Sworn to Secrecy by Michael Mcloughlin

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.

Image: unsplash.com