Flash Fiction 2009 Featured Writer Neeraj Bhople

Justice

publichanging

The loud clanking noise of the chains resonated down the hallway as I walked. Hundreds of eyes looked at me from behind the iron bars as Jailer Smith led me to the room. A small clean white room with a hard wooden bed in the middle. A white bed sheet. Leather restraints hanging from the edge of the bed. One-way mirrors all around. A solitary light-bulb hanging in the middle of the room.

Smith looked at me. He was tense from the day I walked into the prison but he had been growing paler ever since.

“Are you sure you don’t want anything?” said Smith.

“Yes”

Composing him as much as he could, he said, “Ok, in that case, I will tell you how we will proceed. First…”

I stopped him. He had explained the procedure to me last. He even offered to close the viewing gallery during the proceedings. This sadistic thing happens only in this country he had said. I refused. They needed to see. They needed a closure.

He held my gaze for a fleeting moment before looking at the doctor who was preparing everything. The guards assisted me on to the bed and tied the restraints.

“It’s not your fault Mr. Smith. You are a good man.”

He looked away as the doctor emptied the first syringe in my vein. I looked at the mirrors. There were people behind them. Looking at me intently. I couldn’t see them but I could feel the hate, the anger in every eye. Every one of them feeling a sense of satisfaction… victory. I had killed their loved ones. One by one. In cold blood. Not repenting even once. Death was the only punishment for their crime. I was the judge. I was the executioner. They had to die. And I was tried for the judgment I gave. The punishment I executed. I had to die too. Someone always judges. Someone always punishes. Someone always gets punished. The roles remain the same. Actors change.

“Five minutes” whispered the doctor as he administered the second injection.

I searched for her behind the mirrors. The last time I had seen her she was scared. Cowering in a corner. Surrounded by the wolves ready to dig their teeth in her flesh. I was the only one standing away. Her eyes had pleaded me to save her. I didn’t. I became a wolf that night.

I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I let my eyes close and there she was! Sitting in the last row. The only face with no hatred on it. No fear. No anger. No pity. The face that wanted me to die for a different reason. The face that I wanted to see…to feel… the face that even death wouldn’t be able to take away from me. I was dying. But in peace. There was one soul that knew why I did what I did. One soul that had chosen to forgive me.

That was enough.
That is enough…

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