The Bed We Lie In
by Christina Leigh Pritchard
Mark looked up at the plain, black and white clock on the wall, forty minutes until he knew the verdict of his fate. It felt like a century. The jury had been in the room for 4 hours. Hopefully that was a good thing. Maybe he wouldn’t get the lethal injection.
It wasn’t like he deserved it. He wasn’t a serial killer. It seemed that even in the prison those who’d murdered were repulsed just as much by him as those whose lives he’d destroyed. He shut his eyes at the past two months of beatings and shook at how even the police treated him. Why, his first day was horrendous. They’d strapped him down in a chair and hosed him. Not just once, but twice. It was painful and hurt to breathe. Then they shoved him in a cell with three other men who stared at him till their eyes burned holes in his flesh. He tried not to sleep for each time his eyes closed one inmate would shift or face him. The very thought of what they’d do to him petrified him.
The following day, after a restless night Mark was taken to the concrete grounds where he was forced to make bricks. He tried to stay as far away from any of the other inmates because each time a guard turned his attention away from him someone hit him with a shovel or poured concrete down his pants. At meals the cafeteria’s rations server would spit in his food right in front of his face. “Pig” he’d snort. Mark sat alone, always.
After his first week, he was so bruised and tired from lack of sleep that he never saw what was coming next. Standing over his concrete mixture, mixing he felt a chill in the air. The guards murmured amongst themselves and slowly left the area.
“You are sick.” A prisoner shouted, tossing a handful of dried concrete at him. The jagged pieces sliced his face and his heart pounded. Marching in a disorganized line were the other prisoners. They all had pieces of concrete and broken brick in their hands. They we encircling him chanting ‘pig’ over and over like demented wackos let loose from an insane asylum. Mark fell to the floor and covered his head. They pelted him, gashing his flesh and numbing his spine. Next thing he knew he was in the infirmary. The nurses wouldn’t give him pain medication so he felt it as they stitched up his flesh and his body throbbed and shook for days from the pain.
After Mark had slightly recuperated, the officer in command put him in the hole. Solitary confinement. They took out his thin mattress and pillow and blanket. Some days they for got to feed him. Being alone shot his nerves, he was going mad. His only company was the fire ants that surrounded him whenever the guards bought him something to eat.
It was a vicious cycle. Mark was beat, raped and sent to solitary confinement over and over. He never slept and was in such agony.
The night before his final trial, Mark sat in the hole thinking of what his mother had told him as a child. He’d just blown up his cat by shoving firecrackers up it’s behind and his mother had seen him.
“Mark, the choices we make in life affect us and once you make your bed you will have to lie in it.” His mother responded, whipping him with the belt. Well, here was his bed. He definitely was lying in it now. His pillow was full of maggots instead of goose feathers and his sheets were made of sheep dung – not wool.
It was time. Yes, time for the announcement. Mark was escorted back into the courtroom. To his left he saw her. Tears streaming down her face, hate in her mother’s eyes and revenge in her father’s fist. Mark looked up at the juror as he handed his life’s decision to the judge. She slowly placed her glasses upon her scrawny nose and smirked.
“The jurors find the defendant guilty.” The judge announced. “Sentence is death row.”
GUILTY, death row, Guilty
Mark’s world collapsed. His head slowly turned to face his victim. Her face covered in her father’s shirt- sobbing. He faced the jury-none could LOOK at him.
Eyes wide, mouth open, he was dragged forcefully to the last place he’d ever see. “Do you have any last requests?” His murderer inquired, strapping him to the bed. Mark squirmed and screamed.
“No, please don’t kill me!” he pleaded as he observed the man fill the needle with the lethal fluid that would take his life.
“I’ll be good, I promise! I’ll never do it again-I’ll never do anything again! PLEASE!” Mark screamed as they blindfolded him.
“Well, you should’ve thought of that before.” His executioner retorted, jabbing the needle into him.