A Killer Gets a Life
He will return to his cell. The door will shut, his small cage will darken. He will lie down and try to rest, desperately trying to block out the reality of how he will spend the rest of his life. At first there will be total despair, like an animal let loose inside him. His mind will fill with hate - hate for his lawyers, hate for the judge, hate for the minister who visits him daily, hate for his victim’s family, and finally hate for the victims. He will hide his face so no one looking in can see as it becomes distorted as he silently screams at his enemies, his teeth clenched in a tight snarl as he mouths his venomous attack on them all.
Then the swarm inside his mind will begin to calm. He will push his enemies to a compartment inside his mind - the same compartment that he feels has forever captured the souls of his victims. He will begin to size up his situation and mold out his future that he believes he can manipulate.
He will say to himself, “I can make anything happen! Had I not let myself be caught I would still be out there. I am a genius! I am smarter than the top crime investigators in the country!” And he will begin to carve out how he will survive.
He will see himself as becoming a trusted friend to his captors, as someone who is above the other inmates. In time, he sees himself as a trustee. If he shows that he is willing to tell on his fellow inmates, he will eventually move from prisoner to captor - oh not physically - only because the laws do not allow it.
He can show what a good person he is; how he has superior command over the English language and eventually he will begin preaching Sunday sermons. People will look up to him because they will see how wise he is, how smart. His heart races as his mind advances to the future and he sees all the possibilities that lay before him.
He imagines long lines of psychologists waiting to interview him. They will be impressed with his deep understanding of psychotic behavior. Writers will be fighting over him, each wanting to be the one he chooses to write his story. A movie will be made and an actor – one with refinement and intelligence – will play him. Oh yes, he will be busy for a long time.
Now that he has a future, he can relax. A smile comes across his face. His mind reaches to his compartment and pulls out one of his victims. No one can cage his memory. He goes back through the events when he had full control over his victim’s life. Her cry to live seems fainter somehow although he refuses to admit it.
He no longer has his secret box with all the photographs to remind him of how his victims looked - how he positioned them, but he knows he will never forget. Yet when he tries to make the scenes take form in his mind, they are broken like a puzzle. He cannot see them as clearly as he once could and justifies this by telling himself he is tired.
He searches for the satisfaction he once received when he thought of his victims. But it does not come to him. There is something in the way. Again he repeats the murder in his mind. The arousal he felt seeing his victims bound and helpless has been replaced by something uncomfortable. He tries to push it away but it doesn’t move.
His face begins to redden. He feels heat from his body rising into his mind, burning away the images he has stored inside. The uncomfortable feeling overwhelms him. Some may think it is remorse. But they are wrong.
Yes, it is an emotion. One for most of us that comes and goes quickly but for someone like him, works like a worm eating away at the very core of his existence. This animal who stalked families, children, women and who thrived on knowing he had a community in fear, could no longer run from the one emotion he detested the most. He was embarrassed. Embarrassed that his shield was down and people now knew what a despicable human being he was.
As his face burns red with heat, he gets a flash of the truth. Those who snickered behind his back will now know how he dressed in women's underwear and how he wore a makeshift woman's mask. Those who he convinced to respect him no longer will. All his efforts to be a man of authority are gone and those he picked on will shake their heads knowingly, as if they always knew what a loser he really was. He realizes there will be no camaraderie with the prison guards or Sunday sermons now that the truth has been exposed.
Exhausted, he drifts off to that place when one is not asleep or awake. He sees himself moving along the gates of the outside yard. He feels the isolation of his surroundings. He senses he is not alone. He feels fear – fear like he has never felt before. He is not prepared to die but that does not stop the blade from digging into his chest, his back, his cheek. Blood spills out from him and he weakens, now on the ground, gasping through his sliced neck for one more breath. He knows he is dying and he closes his eyes as if to not see will protect him from the gates of hell. But he cannot shut out the one sound he hates most of all and the last he will ever hear. The sound of laughter coming from his killers. Howling, snickering laughter – at him.
He awakens. His eyes wide, seeing only blackness although there is muted light in the pre-dawn hours of his prison. His eyes are moist with tears. Not tears for his victims, not tears of remorse for anyone, but tears only for himself.
Each night the truth will knock on the door of his mind, replacing his delusional self-worth with the reality that the world is not thinking about him. His victims, reunited in the hearts of their loved ones, know he is God's problem now, not theirs. Their misery has ended and in its place; his has just begun.