I stand in the corner of the execution chamber, unnoticed, unseen.
Through the glass window, I see the mothers. His sits on the right side, alone between two empty chairs. Theirs sits on the left, all three chairs occupied. All of the mothers look gray and weary, old before their time.
He shuffles in, wearing an orange jumpsuit, handcuffed and chains between his legs. His mother drops her shoulders and bursts into tears, shaking uncontrollably. Their mothers harden, hatred shooting from their eyes hot enough to melt the glass that separates them from their monster. Closure, such a silly, meaningless, unattainable word.
He doesn’t want to die, but he’s resigned. He doesn’t resist when they help him onto the table, strap down his legs and waist and chest, stretch his arm out and strap it down as if they would merely be taking blood.
The attending warden holds a mic to his mouth and asks if he’d like to make a final statement.
“I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve caused. I wish I could go back and undo everything I did.”
Liar. Even now, like a heroin addict, he craves one last kill. Instead, he must satisfy himself by replaying each one over and over again in his mind. Soon, he won’t even have that.
The doctor pushes the needle into his vein and begins the sodium thiopental drip. It takes thirty seconds to reach his brain, pushing him deep into sleep. He has six minutes to enjoy one final dream. He hopes it is the same one as last night, the same one as last week, the same one that comes to him night after night after night. The dream that would give him one last kill.
Ah, but I am the Dream Maker, and I choose what he will dream tonight.
Thirteen little girls he stole from their mothers, thirteen souls cry out for justice beyond this civilized and humane end to his reign of terror.
And so he is the one who is tiny and weak and scared tonight, and when the man towering over him touches him, it hurts, and the hurting doesn’t stop, even when the man finishes, because the man is really only getting started. He is the one who feels the knife cutting into flesh, who feels the snap as tendons are severed, who can not see because blood gets in his eyes.
The pancuronium bromide is added, so he can’t cry for help, he can only lie there, abandoned under the old maple tree on the outskirts of town, bleeding out. And by the time the doctor finally injects the potassium chloride, his heart has already stopped.
* * *
Today’s prompt: As the old year ends and a new year begins, do you have any regrets?