"What if life on Earth was hell?"
I woke up. It was surreal to think that today, I would die. Today, I would be strapped down to a table and injected with chemical that would shut my body down. I shuddered. I looked at the clock just outside my cell. I tortured myself, counting the minutes, telling myself, “This is the last 7:01 AM you’ll ever have. This the last 7:02 AM you’ll ever have,” and so on and so forth. I counted the seconds to my end.
The last breakfast. It wasn’t much different from the past meals I received, but I had no appetite and I tore apart the toast, taking a few bites. It still watched the clock mindfully aware that I only had 9 hours until I was taken through the process of execution.
The last lunch. It was relatively better. They served me pizza that was seemingly fresh, and I took a couple of bites, savoring the taste, and left the rest on the plate. I had used the past hours to try to calm myself, but to no avail. I was still scared shitless, and there was nothing I could do about it. Even more than this, I thought about Gerard. I wanted to spend my last breakfast with him. My last lunch. My last everything, with him. I wanted to die with him. That was selfish, I know, and he did deserve to live, but what if there was an afterlife? What if there was a heaven, hell, or purgatory? The past few hours, I really reconsidered my beliefs on the afterlife, or the lack thereof. If there was, I couldn’t bear to be without the one person I had actually cared about in years. If there wasn’t, could he live without me? Since he reacted so indifferently towards me, or so it seemed, when saying goodbye, I assumed he didn’t need me. I was alone, just like I was before, but this time, I knew what it felt like to be liked by another person, and I was withdrawn from that feeling. I wished I could see him one last time.
The Warden, accompanied by a pair of guards, opened my cell door. It was almost at the time of my death, but first, my last meal. The last supper. I laughed a little to myself, connecting my situation to that of Jesus’s. Maybe, I’d be resurrected. I scoffed at myself, the reference to a resurrection surely impossible, but I was left wondering if it were possible. The whole process and complete stress inflicted upon me before my execution was mentally exhausting and a part of me wanted all of it to be over.
I was taken to a room with a singular table and chair by it. A couch stood against the wall and several chairs were scattered around the walls of the room. This was where visitation hours and my last meal would occur. The Warden sat me down at the table and freed me from my handcuffs. I rubbed my wrists while he asked,
“Now, what would you like for your last meal?” His voice was sticky with an edge of menace, like he was mocking me. I pondered on this for a moment, until finally, I decided, with a smirk,
“I would like a nice plate of powdered eggs.” The last meal meant nothing to me. Powdered eggs was quite possibly the closest way I could get close to the memory of Gerard. It was what they served the day I saved him from the Neanderthals that had tried to assault him. I remembered that he had completely despised the eggs and left them untouched, after learning their vile taste. A stupid notion, I know, it was only a plate of plastic-like eggs, but there was little to represent in prison. We lived on the same routine every day with the only change being the various meals everyday. Thus, I connected Gerard with the eggs. The Warden, a little confused at the fact that I chose the eggs over virtually anything I wanted, shrugged and relayed my order to a guard, who left to tell the kitchen. Moments later, the guard returned with a plate of eggs and placed it in front of me. I stared down at it, a fork stuck into the yellowish substance. It touched the fork, moving it around a bit, before taking ahold of it and shoveling a spoonful of it my mouth. I almost spit it out, the slimy stuff making me want to throw up, but I swallowed. I laughed to myself. This was last thing I was ever going to eat. Why did I choose something so disgusting? I giggled. I didn’t mean anything to Gerard anymore; why should I remember him? I felt like I was going crazy. Throughout the day, I had gone through so many emotions, from sorrow, to regret, to anger and denial. I shook my head, trying to get the negative thoughts out of my head. Of course I meant something to Gerard. Why wouldn’t I? I saved him. I wished I could see him, though. I wished I had one last chance to have a better farewell.
I didn’t finish the eggs, and they took away my plate.
Visitation hours began. I sat in the middle of the same room. The table I had eaten my last meal on had been moved to side and I sat with my back facing the door, where two guards stood. I didn’t expect anyone to come in. I imagined hearing the door open from behind me and hearing footsteps come towards me, as I turned around to see it was Gerard, but I knew that would never happen. They wouldn’t make any exceptions for me. Visitation hours lasted until 9:30. Three hours of sitting, waiting for my death. If there was a hell, I wouldn’t be afraid; this was far worse. I laughed in my mind at the ridiculous comparison, but stopped when I came to a connection. What if life on Earth was hell? What if our lives were actually a punishment for our past sins? Was our only purpose in life to die, only to experience the same “Hell” over and over again, like an endless cycle? I thought about this for a while, taking the spiritual point of view instead of the scientific view. Who says this is wrong? What science can prove what happens after death? None.
The clock ticked painfully.
Visitation hours end. No one came through the door like I had imagined. I sat in that chair, for three hours, waiting. The Warden escorted me out of the visitation room, to a small corner in the hallways, where a single telephone sat on a small table, and a stool right next to it.
“Your last call,” he said, gesturing to the table. I sat myself down at the table, and picked up the telephone. I hesitated, but then dialed the only number I remembered. Hopefully, he would pick up, if he even lived there still. Thankfully, it started to ring. In the middle of the fifth ring, he picked up.
“Hello?” a man answered. I hadn’t heard his voice in years. Overcome with emotion, I stuttered before saying,
“Who’s speaking?” he said gruffly. Softly, not wanting to show the weakness in my voice, I answered,
“It’s Frank, your son.” On the other side of the line, I heard a grunt. “Dad?” I asked after he didn’t respond.
“I have no son,” he growled, and hung up.
“Dad?” I called again. The line had been cut. All this time, I had kept myself together, my emotions covered, but just then, I couldn’t stop the tears from flooding out of my eyes. All I had wanted was a little compassion. A little bit of pity. I wanted someone to be truly sorry that I was going to leave them; maybe then, I’d believe that I had lived for some reason. Apparently not. I had a single purpose in my life, I knew then, that all I was living for was to die. I left behind no legacy. I left behind no heroism. All I left behind was a cautionary tale for children. I left no positive meaning in this world, and I was starting to legitimately believe that I did deserve to be executed. An unimportant, piece of scum like myself didn’t deserve to take up the supposed “sacred” life given to us. I wasn’t worthy, and I knew I wasn’t. Yet I still wished that I had meant something to one person. Just one.
My mother died while I was in prison. I think I meant something to her. Just five years after I had settled into my cell, she died from cardiac arrest. Before that, she visited any time she could, justifying to herself that her little boy wasn’t the killer that he was proven to be, no matter what he had confessed. He was still her sweet little child, her only child that she treasured. I can’t say she was wrong. Even I didn’t know who the person I turned into was. My father, on the other hand, completely abandoned even the thought or past of having a child at all. I had disgraced him, his reputation, and anything he ever was. The only thing he didn’t think was that I had done the same to myself.
After my last connection with the outside world, I was put on deathwatch. Since then, I’ve been sitting on my bed, staring at the blank wall ahead of me. Outside my cell, the Warden sat to accompany me during my last hours. Finally, it was time. The Warden opened the door, and handcuffed me gently. I could tell, no matter the heinous act I committed, he still pitied me and acted a little kinder than before.
We reached the execution chamber. It looked like something out of a submarine or some kind of warship, but inside, was a bed, arm and leg straps attached to the side. Windows surrounded the chamber, and though they were merely mirrors to me, I was aware that witnesses were sitting behind them, ready to see me die. The windows were one way, and I wasn’t able to see the people sitting behind them, but I could only assume that the parents of the poor teenagers I killed were sitting there, waiting for their child to be avenged. The mirrors surrounding me startled me. I didn’t want to see the disgusting excuse for a human in front of me. I didn’t want to see myself, but sure enough, it would most likely be the last thing I would ever see. I was strapped down to the table, nurses tightening the straps around my wrists and ankles. IVs were inserted into both my arms. In a matter of minutes, my lungs would stop functioning and my heart would be still forever. The intravenous lines led to a curtained off area, where the execution teams would inject my body with the lethal dose. None spoke as they prepared me. At this point, my chest was heaving, and I had started to whimper softly. I was no hero. I didn’t need to be brave. I was scared out of my mind. Once I was strapped on the bed, they swung it upwards, so I was secured vertically with the bed, like I was standing, facing the witnesses. Staring at my reflection, my whimpering grew louder and louder, the preparation finally done, thus beginning my execution. An officer started,
“Frank Anthony Iero Jr. has been found guilty of second-degree murder. The execution shall now proceed.” The warden stepped up to the bed,
“Do you have any last words, Mr. Iero?” I still whimpered, but controlled my breathing, making it less frantic, so I could answer him. I had never thought about my last words, but I suppose my last thoughts were quite fitting. I calmed myself before saying,
“I’m sorry I serve no purpose in this world. For that, I deserved to be put to justice. I wanted to mean something to someone, but I didn’t. So, Dad, I’m sorry. To say that I disappointed you is an understatement. I don’t deserve to be labeled as your son… To the parents of the poor victims of my crime, I hope you can find it in your hearts somewhere to forgive me. It’s a lot to ask, I know, but hopefully, my death will serve some relief to you… Not many people at all have stood out in my life, but I can say that one did. Gerard, if they allow you to listen to this, let me just say, I’m sorry for failing you. I’m sorry I couldn’t be your hero, and on the behalf of both of us, I’d like to make a sincere farewell. So, Gerard, I’ll miss you, if that’s possible, and I enjoyed the short time we had together. You are my meaning in life. You are my hero.” With that, the warden gave a nod, and the anesthetic was pumped into my veins. I wouldn’t feel a thing anymore. I took one last look at myself in the mirror, staring at my own light eyes, struggling to keep them open. In vain, they closed softly, and my thoughts were silenced.
A/N: Just to clarify, during the process of lethal injection, the person is first injected with an anesthetic, then a paralyzing agent to stop his lungs and diaphragm from moving, and finally, a toxic agent (not in all states) is injected to induce cardiac arrest. For more information, here is a link to the whole process of the lethal injection including the 24 hours before the actual execution on the other pages: How Lethal Injection Works>
Anyway, be sure to Rate and Review because I write faster when I'm motivated xD
P.S. This isn't the last chapter.