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The Jailbird's Song

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From: detpater@police.gov

 

To: 84561@prison.gov

 

Re: Reduced Sentence for Murder

 

Dear Neal,

 

Thank you for taking the time to work with the police recently.

 

Before I begin, I need to make it clear this message will auto delete 5 minutes from opening or if you attempt to save it. So read carefully.

 

Over the past 3 months you have been working with Detective Pater, from Metro Police. You recorded a series of interviews to aid us in our investigations. And for your generous help with our inquiries you have been promised time off your sentence.

 

The twenty year sentence you received for the rape and murder of Sharon Glass was judged by the courts as sufficient. So, with good behaviour, you’d be out in ten. But once that steel door slammed shut on your first night inside your claustrophobia told you even 10 years in that hell would kill you. So you cut a deal. Confess to 2 unsolved murders and your sentence would be halved and then halved again - pretty sweet, out in two and a half years for the rape and murder of three young girls.

 

Detective Pater came out and went through everything with you. To discover what happened to poor Cindy Russell and Catherine Vine. Recording the interviews of what you had to say. You started coy, unsure how it would play out. The detective won your confidence though. To sign the immunity papers, he gave you that beautiful onyx fountain pen you loved so much and after that you were singing like a bird. Singing for your freedom.

 

“Singing” couldn’t be further from the truth though, could it? The degraded details you revealed on how and where you carried out the 2 unsolved murders feature some horrifically accurate descriptions. I didn’t know you could “slip” while strangling someone and crush their wind-pipe. Or how anyone could rape the dying Miss Russell as “the life went out of her eyes”.

 

 

I say interviews but they have become your confessions. The recordings leave no question to your guilt and confirm, beyond any reasonable doubt, you committed the other two murders. And how heinously you committed them. However, I did laugh during the last interview when you said “I feel like the truth has set me free”.

 

Now, though, it is time for my confessions. Detective Pater is no more a member of the police than you will be a free man. When he came to see you that first time you didn’t check to see if he was from Metro Police, did you? What you can now do is check the prison register - you have been visited many times over the last 3 months by David Paris. “Friend of the Family”.

 

It is my pleasure to reveal the man who conned you was the worst kind of con. A cheap, second-rate actor who I paid off in rye. It’s a crime to impersonate a police officer so I’ll spare you his personal details. But he’ll go back to his own, private hell while you’ll remain in yours. Forever.

 

You can rest easy, the evidence we collected is inadmissible in court so the police will not be receiving copies of your confessions. I am keeping those to drag myself back into darkness whenever my mood brightens. Instead the police will receive a tip-off telling them where to find the bodies of the missing girls. Amongst the orgy of horror you left will be the onyx fountain pen you admired so much. With your unmistakable finger prints.

 

Soon your life sentence will mean life. All that now awaits you is an eternity so ugly, lost and lonely in that tiny steel box you’d be better off just curling up and using your bed sheet as an eternal gag.

 

Do not worry. You are not alone. For the last 4 years I have always had hope my daughter Cindy would be found alive. From your description, I visited her mangled, decayed corpse 5 days ago. Unable to touch her, bury her or bless her, instead of flowers, all I could do was leave that onyx pen. What I saw will be my steel box for the rest of my days.

 

Forever together,

 

Conrad Russell

Father

 

 

My name is Thom Goddard and I am a writer living in High Roding, Essex, England. I previously wrote for the BBC and other television companies. This is my first crime flash fiction.

 

 

 

 

 

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