Saturday Snippet

4 Dec


By Marilyn Campbell


   Father Peters had never regretted a promise more than the one he’d made to Mark Templeton last night. It wasn’t that he had never seen a person die before. It was the manner of death he was having trouble with in this instance.

   He firmly believed God was the only one who should have the power of life and death. Whether Templeton was innocent or guilty was not his concern—God would deal with that—but he did not believe that anyone’s life should be ended by another man’s hand. Since he couldn’t stop the death sentence from being carried out, however, at least he could make sure that it was done as humanely as possible.

   From behind the one-way glass, he watched two guards bring Templeton into the small room and strap him into the electric chair. He felt some satisfaction in noting that the convicted man’s last request regarding his haircut had been granted. On the other hand, it was acutely uncomfortable to be close enough to see the beads of perspiration on Templeton’s face. He wondered what the condemned man was thinking at this, the final moments of his life.

   After the leather straps were tightened and the electrodes secured in place, the two guards left Templeton alone in the room.

The warden turned on the intercom and spoke into the microphone. “Any last words, Templeton?”

   The man’s eyes seem to bore through the glass. “I’m innocent.”

The warden turned off the intercom and nodded to the executioner. Father Peters made the sign of the cross and began reciting The Lord’s Prayer.

   Rather than watch Templeton, the priest kept his eyes on the voltage meter. The arm jumped to 2,000, as Templeton had said it should but then the worst thing that could possibly happen, did.

All the lights went out.

   “Shut it down,” the warden ordered.

   For several seconds they were in total blackness and the priest prayed that the first surge of electricity had been enough to put the poor man out of his misery.

   The return of power caused the lights to flicker for a few more seconds before the area was fully illuminated again.

   “What the hell?” exclaimed the warden and he burst through the door into the room where the electric chair sat. The two guards, the executioner and Father Peters were right behind him.

   “Dear God in heaven,” the priest muttered as the others expressed their shock in less spiritual terms.

   Where Mark Templeton had been securely strapped moments before, there was now nothing but a slightly scorched prison uniform and smoldering ashes.


 Released 10/22/10 at

7 Responses to “Saturday Snippet”

  1. Gayle O. December 4, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    What happened? I really want to know and can’t wait to get my copy to find out. Thanks for the great excerpt.

    • Marilyn Campbell December 4, 2010 at 10:09 am #

      Thank you! I will at least tell you this – it involves time-travel and a bet between Archangel Gabriel and the devil’s handmaiden Jezebel. Hope you enjoy it.

  2. Cathy M December 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    Great excerpt, Marilyn, you’ve definitely peeked my interest.

  3. Sara M December 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    Interest piqued!

  4. naramalone December 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    I need to know what happens next!

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