November 12th, 2116
They say I am a murder, or that will be at some point in my lifetime. The technology is new, so they can’t say when, or why, or how, but all the same it will be murder and it will be committed by me. Only, it doesn’t make sense.
I never doubted the crime predictions until now, I never thought much about them at all, until it was my turn to answer for a crime I hadn’t even committed. I have no problems with anyone, I’ve never hurt anyone, nor have I wanted to. I don’t see how I could ever kill. They wouldn’t hear me.
I brought many character witnesses to the trial. Coworkers, friends and family who all said the same thing, “He’d never hurt a fly, there had to be some mistake.” But there wasn’t.
The infamous and powerful Center for Crime Prediction and Prevention had my chances of killing at 95.5%. At the trial the prosecutor presented it as meaning I would definitely kill. The machine wasn’t allowed give a 100% reading, but if they had that’s what I would’ve received. This makes absolutely no sense and I can feel my mind ripping at the seams to try to wrap around the conclusion and conviction. I am a murderer, and yet I am not a murderer.
They treated the case as open and shut and now I have been sent to rot in prison, and the guards have just shut the door to my cell, and the walls are closing in. I keep telling myself this is a mistake.
January 15th, 2116
I am not like these people. I am not who they say I am or who they say I will be. My mind rolls over and over the paradox: I will commit a murder. I am sent to prison. I am prevented from killing. I am not a murderer. I should not be in prison. If I am out I will murder. I must be in prison. I am not a murderer. I am a murderer.
At night, I go over and over it. I wonder who I would have murdered.
Would my wife have cheated on me? If I were to get a wife in the future that is. Would I have gotten into a drunken fight at a bar? I don’t even drink but it’s the future, so, who knows. Would I have gotten fired from my job under some unfair circumstance and came back to massacre the staff?
I don’t know if any of these, or the hundred others I imagine, will come true, but each scenario feels more plausible every day. I lay away every night remembering all the ways life has treated me badly. All the slights I never noticed before but have obviously contributed to my turning into a monster of a man. I am beginning to understand how my future self would be so angry and more and more I see myself moving into the future that is him.
March 13th, 2116
I am not suited for prison life. The food is horrible. The guards us the foulest language when speaking to us, they violate our most basic rights and strip us of all dignity. I remember all the rumors I heard when I was on the outside about the deplorable conditions in prisons. I wish I had paid attention, or protested, or sent a letter to my congressman. Maybe then I wouldn’t commit the murder I haven’t committed but will but won’t because I am here but would if I weren’t.
The day time offers no privacy and the night holds not safety. I hear the guards opening cell doors, they aren’t supposed to open the cells at night. I hear screaming and in the mornings, someone is always missing from the yard.
More than the guards the other prisoners scare me. I’ve had almost all my possessions stolen from me. My family and friends no longer visit nd they no longer give money toward helping me get things I need again.They’ve stopped visiting altogether. They say they thought they had known me but the man they knew could never kill. I must have been lying all along. I must have been hiding some very dark thoughts.
I guess they must be right. I don’t even know myself if that is the case. Now that I think about it, any of the could have been my victims. I mean, if they thought they knew me and didn’t, I guess I didn’t know them either. I never thought they would abandon me in a place like this. I thought they would fight for me. I thought they would not let me rot in here.
Now I am here with nothing and no one and still they never leave me alone. The thoughts of what my future might have been, the screaming in the night, the inmates during the day, the silence where my family used to be, the man I used to be. They all torment me and when the lights go out at night the walls close in and I fear the cell door will never open again each time it is shut.
June 24th, 2116
I have only now recovered enough to write this. The guards opened my cell one night and it was my turn to go missing from the yard. A broken arm, a fractured orbital socket, and one less tooth to brush each day, not to mention various bumps and bruises, and a sprained wrist, now healed.
I have nothing, I have no one, I am a murderer who never even got the satisfaction.
August 18th, 2116
Today I earned my place in this hell.
I write this with another man’s blood still on my hands.
I would not be a victim anymore, and I would not continue to pretend to be something I wasn’t.
The man I was is dead.
And I think it may be his murder I was was convicted of.
Author’s note: The plan for this challenge was to post small pieces of fiction that read more like excerpts rather than stories with a true beginning, middle, and end. I think instead, these have turned into something in between, some more, some less. Please bear with me, these are my first attempts at writing fiction. You can find them all under my AtoZ2016 tag.
Featured image via Pixabay