I watched every season pass, and many inmates go. I watched guards change almost daily, each time a new one because the previous couldn’t deal with the demanding prisoners. After six and a half excruciating years it was finally my time to exit the Earth in the way God had obviously intended.
I was hoping that today would be the one day a friend came to see me. But they haven’t bothered for the past six and a half years, so why bother now? I’d been sitting in my cell in complete and utter silence for the past hour. Luckily the big guy from across the way was taken away about a year ago. Unfortunately, he had been replaced by an even bigger and even more intrusive guy.
‘Oi Grayson! Today’s the day am I right?’
‘Yes. But I’d rather not talk about it…not with you anyway.’
‘I’ve heard about some executions going wrong y’know? That the stuff they pump into you doesn’t work properly and leaves you brain dead…and then they have to rearrange your execution for another date. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen to you…’ey Grayson?!’
‘Here’s to hoping.’
‘Nice knowing ya’!’
The road to Huntsville was long and bumpy. During my time on Death Row, I’d heard a lot of inmates say that they weren’t scared of death. I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t either, but that was a lie. I only got one glimpse of the outside world as I was dragged out of the van. I think that’s when what was going to happen today really hit me. I took in a deep breath of the cool Texas air before I was shoved through the strong metal doors of Huntsville.
They sat me in a cell that had not much in. I considered sleeping the rest of the day away, hoping that it would make me forget what was going to happen tonight. But how was I supposed to sleep on a day like this? Instead I sat and stared at the grubby walls. The names of prisoners that had been here before me had been scrawled into the brick. Their names and messages emblazoned on the wall for everyone to read, although most of them were illegible. I managed to make out Doug’s name though, with the words “they’ve done it, they’ve got me” carved next to it. I reached out and ran my fingers over the names, desperately wanting to add my own but not wanting to leave another dirty mark on the world.
‘Grayson, time for your meal, look lively.’ The guards’ words boomed through the sad little cell and his keys jingling echoed through the corridors. He came in, and instantly I put my wrists together.
‘Relax Grayson, we’re not going to cuff you. You should experience a little bit more freedom before tonight.’
‘I wouldn’t exactly call not being cuffed freedom, but whatever you have to do.’
He led me down the corridor into a small room which only contained a chair and a table. I was immediately drawn to the small window, my obsession with seeing the outside world one last time was something that had taken over my mind and was something I wanted more than eating my favourite food for the final time.
‘Enjoy.’ The smell of the food hit my nose straight away, but I was more interested in taking in every little detail that I could see out of the window. The way the clouds lined up together, the way the trees swayed in the breeze and the way the rain bounced off the floor.
‘You don’t want it to go cold Grayson, come on.’ I managed to drag myself away from the window to the food that was sat on the table. A medium rare steak with thick cut fries and veggies and a cold beer to wash it down with. I didn’t think they’d take my request for a McFlurry as my final dessert seriously, but sure enough there was one sat right in front of me. The food went down in a matter of minutes. Prison food was practically nothing, so a full plate of well cooked food was warmly welcomed by my stomach. I tried to hurry back to the window, but the guard held me back.
‘Grayson come on. You have to shower and change. You’ve stared out the window for long enough.’ I tried to pull free of the guard, but it didn’t work.
‘Please, one more minute. I’m never going to see it again…I just need another minute.’ The guard looked sceptical at first but after looking around to check there were no other guards in the vicinity, he smiled.
‘One minute. That’s it.’ He let me go and I ran back up to the window. I placed my palms against the cool glass and closed my eyes, imagining that I was on the other side of the window, free to do whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted without being watched like a hawk. My imagination wandered, but I was brought back into the room with a loud cough.
‘Alright, you’ve had your minute. Time to go.’ I took a deep breath and pulled my hands away from the glass.
The day of your execution is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever had to go through, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Knowing that you’re just hours, minutes, seconds away from your death is something I never thought I’d have to experience. I’m lucky in the fact that they have let me document my time on Death Row. I thought that this would be something that would remain unfinished, but the guards have let me write about my last day to take my mind off what was happening. It’s a lovely gesture, but it hasn’t worked. I am now less than an hour away from being led from this cell and down into the execution chamber, where I will never see the outside world again. Instead, I will have to face the victims’ families, the stony faced guards and the executioners. They will be the last thing that I see. If I could leave one last piece of advice to the world it would be this: don’t be a fucking idiot. That’s what got me here.
Name: Michael Grayson
Age: 34 years old.
Method of execution: Lethal injection.
Time IV drip inserted: 6:32pm
Last statement: “I never thought that my time in the limelight would be like this. I’m a smart guy who made a stupid mistake. I’m sorry to all the families that have been affected. This is not fair, but life is not fair. Thank you, and goodnight.”
Commencement of execution: 6:48pm
Time of death: 7:01pm