By: T.J. Reed
Lying on his bunk, Walter Krietz listened to water drip from somewhere in his cell. The musty odor of sweat and mildew hung heavy in his small domicile he had claimed as his home for the past seven years. Today would be the day, the day that the state would get their “eye for an eye.” Execution day. Seven years in waiting and it was finally here. While lying on the hard mattress, he began to wonder how many before him had lain in his very spot waiting for their end of days. How many were afraid? How many were out of their minds and didn’t care? How many had found Christ and were ready for their after life? He sure wasn’t afraid. Did that make him crazy? No sir.
“You should be afraid.” A small familiar voice rang from the damp corner of the cell. Jake.
“What do you want kid?” Walter asked his first victim.
“You know. You should be afraid.” The small voice was soft, but strong and older than seven years of age.
Walter began to laugh. Yep. Crazy.
“Today is the day old man.”
Walter turned his head to find Jake sitting at the edge of Walter’s bunk. His feet dangled from the sides not quite touching the floor, swaying back and forth. Even in the shadows of the early morning, Walter could see that Jake had empty eye sockets; empty courtesy of Walter. The public had acted like he was such a monster when he killed little Jake. Whop-dee-doo. He was seven. The idea amused him. He could have killed a thirty year old single man; cut his eyes out with a table spoon, and then set his body on fire and no one would have batted an eye. But, God forbid he does that to a seven year old snot nosed kid. What made him so special? Jake would have just been another grown up who would have been a disease on the system. So he did the world a favor by removing this boy from the equation; well him and the other two boys, 4 women, and 3 men. Yep, the state is going to get their “eye for an eye.”
“Here they come old man. They gonna fry you today.”
Jake was getting hateful. That ain’t no way to be, Walter thought.
“You should be afraid.”
He could hear the guards marching to his cell; their heels clicking firmly against the polished concrete walkway. Walter placed his bare feet on the cool cell floor letting the change in temperature snapped the old ghost from his head and left him briefly enjoy a moment alone. Walter had already enjoyed his final meal of rare steak, baked potato, and sweet iced tea so the guard’s chores were minimal now. They placed restraints on his wrists through a small opening in his cell door, unfastened the lock and swung the steel door wide. The three guards wasted no time escorting Walter to his final chair. “Old Sparky” some called it; Walter just called it his exit from this boring world.
Each leather strap was snuggly placed on his wrists and ankles so that he would not flop from the chair once the electrical volts shook the life from his body. His newly shaved head and rubber underwear was a funny and uncomfortable accessory Walter thought, but a needed one. To Walters’ front was a two way mirror, he could see himself, but not the witnesses that were on the other side. In the reflection of the mirror, he could see those that he had released from this world around him. All standing in a horse shoe with Jake in the center; all in the same form they were when they had left this world, all with their eyes removed, they surrounded him. Walter smiled. “Hello all,” he said, “will be with you soon so that you may have your ‘eye for an eye’.” He allowed his eyelids to fall and continued to smile when he heard a loud pop.
Walter opened his eyes and the lights were no longer on. His audience was still standing around him, but the guards were gone. Well that was easy, Walter thought. He looked at his wrists and found they were no longer bound to the chair. In the reflection of the mirror he could see a bright light begin to engulf his victims. A sense of guilt and fear overcame Walter causing the man to cry. He knew his victims were leaving him; after seven long years, their tortured souls were finally going home, leaving him here with whatever was left. One by one each of his victims walked into the light: Tara, the single mom who Walter picked up on the highway when her car broke down, Bob the old man who was too tired with life to fight back when Walter stabbed him with a screw driver more times than either could count. They were all there, walking in a single file line into the light. Jake, the first victim, was the last to head into the light. Walter watched as the young boy gave one last look his way then turned into the bright light leaving Walter alone in the dark room.
A low moan began in the black shadows of the execution room. Immediately Walter knew he was not alone; that his beginning of his after life was going to be on the down side, not the up. The moans and growls became louder and even in the dark he could feel the creepy crawly things from another side reaching for him. Walter tried to open his eyes wider to see through the darkness yet saw nothing. The smell hit him first; the smell of rotten eggs, fear, anger, sweat, and decay.
“Hello Walter.” Something spoke with a voice that sounded like an emphysema patient wheezing and rasping.
“You know who I am so I will not waste my breath. You are special. You are what some referred to as pure evil. Christians believe that every soul is made in his likeness.” Walter’s visitor spit out the word “his” with such hatred that it made Walter flinch.
“But you my friend were made in mine. You did okay out there, but you could have done better.”
The realization hit Walter hard, yet made him smile. Tears streamed from his face falling nowhere in the dark.
“Give me another chance coach. Put me back in the game.”
Sitting in a Chicago hospital, Mrs. Gacy stared at her new born son.
“What should we name him hun?” She asked her husband who was staring so proud at his son.
“After me of course.” The proud father said. “John Wayne Gacy Jr. You can’t go wrong with a strong name like that.”