THE SEVENTH CROSS

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JASON AFTER JANICE'S CONFRONTATION

Jason was screwed and he knew it! How dare she throw him to the wolves! Besides, she was his wife. She couldn’t legally testify against her husband. Or could she? “I want my lawyer now!”

But he talked. The less she said, the more he said. And the cameras picked up every word. For once, being the smartest person in the room simply meant that he was in the room alone. That was it. Smart ass! And for some reason or other, the other prisoners had taken a dislike to him. Imagine that! So he was put into isolation for his own safety. Why they didn’t like him he didn’t know. “Bunch of low life’s!”

The hour a day he was allowed to go into the yard to get some exercise were harrowing for him. Although accompanied by a guard to assure his safety, he could hear their taunts. “You’re gonna die. We’re coming for you! Better start praying!” and so on. He was safe, wasn’t he? Wasn’t he?

But if he expected any sympathy from anyone, it wasn’t coming. Not even his own lawyer. What did his lawyer say to him? “I don’t have to like you. I just have to defend you, and that I’ll do. Off the record, I hope you burn! You’re nothing but a waste of skin!” And he was the best money could buy! Things were not looking good for Jason!

Jason’s concern would all be for naught anyway. They tried to let him have his hour outside when the other prisoners were locked up, less chance of something going awry. It seemed to work quite well and soon Jason was back to being his smart ass self. Guys like him didn’t get it. Life is fragile at the best of times. In here, you were one shiv away.

Jason prayed constantly. In his rational moments he knew he was never getting out of this place. But, he also knew God. And God’s Word promised him eternal life if he accepted Christ as his Savior. He had done that long ago, and even though he knew he had committed heinous acts, and would do so again if he were let out, he would stand on the Word. So that’s what he did.

And it was well that he did, for one night while wandering the courtyard he found himself decidedly not alone. The guard had excused himself “I’ve got to slip to the can. I’ll be right back.” It no longer mattered. He felt their presence before he saw them. Screaming was futile. Only a single word was spoken. “Payback!” Jason began to pray earnestly. He was unafraid. Under his breath “I hope it doesn’t hurt too much.” and then back to his praying.

It hurt. No question about it. But obviously the fellow wielding the shiv knew what he was doing. It entered through his back, and they would determine later that it had pierced his heart. They lowered him to the ground as gently as one might handle a child, and slipped back to wherever they had come from.

When the guard returned he found Jason laying on the ground in a pool of blood. He screamed for help and was soon joined by others. But it was too late.

The guards would later say that Jason had waved them away in his last moments. And, that he was singing. It creeped them out.

When asked what he was singing, the guard whispered softly “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Over and over he kept singing that and then, just before he died, he said Father, forgive them . . . that’s when I lost it!”

There would be an enquiry. The guard on duty would be reprimanded for abandoning his post. The perpetrators were identified but it didn’t matter. They were all serving multiple life sentences already. What was there to threaten them with? Even so, a celebration was held in the prison the following day. Justice had been done according to those on the inside.

When Janice first heard that Jason had been murdered in prison, her heart went out to him. For a moment. But the reality of what he had done far outweighed any sympathy she now felt. What was there to say? Anything out of her mouth would be misinterpreted regardless of how she chose her words. So she remained silent.

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