|(Any suggestions for a proper title would be appreciated!! )
The shadows the cold iron bars cast painted a familiar absence of light onto Jack Brand’s body. Much of his face couldn’t be seen from the outside of the cell, only his knitted brow and unblinking, piercing eyes that bore into the wall. The garish orange cried out around the monotonous greys of his cage, like a Star of David on the sleeve of a German Jew, it marked him as one of the evils in society. Cross-legged on the stony floor, he’d sat for hours, contemplating, weeping and praying, though he’d given up on the latter too early. It hadn’t helped or satisfied him once in the last 14 years, why would it now? That concept of love was too difficult, how could he love God, when love itself had condemned him to death? He could plead innocent forever, and he had tried, but without betraying that inescapable love of her, and that vow; that faithful promise - they would never let him go. How strange, he thought, the power of the heart over the mind. How can an emotion that seems so simple override even the desire to live? But to have lost her to the law would have been just unbearable, it would crush him with inexorable guilt, unimaginable pain that would last as long as he did, which wouldn’t have been long. Mother had always mocked him for being so good to the girls he dated at high school - the flowers, the bracelets – all of his pocket money and then as he grew up, his wages went into making the girl happy, “the things you do for love” she had teased, but if only she knew! But his mother never visited anymore, too disgusted, she couldn’t comprehend it. Her baby would never hurt someone. Her baby would never kill someone. So he just wasn’t her baby anymore. And what about the girl who he’d risked it all for? He’d got a letter once, an onlooker might have seen how contrived it was, but he believed it all. He believed every word and excuse out of her mouth, the one that had been clasped to a hundred other men’s whilst he spend his days dreaming of her face. The old photo had become so rubbed away, so erased by tears and tender strokes that memory was all he really had left anymore, not that he needed it for much longer.
The meal, that perfect last supper, just like what his mother used to make. Roast chicken, crispy potatoes, the honeyed carrots and the thick gravy felt warm still in his stomach. He clasped his legs up against his chest, to savour the warmth; it was so rare in the winter. He closed his eyes and waited, waited as the footsteps became louder, closer to his cell, and then stop. The iron bars rattled and creaked as the shadows were sent scurrying into the corner like vermin. Jack looked up, shivered and stood; God looked down, and began unlocking his door.