Updated: Sep 13
There are a few sins that even the most compassionate cannot forgive. Sometimes, even the most kind-hearted & noble individuals go beyond their way and cut through the constitutional system to serve the justice they think others deserve.
“The Liberator” by Max Masen tells the story of a prisoner imprisoned for three decades for his heinous crime. Days before his release, this prisoner meets the Liberator for his second chance.
When his door was unlocked, the fifty-year-old prisoner knew this was the night. For about a week now, his jail mates were joking around that he would sooner rather than later meet his saviour. The man who gave prisoners an alter ego and a second life. Most of them called him “The Liberator”.
Escorted into the head jailer’s office, where nothing but a single red lamp light was turned on, the prisoner was forced to sit facing a person hiding in the shadows. Placing both his hands on the cold metal table, the guards handcuffed him before leaving. The Liberator then put forward his hands from the shadows, and in his left hand, he held a pile of thousand rupee notes and in his right, he held a shiny dagger. Placing them on the table, the Liberator asked in a feminine voice, “Do you know who I am?”
The prisoner looked around the room to check for a red beeping light, and he suspected his words could be recorded. Staring at him, panicking, the Liberator assured, “What you say here is only prosecutable by God, and I’m his humble servant trying to give you a choice.”
Still, the prisoner seemed suspicious. Knowing he cannot pacify him, the Liberator continued, “I have read as to why you were arrested. What sort of human would defile a child before snatching her life?”
Revealing his decaying yellow teeth with a laugh, the prisoner replied, “The sort that hunts his prey queer.”
Tapping his fingers on the table, the Liberator asked, “I presumed nearly three decades of jail time would have given you some time to introspect on your deeds and learn from them. Pity, I’m mistaken.”
Leaning back in his chair, the prisoner confessed, “They have. I was arrested when I was in my prime. Yes. I regret what I did, but my perception of life hasn’t changed.”
The room was silent for a moment before the prisoner continued, “The hunters always hunt their prey. It doesn’t matter if men are behind bars or in the open world. No one is immune to this idea.”
Breaking his silence, the Liberator asked, “Have you been preyed upon?”
With an eerie smile, the prisoner replied, “I have dated death for nearly a decade. Every ass-hat irrespective of their crime, judges you. They take it upon themselves to pass the death sentence. I missed many before I started passing them in return.”
Taking a deep breath, the Liberator said, “The world you left and the world you return to is almost night & day. What do you plan to do when you are let free?”
Trying to map an image of the person before him, the prisoner hesitantly replied, “Live until your God considers me his prey.”
Tapping his fingers on the table, the Liberator asked, “Do you know why they call me what they call me?”
Recalling the words of his companions, the prisoner replied, “Because you offer us a second chance.”
Revealing his teeth and his coarse voice, at last, the Liberator replied, “Because I wash away a sinner’s sin sometimes at the cost of his morality too!”
Advancing by revealing himself in the light, the Liberator stabbed the prisoner in the gut. Slowly pulling out the knife, he whispered, “Your cardinal sin, my child, is to trust the system will let you free thinking you repented your actions.”
As the prisoner screeched in pain, the Liberator continued, “Shhhh… you should have been on the death row sinner, but worry not, now you shall be with death himself.”
The prisoner could see no one else but a terrifying man for a moment. He bled until he opened his eyes to meet the reaper & eternal darkness.
This anthology is available in paperback & ebook.