The Accused

Posted: January 25, 2010 in Fictional stories
Tags: , ,

He stood there gazing through the bars at a blue sky in the distance. He saw a pair of birds fly away towards the horizon. He dwelled on that thought ‘what wouldn’t I give to fly away from this prison’. His was a life that came to halt a long time back; a long, long time back, maybe 22 years ago or was it more. He had lost count and didn’t care anymore. If this was where he was condemned to die and take his last breath, nothing would stop that from happening and he had given up hope a long time back.

He walked back to his tiny cell that had become his home and the walls that had become his friends and his echo. A wooden sleeper with a blanket and a sorry pillow that had lost all its fluff was the only furniture there. An occasional rat wandered in, hoping for crumbs when there wasn’t much for him either.

A lone decrepit wash basin stood in the corner with a mug and bucket at the bottom of it. His only personal belongings- a picture he had cut out and  stuck on the wall, from a magazine, of a happy home with a family standing in the driveway, with laughing kids- that reminded him of a painful, lost past.  A bible with dog ears and lost pages along with a history book the prison guard had kindly supplied him. He had read the book from front to back, over and over again memorizing every word in there.

He could read back the Bible and its verses now. He had aged beyond recognition. 22 years had taken a toll on his life and his physical attributes. The hair was gone; stubble of a beard, drooping shoulders and a small paunch was what was left of him not to mention the lost, faraway look his eyes had.

The prison guards loved him, a gentle soul that he was, always with a smile and kind word. The laugh lines ran all over his face and no one could ever believe he was accused of such heinous crimes that were attributed to him.

***

22 years back they found David Malcolm’s wife with her throat slashed and a bloody living room with tell-tale signs of a struggle. What he remembered was the way blood was smeared all over the house in a gory fashion. His 5-yr-old who came running into the room was suffocated and stuffed away in a closet. His 12-yr-old was away at school and had escaped the horrendous crime. The cops looked high and low, month after month and eventually an overzealous cop seeking fast promotions and glory had latched on to the him as the convict.

 Several non-circumstantial evidences later, basing on cooked up stories and false witnesses, they had dragged him to court. They accused him of being a vindictive, jealous husband who suspected his wife’s fidelity and had done her to death in fury. He was a mute spectator, whose life got stolen under him for no reason. The court had done with the case soon and he found himself implicated. He found himself in the slammer with a life sentence, since the crime was so gory and vindictive. They didn’t give him a chance, they didn’t listen to his appeals, and they didn’t care.

He was forty-one then and had just begun his new life on a factory floor that was paying him decent allowances to take care of his un-glamorous life and family. All of that came crashing down in a jiffy like a pack of cards. He heard occasionally from his son. He was married and lived somewhere and wrote to him occasionally. Did his son believe he was innocent? Did he still love him? Did he think about him …these were questions that went through his mind day in and day out?

***

His lawyer had come through the doors that Sunday after church services, with a bundle of papers and a happy smile on his face. He grabbed David and hugged him. He had tears flowing down his face. Haltingly his lawyer had given him the news. He was a free man. They had found the guilty murderer and arrested him. The jig- saw puzzle had all fallen in place. The overzealous cop had died in an automobile accident but some law school students had worked their heart out, traced back all the stories and documents and had found evidence that vindicated him. He was a free man. He was free to go back to the world that had put him in there in the first place. Freedom was knocking on his doors after 22 years. He could now be the bird he always envied.

David couldn’t think straight after that. How does one go back to ‘living’ when the ‘living’ was snatched away from him a long time back? Was it possible to learn to live again? What were the things he enjoyed doing outside the prison walls? What were the good things he liked about the world that shut him out of it? How was he going to find his place in society again and earn everyone’s respect? Wouldn’t he be treated as an outcast? These thoughts went through his mind as he bid goodbye, collected his belongings and walked out of that door that was home for him most of his life. He was not elated, neither was he sad. A stoic feeling of walking the good earth, outside the prison walls, beckoning him, until his death. .. It was then he spied a car waiting for him with a family, with children. A tall man came running to him throwing his arms around him.

“Father,” he said hugging him with tears.

——-

(Based on a true story of an accused here who spent 27 years in prison and was released after they found him innocent. Some law students working on the case unearthed it and helped solve the case. The original story has been changed…)

—-

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Thanks a bunch Meera for reading it.

  2. TiddK says:

    A nice imaginative, emotive account from a real-life story. Occasionally slightly cliché’d phraseology. Nicely done. :-)

  3. Thanks a bunch for stopping by TiddK. Nice to see you and get your feedback here…hard to resist cliche’s :)

    Have a nice day!