The Prisoner’s Journal

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by Derek

Today, Thomas died. I am still horrified by how he was tortured, as I believe the boy was innocent. I am compelled to write down his story so that I might clear his name once I’m released from this hell. What follows is Thomas’ Story.

The badly beaten shell of a boy shackled to the wall of this cell is all that remains of Thomas, who was convicted of the murder of a young girl he was in love with, Nina. Being of the same age and the only children of neighboring farm houses, they were practically inseparable growing up; it was a common sight to see them playing in the fields, playing pranks on the field hands, and in later years, walking hand in hand as they returned home at the end of each day’s labors. It was commonly known that they would marry as soon as they both reached adulthood, so it was in the midst of wedding preparations that Nina was found slain, her body beaten and bloodied, yet strangely arranged as if in a peaceful slumber.

The village was shocked, and the hunt for the murderer began at once. No one knew if it was a drunken jailor from the drunken jailor from the a wandering brigand who happened upon her alone that night. The sheriff thought that the murder scene pointed towards a violent outburst, followed by regret, for what kind of criminal would beat a young girl to death and then take the time to lay her body in a position of rest?

A week later, with Nina buried in the ground and her mother bed-ridden in shock, the local constable enlisted the aid of every available person, which included any off-duty staff from the prison. The countryside was scoured, the hunting dogs released, but no sign of unaccounted for travelers could be found. The prison guards were all working that night or in the village tavern. Hope amongst the townsfolk that the murderer would be brought to justice was fading as fast as their anger was rising. It was in this atmosphere that an unlikely detective, the head executioner of the prison, claimed to find a big of bloody cloth in the field where Nina’s body was found. The cloth had ‘to my beloved Thomas’ inscribed on it.

This cloth was immediately recognized as belonging to a scarf Nina had woven for Thomas, and a hasty search of his room found the rest of the bloodied and torn scarf hidden under his straw sleeping mat. The village was shocked, because no one had suspected Thomas, but when the head executioner produced a guard willing to testify that he had overheard Nina telling Thomas that she had fallen in love with another boy just days before the body was found.

In their righteous anger, the villagers were quick to condemn. Despite Thomas’ tearful protests of innocence, and his claim that the scarf had been lost sometime after the murder, no one bothered to question the source of the ‘evidence’. Thomas was pronounced guilty, and immediately chained and sent to the prison to await his execution. That was the last that Thomas’ family ever saw of him. The village folk, used to a hardscrabbled life, soon forgot him as they turned their attention back towards feeding their families and surviving the coming winter this far in the North.

It was during his last days of life in the prison that Thomas learned the fate of his beloved Nina, for it was the head executioner himself behind the deed. It seems that he had lusted after the beautiful young Nina for years; with the wedding coming soon and her innocence soon to be lost, the executioner followed her out into the fields with delusions of seducing the inexperienced girl with ease. Of course, she would have nothing to do with him and fought off his advances. The executioner, not at all expecting to be rejected, and knowing that the feisty young girl would hardly stay silent about the night’s events, became very angry and afraid.

As he beat her mercilessly, just before she was lost to this world, a single tear streamed down her cheek, for she knew that she would never against set her eyes upon her true love. It was with that final bittersweet thought that she slipped into unconsciousness under the heavy rain of blows.

The deed complete, the executioner’s anger subsided. Far from being a dullard, he knew that he needed to frame someone else for his act. Who else but the pretty boy Thomas with his ever-present smirk?

Quickly putting together a plan, the executioner arranged Nina’s body as if he actually cared for the girl, which of course, he did not. Later, during the initial search when the townsfolk were searching far and wide, he snuck into Thomas’ house with a pouch of sheep’s blood. Splattering the scarf with the blood, he then tore off a piece and slid the scarf underneath Thomas’ sleeping matt. He then slipped back out unnoticed, and thus was successful at planting the ‘evidence’ that would divert any suspicion from himself onto Thomas. Half threatening and half bribing one of the corrupt prison guards into bearing false witness and then claiming to find the bloodied scrap of cloth were the easiest parts of his plan.

Then it was just a matter of waiting for the farce of a trial to finish, and Thomas was delivered to the executioner to do with as he pleased. And did it ever please him greatly to torture the boy for many hours on end, telling him lies too, mostly about his beloved Nina being unfaithful at the end. While I think that deep down a part of Thomas never believed them, the pain and suffering left him in a delusional state of mind, and he spend his last days crying out in pain, asking the memory of Nina why she had betrayed him so, and finally just sobbing until his spirit let go of life and death overcame him. The executioner’s hatred was so great that Thomas was left to rot shackled to this wall, and great injustice done to the boy both in life and in death.

Last modified: May 12, 2011

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