Light fills the room as the heavy doors creak open. A single long shadow stretches down the aisle as Vincent Grey enters the hall.
He is a small man, but the solemn air shrinks him down to a pea as he follows his shadow down the rows of chairs and into the confession booth at the end.
The door slides open easily, and Vincent takes it as a sign of acceptance. The silent hall amplifies the guilt within him as he relates his confession in his head once more. He looks down on the chains at his feet, shambling his knobby ankles - these are but part of his consequence.
Sound settles and fades into a calm tranquil drone of still air. He opens his mouth to speak, asking for validation:
"Father, do you hear me?"
A firm voice answers, easing the shackles at his feet:
"I am here, my son. And so is He."
Vincent stumbles. All this time he’s been in prison he’s never felt so helpless, stepping into a cubicle and into the mercy of a faceless man sitting next to him; watching him through the veiled window; listening to his deepest regrets; depending on him to ease the torment he has been through.
Not long now, he tells himself. Not long before he pays for his crime.
“I have a confession to make.”
“I am here, my son. And so is He.”
Images run through his head – the same few that keeps him awake at night.
“Five years ago, I took the life of a little girl. She was witness to my crime and paid for her misfortune with her life. Everything happened to quick, I didn’t know what to do – the police were closing in on me, the bag suddenly felt so heavy, my debtors were waiting for me in the next street...”
The big man cries, burying his face in his hands.
“What made you kill her, my son?”
Vincent’s voice was muffled as he spoke through his tears.
“I don’t know! She was just there, and the next thing I know the gun fired and I was running away again.”
He breaks down, sobbing uncontrollably.
“I’m sorry Father! I will hang but I do not wish to go without knowing that I - ”
“It’s ok my son, we all make mistakes.”
“Please forgive me, Father.”
The sobbing of a pitiful soul echoes down the hall - a soul begging for forgiveness as he prepares himself for his final release on the electric chair. All he needs is forgiveness.
As his head hits the floor, he remembers how it all played out that day – he was running down the alleyway and she was on her way to school, coming out of a corner. He knocked into her and they both fell. In his haste to collect the bag of money he got impatient and shot the girl to stop her from crying. As he ran off again he caught sight of a man running towards the girl, a man he knew was her father.
That man now sits next to him, gun in hand, face hidden behind a veil – watching him, listening to him, waiting for the final moment when he would be released from his torment.
“Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned.”