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Satisfied Justice

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He lay on the freezing operating table with the immense weight of the heavy iron clasps around his torso. He stared intensely at the bright white ceiling with a cold sweat trickling down his entire body. His eyes darted quickly from face to face outside of the thick window wall. Each one looking surprisingly satisfied, each one was waiting, watching, wanting for this to happen. He tried to breathe, but inside him his body was twisting into knots as he awaited what he was now realizing was actually going to happen. He heard the doctor’s soft footsteps coming steadily towards him, though he did not dare to lift his head and view his murderer. Instead he closed his eyes and thought of how he had come to this point, what had lead him to this state? He remembered well.

He recalled everything. He remembered the day when this whole ordeal had begun. He was at home reading, alone. He tried to call when he heard the gunshots, but he couldn’t do anything. No alibi, no witnesses, no case for his innocence. He was tried and found guilty, sentenced to lethal injection, and now he would run the gauntlet. He was defenseless and with all the strength he could muster up inside of him he tried to get the precious redeeming words through his tired lips. “I’m innocent. I… I… I,” but his weak lungs couldn’t strain any further and he fell silent once more. All he could do now was wait and I his mind he said a humble prayer.

In another room of the large penitentiary the governor sat in his large maroon office chair reviewing a case brought up by one of the district attorneys. He read over the paperwork slowly so as not to miss a detail. He had always had a slight trouble with this particular case. The murderer in question had absolutely no motive and no evidence had truly convicted him. It had been mainly a case of convenience to convict him, or so thought the governor. He decided to look over the gathered evidence again, even if it was only a means to entertain his natural curiosity. He pulled the box out from his large mahogany cabinet for he new exactly where it was. It had never fully left his thoughts for it was such an odd case. He usually looked over the evidence once or twice a day, but came to no conclusions.

Today, he began with the larger items, a gun belonging to the victim, a suitcase containing various articles of clothing that had been scattered across the alley where the crime had taken place, and bagged items of many sizes and natures that he had tried to view many a time. However, today instead of continuing by size he took a certain interest in a tiny clear bag containing a simple navy pony tail holder. He scanned over it with a careful eye for he found that his gut feeling was speaking to him and telling him that this was the key. After five minutes of racking his mind for anything that would help when he stumbled upon what truly was the key. He noticed that cascading down from the top of the hair tie and wrapping around it was a single blonde thread of hair. He gently removed it from the band which it tightly hugged and secured it into another evidence bag. He immediately sent it to the crime labs where it was identified as belonging to the victim’s wife.

The doctor continued to walk towards him and with each step his heart beat became slower and slower. He could hear it growing louder and louder until he could barely hear the doctor ask him for his final words. Acknowledging the question he merely said in the same straining stutter, “I.. I’m… Innocent! Please! Don’t… don’t…don’t .” They ignored him as before and proceeded to fill the needle with a liquid that would destroy him, into the needle that haunted him. It was finally happening and what had seemed a nightmare became his bone chilling reality. Death began to creep upon him and he felt its icy hand upon his arm as the needle was pushed into his shivering flesh.

“Stop!” The governor entered the scene and in that instant death was put aside and a warmth spread over him like a blanket. The new evidence was presented and he was removed from the hospital coffin. After two long weeks of waiting the true criminal was discovered and he was set free. Upon his request he received the document that had saved his life, his release form. At the very bottom of the cream colored parchment lay a name, Gov. J. Harrison, and the signature that had set him free.





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