What A Strange Little Man (Chapter 1, page 2 of 3)

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Chapter 1

Why him, though? He was not the first I had guarded whose life would be taken. Why should his thoughts haunt me now? Why should I care if he is put to death? My mind began to drift back to the day I first saw this strange little man…

It was a normal day just like any other day in the prison. The first time I laid eyes on this fellow I could tell he was not going to be an ordinary prisoner. I remembered all the men I had seen brought to me, all in the same fashion as this man, yet something was different. The heavy chains that bound his hands and feet were made so as to deter escape. If a prisoner did escape, they would not be able to run far, due to the sheer weight of the shackles. But that didn't seem to bother this man; it was almost as if he welcomed them. And if that wasn't enough to perk my interest, the man was calm. Most would be fighting the trip to the prison, making the guard's job that much more difficult. This man was not fighting at all; he was chatting with the guard detail walking on either side of him! His demeanor could not be mistaken for defeat, he was simply calm. It was really hard to imagine why he was acting so peculiar.

I finally came to my house with a sigh of relief. The heavy wooden front door was dirty, and in need of repair. As I reached for the handle to open it, I remembered opening the iron-bar door to welcome the new prisoner. Why couldn't I get this man out of my head?! I tried to ignore the thoughts and went on in the house. My wife met me with my usual goblet of wine to help remove the drudgery of the day. The aroma of the hog cooking in the kitchen filled the small, yet comfortable front room where I reclined, after removing my sandals, at a little brown table in the middle of the room. The stone walls were decorated with blue and maroon colored drapery hanging in a pleasant fashion as to make any guest feel comfortable in our house. My wife was an excellent hostess, and a wonderful helpmate for me. She would always ask me how my day went, but today I would have rather not heard the question.

"How did your day go?" she asked faithfully.

Trying desperately to think of some way to summarize the events of the day without including the past few months I replied, "I'm not sure. This man I've been telling you about is going to die tomorrow, and I can't seem to shake the thought of him from my head."

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