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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas (04/25/05)

TITLE: A Battle for Truth
By Kathy Cartee


A Battle for Truth

Clank! Clank! The sound of the slamming of the cell bars vibrated in his ears. Josh held his hands over his ears. How he wished he never had to hear the clanking of cell doors again. Would he ever be free from this horrid place?

It all seemed like such a nightmare even now twelve years later. The memory of his arrest played like a live movie repeatedly in his mind. How many times he wished he had never went to the library that night! His mind took him on the usual journey of ‘What ifs.’ What if he had stayed home and helped his parents decorate the tree? What if, he had left the library a little sooner? His thoughts always ended with what if I had never been born. The answers to his questions remained unanswered. He could not change what was by thinking about what if.

Josh was a young black male from a good Christian home. He was the oldest of five sons in his family. His dream had always been to go the college and make his family proud of him. He received a scholarship to the college in his hometown. He was in the top of his class and he wanted to stay there.

The campus at school was almost empty this time of year. It was Christmas break and everyone had gone home. Josh decided to get in some extra writing done for his classes at the local library. With all the preparations for Christmas, going on at home there was too much noise there to think clearly.

Suddenly Josh was startled by the sound of a loud voice as the door to the main cellblock opened and the guard yelled Lights out! Okay you morons I do not want to hear anything else out of any of you for the rest of the night!”

Darkness covered the cellblock except for the low lights in the corridors shining dimly through the small opening in the steel door of his cell. Josh listened to the footsteps of the guard as he made his rounds through the cellblock. His thoughts returned to the library where he had been studying before he was surrounded by police officers.

He had been walking home when suddenly there were bright lights shining in his face and officers with guns drawn, yelling at him to hit the ground. He could hear one of the officers reporting on his radio they had the suspect in custody. He fit the description. He was five foot eight, wearing a dark jogging suit and coming from the area of the college.

They were placing Josh in handcuffs and he was trying to find out why he was being arrested. The officer was reading him his rights. “You are under arrest for the assault and rape of Linda Anderson.”

“Assault? Rape? What in the world are you talking about? I have been studying in the library for hours. You have the wrong man.”

“Tell it to your lawyer pal.” The officer replied.

Josh was taken to the hospital so the woman could identify him before he was taken to the county lockup. Josh was nervous but at least the victim could not identify him as the one who raped her, this would be over soon.

Josh was shocked when they enter the room and the woman screamed out, “That’s him,” over and over she screamed until Josh was sure his heart would stop beating any second.

“Get him out of here, the officer said, ‘that’s all we needed to know.”

A whirlwind trail and here he was twelve years later sitting in a prison cell for a crime he never committed. He had filed appeal after appeal to no avail. At last there was a new test called DNA. It was the last hope he had. The test result would be here in the morning. Josh fell asleep praying: “Please Lord let them discover the truth. I am willing to do whatever you want but please have mercy on me and deliver me from this awful place.”

Josh stood outside the prison wall on December twenty fourth nineteen ninety-one for the first time in twelve years. His heart was full of praise and thankfulness to the Lord. Little did he know the struggle he was about to face on the outside. Even if he were innocence, how would he explain twelve missing years?


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Member Comments
Member Date
Suzanne R05/05/05
Wow. How terrifying because this story could so well be true...... What a tragedy. It was a nice conclusion to hear that finally medical advances proved his innocence, but that little bit of realism about how he'd explain 12 missing years was so true. This was a gripping read but really sad ... which is not a criticism ... it is a great piece of writing that highlights a very real social wrong. Thanks for sharing it.
Phyllis Inniss05/05/05
So many of us face this battle for truth but not necessarily in such a daunting way. Your story pinpoints so many similar stories. Thank God for DNA and thank God for your clever writing highlighting this problem.
vicki mccollum05/09/05
Kathy, wow, this is very strong writing. When I first read it, I thought the author had to be a man (who probably had spent time in prison himself, or at least knew people very well, who had been.) It's so different to your other historical/Biblical fiction. It's really very good. You have a wide range of talent. I'm impressed.