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Stories & Scripts

Source: Adults

Author: Lloyd Williams

Title: Condemned

(This one's a bit dark folks, it won't be everybody's cup of tea. - Lloyd)

I saw the papers. I saw the pictures and the headlines.
They made me laugh.

You try to build a barrier between you and I, convince yourself we’re different.

Well you can demonise all you like. You can scream and swear and throw things at the van as it passes into the court. But just remember, every parent kills their own child.

Every parent condemns their child to death. From the moment they’re born, they begin the journey and it has only one destination, it’s inevitable. Every child born will one day die, and they die because they’re born. Conceiving a child is condemning it to death, to be born is to be placed on death row.

We’re all there, each and every one. You, your wife or husband, your child, everybody you ever have, do and will love, is sitting on death row, sitting right next to you.
I’m there too.

I don’t think I have any loved ones. You don’t love me. You probably hate me. You loathe the things I’ve done and call me a monster and yet. We’re both in the same boat.

How can you possibly deserve the same thing as me, when I’m so bad and you’re so good?
I’m evil and you’re saints. You band together in your righteousness to condemn me and yet who among you will escape the fate that awaits me?

I don’t know what right or wrong is. If we’re all on the row, what difference does it make?

You claim to know right from wrong. The stories and the discussions call me a monster to distinguish us. I don’t recognise that distinction. I killed five children and the nation unites against me, calls for my head, demands retribution. Armies kill scores of children, and they’re called liberators. Funny that.

Why aren’t I liberator? I gave our democratic system of justice a chance to exercise its muscles; I’ve given our free press weeks worth of free speech demanding I be strung up. I’m keeping the wheels of freedom oiled and rolling, I’d say that makes me a liberator.

And what of them? The five.
Well what about them? What worries do they have? They’re the lucky ones, it’s us who deserve pity. We’re still on the row, we’re still waiting to walk that plank.

Do I want to die? Not particularly, but I’ve accepted it as an inevitability.
Maybe hadn’t accepted their fate, but it was coming nonetheless, I just diverted it by a few years, so what?

She looked so peaceful, the first one. She looked like she was sleeping, dreaming nice dreams. Perhaps she was. Who knows where we go? Do you? Do you know what you’re waiting for? No, me either. I told you we were alike.

Anyway, it only took a minute. Her throat was small, it only took one hand. As I squeezed, the dog was pulling on his lead, I had to pull him back with my free hand and then he sat and waited. I kind of miss him, I hope they’re taking care of him. He’s a fussy eater, fussiest dog I ever knew. They won’t know how to feed him properly and he won’t have his favourite ball.
It’s tattered anyway. I should’ve bought him a new one weeks ago.

Like I said, it only took a minute. She looked surprised at first, then she settled into it. Maybe she accepted the inevitability, she might even have been grateful.
Why hang around for decades on death row when you can be put on a fast track?
Well I carried her into the bushes under my arm and lay her down, as though putting my own child to sleep on a bed of earth, leaves and twigs. Birds were singing overhead, keeping watch, keeping her safe. And she looked so peaceful, I just stared at her. I envied her a little, she was out, off the row.

I never touched her, not like that.
I thought about it. The papers would censure me for what I’d already done, what harm could it do? The idea didn’t appeal.
Now I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’ve told you I don’t believe in right or wrong. It just wasn’t something I felt like doing, so I didn’t. I just looked at her. She looked so peaceful. I almost loved her.
And then he started tugging the lead again, so I left her there, sleeping, under the watchful eyes of the birds who would protect her.

I don’t really remember the other four. They didn’t mean anything. I killed them on a whim, nothing else. The papers make a big deal, “a stolen life this” and “such a waste” that. To me they were flashes in the pan. I didn’t almost love any of them the way I almost loved her. Of course their parents, mummy and daddy, will tear their hair, dig their nails into their scalp screaming why? into the night. What can I say to them? It’s not my fault their children were insignificant. Should I lie? No, I shouldn't.

The first, she was important to me, she meant something, the others? Not so much.

So, I killed them.
That makes me evil, right? But to say I’m evil would suggest I’ll receive some outlandish punishment, a reproach so severe I’ll beg forgiveness and fill with regret. If this doesn’t happen to me, does that mean I’m not evil? What if I just die, like you will, like we all will. That either means you’re all evil too, or else we’re all just nothing, we’re all the same.

You and me the same.

Eats you up doesn’t it? You can’t even imagine doing the things I’ve done, that’s what separates us. The thought of taking her neck in your fist and feeling the pulse try to fight through the pressure, the wait as it slows, becomes exhausted and finally fades away, that sickens you doesn't it? That’s what makes us different.
Well maybe we are different, just a little.

I do things you can’t even imagine but it doesn’t matter. You’ve allready condemned your children to death. By giving birth you’ve passed a sentence and there is no appeal. It’s the same as I did really only it’ll take a little longer. Time is in no hurry. We’ll all walk the same path in the end and there’ll be no good path for you and bad path for me, there’s just the path. Who knows? Maybe we’ll walk it together.

Until then, we’ll just have to wait. You there, me here but both heading in the same direction. The same direction they went.

You know I almost loved her, really I did.

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