Escape From Death Row / by Academy Monthly

The dirty walls of his cell were beginning to decay, but Harrison knew there was more work to be done. He picked up his plastic spoon and every night, for the past week, he pried away at the two feet thick concrete wall. He was only half way through and knew he needed to pick up the pace.  

Forty-eight square feet of solid concrete had been Harrison’s home for the past twenty-five years, eight months, and sixteen days. He slept on the bottom bunk and he had been roomateless for the past five years. His cell contained a small metal toilet, a tiny sink, an oval mirror with several breaks, and a long rectangular shelf. The shelf contained only one book, To Kill A Mockingbird. Its cover was ripped off and the pages were all bent. Harrison had read the book countless amounts of times and could recall every detail of the novel. 

It was around eleven ‘o'clock when Harrison continued to pry away at the wall in the far-left corner of his cell. It was blocked by his bunk bed, so the passing guards could not see the crevasse. On the ground, next to him, was a poster of Tom Robinson from To Kill A Mockingbird, which he used to cover his progress in case of suspicion. 

Hearing the clacker of shoes down the corridor, Harrison placed the poster onto the wall, hopped onto his firm mattress, and pulled his stained sheets over himself. Overcome with exhaustion, Harrison fell quickly into a dreamless sleep. 

Yawning, Harrison glanced at his clock, realizing that it was three o’clock in the morning and that the tunnel would not magically dig itself. If he ever wanted to escape, he would need to start digging and fast. His execution was scheduled to take place in three days. After numerous appeals, death seemed inescapable. He had been convicted of murdering his wife and their three children twenty-five years ago. 

Harrison tried to remove his covers and get out of bed, but something was preventing him from doing so. He could not move his head very well and could not feel his body, thinking he could be paralyzed. Suddenly, he flew out of bed and slammed right into the crusty mirror. After picking himself up he saw gray fur on top of his head and white fur on his belly. He was small with a tiny beak, two wings, and a tail. He could recognize this bird anywhere, knowing it was a mockingbird. 

Surprisingly, Harrison took only a moment to adjust to his new form. Without thinking, he flew in between the solid metal bars and into the long corridor of cells. He saw a tall, slender man and tried to hide himself with no luck, but realized it was not necessary. Harrison followed the man down the hallway, into another, and into the courtyard of the prison.

As he flew outside, he was almost taken down by a strong gust of wind. But he found the cool night air refreshing, especially because there were no bars holding him inside. He flew in circles for what seemed like hours upon end until the yellow-orange glow of the morning sun peeked out behind the immense forest. 

He flew for miles until he could no longer see the prison, but rather an endless path of green in front of him. He was lost with nowhere to go, no family to shelter him, and no recollection of where he was. Eventually he landed on a small amber branch to rest for a while. 

He woke up to the sound of a gunshot, almost knocking himself out of the tree. He looked down to see a small boy next to what seemed to be his father wearing the same exact outfit: a flannel shirt, jeans, and hunting boots. They each carried a rifle and next to them, Harrison spotted a deer. Its skin was tinted red and a puddle of blood surrounded it. The father bent down and pointed to the boy at a gray-brown squirrel in the distance. The boy laid down without making a sound, fired his shot, and retrieved his catch. 

 Before Harrison had time to process anything the boy was pointing his gun at him. He took one well aimed shot and Harrison fell twenty feet onto the rock-solid forest floor. 


“It was almost three months ago that convicted murderer Harrison Miller mysteriously disappeared from Stanton County Prison. He was on death row and set to be executed three days after his departure. After investigations into this baffling case, it was discovered that Miller was in fact innocent, which led police to apprehend the correct suspect. Miller is thought to have died in the expansive forest surrounding the prison. Anthony Waters, Channel Ten News.”