It had been nearly half an hour since they’d executed Joseph Gattsmouth. The auditorium had been emptied. The body had been removed. The very expensive, very specialized device designed to pump three different types of poison into a person’s blood stream for the express purposes of stopping that person’s life, had been unplugged and wheeled away.
People were still talking about it.
They weren’t talking about the execution. There had been more than enough people on Death Row whose lives had come to an end in the otherwise sleepy town of Hughes. They were talking, specifically, about Gattsmouth’s last words.
“Live. Love. Be happy.”
Four words. He’d said them not with fear or sorrow in his voice, but with compassion. He was a man at peace.
Some found it beautiful. Others thought that such a violent man could dare utter such sincerely kind words after what he’d done was an affront to nature and to God, as though Gattsmouth imagined he could cleanse himself of his wrongdoings.
They were, all of them, wrong.