Death Rows Backwards

Emily kept running through Rider’s Forest, on the outskirts of her hometown of Orlando Florida. She was breathing as fast as her heart was struggling to beat; it felt as though it would stop if she kept running much longer. It was today, January 12, 2010 that she finally turned sixteen. It was supposed to be a day of freedom for her not one of fear. She could not have asked for a worse present birthday present. She knew who was chasing her, a killer of course. That’s why she wouldn’t stop running. Even though she could hear no steps behind her she knew not to stop, not until she reached a place she recognized, some slight clearing in the forestry that would let her know that she would be all right. From there she thought “unless he somehow gets in front of me, I can find my way back.”

As her feet trampled the underbrush, she still heard nothing, except for the howling wind. The pace at which she was running was so great that she fell out into one of the only places that the sky was visible. She was only about one-half mile away from her school and she knew on a school night someone would probably be working late-someone could probably hear her heart pounding at this point. But that glimmer of faint hope was crushed when she heard a slight rustling behind her, and she knew she had to keep going. However, by this time it was too late, a bullet lodged itself in her chest, she slumped over, like a deflating blow-up doll. The ground dyed red like a carpet.

“That was a nice story Mr. Emerson,” said a feminine voice. The scenery changed, from lush forest at night to a solitary interrogation chamber. The man being interrogated was Emily’s killer, ten years later. “But we know by evidence that you did not shoot her in the back, and neither was her death instant. You came up behind her, that much is true, but you hit her in the back of the head with the blunt side of a hammer. And while she was down, you took the time to bludgeon her forty-seven times to the face. It took us three weeks to identify her. Your criminal record snitched on you, Edward, and your acts became increasingly violent following the first.” Mourning interrupted the rest of her speech as the accused defended himself. “You may not know my heart, but I believe God does, and I make a request: if I send letters to the victim’s families letting them know I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done, take me off Death Row.”

“You make an interesting case,” the woman behind the glass continued, “if those families truly believe you have changed we’ll take you out of jail, but if they don’t, we shorten your days left on earth by a day for every letter you send.”

“You’ve got a deal!” he said without hesitation, like he knew she would agree.

Cuffed, dressed in orange, and being escorted back to his cell, Edward Emerson pondered to himself. “It’s been ten years since that little girl died, five years since my last criminal offense, I wonder whether they’ll forgive me?” Now back in his cell, he asked the guard nearest him for ten sheets of paper and a pen. He put the rusted lid of the toilet seat down and it made a deafening high pitch sound. He checked to see if his ears were bleeding, to his relief they were not. The pen neatly touched the paper, their only support was Edward’s knee. The letters were written, not hastily as that they were as scribbles, but not as carefully written as a scribe writing for a king. He finished the letters that night and they were mailed to the corresponding addresses in the morning.


The responses were more prompt than he could have imagined. As it seemed, each one truly believed he had changed, and he was overjoyed. But the last letter gave him a bit of grief. One family was not fully convinced that Edward had changed. The family was Emily’s, his first victim. The mother and father of the deceased said that they would like to speak to Edward in person, he of course agreed. Two months after the mailing of the letters and two weeks after the last response, the ex-killer had visitors. He knew that it could only be those whose lives he had damaged beyond repair. He readied himself for them in his crude mirror. His shaggy red beard made him look like he was fifty, but he was twenty-six, he knew his acts were not something to hide behind and his beard hid his face, so he shaved it, it was his form of symbolism. He inspected every detail about himself, his big brown eyes scanning the details as if his face was a landscape. His crooked nose and jagged cunning smile always made him look like what he was-a convict. And today for some reason it bothered him. However, there was nothing he could do change it on such short notice, just like his average body-build.

He walked into the conference room, handcuffed and wearing his best orange jacket. Escorted to the concrete bench by armed guards, who didn’t look like the enjoyed their professions, he sat down without consent. He glanced at the couple; the mother was in tears and the father was grimacing. “We…know you’ve changed and made a right decision by coming to Christ, we just…” the once proud mother burst into further tears, as she reached into her purse for a handkerchief. The father took over the conversation “we just wanted to see for ourselves. I guess to state simply, we lack faith. But now we know that you are truly better.” The man gave Edward a soft smile and went back to comforting his wife. One of the guards motioned for Edward to get up and follow him. He followed the guard down to the warden’s office and the warden personally unlocked the chains. He ran out of jail, once again a free man. He called a taxi, because he desperately wanted to visit his home after ten years. On his way, the driver intentionally ran a red light.

Everything went black for Edward, and he woke up in the front of a line, standing in front of people he had never seen. They motioned to each other and turned back to the throne in front of him. “Is the name of Edward Emerson written in the book of life?” a deep voice echoed “No my Lord, it is not,” a voice answered. “But how am I not written in the book Lord? I have changed and even those whom I have hurt have admitted it!” Edward questioned “You are right Edward, but the Lord God does not look at the outward appearance but at the inward. Although outwardly you expressed a desire to know me, inwardly you completely rejected me. You may be able to fool the humans but you cannot fool the Lord of Hosts. Depart from me, I never knew you, you worker of iniquity.”





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback