Bruce Smolen

ALEX is released from the hospital with no memory of his past, and returns to a fantastic life. He doesn’t remember what he did to be blessed with such a beautiful wife, a big house, and wealth, but his wife MARI does. And at night, alone in the dark in the living room, Mari is reminded of what Alex has done as she hears sounds, as if there are ghosts moving about the house.

Alex is gentle and kind to Mari, something she isn’t accustomed to and didn’t expect. He wants to know what he did for a living, to which Mari assures him his memory will come back gradually; time which Mari is happy to have. But the local SHOPKEEPER, who owns the house where Alex and Mari live, has just moved up a due date. Someone will be forced to work, long before Mari is comfortable with the idea.

Alex is oblivious to what is going on, and has one thing on his mind. He wants Mari to understand that he loves her, and that he’s thankful for the life he’s been given. Mari feels Alex has left the hospital a different person, very sensitive and caring, and couldn’t kill anyone. But she knows these feelings can’t stop what must be done. For at a time in the world when families of victims are searching for peace of mind and a fair sentence for those who have murdered, the executioner is a very important person.

That night at home, while suppressing second thoughts, Mari slashes Alex’s throat while he looks into her eyes. The eyes of the woman he loves and trusts. Men who were hidden in the walls of the house instantly come out and document the death scene. One of them wants to take a picture of Mari while she’s covered with blood, to which Mari pleads, “We have drugs we give to convicted criminals so they don’t remember the people they killed, so we can invent lives for them before putting them to death, but we don't have anything for executioners,” and that the last thing she wants is a photograph reminding her of the kill. The Shopkeeper, who is also the prison warden, warns Mari that she needs to toughen up, but can take comfort in knowing that not all executions will be of a man who killed the one person who trusted and loved him the most, his wife.

“People want and eye for an eye, Mari. They want equal justice, you know that. Imagine how many people are finally going to be able to sleep tonight because of what you’ve done.”

Copyright 2005 Bruce Smolen
All Rights Reserved