Ignorance

I see you turn
your face away,
pretending I’m
not here

Do be careful
not to stumble
as you run
away in fear

You look so
fucking stupid
Do you know that?
Can you see?

You’re still visible
Still ignorant
Still a friend?
You used to be

But times have
changed,
I see that now.
I am dirty,
damaged goods

I’m the nightmare
living close to you,
I’m the darkness
in the woods

But blindness
won’t erase me,
will not cure what
can’t be healed

Go on and hide,
I see it now,
Your true nature
has been revealed.

 

Faith

 

Do you hear me up there
when I cry in dark places,
lost in the pit of terror?

Can you see me up there
when I deny myself
the truth of my own existence?

Do you feel anything up there
when my bones scream
as my dreams shatter?

Will you help me up there
with a miracle so special
it satisfies the heathen?

Are you even up there?

Ceres (For Jean)

…psst…what’s he up to in there?…things…telescopes…not a clue…who knows…maybe he’s…shhh…pssst…maybe he’s lost it…lonely…grief…and all that…always was an oddball…shhh…not being mean but something was never quite …right…about him…psst…hard for him…lost her…yes but they weren’t even married…shhh…not even together…odd…strange things…what’s going on?…just what is he up to?…shhh…

 

Ceres Log – Stardate 2014.06.21:

And so it begins…

My mission. Purpose. The work that will consume my time, my all, for the foreseeable future. Ceres; my home town. Village. Hamlet. However you wish to describe it. A small oasis of beauty in the eastern reaches of Fife, Scotland. Let’s just call it the place where I live. The place where I have lived throughout my life. From the very first minute to now, sixty nine years later. It’s also the place where Jean lived all her life. My friend Jean. My best friend Jean. And, at times, my ONLY friend, Jean. I say ‘lived’ because, well, sadly Jean passed away recently. 68. No age for a woman with her spirit, her vitality, her personality. But she was afflicted with a disease that just would not sod off. Not for good anyway. It kept returning, again and again. Wave after wave. And no matter how resiliently Jean battled against it, eventually the bastard took her down. Took Jean down. My best friend. Took her away from me.

Friends. That’s what we were. That’s all we ever were. And that was ok. More than ok, in fact. It worked. For both of us. For both of us awkward, slightly anxious, more-than-slightly uncomfortable-in-our-own-skin human beings. There were times when, yes, a kiss seemed not too far away. The unspoken. The elephant in the room. But it never happened. And again, I’ll reiterate, that’s ok. Because I loved Jean. And she loved me. Love can exist without romance. But it can’t exist without friendship, without partnership. And that’s what we were; a partnership. Donald and Jean. Jean and Donald. That’s how everyone referred to us. One with the other. It was never any other way. Throughout school, university, adulthood. We were always there for each other. With each other. Supporting one another though triumphs, through grief, through life. And then she left me. Alone. Lost. Wondering what life could possibly have left to offer a lonely, socially-awkward 69 year old retired astrophysicist without his best friend to turn to for comfort and companionship.

And so this is why I’m here. Now. Why I’m writing this log. Why I’m starting this whole thing. Why I have all this equipment, all these tools, my telescope, laid out before me. I’m doing it for Jean. For her memory. For the memories of all those moments we shared together. The laughs, the tears, the newspapers read in comfortable, warm silence. I will see this through for her. For the love she gave me and I her. You see, Jean always dreamed of leaving Ceres. Temporarily anyway. She dreamed of travelling, far and wide and often. But her anxieties, and then latterly her health, wouldn’t allow it. Whereas I occasionally had to travel abroad for work, she never did. Writing romance novels for a living generally doesn’t demand much foreign travel, unless you desire it for research purposes of course. And Jean didn’t. And so, this is for Jean. My friend Jean. This is to help her fulfil her dreams. This is to allow her to see what she never thought she could see. This is for her. This is all for her.

 

…psst…he’s barely ever out of that house since…well…y’know…since what happened…shhh…he’s grieving…must be devastated…but…shhh…what is he up to?…not a clue…banging…crashing…mechanical whirring…bleeping…all day…all night…psst…he was a astrology physicist…shhh…astronomy…what?…pssst…what?…astronomy you idiot…astrology is horoscopes and that…shhh…never opens the curtains…always working…its almost like Wallace and Gromit…hahaha…what’s a Gromit?…never mind…look…just look……just what is he up to…?!…shhh…

 

Ceres Log – Stardate 2015.09.14:

Ceres is a town in east Fife, yes.

This we know. This I have already stated.

But Ceres is also a dwarf planet, settled in the asteroid belt somewhere between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It lies approximately 257 million miles away from Earth. It has a total diameter of roughly 587 miles. A day on Ceres lasts almost nine earth hours, and it takes 4.6 earth years to revolve around the sun. It was discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi all the way back in 1801. And then it was discovered by Jean in the early 1990s. Well, like all these numbers and calculations, I say that approximately. And when I say discovered by Jean, I mean she spotted it through my telescope. And we were looking for it. So ‘seen by’ may be more accurate but let’s stick with ‘discovered by’ shall we, it sounds far more scientific and I’m sure Jean would have approved.

This fascinated Jean. She, who had barely ever left this town and who had loved it for its reclusiveness and its quietude, could scarcely believe that her home shared a name with one the solar systems largest objects. A dwarf planet no less. Talk about town twinning. The fact that the dwarf planet Ceres was named after a Roman God and not in fact the town itself mattered little to her. It filled her with a sense of wonder. A sense of insignificance but in a good, grounding kind of way. A whittling down of all problems, tedious or otherwise, into an irrelevance when the vastness of our existence was taken into account. She knew, as we all do of course, that James Wilson, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, had come from Ceres, the town, and that had in turn garnered some outsider knowledge of the place, but this…this to her was extraordinary.

From then Jean became almost as fascinated in space, in astrophysics, as I was and am. She would constantly ask me to locate Ceres on my telescope, even accompanying me once to the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh – a trip which took a hell of a lot for Jean – to try to locate the dwarf planet. And that blossomed into a desire to know more, to learn the constellations, to be able to locate them, to understand more about the planets in our solar system, the visible stars located in other galaxies. It even renewed my love in the subject, truth be told. I have always, and will always, love astrophysics, space. That is undeniable. But when you work with the subject every single day, when it consumes your life, you tend to forget the unhinged wonder, naivety even, that greets your initial flirtation with space and all its wonder. She even started watching Star Trek with me. Of all the things. I would often catch Jean staring up at the skies, especially on a cool cloudless autumn or winter night, just staring. Gasping as she took in the starry, wondrous, firmament above us. On more occasions than I can recall she would head out to the back garden to put something in the bin and that would be the last I would hear of her for a good half an hour or so. Frequently I would wander out and catch her gazing towards the stars. Usually shivering away yet caring not. Her dreams of travelling the world had blossomed into a dream – a silly, unrealistic dream she knew of course – of seeing space, of exploring the Ceres 250-odd million miles away from her living room. She felt its grandeur; she felt the enormity of it all. And it comforted her.

And that’s why I’m still toiling away on this. I will finish it. I have to and I will. Despite what the doctor tells me about taking it easy and resting more often. About taking my medication. Time spent on other thing, on anything else, is time lost. Time wasted. I can’t let Jean down. And I won’t let Jean down.

 

…psst…he’s still at it…surely not…as I live and breathe he’s still going…shhh…despite the…shhh!…despite the doctors telling him…despite his…y’know, his…his…shhh…the ambulance was there again last week…determined to get it finished…psst…they say he doesn’t have long…shhh…determined to finish it…what is it?!…psst…a space rocket or something…that’s what a nurse I know said a doctor told a nurse she knows…hahaha…is it?…don’t know…poor old man…isn’t well…mind must have went…shhhh!…it’s a shame…shouldn’t be on his own in the house like that…shhh…

 

Ceres Log – Stardate 2017.08.17:

Not long now.

In every way.

I will finish this. I’m almost finished. I can’t stop now. Not with my health gone. If I don’t finish now then it has all been for nothing. I would be a failure. I would have let Jean down. No. Jean and myself. I would let both of us down. I don’t care how much rest I need. I don’t care how long they say I’ve got left. I will not sleep. I will not eat. Until this is done. Just a couple of things now. Phone keeps ringing. Door keeps knocking. Journalists. Doctors. Neighbours. Nosey, the lot of them. Worried about me. Wanting my story. Wanting anything. Can’t understand why I am doing this. Why I’m refusing help. Well I just need to adjust a few calculations – always calculations, it always was calculations – and I’ll be ready. It will be ready. We’ll all be ready.

There’s a series of very bright white spots on Ceres. You can see that in pictures. Through the telescope. Salty ice it is believed. The brightest cluster sits in Occator, a crater some fifty miles wide. That’s the target. That’s the destination.

That’s the end point.

 

…pssst…they say he only has days left…poor man…very ill for a long time…not right…mentally…shhh…curtains never open…losing her hit him hard…shhh…still…crazy though…I mean…trying to launch something into space…hahaha…shhh!…leave him alone…of course it’s crazy…it’d never work…forget it though…poor guy…not long left now…psst…

 

Ceres Log – Stardate 2017.09.02:

Done.

No turning back now.

We have lift off.

For my friend.

For Jean.

 

…psst…that was where he lived…there?…apparently the crater in his garden is huge…shhh…when did it happen?…a couple of years back…psst…look you can still see some of the trees next to the house…look at them…dead…shhh…still can’t believe it…no-one thought he could do it…no-one?…no-one…but he did…remember seeing it on the news…from Ceres to Ceres…still can’t believe it…shhh…no-one can…even had NASA here…in Ceres…believe that?…what a guy…died the next day…after it landed on Ceres?…no, the day after he launched it…had no idea if it would get there or not…been sick for a long time…shhh…had notes and diaries left lying around…all for his friend…who?…his friend Jean…all just to send her urn…just to spread her ashes…on the surface of Ceres…just crashed it…intentionally crashed the thing into one of the craters…spent his entire life savings…all of it…all for his friend…for Jean…shhh…

The Seamstress

 

She slides from
the shadows,
at night see her creep,
invading your thoughts
while you silently sleep

Polluting your dreams
with her visions of fear,
nightmares they fester,
are vividly clear

She feeds on your terror,
it’s bile keeps her strong,
the deeper your slumber,
the more she lives on

To keep you from waking
your eyes she sews shut,
no rest from her horror,
no chance to wake up

Needle and thread,
the tools of her trade,
watching,
waiting,
Are you afraid?

I Dream Of Mermaids

Last night I dreamt of mermaids.

Again. Like I do most nights. Or some nights, at least. Frequently. Let’s just say frequently.

I dreamt I was sitting here, right where I am now, by my bedroom window. Staring out at the sea. The sea that appears so choppy, so gloomy. So grey. The near-sand-less, pebble beach that lines the coast adding to the moribund demeanour of the town. A once-renowned seaside town, or resort, that has long since seen its glory days pass by. Signs swing from side to side in the breeze to a squeaking soundtrack of rusty hinges. Eyes stare down at the rain-spattered pavements as the backdrop of boarded-up shops and graffiti-strewn walls drift by. The pier, once so fabled and so full of life, of colour, stands broken at the edge of the water. Rotting wooden posts thrust out of the water like fingers, reaching out for any kind of salvation as they gradually sink beneath the waves.

But when I dream I see so much more. The sea itself becomes a backdrop. The waves become the bit-part player. The rocks that occasionally make an appearance during lower tides become a stage. The stage. The stage for the mermaids as they glide so gracefully out of the water, resting on the rocks with poise and finesse. Two, three, five, nine; more and more cut through the water, revealing themselves amid the ethereal glow of the dreamlike surroundings.

I stare at them, from this seat, by the window. I am transfixed. Their beauty surrounds me, invades me, illuminates me. Their hair strands of perfection, flowing down past their bare shoulders, coquettishly concealing their supple breasts. Their eyes, beams of kaleidoscopic perfection, burrow into my trembling soul. Feasting. Devouring. Their smiles, warm and disarming, siren calls with power enough to ensnare any man, women or child who dare look upon it. And their tails, flicking gently, calmly. Almost demurely. Their scaly lower halves shimmer in the evening’s twilight, mesmerising my eyes as the grey becomes imbued with the slightest, most transient dashes of reds, greens, purples. I stare at them. I wish I were them. Amongst them.

And then they beckon me. All as one gently curling their hands into ‘come hither’ gestures, calling out to me, inviting me into their world. I look down and I am transformed. My legs replaced by a shimmering, smooth, scaly, majestic, stunning tail. And when I look up once more I am with them. Gracefully laying on my own rock. Within the ocean. Within the group. Surrounded by my fellow mermaids. My tail flicks confidently, breezily, bringing the slightest of tears to my eyes. The others whisper to me, sing to me, call to me. Praising my beauty, my poise, my everything. I am at one with myself. At peace.

And we slink beneath the waves. As one. All slipping from our rocks, from our stages. We curve and pirouette through the water, laughing and singing, allowing the waves to gently carry us towards the deepest, darkest realms of the ocean. Before we slip into the depths I look down, transfixed with my own beauty. By the smooth grey scales that delicately and intricately protrude from my torso.

And then they fade.

Transforming into the cold, grey, metallic sterility of my wheelchair. The grey of the steel, the wheels, the footrests infusing me with that familiar feeling of resentment. At the chair. At my legs. At my useless, lifeless legs. And sleep takes me, chewing me up and spitting me back out into the dreary morning’s banality. The struggle. The arm-aching struggle with this contraption that I despise so.

And so I stare out at the sea once more. Grey. Sitting by my bedroom window. In my chair. Willing, wishing, hoping for it to change. For mermaids to decorate every rock, every wave, every inch of the horizon. And yet, it never does. Only as I sleep. Only when I dream. Each time the same dream. Each time the same pull from my mind, the same existential plain of fantasy carved into my imagination.

Each day I watch the dreariness, the bitterness. Letting the minutes tick by.

Ushering me to the realm of sleep once more.

So I can dream yet again.

Once again.

So I can dream of mermaids.

 

The Flannan Isle Lighthouse Mystery

I, Will Gibson, write this note, by candlelight, as the storm thunders relentlessly against the island, rattling the lighthouse window only a matter of yards from my person.

We have now been three days on the Outer Hebridean island of Eilean Mor, the most prominent of the famed ‘Seven Hunters’ or the Flannan Isles if you will. Until this night both events and the weather had passed without incident. The documentary myself and my fellow crew members have been making to commemorate the centenary of the Flannan Isle Lighthouse Mystery – when all lighthouse keepers vanished without a trace, and without explanation, from this very lighthouse, this very island, on Boxing Day in the year 1900 – had been progressing well. Sufficient footage was sought and subsequently obtained. In fact we had intended to leave the island earlier today only to be delayed by our unanimous excitement at the prospect of filming in the impending – and now very much present – storm. Such footage, after two consecutive days of placid conditions, would have been a sublime addition to our film canon, allowing us to intersperse said clips with the various theories and conjecture which base themselves around the similar stormy conditions that bombarded the island on that most infamous of nights 100 years ago.

That decision, the one to remain on the island, would now appear to have sealed our collective fates. I write this as the only member of the six person crew not to have ventured out into the darkness of the night, the maelstrom of the storm. Each having left the lighthouse and each having failed to return. From the aforementioned window I can see the waves, colossal and soaring, rebounding against the islands coast, taunting all who venture near them with their awesome ferocity. The darkness itself, now free from the restricting bounds that was the lighthouse’s electrical supply, seems to claw at the window pane, pressing itself up against the glass, staring in at me with mocking malevolence.

Robert, our principle cameraman, was first to venture out into the storm. Determined to capture the perfect shot, one that would relay just how hopelessly cataclysmic the conditions appear whilst marooned on this island, he left the relative safety of the lighthouse intending to film only a matter of feet from the front door despite the continuous sheets of rain thudding against the earth. His zoom, his lighting, his formatting would do the necessary job he explained, all those features and functions would save him the need to approach the by-now perilous coastline. This was his intention. And this was how proceeded. Until that is he became convinced that he had seen a figure, likely a man he surmised, through his lens standing on what appeared to be the island’s cliff-edge.

He called out, nearly shouting himself hoarse, as he tried to catch the attention of the figure. He waved, whistled, hollered. All to no avail. Still the figure stood. Perched ominously on the island’s edge. The wild waves below promising nothing but a violent watery grave should he plunge from the edge. Robert grabbed his filming equipment, retreating inside and relayed this turn of events to us in a hurried, gasping manner. He was adamant that he should venture down to this figure, this apparent man, and usher him back up the hill to the safety of the lighthouse. At the very least for dry surroundings. Only then could this man expain to us how and why he came to find himself on this island in the current conditions. We objected of course, doubting the veracity of his sight, the logic of the situation, but Robert was steadfast. He asked for no-one to accompany him but he could not leave this soul unattended on a night such as this, with death lapping its unrelenting waves against the island. And so he left, despite our protestations, and disappeared into the darkness of the night. This was roughly five hours ago. I have not seen Robert since.

As time ticked by, the lack of reappearance by Robert or indeed the supposed figure seen by the latter at the island’s edge forced the nerves, the panic in our minds, to hasten. The conditions were, ARE, atrocious yes but surely he should not have taken this long to venture down and back. Worst case scenarios littered out individual thoughts and then manifested themselves in panicked, stuttered voices. Had he fallen, plunged into the sea? Had he tripped on the way down, subsequently lying freezing and injured in the sodden ground? Had he in fact met the figure and had said figure assaulted Robert for whatever cause or reason? Theories skipped around our huddled, shivering circle. Enough to send Louisa, our director, out into the darkness with Robert’s camera. We followed her, huddling by the door, as she stared through the lens trying to decipher any clues through the conditions as to where our cameraman could be. She peered, back arched, through the camera for what must have been two or three minutes before suddenly bursting into excitement. She could see him, she shouted back to us, she could see him. No, it wasn’t Robert, but the man, the figure who Robert had spoken of. He was signalling, both arms criss-crossing the other, waving up at the lighthouse. He was trying to get our attention. Our hearts ran cold. Robert. What had happened to him? To our friend. Louisa wasn’t waiting to find out. She dropped the camera, letting it sink into the marshy ground, and took off at pace down toward the island’s edge. I have not seen her since.

When Louisa failed to reappear the same sequence of events played out, this time sending Mark down to the island’s edge, again summoned by this figure this apparition. And when Mark failed to reappear, Andrea went. And then Annabel followed the same path when Andrea similarly failed to show. As you would have guessed by now, I have seen neither Mark, Andrea or Annabel since. I, being the technical guru of the team, was deemed the most likely to be able to re-establish communication channels with the mainland in order to send for urgent assistance – this, you will have no doubt gathered, I have been unable to achieve. And thus I was chosen to remain behind. Hence why I now sit alone, penning this note. This epitaph perhaps. I have seen the figure myself. I like all the others, looked through the camera lens. I too have seen him signal for help, for attention, for focus. And yet I saw no sign of any of my five fellow crew members. My friends.

It has now been two hours since Annabel left the lighthouse. I cannot wait around any longer. Whatever lies in wait for me, be it death by the hands of this stranger, be it safety, be it whatever else, I cannot sit idly by any longer in the knowledge that my friends are in peril.

And so I arrive at the conclusion of this note. In the event that I do not return, either to this lighthouse or to life on the mainland, I want this sequence of events to be known of, to be recorded so that any proper or appropriate course of action can be taken. Our documentary was self-financed, self-prompted. An independent production intended to propel us into the upper echelons of documentary film-makers in this country. For this reason no-one but the six of us, and the crew that brought us to the island, know of our presence here. And so with that in mind, this note is, if nothing else, a warning to the world. Hear our tale. Heed our call. Send for help. Please…

 

Hmm…nice note, fairly accurate I suppose but that’s not going to stop me crumpling it up and…there we go, aye the wind’s taken that…launching it into the waves. Quite a shame actually, the boy had such a lovely prose style. I really wish he hadn’t kept referring to me as ‘the figure’ or ‘the man’ though. ‘The apparition’ was closer to the truth aye but if these folk had done their research they’d have known that they could have called me by my Christian name, Donald, or if they’d like, ‘The Occasional’.

You see, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve no doubt already had me pegged as a vile,creepy, sinister ghoul. Luring six young men and women to their death and all that. But nothing could be further from the truth. Yes I did lure them to their death, aye, seeing them plunge off the island and into those hellish waves below. Fairly easy when you’re an ‘apparition’ actually and you have the power to appear and disappear at a moment’s notice. They grab out for you, you vanish, and…splash. Another one gone.

But you see, I was one of the three back in 1900. One of the three that seemingly vanished off the face of the the earth, hide nor hair seen of any of us since. I was ‘The Occasional’ they spoke about in the report alongside the regulars Marshall and Ducat. I was only a stand-in, stepping in after another keeper was laid low with flu. How’s that for luck eh? But of course we never just ‘vanished’ did we.

The exact same thing that happened to these fine young men and women tonight happened to us lot one hundred years ago. Same storm, same conditions, exact same method of death. Identical. Only with us it was some dour looking sailor ghoul who died a century previous to that, that lured us to the waves. And in another one hundred years time it’ll be the responsibility of one of these folk – probably the young fellow who penned that note actually, he seems a suitably morbid kind of chap – to lure another poor set of unsuspecting buggers to their deaths. Sacrificial you see. To appease the sea, or the storm or…or I don’t really know to tell you the truth. When you’re dealing with forces of this magnitude you don’t tend to ask too many questions. You just do as you’re told.

Anyway, that’s my watch finally over at least.

About time for some rest I think.

Wouldn’t you say so?

The Last Rites

Roland Clements, 48 years of age, from Little Rock, Arkansas; you were convicted of four counts of murder in the first degree and sentenced to death by lethal injection by the court of the state of Arkansas. At precisely 11:58pm on this night, September 15th 2017, we will begin the lethal injection process, ceasing only when you have been pronounced dead by the attending physician. May God have mercy on your soul.

You know. Much be said about last meals. Death Row inmates and their last meals that is. They get to pick anything, they say. Whatever their heart desires. Their favourite food. Their favourite meal from when they was just a boy. It’s the last bit of true happiness a Death Row inmate will experience. Now some of that may be true, yes. And, well, I did get to pick my last meal; chicken fried steak with gravy, fried okra, freshly made biscuits. But there ain’t nothing in the rule book that say it has to be nice. Holy mother above, no there ain’t. And lemme tell you, the only thing worse than being strapped to this gurney right now, literally awaiting my death, is being strapped to this gurney right now which a belly doing all kinds of somersaults and complaining. Hell, I don’t know what the hell the chef put in that gravy but my body certainly don’t agree with it whatever it was. Course, this ain’t nothing new. Ever since I set foot in Supermax, or Varner’s Unit, I ain’t exactly had the kindest of receptions. Being a black man would see to that. And being a black man who has killed a family of four in cold blood, kind of adds to that kind of reception. And oh, just to be clear, the family, all four of them, were white. No-sir, it’s not been the most enjoyable stay for me these last seven years in this fine Arkansas establishment. Kinda made me hanker now and again to take the long walk from Death Row all the way up here to the Cummins Unit. Yessir, the triple cocktail up here at Cummins certainly do look appealing when you’re suffering yet another beating with your hands tied behind your back.

Once the prisoner is securely fastened into the gurney, their arm is swabbed with alcohol before two IVs, complete with saline drip, are connected to the prisoner’s arms. One of these is used primarily as a back-up safety measure incase the main IV drip fails to work. Once this preparatory work has been completed the curtain is opened to allow the witnesses to view the inside of the chamber. At this point the inmate is allowed to make a final statement. Once finished, we begin administering the first of the three drugs through the IV. The first drug administered is Sodium Thiopental – a fast acting barbiturate general anesthetic. This, if all goes to plan, should render the subject unconscious within 30 seconds.

Talking of the walk from my cell to this place. Jesus. Is there anything more morbid in this world? Walking to your certain death. With your hands, your feet in chains. I imagine it must be like some of them soldiers in the World War I, or those in the Civil War – or as they knows it round these parts, the ‘war of northern aggression’. You always used to read or hear about soldiers in them wars just walking slowly or charging to their deaths. Running into gunfire. I imagine that must be like the walk from the cell to this chair. Only, I didn’t feel any kind of heroic, I can tell you that much. Certainly not with this prison jumpsuit hanging off me. And especially not with last night’s meal playing havoc with my insides. No it ain’t good. I counted the steps at first. One, two, three, four…and so on. But I just as soon stopped. What does it matter how far you have to travel when the journey you’re making is your final one anyway? It don’t. And that’s the truth. All that matters is the journey you’ve taken throughout your life. That’s what the prison chaplain told me before I started the walk anyway. And I believes it. You know, I ain’t really been religious these past some of years, not since my boy died all those years back at least, but I have to say the chaplain seemed like a good kinda guy. He don’t discriminate you see. Black, White, Asian, Mexican; it don’t matter to him. And hell, we get more than our fair share of the opposite of that in this state than we need. We are all God’s children he said. We are all imperfect and make mistakes that we all regret. Every single day. Only, as decent as he was to me, or maybe it’s because of how decent he was to me, I could not tell him a lie. When he asked if I seek forgiveness for my actions I could not lie. And so I said no. I do not. And I never done. I knows what I was doing when I committed those murders and I would do it all over again. Not for one little second would I change what I did to that family.

Once the inmate is rendered unconscious by the injection of Sodium Thiopental, guards will then administer the second drug of the three drug protocol method. This time Pancuronium Bromide is administered into the inmate’s veins. This drug is an aminosteroid muscle relaxant which, with the right dose, will seize the victim in a state of paralysis. This drug has absolutely no effect on the consciousness of the inmate itself which is why it is paramount that a state of unconsciousness has been reached prior to the injection of said drug.

That’s right, not one bit of remorse for what I did. You see, I’ve always been under the impression that you reap what you sew. And right now baby, well I’m all kinds of reaping for the actions I took. Well, about to anyway. And that’s fine. I never challenged it. I never expected nothing less. Let me explain. This poor innocent family? Well let’s just say they weren’t so innocent after all. Certainly not to me. Or my family. Certainly not to my son Roland Jnr who took his own god damn life all those years ago because of them. No. Not one bit. My beautiful boy. My only boy. My beautiful, beautiful boy. The two young uns in that family see, the brothers, they teased Roland Jnr. Mercilessly. For years. At school, on the way home from school. For the crime of being black. And gay. Now the first of those two ain’t exactly favourable in this state but the second one? That’s a big no. And both at the same time? Well, that made him a target for these folks. He never said. He never said nothing. Not until it was too late.

I’ll admit, I had some trouble adjusting to my boy saying he was gay, I’ll admit that and I am sorry for that. I loved my boy and that is all that matters. So at first I ignored the signs. He was going through hell. In a mainly white school. And then when it started to come out a bit at a time I went over there. To the boys house. Figured I would talk sense into their father, man to man. Reasonable, serious, you know. But when I went there? Man, this guy, he looks at me like I’m some kind of dirt on his shoe. Looking down his nose at me. Mocking me. Telling me I should teach my son to stand up for himself, teach him to toughen up. That’s what he did and why his two boys were both playing in varsity for the school football team. It wasn’t his fault I had raised a Sissy, he said. Well I tell you, maybe if I had dealt with things then and there, things might have been different. But I reigned it in, all the anger I was feeling. And I walked away. I thought, the Principal of he school will deal with this, we’re decent hardworking citizens, we’ll do this the right way. But of course when it came down to two high school varsity football champions, who happen to be white and whose Dad happens to donate money to the school board, and a troubled black kid who struggles to make friends, well there was only going to be one winner. We all let Roland Jnr down. He had long since lost any hope. Any way out of the torment. A few days later his Momma found him hanging in his bedroom one morning before school. My beautiful, sweet boy. My sweet, sweet boy.

The school told us how shocked they were, how they were there for us should we want for anything. They even held a special assembly for Roland Jnr. To show us how loved he was. It was all bullshit. The kids looked embarrassed, some looked bored. But you know what did it for me. Those kids, the two that had been bullying him, teasing him. They were laughing. Along with their father. During a eulogy to Roland Jnr. Laughing. With that same look. That one I saw when I went to this man’s door to talk. Laughing. I knew then what I had to do. I knew what I would do. The next day I parked down the street from their house. Waiting. Waiting. Until eventually the three of them and the wife/Mom got into the car and took off. I followed them. For miles. For what must have been hours. Until they finally stopped at Cedar Falls, in Petit Jean State Park. They must have gone for the day. To enjoy family time. I followed them into the park, caring not for any passers-by or civilians close by, I grabbed the biggest rock I could find and I marched straight up to that son of a bitch and cracked his skull open with it. The boys and the Mom were too paralysed to even move as the Dad lay there in a pool of his own blood. And so I quickly did the same with the boys. And then their Mom. Opening their skulls. I enjoyed it. It was vengeance. Retribution. They took my boy away from me and now they had what was coming to them. Like I say, I deserve to be here. If I had to do it all over again, I would.

The third and final drug administered is Potassium Chloride. This is the most vital of the three drugs in that it delivers the fatal blow to the inmate in question. It increases the blood concentration of potassium sufficiently to stop the heart beating in a normal fashion via an abnormal heart beat. This causes death by cardiac arrest. A physician on the scene will follow the heart monitor attached to the inmate so that the occasion and time of death is known. Death by lethal injection usually takes an average of seven minutes for the process to complete. On isolated occasions it can take longer due to a number of variable factors – a 2007 case took up to two hours to conclude.

And so that’s why I have peace as I sit here strapped to the gurney. I knows what I did was right. I ain’t ever had an urge to kill before in my life or since so I know that, if there be a God, he must have directed me to this task. I felt it within me. A need to right the wrong. And that is why when they asked me for my final statement all I said was ‘I’m sorry that the world is the way that it is’. There be too much pain, too much suffering in this life, in this world. Too much wrong. But one thing I always held to be true is that when you or your family have been done wrong you make sure and set things right.

And I….I…I feel it.

It’s in me…it’s…

Burning my veins…it’s…

Pulsing…within me…stabbing me…

Burning my…my soul…my…

Suffocating…

Burning…

Killing.

Time to kill

Nanny was waiting by the door and hurried the child inside the porch.

‘What time do you call this?’ she said. ‘It’s way past your bedtime. Where have you been?

‘On the..the..viaduct.’ said Damian.

‘On the what?’ said Nanny.

‘The..the..v.v.viaduct,’ said Damian.

‘I’ve told you time and time again not to go there. What on earth were you up to?’

‘M.m.making a sacrifice,’ said Damian.

‘A what?’ said Nanny

‘A s.s.sacrifice,’ said Damian.

‘What kind if sacrifice?’ said Nanny.

‘A m.m.mus. c.c.cul..a.ar sacrifice,’ said Damian turning round

‘Whatever do you mean? Spit it out,’ said Nanny.

Damian’s eyes glazed over as confidence became diction.

‘Must kill her, must kill her, must kill her,…’

Nanny saw a carving knife flash in the moonlight and then nothing more.

stab

 

 

The Fairy Glen

stonebridge

At dusk they awaken
from under the bridge,
with whispering wings
they appear

Flying swiftly they carpet
the floor of the woods,
with a twinkling of
star dust so clear

As darkness approaches
they light up the night,
flitting lightly from
fern up to branch

Calling out to their friends
who inhabit the dark,
‘let us dance while we
still have the chance’

For too quickly the moon
will retire back to bed,
the sun will rise
over the glen

And the fairies and creatures
that light up the night,
vanish under the bridge
once again

The race

running

Running, running in a race

Faster, faster feels the pace

Cut through the water

Over the blocked path

Breathless push now up the hill

Only a few miles to go

Nearer then against the foe

Positioning at the top men

Getting right beside them

Seeing the last klick coming

Concentrating on the running

Last few hundred now in sight

Powering home to win the fight