Tuesday, October 5, 2010

True Nature by Jeff Willis

True Nature
By Jeff Willis

I miss the sky.

I haven't seen it in almost two years.

I'm supposed to get an hour a day in the yard, but the guards keep forgetting and nobody says anything. They like keeping me in solitary, because they don't have to see me or listen to me or even acknowledge that I exist.

Out of sight, out of mind.

On Tuesdays, they make me see a head doctor. She's supposed to make me feel better, help me come to terms with what I've done... but I know she doesn't want to be there any more than I do. We both know that I won't change, although our reasons for believing that are probably very different.

Last week, she thought it would be good for me to revisit what I had done... to come to terms with my actions. She brought in crime scene photographs and read to me from police reports. She went over every single detail.

It was a cold night last winter. The moonless sky was dark, and the only sound came from my boots slapping against the concrete as I made my way down the sidewalk of the residential street. I avoided the pools of light created by the streetlamps, wanting to stay hidden as I approached my sister's house with malicious intent.

I retrieved the key from where I knew it was hidden in the rocks among the rose bushes. Letting myself inside, I slipped though the house undetected, moving into the kitchen where I carefully selected a blade from among my sister's impressive cutlery block. The cleaver was a little excessive for my purposes, so I ended up selecting the chef's knife, although I knew it to be a horrible cliche.

My first trip was to the downstairs bedroom, where my seventeen-year-old nephew slept. His room was typical of a teenager's, with movie posters on the wall and dirty clothes strewn everywhere. I stepped carefully, maneuvering my way through the room, until I arrived at the side of the bed. Kneeling down, I could see him sleeping peacefully and considered waking him... but knew that I risked alerting the rest of the family if he were allowed to scream. I instead sliced the blade swiftly across his throat, watching as his eyes sprang open. It was an exquisite mixture of pain, shock and confusion that stayed etched on his face as the life drained from his body.

When I was sure that he was gone, I left the room as silently as I had entered, closing the door behind me.

At that point, I had gone upstairs and visited the twins, although neither the shrink nor I had the fortitude to go over exactly what I had done to my sister's two beautiful eight-year-old girls, before reuniting them with their older brother.

With the kids silenced and out of the way, I was free to pursue my true purpose. Moving toward the master bedroom, I approached my sister's husband first. I don't remember the exact order of events, but he ended up with sixteen stab wounds, lacerated hands from where he had tried to defend himself, and severed genitals. The crime scene photos showed what seemed like gallons of blood, their king-sized bed drenched in the crimson liquid.

At that point, my sister screamed. She grabbed the alarm clock and hit me over the head with it and I blacked out. She called 9-1-1 and told the cops what I had done. I remembered her crying in the courtroom, asking how I could do something like that to my own family.

The trial was a short one. My own attorney barely put up a fight. It took them less than a week to convict me.

Life in prison without the possibility of parole.

I've learned to accept my fate. It's hard sometimes, especially when I think about the sky. Two years without seeing it has been hard enough; I can't imagine the rest of my life without it. Maybe if I'm on my best behavior, they'll let me outside one of these days.

But it seems as if I'm meant to suffer. I'm regularly assaulted in the showers, or during meals. Half the time, the guards put me in solitary for my own protection, so they don't have my death on their hands.

I've had black eyes, broken bones, cracked ribs, more bruises than I can count... my blood stains the prison common areas. When they take me to the infirmary, the nurses give me the same compassion and consideration as everyone else... only the bare minimum before having me hauled off again.

Out of sight, out of mind.

I'm studying the law books they have in the prison library. I just found out about something called an appeal that I'm thinking about trying.

Nobody told me I could appeal.

If anybody ever ends up reading this, I apologize for the handwriting. Last night a couple of the other prisoners cornered me in shower and beat me up real good. They busted my hand, so I'm learning to write with the other one while it gets better.

I'm writing all of this down, because I need to say it, just in case I don't make it out of here.

My sister came to visit me for the first time yesterday. I told her that I was sorry and that I don't remember anything about what I did. I don't know what made me do those awful things.

I thought she was going to be mad. I thought she'd yell and scream, or maybe just leave without another word.

But instead, she laid a reassuring hand on mine and told me everything was going to be all right. She said that one day I would remember everything, and when I did, I'd finally feel better. She told me I was stupid, and that stupid people sometimes make mistakes. I guess that should have hurt my feelings, but it was true. She was the smart daughter that Mom and Dad loved. I was the dumb one that they had to stick in the special classes.

Last night, I did remember. Maybe it was just seeing my sister, because it came rushing back to me like a flood. I remembered going to the house, I remember the blood and the bodies of her husband and kids... and I remember her holding the knife.

I remember her picking up the alarm clock.

I remember her swinging it at my head.

And then I couldn't remember anything else.

If something happens to me before I get a chance to do try that appeal thing, I just want everybody to know the truth.

We're all something else on the inside.

My sister is a murderer.

And I'm innocent.

I shouldn't be here.

(1,135 words)

© Copyright 2010 Jeff Willis. All rights reserved.

Jeff Willis has granted Knight Chills non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Cool story. Jeff goes by the name (SolCalScribe)on WritingDotcom To enjoy more of Jeff's writing prowess click on the prior link.


  1. Interesting. Loved the twist at the end. Powerful first sentence.

  2. I love the tone of this tale. You did an excellent job of keeping the words simplistic and to the point, giving your character a voice the reader can hear.