Rough Diamonds

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Chapter 93

James Roderick

Roderick was worried that he had never received the message from Oosthuizen. Weeks passed, but there was still no news on when Roderick could be moved to another bunk.

Meanwhile, the rapes continued.

The last few weeks had been sheer hell: The abuse by his cell mates and the court case… He had also lost control of his bowels in front of dozens of people.

That Saturday morning, when his fellow cell mates were outside exercising, he remained in the cell alone. He took a piece of paper and a pen that he had requested earlier that morning.

He was desperate. The continuous rapes, he had decided, were punishment for killing Madelaine.

He spent a few minutes getting his thoughts in order. Then he began writing. “I swear that I killed Madelaine van Wyk.” Writing that statement gave him a sort of feeling of relief.

He thought about how the message should be continued. “I took a pipe and a block of wood and hit her. I believe she died later that night.”

Roderick went on writing. “I don’t hold a grudge against either Jako Retief or Christmas Ndlovu, and I believe they should be freed. Please forgive me for the sins that I have committed, Lord.”

He studied his letter and added: “Forgive me for what I’m about to do.” That brought home to him the gravity of the position in which he’d placed himself. A chill came over his body.

Deciding that that was everything covered, he left the note on his bed, where it would be seen.

He had to drag a stool from the opposite corner of the cell in order to tie the overall to the bit of pipe that was sticking out, just out of reach. He took off his overalls, and climbed on to the stool. He tied them to the pipe.

He was shaking as he balanced precariously on the stool.

From the other end of the overall, he fashioned a noose. He reached out and tested it with his hand. It was level with his head.

That would do the job. He figured that the drop off the stool would kill him.

He slipped the snug noose over his head and tightened the slip knot really firmly so that it would end his life in an instant.

“Forgive me, Lord.”

He managed to topple the stool over and immediately felt the noose tighten around his neck and partially strangle him. He was not touching the floor, but Roderick struggled.

He thought: This wasn’t the plan.

He struggled to loosen the slip knot, but he only succeeded in tightening it further. He couldn’t reach the floor. He wrestled with the noose and felt it tighten more, until he couldn’t breathe.

Fuck! he thought.

After what seemed like hours, darkness overcame him.

James Roderick convulsed and was dead.

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