Saturday, 25 September 2010
THE EXECUTION OF SEAN WEBSTER By Dan Duritsa
Sean Webster walked down the long white corridor. He knew where the end of the hallway led to. The execution chamber. It just dawned on him that this would be the last walk that he would ever take. From this point on, the last anything he would ever do. He walked with two guards on either side of him and one behind him. His wrists were shackled in front of him with a long chain that connected to two other shackles around his ankles. Little baby steps were all he could take. Not much movement when everything was chained together.
For eighteen years, Sean sat on death row. He always thought that it was funny how one could commit such a heinous crime, get sentenced to death and wait decades later before the deed was done. Nothing but politics. If the state was going to execute someone, do it and get it over with, he thought.
Sean could remember the exact day, time, and even second that he would commit the crime that would decide his fate. The one wrong move that got him in this very situation. It was his Melissa. His sweet girlfriend – hoping to one day be his wife – Melissa. The perfect woman that he had admired for five years. He had always thought that it was a good relationship and he thought she felt the same, until he found the messages. It was the letters. The text messages. Even emails. This guy named, Randy, that she was seeing. Sean didn't know him. Never heard of the guy. Probably a coworker or someone she met at the coffee shop that she liked going to. Sean decided to question his beloved girlfriend about his findings and she just ended up getting pissed and say, “Why you snooping in my business?”
He was the one asking the questions, not her. He never expected her to be a cheater. He always thought she was better than that. Apparently not.
Sean just often sat and thought about what he did wrong on his part. Nothing. Not a thing. He tried to be the best person he could be for her. For some reason, she wasn't having that anymore. Enough was enough, he thought.
He followed her to this guy's apartment. Knocked on the door and shot them both in cold blood. Yes, blasted them down like they were a couple of rabid animals. No second thought, or holding back at any point. And that was what Sean's biggest mistake was. He wished for almost twenty years now that he could go back in time and stop what he had done. Just should have broken up with her and let the two have each other. But, no, he let his anger get the best of him. Now look where it got him. He was going to die the same way that they did. By a bullet. Four bullets to be exact. He would sit in a death chamber and face a firing squad.
Sean and the three guards came to a large steel door. Sean's heart started to beat faster as he knew what was on the other side. The guard on his left opened the door and the other two with Sean walked in. Standing in the middle of the execution chamber was the warden, Sam Lawson. He stood in his nice navy blue suit and light hair parted to the side with both hands behind his back. Sean looked down when he saw him and then looked to his right against the back wall. It was such a sight. A huge dark wooden chair. Sand bags were stacked about five feet high behind the chair to prevent the bullets from ricocheting around the cinder block room. The death chair, as many had called it. Anyone who sat in it was surely not getting up again.
The three guards walked Sean over to the chair and sat him down. Sean looked over to his right. A long dark green curtain ran along the wall. He knew what was on the other side. The people that were going to watch him be put to death. He could sense them. He could feel their anger and hatred toward him seeping in through the cinder block wall that separated him from the witnesses.
One of the guards squatted down at Sean's feet and secured two leather straps around his ankles. He pulled and checked to make sure they were nice and tight. The other guard secured the wrists in the same fashion. A big long strap came around his upper torso and locked on the right side. As the guards checked and double checked again Sean looked straight ahead at the wall in front of him. There were five small squares cut out of the wall.
Sean knew that was were the five shooters stood waiting to take his life. Four live rounds and one blank would be fired at his heart. The blank was placed in one of the rifles so the shooters wouldn't know if they had fired the deadly round or not.
After the guards were done strapping him to the chair, there was one last order of business. The target that the shooters would be aiming for was pinned over Sean's heart. After that was done, they stepped back and the warden walked over and pulled the curtain to reveal the witnesses. Sean kept his sight set forward towards his executioners that he couldn't even see. Even though he didn't look at the witnesses he could feel their hateful eyes on him. Penetrating deep into his soul. A soul that would rot in Hell for eternity.
“Sean Webster you have been sentenced to death by firing squad,” Warden Lawson said.
As he continued with the rest of the dialogue, Sean's mind was lost within himself. He could hear the warden's words, but wasn't able to listen. His heart pounded so hard in his chest and through his ears, the words just sounded like a garbled mess. Sean finally mustered up the courage to look slightly to the right and through the glass where his audience sat. He recognized most of the people. The family members of the victims sat front row.
Melissa's parents. Her lover's parents, who sat with tears in their eyes. They sat with teary hateful eyes. A pain that even though he would soon die for would never take that pain away from them. He wished he could take it back. Everyday he wished. He also saw his lawyer sitting in the second row and a few other folks that probably worked for the state that had to sit as witnesses.
Sean finally came back to reality as a particular set of words came out of Warden Lawson's mouth caught his attention. These words he could make out crystal clear. A simple question was asked.
“Do you have any last words?” he asked.
Sean took in a deep breath and sighed. “No, I do not,” Sean said.
“Very well,” the warden said.
The warden nodded to the guard standing off to the side of the chair. The guard walked up a placed a black hood over the face. After that, all four men walked out of the chamber as the execution would commence. Five Winchester rifles protruded from the gun ports carved out of the wall. The five shooters would fire simultaneously at the end of the countdown. The room fell silent. Everyone held their breath.
A voice started the countdown. “Five...four...three...two-”
On two, all five shooters squeezed their triggers together. A loud crack sounded throughout the small chamber.
Some of the witnesses flinched at the sight of a small explosion that happened at the target that was pinned over Sean's heart. It happened so fast, most of the witnesses didn't even have time to react to what they saw. Most of the sound of the rifles couldn't even be heard in the witness booth.
As the bullets penetrated, Sean flinched, squeezed his left fist and then released. His head dropped to the right side.
A doctor walked in the chamber over to the chair. He pulled out his stethoscope and put the diaphragm to Sean's chest. The doctor saw a small pool of blood forming around the waist. Nothing to bloody. It wasn't a gory sight like he thought it would be. He checked for a heartbeat. Nothing.
He then proceeded to lift the hood and check the eyes with his pen light. Sean's face was already a pale ashy
color. He shined the light into the pupils of Sean's eyes. He then looked over in the direction of the warden and nodded. The execution of Sean Webster had been a complete success. He had killed by the bullet and now he died by the bullet.
Sean's eyes opened and sucked in a deep breath of air. He flinched in his driver's seat and looked around. He wiped his blurry eyes as he came out of one of the most horrible dreams ever. So realistic. So scary.
“What the hell,” he said to himself. He cocked his neck from side to side. It cracked in several places. Sean looked down at his watch. The time was going on 5:00pm.
“How long have I been asleep,” he said to himself.
Sean looked across the street at Melissa's apartment complex. He had fallen asleep waiting for her and the guy she had been fooling around with, to show up. It would be any minute now.
As he sat, he looked over at the passenger side seat. His 9mm Beretta hand gun sat on the seat waiting to be
used. He picked up the shiny wooden handle. Placed the the black barrel along his cheek and felt the cold steel.
The cold actually felt good to him.
He rewound the dream and played it over again in his head. Sweat and a fast heartbeat started as he replayed the dream in his head. This dream scared him. Is this what really happens when you act before you think, he thought to himself. As he pondered the thought and the dream, Melissa pulled up to her usual parking space in the lot of the complex. She opened the door and got out. To no surprise, the passenger door opened and out walked a young man. The man who was in the process of ruining what Sean thought, the perfect relationship.
Sean turned the key and started the engine of his car. He drove out slowly and made a u-turn in the middle of the road putting himself at the curb of the apartment complex. Melissa and the man walked through the parking lot not seeing Sean coming upon them. Sean stopped at the curb. He gripped the weapon tightly in his hand. He raised the gun and pointed it at the passenger side window at the couple as they were making their way up the stairs toward her apartment.
“This is the last time I will ever see you, Melissa. You two can have each other,” he said to himself.
“No one is worth this.”
He lowered the gun and watched the two walk off not even aware they were about to die. Sean hit the accelerator and drove off. He had better things to do with his life.
Dan Duritsa has written several flash fiction and short stories that have appeared in Flashes in the Dark and Static Movement. He also has work that will be appearing in upcoming anthologies by Static Movement and Pill Hill Press. He live and works in Morgantown, WV.