“Warden, we’re ready.”
“By the authority adjudicated to me by the State of Texas, you gentlemen have been declared dead, executed by the Penrose Penitentiary of Harlan County.”
A doctor walked into the room where the men lay out on the tables, strapped down and ready for their injections. There were six men being treated simultaneously in an effort to reduce prison overcrowding. Penrose was a supermax prison built in Harlan, designed to house 15,000 inmates. Its current population was twice that.
“You have been granted a special opportunity, ratified by the State which will allow us to utilize new technologies to speed you on your way to your Afterlife.” The warden, a weasley-faced man whose sharp features hinted at a cruelty he tried his best to hide from the media.
“Doctor, if you would explain to these gentlemen our method of ‘execution’ I would right appreciate that. I have someplace to be, a summer barbeque with the governor. I love those things, everything except the damn mosquitos.” With a snap of his lapels the Warden left the execution chamber.
The doctor’s countenance was calm professionalism, his face barely registered any emotion. The inmates, all hardened criminals, with fear of few men, could see he was barely a man at all. He reached into a tray on the table and removed a small silver object about nine or ten inches long. There was a slight dripping of a thick liquid. He walked to each of the inmates and placed the silver self-sealing object around their necks.
The slime, cold, each inmate winced, shivering imperceptibly, trying to maintain an air of calmness and control in their last moments. “Your last statements have been recorded gentlemen, so there is nothing left but the work. The manner, however is different than it used to be. In the last year we have augmented the process, since new legislation now govern the handling of ‘death-row inmates.'”
The doctor’s sibilant hiss, though quiet, seemed to echo in the tiny death chamber. “In a few moments, we shall open the curtains and the people you have wronged will watch you die. Somehow they will feel justice is served. I, however, happen to disagree. No, sir. Justice hasn’t been served at all. Places everyone.”
A nurse came in bringing the carousel of deadly cocktails for each patient. The doctor swabbed each arm and a vein hesitantly appears, shy in the presence of this life-ending needle.
Each inmate felt the cool liquid chasing through their body, exploding into their heart and filling their bodies with Death. Hot, burning agony courses through their nervous systems, each straining against their bonds, suffering evident.
Faces on the other side of the glass, winced, twitched, smiles or turned away depending on their need for their bitter serving of Justice. The doctor checked the inmates assuring their passing. Thirty minutes later, the deed was done. The curtain closed. The justice-served are led away.
The doctor turned to his room of corpses and sent the nurse away. The necklaces had been absorbed into the skins of the inmates. Visiting the carousel of death again, this time a black syringe is applied. Screams fill the room, each adding to a crescendo of horror.
“Now, now gentlemen, the pain will subside, somewhat. It is the price you pay for being alive again. With what I have given you, you will work for a company, offering restitution. You are now an invisible part of the penal industrial complex; now until death, in fifty years. There is no escape. In death, you will be more compliant than you ever were in life.”
“Don’t try to speak. We burned out your higher cortical functions. It’s okay, no one wants to hear what a felon has to say. This way to your new lives, such as they are.” The doctor unstrapped them, and they followed meekly unable to resist. “Welcome to Afterlife Industries.”
The doctor closed the door behind him considering the profit-sharing opportunities.
Busiest Little Death House in Texas © Thaddeus Howze 2013, All Rights Reserved
You are seeing the future, Thaddeus.