The Color Of Mercy
Darkness can be so cold
sometimes. It wraps around my body, and tries to suffocate me. The shrink tells
me it's 'guilt' choking me, but it ain't. It's the devil comin' to claim my soul
for what I did.
Time: Yesterday, or a million
Toby's got such wonderful eyes,
you know? No matter how crazy he acts, you can look into those eyes, and see the
good man underneath. At least, I always can, but that's probably 'cause I love
When we were fighting one time, I
told him that his capacity for forgiveness made him a better man than me, but
it's so much more than that. He still has a soul untouched by evil. Even Vern
Schillinger couldn't take that from him; his desire to be 'worthy.'
I'm sitting here, watching him,
and I know he's troubled about what he did to Hank Schillinger. Oh, and Andy
I've watched him for days, and I
know somethin's brewing. I just hope he ain't thinking of doing anything stupid.
O'Reily's getting antsy about
Toby spilling the beans over what we did, but Toby would never implicate me, I
know that for sure. He'd die before he landed me on death row.
That Mick bitch, O'Reily's gonna
get his fucking gut slit open if he touches Toby, and he knows it. But, he's
right about one thing, Toby *is* on the edge of something. If he runs true to
form, it's going to be something that will cause him even more pain than he's
suffered so far.
He's walking over here, he's
coming to talk to me, I can tell. He always does the same thing before he comes
to me; he takes that deep breath, like he's steeling himself for something
scary, then he comes right at me like a missile.
"Hey," he's smiling,
but he's nervy.
"Hey." I wait for the
bombshell, and I know it's coming, because I can almost taste the tension in the
"Chris, I've confessed to
Mukada," he says, "Confessed to organizing the murder of Hank
Schillinger, and having a hand in Andy's death too. Not to mention
Metzger..." he's looking away now, "I'm just going to see
"What?" I snap at him,
because I can't believe he's being such a jerk.
"Chris, I have to. I just
can't live with the guilt any longer."
"Are you fucking insane.
You'll end up on death row?"
"Maybe I deserve to?"
"Toby, that fucker
Schillinger killed your boy, he deserved to die. Andy got whacked by his own
father, and you fucking well know it. As for Metzger.."
I see that look in his eyes. Dear
Fuck, I hate it when he does
this. He says he's forgiven me for that, but he ain't, not really.
"Just don't fucking say it,
"Chris, I'm not pointing
fingers, not anymore. That's all in the past, I moved on from that particular
pain a long time ago. You have to understand, I just can't live with myself,
knowing that I destroyed those lives, whether they deserved to live or not. It
wasn't *my* decision to make, it was God's."
Oh fuck, why can't he see how
crazy this is, and, how can I let him go through with this?
"Toby, you'll end up on
death row, you know that? Do you really understand what that means?"
"Oz has almost destroyed
you, how d'you think death row is gonna be?"
He's moving close, his hand has
come to rest on my chest.
"It'll be cold and
lonely...without you." He says with the saddest smile I've ever seen.
Oh my God, does he really know
what he's doing to me?
"I can't bear the thought of
you suffering there, alone, maybe for years," I want him to understand what
he's letting himself in for. Toby can still be so damned na´ve, I wanna whack
I don't think he truly
comprehends how fucking bleak the years on death row can be. Not to mention the
fact that, he'll be there as the killer of a hack, so he won't be getting no
four star treatment, that's for damned sure.
"I need to pay for my
crimes. If it means dying, then so be it," he shrugs. "I won't
implicate you, or anyone else, you know that, don't you?"
"I don't give a fuck about
that!" And at this moment, I really don't.
Dying is easy; living is hard.
All I can see in my mind, is Toby
on death row; alone, brutalized, and suffering. Until one day, they decide to
kill him all legal, maybe with an injection, or maybe they'll fry him, who
It's at that moment, with that
thought in my mind, I make my decision. This may be the hardest thing I've ever
done in my life, but I know it's right.
I pull him into my arms; I just
need to hold him.
"I love you," I
whisper, "Please tell me you know that? More than anything I ever loved in
my whole, miserable life."
He softly kisses my neck, the
warmth of his lips against my skin makes me shiver.
"I know you do, I've always
known. We're the Romeo and Juliet of Oz, huh?" his gentle, mocking laugh
seems to vibrate through my body
"Well, I ain't being Juliet,
okay?" I reply with a forced smile.
I'm shaking now, my whole body is
pounding, and I can hear the blood hurtling through my veins, thudding in my
I reach into the back of my
pants; I always keep a back up weapon tucked into the waistband. I'm lucky
because today it's a good, long, sharp shank. It'll do the job quickly and
"I can't live with the
thought of you on death row, Toby. I love you too much."
"There's no other way,
Chris. I love you too, but we can't go on the way we're going. We're self
destructing, and you know it."
It's the weirdest feeling I get,
like he knows what's about to happen. I slide the blade in fast, so there's less
pain. I know where to place it, so that it hits the heart, making it a quick
I hear the breath rush from his
body, and a tiny noise, almost like a sigh, but it's just Toby whispering my
name one last time, as the life drains from him.
I go on holding him, until he
goes limp, and slumps in my arms. I know he's dead because the light; the
essence of the man I knew, is gone. It's strange, you instinctively know when
life's over. Death reaches out to you on a physical level that can't be measured
by fancy machines.
From some other reality, I hear a
voice yelling. There's no one else in my world right now, so it must be coming
from some other place.
Someone grabs me, and Toby falls
from my arms. He hits the floor so hard, I wince at the thud.
"I'm sorry!" I whisper,
I hope he hears me, knows that I didn't mean to drop him that way.
Someone is bending over him, I
hear them say 'Oh shit, Beecher's dead. There's no pulse. Get the doctor,
No pulse. No life. No more pain.
No death row.
So ya see, death row ain't so bad
when the reason for you being here is a just one. I never gave a fuck about
those men I killed outside. They were nothing to me. If I was here because of
them, I'd feel cheated.
Toby? He was my world. He gave me
the choice that day; him or me. They all think I'm a selfish fuck, that I chose
I didn't, I chose him.