Tonight is my last in prison. Tomorrow at first light I will be executed. I am accused of the heinous crime of uxoricide and condemned to death by electrocution. Though I am an abhorrent man in the eyes of the world, I am indeed innocent. Like the angelic lamb I am sent to the slaughter by a villainous jury.
I write these lines with the hope that the reader will judge the verity of the matter himself and come to a conclusion, different from the court’s.
The day my dear wife disappeared, I had gone to the countryside to catalog the life forms of the area. I am a field biologist. I was documenting a new variety of wild daffodil when my pager beeped. It was a message from my wife. It read, “We have to get out of here.” I was instantly filled with foreboding at its tone and brevity. I rushed home, which was nearly a day’s journey away.
I arrived filled with anguish and trepidation, since I had received no further message from her. An odd feeling of dread had engulfed me ever since I read her brief dispatch. Somehow I felt she was under immense distress and that it was a cry for help.
To my utter shock, I found my wife missing. I searched all the rooms, but she was nowhere to be found. If she had gone somewhere she would have left me a message. The rooms appeared undisturbed. They were clean and pretty, just the way she always kept them. I was at a loss to account for her absence. Meanwhile, her message gnawed at my brain, driving me to the brink of panic and desperation.
It was then that I contacted the authorities soliciting their help to locate my wife who had vanished without a trace. Instead of doing their duty, they indicted me with her murder, and concealment of the body. I was detained and sent to gaol, to await my judgment and eventual punishment.
Confined within the prison chambers, aching for an answer to my wife’s mysterious disappearance, I stumbled upon some old books in the jail library. My attention was captured by an ancient treatise titled ‘Antiquary of Malevolent Forces.’ I was perplexed by a passage which told of walls coming alive and swallowing people, to entomb them forever in their embrace. The fragment stated that this was the most common reason for people vanishing from their homes, without trace. The ghastly book even mentioned the statistics of people devoured by the walls of their homes since the olden days.
This revelation, surprisingly, felt like a balm to my grieving soul. Although I suffered the loss of my wife, and my own life was to be soon extinguished, I was finally at peace.
Here ends my tale. Before I close my pen and my eyes, I beseech you to shield your loved ones from the walls, those damned walls who are ever waiting to ingurgitate the unwary.
An occasional writer but a regular thinker, Beryl sometimes fiddles in speculative fiction. He sees both humour and tragedy in everyday events and is extremely concerned with the fate of other creatures trapped in the monstrous march of 21st-century human civilization.