Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Redemption



Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville – Parking Lot

I never thought this day would come. For 16 years I've waited to see justice served to the man who murdered my husband. For 16 years I've carried this burden. It nearly killed me, but that wasn't the worst of it. Death would have been a welcomed release from the torment I suffered. I thought about it often. I even tried a few times, but was too much of a coward to do it right.

After I lost Darrin, I lost everything. I began to drink, pop pills, and consume anything else that would help numb the pain. Sadly, nothing did, at least not for long. I sank into the deepest, darkest pit you could possibly imagine. I lost my job, my home, and my sanity. After I had my children taken away from me, I lost my will to live.
* * *

Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville – Holding Tank

I’ll admit I've been a bad man. Done some bad things; terrible things. Things I wish I could forget but can’t. Can’t recall ever not being in trouble, it either found me or I found it. My arrest record was impressive and rather long, but not as long as it should be. My dad was never around, but what started it all was when mom died.

I got kicked out of school when I was 13 for pulling a knife on a teacher. I robbed my first store when I was 15, and committed my first murder shortly after that - but he had it coming. The next three were random victims that got in my way of what I wanted. Murdering came easy to me. I was good at it, and good at not getting caught too.
* * *

Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville – Waiting Room

Darrin and I were high school sweethearts. He didn't come from much, but he had a big heart and I fell for him instantly. I still remember the first love note he left in my locker – still have it. We were inseparable, so it was no surprise to anyone when I got pregnant my senior year. I had to dropout, but he stayed in school and worked to help pay for the doctor bills. He was a good man.

            I also remember the night Darrin was taken from me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. He was out with some buddies downtown celebrating a bachelor party. I had given him a free pass that night to enjoy himself. He deserved it, but I have second guessed that decision ever since.

As the story goes, Darrin got pretty drunk and at some point wondered off. A few of his friends got worried and went looking for him. They stumbled on a man in the act of stabbing and robbing him in the alley next to the bar. Darrin died from his wounds on the way to the hospital. I never got to speak to him before he passed. His last words to me that night were to kiss the babies goodnight for him and that he loved me. At least I had that.
* * *

Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville – Execution Staging Room

I’ve been with a lot of women; too many to count and too high and drunk to remember. One of them brought my baby girl Rosa into this world. I can’t explain it, but the moment I looked into those innocent eyes of hers all I could see was endless possibilities. All I could see was hope. It made me want to be a better man. I wanted to be the father to her that mine never was. It did, and I was – for awhile at least.

            I was walking home late one night after volunteering at a halfway house when I heard the familiar sounds of combat coming from a dark alley. A couple punk kids were assaulting a man and ran off when they saw me. I could hear the man moaning so I knew he was hurt, but when I came up on him it was worse than I thought. He was a bloody mess with a knife still buried in his side. I pulled the knife out and tossed it. That’s when his friends found me.
* * *

Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville – Execution Viewing Room

I've often fantasized about this moment. Fantasized about what it would feel like when that bastard was pronounced dead. His life taken as Darrin’s was taken from me. But as I watch them strap him to the padded table, I can’t help but feel pity for him. Pity that he will never experience the kind of love that I have had; the kind of love I have now.
* * *

Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville – Execution Room

They didn't believe my story, at least not the ones that mattered. I had certainly earned the verdict. Lord knows I’m not an innocent man. When they asked me if I had any last words, I didn't. No words would bring back that lady’s husband. No words would undo the things I've done. Hopefully my death will bring her some comfort. I don’t think it will make up for all the bad, but I like to think I did something good before I leave this world.

            As the doctors administer the poison, my thoughts are on Rosa. I’m hopeful that she will find love and happiness. That she will live a good life. She graduates from high school next month. I wish I could be there for her. She’s the only one who looks at me and doesn't see the bad. She saved my life.
* * *

Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville – Parking Lot


I’m expecting my first grandchild in a few days. When I first heard the news I knew I had to get my act together or I would never get to see him. I know because my daughter told me so. I’m in a good place; as good as it can be for now. It’s a constant struggle, but I have my life back, and I have a grandson that needs me. She’s naming him Rene, Darrin’s middle name. I couldn't be happier.


I'm submitting this short story for consideration in the Rebirth Anthology run by J. A. Mes Press. All profits from the sale of this book will be going to a Stroke charity in the UK.

Title: Redemption
Author: Michael A. Walker
Book: Yes
Word count: 1046
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