I had just been judged as guilty of a crime, a crime I apparently committed. The only problem however was that I did not remember doing it. They said I killed my mother. They claimed I had stabbed her repeatedly. According to them, I’d started while she was asleep and I’d stabbed her a total of fifteen times- two while she’d been sleeping and the remaining after she had woken. I remember the warmth of her blood as it spilled in my face when her carotid artery burst. I think I heard her screaming in pain throughout the one minute it lasted but I had been too far away to be sure. How could I have killed her? The witnesses called to the stand testified that I’d always been a good girl and helped my mother in her store. I remember Mrs Layiwola saying;
“Why did you do it Preye? What happened?”
She had burst into tears on the stand and they’d had to carry her away. I remember sitting there beside my lawyer who was a man in his forties with a balding head. From where had they gotten him anyway? The government must have assigned him to me or me to him seeing as my mother was my only parent and the only family I had left. My dad had left when I was four and my mum had worked as a nurse and also had a shop where she sold groceries. So why would I kill her? Whatever had she done? My brain felt empty.
They were now leading me into the black maria, I was being transported to the site of my execution since I had been sentenced to death by hanging. There were so many press people outside and I was blinded by the flashes from their cameras. The van was dark and smelled of urine, the smell was so pungent and it reminded me of the ammonia I used in my school’s laboratory. The drive was long and the policemen kept looking and me and shaking their heads. I had become the talk of the town; the seventeen year old who had stabbed her mother fifteen times, watched her bleed to death and then attempted to flee the site. I’d been caught red handed, literally as I’d tried to run out of our yard by my neighbour who found me having semi bloody hands very suspicious and called the police. Why would I want to kill my mother? I wondered. And for the first time, tears rushed to my eyes. The woman loved me, she worked herself to the bone every day to put food on the table. It made no sense. Had I been set up? Who would put so much effort into making me look like a criminal?
They brought me into a small room already set up for hanging. I kept wondering why I was going to be hanged when I was still a minor. I asked the policeman or rather told him
”But sir, I’m only seventeen” I said, tears running down my face
”I’m sorry, you were tried as an adult and you know this” he said, his face expressionless
I felt sweat on my palms. No! I had to get out. I began to scream, to beg.
”I’m innocent! I’m innocent!!” But even as I screamed, I realized how unfazed the guards were, they probably got this every time they had to kill someone. People had always trusted me. I could always beg my way out of every situation. How could this be happening? How could my life end like this?
I began to try to remember why I had killed mother, try to remember what she could have done, try to understand how I could have been so wicked but I could only cry more.
I stepped on the chair and felt the rope encircle my neck. The green twisted rope. I felt it gradually begin to squeeze life out of me and then I felt a sharp pain at my side, poking constantly. It was painful and as I struggled to look down at what it was, the rope squeezed tighter, the executioner waited impatiently for his job to be done.
It was my mother!! She was not dead! I hadn’t killed her!! I waited for the door to open and the executioner to bring me down before I died and instead I felt a
tap slap on my arm.
‘‘Get up!!, you’ll be late!” My mother said.
I opened my eyes and felt my neck. I was alive, in my bedroom and my earring had been piercing my side. I really should stop watching Crime and Investigation before bed.
*PS My heart goes out to all the Bostonians affected by the Marathon bombing. You’re in my prayers.