My fears have become a reality. I awoke this morning, hours after I intended to have been gone, to the sound of sirens and shouting. I believe that they are surrounding the place at this very moment, and I think that I am tired of running. Whoever said that it is all about the journey was partially right, as my journey has been absolutely marvelous. I have felt alive these past two weeks, but I must admit that I am ready to arrive at my destination, even though it is not the destination I originally planned for. Or maybe it is, I cannot really tell.
The feeling that I had last night is back in full force this morning. I keep seeing their faces everywhere, hanging in the pictures on the wall, sewn into the rug on the floor, even floating in my glass of whiskey. I just wonder why this is troubling me so much now. I have never been affected by it before. My thoughts keep going back to the last thing the man said to me, “God have mercy.” Without the courage brought about from the whiskey and in the light of the rising sun, my claim at having more strength than God seems to be somewhat irrational. But, I must remind myself that such a thing doesn’t exist in the first place.
I can tell they are getting closer. I look over one last time at my host. He hasn’t moved an inch since I last saw him, and his face still holds the same expression of terror. Even though, now that I take the time to actually examine him, it almost appears as if his face has a peaceful quality to it. For the first time, I begin to wonder who this man is. Does he have a family, a job, or friends? I find myself staring into the emptiness of his eyes. You know, in the end it doesn’t matter. I needed something that he had, he refused to give it to me, and I was the stronger man. That’s all this life is about, I am sure of it. Once again, I remember the last thing he said.
“God have mercy.” The shouts are beginning to get louder. I find myself unable to move, unable to do anything other than think about those three words. In my mind, I hear them being said over and over again. I drain my glass of whiskey from last night and stand up, the room spinning around me.
I make my way to where I left this journal. My thoughts are racing.
God have mercy. I only have one shot left. God have mercy. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life as a prisoner. God have mercy. What if the man wasn’t talking about himself? What if he was talking about me? If he was asking God to have mercy on me?
I quickly push the thought from my mind. No one could possibly think that way. There is no such thing as God, no such thing as an afterlife, no such thing as mercy. Or is there?
I guess I will know soon enough.
. . .
Sheriff Morris closed the book and slid it across the table. Neither man spoke for a long time after that, both staring into the distance and lost in their own thoughts.
Lieutenant Rodgers finally broke the silence, “How can someone think like that? I don’t understand how you can do the stuff he did and live with yourself, much less be happy about it.”
“Well, in the end, I don’t think he could,” Morris replied. “Go home Rodgers. You deserve to spend some time with your family. Lord knows we both need it. I’ll call you if anything comes up.”
Lieutenant Rodgers nodded and got up to leave. He paused at the doorway and glanced back, looking at the journal one more time, before leaving the room, pulling the door shut behind him.
Morris stood up and stretched, futilely trying to rub away the headache he was beginning to suffer from. He walked over to the window, staring out at the sun as it sank behind the trees. The sheriff couldn’t get the last entry of the journal out of his mind, as it seemed that in the man’s final moments, he seemed to feel remorse.
Morris shook his head. “Why should it make a difference?” he said to himself. “Nothing can change what he did.”
Yet, as he turned off his lights and went to leave, he couldn’t help but look back at the book lying on the table, illuminated by the dying sunlight. Where he once felt anger and disgust towards the man who wrote it, now there was only pity. As he turned around and shut the door, he found himself whispering one last thing:
“God have mercy.”
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