The Gift That Keeps On Grieving
In that moment, time seemed to stop as Merry’s eyes focused on the judge’s gavel as he slammed it against the sound block on his bench.
“The jury have unanimously agreed that the defendant is guilty on one count of first-degree murder, and she shall serve a minimum of twenty years in prison. Court dismissed.”
Merry pushed past her lawyer and ran over to the judge’s bench, slamming her hands against the oak surface.
“Twenty years‽ There must be some kind of mistake! I’m 18-years-old, I’m supposed to start college next year!”
“Guards,” the judge began, leering at the girl before turning his head away, “take her away.”
Two men in police uniforms appeared on either side of Merry, lifting her by the arms as they pulled her away.
“Please, listen to me! You’ve got the wrong person! I’m innocent, I tell ya!”
The young girl’s nylon-clad legs flailed around as she kicked the air, tears running down her face. It was only one week ago that Merry was living a perfectly normal life, and now she found out that she’d be spending what were supposed to be the best years of her life stuck in a prison cell. Her head was spinning as she was hauled out of the courtroom and into a police cruiser. As she looked out of the car window, her hands cuffed behind her back, she examined the snow that was falling lightly on the ground and breathed a heavy sigh of resignation.
“This was not how I had planned to spend the Christmas season…”
Chapter 1: Aluminum Pigeon
December 1st, the day of the conviction…
Merry held her head down low as she stood in the middle of a line of prisoners. As the group of convicts was approaching the gates of the Aluminum Pigeon Penitentiary, images of the crime-scene flooded into Merry’s mind – The pistol lying on the ground, the man fleeing from the scene, the copious amounts of blood… Oh gosh, the blood. Merry’s head was spinning. She felt dizzy, like she could throw-up at any second. She choked on the air as her amber eyes began to tear up once again. Why was she here? What did she do to deserve this?
“Oi, brunette with the ponytail,” a guard called out, pointing his baton in Merry’s direction. “Quit the cryin’! It’s frickin’ annoyin’, ya hear‽”
Merry wiped her eyes with the end of her trademark blue and white striped scarf – A cherished gift from her mother that she had received many Christmases ago.
Mother, the girl thought. What will she think when she finds out I’m incarcerated in Aluminum Pigeon…?
Merry’s thoughts were interrupted by the penitentiary’s gatekeeper asking for her name as she arrived at the front of the queue.
“Are you deaf or something‽” the gatekeeper barked, “I asked for your name, girly!”
“I-it’s Marisa,” Merry stammered, “Marisa Christmas, but my friends call me ‘Merry’.”
“I didn’t ask for your life-story,” the man scoffed. “Whatever, your room is on the top floor of the right-wing, cell number 510. You can’t miss it.”
“Right, I guess I’ll be off now,” Merry huffed as she turned to walk to her cell.
“You’ll find your new prison uniform waiting for you in your cell,” the gatekeeper called out. “Don’t worry, one size fits all.”
Merry stared at the door in-front of her. The number “510” was stamped onto the metallic surface.
“So this is the place then?” Merry asked, taking a deep breath as she opened the door.
The inside of the cell wasn’t very spacious – A wardrobe and two beds were pressed against the walls and a small table was placed at the center of the room, leaving very little space for someone to stand. Merry looked over to one of the beds, where she noticed a woman was sleeping soundly. Guess I have a cellmate, Merry thought as she walked over to the wardrobe, I wonder what she’s in for…
Merry opened the wardrobe and stared at its contents – A drab olive top and a slightly brighter skirt were hung neatly inside, and there was a full-body mirror on the back of the door. A bundle of colorful clothes lay at the bottom of wardrobe, presumably belonging to her cellmate. Merry grimaced as she picked up the green skirt.
“They could’ve at-least asked me if I’d prefer pants,” she grumbled as she reluctantly removed her sweater and denim shorts, tossing them on top of her cellmate’s clothes.
Merry wriggled into her new uniform and stared at herself in the mirror.
Are you shitting me‽ she asked herself, ‘One size fits all,’ my ass! If this skirt were any shorter, you’d be able to see my damn underwear!
The girl exhaled deeply as she flumped down onto her new bed.
“Ow,” she groaned, rubbing her back. “What’s this bed made of? Stones‽ And I’m supposed to sleep here for the next twenty years of my life‽”
Twenty years… Twenty years, twenty years, twenty years… Merry kept repeating those two words in her mind as she once again thought back to the scene of the crime. For the third time that day, her eyes began to water. That asshole! He fled the scene and left me to take the fall for his actions! I wish he would die! I wish that every criminal would JUST DIE!
“…It’s not fair,” she whined, her voice muffled as she dug her face into the surprisingly soft pillow, “I shouldn’t even be here right now… I’m innocent…”
As she lay there crying, Merry hadn’t noticed that her new roommate had woken up. And Merry hadn’t noticed that said roommate was now looming menacingly over her body.
What do we have here? the older woman thought to herself as she reached forward, wrapping her hands around Merry’s throat. A new toy to play with…?