It was the early morning hours, the twilight hours, that give him most trouble. He was awake, light started to stream through the slits in the barred windows and this was a problem. He preferred a darkened room, close your eyes and forget. Forget the problems and burdens of life. Now he had to wait until someone somewhere in a remote place switched the electric lights off so that he could sink into sleep and sleep was what he needed.
Being awake the ghosts of the past would return, complaining, pulling at his nerves and telling him "Look what you did". He was not really a murderer, it just seemed that life was against him. He remembered his first wife.
"I'm pregnant" Alice said "now we will have to get married". At the age of 25 he found he had no choice. Fingers in town would point at him and her and she would certainly not keep her mouth shut. He already regretted those stolen moments early in the morning in the field when Alice was willing and so was he. He wondered if she was the right choice, but soon found she was not and on top of it all she was not pregnant, just a trick to get a man who would bring home the money.
His father was a doctor, the line of many in the family, so Charles also became a doctor and he was a good choice for Alice who needed a little bit more from life; being someone and going places she thought. Alice was his first victim. It was so easy. Drugs and poisons were at his finger tips. He tried not to make her suffer too much, but death came to her like the rest. She always appeared in the twilight hours, watching him with her mocking face and her common laughter.
The other ghosts were not far behind. Some he married, some he didn't. He really tried to find the right one. He just wanted to be understood and find a partner for life.
"Hey Charles remember me" and he looked up and saw the shadow of Maude. She was leering at him with her piggy eyes, sunk in the fatty polsters of her face. Maude was just plain fat. When he married her she had an hour glass figure, one that any woman would be proud of. Living as a doctor's wife seem to change her. She discovered the good things in life, going out to dinner, being invited to parties and being a member of the upper class people of the town. She changed, putting on weight and discovering the benefit of a glass or two of wine with every meal. It was when she started enjoying the benefits of alcohol with her breakfast that Charles decided the time had come to dispose of another one of life's female burdens. With her dimensions, it was easy to give her a drug to cause a heart attack.
The women began to appear at his bedside, one after the other. Some he remembered and some not. At the trial he was accused of being a burden to mankind. Charles, a burden, no. All the others were the burdens. If only one of those nosy coroners did not decide to make a reputation for himself and start stirring up his past. Of course three of his wives had died unexpectedly. Charles thought he could get away with it, but medical science was making progress and there were some things you could just not hide any more.
"So now they have you" said Christine from a corner of the cell, standing where the sunlight was highlighting the spaces in the bars. It was getting brighter, but the ghosts seem to become more intense.
"Not long now" they all said, "it's easy, just make a few knots in the sheets and stand on the chair, we will kick it away for you.
"Leave me alone" he cried out, "leave me"
After a while there were footsteps in the corridor. It was the priest and the prison guards coming to fetch Charles for his last walk. They found Charles hanging from the bars of his cell, he was no longer a burden to the world. And the ghosts had already left him, perhaps to meet him on the other side.
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