Execution. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. I didn’t get up to much. My sister is away for a short while so we’re baby sitting her puppy. He’s not even 5 months yet and he’s already bigger than Dougal, our Deer-hound/Wolfhound/big ass dog mix. He’s adorable and all, but because he’s so big his puppy type behaviour tends to get old rather quickly. It’s not so cute when a puppy is play biting when they can comfortably put their jaws around your forearm. Or pawing at you when the paws are as big as your palms.


It isn’t that fun either.

It’s pretty hard to remember he’s a puppy because he’s so big. It’s easy to forget that he just doesn’t know better.

I’m glad it’s only for a short while though. I’m definitely looking forward to when he’s older and out of puppydom a bit more.

On with the show!


John was sitting on the bench, looking at his hands. The cell he was in was small, five feet by five feet, inside was a small bench and that was it. There was no sink, bed or toilet, but why would they be needed? He wasn’t going to be here for very long, he knew it, as did everyone else. This was the waiting room, before his supposed trial. He always suspected that if he got a trial, it would be a short one. There was no doubt of the outcome, at least not to him. He was innocent, but who would believe him? The moment the papers had found out someone had been brought it for questioning it was all over for him. For weeks they demonised him, the police focused on him exclusively and John suspected that they realised their mistake, but thought it would be too much bad press to reveal it. He was trapped.

He had been the one to find the body, a young woman, stabbed repeatedly. He had called the police, he had stayed and answered questions, still shaken. The murder weapon was found nearby, a knife that had no fingerprints. He had gotten blood on himself when he had checked to see if she was still alive. He had gone home, thinking it was over and it was for a few days. Then the police came. Apparently he worked in the same shopping centre as the woman, though John didn’t recognise her. She had come into his shop a few times, and they had crossed paths once or twice. They thought it was suspicious he never mentioned it. John tried to explain he never saw the face, just the blood. There was so much of it. He shuddered. It still made him feel sick. Even without the blood on her face, she only looked vaguely familiar, he wouldn’t have been able to pick her out of a crowd. Not that that mattered. No. People were howling for his death and that was what they were going to get. He was a scapegoat. The public were angry, not just at him, but at everything. They focused on him for now, it was a distraction. He would be executed, they would see and it would calm them all for a short while. Then, it would happen again.

John knew this with certainty, the only thing he didn’t know was how they would execute him. It had turned into a public spectacle the last few years, out dated and abandoned methods were brought back, supposedly for justice. There was a selection now. The electric chair, guillotine, hanging, burning, firing squad and many, many more. He had no choice in the matter. It was up to a committee to decide which punishment fit the crime. John expected it to be something big and flashy.

He shivered, the cell was cold, he didn’t deserve the decency of heat. It’s not like they’d care really. The worst that could happen was that he’d become sick, and he wasn’t going to live much longer anyway. He could hear them moving around the halls, but he couldn’t see anyone. No one came down this hall. This hall was only one way. When it was time, the cell door would open and two guards would be standing there, then, he would be brought down the hall and through the door. On the other side he would face what ever punishment they had cooked up for him.

He wasn’t worried about the afterlife, if such a thing existed, he didn’t believe in any particular God, but he lived a good life. He was kind to people, always helpful. He knew that if there was a God, all that would count for something. If he had thought it would help, he would have prayed.

There was no last meal, he knew of it, but it hadn’t happened in years. People that were considered evil didn’t get such luxuries. He ate the same things the other prisoners ate. Of course, they were happy with their gruel, it was food and they had shelter. For many, it was better than what they had on the outside. Some made a career out of getting caught until they reached the limit of crimes and were quietly executed. Not John. He had been comfortable, he had an apartment, a girlfriend. He wasn’t a drain on society. If he had any regrets, any at all, it was stopping to call the police. He didn’t even think it would look bad. He knew the police were supposed to find the guilty and protect the innocent. Everyone knew that.

The door opened quietly, two guards were looking at him.

John stood.

“Walk towards the door, slowly.”

John moved towards them. They called for him to stop, then they grabbed his arms and dragged him down the hall. He didn’t fight, he didn’t struggle. The outcome would be the same and if he fought, well, they had the power to make his last moment painful.

The door slid open and John was pushed inside. The room was small, around it was a clear, glass wall. People were able to surround the room, everyone would have a view of what was to come. He felt a grim satisfaction that he was right, there would be no trial. No doubt they’d report he confessed before all this. He moved towards the centre of the room. He knew this was televised, without sound of course, and he wanted to be brave.

There was a loud beep, then the countdown started. John took a deep breath, then closed his eyes, waiting for it to stop.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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