Candlemoth by Roger Jon Ellory

By Roger Jon Ellory

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He believes this, but he would never say it. It is not Mr. Timmons' job to question such things, for there is the way of the law, the way of justice, the Federal and Circuit and State and Appellate Courts, and there are tall grave men with heavy books who look into such things in detail, and they make the laws, they are the law, and who is Mr. Timmons to question this? Mr. Timmons is a Death Row warder down near Sumter, and he does what he does, as he abides by the code, and he leaves such matters as innocence and guilt to the Governor and the baby Jesus.

The spirit of the dead. Men here will tell you that once you've killed a man, once you've seen the light fade from his eyes, he will always walk with you. Your shadow. Perhaps he will never speak again, never move close to feel the warmth from your skin, but he is there. And those men walk the same gantries as us, they eat the same food, they watch the lights go down and dream the same fractured dreams. And then there are the sounds. Metal against metal, bolts sliding home, keys turning in locks… all reminders of the inevitability of eternity.

Look down at his shoes and you look back at yourself. The whiteness of his collar is unearthly, a heavenly white, as if he walks back through town each night and buys a new shirt and, once home, scrubs it until morning with Lysol and baking soda. Perhaps he believes the whiteness of his collar compensates for the blackness of his heart. First time I met Mr. West he spat at me. Spat right in my face. My hands were cuffed and shackled around my waist. My feet were shackled too. I couldn't even wipe my face.

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