One month later and part way through my third reading of the Bible they told me. I was to spend the rest of my natural life in jail...I broke down and cried. A few moments later, the judge said - But seeing as we're gonna hang you in approximately thirty six hours, that shouldn't be too much of a burden. And Mr. Sprat's grandson, Monty, will be in to give ye hangin' lessons afore..... They say if everything goes just right and I assume the proper position plus the correct level of tension I should do fine.... Dead, but fine. I assume 'fine' means less pain and torture.
Jemmy, who comes by with our feedin's asked after my final 'bowl.' I told him I wasn't interested. I told him what low-life, heathen thieves and bastards they all were, from the judge on down. He shrugged and went - That may be the case, but a good meal's a good meal and it calms ye for what comes next. ..... But I just stared at the daylight through the porthole above me sleepin' shelf. Not yet twenty, I was. My poor family. What must they think? Folks disappear on the roads all the time. Most goes travelin' with companions, known companions, people they see in church, or when they're out and about. I do too, but the Conway's sow dropped a litter and folks tend to stay close to home after that. ... Jemmy respected my silence and whispered - I'll see you get something good.... Then he left, but soon came back with a couple items, an extra quilt and a little brass carriage clock.... In a quiet hoarse whisper he goes - The extra quilt's for later, when it gets dark. You'll want it then. And the clock is to mark the hours. Them what goes this way say it's better to know than not to know. I figure they let you go a bit more'n thirty six. I'll bring yer grub soon. Ye got two nights sleepin'. Tomorrow's a livin' day, not a dyin' day. That comes next. They does it in the morning, one hour after cock's crow. Figure half passed seven, or there abouts...... I said - What if I want to know the hour after dark?..... Jemmy goes - Tap the little brass thing on top what looks like a watch crown. It'll chime the last hour. Tap it again for the quarter hour, the half hour and so on...... Then he just stood there... I asked - What do ye thing they'll do with me watch?...... It's his worship's now and he makes quite a takin' - said my new friend...... Then, after a few thumpin' heartbeats and in a small, wee voice I go - What will they do with me 'leavin's'? Not the 'resurrection' men. Please, not the resurrection men. I don't want to go a carved up chicken in no surgery school. Please...... Jemmy nods - I'll see they plant ye nice. We got a field. Ye won't get no name, but ye will get a number. Eighty three, I think ye are, by a nice little crab apple tree too...... I sighed, leaned hard against the wall and hugged my knees.... Layin' down didn't seem right, since I'd soon be doin' that till Judgement Day..... Then Jemmy left to get me food.
Me friend, Mike, says to be dead for a blink or a million years is all the same. Look, we all been dead already. What do ye thing ye were before ye were born? Was that much of a hardship?
Well, what comes after 'last breath' ain't no different. The risin' a the bones is comin'.
Nothin' lasts forever... not even death.
And besides, ye might wait it out in heaven's own bright light.......
<more about Lawrence Edgerton's ordeal next time>
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