“We are all only one step away from insanity.”
Morgaine Eucalyptus Freeman, Death Row Inmate, Mississippi State Penitentiary
I sensed something wasn’t right that day. Although all the windows were open the air was too still. It felt like it does when you walk into a house that’s been closed up for months. So I wandered outside to the front porch with my coffee to see if I could catch a breeze.
John had gotten up hours ago and was off on an errand of some kind. He was always busy although it seemed nothing ever came of all his activity. My mother would have called it “puttering” although that was a term usually applied to much older men than John.
I heard a noise from the barn and saw a flock of sparrows fly up into the trees. We called it a barn, and I suppose it was once, but now it was just a dilapidated out-building used for nothing but storing the remains of projects John had set aside each time something more intriguing came along. John had big plans to repair it when we first bought the property but, as with many things, the plans never became a reality.
I heard another noise. I couldn’t quite place the sound so I got up from the porch and wandered out to see what it was. Probably a small animal had gotten itself trapped in there somehow. Hopefully not a possum. We’d had a possum live under our porch for a while and they were mean creatures.
As I neared the barn door the noise became clearer and, although I didn’t want to believe what my brain was telling me, it was moaning. The long, low moaning of a woman in the throws of sexual pleasure. I walked in to see my neighbor Tessie, up against the wall, dress thrown up around her waist, her legs spread wide. A man was kneeling before her with his head in her crotch. I knew the back of that head and those broad shoulders intimately. I recognized the jeans I had just washed, folded and put away in his dresser the previous night.
I picked up the closest thing to me, which was an old shovel leaning against the wall, and I swung it at his head. He fell aside and I swung at her knocking her down. And then I just kept swinging until there was blood everywhere and I had no more strength.
My name is Evelyn Moore and I now reside in Salem, Oregon. I’m an inmate at the Oregon State Prison. That’s where you go when you beat two people to death with a shovel and then call 911 to tell them you think some people are dead. This is the end of my story and every day now I wonder when my story took a turn towards this ending. Had I always had that violence in me? Had I wanted John dead for a long time like the District Attorney said I did? Was that always somewhere deep inside me, only to come out that day? Where did it begin?
I have very few memories from my early childhood. The shrinks here all have different theories about why this is. Perhaps nothing too memorable happened, or perhaps horrible things happened and not remembering them is my minds way of protecting me. We will never know. My first vivid memory is when I was about five years old.