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Tears On A Yellow Dress

Do we know what really happened?

By Ali SPPublished about a month ago 5 min read
Tears On A Yellow Dress
Photo by Krišjānis Kazaks on Unsplash

11:15 am registers on the digital wall clock.

The inside of my nostrils sting. The smell of disinfectant lingers as if to scrub away any memory of what is happening. Only eight of us occupy this dim, windowless space, haunted by the sound of a beating heart.

I told myself I could handle it.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. My body will not relax. Tiny drops of sweat form on my palms, making my pen slippery. Why did I think I would be able to take notes? My blouse, which was loose and dry a few moments ago, now clings to my skin, and I can feel the moisture extend to my armpits. My breathing techniques do nothing to slow down my racing heart. Although it's been a few minutes, it feels like hours have passed.

The voice of the IV team leader interrupts my thoughts.

" 40 milliequivalents of potassium chloride will be administered followed by 60 mL of saline solution."

It takes them only a few seconds to administer it, and I wonder whether Justin McGuire feels any pain despite being unconscious.

I had read that administering potassium chloride through an IV was painful. Some had described it as having one's arm set on fire.

Suddenly, a stinging sensation runs across my left arm, and I instinctively begin to caress it.

Justin's wife, Tina, sits two chairs away from me. Her cheeks are red like a fire erupted beneath her skin. She shuts her eyelids tightly, but wet spots appear on her pastel yellow dress when she opens them—one of the few people in the room who was not wearing black. I remember the many times our news station interviewed her.

"It wasn't him," she would say. "My husband would never do such a thing. He is a loving father and husband."

The steady beeping of the heart monitor begins to change. Multiple beeps within a second. I inhale deeply, forcing a large amount of air into my lungs. I place my hands over my chest. Each thump is a reminder that I am alive. They told me at work that it would only take a few minutes. At first, I was intrigued, but now I wish I hadn't eaten breakfast. Small remnants make their way to the back of my throat, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth.

I turn my attention to the victim's family. They believed that Justin murdered their four-year-old daughter, Abigail.

I remember Sandra, Abigail's mother's response to a question one of our reporters posed after Justin lost his appeal.

" He's getting an easy way out compared to what Abi endured. I hope he suffers because he's getting what he deserves."

Sandra sits, mouth slightly agape, squeezing a handkerchief in her right hand. She barely blinks as if transfixed by the sound of the monitor. When the beeping returns to its normal rhythm, she sighs, adjusting her position in her chair. Her husband, Greg, shrugs his shoulders.

The IV team continues to monitor Justin. I stare at the clock; how has it only been 30 seconds?

I followed the story of Abigail's death. The jury found Justin guilty, but I am not sure that he did it. He couldn't be in two places at once. They said the DNA matched. He was a friend of the family. He picked Abigail and his daughter up after school and claimed he dropped her off after taking them out for ice cream. Was he capable of committing a crime while his daughter was present? The time of death does not match.




The monitor's sound echoes throughout the room as the IV team members talk amongst themselves, observing all devices.

We live in a town with a population of five hundred. A child does not get murdered here. Abigail's death changed everything. No one feels safe anymore. My fingers tremble while tugging at the pleats in my skirt. I shut my eyes. I do not want to relive the gruesome details of her death at this moment, but I prefer to remember her freckled cheeks, ginger hair and radiant smile. There was a softness there, the innocence in her light brown eyes.

Did they catch the right guy?

The memory of Justin's face after he lost his appeal lingers. His eyes were sunken, partially eclipsed by the dark circles underneath compared to the pale skin on his face. He turned around to mouth the words "I love you" to Tina before the officers whisked him away. The orange jumpsuit appeared heavily weighted against his frame as if the trial and now the appeal was sucking any evidence of life out of him. Now, his body lies lifeless, strapped on a table behind glass walls, attached to medical devices.

The quicker beeps steal my attention, and my closed eyes spring open. Every thump in my chest now matches the rhythm of each beep. I try to breathe in, but the air appears too dense.

The number of beeps accelerates until it reaches a crescendo.


Then they stop. What follows sounds like static at first, then a flat, continuous monotone. My body forces a breath in. The room suddenly feels empty, like a dark void has consumed everything.

Sandra's shoulders move away from her ears as if unloading an enormous weight. She and Greg interlace their fingers as they turn to face each other, dampness present on their cheeks. I can't imagine the depths of their pain and grief.

I know that to Abigail's family, Justin's death signifies justice for their beautiful daughter, who they will never be able to create memories with. Her life was viciously cut short, and she will never get to grow old.

However, to Justin's family, they lost a son, father and husband who was innocent—a man whose life the justice system took away.

I could not bear to look in Tina's direction while the IV team examined Justin's body. In my periphery, she has her head buried in her lap while her upper body shakes uncontrollably. I can't imagine what she will say to her daughter and how difficult it would be to raise her alone.

My heart breaks for both families. A sole tear rolls down my cheek, and I blink to stop the burning in both eyes.

The IV team confirms that there is no heartbeat. I look up, and the time is 11:16 am.


Thank you for reading!


About the Creator

Ali SP

Ali has found a renewed passion for reading and creating. It is now a form of expression for her– another creative outlet which she works to improve upon.

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Comments (4)

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  • Tiffany Gordon about a month ago

    Captivating story! Excellent writing as usual... I felt like I was witnessing everything right along with the Observer. Such a sad situation...

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    This was so devastating! I feel so sad for Justin and Tina 😭😭😭😭 How could they do this to an innocent man?! Gosh this was so tragic and intense!

  • Novel Allenabout a month ago

    The worst thing is to die innocent while falsely proven guilty. I wonder where those souls go =, lost in a limbo-like existence. Will they find peace and rest.

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Heartwrentching story!!! 💕❤️❤️

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