Saturday, August 1, 2009

Meeting Evil

I walked into the unfamiliar room, security was paramount and to get to this point, I had to pass many check points. I wondered how many additional checkpoints the person I was here to meet had to also endure.

I entered the final room, there was a low murmur from other visitors talking to the people they had come to visit. Mentally I try to profile both the visitors and the prisoners. Who were the murderers or rapists? These were not your pedestrian criminals, these were the men deemed the state's worst.

I was here to meet the worst of the worst.

I sat at one of the empty tables and waited for my visitor. I knew he would be here soon. We had arranged this time and now would be that moment. I felt like Clarice Starling, going into the bowels of the mental hospital to interview Hannibal Lector.

The prisoner entered the room and I stood to shake his hand. I had studied human behaviour and non-verbal communication and knew that I could not allow him to stand over me, gaining a dominant stance. His grip was strong, but not harsh, it was hindered by a broken and damaged finger, several injuries he had sustained in protest against his sentence.

Our eyes met, and I subconsciously searched for the evil that I knew hid behind them. Instead I saw a smile. He wanted to maintain a warped-kind of friendship with me. He believed I was here to help. His height was only an inch or two higher than my own 5'4" stature. The skin of his face and neck hung slightly, he no longer represented the muscle-bound killer from the happy snaps produced at his trial for serial murder.

We sat and chatted for quite some time. His semi-rural upbringing belied his European heritage and his simplistic vernacular proved his lower-range intelligence. He was a manual labourer, a teetotaller and a non-smoker. He complains about his conditions in prison, I just nod in a non-committal answer. I believed he was where he belonged. Through my mind echoed the names of his victims, he had killed at least seven backpackers.

He was extremely polite, always listening to my questions, pondering them for a moment before choosing his answers wisely. When our time was up, he thanked me for my visit and asked that I return again soon.

I looked one more time into the eyes of a killer, I saw the edge of the abyss in those eyes. I wondered about the victims, he was the last person to see them alive. Those eyes were the last thing they ever saw as they met with evil.

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