visit on her knees.
The room filled with a deafening beep as their fairytale visitors walked in through the door. One by one, they joined their loved ones at the table. Karoom watching and waiting until her brother walked through the door. As he finally did, he waved at her, and Karoom returned an acknowledging nod.
The ogreâ€™s voice was raspy as he greeted Karoom. â€œWell, Iâ€™m not sure if this sounds weird, but you look okay.â€
â€œIâ€™ve felt better.â€
â€œI feel I should warn you. Mom is thinking about marrying you off now.â€ Laggard responded, leaning back in his chair and wrapping his hands around the back of his head.
Karoomâ€™s single eye narrowed as she spat back, â€œreally, Laggard?â€
â€œI was telling her you would never agree. But she seems convinced you will love this lady she works with name Merth.â€
â€œMerth isnâ€™t she our aunt?â€
â€œNot technically by blood.â€
Ugly, itchy bugs felt like they were crawling up and down her skin.
Laggard responded, leaning back in his chair and wrapping his hands around the back of his head. â€œSo I have to also ask, what happened?â€
Karoomâ€™s walls came crashing in, â€œI wasnâ€™t thinking.â€
His sisterâ€™s ugly crying face inspired a jerk reaction in Laggard, â€œHahaha.â€ He covered his face and muffled his apology. â€œ Sorry, I donâ€™t understand what you got put in for. You were always the good kid. Mom and Dad were shocked to get a call from you in jail, they always assumed it would be me.â€
â€œI was caught shoplifting,â€ Karoom answered in a whisper before shaking her head as if she didnâ€™t believe herself.
Laggard repressed more laughter by coughing hysterically at her confession. â€œExcuse me,â€ he aimed his apology towards everyone else in the room.
â€œI donâ€™t know why you even came.â€
Laggardâ€™s eye sparkled, â€œI never thought you would be in this position. I mean, you were always like the darling child.â€ He continued, â€œyou happen to have the best job in our whole family. I didnâ€™t think youâ€™ll need money.â€
â€œArmory caretaker isnâ€™t paying as well as it used to.â€ Air rushed into Karoomâ€™s upturned nose. â€œI know you must be enjoying this right now.â€
â€œMaybe you can come back to the swamp.â€
Karoomâ€™s answer sparked something in Laggard, â€œIâ€™d rather die.â€
Laggard flew to his feet, â€œyou always felt like you were better than us.â€ His words shot out like bullets. â€œYou always looked down on our family and all of our neighbors. I donâ€™t know what made you feel like you were better than everyone else, but this proves that you werenâ€™t.â€
â€œYeah, I know, and Iâ€™m sorry I was wrong,â€ Karoom admitted, â€œis that why you came here? To tell me Iâ€™m terrible?â€
â€œNo, I also came to bail you out.â€
â€œYou were able to afford bail?â€ Karoom asked.
â€œOf course, we arenâ€™t all as useless as you are.â€
Karoomâ€™s one eyebrow raised as she asked, â€œHow?â€
â€œA lot has changed since youâ€™ve visited the Swamp.â€
â€œI own it now!â€
â€œSo, you bought our homeland from Mom and Dad?â€
Laggard shrugged his shoulders, â€œbasically.â€
â€œI thought they were going to leave the land to both of us.â€
â€œWell, they already gave it to me.â€
â€œSo what youâ€™re going to use it as collateral?â€
â€œYes, but first,â€ Laggard held his index finger up against his lips.
â€œThere is just one thing that I need you to do to me.â€
â€œI need you to apologize.â€
Karoom exploded in her handcuffs and ripped the table from the floor. â€œYou ugly ogre, I canâ€™t believe you would do this to the family.â€ Everyone in the room reacted at once, scurrying as far as they could away.
Karoom stood alone in the middle of the room as the guards around her closed in with their batons. â€œAUGHâ€ she screamed as they hit her, causing sparks to fly across the room. Karoom felt a heavy force begin to pull her down when the Warden entered the roomâ€”tossing his purple cape aside and looking amused about the whole situation.
â€œKaroom,â€ he shouted, â€œI knew you would do something like this,
youâ€™re kind are always making a mess.â€
Karoom growled and thrashed about, trying to lift herself off the ground desperately, but the Wardenâ€™s magic was too strong. â€œEven your strength means nothing against my magic.â€ The Warden explained. â€œIâ€™m sorry, but weâ€™re going to have to cut visitation short.â€ Karoom screamed as the Warden dragged her out of the room. â€œIâ€™d rather be in jail than a slave to you, Laggard.â€