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The Light In The Abyss Part 1

The Light In The Abyss Part 1

11 mins 21.4K 11 mins 21.4K

This is a poorly written diary…

To the people who feel worried about the words I write, what’s in a diary is not exempted from punishment. However, this was a chance for me to visit my mindset several years ago…

Back then, I feared the sunrays… because when I was in the dark, I thought I could live unaffected by the true identity of the things that coiled around me.

The first time I met him was during a time like that…

***

Around when November was coming to an end, I tested… death…

 

I was resting on the hospital bed, staring at the cloudless blue sky. The voices of the two nurses at the door were clear to me. “She’s Elena Morgan. She’s the daughter of the Morgan plutocrats. She attempted to suicide yesterday by taking in sleeping pills. It seems she tried to do things like this for a while now.”

Life had taught me to ignore others’ comments by then. The voices ceased, as I heard a knock on the open door. I turned towards the door… and there she was. My mother, leaning against the door with her hands folded. The nurses had already left.

“How strange. Even though I’m finally awake, when I see your face I want to die again, Mom”

 

“How petty. You think fighting with your Mom is fun even at this age, do you?”

I turned my head away. She sighed, and then continued “Anyway, it seems like it will be fine for you to leave the hospital tomorrow. I have made arrangements for a car to pick you up.

I’ve had a terrible headache since this morning. Please excuse me” She was about to leave the room.

I got up and sat on the bed. “Your tenacity towards life is the same as ever. Even when you drained away Dad’s life, you kept on living the same way…”

I knew I had stung her with these harsh words. She stopped in her path and turned back, now facing me. “Do you even care you’re hurting me? How pathetic…”

I couldn’t bear to see her anymore. “I… I decided to die… because if I live any longer, there’s no doubt I will kill you”

She turned away without a reply. But before leaving, she said –

“I wish you were never born”

 

Ever since I was born until now… I wonder how many times I’ve heard those words…

My mother was once a famous pianist. She was pregnant with me after she had already had my brothers. Because she didn’t want to take the risk due to her old age, she had refused to deliver. Only my father hoped for my birth… and was glad to have me.

But… because of this, I was responsible for my mother’s right arm becoming paralyzed. And my father too…

He died all too soon after my birth…

 

Once again I heard a tap on the door. But there was a surprise waiting for me this time.

“Aunt… Monica?”

 

“I wonder how many years it’s been… it was before you studied abroad in France, so it must be around ten years. Time passes so quickly…

I tried to smile a bit. “I’m a lot older than back then. I’ll be thirty at the start of next year”

 

“But it’s not so old that you’re going to die”

My smile faded in the darkness of her tone. She continued “People grow old with time. Even if you don’t rush, some day death will near you…”

 

“I’m not waiting for that day… To me, every hour that passes is just an agony that I want to throw in the trash”

 

“Elena… what happened that day?”

 

“Let’s not talk about it now. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other.

More importantly, what have you been doing since then? I wonder if you still volunteer to keep convicts company”

 

“Elena… your mother says she wants you to attend counseling for a month”

I took some time to adjust to the change in the topic. “Seems like something she’d say… If things are too much for her to handle, she pushes them onto someone else. I’m already used to it.”

 

“No. 3897. He’s a convict on a death row. I keep on sending him many letters, but he won’t meet with me. That man…

He has attempted suicide countless times, just like you…

Say, Elena. Why don’t you lend me a hand?”

 

“You’re joking, right? I can’t even lead my own life decently. You expect me to somehow give other people advice?”

 

“If you rather be locked p in the medical ward for a month, I won’t pressurize you, but…”

I knew what she meant. “What did he do?”

I had prepared myself to hear a long story, but all she said was “This has nothing to do with the past. Nothing to do with it, Elena”

 

Aunt Monica has been a chaplain for a few decades now. She goes to see convicts who don’t have any visitors free of charge, and does things like send them letters.

Honestly, I have no interest in that kind of liaison. Living your life sustained by a hypocrite’s sermons. If anything, it makes me feel uneasy…

But my aunt… certainly knows loneliness…

 

***

The next morning, I drove to the penitentiary with my car. “I hate mornings. They make me feel nauseous…” that was what my mind felt as I reached the place. My aunt was already there, waiting for me.

“I asked you to be here by 9:30 t the latest…”

 

“Ah… There was a lot of traffic. I reached here as fast as I -”

“ELENA!” Her voice had suddenly become harsh. “Let me tell you this. You said that hours of every day are trash. However, that is the way someone lucky enough to welcome the next day thinks.

When I asked you to help me with my work, it wasn’t because I wanted to give you an easy alternative. If you’re going to take this lightly, then please return to the mental ward.”

 

“I – I’m sorry…”

We walked in the prison in silence, until we reached the waiting room. As we sat on the couch, I saw a man, probably in his thirties, at the corner of the room, talking to someone. As soon as he saw us, he came running.

“Aunt Monica! I’m sorry I made you wait”

 

Aunt stood up. “Warden Smith!”

 

His eyes then met mine. “Erm… is she… from the catholic education committee?”

I got up from the seat. “Y… Yeah. I’m her niece, Elena.”

 

“Oh, nice to meet you. I’m Alfred Smith.

That guy Adam will sure be delighted that such a beautiful woman came.”

 

“Eh…?” Aunt sounded surprised.

 

“For some reason, he said he wanted to see you today”

 

“Oh! Really!?”

 

“I’ll show you the visiting room right away. Please follow me”

Aunt and the warden walked ahead. Though I had no interest in all these, I left a sigh and followed them.

We went to quite a big room. The room was empty, but for the hanging wall clock and a chair facing the glass wall. The other side of the glass wall was a similar room. The two rooms were connected only by the small holes at the centre of the glass. The entire setup looked so similar to the visiting rooms that I had seen in a couple of movies before that I started to wonder if I was in one.

 My aunt looked a little disappointed. “H… Here?”

“Yeah” came the reply from the warden.

 

“Well… like this, it won’t be any different than usual for him…”

 

“I… I’m sorry. It’s the law”

 

“I… I can meet him at last… but even so, there’s a wall between us. This is such a cold room…”

 

“I can understand Sister, but… I can’t do anything else”

Disappointed, she sat on the chair before the glass wall. There was still some time before the prisoner would come, so I picked on a conversation with the warden.

“The prison’s surprisingly quiet.  Had the image from watching movies and TV dramas of prisoners always rioting behind bars…”

The warden relaxed a bit. “The prisoners who received the death penalty generally spend the time until their sentence alone…

They exercise outside for around 45 minutes each day, and have 3 meals a day. Because they’ve been given private rooms, they are completely alone. Well, if they have any aspirations, it’s possible for them to work too, but…

Honestly, the death penalty is rarely given in our country. Since the period until the sentence is carried out isn’t fixed, they have to spend many years living like that”

 

“Many years.. Isn’t it like that so that the convicts who received the death penalty have a chance to be pardoned?”

 

“As far as I know, there are prisoners on death row who have spent 7 years or so here…”

 

I hadn’t really expected that. “I’m shocked… that our country’s that gracious. In that case, taking so long to punish them is pointless. I wonder what on earth has become of the enforcement committee…”

 

“There’s a lot of support for reconsidering the use of capital punishment. People aren’t accustomed to losing…”

 

“Even if you put it that way, the end result will eventually be the same. The convicts on death row sure are happy about it, since they were sentenced to death for their crimes, but to get to go on living…”

 

“Do you really think so?”

 

“Eh…?”

The sound of the footsteps grew louder on the other side. “#3897, come in”

The two guards entered, and with them came the prisoner. He was slightly taller than average, and very thin. His hair was uncut, and the uniform gave signs of how he hated to be there. Just for a moment our eyes met, and in his eyes, I saw…

I saw… myself…

“Well well, so you are Adam. We can meet at last.” My aunt stood up and gave a pleasant smile. “Let me get a good look at your face. I have a lot I’d like to talk about you. How will you live your life, from now on?”

 

“Are you asking me if I’ve given up on suicide?”

 

“Y… Yes. There’s that too…”

 

“I’ve given up.

In the letter I got from you, you wrote that deciding to die on my own won’t atone for my sins. I’ll wait quietly until I’m killed”

The warden acted fast. “Adam! You’ve said too much!” But aunt calmed him down. “It’s… it’s fine. For the time being, let’s sit and talk”

 

“Please don’t misunderstand, Sister. The reason I came here today… isn’t to talk to you.

Please stop. The letters, coming to visit me… it’s unnecessary”

 

“D… don’t say such things.

I don’t have any children… I may have been reluctant, but I think you’re allowed a little selfishness when you’re older. So please, let me take care of you…

That’s right. Think of me as your mother. I will discuss anything you want.”

 

The prisoner didn’t seem to be moved. “When I was a kid… I went to a few catholic services… in order to get food.

At first, there weren’t any decent adults in my life. The sisters who gave me a warm place to stay, talked to me, gave me food… were really like gods.

But once… there was a vagrant who was close to death… Because of the sister’s kind actions, he was overcome with emotion, and he groped her hand.

At that instant, she pulled back, cried out in rejection, and had such a look on her face…

That vagrant… was crying as he left.”

 

“My my, what a sad experience. I apologize for the sister’s rudeness…”

 

He slammed his fist onto the wall. “I don’t need this crap. I know that you recognize filthy things.”

 

“Adam!” The warden reacted. “What are you saying? Guards! Take him outside”

 

“I will go out myself. But first I need to say something.

Sister, the group which discriminates the most, are the people who decorate themselves with pretty words. Saying that I killed in flesh and blood… would make even what little remains of your pride rot. When I see people like you, I feel nauseous…”

He started to walk out of the room. I felt I had to let my words free.

“I think that you and vagrant are lucky” He stopped in his way, and turned back. I continued. “After all, if people understand those things at the start of their lives, they’d be able to decide on their own how they’d like to live.

When people are betrayed at the end of their lives, they hold on to hope until then. I think that would be a blessing.

The greatest burden… is when a person is let down in the middle of their life…”

The guards took him out of the room. I wiped my tears, and turned towards my aunt.

“Aunt, let’s go…”

 

 

***

We were standing in front of the entrance now. We hadn’t shared a word since then. I felt she was disappointed at me for saying those things. I had to bring up a new topic soon.

“Aunt Monica, do you need a ride in my car? If you wish I could drop you off to the church.”

 

“No need for that. Besides, don’t be late for next Thursday.”

 

I was surprised. “Do you mean… you’ll let me come again?”

 

“Of course!”

 

“But I thought I was in the wrong… saying those things.

I won’t say that I even half-understand him. But… but back then, I felt the same nausea towards the words of clergy, as he does…”

 

“I understand well enough… and I also feel the same way.”

 

“But.. But why…?”

 

“Because…” She looked into my eyes. “They have words that can help as well…”

 

I felt a sudden prick in my heart. “Not for me”

 

“Elena…”

 

“Because… I still can’t forgive, even now…

Sorry aunt. I can’t be like you.”

 And without waiting for a reply, I ran away from the place as fast as I could.

 <To be continued>


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