“Hey there, sweet ass. Wanna pull my chain?”
It’d been the first thing he’d said to me.
I’d been given the job of covering an expose on inmates on death row. I hadn’t wanted it – my pain in the ass editor had other ideas.
Don’t dress like a tart, don’t wear makeup, don’t make eye contact with any of them……
I’d had all of this advice and more, so much that I had no idea what to do for the best. I took every piece of advice that had been foisted upon me and ignored it completely. I was going to do things my way.
Against my better judgement, I’d looked up and into the eyes of Billy Jones, a man whose name struck fear into the hearts of the hardened prison guards who patrolled death row armed to the teeth with all manner of weapons designed to wound and restrain.
His heart might have been owned by the devil, but he had the face of an angel. It was easy to see why so many women had fallen for his boyish good looks. No doubt they’d fallen in love with his beautiful eyes and pouting lips that screamed to be kissed. They’d find out all too late that Billy’s smile was his secret weapon.
Billy Jones had raped, tortured and then killed at least 25 women in a reign of terror lasting nearly five years. Had he not been apprehended there would likely be dozen more victims that would fall foul of his charming looks.
He curled his finger, motioning for me to come forward. “Wanna hear a story?” he’d asked, eyeing my notepad.
Hypnotised by his eyes, I’d nodded, thankful for the chair the prison guard had brought as I sat outside Billy’s cell listening to his story.
I met him every day for weeks. At first I felt revulsion for what he’d done to those poor girls, but then our conversations turned to arts and culture, politics and money. I found Billy engaging company; he was smart and articulate, and that smile of his was so damn disarming.
I found myself missing him when I returned home to my apartment each night and spend most of my evenings thinking of a dozen new questions to ask him just so that I could spend more time in his company.
Billy’s final appeal had failed. Due to be executed today at 10 am, he’d asked me to be there when the state took his life in return for the lives of the women he’d killed.
I agreed. I couldn’t not go.
I watched as they strapped him to the bed, inserting the needle with the poison that would end his life. I watched the light go out of his eyes. I knew then that I loved him.
He was evil, but the heart is blind to that which it does not wish to see.
He was evil, but he was mine.
My heart was his.
His willing victim.
Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week Twenty Seven prompt: A journalist writing a story about living on death row begins to fall for one of the inmates she’s interviewing.