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Creative Corner

“Innocent” by Brandon Downing

John O’Leary was in jail, waiting to be transferred to prison. It had been two weeks since his arrest. He tried to downplay the situation and pretend like everything was going to be okay, and that justice was going to be made. Nothing was going to be okay. There was no justice. John has been charged with two accounts of attempted murder. He was going to spend a minimum of the next twenty years of his life in the state prison. He would be sixty years old by the time that he would be free.

 

John and his wife, Sarah, had been having relationship issues for the few prior months leading up to the arrest. It all started when John noticed that thousands of dollars were missing from their shared bank account. When he tried to question her, she knew nothing about it. She refused to admit to anything. There wasn’t any trace of the money. There were many arguments following the incident, and this caused the couple to hit a wall in their marriage. Money continued to disappear, and there continued to be no answer to where the money was going.

 

John noticed a significant change in Sarah. It wasn’t even about the money. Everything about her seemed to be off. She acted almost as if she was hiding something. She was constantly in a bad mood, and she often took it out on John. She would act like she was a victim to a crime. For these months, John always was the bad guy. Nothing he could say or do was right. The worst part about it was that in John’s eyes, he had done nothing wrong to cause this change. He never raised his voice at his wife. He never threatened her. Even when she had done something that most people would get upset about, John kept his composure. It made its way to the point where Sarah wouldn’t speak to John unless she was ready to yell at him, but he never yelled back. The couple was happily married for eight years prior to this outbreak.

 

John couldn’t take it anymore. Their relationship had always been strong. It wasn’t like they were always distant. They were legitimately in love. The two did everything together. They were not only partners, but they were best friends. He didn’t like what was going on, so he started to investigate a little.

 

Since John is the primary person on their cell phone plan, he had access to any information sent to or from either of their phones. He did not want it to come down to this, but he was desperate to know what was wrong. Since Sarah refused to tell him anything, and her moods only seemed to be getting worse and worse, he figured that there was no other way. He missed the marriage that he had with his wife before this mess came about, and he was going to do everything in his power to get it back.

 

John logged into his cell phone account on his laptop at work. He selected Sarah’s phone on the website, and started to look through her recent text messages. At first, he didn’t find much because almost all of her texts were going to her friend Kelly, who had been her closest friend since John could remember. There were thousands of texts between the two in the previous few months. John thought that maybe Sarah would have told Kelly what was causing the break in their marriage, so he started to read through the texts between the two.

 

Everything was fine until he came across a text from Sarah that read, “I can’t take it anymore.” This was it. If his wife ever said anything about the problem, this had to be it. As he continued his eyes down the message log, he found himself in awe. Kelly replied to Sarah’s text with, “I know, me neither. He has to find out sooner or later.” John couldn’t help but think, “Had to find out what?” He had to know, so he kept reading. One message that caught his eye was, ”You were supposed to have left by now,” sent by Kelly. John kept reading, and he kept finding out more and more about his wife that he did not know, and that he could not believe.

 

He stumbled across something that he wish he didn’t, but it was better to know rather than not know. John found out through his wife’s texts that she had been having an affair with her friend Kelly. Kelly, as in Sarah’s “best friend.” That’s where all of the money was going. The two of them had been plotting for months to run away together. John was in misbelief. He thought to himself, ”How could my wife do this to me, after we have built everything together?”

 

John finished the work day in hysteria. He didn’t get any of his work done. He couldn’t concentrate on anything else besides the new information that he had learned about his wife. He knew everything was ruined, and there was no possible way for anything to turn out okay. At the end of his shift, John clocked out and left the building. He got in his car, not bothering to fasten his seatbelt, and sped off. He didn’t have an immediate destination. He eventually found himself at a gas station, where he bought beer for his inevitable terrible night that he would never forget.

 

He made it home safely. While he was pulling into the driveway, he couldn’t help but notice Kelly’s car parked on the street. John sat in his car for awhile, as depressed as could be. He eventually got the courage to get out of the car, and make his way to the front door of his house. He opened the door, and walked into the living room. Sarah and Kelly were sitting on the couch. It seemed as they were waiting for John to get home. What John didn’t know is that a text was sent to Sarah’s phone from the phone company, stating that her message log had been viewed by the proctor on the account.

 

John started to ask Sarah questions. He asked question after question, but she did not give one response. Sarah finally responded, and said, “You should’ve let me leave, John.” As the two women rose from the couch, John stepped closer to Sarah. He wanted answers. John grabbed her arm, and told Sarah to sit back down. Sarah quickly pushed John’s arm away from her own, and reached behind a pillow that was rested on the couch. When her hand came back in front of her, it was holding a handgun. John stepped back with his hands above his head, and tried to reason with Sarah. It did not seem to be working.

 

Sarah demanded that John lay down with his face on the ground. He finally gave in, but as he was in the process of laying on the ground, he lunged at Sarah and knocked the gun free. The two women began to attack John, trying to get their gun back. At first, John reacted by holding the two women in their place. The women continued to scratch and hit him. John knew he didn’t have much wiggle room. He needed to disable the women so they couldn’t take his life away. John began to hit the women back. He kept hitting each of the lovers until they were no longer fighting back. He had no idea what to do, so he got back into his car and drove off.

 

When the woman regained consciousness, they called the police. They decided to hide the gun in the neighbor’s garage. As the police arrived, they noticed the two women were beaten half to death, and were laying in a pool of blood. There was an open alcohol container on the table near the women. They told the officers that Sarah’s husband had been drinking, and that he came home and started to hurt his wife and her friend over some financial issues. Sarah told the officers what John’s car looked like, and their search for John O’Leary began.

 

John was driving down the back roads, barely able to keep control of the wheel. He was a mess. Tears were overcoming his vision, his arms were shaking, and his mind was filled with a million thoughts at once. He heard the sounds of a police car and saw the sirens. He did not think it was for him, so he continued to drive. The police car stayed behind him with the sirens flashing, so John decided to pull over just in case. The officers ran to his car and threw him onto the ground. He was immediately handcuffed. The officers took him to jail, where he has been ever since. He had a court day a week after the arrest, but he was found guilty without much opposition. There was nothing John could do.

 

John O’Leary was a man who was going to spend the rest of his life in prison, for a reason that did not deserve to serve jail time for, let alone time in prison. He was going to lose the remainder of his life because his wife had an affair, and wanted to get him out of the picture. He had tried to convince everyone that it was a self defense case, but the evidence pointed too strongly against him. The gun he spoke of was never found. There was alcohol in play. There were scratch marks consistent throughout his body, which indicated struggles from the victims. The women got what they wanted. John was out of the picture. It was a perfect setup.

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