Chapter 36: Locked Away
“Ian Lawson do you have any last words?” The elderly Hispanic priest leans over the bearded bald man in the orange jumpsuit strapped to the executioner’s table. Ian moves his head straining to look left and right but with his head bound by leather straps he can do no more than cut his eyes. He sees the Warden standing in the corner next to a pudgy doctor with blond hair and droopy eyes. In days gone by the executioner was a man to be feared. An imposing figure with a black hood obscuring his face. He waited with an axe ready for a beheading or a black gloved hand perched on a wooden lever. In the new days of an overly politically correct society. The much coveted old world position of executioner is now held by a doctor and in most cases not a good one either. The Warden’s face is stoic unmoving he shows no emotions having presided over executions for more than two decades. The room is a sterile white which is a stark contrast to the rest of the Penitentiary. “Nawh Padre I got nothing to say but thanks anyway.” Ian says feeling sweat beading on his forehead and slowly rolling under the leather head strap. He clinches his fist determined to meet his end with dignity. A twinge of pain from his wounded fingertip runs up his arm. Ian Lawson has seen death hell he has caused death. The fact that he was a murderer was what had led him to his current predicament. His crimes had earned him an unprecedented fast track to death row. His date with the lethal chemical cocktail in the executioner’s needle would not be delayed. Even as the power seemingly went out plunging the rest of the country into total darkness yesterday. The power remained on in most of the prison thanks to the backup generators buried under the facility. Then there was the bite he sustained to the tip of his pinkie finger from a guard earlier. After a quick check by the prison doctor it was determined this wouldn’t grant him extra time in this world either. “Fuckin’ bastard Hobart.” Ian’s mind wanders as he thinks about the Screw who nipped him. “May God have mercy on your soul Ian Lawson.” The old man hobbles over closing his weather bible. The Priest takes a lumpy arthritic hand placing his hand gently on Ian’s chest. “He won’t Father I’ve killed a lot of people bro and they have almost all cried out to God or a god of some sort.” A hollow smile draws across the man on the table’s face. “None of them ever got an answer and I bet if he didn’t answer them he sure as hell won’t answer me.” Ian closes his eyes his mind racing back over the faces over the horror he’d left in his wake. He truly felt his work on this plane of existence was done.
The Priest snatches his hand back from Ian’s chest as if he’s touching a hot skillet. The old man of the cloth stands over the convicted killer his mouth open. The condemned man’s heartbeat is beating slow steady rhythm as if he is reading a book in a quite library instead of recounting the butchering of countless human beings. A chuckle followed by a snort escapes Ian’s lips. “Hey Warden Gladstone let’s get this show on the road.” He shouts struggling to catch a glance at the two-way viewing mirror to his left. “These people paid for a show. They came to see me the great and malevolent Ian Lawson be put to death.” The broad chest Warden walks over his face clearly showing his disapproval but how could you admonish a man who was literally waiting a death’s door? “Father Martinez thank you for your service you are dismissed.” The Warden speaks to the priest through a thick bristly salt and pepper mustache. The old man clutching his bible to his chest makes haste towards a locked door next to where the doctor is standing. A tap on the door and the sound of keys rattling comes from the opposite side of the door. Father Martinez exits the death chamber and doesn’t look back. Warden Gladstone gets down to whisper into Ian’s ear. “Look there’s no need to show out. Your audience isn’t as big as you’d normally like you asshole.” His eyes drill into the killer bound with his arms out as if he was ready to make snow angels. “Seems the global blackout is just a little bigger than you being put to death.” Ian and the Warden catch each other’s gaze. “If the powers down Warden Gladstone how will the Governor ever call you to spare my life?” The serial killer pouts like a spoiled child mocking the warden. Gladstone stands back up straightening his beige suit jacket running his fingers through his crew cut hair. “Yeah don’t hold your breath convict. Governor Fillmore told me yesterday he wished he could be here at seven on the dot. He wanted to push the needle into your eyeball not your IV himself.” Neither man knew that Governor Fillmore was currently disemboweling the Deputy Governor on the floor of the State Capital and gulping down her warm intestines as they spoke. The Warden winks down sarcastically at Ian Lawson. “In about four minutes boy the sun will set on today and your life.” He strolls back over next to the doctor peering up at the wall the clock. It was running five or so minuets slow after the power outage. When the generators kicked back no one had bother to reset the clocks. In prison keeping clocks set correctly wasn’t a huge priority.
The portly doctor hustles into position he occupies himself by running a check on the machines monitoring Ian Lawson. The volume has been turned down on the machines as they are not here to keep track of a person’s health. Their purpose this evening is to maintain a record of one’s death. The doctor stands huffing in his rumpled lab coat. Now that he’s satisfied he squeezes his girth past Lawson coming to a stop behind a chrome tray with two syringes. He nods “yes” to Warden Gladstone placing a trembling hand on the tray containing the needles. The Warden acknowledges the doctor before speaking to the condemned. “Ian Lawson you have been found guilty by a jury of your peers and sentenced to death by a judge in good standings.” The man crosses his arms behind his back the well-rehearsed stance is even part of the pomp and circumstance of the ritual. “Have you any last words to say?” The Warden pauses briefly scanning Ian Lawson’s face. “If I would have known this fat fuck would be doin’ me in. I would have never given up willingly.” The killer scoffs rolling his eyes. “Sheesh …. You’re pathetic.” The Warden is overcome with the sudden urge to cave Lawson’s head in with one of the trays in the room. Instead he regains his composure “Proceed doctor.” On the Warden Gladstone’s orders the sausage fingered doctor takes the first syringe holding it up at eye level. He pops off the top flicking it with his index finger making sure there are no air bubbles present. Ian thinks this protocol is odd considering an air bubble in the needle would take longer to kill him than the drugs in the syringe. He plunges the syringe into the plump IV. He drives the plunger on the needle down forcing its contents into the bag draining into Lawson. With no hesitation the out of shape doctor retrieves the second needle to finish off the lethal compound. He can already see the rhythmic rise and fall of Lawson’s chest give way to uneven heaving. As he jabs the inlet on the bag with the second syringe and along with Warden Gladstone they wait. Gladstone loathes this part it had always seemed ludicrous to him. Standing idly by like he was at a social function except everyone struggled to ignore the dying person in the room. Warden Gladstone watches the minuets tick painfully by on the slow clock perched on the wall across the room. His mind turns to the people in the viewing room originally they had expected a full house. Ian Lawson was the equivalent of a serial killing rock star. He was insidious, evil and claimed to have murdered over sixty people. Instead there were two people a local reporter and a woman from one of those tabloid TV shows.
“Call it Dr. Luta.” Warden Gladstone instructs the man to his left. Doctor Luta waddles over checking the heart monitor first. Every line on the screen is flat there were dashes where Lawson’s blood pressure, heart rate and pulse once were. He hesitates staring at the body on the table before him. With practiced precision doctor Luta unhooks the leads running from the monitors to Ian. He checks Ian Lawson’s pulse and finds none. He then uses a stethoscope dangling from his neck to listen to the killer’s chest. “No heartbeat, no pulse and no respiration.” Doctor Luta pulls the scope from his ear and drapes it back across his neck. “Time of death ………” He looks at the clock unsure of what to say. Gladstone rolls his eyes in frustration. “Add five minutes Luta and let’s be done with this. I have a prison full of convicts and more than half my staff didn’t show because of this damn power outage.” Doctor Luta shoots Gladstone a glaring stare muttering something under his breath. The thick jowls dangling from his neck shake like water balloons. He begins to undo the strap hold down the dead killers arm. Luta stops to check for a pulse not finding one he flicks the butterfly needle free. He places the dead man’s arm at his side on the gurney. Doctor Luta was thrilled this execution had gone far smoother than he’d expected and with less of a turn out. He dutifully goes about removing the restraints from Ian Lawson’s body. It was past sundown and the good doctor wanted nothing more than to be locked up tight in condo. The head restraint was the last one he had to undo. No one was here to claim the body so this would be an easy one. He had to sign one sheet of paper. After seven days in the prison morgue Ian Lawson’s body would be unceremoniously buried in an unmarked grave on the prison grounds. As he comes up from the end of the table Doctor Luta does a double take. “Did he just move or was that just me?” He asks Warden Gladstone in disbelief. “Doc I didn’t see a hot damn thing.” Gladstone slaps his forehead. “Now bag this sack of shit up I have work to do.” A conflicted doctor Luta presses his hand down on Lawson’s chest and it doesn’t move. He wants to be one hundred percent sure this lunatic is dead before he frees the last restraint around the dead man’s head. He looks the body on the table up and down. Luta notices how peaceful the killer looks peaceful in much the same way a dead shark does. The doctor hesitates hands shaking noticeably as he takes Ian Lawson’s head into his hands. Slowly he leans down like scared lover pressing a down on the serial killer’s chin. Trembling doctor Luta listens for the sounds of respiration holding perfectly still to feel the tingle of breath on his ear. Nothing satisfied the man underneath him is dead his hands drop to the buckle on the head restraints. “He’s dead Warden.” Luta declares cocking his head up. He unhitches the buckle standing up. “Gotcha bitch!” Lawson lashes out in a blur his arms ensnaring the startled man.
Lawson’s cryptic words sink into doctor Luta’s ears while his teeth sink into the pink flesh under his chin. Doctor Luta’s tries to scream in the death chamber but Ian jams a hand under his chin. Doctor Luta’s screams of agony are forced back down his throat. Warden Gladstone clutches his chest falling backwards like a felled tree. Lawson drives Luta to the floor snatching his head back in an arch. Blood sprays in thick goblets against the wall like a stepped on ketchup packet. “Woooooooo” the killer howls past the chunk of flesh in his mouth. Behind him he hears the sounds of shoes scuffing the white tiled floor. “Don’t go nowhere fat boy.” Ian demands of the thrashing doctor who is desperately clamping his hands around the hole in his throat. Ian turns his evil orange flecked eyes to Warden Gladstone. The man is dragging himself across the floor as his heart stages a revolt deep within his chest. “Now Warden I don’t know much about what’s going on here.” Lawson walks towards the terrified man using one hand to swipe blood from his chin. “One moment I’m cascading joyously down this dark tunnel with thousands of other wailing condemned folks.” He stops lording over the Warden who reaches for a red glass covered button marked “Panic Alarm” in bold red lettering. “Well the next thing I know sure as shit feels like a tornado in reverse done grabbed hold of me and I gets sucked back into my body.” Warden Gladstone’s hand moves for the “panic alarm.” “Here let me help you with that.” Lawson seizes his victim’s beefy hand and crams the squirming fingers into his mouth. Lawson savagely tears the fingers free chewing them smiling like a kid who has found a stash of ill-gotten candy. “Yes sir I open my eyes and what do I see Warden Gladstone?” Lawson throws his hand up in mockery the way a hitchhiker does. “I see fat boy over there …. “ He points back to the now dead doctor Luta laying in the widest pool of blood he’s ever seen. “You know the odd thing Warden?” Lawson’s smile fades as he reaches down grabbing the Warden’s bloodied lapels. His lips twitch as he slams the Warden flat against the hard tile floor. Ian Lawson sits on the Warden’s chest straddling the man who is fast losing the color in his face. “The odd thing is that ole boy’s flesh sudden it looked better than that cheap shitty steak you done served me earlier.” Lawson pulls the Warden upwards by his lapels the smile that returns to his face would make the devil’s blood run cold. “Kinda like yours does now Warden.” Lawson lets Gladstone’s head bounce off the floor as he slithers backwards over him. In a flash his rips the man shirt open exposing his hairy heaving stomach. He dives in like a starving animal biting up a clump of meat then driving his hands into the same wound. Just like that Ian Lawson claims yet another victim disemboweling the struggling man. He rips at the gaping cavity greedily shoving handfuls into his mouth. He hears a loud bump from the other side of the viewing glass but he can only see his own reflection. Which oddly enough he isn’t shocked to see himself covered in blood after all this wasn’t his first rodeo. The orange glitter like sparkles dancing around his eyes do however fascinate him. Then come another crash from the viewing area. Lawson rises to his feet swallowing a mouth full he scans the room finding a small oxygen tank under the gurney he was strapped to. He takes up the aluminum container flipping it around. He is aware that he is hungry once more but the cold dead bodies on the floor no longer interest him. They are like lunch meat left on a counter to long on a warm summer afternoon. “Knock … “he smashes the canister into the mirror coated safety glass. A spider wed pattern appears instantly as Lawson continues his assault. “ … Knock.” His blows comes fast a furious the glass soon gives way. A large jagged hole appears in the center of the glass. Lawson pokes his head through in the darkness he can see a form hunched over another. He recognizes the thin pale man in the black uniform feasting on a twitching woman. “Hobart” He spits as the gangly man turns to face him. His face is a crimson mask blood coats everything from his blond buzz cut to his goatee. “Hey Lawson you too?” The prison guard laughs licking blood from his fingers. “I was in this fog kept trying to bite people. I could see myself but I couldn’t stop what I was doing. So they locked me in the infirmary dude and it didn’t go so well for them.” Hobart lets out another cackle. Lawson’s eyes glow with a murderous rage. “You turned men into a damn zombie you son of a bitch and I’m gonna kick the shit outta you for that you hear me?”
This week we find ourselves making a quick pit stop on death row. We tuned into the last minutes of a serial killer named Ian Lawson's hate filled life. These events takes us back to the day after "The Event." Could these events impacts the James family's quest for survival or are we just passing through? We say see you the week of July 28th for Chapter 37 to learn more.
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