The Thirteenth Apostle
by Everett A Warren
It is time.
They will come for me now, I, the murderer, the taker of life.
Eyes open, ceiling above. Dark stone, so cold. It has sung to me these last many nights. A song of despair, of blood chilled, and blood let. This stone I cherish. It is the only thing I might touch that is real. That is solid. To stand upon the bed, to touch it with the portions of flesh exposed by these maniacal torture devices – these cursed gloves! My hands end in fingers, five to each, like any man. See you no talons here! These gloves are my burden, one of many, that I must bear, I, the murderer, the taker of life.
I, the murderer!
Fist formed tight as allowed under constraint, hitting the bed, the loose fluff, so insubstantial that I might not use it to end my life before they take it from me.
I, the taker of life!
I have hurt no one.
This is not happening. It is a dream, and soon, like from all dreams, I'll awake. Everything will be as it always was. Life normal, boring even. Ahh, I am in my bed. In my house. Asleep.
The pinch to wake will not function. Can not. Hands bound, fingers padded. The walls, padded. The bars, padded. Am I that horrible? No, it is not me. Was not me. Never me. In the trial I protested, screamed for mercy, have you no mercy for an innocent man? Have you no mercy! But... they said it was me! Me? Had to be me, insurmountable evidence. My very own hands that – these same guarded claws that...
The crime most horrible! How can any man stoop to such a level, such a depth!
Oh, I cried when they said all the damages that had been done, all the violence, the rending of life! The splashings and crashings and gnashings!
Oh, I cried!
I pleaded for them to find this evil man, this anomaly of humanity so base as to perform such deeds as they had listed in the lengthy prelude to this terrible drama. Each worse than the last. Each causing cries of remorse to ring out. Cries of anger to rise from the audience. To hear the sounds of sickness when evidence was presented was too much for me to bear! Find this taker of lives, this destroyer of all that is sacred.
They said they had.
And I looked around, to seek out this wretched soul. To find him among the number present in the courtroom.
And all were looking at me.
No, this is madness!
Copyright (c) 1994 Everett A Warren
You can read the complete story in my collection, Cautionary Fables: Warts & All, available on Amazon.com or by order from your local bookseller.