Become a Fan
By Melissa R Mendelson
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Rated "G" by the Author.
Our lives are ours to control, but when someone comes to take it away, where do we stand in staying alive?
"You mind if I smoke?"
"Got a light?"
"You know, those things will kill you."
"Where I'm going, I don't need to worry about that."
A flame bit into the darkness. Silver handcuffs caught its reflection. Heat touched close to a pair of lips, and the cigarette was lit. And then fire became smoke.
"Why did you do it?"
Sitting back against the cold, metal chair, Sherry pulled the cigarette from her mouth and chased it with a long cloud of smoke. She watched it rise up before her, and little red cinders fell to the floor. And she took another long drag before answering the detective's question. "Why did I kill him?"
"You could have come to us for help."
"Please. I broke up with the guy five years ago, and two years later, I got a restraining order. But he still kept coming around. He claimed that since he had my social security number, he could find me anywhere, and he did. And it soon came down to me or him." She continued to smoke her cigarette.
"Like I said." The detective sat back in his seat. "You could have come to me for help."
"I tried that route, like I said." Sherry shook her head. "He just wouldn't let go."
"So it was your life or his?" Sherry nodded. "And then you plotted to kill him?"
"I did not plot anything. He broke into my place, and I so happened to have a gun, which was loaded." She stared back at the detective. "As soon as I heard someone in the house, I grabbed the gun, slowly exited the bedroom, aimed and shot."
"You could have just wounded him."
"I wasn't thinking at the time, and I don't call that murder." The cigarette smashed into the ashtray. "I call that self-defense."
"You shot him four times, Sherry."
"I was scared, detective." She sighed. "I live alone. There was nobody there to protect me, and it would take you a good couple of minutes to get to me. So, what should I have done during that time I was waiting for you? Pray that he did not kill me first?" Her gaze held the detective's for a long moment. "I made my choice, and I don't regret it."
"Obviously." He rose from his seat. "You can't take the law in your own hands."
"But if my life were on the line, which it was, who's to say that I can't do what is necessary to protect myself?" She looked down at the handcuffs. "How can you live your life when you know that he is out there? You can't. You're held prisoner to your fear, and the only way out... Well, there is only one way out, if they don't back off." The detective stared at the large mirror near him. "They just can't let go."
"So, you're claiming self-defense?" The detective moved toward her. "That's your defense, but it's not your first offense." Sherry looked away. "No, you don't get to look away." His eyes found hers. "I read your jacket, saw your history of abusive boyfriends, and you keep letting them in until you found this guy, and when you got tired of him, he did not want to let go. So, you took it to the next level, and you waited for him to make his move. And then you killed him, and you know what I call that?" He moved closer to her. "I call that cold-blooded."
"Everyone has a sob story. Why should mine be any different?"
"You're really something." He moved back to his seat. "So, what's your sob story?"
"You read my jacket."
"But it doesn't start from the beginning."
"Does it matter?" Sherry now rose from her chair and moved about the small interrogation room. "I lived through hell, and nobody can understand what I experienced."
"Were you attacked?"
"Were you raped?"
"Then, what is this hell that you speak of?"
"A circuit of men that continues to rotate around and around, catching me in their vice, and once these men have me, they mess with my mind, they tear apart my heart, and they leave me in pieces. I would be lucky to find a man to love me, but not one of them had my best intentions at heart. And this last guy? He thought I was property, and I am not anyone's possession! This is my life we are talking about, and this is my life to live as I want to live!"
"And your life to end." Her head snapped toward the detective's. "Just admit it, and maybe the DA will go easy on you. You killed him. Plain and simple."
"I know my rights, detective. Until my lawyer gets here, I could stop talking, and this story will come to an abrupt end." She moved closer to him. "And I did not want to kill him, but he would not go away." She took a step back. "Is there others out there living a life worse than mine? Yes. Are there others, whose lives have been destroyed, and are they still picking up the pieces? Yes. Still, I have suffered, and I have every right to be angry. And I have every right to do what is necessary to protect myself, and if a gun is a way of protection, then it is my shield to hold before me to ward off men like him." Her eyes narrowed. "Did you read his jacket?"
"He didn't have one."
"Because he looked like a saint." She started to pace around the room. "Everyone lives through hell, but not everyone makes it out. And where I'm going, I don't plan to escape."
"And where is it do you think that you are going?"
"Only God knows. Once you take a life, your hands are stained with their blood until death comes to take you, and once taken, you will find yourself repeating a similar life. And the circuit continues." She turned toward the mirror. "It's just a game. Life. It's a game of survival, but so many of us get lost somewhere in-between. What's the point?" She closed her eyes. "What is the point of living?"
"To survive." The detective moved away from the chair and walked toward her. "To become better, stronger, and to make something of your life. And to not throw it away." He watched the tears fall down her face. "And to find yourself once more."
"But I'm still lost." She turned away from him. "I don't know who I am, and I don't like where I am going." She could sense him now standing right behind her. "And I did not want him to die, but he crossed the line." She looked over her shoulder at him. "He came for me to take my life away."
"And he's gone now because of you."
"I did what I had to do."
"And now you have your life back."
"Until I am found guilty."
"No." Her eyes held his. "Of death. You can't take a life, intentionally or not without paying some kind of price, and one day, that bill will come. And I'll have to pay." She smiled. "Until that day, I can finally live my life." The door behind them opened, and high heels thundered across the floor. "My lawyer is here." Her eyes flashed as if another fire were lit before them. "This interrogation has reached its end."
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
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|Reviewed by Melissa Mendelson
|Thank you both. :)|
|Reviewed by Carvin Wallson
|This is a very interesting and well-written sketch of an abusive relationship and it's aftermath. I have been looking for pieces like this--stories that capture some part of the human condition and make you feel more in touch with the world. Unfortunately, they are a rarity on this site, and I've been sifting through grammatical nightmares and blunt "Remember when..." sob pieces. Keep up the good work.|
|Reviewed by Susan Smith
"You can't take a life, intentionally or not without paying some kind of price, and one day, that bill will come."