Copyright 2008 by Flynn Meyers
September wind coerced an army of leaves into a whirlwind assault. Which was quickly annihilated on impact with the Greyhound bus as it passed. The view from the window, revealed the small familiar hamlet peacefully nestled amidst the sun-drenched fall colored maples in the valley below. Exposing itself in its entirety, as the bus slowly made its way down the hillside highway towards the center of town. The old houses, grade school, streets and shops came to life with whispers and ghostly memories of a boy’s small town youth, and adolescence. Curtis Bedford was consumed with the thought, that it hadn’t changed in all these years. So many years and seasons had ticked by. But even the sleepless nights and tortured sounds of prison life, had failed to dim his recollections.
Upon reaching the depot the buses air brakes snorted a satisfied grunt of air, having reached its destination. Curtis remembered the Carlson’s, Milton and Dorothy, they had owned the Castaway motel right next door.
The years would have stolen their youth, and of course they would never recognize him anyway. He was but a teenager back then. He made his way to the room, the door opened to reveal a modestly upgraded interior. The room flashed Kodak reminiscences of the past. The gruesome scene and secrets, had long since been painted over and disguised with renovations. This was it - this was the room. Panic and anguish clutched at his soul, but he knew he must prevail. The initial exposure and flood of anxiety dissipated slowly, as reality offered an unattached presence to the room. He turned slowly as if in slow motion. Absorbing the contents, and wondering how many unsuspecting guests had lain their heads to rest here.
The crisp morning air filled his lungs and bit at his face, as he left the room. He strolled past the library, several shops and the statuesque granite courthouse.
“We the jury find the defendant guilty,” thundered from the recessed depths of suppressed thought, sending a shiver up his spine.
He soon found himself at the entrance of the park. The wooden arch that bore the name showed its age, despite the coats of varnish designed to protect it. Much of the park like his life and his memories, appeared contradicted and abandoned. The huge swimming hole that once sparkled with summer pleasures, revealed itself as nothing more than a tiny neglected slough. Now wrought with an overgrowth of vegetation, surrounding its stagnant mass. The old overhanging tree remained but had long since retired from its chore of suspending a tire on a rope. Its bark now too, chaffed and withered with time.
“And what of Mary?” “Sweet adorable Mary, his first and only love” he thought, as he viewed her old house through the thin forest that remained. She had been devastated after the trial and for a few years at least, maintained contact by way of letters and cards on the holidays. But much like any chance for an appeal or the sweet taste of freedom, she too eventually vanished from his life, along with hope. His thoughts screamed to walk up to the door and knock. She would answer, and he would wake from this nightmare. A Grouse burst into the air from the thickets, causing his daydream to vaporize, instantly lost in the heated explosion of its flight. He felt distracted out of place, his inner voice screamed to pay attention. He must absorb the essence, and suppress these confusing feelings.
He paused looking at the backs of his hands, they showed signs of deterioration.
How could he have known all those years ago, this would be the culmination of events that would inevitably lead to this page of his existence. He had to see it, the house where he was born and raised. He longed for the memories that would reveal themselves, a pathetic exchange for a stolen life and happiness.
There it was- the yard seemed so small, and the neighborhood had dwarfed with time as well. He curled up on the couch he had done it - he was home finally. The room glowed, as heavenly sunlight and warmth burst through the windows. His mother came from the kitchen, with a tray of steaming muffins. Her angelic eyes and smiling face, soothing his emptiness. As the murmur of the rest of his family’s voices, washed over him with love and affection, like a warm nurturing breeze.
“We know you didn’t do it son, we all knew you didn’t do it,” his father said, in his calm gentle voice, as he smiled with proud admiration at Curtis.
“Thank you Dad, no one else believed me, but you guys knew I didn't do it.”
“Of course we did,” they said, as they gathered around him, and the warmth and security invaded him to his core.
“Okay shut off the drip,” the Doctor said to his assistant. The guard stood with his arms folded, after closing the drapes to the viewing chamber. Mercilessly blocking the view, of Cutis’s distraught parents and siblings.
“I still don’t believe in executions,” the assistant said.
“Neither do I,” said the doctor, as he went about confirming the vitals. “But at least it’s painless, look how peaceful he looks.”
Suddenly the phone rang, injecting a burst of chaos to the quiet yet morbid proceedings.
“What do you mean new evidence governor?”
the guard said, pausing slightly as he looked at the doctor and his
assistant, his eye’s pleading for an answer. “I’m
afraid it’s too late sir, we are finished here.”
in the subject line of the message
we won't know where to send it.)
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