The Light In The Abyss Part 3
The Light In The Abyss Part 312 mins 21.9K 12 mins 21.9K
From my third encounter with him onwards, we competed to see who could talk the most. We were granted 30 minutes every Thursday. “Today may be the last day…” And so we continued to talk, even about the trivial little things, and even if our throats became sore…
Meeting Adam in the visitor’s room of the prison every Thursday soon became a part of my routine. Once he said… that the sound of the leaves rustling is different in every season, and that their green colour changes little by little every day…
He took an interest in the ordinary things that I usually ignored, and he seemed to be a better person than me by far.
The only difference was…
“No. 3897” The voice over the speaker repeated itself twice, before Adam entered the room. Warden Smith had not accompanied him, so at the moment, we were the only people in the room.
“If you hear it often enough - I mean the voice over the speakers – somehow it starts to sound different…
Anyway, how’s the sister doing?”
“She’s fully healed. She might be coming here by next week…”
He went silent for a minute, and then replied. “How can I put this…? I still don’t feel comfortable around the clergy. To be honest, it seems like they were putting on a show for me…”
But I knew Aunt was different from others. “I think there are different kinds of clergy, though…”
“Ah… that’s right. You’re on the education committee, Elena… I… I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“It’s fine. It doesn’t really bother me. I didn’t inherit my father’s steadfast faith, so I’m not sure how it turned out like this.
I remember, when I was young, I believed that God was hidden somewhere in the church, so I searched around for Him…
But once I found out that I couldn’t find Him, I became prejudiced as I am now… But… there was one good thing.
‘Snow days for Sylvia’”
“It’s my Christian name… It doesn’t suit me, does it?
Every day, I would tend to my mother, and do everything I was told, but…
My Mom is sensitive to cold, so whenever it snowed she would always spend the day up in her room. I didn’t have to go and play the piano, or sit with her for long meals…
I would stop being the usual ‘Elena’ on snow days. So I decided to call them Sylvia’s days. When it got dark, and all the children went home, I’d play in the snow alone…
Things were much simpler when I was a child. And that easy life was enough for me.
It felt like just a name could change me into a different person…”
Warden Smith entered the room. “I’m sorry, but the visiting hours are over. Ms. Elena, thank you for taking the time to visit. You have a lecture this afternoon, don’t you?”
“Yeah, but the lecture is optional. And it’s snowing… The students aren’t going to show up for a class that doesn’t affect their grades. I’ll announce a schedule change, as usual, and spend the time reading or something.
I was about to leave the room, when I suddenly heard a voice from behind. “Today’s a snow day.”
“Eh…?” I turned back to see the smiling face of Adam.
“Today’s snowing. So isn’t it ‘Sylvia’s day’…?”
I was taking a stroll that evening. The lecture class had been shifted to the next morning, and so I had nothing to do. The mild snowfall always comforting me, so I had decided to have a walk.
As I passed by the playground, I noticed the kids playing snowball fight. The joy, the laughter on their face… I imagined myself as a little ‘Sylvia’ playing along with them.
I turned back to see two young girls looking at me. “Want to play a game with us, Miss? There are 5 boys but only us three girls. We’ll lose the snowball fight for sure…”
“I… I’d like to help out, but… I have to…”
“Today’s a snow day…” Adam’s voice passed through my mind once again.
“It’s snowing, so isn’t it ‘Sylvia’s day’?”
“I’ll play” A smile appeared on my face on its own. “Let’s show the boys how strong we are!”
The next afternoon I was in my room, with a letter in my hand. I had finished my lecture and was heading back to home, when I found a letter for me at the doorway. Surprised, I looked at the sender’s address. I got to know the letter was by Adam, which made me all the more curious.
I went to the room, sat on the bed, and opened the letter.
“Ms. Elena Morgan,
Please forgive me for writing to you so suddenly, though I’ve never written a letter to anyone before. Actually, it was the warden’s idea that I should write a letter to you. Please don’t laugh if this letter seems odd to you.
Until now, I’ve been thinking that I didn’t care what happened to wealthy, prosperous people… So I’ve been doing whatever I wanted, thinking that if I died now, I wouldn’t have any regrets…
But I was wrong. No matter how happy they seem, everyone has their own pain that they carry. How can I spend my days without giving in to it? I’m groping for an answer…
I met you, and I realized for the first time that even though your situation isn’t the same, you’re still a person…
The other day when you asked to speak with me without bias, I was actually very surprised. Until now, I’d never met anyone who looked at me so earnestly, and there was never anyone who would pay attention to what I said…
I realized that I’m still right here… I’m still alive. It made me happy. Maybe it’s not something anyone can understand, but…
I was happy…”
The first snow of the day had just begun. I sat at the window, watching the white snow slowly pileup on the ground, turning it white.
I decided to draw.
Because he had such a great regard for even trivial things… I took notice of them for the first time.
Where I had thought there was only darkness, there are actually radiant, sparkling things that exist…
I was in the school playground, sitting beneath a tree, with a sketch book and a pencil in my hands. I was so involved in drawing that I hardly noticed two of my students standing in front of me.
“Ms. Elena, did you draw something? Show us please!!” Veronica was trying her best to take a peek at my drawing. Erina was smiling as she stood beside her.
“No… No way. It’s terrible…”
“No one’s good when they first start. If you don’t share, you don’t get any better in it. People want to show off all the things they’ve drawn. Isn’t that why you come to the art club?”
I finally gave in to them. I handed them the notebook. They went through some of them, holding back their laugh and looking at me every time, which made me feel uneasy. Finally, they burst out laughing. “My… My stomach hurts! Ha ha ha!!!”
“P… Please don’t laugh. Just give me some advice…”
“Anyway, you have to show us everything. It will really calm you down.”
So this way I started to show all my drawings to them. They would grin, while I try to hide my embarrassment. Then they would give their suggestions. This went on for around an hour, until Erina spoke in the middle.
“Ms. Erina, you’ve gotten pretty friendly lately.”
“How can I say…? Until a while ago, you had this ‘stay away from me’ vibe. Now it’s gone. Your mood has changed. I’m glad it did!
Anyway, see you tomorrow, Ms. Artist”
They bid goodbye to me, and left. I sat there for a while, thinking about what Erina had said.
The next day, I was walking along the corridor of the prison, when I saw Warden Smith carrying an old CD player and seemed slightly sad.
My sudden appearance startled him a bit. “Oh, Ms. Elena. You came to meet Adam, right? There’s still some time for that…”
“Yeah. I was free this morning, so I came early. By the way, why are you carrying that old player?”
“Um… Actually…” He was hesitating to speak.
“It’s okay. You need not say it if it’s a secret”
“N… No. Actually, I found a CD of one of your piano albums at my house. I just got a bit nostalgic, so I brought it here. When I said it to Adam, he said he would like to listen to it.
I knew there was a CD player here, but it’s not working… Guess it must be broken.”
Before I could react to his words, the other warden came to us. “Alfred, what’s going on?”
“Not much… I put in the batteries, but the player isn’t working…”
“Ah, for that inmate again?” He left a deep sigh. “I don’t know if it’ll matter, coming from me, but… you shouldn’t get too close to him…
After it’s over and done with, you’re the one it’s going to affect the most…”
Warden Smith turned towards the window, facing the sky. “That’s what I thought at first, but…
My term at this position is 2 years… I can’t even count how many times I’ve gotten goose bumps just thinking about the crimes those guys have committed outside of the prison…
I thought that I couldn’t have any compassion for them. There are criminals you will hate until the very end. But…
There are also ones who couldn’t stop themselves and had no choice but to live the way they did.
Adam’s father was one hell of a mean drunk. His mother couldn’t take it, so she abandoned n=her kids and disappeared. Adam had a brother who was 3 years younger than him. The boy lost sight in both his eyes due to his father’s abuse… But his father died soon after from alcohol abuse, when Adam was 13
The two of them had to go to an orphanage, since none of their relatives offered to take them in. His little brother was bullied badly there… Adam took his brother and ran away from there…
Can you imagine… the kind of life that a 13-year-old, taking care of his blind brother, led…?
One morning he woke up to the sirens, and his brother, who should have been sleeping next to him, was gone…
What do you think the crowd in front of him was gathering over?
His little brother… feeling guilt over the fact that Adam was prostituting… to take care of him… had thrown himself onto the street.
It seems like he lost it after that. His list of crimes goes on and on. He killed 3 people… A happy-looking mother and child, and a healthy young man who caught his eye… The jealousy and envy that had bottled up inside him had exploded the worst way possible…
What he did was inexcusable… I don’t intend to forgive him. He was tried for them… he will be punished. But…
Is a rope around the neck and a drop from the gallows… all that we can do for a guy who lived his life without ever smiling? Doesn’t that seem sad…?”
The other guard extended his hand forward. “It’s probably some faulty wiring in the player. I took engineering as elective in high school”
Warden Smith smiled. “I really appreciate it…”
I walked away from the scene, towards the visiting room. The words of the warden were echoing in my mind. It took me some time to clear my mind, and then I walked in. Adam and Aunt Monica were already talking. She seemed happy for some reason. “What are you talking about?”
“… That you and Adam are a lot alike…”
“I’ll be going. I have another meeting soon…”
“I see… well, see you later…” I waved my hand as she left the room. I faced him and continued speaking, as I sat on the chair. “What were you really talking about?”
“Oh… That you were drawing at an art club…”
“O… Oh” My cheeks got a pale pink blush. “Aunt Monica outed me…”
“I didn’t know that you can draw as well. You really are talented, Elena”
“No… I’m not.
Y… You’ve been sending me letters, right? I wanted to write back, but I don’t have any talent for it…
From our talks, you really seemed to be attached to how things looked outside. So… I wanted to at least draw them to show you… But don’t get your hopes up. I’m really bad -”
Adam cut me short. “Is that a sketch book? I’d like to see it”
“N… No way. At least give me a little more time…”
“Nope. If I die tomorrow, I would regret it…”
Those words had hurt me a bit. “I… I’ll show it to you. Don’t laugh too much”
I began to show me drawings and explaining it to him. The place where I drew them, the time when I drew, what was happening at the place when I was drawing… I had lost the sense of time talking to him.
“Oh… whoops. I’m just chattering away. I’m sorry.”
“Please continue talking. I’d like to hear about them.”
Just then a question aroused in me, and something in me was urging me to ask him. “Why… did you kill them…?”
He froze immediately. I felt I shouldn’t have asked him. “I… I’m sorry for asking all of a sudden… but I’ve always wanted to know…
No matter how much you hate someone and want to kill them, in the end, your fear makes you hesitate… At least, that’s how it is for me…
And yet… to harbor such great hatred for people you don’t even know and to lash out at them…”
I realized I had spoken too much. Adam didn’t respond. If I had stayed in the room for even a moment further, I think I would have cursed myself over the guilt of stinging him…
As I came out of the room, I saw Warden Smith walking towards me. “Thank you for coming, Ms. Elena”
“Mr. Smith, Um… if you could, please check in on him… I said too much again.”
“I asked him why he killed them.
How can I put this… the more I talk to him, the more I question it. Did he really kill all those people for no reason…?”
“People are not always bad… Both you and he can be good sometimes, and bad sometimes as well, right?”
“I don’t know… what happens in a person’s heart…
I just don’t know…”
<To be continued>