Chapter 16 (Part 1)
Mortality is the key to stability. If the stars, so powerful, can die, then why do we, such trifle beings fear death?
Stars form pulsars as they die, forming other magnificent beauty. So what would we form?
Another beautiful creation or cease to exist till eternity?
Aron takes a deep breath when he hears footsteps coming towards him. His body lies sleepless on the stone bed and he keeps turning sides.
He had always thought that he would feel nothing when about to die. He thought he would have no one to cry for. And he thought he would remember no one. But he realises that he was so wrong. He is scared. He has someone who will cry for him and he has someone who he wants to see smiling every day.
The picture of Claire has never left his mind. He can’t forget how she saved him, trusted him and cared for him. The way Claire looked at him on the trial day was so heart-shattering. He is feeling guilty for letting her efforts go waste. He feels like he has torn her apart and that guilt is tearing him apart.
A single tear rolls down his cheeks.
This is the first time he has cried since coming to this prison. And it could be the last.
“Wake up!” A stern voice shakes him up and Aron instantly recognises his voice.
Aron obeys and gets up. He raises his head to look into the same lifeless eyes that tortured him for so long.
“Ah! My favourite criminal!” That person starts and rounds Aron while tapping his chin, “I always knew that you are the murderer. And now you have accepted it in court.”
“What do you want Musk?” Aron asks in a monotone. He is sick of his behaviour and for a second, he wishes that it would be Musk going for the sentence today, not him.
“I want you dead!” Musk whispers in Aron’s ear with pure hatred and turns back, “Since Officer Green is not here till now, I am given the responsibility to see if procedures are done perfectly.”
“I knew she will not be here. I’m sorry Claire, I failed you. But I do hope that you might have stuck to your promise of saving me.” Aron murmurs to himself while following Musk.
Aron raises his head and tears threaten to rush outside. “I don’t want to die and maybe it’s too late to acknowledge that I have someone to live for.”
“Only an hour left!” Sylvia speaks excitedly to Jo who smirks and shows her the daisies she has brought for Aron’s grave.
Sherly looks at them with disgust and types something on her phone. She frowns, feeling the guilt pressing down upon her. When she knew Aron has accepted this to save her, her respect for him instantly bloomed to a new height. And now if Aron is hanged, her conscience will never let her live.
Sherly shivers with fear when she sees Aron with the police. She watches as Jo walks to him with fake tears and apologises that she couldn’t save him.
Aron simply nods and then catches Sherly looking at him with tears.
He frowns seeing how many people are affected by his decision. And for the first time, he feels that Mayra wasn’t the reason for his misery. It was his overthinking. He sees the dark clouds hovering in the sky and the thunder. And then he remembers what Claire has told him one day when they were in the orphanage when the sky was wilder with dangerous lightning and thunders.
“Look at the sky and tell me what you think,” Claire asks him with big green eyes staring him.
Her red hair reminds him of fire and he looks at the sky to reply, “It is angry.”
Claire looks at him with her left eyebrow raised and frowns.
“No, it is letting go of all the burden it has so that it can start new.”
Aron smiles at the memory and there’s a flash of huge lightning followed by thunder. “Maybe it’s too late now to feel it.” He murmurs and looks at Sherly who rushes to him after Jo has finished her speech of apology.
Sherly comes to him and finally starts crying, “I am sorry that you have to go through this for me. I-uh...”
“Have you heard from Claire?” Aron asks cutting her.
“Claire-uh-she….” Sherly stutters and Aron suspects of something bad.
He raises an eyebrow and Sherly finally speaks with bloodshot eyes, “She was not picking my calls so Chase went to check her. But she…she isn’t anywhere.”
“Have you checked her apartment?” Aron asks sternly.
“Yes!” Sherly replies and Aron’s eyes Jo who is playing with daisy petals.
“Then tell Chase to check Jo’s apartment,” Aron tells her and Musk nudges him to move forward.
“What!” Sherly exclaims and Aron gives her a ‘Do-what-I-told’ look. She nods and calls Chase as Aron walks away.
Aron walks into a dark room and feels the hair on his neck stand. He is finally here. He looks at the rope on the raised platform and the fat man standing near it.
The dead silence of the room consuming every hope of Aron.
“Come on!” Musk whines and drags him forward. He then takes a black cloth and covers Aron’s face. Aron stiffens as the realisation of the moment strikes him. He feels Musk removing his cuffs and leading him to the raised platform.
Then Musk starts reading something as a procedure and Aron zone out. He closes his eyes, his entire life playing in front of his eyes like a movie.
And then he wishes.
“Oh, lord! If you give me another chance to live, I promise to admire the beauty of your creation.
And if you don’t, then I am sorry for any mistakes that I committed knowingly or unknowingly.”
Aron feels his neck between the ropes and closes his eyes in anticipation. AND THEN, everything happens in slow motion.
Musk gives an order to the fat man.
The fat man moves to the lever.
He clutches the lever and takes a deep breath.
His grip tightens.
Aron takes a deep breath.
Then lightning flashes and thunder shocks everyone.