Fifteen years earlier
Lucia Gans stood behind the bars of his prison cell with a smile on his face.
With a thick Texas accent, the first guard snidely remarked, “We’ll see how long that smile of yours lasts once the I.V. starts pumping poison into your veins. I hear it hurts like hell, and can take hours before the heart stops.”
“Shut up, Bill,” said the other guard, “and stick to protocol.”
“Come on, Jenkins, there’s nobody here but us.”
“Just do your job,” Jenkins spouted back. He turned to Gans. “Come, you know the drill. On your knees.”
The inmate obeyed.
“Hands behind your head and lock your fingers.”
The inmate did what he was told.
Jenkins inserted the key into the lock and turned it.
The barred gate whisked along a track and at the end of its run it made a metallic clank that echoed throughout the long hall. Both guards entered.
Holding a set of ankle and wrist restraints, Jenkins walked around to the back of Gans, shackled him, and pulled him to his feet. The guard glanced at the clock. “It’s time.”
A crude grin spread across Bill’s lips. “Yeah, you gotta a date with the devil.”
The two guards flanked the inmate. The trio left the cell and entered the hall where the air was cool and sterile. Overhead, fluorescent lights rained down flat, white light. The shuffle of their feet intermingled as they moved forward.
Bill didn’t let too much time pass before he added, “Some ole’ scaly-prick demon is going to have his way with you for what you did.” He continued to goad the prisoner. “For all eternity.”
The echo of their footsteps picked up where his remark left off. Unable to get a rise out of the prisoner, Bill’s faced flushed red and he gritted his teeth. “There’s a room full of people sitting behind a two-way mirror waiting to watch you die.”
Gans maintained his smile.
“If you don’t shut up,” said Jenkins, “you’re going to be looking for another line of work.”
Their journey ended at a metal door. Bill pushed a button and the buzzer sounded.
A cherub-like face appeared in the small, glass window, glanced at the trio before the lock clicked and the door opened.
They marched Lucia in and stood by as the intravenous team strapped him onto the gurney before hooking him up to monitors and inserting the I.V.
“Any last words?” Jenkins asked.
Gans lifted his head up and replied, “Yeah, tell Colton that I’m coming straight back from Hell to get him.”