Inside the cold dark confines of his jail cell, Sindile knew that time was running short for him to make a decision that could completely change his life, he knew he would be called out in only a few minutes to be taken to the courthouse where his trial would be held. But what the courthouse didn't know was that the guard who was supposed to take him there had been bribed to let Sindile escape, along with the rest of the guards that were assigned to make sure that he was successfully transferred to the courthouse. Sindile knew that whichever choice he made would have great consequences, but he had only minutes to decide which to make, of course he had known about the general details for the plan for two days, yet he had not been able to decide if he even wanted to go through with it.
If he did try to escape he knew if he was ever found that he would definitely be found guilty and be given a much harsher sentence, but on the other hand he would have a chance to start a new life. "A new life", those words echoed constantly through Sindile's head, he knew that what he had done was horrible, unredeemable, and somehow he felt as though he deserved to be put in prison or executed. Something which most people fear, began more and more to feel as a way out of all this chaos that he had created. But something kept pushing him forward, perhaps it was his basic human instinct to want to survive, or perhaps he was still clinging to the hope that he could someday find a way to redeem himself for all the things he had done, all the lives he had ruined.
He knew he had to choose soon, as the guard was already coming down the long grey hallway, the footsteps echoing along the dead concrete walls. Sindile's heart quickened and he felt a deep sense of panic and dread. Sindile quickly reached for his stash, inside was all of his most prized possessions (at least the ones that had been approved by the jail supervisor), while not worth much in money, they held value for Sindile in other ways. Sindile pulled out a sheet of folded paper with the words "For Sindile Johnson" written on the front, he briefly stopped to look at the paper then put it into his pocket. Deeper inside his bag he saw a glimmer of silver, he reached inside and pulled out a simple quarter, while on one side it was shining silver, on the other side it was matte black. Deciding that with the clean side he would start a new life, and with the black side he would go to the trial and face what he had done, Sindile closed his eyes and flipped the coin, he felt it fall back into his hand. His heart was pounding heavily against his chest, he could feel the sweat coming from his forehead as he opened his eyes to look at the coin which was now sitting with the black side facing up.
The guard was now at the door, he could hear a hard cruel voice call inside.
"Hey, I'm opening the door, stand to the back of the room!"
Sindile stood back at the corner, wondering if this was the man who was supposed to let him escape. The guard opened the door, he was wearing a normal guard uniform and carried a baton in his left hand, and handcuffs in his right. He then directed Sindile to face against the wall as he moved behind him, but the guard didn't put the handcuffs on Sindile, instead he told Sindile in a quiet voice
"Ok, you sorry son of a ------, your friends just gave me a nice bonus in exchange for me letting you go, so you turn around and hit me and you run out that door, and if I ever hear you saying that I let you go, I will personally make sure that you regret it."
Sindile tried to clear his voice, yet his words still came out hoarse and crackled.
"No, it's off I want to go to my trial, tell my friends that I have come to this decision and if they don't believe you tell them I said that the Black Bullet has landed, they will understand what it means and they will pay you."
The guard, now with a surprised look on his grizzled face, answered
"Well, this day just keeps getting better." The guard laughed as he moved and grabbed the handcuffs expertly slapping them on Sindile's wrists as he had done a thousand times before.
Of course Sindile knew the guard would not get paid, but saying that they would was the only way that the guard would let him go to the trial.
The guard then began leading Sindile off out of the room into the long grey hallway. The air in the hallway was cold and still, the rest of the convicts were uneasily quiet, Sindile could feel his heart beating against his chest, and all that he could think of was whether he had made the right choice. Either way, whether he was found guilty or innocent, he would still be forced to live with what he had done.
They had reached the end of the hallway, the set of grey steel doors opened and a burst of bright light came through, it was a harsh light, feeling empty and lacking compassion, it seemed to pull the remaining spirit that Sindile had left in him. The guard then directed him down into a tunnel, it was the same tunnel that had been used countless times before to send convicted men to their judgment, leading directly to the courthouse on the other side of the street.
It was at this point that the guard stopped walking and turned to face Sindile. He had a look of intense curiosity on his dark face, yet through his eyes Sindile could see the heart of a lion waiting to pounce upon its prey.
"So what exactly are you planning to achieve by this, huh? You had a good chance of getting away from here and you just threw it out the window? There are plenty of men in here that would kill to have a chance at that."
The guard gave a snort of laughter as he finished the sentence.
Sindile just continued to blankly stare at the guard, not because he didn't want to answer but because he didn't even know quite exactly why he had even made the choice. The guard made another snort and motioned for Sindile to continue moving.
Yet Sindile continued to wonder exactly why, it should have been a no-brainer, he should have taken his chance to escape, considering his odds of being let off the hook in the trial. He knew that it wasn't just the coin toss, the coin toss shouldn't have even happened in the first place. No, it was something else, but the answer was just out of reach.
They had now reached the end of the tunnel, the guard moved to open the dark wooden doors that laid in front of them. As they moved through the doors and into the courthouse Sindile was still pondering the question the guard had asked earlier, had it been because of Jimmy? No, it started before then, or had it started in the Army? No, that was part of it, but that was not the triggering factor. No, it started in Chicago, yes that is where it all began. As Sindile thought back on his life in Chicago, he began to wonder if he could have done anything differently, was their some other path that he could have taken? Or was this just his fate, to survive all the things he had been through, and then to be put in prison for the rest of his life?
Sindile was now directed to sit down next to his lawyer, he had not been paying attention to the rest of the room as he was directed through it, now as he looked around, a deep sadness began to take hold of him, there was nobody that he knew seated in the bleachers, and the only people who 'cared' about him were expecting him to have tried to escape. But Sindile knew that they didn't actually care anything about him, and the only reason they wanted him free was because it suited their interests that he is set free. No, all the people that had cared about him were dead or dying. The only people in this room were busily texting and calling on their cell phones.
A loud bang of a gavel brought Sindile's attention back to the real world, the judge was now calling order to the court. The judge had a long beard and was slightly overweight, in fact he almost looked like Santa Claus aside from the fact that he was wearing a judge's attire and needed a few more pounds. The judge's voice was cold, and carried across the room, yet it also conveyed a feeling of compassion, something which Sindile was seldom used to.
"Order, Order, we will now begin case number 85D02-0703-JD-00569, in the matter of Sindile Johnson…"