She calmly enters the room and says, “I’m going to see the Lord.”
It’s best to avoid the eyes. No one knows that more than me, but I just can’t help looking into hers as she sings Amazing Grace.
I can usually tell if they’ve accepted it. This young woman has accepted it with a sense of inner peace. If ever I needed proof that God exists, she’s it. I used to believe in God until I went through a process of unbelieving and became an atheist. But these days I can hear my conscience creeping in like Jesus tapping at my door. Like now. This is the part I hate: strapping them in.
As usual, I’m asking myself the dreaded question: What if she’s innocent? I mean, if it wasn’t for the orange jumpsuit, she could be just another woman singing a hymn in church.
I’m resigning soon. When I do, I’ll visit schools to encourage the students to live their lives free of crime. I’ll also emphasize the importance of empathy, compassion, and forgiveness. But more than anything, I hope for the day when my job description will no longer exist. If I had known what I’d be going through, I would never have accepted the job. You can’t do what I do then go home and live a normal existence. After all these years, my wife still doesn’t know. She thinks she married a regular warden, not a state-sanctioned killer.
Michael Mcloughlin grew up in Liverpool, UK. He travelled to Australia in the mid-80s, and is still there, living in Tasmania and working in mental health. His flash fiction has been published online and in anthologies.