“It’s hot in here,” I whined.
“Yeah, no shit,” Eric answered. My brother got it worse than me, but he was also tougher than me, so it evened out.
I rubbed my arm and noticed how dirty I was. It had been a week since I last bathed. I itched everywhere.
“You think he’s up yet?” I asked.
Eric nodded, his blue-grey eyes cast far away. The light shining through the slats in the barn door made him look older than sixteen.
I paced in circles, staring at the dirt floor. The block in the corner was stained rust. Flies buzzed his recent kills and the rotting smell grew as I approached.
I heard the screen door slam shut and my head snapped around. I hunched down to squint thru a gap. He was coming. I reacted quickly, grabbing the chicken head closest to me. Even now, I have no idea why. It was covered in maggots and flies lifted off when I ripped it from the floor, leaving feathers behind.
Slushy footsteps sounded outside. Suddenly Eric was on top of me, pulling my collar, shoving me behind him. Just as the bar slid open, he shoved my hand deep into his painter’s pocket. Squeezing hard, I let go, the head falling to the bottom with a wet thud.
Da stood in the barn door wearing his old gray bathrobe. Too short, it showed the scarred knees and wobbly legs of an old man. Only we knew better.
“Well, come on then,” he said quietly. He sounded reasonable, sober even.
Eric strode out, jaw set, eyes fixed straight ahead. I glanced up at Da and then ran, scampering on Eric’s heels.
Inside the light was dim and Da shuffled around the kitchen, limping in his usual pattern. When he was safely in front of the TV again, Eric and I drifted off to separate corners.
But when I came out of the shower, Eric was sitting at the top of the stairs.
“What?” I whispered down to him.
He didn’t respond, so I gingerly stepped around to him, cautious of slipping in wet feet.
“What?” I repeated, softer.
He silently held up his palm. It had a fresh cigarette welt in its center. Red and going on pussy already. Mild for Da, but still, I should make myself scarce. Eric shooed me upstairs and then cradled the hand in his lap. I tried to read his face, but he was a blank. I ran back up, latching our bedroom door in slow motion, trying not to breathe.
Eric was bristling, shaky, as we made dinner. He set Da’s plate in the usual spot, then laid the baked potato in the center instead of on the side. When I opened my mouth to ask why, Eric gave me a cold, tight smile.
On top of the potato, he carefully placed the chicken head, beak out. With one filmy eye staring, I thought it wore Eric’s expression. I panicked.
“Eric, he’ll be back any minute!” His beer runs never took more than twenty minutes and we were going on fifteen.
Like he had before, Eric pulled my collar. But this time he pushed me in front of him, toward the back door. Leaning into my face he said, “I’m gonna do it, Davey. Hide in Mrs. Peterson’s greenhouse. Don’t come back until you hear the sirens.”
“No! Eric! Don’t!” I begged. I don’t know whether I was worried about him or Da or both of them.
“I love you Davey. Now go!” He shoved me harder and I stumbled backwards slamming into the screen door. I heard the Chevy pull up and I took one last look at Eric. His hands, empty, were clasped behind his back. Even so, he looked ready. I ran out into the night.
I didn’t make it to Mrs. Peterson’s. I heard the car door slam, then a thunderous “Whad you do boy?” More shouting and a loud explosion. I saw in my minds eye what was happening. Them tussling and crashing thru the table. When Eric started screaming, I turned back and ran for the house. I knew that I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t let it happen again.
I banged back inside. Da was in the center of the crushed table on his knees, choking Eric. “Da!!! Stop it!” I jumped on his shoulders, trying to pull him off. “You’re gonna kill him! Stop!” Eric’s eyes were bulging, foamy spit spilling down his chin. His feet were kicking up silverware and chunks of plate.
Neither of them looked at me. I felt myself dissolve in that moment. The sound zipped away from me all at once. I was suddenly alone and not quite real, like a ghost bearing witness to a decades old murder. Everything that was happening was beneath me. Just a stain under the floorboards. For a moment, I felt the concrete chill of my prison cell. And then with just a subtle twang in my eardrums, the world came rushing back in.
I could hear Eric gagging, could hear Da’s heavy panting from the sweaty exertion of murdering his eldest. Eric’s face was purple now except for white circles rising under his eyes and around his mouth and nose. I stooped down for the second time that day, my hands reacting automatically. One long screw, still clinging to splinters, protruded ninety degrees from the end of the table leg I now held.
I raised it up as high as I could and smashed it down on Da’s neck over and over, hitting close to his hairline each time. As he fell, he crashed down on top of Eric, mini volcanos of blood spurting from his back. He started to buck as if an electric current ran through him.
Nothing at first. And then Eric started to ooze out from the right side of the broken table. One ear appeared, and then a smashed nose. He managed to push a little and I pulled with everything I had left. Half hanging in my arms, we got him up in one of the chairs.
We looked down at Da, who had ceased twitching. His pool of blood was so big he couldn’t have any left in him.
“Davey,” Eric started, then coughed up more blood. His cough sounded squeaky. Something was broken inside of him I thought, picturing shards of glass. This was confirmed when Eric grabbed his lower ribs and groaned. He made a diarrhea face, before continuing.
“Sirens. They’re gonna come Davey, and…” Coughing blood out between his fingers, he stopped. He spat onto Da’s leg, then pulled in a big hackey breath and said “You gotta tell them about the barn, about Mom. You gotta…” Then Eric’s eyes rolled back in his head and he slumped forward into my lap.
All at once I was alone. That ghost feeling came back then and it hasn’t left me since.
The rest…well. Sherriff Mitchell was a friend of Da’s. He knew what went on at our place, both before and after. He knew or could easily guess where Mom was buried. He could’ve razed the barn and have her exhumed. Could have seen my way of things. But he didn’t. He made it seem like me and Eric had jumped Da. I was convicted as an adult.
Sometimes I blame Eric for not running. But he wanted to take down the beast. For Mom. Maybe a little bit for me. He just couldn’t do it alone. So we managed it together like we had done everything before.
I’m still watching it happen you know. In that kitchen, in that barn, on those stairs. I’ve never left that place really. Just like I’m never leaving this one.
A French Execution
It was dawn when they woke me up. Not the dawn with the cream-coloured sky and candy floss clouds. Not the fairy-tale dawn caressed by the mellow custard sunshine, nor the bright crisp chirping of exotic birds. The sky, painted khaki and flecked with dullness, seemed to have been the perfect setting for an apocalyptic period. Well, then again, I was in an apocalyptic situation. After all, the entire country wanted me dead, simply for having lived life to the fullest.
I suppose I was living idyllically, unaware of the changing times. Unaware of the blood boiling in the veins of the country. People wanted change and I suppose I did hinder this change. But how can I be blamed? I was forced into an uncomfortable, awkward and lonely position that I had to make something of it. I had to brighten up my days, have fun, invite guests and create my own social revolution. I did bring change, but not the change the people wanted. Whereas I created my own social revolution and transformed the world of delicacies and fashion, the people constructed theirs only to kill me. I am innocent. I only wanted happiness in this world in which I succumbed to expectations. However, I made myself happy by using my power and wealth, but I suppose a woman is is alsways to blame in this world. Whose fault was it that I was married off? Mine. Whose fault was it that my husband was too awkward to sleep with me? Mine. Whose fault was it that consequently I could not have a child? Mine. No matter what I did, do and will do, it is my fault because I am a woman. A woman who must be responsible for all the wrong in the world and carry men's burden because they do not want to carry it themselves.
They say I murdered the country. They say I murdered men, women and children. They say I murdered everything they owned. Why? Why am I to blame, to be executed, when the responsibility also lies upon my husband, my friends, my entourage, my society? Why, out of all of us nobles, am I considered devilish and sinful? If anything, I am the victim. I am a victim because I was stricken with so much burden, hate and disrespect. I am a victim because despite this, the world hates me, and despite this, I am responsible. I suppose it will be centuries before people feel empathy and love the underdog.
After they awoke me, stripped of dignity, wealth and power, the trial began. Whereas they had the world supporting them, I had my lawyers who were given a day to plead my case. They had decided my case before the trial, convinced I must be executed.
Then, shoved around, they ordered me to prepare myself for my execution. If only they could kill me now. The unfairness of this world is too much to bear. The unfairness of being a woman is too much to bear. I was forced to change in front of my guards. Humiliated and naked, I was just a pale broken thing. With a plain white dress, they sheared my hair, stripped me of beauty and femininity. Hands bound behind my back, I became an empty vessel. I wasn't the devil, I wasn't unkind, I treated others with respect. I was a sweet person who, although lacking foresight, only wanted good.
Unlike my husband, the culprit and coward, was given a carriage to ride in to his execution. Me? A simple open cart, under an ominous sky, where everyone could chant and humiliate me. Calling me names, I maintained my grace nonetheless, silent and poised. They may have stripped me of all my wealth, but I am, until the end, royalty.
Kind and loving, misunderstood and alone, my very last words were: "Monsieur, je vous demande excuse, je ne l’ai pas fait exprès."
Forever a Queen, forever myself, forever, Marie Antoinette.
"A salad? Really? You can have anything in the world you want for your final meal and you chose a salad?" the guard asked me incredulously.
I nodded silently as he set it down in front of me. Shaking his head, he left me and my salad alone. Slowly, I took a small bite. My mind struggled between the past and the future. Well, what little future was left anyway. Finally, it decided to reminisce about the past. What if that whole "your entire life flashes in front of you before you die" thing doesn't exist? I could do it myself -at least the major events.
Most people would envy the path my life took. I was an internationally famous supermodel after all. However, like everything else, it came with a price. A college roommate of mine was a model. Just local -nothing too high-scale. She didn't have a car, so I would often drop her off and pick her up at shoots. Because of my freakishly high cheekbones and naturally indigo eyes, the photographers and make-up artists began to take notice. With a little dieting, I could be a very successful model, they assured me.
They were right. Decreasing my food intake and increasing my workout time and suddenly I could call myself a model.
A few of my pictures made it to the eyes of some prominent New York agencies who contacted me. They were interested in trying me out, but their weight requirements were even stricter. No matter how little I ate and how much I exercised, that level couldn't be achieved. That's when I turned to some dieting pills a friend hesitantly recommended. Popping a few in the morning and, eventually, a few more in the afternoon did the trick. Suddenly, I wasn't just a model. I was a very successful one who could make a living off of her work.
There was an avalanche effect. The more shoots I did, the more people became interested, the skinnier I would be required to become, the more pills I would consume. Sometimes it felt like I was made of pills. Always adventurous, I started to experiment with other kinds -not all of which were legal. But, it was my life, and I would do what I wanted with it. It was nobody else's business what I did.
Until it started to affect somebody else's life. In between shoots one day I checked my phone and saw some messages from my old roommate. Her modeling career had never gone as well as mine, but she hadn't given up. She begged for some advice on how to get to the next level. We met up and I gave her some of my diet pills -illegal ones.
People's body's react differently to things. She died. When people found out it was because of illegal "drugs" I gave her, I was charged with her death. My sentence was execution. But I didn't kill her. The industry did.
There are going to be reporters at my execution soon. I'm sure they'll take pictures. I'm not going to eat the whole salad -I want look good for the cameras. I hope that my entire life does flash in front of my eyes. I'll look amazing in the flashes.
Right to Self Defense
The din of the courtroom faded away.
I had tried but failed to sway
opinion that they claimed as fact
my guilt, to them, remained intact.
I had fought so very hard
to convince the prosecuting retard
to take another careful look
the evidence that was undercooked.
Public defender bumbled about
got upset when I would shout
that until then I truly believed
if you aren't guilty, you'll be relieved.
I desperately tried to appeal.
Everything felt so surreal.
How could I be charged guilty
of a crime deserving the death penalty?
The sloppy proceeds made me sick
as I worked so hard to find a trick
to end a nightmare I couldn't wake.
I begged the guards, give me a break.
"Please just look into my case!
I swear you'll see it's not my face!"
They just shook their heads at me
and told me I would never go free.
Sitting here with nothing to lose
I pull the shank out of my shoes.
In an hour they'll come for me.
This time I'm prepared, they'll see.
I won't go without a fight.
An innocent man, it's my universal right
to defend myself from those who'd harm.
So I'm layering on the charm.
In my heart, it's not a crime
to take a life meaning to take mine.
I know my freedom I won't succeed
but one day maybe they will take heed.
I hope when all is said and done
they remember after having their fun
I took one of their lives with me
when they find out I was not guilty.
(Awesome challenge. I already wrote a poem about being convicted in spite of innocence. I didn't mind writing another. This happens more often than most people know.)
my last words
I laugh not to cry. Life has already left my eyes, and I feel numb. I have cried so many nights, prayed to whatever gods may be for help, for nothing more than justice. We all die, and we all know it. But knowing your exact day and time is… Cold blue nights. You can’t beat death, but you can beat death in life - and I am unconquerable. I didn’t kill those children. Tomorrow is another day just like thousands of days I’ve lived alone in this cell, singing a silent Hallelujah, and trying to breathe. I am tired - I am sick of begging and waiting for the water to drain. I told everybody the truth, but they couldn't deal with it - it is a lion that no one could tame.
Every night, alone in the darkness of my room, I decide to kill myself early in the morning, but I always end up crying on my knees. All the wounds are hidden, behind the emptiness of soul. I am not empty - I swear I am not empty. And I am less always than alive, and less dead than forgive. Twenty more days until my happy ending. They killed me seventeen years ago when they locked me up, and now, now they are just releasing me - setting me free. I miss life, red oaks, and my daughter's smile. I miss her above all. I miss what I will never have. Don’t let your heart get heavy. Don’t let them beat you.
- I am fighting for freedom!
I watched the sadistic guards pit the two muscular inmates against one another in the metal cage. They danced around each other, occasionally sinking a blow, turning nose cartilage into jello and teeth into birds, trying to escape their metal confines. Other inmates gathered around and cheered while guards laughed viciously. This was one of the games played on death row.
One of the other little tricks was to tell a death row inmate that Mom was coming for a surprise visit. He would dress carefully before the guards made him strip down. “Oh, wait, we have the wrong Jones,” the guards would laugh to the crestfallen prisoner.
I am an innocent man, wrongly convicted of murder and have been in this hellhole for eighteen years. The longer I stay here, the more I learn the tricks of the trade. I even know how to kill someone. I can take an old magazine, remove the metal staple, then take a pair of underwear and use the elastic for a catapult. I can fortify the metal staple with cardboard ads from the magazine to make a dart. I then can dip the dart in a solution of nicotine and human feces which has percolated in a cup of urine over a period of days. I can then roll up the magazine and attach it to the bars with the underwear and retract the catapult, insert the deadly dart and shoot it right into your neck. You will die of sepsis in three days. I’m not saying I did this, just that I have the ability to do so!
I wasn’t always like this. I am afraid that I am losing my sense of humanity. I am losing the ability to mirror other people so I can understand what they think. Let me start at the beginning.
I was living in a house with my girlfriend, when the girl next door was murdered. I had nothing to do with it and the cops knew it full well. They were under pressure to solve the case and so they determined that I would be the fall guy. I was at work at the time of the murder and my fellow workers verified this. They had DNA from the murder scene but it was not mine. At this time, they didn’t have the expertise to determine whether the DNA was mine and hid it under a pile of files. I have to admit that I was not a perfect person. I did drugs and had a record for petty theft. But I was not a murderer!
Next, the police visited my girlfriend and told her they would take her kids and charge her as an accessory to murder if she did not finger me. She was terrified at the thought of losing them, so went along with whatever the shifty police claimed.
My parents did not have much money so I was assigned a lousy attorney who assumed I did it and didn’t give me a good defense. I now sit on death row, hoping the courts will agree to hear my appeal. My cell is dark with warm air filtering through the steel grate. I want desperately to maintain my sanity so spend hours reading, writing, listening to music and sports on my little radio.
This is a very scary place to be. One time, after last visits with friends and family, I was loaded cavalierly into the windowless death van and taken to the place where all executions were held. I was allowed to meet with spiritual counselors and to eat my last meal. There were only ten feet between me and the death chamber. Two hours from execution, it was postponed to allow testing of the DNA on all of the evidence.
I was so grateful to my sister who had gone to college and then law school in order to help me escape this injustice. Now that she was an attorney, she dedicated her life to my exoneration. Finally, she realized that it was too much for her and she contacted the Innocence Project who began working to see that the DNA was tested.
When the DNA proved that I was not the murderer, my case was appealed and finally, I was released to my exhilarating freedom. I am so grateful to my sister, my supporters and the Innocence Project but it has come too late for me. I have just been diagnosed with lung cancer and only have a few months to live. I try not to think of the past and focus on the stars in the midnight sky, bringing their light to so many.
I try to rationalize what I have been through. I think more and more about reincarnation – about being energy in a constant state of transformation. Death is not the end. Perhaps I will return as a sleek panther or a soaring eagle.
I think about parallel universes where I am not the person who was incarcerated on death row for a crime I did not commit. I am the person who has traveled and visited unknown places, rising to great heights – not the one that spent most of his life behind bars. As I approach my death, I am finally able to visualize flying free from my constraints into a connection with the forces of nature.
The end of her branch
I'm guilty of so many things, there are so many, I cannot remember them all.
As the final verdict was confirmed, I tried to cry, I pushed so hard, the fear of not living again cooked my eyes bottle. For the very first time in my life, I felt a jolt of emptiness canvassing my mind. As the officers took me from the stand, in haste, time ticking goodbye. I heard my ma's voice crawling from behind.
"He's my only son, please let me speak to him"
Exactly one month ago, the day before Christmas, my mom and I were expecting the rest of our siblings to show up for carol night. It's a family tradition, passed down from my mother's great parents and the one before them. Yes, it's a total addiction. Everyone was welcomed except my honorable father. In a hotel owned by my mom's family, the family tree is knitted all in one place. As the spirit of the season encapsulates everywhere, someone unexpected walked into the sitting room where I and my mom was lodged. He came with red roses and a gift basket filled with chocolates and a seventy-year-old bottle of wine. My mom who was about to wash her hair with the relaxer ran to the sitting room filled with joy. Only to find my dad helping himself with a cup of cold water from the water dispenser. Immediately, words were exchanged. The room was filled with rage and dis-contempt. Disturbed by the ranting, I left my room, with the hope of settling whatever the conflict was. I got to the sitting room and found my father on the floor with his skull cracked open. My mom who was wearing nylon gloves asked me to get rid of the bottle.
Yes, I was foolish I used my bare hands to pick the pieces to a waste basket nearby.
As my mom from a distance, now crying, ran out of the room to call the security nearby for help. As the confused fellow came into the room to see me making an effort to hide my dad's body, punched me in the face and cuffed me. Trying not to cry for losing my dad.
My mom gave her own version of this story and denied killing my father.
I refused to confess as the murderer. All lesser jail term, I denied. My mom who lost her husband is going to lose her only child. No one from her branch will continue the long-lasting family tradition that she cherished more than anything in the world.
YangeL Did It
The beeping annoys the shit out of me. Every button pressed on every single keypad, at every locked door, at every division, each and every spot where this hellhole is split into sections is marked with more locked doors and their mothereffing keypads that beep incessantly. Beep beep beep.
Initially, I thought the lack of privacy would be the worst. I didnʼt realize that the lights never shut off here. I thought the loss of all my pretty clothes and makeup and roller skates would be hard. No cell phone. I never realized how boring doing nothing is. Until the day I counted 683 beeps. I quit counting beeps at 4:10 in the afternoon, and began slamming my head into the cold tile floor instead. Four good slams bought me a bloody gash on my forehead, a raging headache, and 48 hours in solitary. Since then, while prison relentlessly sucks my will to live, the incessant beeping from the million keypads around here make me angry enough to punch a baby. Which I havenʼt done either, but apparently putting fucked up thoughts in writing is equally as terrible as acting out those fucked up thoughts. ’Murica. So whatever. Add baby-punching to my list of crimes, I donʼt even care anymore.
Itʼs been 3 years since I was convicted and sentenced to die. The prosecution used every twisted word I ever typed on The Prose as proof that the death of my husband was premeditated and calculated. Which I guess I can see how the warped pieces I've published here seem to be written by a different woman than who I actually am. YangeL is a bad bitch. She will fuck you stupid or cut your throat or maybe both, possibly out of boredom or because sheʼs having a bad fucking day and your stupid jugular happens to be in her sight when the fucking beeping won't fucking stop. Or maybe she'll do it just for fun, for shits and giggles. YangeL is a cold hearted, take-no-shit, psycho bitch from hell who plotted and planned and schemed her husband dead six ways from Sunday.
But what my idiot lawyer failed to convey, what I also failed to make the jury understand is that I am not YangeL. She is me times one million, she is me at mach speed, she is me on more steroids than all the MLB players who joined the 500-home-run club in the late 90ʼs combined. She voices the words that get trapped in my mouth, she throws the punches that my body is used to receiving, she is brave and strong and tired of being used and abused and shit on. Yes, YangeL fantasized about the goriest, most deranged bloody end for her husband. But when the time came, it wasnʼt YangeL there in the bathroom with him, it was me. Just me.
Iʼd come home from practice late. Weʼd been looking at the latest pictures published in the tiny townʼs craptastic version of a newspaper. It was the 3rd time my picture had been published and I knew that putting myself out there where I was so visible was basically daring him to come and get me. My way of dealing with this was to ignore it, unlike YangeL who would say “Bring it, motherfucker!"
In the bathroom, sliding out of my sweaty roller derby clothes, pulling my hair out of its pigtails, reaching down to grab my brush off the floor where Iʼd dropped it earlier. But itʼs gone…and I stand up straight, confused, my hand is sliding open the drawer which had been shut earlier and my eyes are taking in the differences on the counter but my brain isnʼt quite comprehending just yet. Then it does, a quick intake of breath as I realize the makeup brushes are all neatly gathered in their cup, my toothbrush and toothpaste are in their cup, the Q-tip cup is full (not a stray in sight!) and all three cups are perfectly lined up, facing forward, evenly spaced on the pristine counter that had been covered in bobby pins and eyeliner shavings 3 hours before.
And even as Iʼm gasping, the shower curtain is sliding open, and Iʼm frozen in a nightmare as my husband climbs out of the tub and grabs me by my hair. My stupid feet which were flying on skates an hour earlier are trapped in quicksand, his voice is deadly quiet as heʼs berating me, which is bad, oh my god, it's bad. See, yelling means that his temperʼs gotten the best of him, but this quiet fury is far more dangerous. Iʼm standing in my panties, his sour breath is hot on my neck and then his hand is cruelly pinching my nipple. Then Iʼm being forced to my knees and, oh my god, the horror at what he wants has my jaws locked as tight as these doors here in prison, at least until he backhands me.
"Don't even think about biting," he orders as he forces his way into my mouth and Iʼm gagging, even though heʼs only semi-erect. "Go on now. Suck it, you worthless twat.” And the tears are flowing and my shame is as palpable as my revulsion. Iʼm balling my hands into fists, until a sharp bite on my palm wakes my brain up. I'd grabbed my razor knife out of the drawer when I opened it!
I donʼt know where the bravery came from, maybe YangeL did show up for a minute. Because it didnʼt seem like my left hand that filleted open his right testicle. Or my mouth, that took advantage of his momentary shock and bit his half limp dick clean off. Or my right hand that grabbed the Be-Good-Stick and cracked his ugly head open like a pumpkin.
But the prosecution said it was me, and a jury of my peers agreed. They painted a story twisting things Iʼd written here to claim that I lured him to my home, where I enticed him with sex and then bit his dick off because, well, that is just what all ex-wives want to do. Their proof was a pile of his clothing, folded neatly on the dresser, my lack of new bruises, and the fact that there were no visible signs of forced entry. Their proof was jack shit, but I was convicted and sentenced to die, and every appeal has since been denied. Men all seem to have a real issue with the whole I bit his dick off thing. Which I think is the real reason Iʼm rotting away here on Death Row and why the Battered Womenʼs groups and morning show bimbos and even Nancy Fucking Grace couldnʼt get me off. I doubt even Oprah could get me off at this point. But holy hell, Oprah, if you ever do read my story, can you just do something about this infernal, relentless beeping? Itʼs enough to drive a girl right back into her murderous alter ego.
Was it really just
the wrong time and place?
If so then I must
believe the disgrace;
justice serves capricious fate.
Or worse, sinister
designs did snare me,
and their minister
still wanders free;
I a scapegoat to pay his fees.
The red mist beckons
but obscures my sight.
The judgment reckons
no longer my plight.
Second murder ends tonight.
Three Little Words.
“Please, baby, just give me another chance. It was a one-time thing. I promise it won’t ever happen again.”
“Go to hell, Logan. It’s over. We’re over.”
High school sweethearts. College lovers for a year before mutually deciding to take a break. A chance meeting a year after graduation. A loving marriage for 13 years.
Then she found him in bed with her best friend.
Maybe some people could get past it in a relationship, but she was not one of those people. More than that, he had lied about it being just a one-time thing. Her best friend told her that it happened on more than one occasion. Despite her honesty, Ava found herself unable to forgive her either. In a single moment, she lost the love of her life and her best friend.
Ava Evanson was 35 when her entire world got flipped upside down.
“I need you, Ava. If I can’t have you…I—I swear I’m going to kill myself.”
“Good, then you’d save me the trouble!”
Last words, she never thought those would be hers when she spoke to him. She was hurt. Angry. She’d said it without even thinking. Now there was regret. That’s not the last thing she would’ve wanted to say to him. Of course she had wanted him dead for what he did to her. Would she ever actually kill him? Fuck no.
The evidence against her, however, seemed to just keep stacking up. A bullet wound that was more indicative of a homicide than a suicide…signs of a struggle…her fingerprints at the scene…no suicide note…a lack of an alibi on her behalf…and a motive to want him dead.
It didn’t help that her public defender seemingly had absolutely no desire to actually try and defend her. In the times that she should have been objecting, she remained silent. When she was given her chance to cross-examine, her questions led to answers that pinned more blame on Ava instead of relieving it. Even with her opening and closing statements, she somehow managed to implicate Ava rather than make her appear innocent.
Perhaps the one thing that might have indicated it wasn’t a homicide was his threat to kill himself. The issue being that she was only one who he ever voiced something like that to. No one believed her when she stated it. Why would they? All the physical evidence pointed to her being the murderer.
Less than a half hour had passed before the jury returned with their verdict—bad sign. That was probably the fastest part of this entire process so far. Ava had spent a year in jail as a pre-trial inmate until today when she finally had her trial. Now that she had, she wished that she hadn’t. As much as she wished to be angry that the jury found her guilty, she couldn’t blame them with all the evidence that was presented. The only person she was angry with was Logan because, deep down, she knew that this wasn’t a homicide. There was just no evidence to prove it.
Ava Evanson was 37 when she was convicted and sentenced to death for a crime she didn’t commit.
“It was your job to prove my innocence! It was your job to show that I was telling the truth!”
“I did my job. From where I’m standing, it looks like the right person is being incarcerated.”
16 years of exhausting every possible avenue to prove that she was actually innocent, all to no avail.
16 years of going over every single detail of the trial, every shred of evidence, but turning up jack shit.
16 years of being tormented by the CO’s because they knew her husband, worked with him after he left the police force and clearly still respected him.
She didn’t have any more energy to be angry.
There were no tears left in her to shed.
Nothing. That was what she felt.
Ava had finally accepted that she was going to be executed for a suicide that had been staged to look like a homicide by the man she had been in love with for most of her life. Something that she could never prove, but something she never stopped believing to be true. Something she now knew to be true.
When the door to her cell opened, she didn’t move from her spot. She didn’t even react when the CO coldly stated, “It’s time.” Ava just stared blankly at the wall in front of her. She was eerily calm given the circumstances. Without a word, she got to her feet and tossed the white paper she had clutched in her hand down on the bed.
When she was close enough to the CO that would be taking her to her death, she spat in his face. A final act of defiance, she supposed. He barely reacted, as if he were expecting it. As if he was used to it. Not surprising if he was the one who led the inmates to their death. Or, perhaps, he expected it for an entirely different reason. The vindictive smirk that quirked his lips upwards as he put on her cuffs made it seem like a possibility.
After all, someone had to deliver that note. The note that was clearly written in Logan’s handwriting and confirmed everything she had always suspected.
If I can’t have you,
nobody can. See you
on the flip side. xo
How poetic now that a man who must have played a hand in her husband’s “homicide” was the one who prepared her for her execution. As he put the restraints around her, he bent his head down near her ear. His hot breath tickled her neck as he whispered something. Three little words. Three little words that sent a chill down her spine. Three little words that made all the color drain from her face. Three little words that stirred something inside of her that she hadn’t felt in a long time: rage.
It was a rage she could do nothing about because it was too late. Three little words changed everything in her final moments.
“He’s not dead.”
Ava Evanson was 53 when she was executed for a crime that never even occurred.