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|A Cruel and Unusual Punishment (standard:mystery, 2676 words)|
|Author: Gavin J. Carr||Added: Sep 24 2006||Views/Reads: 2085/1365||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Riley Fakney's last day on death row.|
Riley Fakney sat at the table and smoked a cigarette. There was a clock on the wall in front of him and he watched with perverse fascination as the seconds ticked by. The execution would be at 9pm. The clock read 6.40. He dragged deeply on the cigarette and let the smoke out in a controlled burst. ‘Better?' ‘Yeah,' said Riley, ‘a lot better.' The man across from him pushed a packet of Marlborough across the table. He did not smoke, but flipped the lid of a Zippo continuously, as though he were nervous. ‘You know, when the Warden said there was someone who wanted to talk to me I never thought it'd be you. I thought it'd be a politician or something. They visit the prison sometimes, trying to look like hard-asses.' ‘I'm glad you agreed to see me,' said the man. ‘I used up a lot of favours to get here, but it wouldn't have done any good if you'd said no.' Riley examined the tip of his cigarette. ‘I don't mind talking if it takes my mind off it.' He found himself smiling. It had been two years since he'd seen detective Rowantree, but he hadn't changed. He still sported a neat line in suits, spoiled by his ties. The one he wore now showed Wylie Coyote chasing Roadrunner in endless repition across the shiny silk desert. Riley wondered if it had been a gift or if the detective had bought it himself. Rowantree's grey eyes darted from Riley's face to his hands and back again. Riley knew that they took everything in, appraising, studying, categorising. He looked like an accountant but was a dangerous son-of-a-bitch. ‘You know, your case was the first I worked on after joining homicide.' ‘You never forget your first,' said Riley, stubbing out the cigarette on the table top. ‘Hmm, yes, I suppose that's true, but there's more. I suppose I was never entirely comfortable with your case.' ‘I wasn't either,' said Riley. ‘After all, they're about to kill because of it.' He took another cigarette and leaned over the table while Rowantree lit it. ‘Johnston retired. He's probably sunning himself as we speak.' ‘I'm very happy for him.' ‘It was Johnston's case really. He was lead detective. I was still learning the ropes.' ‘How far we've come, detective. Look at us now.' ‘Johnston never doubted. It was open and shut. After all, you were found at the scene with the murder weapon. You had a conviction for burglary. Means, motive and opportunity - the holy trinity.' ‘And I confessed, detective, don't forget that.' Rowantree began flicking the lighter once again. ‘Yes, your confession,' he said. He reached inside his pocket and removed a folded piece of paper. He opened it and placed it on the table. ‘Let's see...you got sick of the victim living the high life while you sweated on his lawn and flower beds. You thought he'd gone and broke-in to rob the place. But Pearson and his wife were at home. You knocked the wife unconscious. Pearson appears with a gun and you struggle. You overpower him and shoot him dead.' He looked up, ‘How am I doing so far?' he asked. Riley shrugged. Click here to read the rest of this story (286 more lines)
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