Word Count 496
The Sardonic Grin that Robs My Sleep
by G Ackman
I had chased that monster down for a decade and a half. He haunted my thoughts, robbing me of sleep, and ultimately causing my wife to leave. She got tired of me being unable to think about anything else. But the images from that early morning crime scene will never leave me. He did not deserve to be breathing the same air as the rest of us, and I made it my life’s work to make sure that he wasn’t.
He stayed one step ahead of me, just one, all the time. He deliberately remained at the periphery of my radar, leaving subtle clues, never allowing me a moment’s rest or forgetfulness. I used to think he just got sloppy there at the end and that’s how we caught him. But now I wonder if he didn’t want to get caught. Tonight, though, justice is finally going to be served. His execution is in two hours and while we’ve been here before, this time I am sure he is going to die. His appeals have been exhausted, and I know the governor. There is no way that dedicated phone line will ring in the execution chamber tonight.
Am I going to be there? Oh, you bet. I intend to watch that bastard take his last breath. Then maybe the spirits of that family will allow me to get one night’s sleep without the dreams. I’m even going to talk to him before they take him down. He asked me to “visit.”
Do I expect him to confess? To beg for forgiveness? No. That would require a human heart and I don’t think he possesses one. Not someone who could do what he did to those children, their dog, and then to….I just can’t talk about it.
It’s over. It went as smoothly as anyone could expect, although something is nagging at my mind. It’s something he said to me while I stood outside his cell. His white jumpsuit underscored the paleness of his skin, the coldness of his eyes, and the reptilian shape of his face. He was calm, or at least he maintained the appearance of being calm. I neither know nor care what his internal emotions were. I hope he was tormented by the thought of lying on that gurney and watching them strap him down. I hope he worried he would burn in hell for all eternity. But there was something in what he said to me….
“Hello, detective. Looks like you won, doesn’t it? Maybe now you’ll get some rest. You look awful, if you don’t mind me saying so. No more chasing me….no more of my special brand of murder. What was it you called it? Oh, yes, a ‘gruesome display of utter inhumanity.’ Well, I’m sure you’re right. There couldn’t be two people like me, could there?” Then he gave a sardonic grin and turned away.
Two people like him? A partner? It couldn’t be….could it?