Finding out that my daughter had died was the worst moment of my life. Finding out how was the beginning of the end.
The trial was quick. They always were these days. The evidence was overwhelming. He was unrepentant. Retribution was the punishment. As it was my right and duty, I chose to enact it.
In the days leading up to it, I thought over and over in my mind about her last moments. Was she scared? Did she fight? Did she just want her mummy like she did when she was 5 years old in the middle of night after having a nightmare?
I’ll never know. He never gave me the satisfaction of knowing. He never admitted what he’d done but he also never denied it. The things they were saying about him, about his upbringing, his family, his lifestyle, a normal person would defend themselves.
But he wasn’t normal. How could he be? The things he must think to be able to do the things he did. It was unspeakable. And yet, in the court room when they asked what I planned to do, I spoke those words. I planned on ending his life the way he ended my child’s.
I felt no guilt, no anguish, no hesitation about what I was doing. I was backed by the highest courts in the land. When I advised them that a knife was my weapon of choice I was given a selection so wide that I could literally do anything to him that a knife could do – slice, dice, chop, julienne.
I woke up that morning as if I was going to work. I decided not to wear a white shirt, I’d been given a leaflet about potential blood spatter so I wouldn’t be caught off guard while I was cutting. Very practical. But that was what Retribution was supposed to be. A violent but practical solution to violent crime. To remove the perpetrator and warn others.
The Retribution Centres, one in every capital city across the world, where beautiful buildings. Glass and steel monuments to justice. They were always prominently placed so you could never forget they existed. Those gorgeous monoliths of death.
“Good morning, Mrs Sullivan.” I needed no introduction, not today. I was the guest of honour, the main attraction, the executioner. The last few months had been a whirlwind, people I didn’t know coming up to me in the street, sending their love and prayers, support and money. It was overwhelming but comforting, on some level, that they agreed with my choice.
Once in the centre, I was lead through room after room, interviewed, photographed, medical tests completed and blood taken, I didn’t know why and I didn’t ask.
And then I was in the Completion Chamber. My knives laid out. A rubber apron if I wished to wear it. A space marked on the floor for his chair when it was rolled in. I was ready to go. I was ready for my pain to be eased and his rightful punishment to begin. It was time for closure.
As I was running my fingers over the knives, the red light above the door came on. They were recording which meant it was about to start. I don’t know who chose to watch this, I personally never had. I believed in the system but I did not think it was necessary viewing for the general public.
The door clicked, opened and there he was.
I hadn’t expected him to be wearing a suit. He looked smart, like he had in court. But not like the photos of him in the press and the evidence files. This buttoned up look wasn’t him. This was supposed to make a difference to me, so I’d go easy on him maybe. He wasn’t an evil degenerate, he was just a man, like the ones I worked with in their suits and ties just trying to make a living for their families.
“You don’t have to do this.” It was the first thing I’d heard him say apart from his name and “no comment.” He was right, there was a way out of this. I could ask the official to inject him with a lethal dose of poison instead, let his death be sent to the lottery or I could show mercy. Mercy, however, had not been shown in over 15 years, most people wilfully forgot it was even a choice, and now the world was watching. No mercy was going to be shown today.
I spent about fifteen minutes with my back to him, figuring out how to start it. My body trembling in anticipation. The tension and waiting obviously got too much for him as he screamed at me, “Just do it you stupid bitch.” I turned thinking I would see the face of the monster that killed my little girl, instead, it was that of a scared little boy, tears in his eyes. Hopefully regretting everything he had ever done.
And that’s when I left my body. I saw myself picking up a knife, my hand shaking, my breaths ragged, my eyes burning. I could barely even see what I was doing through the tears but I did it. He was at his most vulnerable and he deserved it.
I wanted to do it but I wanted it to be quick, I was supposed to be aiming for his heart but I missed. That’s what the doctors told me after. Maybe I missed on purpose, I honestly can’t say.
Apparently I stabbed him 16 times, like he stabbed her. Turns out piercing human flesh is easier than you would expect. And it’s messier than I could have ever imagined. It was a good call not wearing the white shirt. Although, later I struggled to recall the finer details of what was one of the most prolific moments in my life.
They told me he screamed, a lot. That was until he stopped.
Afterwards, I was guided out of the room, I felt like I was floating. Steered through the cheering and congratulatory crowds, covered in blood and tears. My work was done for the day, time to go home and put my slippers on, maybe relax in the bath. I always knew it wouldn’t bring my daughter back but I could already tell, almost immediately that it wouldn’t fill the void. He was dead. My daughter was dead. I think I just joined them both.
xx woeful writes xx
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