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The Committee For Ethical Retribution


Spencer Shaw


ntering the room of the Committee for Ethical Retribution, I quietly stepped into a room of 5 robed figures. Three men, two women. One of them appeared to be no older than myself, at twenty-five. The rest were older, ranging from early forties to late sixties.

"Greetings, applicant. We have heard much about your case. We welcome you to orate your reasoning in person. You have the next ten minutes to speak, followed by a twenty minute questioning period. Following that, we will deliberate for the next thirty minutes, and your request will be approved or denied."

It didn't matter which one of them spoke. I didn't look up from my desk, my speech prepared in my hands.

"I wish to kill myself."

I let the silence hover in the air for a few seconds.

"I wish to kill myself. Yes. I wish to die by my own hand."

I raised my gaze to the panel of judges. They all wore inquisitive expressions, but nothing betraying their emotions.

"I have ruined lives. I have mentally and emotionally abused the only person I could ever love. The only person who could have made me whole. He is too kind to apply to kill me. I think he simply wishes to erase any memory of me or our time together. Nevertheless, that is not the only reason. I have lied, I have threatened, I have been unfaithful, I have done everything short of crime. I do not seek to atone for my sins, I simply wish to avoid them. I am a coward. A fool. I squandered my life, and caused pain and suffering. I feel remorse for the first time in the two decades I have been alive."

I continued, telling the story of the man I could have loved, of my parents, whose dreams I shattered and whose lives I wasted so much of. I spoke of my "friends", who I used for material gain and social popularity. I spoke of my enemies, who at my hands suffered constant torture and mocking. I spoke of myself, who I had doomed to walk a path of no redemption. I found myself crying silent tears as I repeated my first request.

"I want to kill myself."

There were no questions. There rarely were, from what I had heard. Most cases are of blind rage and a quest for vengeance, most others were blown so far out of proportion that the truth of the applicant's situation became as blurry as the applicant's conscience. This system was new. Only 6 months old.

Thirty minutes came and went. I felt hollow. Empty. A vague portrait of a watercolor woman. On the form, I asked to bleed out in a warm bath after cutting open the artery in my left arm with a white knife, I wanted to smell lilac, I wanted to listen to piano music, and I wanted him to watch me kill myself.

My request was granted.

Quiz question:

Why did the applicant submit herself to the committee?

To atone for her sins

To atone for her sins

To test the limits of the retribution system

To test the limits of the retribution system

To run from her mistakes

To run from her mistakes

To make a statement

To make a statement

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Issue 15


September 22, 2017

Spencer Shaw is a fan of stargazing, sailboats, and the color blue. He writes involved, intimate fiction and has a penchant for anaphora. He is based in Northwest Arkansas, where he happily spends his days studying, painting, writing, and gaming.

i dont feel like fininishing this website right now and i am sorry

I think gasoline

in the garden would get me

in some deep trouble.

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Issue 15

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