Thursday, January 1, 2009

Purgatory Part II

This will be the final addition of Purgatory. Thank you for your comments all, and please let me know what you think of this.

Purgatory Part II

The cameraman held his fingers at Shara and began a countdown. “We go live in three, two…” his voice faded and he pointed at her with his finger.

“This is newswoman Shara Livingstone, reporting from Purgatory Prison, where Governor Cruz made a startling across the board amnesty declaration for all the prisoners held in Purgatory. In my last broadcast, I began interviewing some of the prisoners who have flatly refused to accept the pardon. I now continue with my interviews. Joining me is Cell Block Lieutenant Imp. Lieutenant, who is the man in the cell next door?”

Imp turned and faced the man cowering behind the bars. “Hey you, get up and come here.” He beat the bars wickedly. “This is one of our best prisoners.” A prisoner stood before them with tear-stained eyes. He refused to look at them and stared down at the floor.

“My name is Shara Livingstone and I want to know why you haven’t accepted the amnesty offered by the Governor.”

“I don’t deserve any amnesty. I am a very bad person. I deserve to be in this cell.”

“It doesn’t really matter how bad you were. The Governor has chosen to forgive you.”

“I know, but I just don’t deserve it. You have no idea how bad I was. The Governor could never forgive my crimes. I want to stay here.”

“But the amnesty is all encompassing. None of you deserve it; it is a gift to you. Why don’t you accept this gift?”

“Well, I know that part of the requirements is that you have to turn away from a life of crime. I can’t do that. I am too bad. I don’t deserve to be set free. I’m just too bad.”

“Thank you for your time.” The prisoner sadly turned from the bars and heaved gasping cries of sorrow from deep within his chest. He crumpled down on the filth and wept bitterly. Shara watched him in amazement. “Lieutenant, who is in the next cell?”

“This joker is a nut case. The psychologist says that he is sane, but the guy just doesn’t make any sense.” A man was standing at the bars when she stopped in front of him. “How do you do?”

She politely nodded to him. “Sir, I have a few questions about your life here in the prison…”

“What prison?”

“This prison. The one we are standing in.”

“I don’t know about you, but I’m not is a prison.” He looked at over to Imp. “Hey, Lieutenant, where did you scare this woman up?”

“Shut up and answer her questions so I can go back to my work.” The man smiled warmly. “His bark is worse than his bite. So, what did you want to know?”

“The Governor has just announced amnesty to all the prisoners. Why haven’t you accepted his generous offer?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about. The Governor I know would never build a prison. He is a good man. He is a very loving Governor and would never impose on any of us.”

“But sir, you are in a prison that was built by the Governor.”

“Nonsense. I voted for the Governor. I chose him to oversee us. The man that I chose would never put anyone in a prison.”

“Oh yeah?” A gruff voice in the next cell yelled out. “I don’t even believe that the Governor is knowable.”

The man Shara was interviewing waved him off. “Don’t pay any attention to him. It is amazing how it’s human nature to assume that because we believe or don’t believe something, then that makes it true. This joker doesn’t believe in gravity either. Even though he can feel the effects of gravity, he refuses to believe in gravity. I keep telling him that gravity exists where he believes it or not. The Governor is knowable. I know him. I voted for him. And the man I voted for would never put any of us in a prison.”

“Oh yeah?” Another man yelled at them several cells down. “I read that amnesty announcement and I didn’t understand it.”

“Well, I read it,” a different man yelled back. “And it had a contradiction in it. Therefore, it can’t be right. Besides, one of the Governor’s aids wrote the document for him, it’s not really from the Governor himself. There, I have proven that amnesty is a fraud!”

Shara Livingstone walked several cells down and saw a man sitting on the floor with his feet crossed. “Sir, may I ask you some questions?”

“I already know that you want to ask about the so called amnesty.”

“Yes that’s right. What do you think of the amnesty?”

“It doesn’t really matter. This prison is nothing more than a metaphor about life. Besides, I believe that when I die, I will be set free from this prison. I have lived a good life and what comes around goes around.”

“But sir, you can get out now without having to die.”

“I used to be a thief, but now I live by the golden rule. If I can continue to live a good enough life, then I will make it out of here when I die.” “

Thank you.” She walked a few doors down. “How about you, sir? Don’t you want to get out of this prison?”

“Sure, some day. When I’m older. I’m not through living here yet. But before I die, I plan to take the amnesty and get out. But for now, I’m just having too much fun. Besides, I don’t want to become a puppet for the Governor.”

“Thank you.” She turned to the Lieutenant. “I have time for one more interview. Let’s go to that man standing over there. Excuse me, I have a few questions about the amnesty announcement made a few days ago.”

“Yeah? What do ya want to know?”

“Why haven’t you accepted the freedom and walked away from your prison cell?”

“Are you trying to make me feel guilty by representing the Governor? I don’t appreciate your attack on my personal beliefs. Who are you to judge me?”

“I’m not judging you; I only want to know why you haven’t taken the opportunity to leave your prison.”

“Well, there is a truth that works for you and a truth that works for me. My own personal truth tells me that I can live right here if I want to. You can’t force your truth on me. That violates my personal space and my personal beliefs. Who are you to come and try to condemn me? Now leave me alone.”

Shara turned away from the cell and began to walk with Lieutenant Imp back toward the exit. “I didn’t realize how far we walked into the prison. It is so dark and foul in here.”

“Yep, but that’s how I like it.”

“Isn’t it amazing how bright the light is from the exit door? It’s almost blinding.”

“Yes it is. I like the darkness better. It’s just too bright outside.”

“Hey, who is that walking around here in the cell block? Is it the prisoners?”

“Well, sort of. These people here stepped out of their cells, but refuse to actually walk into the light. They just love the darkness too much to leave it. What’s more remarkable is that they think that they are free. But they still live in all this filth like the men in the cells.”

“I need to talk to one of them.” She stopped a man that was wandering in the darkness. “Excuse me sir, but I have a question for you about the amnesty.”

“Sure, go ahead. That’ my favorite topic. I love to talk about the Governor. After all, he set me free.”

“But have you really been set free? You are still living within the walls of the prison.”

“I have been set free. There is no doubt.”

“Yet you are still here in the cell block. Why don’t you move on into the light and out of this prison?”

“I’m not in the prison. I am free. Sometime I do go near the light and walk around outside. But, this is where my home is and my friends live here also.”

“But I have been outside, and it’s clean and free outside. Why make your home here?”

“Oh, when I went out there, they wanted me to go and tell others about how the Governor set me free. It just seemed like they were expecting too much of me.”

“That is part of the condition for release, to live a life that directly opposes crime.”

“Well, I didn’t want all my friends to make fun of me. It was just too uncomfortable. I tried it out, but it just didn’t work for me. So, I came back in here where all my friends are.”

“Thank you.” She turned to the camera. “I would not have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself. These prisoners all have different reasons for choosing to remain here in Purgatory State Prison. Despite the fact that none of their reasons or excuses make sense, they are content to live a life of filth and squalor rather than a life of freedom and responsibility. This has been Shara Livingstone reporting live. Now back to you…”

The End


God's Not Finished With Us Yet... said...

Awww, that poor man that was first interviewed, looking only downwards and then sobbing deeply; it made me tear up. That is just so moving and sad!

The whole story, Part I & Part II, is very sad and heartbreaking that such criminals/victims think they are still.....victims. And the freed one's out of their cells but clinging to the darkness, shows only what they are accustomed to. It's like you want to shake them; force them into the light to see the Truth, yet we can't force anyone can we? We can only give witness and testimony to the facts, the Truth, and the Light. But it's up to them to get there.

I'm saddened by reading this because it reminds me of reality; in it's real form that some really do prefer the prison walls.

God's Not Finished With Us Yet... said...

Hi Travis,

I just wanted to let you're it!!

You've been 'Tagged'!

Check my blog for the rules. If you'd like can copy/paste the tag photo on my blog to apply to when you play.


Billy Coffey said...

I'm not often given to envy, but I sure wish I had your imagination. Loved this.

Avily Jerome said...

I didn't actually read it yet- I've been sitting at the computer for several hours and I need to give my eyes a break. Also, since I've been gone, I need to read both parts, and I want to be able to actually focus and absorb it.

So I'll get back to you when I actually read it!

Travis said...

I agree with you. It is disheartening to realize that so many people are still living in the darkness. We should all strive to help lead them to the light.

Thanks, Billy. Appreciate the encouragement.

We'll see you on the flip side. Thanks for stopping!

gzusfreek said...

Nice story! It is very sad taht we are afraid of the light and not the darkness. Thanks blundering discoverer! :-) Keep on writing!

Rosslyn Elliott said...


Nice touch about the people out of their cells but still on the cell block. I like it a lot.

Travis said...

Thanks for stopping by, girls. I always enjoy your comments!

Alison Bryant said...

So, how do you think Shara herself may have changed after reporting on this? Hmmm...something to ponder.

Travis said...

I wonder if she used her reporter status to keep from engaging the prisoners, or if she was simply professional and did her job?

Sockrma18 said...

Wow! Great analogy and it's sad realizing that we do live in a prison of sorts here on Earth. We get to chose where we set up residence within that prison. I know how it feels to really be nearly each one of these prisoners having just "come into" my faith in the last several years. Been the prisoner in dispair, the prisoner in denial, the prisoner with too many questions and the prisoner that is "free" but not. Makes me think about where I am now and where I should be....

Well done. Well done.

P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment on my "tag" blog! Billy's blog has brought a lot of people together who would not otherwise have connected!

Sockrma18 said...

P.P.S. I just ordered your book.... I L.O.V.E. a good love story! Feel free to autograph it when you ship it out.... I will be anxiously waiting by the mailbox!

Travis said...

Yes, Billy is an incredible man, who deserves more credit than he receives.

I'm so glad you aren't in "prison" any longer. You have such a great testimony, and you can help lead those from the dark into the light.

Thanks for ordering a book. I know you will enjoy it, but if you don't, I'll give your money back!

Take care,

Alison Bryant said...

My hunch is that it's the former.

sharilyn said...

well done, travis. i had the privilege to be able to read the story in its entirety. i always hated 'to be continued..." when it appeared on the tv screen when i was a kid! :) i like your writing and will have work backwards into your blog and see what other treasures are hidden there in plain sight! i like good analogies and am a big c.s. lewis fan, fiction as well as nonfiction. i enjoy seeing how things in our world are analogous to the spiritual realm.... keep on writin'! : )

Travis said...

I think when spiritual truths are revealed through story lines they make a much larger impact on our lives. That's why men like Lewis and Tolkien were so successful.

And I hated those "To be continued" also! There was one incident when Fonzie was about to jump over a burning bus (or something else, it's been too long to remember) and just as he was about to jump, they continued it. AHHHHRRRRGGG

sharilyn said...

oh my gosh! i remember that episode!!!! : )