ending / 4

I lean against the bars of a prison cell, hands in my pockets, staring at an unshaven man recently convicted of first-degree murder.

He sits on the floor with bloodshot eyes, cursing softly as I sink down across from him and study the way he’s folding his legs. An attempt to copy his movements only leaves me in an awkward tangle, so I lay on my stomach instead—careful to keep a safe distance from his trembling form. The floor is cold and dirty and unforgiving.

His eyes dart from me to the locked door and back again, blinking hard, mouth moving soundlessly in disbelief. His shaking hands tighten into fists as I click the end of my ballpoint pen.

“Could you tell me,” I begin quietly, fidgeting with my notebook. “What makes a life worth ending?”

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