Vortex of Fear
The red crimson sky rained fear in Clifton Heights, the day the lunatic James Paxton, who killed a family of four, a few years back was set free. The small town with a couple of thousand residents, was paralyzed in shock, terror, and disbelief. People wondered how he was allowed to roam in the streets once again. Better yet, they demanded, why was he even freed to see the lights of a day? How did a person, who had committed a gruesome crime was permitted to leave a maximum-security prison, before his capital punishment was carried out?
Nobody knew anything.
Everyone was left in the darkness with the shocking news. Even the court system had no answer, but we didn’t want him on our streets. Yet, we could not possibly do anything either. His record said that he was released as a free man by the state. He must’ve slipped through the new lottery releasing system, which signed into action by the new governor, who wanted to reduce an overcrowded prison system. Otherwise, James Paxton shouldn’t have been someone who was supposed to live one day on earth.
During the trial, James didn’t hire nor wanted a public defendant, for he chose to represent himself. He pleaded guilty right off the start. When he was asked to say something about his premeditated and heinous crime, he spoke not a single word. The state gave him enough time and opportunities to present his case, so he could convince the jury to at least avoid the death penalty. However, he did nothing nor showed remorse, when the prosecutors exhibited the jurors with the horrifying images of the families, whom James had murdered.
The trial took a couple of months. Since the jurors didn’t hear anything from the defendant, or saw James having any guilt or remorse to what he had done, after a week of deliberation, they rendered a guilty verdict in first-degree murder on every count. Six months later, the sentencing judge granted the state’s original request of the death penalty. James, therefore, was sentenced to die in the electric chair.
When he should’ve been executed, then how did he manage to wander in the streets of Clifton Heights, once again?
No one knew.
A few months went by, and nothing happened. No encounters of any kind or actions were taken against James, nor he did do anything suspicious. Instead, he began living a normal life like regular people. We, the town people, however, remained on high alert, for we decided to kill him if he made one more mistake; he deserved nothing less than death.
Those few months turned into a couple of years. James seemed like a rehabilitated man and was doing well for himself, as the town still remained on the brink of paranoia and fear.
One day, I was going home alone at night. Somehow, I could not shake this feeling that something terrible was going to happen to me. I didn’t know where that shaky feeling came from, but I felt a butterfly in my stomach, a sudden vortex of fear swirling inside of me. My mind felt numb and confused. James wasn’t in my mind that day, not even for a second like he has been since he’s left prison.
I didn’t want to drive my car or take any public transportation. I had never believed in superstition before that day, but my gut told me to avoid anything that could easily involve any kind of accident. Thus, I decided to walk home. The good thing was I wasn’t far from home, and the weather wasn’t that bad either.
By the time I approached the dark tunnel that leads to our town, it was bright. In the quiet and dark tunnel that stretched for about two miles, there wasn’t a single light bulb installed. So, I used my phone’s flashlight until I could reach the other end of the tunnel. As I got closer to the end of the tunnel, suddenly I felt something sharp stabbing me on my right ribs and neck. I felt an excruciating pain shooting into my fearful mind, which left me speechless and breathless. I fell to the ground. A few seconds later, when I regained some consciousness, and looked around, there was James, smiling at me as he held a blood-stained shining knife. He said something, but since I was in a complete shock, I couldn’t conjugate a word he said. All I felt was fear turning my eyes red and gushing blood pouring out of me like rain.
I could barely see. But, I saw that James wore a dark suit, with a white shirt and a dark tie. Amidst my life and death experience, I wondered about his appearance. He seemed calm and put together. He looked very sharp. As I tried to make sense of everything, I saw him taking off his coat jacket, and folding the sleeves of his shirt. Then, he rushed towards me. He seemed confident and in control. Right at that moment, I knew that he wanted to end me and erase my existence. I clenched my fist and shook off my fear when he tried to thrust the knife into me again; I stood up and was able to jerk the knife away from him. Then, when he least expected it, I kicked him in his groin so hard. As he tried to grab onto his pain, with the fibers of my being and the strength left in me, I swayed my body and pushed him forcefully and watched him hit the ground. I quickly jumped on top of him and drove the knife into his chest like a dagger. I pulled out the knife and stabbed him a few times until he could no longer move. I observed him closely while standing on his body. I tried to feel his breath, but he was soundless and gone, dead as he should’ve been a long time ago.
During the struggle and process, because I lost so much blood, I fainted and fell on the ground. I felt my body kissing the floor. When I closed my weary eyes in that cold night, I only remembered a siren of an ambulance and a woman’s soft voice that said, “He’s going to make it!”
The next day, I found myself in the intensive care unit, hand-cuffed to a bed, stitched up and bandaged, and breathing through a tube which was attached to my soaring neck.
In time, I recovered from the attack, even though the wounds took long time to heal. Later on, I was charged with a homicide, but fully acquitted for self defense as a justifiable homicide.